Volunteer blog – ‘development of the area’

Joanna takes us through the continued urban growth and development of Midland Road, Derby.

This week I am looking at the area on the south side of Midland Road where the W. W. Winter premises are situated. This has been an area of much change since the development of the 1850s. Again maps, both commercial and those produced alongside planning applications have been helpful. Together with Directories of the area it has been possible to build a picture of life in the area over the years.

The development probably in 1854 seems to have started at the London Road end with premises on the corner, now Philatelic Auctions. The Winter’s studio sits between this and a building c.1857 containing two shops and a vehicular entrance leading to a yard. The plots between this and Lower Carrington Street were occupied by yards relating to building supplies and services, to be replaced over the years by shops.

A tramway depot and stables occupied the corner of Lower Carrington Street and Midland Rd for a short time. The 1880 OS map shows the tramlines running into it. This was followed by the Post Office building and a row of shops including John Hopley Dodd’s furniture emporium.  The shops and old PO building were demolished in the 1960s along with the yard used by W. W. Winter’s and replaced with the concrete building seen today.

The W. W. Winter premises date from 1867 the only reference for this being the date in the decoration above the side entrance. More about this next time. 

Volunteer blog – ‘Midland Road’

This weeks post from Joanna gives us an insight to the growth of Derby on what would have originally been the Castlefields estate.

Looking at maps and plans has always been a big part of my research, ‘the where’ aspect helps to fit another piece into the jigsaw of the history of the Winter’s business.

The part of Derby known as Litchurch was originally its own place and mentioned in the Domesday Book. Records show that by 1841 there were only 855 persons recorded. By 1877 this had risen to nearly 70,000 due to the selling of the Castlefields estate, the subsequent development of the area and the coming of the railway. The Litchurch Local Board was set up in 1860. Mr Winter became a member of this, playing an active role in the management of the area. The area was finally integrated into Derby under the Local Government Act of 1877. Mr Winter was then elected to the Council as member for the Litchurch Ward.

The coming of the railway triggered the development of the area. This major railway junction made travel to and from Derby to the north, south, east and west much easier. It also brought about the Railway Village built to house railway workers, and manufacturing industries on a big scale. Streets were laid out and the boom years began. Into this major expansion came Monsieur E. N. Charles. The buildings in Station Road, as Midland Road was then known, were under construction at the time of the 1851 Census but are clearly marked on the 1852 map commissioned by the Board of Health. It is here that M. Charles had his premises. These buildings on the north side of Midland Road today between London Road and Carrington Street are the original buildings. The same 1852 Board of Health map shows no building at all on the south side, the site of the present Winter’s premises, between London Road and the Midland Hotel (opened 1843). It is marked as pasture land in the owned by J. Cuff, manager of the hotel at the time.  Development on this side began with the corner of London Road towards the end of the 1850s.

The premises housing the original studio remained as part of the Winter’s business into the 20th Century. The photograph of the framing room on display in an upstairs room at the present studio is actually the front upstairs room of these premises. The roofline and chimney of the present studio can be seen through the window. The framer is Mr Samuel Wain who worked at W.W. Winter’s from 1889 to 1914. 

 I hope to continue with the story of the development of Midland Road next time.

If Joanna’s research has whet your appetite for more land history there is an interesting article in Country Image Magazine about the history of the Castlefields, now known as Castleward in Derby.

Volunteer blog – ‘both sides of the law’

Read on for some tantalizing findings from Joanna’s research regarding Winter’s business and the law. We can see how research brings history to life!

Having spent a lot of time during the present lockdown sorting out my W. W. Winter notes, I have come across several items of interest. Searching through the newspaper archives always results in finding more than the matter that you are focusing on. Usually I jot down the reference and an outline of the subject to go back to it later. These unrelated notes have now been revisited and filed appropriately.

The Derby Mercury, Derby Daily Telegraph and other provincial newspapers have been an invaluable resource for information about Winter’s, some articles appearing in newspapers as far away as Aberdeen and Cardiff. This week I am writing about the business’s experiences with both sides of the law.

