Cheers to Crown Ales: Crown Brewing Company Ltd archive

We were recently contacted by the archivist from Cumbria Archive Service to ask if we would be able to take in a hefty couple of share members’ ledgers relating to the Crown Brewing Company of Bury; they were duly delivered to us by courier and we added them to our existing collection of the company’s records. All that ale must have made the clerks who handled these ledgers super strong i’th’ arm! These volumes are seriously weighty!

Share and members’ ledgers for The Crown Brewing Compnay

The company was registered in 1861 as the Bury Co-operative Brewing & Distilling Company Ltd, changing its name to the Crown Brewing Co. in 1866.

The brewery and its offices were located in Rochdale Road, Bury.

Newspaper article regarding the demolition of premises on Rochdale Rd, Bury. 1967

The company was acquired by Dutton’s of Blackburn in 1959, at which point it controlled some 127 tied houses*.

Lists of tied houses

Dutton’s in turn was taken over by Whitbread’s in 1964.

The records we hold cover the period up to 1964 and were originally held by the Whitbread Group Archives. The company dispersed their archives in 2001 – we received records relating to Crown Brewing Co and also Richard Seed & Co Ltd, brewers of Radcliffe. Cumbria archives must have received the Crown Brewing share members’ ledgers from Whitbread during the transfers.

Together these collections hold a substantial amount of fascinating information charting the history of the brewing industry in Bury and Radcliffe. Below is just some of the material from both collections.

Transfer of mortgage Richard Seed of Blackpool, William Seed of Whitefield and John Lord of Walsall

Minute Book

When Dutton’s took over in 1959, Crown was the only remaining brewery in Bury and employed more than 60 workers. A report in the Bury Times on 8th August 1959 stated that some of the workers would be offered positions by Dutton’s but some, sadly, would have no job at all. A compensation payment of £25,000 was proposed by Dutton’s which would be distributed between the employees paying particular attention to workers with long service.

Documents relating to the takeover by Dutton’s

For a full listing please check out our archive catalogue – entering catalogue Ref BCB (for Crown) and BRS (for Richard Seed & Co.).

*a tied house is a public house required to buy at least some of its beer from a particular brewery or pub company. That is in contrast to a free house, which is able to choose the beers it stocks freely.


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Unknown Photograph Donation

We are always pleased to receive donations of images and photographs but we do ask that the donor supplies as much information as to the identity of persons, location and dates to make these fully accessible as a resource and as useful as possible for any customers wishing to view them for family and local history research.

Back in 2009, an unknown donor left the following photographs with Bury library which were subsequently handed over to the archivist. As yet we haven’t been able to trace any more information. If anyone can help to identify the location and/or the people featured in the images we would love to hear from you!


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Lost Treasure: Missing WW1 Medal has found its soldier’s Archive

Last November we marked the Armistice Centenary of WW1; it was an intense and emotional time for everyone who helped the borough remember local military personnel who had lost their lives during the conflict. For us it really felt like a culmination of the previous four years’ work which saw staff and volunteers extracting and digitising obituaries and soldier’s images from the local newspapers. With plenty of media presence we helped family members learn more about their fallen ancestors, often seeing their faces for the first time.

Soldier’s images used in the East Lancashire Railway Armistice Display 2018

It’s important to be reminded though – there isn’t a specific time to remember those who lost their lives; their memories live on in public war memorials, rolls of honour, a photograph on a mantelpiece, a family archive – they’re always here with us in some form or another. And sometimes they are hidden just waiting to be found.

Taken from the Met exhibition November 2015. Artwork inspired by our newspaper archive

At Castle Leisure centre a few years ago, a soldier’s WW1 medal was handed in at reception. It had been found in the car park – the orange and blue ribbon probably long since detached. Staff working there at the time placed it in the safe and, as no one came to claim it, the medal was forgotten about. The centre staff explained that they receive so much lost property and, understandably, due to its relatively small size, it would have been pushed to the back of the safe-drawer.

