Tuesday, 28 March 2017


Not such a quiet day in Clun High Street.
This small Shropshire village  lies close to the Welsh border.

Clunton and Clunbury
Clungunford and Clun
Are the quietest places
Under the sun

A. E. Houseman "A Shropshire Lad"

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Leap Frog

Children play in Lennox Road, North London.  It must be winter time as two of the boys are wearing balaclavas, an item of clothing never seen these days and probably not worn since the 1950s.
Digitally colourised from a black and white photograph.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Freshly Baked Bread

Mr Brennand's Bakers cart stands outside of Bank End Farm on Kinder Road, Hayfield, Derbyshire. Mr Brennand had a bakers and confectioners shop in Church Street. The photograph which has been digitally colourised is dated 1910.

Friday, 17 March 2017


A shepherd rounds up his flock in a Cheshire farm yard.  Kettleshulme is a small village in East Cheshire, at the edge of the Peak District National park and near to the border with Derbyshire. It is largely a farming village although a mill, now empty and disused, once manufactured wicks for miner's lamps.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Bath Time In The 1950s

The photograph has been digitally colourised from a black and white original.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

They Were Not Always Red

Buxton's "Penfold" pillar box stands in The Square, opposite the Opera House.

Post boxes date back to 1809, the first examples being installed
in walls. The first free standing pillar box appeared in Carlisle in 1856. There were several early designs, many being cylindrical.  One style was designed by a committee and they forgot to include an aperture to post the letters. A slot had to be chiselled out on site before they could be used, thus spoiling their appearance. 

There was no standard colour scheme until 1859 when pillar boxes were painted bronze green with the lettering and royal coat of arms picked out in gold. The now familiar red was introduced in 1874 although it was 10 years before they were all repainted. A few boxes still carry this green livery.

John Wornham Penfold 1828 - 1909 was an architect and surveyor from Haslemere, Surrey with a practice in London. He is most famous for the design of a hexagonal pillar box which first appeared in 1866.

There are nine different types of Penfold box in three sizes. That in Buxton is of the largest size and is now rare. They were intended for city centre locations so this one may have been re-located here.  300 Penfold pillar boxes were made and about half survive although 100 replicas were produced in the 1980s

These cast iron boxes were made by Cochrane Grove & Co of Dudley between 1866 and 1879; their name can be seen on the plinth. The top of the box is decorated with acanthus leaves and a bud and has decorative balls around the rim.

Buxton also has a so called "anonymous" pillar box. These were introduced in 1879 and were cast without the words "Post Office" and without the coat of arms hence their anonymity.

Penfold was the sidekick of 1980s cartoon character Danger Mouse. Penfold made his home in a pillar box in London's Baker Street.

There are 115,500 letter boxes in UK and of course, in
typically British fashion they have a large following of aficianados who record, preserve, restore and write extensively about them.

Our second picture shows how the box might have originally been painted.

Saturday, 11 March 2017


Harvesting at Furness Vale

There is little information about this photograph although it does give us a number of clues. 
On the side of the cart is a panel with the name of the owner, Charles Saxby of Disley, Cheshire.   Mr Saxby was a gentleman farmer from Sussex, born at West Dean in 1805.  He purchased the Furness Vale Printworks, then in Disley Parish, in 1857, in partnership with Mr Frank Marshall, for £10,500.
In addition to the Printworks, the property included 23 acres of land including Lodge Farm.
The photograph appears to be taken at the end of harvesting  and the workers are celebrating with a couple of flagons of ale.  There are rather a lot of workers for such a small farm so they were perhaps seconded from the Printworks.
Charles Saxby died at Ormskirk in 1879 after which his son Frederick took over the Printworks. The picture will therefore have been taken in the period 1857 to 1879.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Eyre Square, Galway

Photograph of a Royal Mail day car in Eyre Square, Galway. The photograph is undated but research suggests that it was taken in the mid 1860s

Charles Bianconi started his coaching business in 1815 with two day cars called Bians running between Clonmel and Cahir in Co. Tipperary. By 1850 he was serving 120 Irish towns and cities with a fleet of 200 vehicles and 500 drivers. The cars were built and maintained at the company's works in Clonmel. There were 1300 horses employed and these were changed at a network of 140 "stations", often inns or hotels. The Galway station was Black's Hotel in Eyre Square. Mail was carried as well as passengers and goods and the average speed was 8 miles per hour. The journey from Galway to Dublin took two days although by 1851 the railway had taken over this route. The daily service to Clifden, a journey of some 50 miles left at 9.00 am. The fare was seven shillings and sixpence for the 11 hour ride.

The Royal Hotel was very well appointed and was frequented by nobility and gentry. Noted for comfort and convenience, it had three lounges as well as dining and commercial rooms. By 1909 it was brilliantly lit by electricity. Mrs Webb, whose name is over the property next door, took over the Royal in 1865. The Royal was sold in 1952 by its then owner Mr Costelloe for £32,000. It was demolished and a branch of Woolworths built on the site.
Webb's Hotel was built in 1810 as the Clanricarde Arms. Still in business, it is now known as the Imperial.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A sheep and a Ferguson tractor

A sheep and a Ferguson tractor photographed in rural Ireland in the 1980s.  Digitally colorised from a black and white image by Martin Parr