Unforgettable photos and maps

Unfinished Prior Park chapel in about 1855, Rev Francis Lockey (1796 - 1869)
Unfinished Prior Park chapel in about 1855, Rev Francis Lockey (1796 – 1869)

I have spent some time adding to the galleries for Prior to Now and there are over 1,000 images of people, buildings and activities on Combe Down on the site.

The earliest photographic images are of Prior Park in about 1855 by the Rev Francis Lockey (1796 – 1869). 

Rev Lockey and his family lived in Swainswick near Bath, in a house known then as Swainswick Cottage and now known as the White House.

Amazingly Lockey’s photographic studio (now a conservatory) survives virtually intact at his former home. The studio has been confirmed as being the earliest known surviving photographic studio by the Science Museum.

Rev Lockey began experimenting in 1849, first using paper negatives and later glass plates developed using the calotype photographic process, which had been patented by William Henry Fox Talbot (1800 – 1877) in 1841.

Central Combe Down in 1899 -Somerset, Revised 1899, Published 1904
Central Combe Down in 1899 -Somerset, Revised 1899, Published 1904

The galleries that have been added are:

As well as these galleries I have also added two maps. They are very large image files that take some seconds to download on even a fast connection but, once loaded and if all works as it should you can click on the image and zoom into it.

More pages and infills about Combe Down

Glasshouse cafe - Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Saturday 26 October 1929
Glasshouse cafe – Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette – Saturday 26 October 1929

I have added more pages and infills about Combe Down by filling in some obvious gaps.

There’s some old adverts mentioning Combe Down or Monkton Combe – none very exciting it has to be said, but hopefully further research will find some that are.

Having said that, even if the adverts themselves don’t excite they can lead to little known gems.

Gems such as the 1912 Bath and West Show being held on Glasshouse Fields. I was unaware of this until I saw the ad and it also created a good opportunity to infill a bit about the background of the Glasshouse name.

I have added some more Combe Down maps and map links and moved it in the navigation too.

More old photos of Combe Down, Prior Park and Monkton Combe have been added.

A short section on the Monkton Combe lock up, an obvious omission, has been added.

Another obvious omission, the Combe Down Jewish cemetery has be added too. Other additions cover Allotments on Combe Down, the old Wesleyan Reform chapel behind Glenburnie and some information about The Firs or Firs Field on Combe Down. This is now a Centenary Field protected in perpetuity through a legal Deed of Dedication between the Council and Fields in Trust, meaning that ownership and management of the site remain in local hands.

I have also added a section on Claremont Buildings or Hopecote Lodge as it is now known. It, along with Isabella Place and 109 – 117 Church Road, was part of the second wave of building on Combe Down from 1800. Some interesting people lived there including William Fortt who founded Fortt’s Refreshment Rooms in Milsom Street. Forrt’s later merged with tow other Bath firms to form Cater, Stoffell & Fortt that made the famous Bath Oliver biscuits.

There was also Rhoda Mary Hope (1828 – 1910) whose sister Sarah Clegg Hope (1832 – 1863) is the 2nd great-grandmother of Camilla Rosemary Shand (b. 1947), now Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall. It was Rhoda’s nephew Dr Charles Middleton Coates (1857 – 1933), the son of Sarah Clegg Hope, who turned 1 – 3 Claremont Buildings, three Georgian buildings similar to 113 – 117 Church Road into one building with the French mansard it has now. One of his sons Donald Bateman Hope Coates (1904 – 1994) seems to have been a spy for the Cairo Gang inter-alia.

1 - 3 Claremont Buildings, later Hopecote, later Hope Cote Lodge, Combe Down
1 – 3 Claremont Buildings, later Hopecote, later Hope Cote Lodge, Combe Down

Now and Then

I’ve just reordered the site somewhat into Now and Then.

The, slightly punning, title of the book was Prior to Now and that became the website title too.

Combe Down Area Directory
Combe Down Area Directory

A thought that I always had, was that the site could include the history of Combe Down (Prior) and what’s going on now (Now).

I have now put all the history (but not the people and family trees) under one section Combe Down Then and what’s going on now under, believe it or not, Combe Down Now.

New section

This section includes:

One area that I’d particularly like to add to is Combe Down photos – especially any historic ones whether they be from your own or family archives or from postcards etc.

If you have any other ideas for what might be useful or relevant on the site then I’m always happy to ‘hear ideas’.

I have, now and then, wondered about a forum that includes the ability to post events etc. but I’m not sure whether it would be used and then there’s the question of moderation. Unfortunately there are always idiots who try to ruin it for the good guys, but it’s reasonably easy to do if there’s any demand.

Other than that I hope the new elements add to the site and that you enjoy them.

Lovely, vintage Combe Down, Monkton Combe and Prior Park photos

I have long wanted to add galleries of Combe Down, Monkton Combe and Prior Park photos but never really felt I had enough to warrant it.

Now I do, though I’d dearly love more photos to add to the galleries, so, if you have any that you’d be willing to let me publish then please do let me have a copy.

Meanwhile follow this link to take a look at the galleries of Combe Down, Monkton Combe and Prior Park photos.