British World War 1 Medal found in Castle Leisure Centre Car Park, Bury

During a recent sort-out, a member of staff retrieved the medal and recognising its potentially sentimental value she put a call-out on social media. One response led to another and eventually to Christine North from Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society who, no stranger to research, took up the leads. That is where we come in! With the service number, rank and name impressed on the rim of the medal the soldier’s details led Christine to one of our blog posts: Rifleman Edmund Kaye.

We had received Edmund Kaye’s archive from his grandson, Bernard, in October 2015; (coincidentally, this collection was one of the ones we chose to go on display during the Armistice last November).  Once Christine had made the connection she sent Edmund Kaye’s medal to us for it to be returned to its owner.

We contacted Bernard straightaway – his response was one of amazement and delight. Amazement because the medal had never been in his family’s possession; delight – as now it could complement the collection; Bernard and Julia were adamant that the medal should be preserved here at the archive with the rest of Edmund’s items.

Bernard and his wife, Julia, with Edmund Kaye’s photograph and medal

We were happy to invite Bernard and Julia back into the archive to see the medal.

Below are a few words from Bernard:

“In October 2015, we donated some records of my grandfather, (Rifleman Edmund Kaye) to Bury Archives which were included in a small display for Armistice 100 during November 2018.

The records comprised of Edmund’s letters home and various other items relating to his death in action at Ypres.

Unfortunately, missing from the collection was Edmund’s service medal which we knew existed but had no info as to its whereabouts.

To our astonishment, we were contacted on the 21st February by Wendy from Bury Archives about a WW1 war medal which was found on Castle Car Park in Bury some time ago. The medal was handed into reception and eventually was passed on to a member of Lancashire Family History Society who then researched the name on the medal. A google search directed her to the blog that Wendy had written about Edmund Kaye so she contacted Bury Archives and subsequently sent them the medal.

The medal was confirmed to be the one that belonged to my grandfather, Edmund Kaye.  

It was an astonishing revelation for the medal to be found and returned to Edmund’s collection in this way. I have to sincerely thank the person who handed the medal in and Wendy and the Bury Archives team for all of their input to completing the collection.

I and my cousin Kevin feel that his story and his memory is now properly recorded and accessible for all in the future.

We are now planning a future visit to Edmund’s war grave at WHITE HOUSE CEMETERY, ST. JEAN-LES-YPRES Location: West-Vlaanderen, Belgium Where Edmund’s grave is located.”

The mystery of how the medal was lost in Castle Car Park remains. However, what’s more important is that it has found its way home and will be preserved for years to come.



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Your House Through Time: A guide for tracing your house history

The return of the BBC’s hugely popular series, A House through Time, has generated lots of enquiries from the local community asking how they go about tracing the history of their house. As a result we thought we’d put together a guide on resources we hold here at Bury Archives which can help you on your journey.

House History

Before you begin, ask yourself what it is you’d like to find out about your house’s past. For example, are you interested in its architectural history and how it may have changed over the years? Or would you rather trace the occupants of your house? Many of you will probably want to find out answers to both eventually but it’s best to concentrate on each as a separate strand of research. This approach helps you to stay focused!

Architectural History


The first Ordnance Survey (OS) maps for the area date between 1845 and 1850; the next series published in 1893 and then in most of the decades of the 20th century. All these maps are on open access and can be viewed in our search room – maps are a great place to start and are really useful to determine an approximate date of when your house was built. They also help you discover how the location has changed through the decades.



From the 1860s onwards, anyone building or substantially altering a property had to deposit plans with the local authority for approval. For the period c1860 – 1948, the archives holds a large collection of original paper plans. And from c1948 – 1998 a large number of plans are available to view on microfiche. Anything post 1998 will be held at the Council’s planning department.

What’s included in the planning documents will vary considerably depending on the property and date but expect to find a submission date, approval date, name of architect alongside block plans, perspective drawings and site plans.

