Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

News and Views

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Jan 2013 Feb 2013 Mar 2013 Apr 2013 May 2013 Jun 2013
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Jan 2013

Sat 26 Jan 2013
Happy 125th Anniversary

Belated congratulations to the HSBC in Market Street, Chorley. 2012 marked the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Chorley branch. The exact date is not known but it was during the first half of 1887 that the Preston Banking Company decided to open an office here. The first manager was probably Mr. Charles de Courey Cuff. The Preston Bank had been founded in 1844 and by 1887 it was a strong regional bank with several branches. Banking was an important service industry that helped trade and industry to develop in Chorley.
The name of the bank changed over the years. The Preston Banking Company was taken over by the London and Midland Bank in the 1890s. This was later known as the Midland, before becoming part of HSBC.
To celebrate this anniversary the bank produced a booklet which describes the history of the branch , HSBC and also outlines the HSBC Archives collection. If you are unable to obtain a copy at the bank, John Harrison has one to lend, thanks to Sue Seddon from Chorley HSBC.

John Harrison


Sat 26 Jan 2013
Coppull Roman Road Community Project

The Society has now submitted its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Coppull Roman Road Community Project (the deadline was the end of January). Many thanks to the help from Louise Martin and her colleagues from Archaeological Services ASWYAS in putting it together.
The Society has a longstanding interest in identifying and investigating the course of the Roman Road that linked Wigan to Walton-le-Dale. We first excavated off Coppull Moor Lane in 1963:-
A further excavation was carried out in 1984, and there was a feeling of unfinished business. Current members Geoff Bellis and Kath Purnell were involved in these excavations. Our interest in the project has not waned over the years although we are less “hands on” when it comes to archaeological field work.

An opportunity to revisit occurred in 2011 when Christine and John Harrison’s son, David, who is a Geophysical Surveyor with Archaeological Services ASWYAS, offered to do a day’s geophysical survey using magnetometer and resistance methods. David was assisted by his dad and Boyd Harris from our society and Bill Aldridge from the Wigan Archaeological Society, see right.

The report on this survey can be read elsewhere on this website, but in summary, the issue of the Roman Road was not resolved.
There were subsequent meetings between representatives of AS WYAS and our committee and it was decided in the summer or 2012 to devise a project involving both the Society and the Coppull community to carry out further investigations and fully involve local people. A meeting was held with Rebecca Mason to discuss putting in a bid for funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund and our Pre-Application proposal was well-received.
Alongside these discussions and planning meetings, contacts were being made with local schools as we see them as important community partners in the project. We are hoping to work with two primary schools (Coppull Primary and Coppull Parish) and Southlands High School. A spin-off from these contacts involved Julie Stewart, one of our committee members in helping one of the primary schools with its Local History fortnight.
Support from the wider Coppull Community has been sought via Petitions of Support. Joan Dickinson has organised their distribution across schools and shops in Coppull and to date we have between 300 and 400 signatures which is very impressive.

1963 report


More recently Joan Dickinson and John Harrison attended a meeting of Coppull Parish Council and explained what the project was about. The Parish Council showed a lot of interest and fully supports the project.
So what is the project seeking to do? Our aims are
• Raise community awareness of local heritage
• Provide opportunities for the local community to participate in archaeological research
• Investigate and record the probable site of a Roman Road using different archaeological techniques
• Give skills to enable community members to undertake similar activities in the future
• Encourage appreciation of the local landscape and a sense of pride and belonging through involvement in a range of activities
• Enhance the abilities and skills of members of CHAS so that they can undertake similar activities in the future
• Raise the profile of CHAS and encourage wider membership
• Professionally excavate and record and so enhance the archaeological record of the area.
The timescale is of course subject to the decision of the Heritage Lottery Fund as to whether to support us. (It will take up to 10 weeks for our application to be assessed) We are seeking 100% funding. We could be having a launch event as soon as April, alongside the start of desk-based research by CHAS members in local record offices. School sessions could run from June through to November; excavations undertaken over two weeks in August with field walking in September/October after the removal of hay/crops.
A report will be prepared at the end of the project and a roving display and exhibition will be produced to take out to the community and schools to show what we did, and, hopefully, what we found.
The opportunities for community involvement will stretch far beyond excavation, including finds processing, flyer/poster production, field walking, desk based research, archiving and report production.
John Harrison is the Society’s contact person for this project and can be contacted at:
John Harrison

Sat 19 Jan 2013
Moving mountains, crossing plains
Transport and landscape history in North West England 1720-2012 at Lancaster University.

