Roadworkers in Church Street, Ashover, c.1900-1910
Mounted albumen print by J.J. Shipman of Ashover
Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
Like Alan Burnett's theme suggestion showing a photograph of a bridge under construction - albeit this one is two or three decades earlier - the composition is full of both detail and activity. I've seen plenty of old photographs of steam traction engines and rollers, mostly stationary and often with groups of people arrayed around and on top of them. This one, while probably not actually rolling, since a young lady is clearly posing dangerously close to the flywheel, is in the process of getting up a head of steam, judging by the smoking billowing from the chimney.
I don't know much about steam rollers, but a cursory search of images on the net suggests that this one, with it's rearing horse logo and "Invicta" motto, is an Aveling Porter model R10 (possibly Works No. 2321) from the 1890s or early 1900s. Very similar models shown here suggest that this one came out of the factory some time between 1884 and 1889.
Is the man in the straw boater the works supervisor, I wonder? He certainly looks as if he thinks he's in charge, but perhaps he's merely an interested ratepayer, making sure his local taxes are being well spent.
In addition to the steam roller and the covered van being towed behind it, there are quite a number of horse-drawn vehicles - I count at least five, possibly six - including what must be a water cart. I think I can see a pump on the top, and a large diameter hose looped at the side.
The sign above the doorway reads, "J. SHEPPARD .... DEALER &c.," the text on the middle line being indecipherable. Joseph Sheppard is shown as a shopkeeper in Ashover in 1891, 1895 and 1899 editions of Kelly's trade directory, and is described as a green grocer in Church Street in the 1901 Census.
The cart behind the covered van appears to have a large milk churn on the back.
Some writing is visible on side of the cart's tray, but is not easy to decipher. All I can make out for sure is "...WELL ..." The only suitable names listed in Kelly's 1899 trade directory are those of Thomas Fretwell, farmer of Shootersley (which the One-inch Ordnance Survey map shows as Shooterslea Farm, some 4 km to the north-west of Ashover village) and John Fretwell, farmer of Alton (2 km to the north-east).
Ashover and surrounding area, OS One-inch Map, 1947
Image © Ordnance Survey
Is this man a Chelsea pensioner, I wonder? It seems like a military style cap, but I'm not familiar enough with the uniforms of the Chelsea Pensioners through the ages to know for sure.
View up Church Street towards All Saints church, Ashover, 2010
© and courtesy of Google Earth
The view up Church Street towards the characteristic 39 metre high spire of All Saints Church hasn't changed a great deal in the century or so since Shipman took the photograph, although the standard red telephone box is new and, although there are plenty of cars, there is little evidence of pedestrian activity in either of these shots!
View down Church Street from All Saints churchyard, Ashover, 2010
© Andrew Hill and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
In this modern view looking the other way down Church street, the churchyard gate, the stone gate post surmounted by a large ball, and even the corner of a gravestone, are all pretty much the same as they were in the background of Shipman's view (detail below).
Also just visible is part of the early 16th Century arched window at the western end of the south aisle. It's a relief to see that, while much around us - at least in the man-made part of the landscape - is sadly bereft of any reminders of the environment which our forebears knew (I am reminded of this photograph recently posted by Alan Burnett), some places are still very well preserved.
It's harder to date men's clothing than women's, and women are not very well represented in this photograph. However, I've enlarged the portions of the image showing the four women that I've been able to find. I believe their white blouses with collars, and in one case a tie, long pleated skirts reaching to within a few inches of the ground, and part of fragment of a wide brimmed, flattish hat (just showing to the right and behind the van), suggest a date of soon after the turn of the century, perhaps between 1900 and 1908.
My index to Derbyshire photographers has a rather inadequate entry for J.J. Shipman of Ashover. Although directory extracts quoted suggest that he was operating in the 1910s and 1920s, this clearly needs some elaboration. The 1899 edition of Kelly's trade directory describes Joseph James Shipman as a chemist, and it appears that this was his primary occupation. Ashover has never been a large village, and the market for photography must have been fairly limited. This may also explain why not many images by Shipman have yet surfaced.
J.J. Shipman and his bees, Ashover, c.1910-1920s
Image © and courtesy of John Bradley
Joseph James Shipman was born at Pentrich in 1853, son of an iron works pattern maker Abraham Shipman (1829-1913) and his wife Harriet Sarah Swindell (c1824-1899). As a teenager Joseph became a pupil teacher, but then went on to train as a chemist and druggist, opening a shop in Clowne by 1881. His parents, in the mean time, had started farming at Far Hill just north of Ashover. By 1891, Joseph was again living with his parents at Far Hill, and was operating a chemist and druggist shop in Ashover village. Kelly's directory for that year describes him as practising the additonal trades of "seedsman & aerated water manufacturer."
J.J. Shipman's chemist shop, Ashover, c. early 1900s
Image courtesy of John Bradley
It's not clear exactly when he started taking photographs commercially, but Bulmer's directory for 1895 lists him as a "chemist & photographer." His photographic listings continue intermittently until at least the late 1920s. Adamson (1997) merely lists the date range 1912-13, without any source data. He was also secretary to the Ashover House hydropathic establishment for some years, and an enthusiastic beekeeper. He never married, living for most of his life with his unmarried sister Ellen Maria, and died almost two years after her in January 1931, aged 76.
Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1891
Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1895
Bulmer's History of Derbyshire, 1895
Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1899
Kelly's Directory of Derbyshire, 1912
Midland Counties of England Trades' Directory 1926-27
1841-1901 Census Images from Ancestry.co.uk
Ashover, a resource for genealogists, by Rob Marriott & Davina Bradley
Ashover, From: Kelly's Directory of the Counties of Derby, Notts, Leicester and Rutland, pub. London (May, 1891) - pp. 30-31, on The Andrews Pages by Ann Andrews
Ashover, All Saints' Parish Church, 1908, on the Andrews Pages by Ann Andrews
GRO Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes from FreeBMD
International Genealogical Index (IGI) from FamilySearch
One-inch Map of England & Wales: Buxton and Matlock (Sheet 111), 1947, Ordnance Survey
Adamson, Keith I.P. (1997) Professional Photographers in Derbyshire 1843 - 1914, Royal Photographic Society, Supplement to The PhotoHistorian, No. 118, September 1997, ISSN 0957-0209.
Salter, Mike (1998) The Old Parish Curches of Derbyshire, Malvern, Worcestershire: Folly Publicatons, ISBN 1 871731 33 X