Wish You Were Here > Special delivery – Towneley’s Top Five

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Five: An un-posed photograph. The road is Keighley Road in Colne with a chap zipping by on his bike and others relying on shanks’ pony. The two workmen are engaged in conversation with someone who is partly hidden across the street. Much has changed but much remains. All that’s missing is a tram.

For a modern view see google maps.

Four: Janie sent the card below to Dora who was away in the local September holiday. The two would understand the picture as both worked in a mill. It may even be the one Janie worked in as presumably the photograph was taken in Nelson. We drop in here on a conversation between two female friends. Clogs and fent were part of the ‘uniform’ of cotton mill workers – some would say cultural identity. They were straving (starving) for the lack of work. Only Dora and Janie would understand the last part of the message but there may be some sexual references here. Dora did remain single all her life.

Three: Most of us have had a photograph taken at school but not in a classroom setting. Mabel was writing to her brother serving on HMS Sappho. A few children could not resist glancing at the camera. The school is probably Burnley Wood Primary opened in the early 1900s and it followed the layout of the time, a central hall with classrooms at the side.

Two: There is some doubt whether this was sent from one sister to another or between close friends. But angst seeps through the words.

One: Good job it was a fine day. Walking days were always a popular photographic subject but this stands out for the composition against a backdrop in the middle of nowhere with all the group in shot. For a modern view from the same location see google maps (with thanks to Wilf Day and Jeff Heap). 

The card was owned by Isabella who, being a Baptist, is probably on here. She would have been 15/16 at the time though she has not picked herself out. The girls seem to be having a good time…