History: Past into Present part 1

p17 history f_OS-QY-Bakes-01a-c1900_SMALL JPEG
This is a view of the Delph Bakestone Quarry around 1890 which was located next to Hull Brook. The quarrying of bakestones was an important industry and you can judge the size of the quarry by looking at the figures in the quarry surroundings. The photographer is sited in the quarry below ground level and to take a ‘now’ photograph would be impossible as the whole quarry site is now filled in.
p17 history e_OS-AR-Heathfields COTTAGE-UPM-04-c1960-Colin FOX
This photograph taken by my father Colin Fox recorded ‘Heathfields Cottages’ c1960 which at the time were partially occupied by the Fox family (one on the left). The photograph was taken in the middle of Springmeadow Fields with a view up to Pots and Pans. To take a ‘now’ view would be virtually impossible without standing in somebody’s front room.









I HAVE been collecting old photographs of Saddleworth for over 40 years and one thing I am regularly asked is about taking present day as it looks ‘now’ views. The idea sounds very simple but is certainly not always as easy as the idea suggests.

For instance, the early street view photographs of Saddleworth mostly published as old postcards were taken in an age before the proliferation of the motor car. The photographer would take advantage of this relative lack of traffic to set up their tripod in the middle of the road to equally record both sides of the street; with the traffic on our roads nowadays this certainly isn’t the easiest photograph to do.

Though there are many areas of Saddleworth that retain the same character there are certainly areas that have altered beyond all recognition and in many cases the sense of ‘working’ villages has been lost.

These changes are either man-made through new building, which over the last 50 years has been fairly prolific, or the removal of buildings which has recounted for the loss of numerous mills.

Another problem is that in the last 50 years Saddleworth has ‘greened’ itself with a proliferation of new trees growing both in the valley bottoms and on the hillsides. The greening of the area can be perhaps matched to the bringing in of smokeless fuels and the loss of mills bringing about a loss of the soot that used to fill the atmosphere and blacken the buildings and landscape.

These images feature a selection of views where, for various reasons whether man-made or natural, it is now impossible to record a matching or changed scene.

p17 history c_OS-AR-Halls-GFD-02a-c1910
These cottages named ‘Halls Cottages’ in Greenfield are still very much with us located next to the Huddersfield Narrow Canal on their western side with the River tame on the eastern side. The photographer recorded this scene c1920 from a bridge over the river, to take a ‘now’ photograph whatever season of the year is impossible with the growth of trees.
p17 history a_GS-GFD_Chew Valley_Jabez Baths_01_c1920_SMALL JPEG
A view of ‘Jabez Baths’ on Chew Brook photographed around 1920 which would now be impossible to take as a ‘now’ photograph being firmly under the waters of Dovestone Reservoir. The idea then of flooding this part of the valley may have seemed unlikely at the time yet the valley already contained two reservoirs, Yeoman Hey and Greenfield.
p17 history b_OS-ML-BucklNEW-UPM-16-view from chimney-c1930_SMALL JPEG
When J. F. & C. Kenworthy had work done on the mill chimney at Buckley New Mill a photograph was duly taken from the top of the mill chimney giving us a valuable aerial view of the area around Uppermill Square recording Saddleworth Palace cinema and the Central Garage, both sites now covered by ‘Warburton Court’. The possibility of taking a ‘now’ photograph was lost with the demolition of the mill chimney in 2003.
p17 history d_OS-RW-LoopL-52-Butterhouse Tunnel-Peter FOX-c1980_SMALL JPEG
This photograph by me was taken in the 1980s in the disused Butterhouse Tunnel which was on the Diggle to Stalybridge loop line. The bridge in the foreground carried Ryefields Drive which is still at the same level nowadays but to take an as ‘now’ photographs is impossible as the space between the road and the tunnel entrance has been filled in and landscaped.

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