>Sepia Saturday 67: Road Improvements in Church Street, Ashover

>My Sepia Saturday offering this week is another image sent to me some time ago by a regular contributer to both Photo-Sleuth and Derbyshire Studios. John Bradley’s speciality is stereoscopic images, but he also has a fine collection of other Derbyshire-related photographs, and is most generous with sharing them. I notice that over two years later, I still need to add Joseph James Shipman to my profiles of Derbyshire photographers.

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
Roadworkers in Church Street, Ashover, c.1900-1910
Mounted albumen print by J.J. Shipman of Ashover
Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
Like Alan Burnett’s theme suggestion showing a photograph of a bridge under construction – albeit this one is two or three decades earlier – the composition is full of both detail and activity. I’ve seen plenty of old photographs of steam traction engines and rollers, mostly stationary and often with groups of people arrayed around and on top of them. This one, while probably not actually rolling, since a young lady is clearly posing dangerously close to the flywheel, is in the process of getting up a head of steam, judging by the smoking billowing from the chimney.

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
I don’t know much about steam rollers, but a cursory search of images on the net suggests that this one, with it’s rearing horse logo and “Invicta” motto, is an Aveling Porter model R10 (possibly Works No. 2321) from the 1890s or early 1900s. Very similar models shown here suggest that this one came out of the factory some time between 1884 and 1889.

Is the man in the straw boater the works supervisor, I wonder? He certainly looks as if he thinks he’s in charge, but perhaps he’s merely an interested ratepayer, making sure his local taxes are being well spent.

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
In addition to the steam roller and the covered van being towed behind it, there are quite a number of horse-drawn vehicles – I count at least five, possibly six – including what must be a water cart. I think I can see a pump on the top, and a large diameter hose looped at the side.

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
The sign above the doorway reads, “J. SHEPPARD …. DEALER &c.,” the text on the middle line being indecipherable. Joseph Sheppard is shown as a shopkeeper in Ashover in 1891, 1895 and 1899 editions of Kelly’s trade directory, and is described as a green grocer in Church Street in the 1901 Census.

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
The cart behind the covered van appears to have a large milk churn on the back.

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
Some writing is visible on side of the cart’s tray, but is not easy to decipher. All I can make out for sure is “…WELL …” The only suitable names listed in Kelly’s 1899 trade directory are those of Thomas Fretwell, farmer of Shootersley (which the One-inch Ordnance Survey map shows as Shooterslea Farm, some 4 km to the north-west of Ashover village) and John Fretwell, farmer of Alton (2 km to the north-east).

Image © Ordnance Survey
Ashover and surrounding area, OS One-inch Map, 1947
Image © Ordnance Survey

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
Is this man a Chelsea pensioner, I wonder? It seems like a military style cap, but I’m not familiar enough with the uniforms of the Chelsea Pensioners through the ages to know for sure.

Image © and courtesy of Google Earth
View up Church Street towards All Saints church, Ashover, 2010
© and courtesy of Google Earth
The view up Church Street towards the characteristic 39 metre high spire of All Saints Church hasn’t changed a great deal in the century or so since Shipman took the photograph, although the standard red telephone box is new and, although there are plenty of cars, there is little evidence of pedestrian activity in either of these shots!

Image © and courtesy of Google Earth
View down Church Street from All Saints churchyard, Ashover, 2010
© Andrew Hill and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
In this modern view looking the other way down Church street, the churchyard gate, the stone gate post surmounted by a large ball, and even the corner of a gravestone, are all pretty much the same as they were in the background of Shipman’s view (detail below).

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
Also just visible is part of the early 16th Century arched window at the western end of the south aisle. It’s a relief to see that, while much around us – at least in the man-made part of the landscape – is sadly bereft of any reminders of the environment which our forebears knew (I am reminded of this photograph recently posted by Alan Burnett), some places are still very well preserved.

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
It’s harder to date men’s clothing than women’s, and women are not very well represented in this photograph. However, I’ve enlarged the portions of the image showing the four women that I’ve been able to find. I believe their white blouses with collars, and in one case a tie, long pleated skirts reaching to within a few inches of the ground, and part of fragment of a wide brimmed, flattish hat (just showing to the right and behind the van), suggest a date of soon after the turn of the century, perhaps between 1900 and 1908.

My index to Derbyshire photographers has a rather inadequate entry for J.J. Shipman of Ashover. Although directory extracts quoted suggest that he was operating in the 1910s and 1920s, this clearly needs some elaboration. The 1899 edition of Kelly’s trade directory describes Joseph James Shipman as a chemist, and it appears that this was his primary occupation. Ashover has never been a large village, and the market for photography must have been fairly limited. This may also explain why not many images by Shipman have yet surfaced.

Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
J.J. Shipman and his bees, Ashover, c.1910-1920s
Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
Joseph James Shipman was born at Pentrich in 1853, son of an iron works pattern maker Abraham Shipman (1829-1913) and his wife Harriet Sarah Swindell (c1824-1899). As a teenager Joseph became a pupil teacher, but then went on to train as a chemist and druggist, opening a shop in Clowne by 1881. His parents, in the mean time, had started farming at Far Hill just north of Ashover. By 1891, Joseph was again living with his parents at Far Hill, and was operating a chemist and druggist shop in Ashover village. Kelly’s directory for that year describes him as practising the additonal trades of “seedsman & aerated water manufacturer.”

