Thursday, 24 October 2019

"The Adventure of Silver Blaze"

"Holmes gave me a  sketch of the events" 

An digitally colourised illustration by Sidney Paget for the Strand Magazine which published Conan Doyle's  "The Adventure of Silver Blaze" in 1892. In this short story, Sherlock Holmes investigates the disappearance of a famous racehorse on the eve of an important race and the murder of its trainer. The tale includes a famous quote:

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?
Holmes: To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.
Gregory: The dog did nothing in the night-time.
Holmes: That was the curious incident.

The artist, Sidney Paget produced more than 350 illustrations to accompany the Sherlock Holmes stories. It was he who in 1891, first depicted the detective wearing a deerstalker hat and Inverness cape, clothes that were never described by the author. Holmes' calabash pipe was introduced by American stage actor William Gillette who played the detective in more than 1300 performances

Strand Magazine was published monthly between 1891 and 1950.Its content comprised of fiction, general interest  articles and puzzles. Many of Conan Doyle's short stories were published as well as a serialisation of "The Hound of the Baskervilles"

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Union Road, New Mills.

Looking down Union Road in 1970. A North western bus is approaching the bus station. On the left is Barclay's Bank followed by Seymour Mead grocers, Gaystyles hairdressing and Turner's shoeshop. The shop on the right may at this time have been the Co-op lighting store; it had previously been Dodd's butchers shop.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

The Navigation Inn

The Navigation Inn, Johnson Street, Whaley Bridge. It was originally known as The Vaux Inn and was owned by Clarke's Brewery of Reddish before passing to Boddingtons. Vaux's Row was the original name for Johnson Street. The pub closed about 2009 and has since been converted to housing. This watercolor painting is by David Easton, 2019.


Thursday, 5 September 2019

Bridge Street, New Mills

Bridge Street, New Mills, photographed in the early 1900s.

On the right is the Bridge Street Tavern. The licensee was Abel Wild, Licensed Retailer of Ale and Porter. This photograph is dated 1902. At the corner of Mellor Road is Isaac Arnfield's grocery shop.

At the opposite end of Bridge Street and at the start of Dye House Lane was the White Hart Tavern. Arnfield's shop is seen on the opposite corner.

The same scene in 1954.  The North Western Bus is on the route between Birch Vale and New Mills via Thornsett. The start of Dye House Lane is at the front of the White Hart.

At the lower end of Bridge Street, opposite the former Bridge Street Tavern was Thompson's Bakery shop.

These photographs have been digitally colourised.

Thursday, 29 August 2019

Shunting at Whaley Bridge

Locomotive 90328 shunts a few wagons of sugar beet pulp at Whaley Bridge in January 1964. The photograph has been colourised from an original picture by J W Sutherland.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Broadhey Farm

Broadhey Farm above Furness Vale photographed from a light aircraft by Frank Armstrong in the mid 1970s. The barns have now been converted to four homes. The white milking shed and attached building have been demolished. The photograph has been digitally colourised from a black and white original.

History In Colour

Through technology we have assembled 700 ways of looking at the past, a collection of old images that are brought back from the dead. For the last few years with the aid of Photoshop our library has grown and we expect to hit a 1000 restored and colourised photographs before Christmas.

Our easy to follow tutorial explains how it is done:

This picture of the Post Office in Market Street, Whaley Bridge, contrasts monochrome and colour.

Monday, 26 August 2019

Horwich End, Whaley Bridge

The crossroads at Horwich End, Whaley Bridge. The original black and white postcard is undated but the scene appears to be from the 1950s. 
A postman has dismounted from his bicycle outside the White Horse, which until 1963 was a Clarke's Brewery house. Clarke's was aquired by Boddington's and the Reddish brewery closed. 
A Post Office Van is parked outside of Horwich End Post Office. A strange looking three wheeled car is turning into Chapel Road. 


