Project view - Anthony Gell School


Project text:

Our project isn’t unique; it took its inspiration from similar projects in the Czech republic at the turn of the millennium which were looking at villages that had disappeared between the 1930s when they were in the Sudetenland and the present day.

The idea was to:

  • Find some old photos of Wirksworth and the surrounding area
  • Try and take the same view today
  • Compare and research the differences
  • Share the results with the wider community


Anthony Gell School Camera Club were excited by the idea of a “now and then” photographic project and with help from the Centre for Modern Education and the support of the Civic Society and the Heritage Centre, we made a bid to the heritage Lottery Fund in summer last year. We held an initial meeting where camera club were joined by other interested staff and students from Anthony Gell as well as members of the local community.

By the autumn we had received news that we were successful in our bid and we started the process of searching for old photos of Wirksworth. This wasn’t hard because we were able to draw on the Heritage Centre’s collection and, crucially, Tony Holmes’ vast store of old postcards and photographs. An appeal in our school newsletter and in Community Fayre brought forward photos from other local people. From hundreds of excellent candidates we managed to come up with a “shortlist” of some 300 photos which we wanted to try and emulate.

At the beginning of this year we set about the task of taking our new versions of the photos, with junior members of the camera club concentrating on the town centre and 6th formers Oli, Bianca and Katy tackling Bolehill, Gorsey Bank and Yokecliffe

By Easter we had taken most of our new photos and needed to start researching the differences between old and new. Most of this work was done by Maggie Cunningham’s history class 8A. Making good use of our local studies collection and John Palmer’s wonderful website , they were able to come up with some excellent suggestions for captions. However some photos proved harder than others to research, so on an afternoon in May, we held a symposium in the school hall, where 8A invited all our local historians to come and share their knowledge.

After that it was a question of refining their questions and comments so that we could hand over photos and text to our design team. This included 6th formers Oli, Katy, Bianca, Giselle, Francis and Cara, who worked with Paul from Orange Box Design, to create designs for our book and our exhibition to be launched during Wirksworth Festival 2010.

In the mean time another 6th former Marco, started to add the photos to the website ,joining other projects from the Czech Republic, other European countries and the UK.

In addition Alastair, worked on the creation of a “match ‘em’ up” game , for distribution to local primary schools using a selection of our pairs of photos. Junior members of the Camera Club kept up their involvement by creating some 21st century collages superimposing sections of our old photos onto our new image.

As we took our new photos, we were conscious that we would not manage to get an exact replica of the old view. Sometimes this was down to technology, - different lenses and different cameras. Other times it was because we just couldn’t get into the position of the original photographer- there are a lot of trees that have grown up in Wirksworth over the last 100 years!

In many cases the new photo looks much more mundane than its older counter part, even though we took the decision to take our new photos in colour.

Where there were people in the original shot, we have tried wherever possible to have people in our newer version.

We pondered long and hard about on what to do about CARS. In the end we decided we could not avoid them.

In this book and in our exhibition we have not provided long explanations: for those who want to know more, we would recommend that you look at some of the excellent books on our reading list, visit the Heritage Centre or investigate the wonderful

As well as providing information we have deliberately posed some questions, most of these are not rhetorical. We would love to have your feedback so that we can add to our ever-expanding store of local knowledge. We have tried hard to check our dates and facts- pelase let us know if we j=have made any major errors

Many of our photos are over 100 years old, we would like to think that in a 100 years time a new generation will come up with their own version of Our Place in Time- goodness knows what the camera will look like then, but we bet many of the photos will still look very familiar.


The project contains these units:

Page 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  ...  39
Taken around 1950 the old photo shows the extent and depth of Dale Quarry – or the Big Hole as it was known - as mechanisation increased producti...
The Town’s coat of arms, featuring lead mining implements- hasn’t changed since the earlier photo was taken in the 1980’s, but our welcome sign n...
In middle of this shot taken around 1900 Wirksworth Hall can be glimpsed in the trees to the right of the old Grammar School and on the hillside ...
We had real difficulty duplicating this view as the valley has filled with trees since the first photo was taken almost a century ago. The middle...
In the foreground of the older photo taken around 1935 we can see the railway sidings serving the town’s busy quarries. Meanwhile in the middle dis...
Page 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  ...  39