In an 1857 edition of the Nottinghamshire Guardian it was reported that Mr E. N. Charles, W. W. Winter’s predecessor had appeared before the magistrates charged with taking photographs on a Sunday it not being a necessity. The case was dismissed with a caution as it was ‘his man’ who took the photographs not Mr Charles himself.

As reported by the Derby Mercury 2 November 1880 Mr Winter appeared in court charged with breaching the law by erecting a building without notice to the Sanitary Authorities. This building had been a temporary structure for use on Arboretum Day. He was fined 10 shillings (50p) plus costs.

W. W. Winter’s also had its share of shoplifting and fraud.

In the Derby Mercury 26 November 1879 it was reported that a charge was made against a Mr Luger of stealing 6 books and 13 paper bags valued at 13 shillings (65p). The case was sent to trial outcome unknown.

The Derby Daily Telegraph 13 November 1884 reported that three boys had been charged with stealing a mouth organ from Winter’s and 80 cigars from Mr Sander’s shop. They each received 6 strokes of the birch. 

A further incident caused Mr Winter to place a notice in the 9 July 1904 edition of the Derby Daily Telegraph to the effect that Mr W. Anderson was not authorised to collect money in his (W.W.W.) name.

Volunteer blog – ‘researching images’

This week Joanna talks about some of the processes of researching the images for the Trust:

Hope everyone is coping with the lockdown. Thank goodness for the internet which enables me to carry on with research. Also I have been through my Winter’s notes and put things in some sort of order, tied up some loose ends and reminded myself of things I had forgotten.

Apart from cleaning, sorting and recording, one of the most interesting things that I do is finding out about the stories behind the prints and negatives. I have always been interested in the development of Derby and family history, so having the opportunity to look at old photographs I was in seventh heaven. A quote from the Derbyshire Post of July 1885 sums it up in better words than I can. The words were written by a reporter who was making a tour of the Winter’s premises after a major building programme after the fire of 1883.

‘’….the plate when printed goes to a negative room to be added to the 50,000 other plates there. Here they are ticketed and laid aside till fate requires them. If each one could tell the tale of why it came to be there, many an interesting history could be told; tales of happiness, woe, love or disappointment….’’

When researching a print or plate it is mainly a matter of looking for clues – who, when, what, why, hence the importance of looking at all the information that you can gather from the print/negative and the bag that it might be in however intelligible it may seem at first. The negative number will give an approximate date; names are usually written on the negative and often on the bag. Prints often have the negative number written on the back, then it is a case of what you know personally or what you can find in a book or on the internet. The recent find of the name of the rower Orlando Meakin is a good example. The name on the bag was easily read as ‘Meakin’ the initial was a squiggle. Looking through newspaper articles and finding an O. Meakin rowing in the approximate year. The ancestry website led to an Orlando Meakin. And then, the researcher’s dream, a newspaper article of his obituary filled in the details. It is like a big newspaper puzzle, trying to relate one piece of information to another and hoping it will fall into place. I hasten to add that it is not always as successful as that one, luckily the name was unusual.

Volunteer blog – ‘working with artefacts’

Our next instalment from Joanna on the experience of volunteering as well as her insights and knowledge of W W Winter:

Last week I wrote about cleaning and archiving glass plate negatives; another part of my time at Winter’s has been tidying, sorting and cleaning artefacts. Winter’s is full of rooms, cubby holes, and roof spaces, and the cellar. When I first came to Winter’s I found it hard to work out which roof space belonged to which bit and which room was where in relation to the others! When the new post office block was built in the 1960s Winter’s buildings were sadly curtailed. There is information about the ‘lost rooms’ on the wall at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the retouching room. Articles from these rooms were pushed into what space remained and many of the plate negatives ended up in a pile of broken glass in the cellar.

Helped by Louisa’s lovely Mum I set about cleaning, sorting and listing many of the artefacts that had been found. These could be letters, documents, boxes of paints, pencils, brushes, bottles, cases for carrying equipment …….the list is endless, also the larger items, props, furniture and photographic equipment.  We did wonder why there was a pair of black nylon stockings – apparently they made excellent light filters – and a cream maker (! ) we haven’t worked that one out yet. Armed with the natural hair brushes and e-cloths we attempted to remove years of grime and restore some order in this wonderful place