Historic picture collection
Bollington Civic Society's Discovery Centre
houses our unique collection of historic pictures taken in and
around Bollington since the 1860s!
The picture collection is an archive of more than 5,000 photographs,
mostly black & white, covering many aspects of Bollington
life from 1860 to the present day. The collection has been built
up by the Civic Society mainly by copying images from prints
and albums lent by local people and organisations. Recent events
are covered too and additions are always welcome. For example,
we now have a collection of images of the October 1998 floods,
for which Bollington featured in the national news.
During 2005 the entire collection is being digitised in order
to make it available to everyone through the medium of the PC.
Fiona Swailes, our picture collection curator, is managing the
project and categorising and indexing each of the thousands of
pictures. Roger Fielding is scanning the pictures and has developed
a database to make it easy to find the pictures you want to see.
Printed copies of favourite pictures are available to purchase
in a choice of two sizes.
To see the archive see
the online library or
visit the Discovery Centre at
After the completion of this project there will, of course,
be many pictures, particularly of people, where we just don't
know who they are or where it was taken. We are always keen to
hear from members of the public who may recognise someone from
their own family and be able to fill in some of the gaps in our
knowledge. So, especially if you belong to an old established
Bollington family, come and have a look and see who you can find!
Fiona Swailes can be contacted by email.
Many of the better known pictures are included in various books
about Bollington. Some of these can be obtained at the Discovery
Centre - checkout the books page for
This project has been most generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Cheshire Rural Recovery and
the North West Development Agency,
Clarence Mill Properties Limited, Macclesfield Borough Council, Bollington Town
Council, Macclesfield Canal Society and
White Nancy, about 1925 (see
the poem written about Nancy in 1919 by James Chatterton).
More pictures ...
The Civic Society was formed
in the 1960s by the late Dr John Coope MBE, and one of
the early activities was to try and preserve some of the
history and heritage of the town.
It was realised that old photographs would provide a
tremendous insight into the period from the late 1800s
to the present day and so they put the word out and asked
people to trawl their old photo albums!
This produced thousands of pictures, many of the people
who lived and worked here, and also of the town itself
– before the age of cars and lorries – and of their places
of work, the mills, railway, churches, in fact everything
that constituted the community of the day.
This collection was recorded and studied by a sub-group,
the Civic Society History Group. The five key individuals
in this were George Longden, Molly Spink, Joyce Hough,
Christabel Burgess and Bob Alexander. They went on to
publish a number of fascinating books about the town
and local area which remain popular today. Indeed, steps
are being taken to reprint some of those books to be
enjoyed by a new generation.
Family history research
The collection is invaluable for researching your Bollington
ancestry. We recommend that you pay us a visit and carry out
simple searches using the PCs and indexed database provided.
Access is free for as long as you need! Check the opening times
on the Discovery Centre home page.
For those who live too far away to make a visit, our picture
collection curator, Fiona Swailes, will be pleased to carry out
simple searches for you via an email
request. Please indicate the names of relevant people, as
fully as possible and with any supporting information you may
have please (such as trade, address, etc.), because some family
names were very common in Bollington in times past. But
please note ...
Apart from a few success stories we have often had to disappoint
enquirers because it is not that clear when our photographs date
from and to. Many family history researchers are looking for
relatives living in Bollington in the mid 19th century. The photographic
records are no help to these researchers as the earliest 'people'
pictures in our collection date from around 1890 (eg. a few of
Bollington Cross School and Lowerhouse School) and most of the
school and family photos are from 1900 on.
Beginning in March 2006 a new section of the Happy Valley web
site is being developed for Bollington
family history. It will concentrate on the old families that
have been in Bollington many many decades, in some case for many
centuries, and have inter-married resulting in a very large proportion
of old Bollingtonians being related to each other. Have
a look now!