Rare pho­tos help un­cover town’s past

Macclesfield Express - - TIME TRIP - STU­ART GREER

RARE and pre­vi­ously un­seen images fea­ture in a new book about Mac­cles­field by a cel­e­brated lo­cal his­to­rian.

Past Times of Mac­cles­field, vol­ume four, has been writ­ten by his­tory ex­pert Dorothy Bent­ley Smith.

It con­sists of ar­ti­cles that were wholly or par­tially pub­lished when she was a colum­nist for the Mac­cles­field Ex­press from 2010 to 2012.

In these ar­ti­cles, Dorothy cov­ers a wide va­ri­ety of top­ics from Vic­to­rian baths, rail­way out­ings and cel­e­bra­tions, to scan­dal, storms, and tragedy.

Each of the ar­ti­cles is ac­com­pa­nied by a se­lec­tion of fas­ci­nat­ing images – 100 in to­tal – some of which are very rare and pre­vi­ously un­seen.

These in­clude one of Napoleon in the chap­ter about the town’s in­volve­ment in the Napoleonic Wars and one of the Chi­nese-style tiles at Park Green House.

There are chap­ters on ‘Barn­aby’, ‘fairs, mar­kets and car­ni­vals’, ‘Jenny Lind’, ‘Pick­ford Hall’; ‘Silk But­ton and Twist Ware­house’; ‘the Dr Sain­ter scan­dal’; ‘the public clocks con­tro­versy’; ‘ the rail­way’ and vices’.

Dorothy said: “There was a tremen­dous re­sponse to some of the ar­ti­cles I con­trib­uted to the Ex­press so it made sense to pull them to­gether into a book.

“Some of the big­gest re­sponse I got was to the early his­tory of the Lyme Green Set­tle­ment.

“There are also chap­ters on the South Park band­stand and two ter­ri­ble floods that hit the town dur­ing the Victoria era.”

Other chap­ters are ‘postal ser- de­voted to po­etry, astron­omy, Vic­to­rian baths, Mac­cles­field watch­mak­ers and min­ing in Mot­tram St Andrew.

Dorothy is al­ready plan­ning her next books and is cur­rently re­search­ing the Brock­le­hurst fam­ily and the town’s in­volve­ment in the Crimean War, among other things.

Dorothy said she never tires of lo­cal his­tory.

She said: “It’s im­por­tant that we ap­pre­ci­ate what peo­ple in the past have done.

“Read­ing about his­tory has helped me un­der­stand older peo­ple and what they went through and how that has shaped their lives and the town.

“I love do­ing it. It’s in­cred­i­bly in­ter­est­ing. And if I can give peo­ple a lit­tle bit of en­joy­ment with what I write then that is just a huge bonus.”

The 128-page book is pub­lished by Am­ber­ley and is also avail­able in Kin­dle, Kobo and iBook for­mats.

It will be avail­able from Fe­bru­ary 15, priced £12.99.

Dorothy Bent­ley Smith and her lat­est book on the his­tory of Mac­cles­field

Her ex­hibit at the Bar­bican

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