Christ Church Whaley Bridge

This photograph shows Christ Church on Bings Road, Whaley Bridge in 1910. Study the picture closely and zoom in to reveal some of the details.
Just to the left of the church is a train in the colours of the London and North Western Railway. The railway can be seen to the right of the church where it crosses  Bridge 42 over Buxton Road. Alongside is a signal.  A wisp of smoke drifts from the tall chimney of  the Waterloo Colliery? It stands just in front of buildings on Old Road and Buxton Road; we can see the roof of the chapel, now the Uniting Church. To the left of the train is a crenallated tower. This was the "Upcast Shaft" of Waterloo Colliery and was partof the ventilating system. Above Christ Church roof is a gantry crane; this stood over one of the colliery shafts.
The reservoir is in the background behind the dam wall. Houses can be seen on Reservoir Road including Whaley Hall.
The photograph has been coloured digitally.

Saturday, 24 August 2019

Macclesfield Road

An early photograph of Macclesfield Road, Horwich End, Whaley Bridge. In the foreground are the parapets of the bridge over the River Goyt. Although this scene has changed little, the shops have closed and are now houses. Trees have grown up on the left and (out of view) Clover Chemicals has been built.   We have digitally colourised this image from an original black and white photograph

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Whaley Bridge - An aerial view.

This photograph which has been digitally colourised looks down on the centre of Whaley Bridge.  The Jodrell Arms Hotel can be clearly seen as can the railway station just behind. Jodrell Road has been built but the fields behind are still to be developed. The flat roofed houses have since had pitched roofs installed. The sign for the Railway Hotel can be seen above the rooftops on the left.
The photograph is undated but was probably taken at some time inthe 1930s.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Whaley Bridge Tea Rooms

This is a view of the Whaley Bridge Tea Rooms or Derbys Tea Rooms as it was sometimes known. It is on Buxton Road opposite the Cock Inn and I understand that the building still exists at the rear of the School Garage.
The building was originally the Whaley Bridge Mission, also known as The Iron Church.  The nearby Holy Trinity Church opened in 1905  making the Mission redundant. It thereafter became the Tea Rooms.  It apparently also served as the Fire Station prior to the building of the School Garage.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Bridge Street, Whaley Bridge

The tracks of the Cromford and High Peak Railway cross Bridge Street. The railway is at the foot of its descent down the cable hauled incline. It crossed the bridge ahead and served both the canal transhipment warehouse and the Bingswood Mill of the Calico Printers Association. The line leading through the gate on the right led to Goyt Mill. The shop is these days, George House antiques, a long established and well known business.

Fish and Chips

Dranfield's  Fish and Chip shop on Canal Street,Whaley Bridge is decorated for the celebration of King George and Queen Mary's Silver Jubilee in 1935. In the 1950's this was the business of  Harry and Vera McMillen, followed by Ken and Irene Wild.The shop, at No.5 Canal Street still serves fish and chips and is now called "The Fryery".   Unusually, the buildings here are numbered consecutively with both odd and even numbering.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Number 27 at the Jodrell Arms

A bus on route 27 for Buxton, waits opposite the Jodrell Arms in Whaley Bridge in the late 1930s. The bus, a Bristol JO5G model was built in 1936 for the North Western Road Car Company. 
Bus services between Stockport and Buxton commenced in 1921 introduced by the British Bus Company of Macclesfield. That company became North Western in 1923 and on 1st March 1928 the new "express" service 27 between Buxton and Manchester began.  Buses left Buxton between 7am and 9pm running every hour in the morning and every 30 minutes in the afternoon. 
The photograph has been digitally colourised. 

Saturday, 17 August 2019

The White Horse

The White Horse at Horwich End, Whaley Bridge is decorated for a celebration.

The Chilworth Gunpowder Works sent a brave show from their Fernilee Gunpowder Factory.   Mr Harry Ramsden, the manager, responding in handsome fashion to the invitation of the committee by sending three crowded lurries.   On one was a fire brigade and two brass cannons; on another were a number of men employed making gunpowder casks &c; and on the third was the Fernilee Gunpowder Band, with a medley of musical contrivances and considerable din but with no known tune, and on each lurry were the words "Contractors to Her Majesty's Government" and the Government the day before had sent an order for 700 barrels of gunpowder for bursting shrapnel shells, half of which is going to South Africa and the other half to China.
 R. S-S  Whaley Bridge Forum 2010

