One of the collections held by the Borough Archive is a Miscellaneous Local Photographs Collection (MLP). This is where we catalogue photographs that are important to the history of the borough but do not have links to any of the other collections that we hold. One series within this collection, MLP/80, is a set of photographs showing eleven aerial views of Greenmount and one of the kite that was used to take them. The photographs date from 1910 and were taken by a local man, Samuel Horrocks.
This week it was our absolute pleasure to welcome two of Samuel’s great grandchildren to the Centre for Cultural Collections to view the photographs. During their visit they gave us some more details regarding Samuel, his family and his kite.
Linda and Philip had been contacting family members to find out as much information as they could before their visit and came armed with some fantastic facts and anecdotes.
Linda told me that Samuel’s kite was made from spruce and gold-coloured silk and saw its first flight in 1910. It was about seven to eight feet high and four to five feet wide and Linda thinks she can remember it hanging in her great grandma’s garage when she was growing up. To the eyes of a little girl it must have seemed huge! The kite was attached to three miles of piano wire wound around a drum-shaped winch which had to be earthed due to the build-up of static electricity. Samuel sat on a folding chair, with the winch between his legs, to fly the kite. The photographs were taken using a Box Brownie camera and as you can see it managed to capture some fantastic images.
In the 1970s family members, George and Peter Howarth, made attempts to recreate the kite but unfortunately they were unsuccessful.
Linda also recounted a story about how Samuel had devised a harness that would allow his young daughter to ride the kite! Luckily for his descendants, Samuel’s wife looked out of the kitchen window just in time to put a stop to his ambitions!
Further information about Samuel Horrocks, or Sammy Kitie as he was known locally, can be found in C. B. Taylors ‘History of Greenmount’. Several copies of this publication are held by Bury Libraries and can be located using the online catalogue.
If any other original photographs or documents relating to Samuel and his kite are discovered – we are hoping they will also be donated to the Borough Archive, enabling us to create a specific Samuel Horrocks collection. All of our records are stored and preserved in line with standards set by The National Archives. This allows documents which detail important moments from the borough’s history to be preserved for future generations.
Thank you so much to Linda and Phillip and we look forward to working with you in the future.