Plan of Bury Dispensary from 1889

It is worth noting that many of the earlier plans will not have house numbers allocated to them so identifying a plan belonging to a particular property will take some time and preliminary research. Consulting maps, local history publications, house deeds – even chatting to some of the oldest residents in your street might provide vital clues to help track down that elusive building plan!


Over the years we have amassed a huge collection of photographs of the local area. Some of you will be familiar with our online Image Bank which enabled users to browse through the images. While this site was removed due to copyright infringement, you’ll be pleased to know that a bigger and better image website will be ready to use in the next couple of weeks! All the images will be properly watermarked but available for download at a small fee. Searching for your house or street location will have never been easier and can be done from the comfort of your own home!


In addition to our images searchable online, we hold photographs within separate archives holdings which have not yet been digitised or uploaded to our website. It’s always worthwhile searching our archive catalogue using keywords such as your house name, street name or district to see what results you get. You then need to jot down the catalogue reference and make an appointment to view the items here in the search room.


Rochdale Old Road c1905


Local newspapers were often used to advertise properties for rent or sale and these adverts can be full of useful detail. Here’s a summary of which newspapers we hold over on our website. Again you would need to have done some preliminary research to find out when the property changed hands so you have a date point for searching. However, the British Newspaper Archive has a free search facility (a paid subscription would be needed to view the newspaper image) and luckily holds the Bury Times from 1855 – 1909. Any search results will provide the edition date and page number; take a note of these and make an appointment to view the newspapers on microfilm here in the search room.

House Occupants History

Census Returns

The census is a head count of everyone in the country on a given day and can provide a snapshot of an entire family (including lodgers) living in your house at a particular moment in time. A census has been taken every 10 years in England and Wales since 1801 (except 1941). Microfilm copies of the Bury Census 1841-1901 are available for consultation here in the search room. In addition, we have free access via our public PCs to commercial genealogy site Ancestry where you can search the census returns from 1841-1911, as well as the 1939 register (discussed below).


The 1939 Register

The 1939 register provides a snapshot of the civilian population just after outbreak of World War Two. As the 1931 census was destroyed by fire during WW2 and no census was taken in 1941, this is certainly an invaluable resource for anyone tracing 20th century inhabitants of their home. For further information on the 1939 register please check out The National Archive’s Research Guide

Rate Books and Valuation Lists

Rate books are accounts kept by local authorities for raising local taxes on property. In order to collect this tax, a periodic valuation of all properties was needed which produced a valuation list. Each time the rate was collected a rate book had to be made out to track payments. Information gleaned from these books varies depending on district and year but expect to find name of owner, name of occupier (head of household only) and type of property. For larger properties, some valuation lists will even give an inventory of rooms and outbuildings. A comprehensive list of dates and districts held at the archives can be viewed on our website.


Rate books are a fabulous census substitute and as they were produced with more regularity will fill in the gaps of who lived in your house and street in between census years.


Voters Lists

Poll lists, Burgess Rolls, Parliamentary and Electoral Registers can be useful sources of information, providing that the limitations of the franchise laws are taken into account. We hold a varied selection of voters lists – for a detailed list refer to our summary of resources over on our website.

Street and Trade Directories

A variety of Bury and District directories from 1772 – 1967 are available for reference in the search room on open access. The information contained in these varies but they can provide alphabetical lists of inhabitants, street by street lists and alphabetical trade listings. With huge thanks to funding from Bury & District Local History Society these directories can now be viewed online over on our website:


The intention of this article is just to introduce you to some of the main sources used in tracing your house’s history and the types of records we hold here at the archives. When you have dealt with the basics, there are many other sources to consider – such as probate records, deeds, published histories, business records to name but a few. Some of these will be held here, some online and others held in various record offices.

Did you know we offer a research service? Charged at £20.00 per hour we can undertake most types of research including family history, local history, or the history of a business, house or building. Contact us for more details or send your request over on our website.


