Review of ‘Calver, Curbar and Froggatt in Old Photographs’, by Brian Edwards

This review is by Julie Bunting, and was published originally in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 31st January 2005, and is reproduced with Julie's kind permission.

by Brian Edwards
ISBN 0-9525064-9-1 (2005)

Many readers will know of Brian Edwards through his highly sought-after sketches of scenes in and around the Peak, also through his growing number of books. A resident of Great Longstone, Brian has now turned his attention to compiling this photographic record of days gone by in the ‘sister villages’ of Calver, Curbar and Froggatt. Borrowing from the villagers themselves, he has reproduced more than half of the 300 photographs made available to him.

Dating from the late 1800s, many of them have not been published before. A large number are important for recalling bygone life in these typically Peakland villages. Houses, pubs and shops have been dramatically altered over the years, while others - such as mine buildings, lime kilns and the old toll house at Calver Sough - have disappeared altogether. Particularly charming scenes show old inns and shops, higgledy-piggledy thatched cottages and characters whose names live on in local memory. One wonderful picture, admittedly carefully posed, is reproduced in part on the book cover, though the majority of illustrations show people at their everyday activities: keeping shop, getting the hay in, feeding the hens or just stopping for a chat. Residents and visitors get around the dusty roads on horses, bizarre bicycles, horse-drawn coaches and assorted early motorised vehicles.

Brian Edwards adds a wealth of historical research to his captions. He writes of abandoned industries from boot making to lead mining and corn milling, and jogs memories of the days when Calver had a ‘bird zoo’ or when a stretch of the Derwent was known as Froggatt Lido and provided safe swimming all summer long.

Brian would be pleased to look at further photographs as he has a second volume in his sights.

Review by Julie Bunting

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