Image courtesy of John Bradley
J.J. Shipman’s chemist shop, Ashover, c. early 1900s
Image courtesy of John Bradley
It’s not clear exactly when he started taking photographs commercially, but Bulmer’s directory for 1895 lists him as a “chemist & photographer.” His photographic listings continue intermittently until at least the late 1920s. Adamson (1997) merely lists the date range 1912-13, without any source data. He was also secretary to the Ashover House hydropathic establishment for some years, and an enthusiastic beekeeper. He never married, living for most of his life with his unmarried sister Ellen Maria, and died almost two years after her in January 1931, aged 76.


Kelly’s Directory of Derbyshire, 1891
Kelly’s Directory of Derbyshire, 1895
Bulmer’s History of Derbyshire, 1895
Kelly’s Directory of Derbyshire, 1899
Kelly’s Directory of Derbyshire, 1912
Midland Counties of England Trades’ Directory 1926-27
1841-1901 Census Images from Ancestry.co.uk
Ashover, a resource for genealogists, by Rob Marriott & Davina Bradley
Ashover, From: Kelly’s Directory of the Counties of Derby, Notts, Leicester and Rutland, pub. London (May, 1891) – pp. 30-31, on The Andrews Pages by Ann Andrews
Ashover, All Saints’ Parish Church, 1908, on the Andrews Pages by Ann Andrews
GRO Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes from FreeBMD
International Genealogical Index (IGI) from FamilySearch
One-inch Map of England & Wales: Buxton and Matlock (Sheet 111), 1947, Ordnance Survey
Adamson, Keith I.P. (1997) Professional Photographers in Derbyshire 1843 – 1914, Royal Photographic Society, Supplement to The PhotoHistorian, No. 118, September 1997, ISSN 0957-0209.
Salter, Mike (1998) The Old Parish Curches of Derbyshire, Malvern, Worcestershire: Folly Publicatons, ISBN 1 871731 33 X


~ by gluepot on Friday, March 25, 2011.

22 Responses to “>Sepia Saturday 67: Road Improvements in Church Street, Ashover”

  1. >The street looks like it's been kept in great repair through the last 100 years. I'll have to show this to my husband who used to be an inspector with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation.

  2. >Two amazing things about this post. the lady sitting on the roller. Was she someone's girlfriend that just happened by? The other is that the church spire today looks exactly the same. Hasn't changed a bit.Very interesting post.NancyLadies of the grove

  3. >There are a lot of interesting subgroups of people in the picture.

  4. >Quite a lot of work went into that post. Very interesting and informative. I really like the old photos and then a modern one. Great job.QMM

  5. >Wonderful post Brett, excellent pictures and some some real research there.

  6. >So many hidden details. Scanners have certainly opened up a world to us that we never knew existed. I love finding a photo like this and looking at all of the faces that have been lost through time. Wonderful post.

  7. >Photo-sleuthing at its finest Brett. But more than that, posts such as this are providing such a rich resource for those who follow. In its own way it is a form of exploration, even a form of bridge-building so that others can follow in your tracks.

  8. >Thank you all for your interesting comments and kind compliments.

  9. >The details in the photo are amazing – so much activity going on. Thank you 🙂 Jo

  10. >I am fascinated by the steam roller and amazed by your ability to pull information from the smallest of details.

  11. >Amazing post! Love the traction engine complete with spouting steam and that huge roller! And the current photo just completes the post!

  12. >This is such an interesting post. It is a wonderful image but it is the way you work your way through the various bits and pieces of the photo that make it so interesting.

  13. >Great photo and story! The man with a military like hat looks more a boatman or sailor cap. And I'd speculate that the girl is the daughter of the driver or bossman. But the steam really makes this photo great.

  14. >Great pictures and research work. First two photos are really fantastic thanks to the people portraited.

  15. >I'm intrigued by the amount of research you must have done to come up with this post. In view of all the potholes arising from this winter we could do with some of the manpower used in your photos. What a shame that we don't see so many steamrollers like the Invicta anymore.

  16. >Thanks again, everybody.Bob, I must admit that I have several of these articles on the go at any one time, and a few others in the gestating stage too. Derbyshire is my particular focus, of course, and I have accumulated a large database on Derbyshire photographers. However, when a photograph turns out to be from a village that my own ancestors were from, like Ashover, then I am especially motivated.By the way, my driveway is feeling the effects of our autumn rainfall already, and I may have to call on old Invicta too.

  17. >Wow, your post is incredible, full of so much detail. I love seeing the photos of then and now.

  18. >Thank you for all the enlargements – it is great to see all the different things going on one day in about 1910. Always fascinating to be able to peek into the past.

  19. >Fascinating, well-researched post! The first color photograph was wonderfully jarring, too! Nice that certyain landmarks kept the scene recognizable after a century.

  20. >What nice work of taking a photograph apart and putting it back together again so your readers know so much more at the end than at the beginning. I really like how you posted enlarged sections of the photograph rather than making us click to enlarge, then click back to continue reading. You are such a detective! Thanks for sharing.

  21. >Great feedback thank you. Perhaps one day we'll hear from someone whose ancestor is in this photograph.

  22. >I am amazed! The detailed examination is fascinating. I am so thrilled to have found Sepia Saturdays!

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