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Bury Art Gallery and Public Library: laying of the foundation stone April 1899

April 29th 2019 is the 120th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone for Bury Art Gallery and Public Library; using items from our archive we want to explore the origins of this beautiful building – why it was built, who designed it and who was chosen to lay that very important foundation stone?

Accepted design for the Art Gallery and Library published in the Bury Guardian 29th April 1899

Why an Art Gallery and Public Library?

In 1897 Bury was presented with the art collection of the late Thomas Wrigley by his three surviving children – Emma, Oswald and Frederick to coincide with the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The gift was conditional that the town would provide a building to house these valuable paintings. Thomas Wrigley had made his fortune through the manufacture of paper and was head of the firm at Bridge Hall Mills from 1846 – 1880 – his wealth enabling him to accumulate a considerable collection of oil paintings, water colours and Wedgewood china. This generous gift of a treasured art collection was indicative of a family who had a keen interest in promoting the health, welfare and education of the people who shared their native town. On the day of the foundation stone-laying, The Bury Guardian dedicated a full page to the Wrigley’s – applauding their benevolence, charitable involvement and expressing what a privilege it is to have been gifted such a unique legacy.

Where to build?

In early 1897, shortly after the gift to the town was announced, the Town Council set up an Art Gallery and Public Library Committee. Members of this committee could now begin to administer the huge amount of work which went into the design, construction and overall organisation of erecting such an important public building. The committee minute book opens with a discussion on possible locations and, ‘after carefully considering the advantages of various plots of land’, suggests two suitable sites.

Art Gallery and Library Committee Minute Book 1897

The land on Moss Street and Silver Street, in which years before was the site of Broom Hall (home of another well-known Bury family, the Hutchinsons), was chosen in preference to land adjoining the technical school possibly due to the school considering future extensions to its buildings.

Plan taken from Conditions of Competition & Instructions to Architects, June 1897 (click to view full size)

Which Design?

After a survey of the site was made, the Borough Engineer, Mr J Cartwright, prepared the conditions for competitive drawings and architects were invited to submit their designs to the Corporation Offices on Bank Street. Premiums of £75.00, £50.00 and £25.00 were to be awarded for the designs ‘adjudged to be of sufficient merit and placed first, second and third in order’. An assessment of the quantity and dimensions of the artwork (stored at the Wrigley’s family home, Timberhurst) had been carried out so that the set of architects’ instructions were quite specific:

The first floor to be devoted entirely to the Art Gallery, with the necessary
conveniences, and to have three galleries of special dimensions: one to contain
not less than 270 lineal feet of wall space; the second to contain not less than
106 lineal feet and the third not less than 90 lineal feet‘.

Instructions for the Public Library were:

The ground floor to contain suitable reading and news rooms with a special room
for ladies, as also accommodation for lending and reference library and provision
for librarian, with the necessary offices, lavatories and conveniences‘.

A total of 22 sets of plans were submitted and, after much consideration, the Council decided upon a design in the style of 18th century English Renaissance which boasted a classic portico and carved terminals with friezes of sculpted figures. The architects were Woodhouse and Willoughby of King Street, Manchester.

Who will lay the foundation stone?

The honour would, of course, be granted on the Wrigley family. Sadly, Emma had died just a couple of months after the art collection had been offered to the town. That left the surviving brothers, Frederick and Oswald. In a meeting of March 23rd 1899, the Art Gallery committee chaired by Alderman Walker suggested that ‘Mr O. O. Wrigley should lay the foundation stone on Saturday 29th April’. A further meeting on the 27th April reported that Mr O. O. Wrigley had accepted. The minute book does not detail why he was chosen over his brother Frederick. However, Martin Tillmanns, in his book Bridge Hall Mills: Three Centuries of Paper & Cellulose Film Manufacture suggests that despite his benevolent nature, Frederick ‘was not greatly interested in local affairs and was never persuaded to take part in them’.

