Galleries 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.

Historical maps treasure trove

I’ve found an historical maps treasure trove. There’s a lovely page at:

A Vision of Britain through Time

History of Combe Down in Bath and North East Somerset.

which tells us that in 1870 – 72, John Marius Wilson’s Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Combe Down like this:

“COMBE-DOWN, a chapelry in Combe-Monckton parish, Somerset; near the Great Western railway and the river Avon, 2 miles S of Bath. It has a post office‡ under Bath. Pop., 940. A hill, giving name to the place, is 550 feet high; commands an extensive prospect; yields Bath stone in large quarries; is pierced and cut with caverns and passages; and bears on its slope a pleasant little town, with villas, an inn, and the church. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Bath and Wells. Value, not reported.* Patron, the Vicar of South Stoke.

Historical maps

There’s also a link to historical maps that you can see, often, as a seamless map overlaying the modern equivalent and/or download the original free.

Historical map of Combe Down

Historical map of Combe Down

There are general purpose topographic historical maps:

as well as boundary historical maps showing administrative boundaries, for counties, districts, parishes etc.:

as well as land use historical maps recording what each plot of land was being used for on the day it was surveyed, in the 1930s:

Historical land utilization map

Historical land utilization map