Review of ‘Hathersage Images of the Past’, by Historical Hathersage Millennium Project

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 28th August 2000, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission. Please note the book itself is now out of print.

HATHERSAGE - Images of the Past

With this its second book published this year, Hathersage has done particularly well out of local efforts marking the millennium. Hathersage Images of the Past is published by the Historical Hathersage Millennium Project, set up by four residents for the purpose of publishing this unique photographic record of a village and its people.

Writers and compilers Stella McGuire, Heather Rodgers, Jane Stone and Barbara Wilson have clearly received keen interest and co-operation in locating a wonderful selection of old photographs. Unlike the ever-popular compilations of early postcards, this book also reproduces scenes of ordinary, everyday life through mostly unpublished personal photographs. Equal importance has been given to the accuracy of the text accompanying each illustration, scattered with tributes to people who might have otherwise have faded into obscurity.

Front Cover

'Village characters' are often said to be a dying breed but some who appear in this book may still jog a few memories in and around Hathersage; the gamekeeper and all-round hangman, the lady butcher, the missionary surrounded by the 70-strong contingent of her men's Bible Class, and the vicar's daughter perched on a carnival float as a very imperious Britannia. Snippets from schooldays past show young gymnasts, dancing daffodils and a signed admission of misdeeds from '4 little people'. Elsewhere their elders are seen making a living on the land, in mills and quarries, on the railway and as shopkeepers and tradesmen, while sunny days of haymaking and galas contrast with winters when deep snowdrifts cut off the outside world. Nostalgia is inevitably bittersweet, here seen in the sad loss of ancient cottages with histories of their own and names like Music Row and Bean Row. Full justice has been done to family snaps throughout the book, making it easy to forget that they can only have been taken with cheap basic cameras.

Residual profits from Hathersage Images of the Past are to be used for the benefit of the village and its inhabitants, wherever possible of an environmental or historical nature. Publication to a high standard has been made possible through a number of generous donations including an award from The Millennium Festival Awards for All programme. Design and artwork is by John Hardwick Associates of Hathersage and printing by Peak Press of Chapel-en-le-Frith.

Review by Julie Bunting

Ed: Please note Images of the Past is now out of print. I suggest if you are interested, to try to obtain a copy by Inter-Library Loan (ILL) (Updated 21 Aug 2006)


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