Tuesday 19 July 2022

Holiday Snaps!

Is your phone full of photos that you haven’t got round to printing yet? Before the advent of smartphones, most of us kept collections of holiday snaps - and since photography became popular and accessible from the late 19th century, our ancestors did too. 

Cheshire Archives and Local Studies has a large collection of photographs - many available on Cheshire Image Bank. Here is a selection of our photographs of holidays, from luxury overseas travel in the early 20th century, to the traditional British seaside break. 

These early ‘staycations’ of days out on the beach were taken on Wallasey beach on the Wirral. The photograph below left shows children enjoying the seaside during the 1890s, and below right an unknown group is pictured on the same beach during the 1910s. 


Do you remember having a donkey ride on the beach as a child? These donkeys (below left) were pictured on Hoylake beach in 1911. They took visitors – some in carriages – over to Hilbre Island. The colour image below right is a scene from West Kirby beach, taken during the 1910s. We can just make out some donkeys standing in the background! 


Some people were fortunate to undertake extensive travel abroad, and we have a record of one such family from over a hundred years ago. The Bates family of Hinderton Hall near Neston kept a journal of a motoring holiday in France, Spain and Portugal in 1908. They had their car shipped to Lisbon via La Rochelle and planned to,
“return home in the aforesaid motor via Boulogne, Folkestone and other ports and/or places on the way, having liberty to call at ports in any order and to sail or travel with or without pilots or chauffeurs, until the said motor should arrive at Hinderton Hall Neston Cheshire England and so end the voyage.” 


Here is a photograph from the journal showing their car being loaded onto a ship: 

The journal contains photographs of the places they visited, some of which are still popular destinations today - such as the harbour at La Rochelle and the chateau at Blois in France; the town of Leiria and the hermits cells of Bussaco in Portugal; and the famous Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain. 


Other holidays were taken much closer to home. The images below were taken on the Cheshire Broads near Winsford. On the left is an advertisement from 1930 for holiday bungalows at the edge of the Flashes near Wharton; and on the right is a group holidaying at the bungalows around that time. 


Camping and caravanning holidays started to become popular in the early twentieth century, and we have photos of them in one of our collections - the records of the Baker family of Runcorn. Chemist and university lecturer Harry Baker (1859-1935) was a prolific amateur photographer from the 1880s to the 1920s, and his collection includes images of his family on holidays, including going camping:



Don’t forget Cheshire Archives and Local Studies also holds a wide range of holiday images from before people had access to cameras, including sketches and paintings of holidays scenes, and travel diaries.  A selection can be seen in our Travel Plans blog. 

If you’re going away this summer, don’t forget to take some photos – and then print them out! We wish you a happy holiday. 

All these images and more can be viewed at Cheshire Record Office in Chester. Cheshire Image Bank is available at 

Wednesday 6 July 2022

Archie's Archives Experience!

This blog post was written by one of our work experience students, Archie, who spent a week with us in June. Thanks for all of your work Archie!

During my work experience at Cheshire Record Office, I discovered plenty of new and genuinely interesting things I didn’t know existed.

On my first day I was able to sit in on a staff meeting and learn about how Cheshire Archives and Local Studies were partnering with local communities, finding them photos, documents and anything else they wanted so that they could hold their own events about themselves. 

I spent some time reading, cleaning and documenting the Mayors Scrapbook from 1936-1979. Not only did I learn about how to properly take care of precious archives and how to keep them in the best condition so other people can view them later on, but I was able to read these small snippets of history, whether they were simple invites to tea from the Mayor and Mayoress in 1941, or a New Year’s card with a quote hoping for peace and an end to the war. It felt like I was there, experiencing it myself. Even just small things told a story, like a letter from the Royal household explaining that the Mayor and his wife wouldn’t be able to get a congratulations letter for their Golden Jubilee for their marriage, which was received on December 25th.

I also helped to check photographs and see if they were on the Cheshire Image Bank or not. If they weren't on the site then I indexed them onto a spreadsheet, and did some research around the people, places and events photographed. Looking at a photograph of a local blacksmith taken in the 19th century, it can only make you wonder who those people were, what they’d experienced themselves and what they did after the photo was taken. These small bits of history, which in the greater scale of things didn’t mean much, represented normal people who lived, grew up and died well before I was born, like a window into the past.

I also used Zooniverse, a website where you can transcribe articles and documents from hundreds of subjects. I was moving information over from patient records from the Parkside Asylum. Stuff like this can be used for studies relating to anything, and could help countless people in research. (You can get involved in the Parkside Asylum project here!)

The people who work at the Record Office are genuinely some of the most dedicated people I’ve met, you can see that they have a huge interest in what they do, and that they want others to be able to know about what they do and use the records they hold.