Friday, 16 August 2019

The Whaley Bridge Children's Gala of 1910

The Whaley Bridge Co-op prepare their floats for their Children's Gala in 1910.  In the background can be seen some railway carriages in the livery of the London, North Western Railway. The location is Wharf Road in Whaley Bridge. The building is still standing.
Digitally colourised from a monochrome original.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019


Kowloon Rooftops by David Easton @parabuild

Kowloon walled city, demolished and redeveloped, is now a park in Hong Kong. Once the most densely populated place on earth, dark alleys with little daylight, where drugs and crime jostled for elbow room, amidst 30,000 law abiding citizens that inhabited its precincts.  A tight labyrinth of dwellings, opium dens and brothels from which the Triads who had gained control of the city, earned their revenue. Everyone who was allowed to remain in the city was forced to pay their dues to the illegal gangs. 

From around 1100 AD, at the time of the Song Dynasty, a fortress had been built on the site in order to secure the trade in salt. When the Japanese were defeated in the Second World War, the Hong Kong Government announced their intention to reclaim jurisdiction over what became known as the ‘Walled City of Kowloon’ and thousands of people flocked there in the hope of gaining the protection of the Chinese. The shanty town grew rapidly during the 1950’s and everything that a city could contain existed there, child welfare clinics by day shared the same space with drinking dens and nightclubs. Across the narrow alleys, ran cables that supplied the city with electricity which had been illegally connected at some place outside of it’s confines. Around the perimeter were the premises of numerous unlicensed doctors and dentists who existed without fear of prosecution.

The Hong Kong Police eventually claimed jurisdiction within Kowloon after a murder trial. Workshops made fake fashion items that closely resembled the high value designer goods that were only available in the department stores of Hong Kong. Smart restaurants bought food items manufactured at a fraction of the normal price and often in less than hygienic circumstances, from tiny workshops that co-existed with rats and open sewers, often with a small number of workers that laboured in dangerous conditions for long hours with small financial reward. 

The vast majority of people who lived in the Walled City were honest and law abiding but for some, crime became their only option. The living conditions had become unacceptable to the Hong Kong Government as had the unsavoury reputation that the walled city had gained for itself, and proposals for demolition were announced in the late 1980’s.  Generous financial compensation was paid to Kowloon residents although the millions of dollars that had been set aside for this was considered by some to be too little, many stayed on until they were forced to leave.
“Kowloon” by Simon Thompson @tunnelbreeze


Monday, 29 July 2019


“The mediator between the hand and the brain must be the heart”.  This is the epithet to Fritz Lang's masterpiece silent film “Metropolis".  

 Released in 1927, this is a story of  a distopian city of the future. In Metropolis, the working classes live and work in an underground city whilst the upper classes occupy a futuristic community of skyscrapers and gardens.
The film was noted for its groundbreaking special effects and its attention to detail. Studio sets were on a grand scale and many scenes were represented by large models.
Fritz Lang was an exacting director and filming lasted for 17 months from May 1925. Some short scenes took two whole days to complete.  For the sequence where the worker’s city is flooded, 500 children were brought in from the poorest parts of Berlin. They were required to work for 14 days standing in a pool of very cold water while numerous re-takes were ordered. A robot poses as a false version of the character Maria. When ordered to be burnt at the stake, the director required this to be carried out with real fire. The dress of the leading actress Bridgit Helm caught fire in the process.
New special effect processes were invented including a system of mirrors which gave the impression that the actors were inhabiting the model city.
After release, the full version of the film, which lasted for over two hours, was cut considerably by the distributors with further editing bringing the running time down to 90 minutes.  The original film was lost until in 2007, a full length copy was discovered in Argentina. Although in damaged condition, it has enabled the restoration of an almost complete version of the film. In the public domain, this may be viewed on YouTube.
“Metropolis” was much admired by Germany's emerging National Socialist movement and the Nazi party's propaganda minister hoped that the director would make films on their behalf.  Fritz Lang, however escaped to Paris shortly afterwards and later to the United States.