The excellent series of 4 lectures were presented by Dr Alan Crosby.
The venue for the lectures was the Biology Lecture Theatre and hanging from the ceiling was this skeleton.
It looked like a whale but there was no information about it.
An internet search revealed the following information (below) on the University website.

From the Lancaster University website:
One of his more memorable exploits was to recover the corpse of a 7-metre-long Sei whale which was beached at Sunderland Point in September 1980. With the aim of keeping the skeleton of this creature for the Biology Department, Bill arranged for the body to be moved to the campus (this involved the use of a chainsaw and a JCB - don't ask - operated by staff of the City Council) and buried somewhere above the cricket pitch. After some years of decomposition, it was exhumed. The skeleton was cleaned up and expertly reassembled by technicians of the Department, and it was put on display in the Biology Lecture Theatre, where it still is, hanging from the ceiling.

Tue 8 Jan 2013
Boyd Harris - Three Centuries of Photography
Illustrating how photography through the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries has been used to document history and enhance new technology and social media.

Photography is a key part of historical research and documentation.
The first part of the presentation gave an introduction to the development of photography.
The name camera derives from ‘camera obscura’ or dark room. In the 16th century it was commonly used to provide an initial sketch to produce a painting or drawing. It was known that in a dark room a pinprick in a window blind would allow light through and if a screen was put near the hole an inverted image of the outside view could be seen. This wasn’t permanent but in 1826 Nicéphore Niépce projected an image on to a sensitised sheet and was able to make the first photograph.
However there was no way of reproducing the photo and it wasn’t until 1835 that Fox Talbot produced the first reproducible image of a Lacock Abbey window. He made a negative image on paper which could be contacted printed on to another sheet and thereby be copied.


1826 Nicéphore Niépce photograph

1835 Lacock Abbey window by Fox Talbot.
The first reproducible negative.


Some of the first war photographs were taken by Roger Fenton of the Crimean war from 1854 onwards.

The wet plate collodion process
wasn't very portable.

In 1851 Frederick Scott Archer (1813 - 1857) introduced a wet plate process, sometimes referred to as the collodion process. Negatives were made on glass plates but the sensitised material had to be made just prior to taking the photograph meaning a studio or mobile tent was needed to make the photo.
The break through came in 1871 when Richard Leach Maddox (1816 – 1902) helped to produce lightweight dry gelatine negative glass plates. This meant that the plates could be carried ready sensitised and no tent was needed. The process was now available to all and many photographic societies were formed shortly afterwards.
The next major breakthrough was in 1884 when George Eastman developed the technology of flexible film to replace glass plates.

T.B.Parke (centre back) with some of his workers.
Joseph Blackburn, Peter Brindle (Long Peter), T.B.Parke (standing),
Richard Cranshaw (sitting), John Eccles, John Hilston. c1875
A valuable image as Thomas Parke wrote the names on the back of the print. This means that the census records can now be used to find out family and personal information about all the men.

In July 1888 Eastman's Kodak camera went on the market with the slogan
"You press the button, we do the rest"
Apart from improvements in film quality and sensitivity there was little change for over a hundred years.
In 1994 the first digital cameras for the consumer market that worked with a home computer via a cable link was introduced. From that point on there has a rapid improvement and a 2013 digital pocket camera can produce images of equal quality to a large digital SLR (single lens reflex) of 5 or 6 years ago.


Edward Hodkinson(1894 - 1975)

Les Chapman (1907 - 2008)
Local Chorley photographers made an incredible contribution to our history by taking many photographs of local people and events. Both men took photographs while serving in the World Wars; Edwards during the WW1 (The Great War) and Les during WW2.

Using photography to document change.

Lyons Lane Chorley Jan 2013
site of Lawrence's Mill Offices.

Lyons Lane Chorley Feb 20110
Lawrence's Mill Offices prior to demolition.

Townley St / Lyons Lane, Chorley Jan 2013
demolished Lawrence's Mill.

Townley St / Lyons Lane, Chorley Feb 2010
Lawrence's Mill prior to demolition.

The digital image file now holds much more information that just the image. All the exposure information is encoded including date and time. Many cameras now have GPS (global positioning system) sensors that receive satellite date to produce accurate latitude, longitude, and altitude position data.
This is a great aid to historical record photography as where and when are vital ingredients.
Loading images on websites with associated information in text format means that the photograph is accessible worldwide via a simple text search. It is a wonderful way to share information and also receive updates to fill gaps where information is incomplete.
With images now being introduced into on-line social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Picasa and others we are making historical information available to all.
The main lesson to be learned from the evening is that a photograph with no information about it's content is mostly useless for historical research. Anyone with old family photos or similar, that knows something about the photo, names etc., should write it on the back in soft pencil. The photograph then becomes a valuable aid to research.