A thousand years of town’s history uncovered in books
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