A thou­sand years of town’s his­tory un­cov­ered in books

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A HIS­TO­RIAN has pub­lished her lat­est book on tales from the town’s by­gone days.

For­mer news­pa­per colum­nist Dorothy Bentley Smith’s Past Times of Mac­cles­field Vol­ume III fol­lows on from the suc­cess of her pre­vi­ous two ti­tles in the se­ries, un­cov­er­ing 1,000 years of the town’s his­tory.

The Chair of Mac­cles­field Her­itage Fo­rum moved to her house on Park Lane with her late hus­band, James, in 1977, af­ter grow­ing up near Pen­dle Hill in Lan­cashire, and has writ­ten five pub­lished books on the town, in­clud­ing one on Charles Roe, cred­ited with bring­ing the silk in­dus­try to Mac­cles­field, ‘A Ge­or­gian Gent & Co: The Life and times of Charles Roe’.

The au­thor, poet and lec­turer said: “As soon as I came here I sensed how his­toric the town was.

“I was a cu­ra­tor at West Park Mu­seum for seven years and one day a teacher came in with a lit­tle write-up about Charles Roe she asked me to look at.

“I read it and thought he sounded in­ter­ste­ing and that I’d be first in the queue to buy a book about him if some­one wrote one.

“I never thought I’d be the one to write it.”

The col­umns in her Past Times vol­umes are taken from ones she wrote for the for­mer Mac­cles­field Com­mu­nity News pa­per and in­clude tales of beers and ales from the medieval pe­riod to the 18th Cen­tury, bal­loon flights from Mac­cles­field, Bolling­ton and its col­lieries and the town’s Toll Houses.

Dorothy said: “In the 18th cen­tury peo­ple had to pay tolls to go out of the town so the money could go to­wards road re­pairs.

“There is also a story about when the po­lice sta­tion started and the po­lice chief got stuck in the cel­lar.”

The grand­mother-of­four spends at least four to five hours a day when work­ing on a book and says she never gets writer’s block.

She said: “I never feel I’m writ­ing th­ese sto­ries. I feel I’m just a con­duit for other peo­ple who have lived in Mac­cles­field and cho­sen me to write them down. I love writ­ing about his­tory be­cause peo­ple never change, ev­ery­thing around them does but peo­ple’s na­tures don’t.”

Past Times of Mac­cles­field Vol­ume III is out now in book­shops.

Dorothy’s next book about a Mac­cles­field sur­geon, is await­ing pub­li­ca­tion, while she works on com­plet­ing Vol­ume IV of Past Times, which will con­tain her Mac­cles­field Ex­press ar­ti­cles and more.

●● Dorothy Bentley Smith has writ­ten five pub­lished books in­clud­ing three Past Times of

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