This week, to celebrate the publication of my first local history book, Bishop’s Stortford Through Time, I am very excited to be doing tour around various blogs talking about various aspects of my book: not just the subject matter, but also about writing and researching “history”.
One post a day – so 7 posts in total – spread across a wide and diverse mix of history-related blogs.
Today, day 7, I am back on my own blog to show some the postcards, photographs and pictures of Bishop’s Stortford which got away. Postcards and images which I couldn’t include in my book for one reason or another.
Two mile start
Unfortunately, I was unable to identify this image of the “Two Mile Start”. There is a group of women central to the image, which when zoomed in, shows that they are wearing very elegant Edwardian summer dresses with hats. The official standing in front of the flag on the right is very formally dressed with what appears to be a watch on a chain. The hoi polloi appear to be the crowd on the left edge of the postcard.
Whatever event this was, it looks to be have been supported throughout the entire town, from all ranks of Edwardian society. Its location could have been on the cricket pitch by Cricketfield Lane on the outskirts of the town.
Where or whatever this was, it is a fantastic social history postcard of Bishop’s Stortford at play.
Distance views of the town
1821 etching by J Mawman showing Bishop’s Stortford in 1669. The town’s Norman castle in the foreground and the parish of St Michael’s in the distance.
Edwardian view of the town photographed from the rooftops. The parish church’s spire in the distance.
Edwardian view of the town photographed from the top of Waytemore Castle mound. The ever-present parish church’s spire in the distance.
The rural beauty of the Edwardian Causeway. Now a busy major ring-road within the town centre.
Victorian and Edwardian children going about their business in Windhill – compared to the modern-day influx of cars. At least the lamp-post has remained! The first photograph is a carte de viste photograph from 1866.
The CDV photograph of St Michael’s church is fascinating. I wrote a blog post about it here and explained why I think it dates from 1866.
I had great problems photographing this area of Bishop’s Stortford – I must have visited it to take photographs on varying days and at varying times at least 20 times. But always always there were cars. Windhill was originally going to be the front cover of my book, but the cars were just too prominent in all the modern day photographs. So we had to ditch that idea.
On one particularly eventual day, we decided to visit early on a Saturday and take the photographs of my children and their spouses. This is the photograph which opens Chapter 2 of my book. Getting my children all together at the same time was the first problem and a feat in its own right. The second problem was that as we all drove up to Windhill, my husband decided to park his car in the area exactly where the photograph was to be taken. I wasn’t impressed with this, and nor was he when he had to move the car. (Yes, there were “words”!)
Our final problem was… After my girls and their spouses had left, I decided to pay a quick visit to the church to take a couple of photographs. We were only gone no more than 10 minutes. But by the time we came out there was a traffic warden fast approaching our car… I’m glad to say we (just) beat him to our car…
I suspect the Victorian and Edwardian photographers of these images didn’t have such problems!
Finally, this newspaper article in the Chelmsford Chronicle in June 1912 tickled me
My blog tour
I have thoroughly enjoyed doing a blog tour around the internet. It has felt very self-indulgent being able to talk about my hobby – history – which has been a life-long passion for me. Thank you for taking time out and reading my posts.
To recap, I have been on the following blogs this week:-
- Saturday 18 October – Worldwide Genealogy Blog: The process of writing a local history book.
- Sunday 19 October – Essex Voices Past: Q&A session with Amberley Publishing on “how to get a publisher interested in your history book”.
- Monday 20 October – Ross Mountney’s Notebook: Home education and teaching history to children.
- Tuesday 21 October – Family History Across The Sea: Correlation between local and family history.
- Wednesday 22 October – Anglers Rest: Using vintage postcards to add to family and local history research.
- Thursday 23 October – Bishop’s Stortford Museum’s Blog: Oral history of Bishop’s Stortford.
- Friday 24 October – Essex Voices Past: Bishop’s Stortford’s postcards which got away.
I have a MSt in Local and Regional History (Cantab); a BA History (Open University) and an Advanced Diploma in Local History (Oxon) – all gained as a mature student. Having been a business technologist in the City of London for the last 30 years, I am currently taking time away from my City career to write. My first history book, Bishop’s Stortford Through Time, was published by Amberley Publishing in September 2014. I have been commissioned to write a further three history books for them:-
- Sudbury, Lavenham and Long Melford Through Time (due to be published summer 2015);
- Saffron Walden Through Time (due to be published summer 2015); and
- Postcards from the Front: Britain 1914-1919 (due to be published summer 2016).
I live in Essex, England, and regularly write about the local history of Essex and East Anglia on my blog.
© Essex Voices Past 2014.