We have colourised a number of stills from the film and these are presented in chronological order. They do not attempt however,  to tell the full story of “Metropolis” 

Steam sirens signal a change of shift and the workers descend to tend to the machines that power the city.
The women of the Eternal Gardens entertain Freder, played by Gustav Fröhlich
Maria, played by Bridgit Helm, brings the worker's children to see the Eternal Garden. "Look !  These  are your brothers"
Freder walks through the streets of the Upper City. Note the posters in the style of the Bauhaus Movement, popular at that time.
Regimented groups of workers, uniformly clothed stand in the main square of the Worker's Underground City.

A lone man walks through the streets of the Upper City.
Maria addresses the workers at the Catacombs
A worker struggles to save the machine from destruction
In the Cathedral, Freder confronts Death and the Seven Deadly Sins.

A robot takes on the embodyment of Maria.

Freder suffers from hallucinations

Death descends upon the city

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

From Tiller Girl to Baroness

Born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, in 1929, Betty Boothroyd is best known for her term of office as Parliamentary Speaker. A shop girl on leaving school, she soon became a professional dancer joining the famed Tiller Girls dance troop where she stayed from 1946 until 1954. She then entered politics becoming secretary to Barbara Castle followed by a number of other roles. She entered Parliament herself in 1973 winning the by-election at West Bromwich after failing to be elected on a number of previous occasions. Betty Boothroyd was elected Speaker in 1992, the only woman to have held the position. On resigning in 2000, she also left Parliament having taken the Chiltern Hundreds. Awarded a life peerage in 2001 she has continued her career in the House of Lords where she remains a highly respected if a forthright member.




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On the capaign trail in West Bromwich in 1973

Thursday, 4 April 2019


Gregory White skulked in a doorway marking time before one day he would meet with the hangman's noose. He had thought of going to do a spot of housebreaking but had decided to set a haystack on fire instead.
Some still have gallows in the yard to hang the family pig. In the next village, people do not sleep. There are deep pits into which children try to push each other. Women have forgotten to change their crumpled clothing. The wind blows ashes down from the hilltops and they get caught up in your hair. Secrets whispered between friends are carried by ravens and echoed between the stalls of market traders in the town.

The wooden balcony at the side of the bakehouse grows green slime up its length and makes trays of custards fly through the air when the baker is too full of red wine to care.

Mrs Hodges sits in an armchair just inside the kitchen door. She dribbles and rolls her head about. Suddenly she grabs at her watch, winks and swallows it whole.

Wistful young men adjust their collars and walk to chapel, while from her densely netted parlour window, a spinster peers down the length of her path at a red faced boy who drags a stick over her newly painted railings.

Next to the outhouse doors, wet washing hangs out dripping onto black flagstones, steaming and smelling of soda. The cat from the White Hart dances between the waving sheets and wives look doubtfully at the sky for signs of cloud.

Stood at the door in her floral pinafore, Mrs Oats lights her clay pipe and strokes the bristles on her chin as smoke curls up toward a heaven soon to be met. Willis Noels the undertaker mentally measures her up for the casket that will carry her to everlasting peace.

Roses lose their scent and drop petals on the graves in the nearby cemetery. The chapel organ drones, the choir begins to sing as the ministers wife retrieves a lace handkerchief from her sleeve to dab the end of her shiny pointed nose. Worshippers fidget and cough and the town is silent and still. Only the wind in the chimney stacks dare make a sound.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Cat Fight

Jim Nolan, just released from prison is indifferent to the catfight between his wife and the woman who she caught him with, from a fictional story from Picture Post Magazine about the difficulties faced by prisoners on their release.

River Thames Postman

River postman Herbert Evans rows his skiff "Alice Maud"towards the Town of Ramsgate pub and Wapping Old Stairs in East London. The job of the River Postman was abolished when Mr Evans retired in 1952. He had been performing this role since 1914, delivering the mail to ships and boats moored between London Bridge and Limehouse Reach, and to those who lived on the water. The first River postman was appointed in 1800 and by 1810 the first of six generations of the Evans family took over the position. The postman was required to provide his own boat although the Post Office did pay for maintenance.  He had an official uniform; a red tunic with black collar and cuffs and 12 brass buttons. This was worn in the days of sail as protection from the press gangs which operated on the river.