Minute book 1897

In a meeting held on April 20th 1899 a decision was made to honour Mr Oswald Wrigley with Freedom of the Borough which would be conferred on the same day as laying the foundation stone. The Bury Guardian reported this honour was granted to Oswald, ‘in recognition of the esteem in which he and members of the Wrigley family are held by the inhabitants of their native town’.

Oswald Osmond Wrigley (1836 – 1917)

Saturday 29th April 1899 – How did it go?

The day was to be one of ceremony and celebration; it began at 1pm where members of the Town Council met at the Corporation Offices on Bank Street to begin a procession to the Athenaeum. The streets were decorated with banners and bunting – the Bury Guardian reported that a very large crowd had gathered where ‘the spectators were allowed to gather close to the barriers and the sea of upturned faces presented a very interesting sight’. Members of the public were also invited inside the Athenaeum Hall to witness Mr Wrigley accept the honorary freedom of the borough; the resulting speeches were full of gratitude, designed to arouse a real sense of civic pride amongst those present:

Colonel Walker: ‘It is a happy thing for the people of Bury that our friends, the members of the Wrigley family inherited not only the pictures from their father, but that they inherited also his generous impulses and kindly heart. We honour them, and are grateful to them for the magnificent gift’.  

Mr O. O. Wrigley: ‘By conferring on me the freedom of the borough of Bury – a sign of kindliness and esteem from my fellow townsmen which I know is meant to embrace all the members of the Wrigley family. I feel it to include my father … of whose memory we are all proud. It includes my brother and sister, by whose aid it has been possible to give to our native town the collection of pictures which my father brought together at Timberhurst, and which we have been delighted to present in his memory. I am to lay the foundation stone of their new home today and I hope that the pictures may be of use and enjoyment to those who come after us’.

Silver Freedom Casket made by W&Co and hallmarked in London in 1898, presented to Oswald Osmond Wrigley when he was made the first Freeman of the Borough of Bury. The hand illuminated scroll announcing this fact, which the casket was designed to contain, is pictured below. The four sides are engraved: one end has the coat of arms of the Wrigley family and the other that of the Corporation; one of the long sides shows the new building and the other the Wrigley’s house, Timberhurst. From Bury Art Museum Collection

A public luncheon followed at Phillips Hall on Garden Street and afterwards another procession, headed by the 1st Battalion of Lancashire Fusiliers. The procession was led over several streets including Haymarket Street, Fleet Street and Princess Street – the whole of the route lined with spectators.

Stone-Laying Ceremony Saturday April 29th 1899

The final ceremony at the site of the Art Gallery invited architect, Mr Willoughby, to hand over a beautifully designed mallet and trowel to the Mayoress, Mrs Wike, who duly presented this to Oswald Wrigley for laying the stone. Oswald expressed his honour with another heartfelt speech which gave thanks to the town while assuring them that once the building was complete it would be ‘an ornament to our town and when filled with books and works of art, will afford a means of education and enjoyment to both old and young who live here’.


M Tillmans, Bridge Hall Mills: Three Centuries of Paper & Cellulose Film Manufacture (Tisbury, Wiltshire Compton Press, 1978)
Bury Guardian, 29th April 1899
Bury Guardian, 6th May 1899
Corporation of Bury Minute Book: Art Gallery and Library Committee,
c1897 (Archives catalogue: ABU/1/1/10/1/1)
Proposed Art Gallery and Public Library: conditions of competition and instructions to architects on competitive drawings,
c1897 (Library Catalogue: A78.5)



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Donation of the Month: Keep Moving! Arthur Murray Removals

We always get excited when we receive donations! And photographs, especially, almost make us jump up and down with delight. All those moments caught on camera! When you donate your images to archive services what you are doing is preserving memories – not only for yourself but for future historians, researchers and members of the community who take pride in their heritage and their past.

Our Donation of the Month is from two lovely blokes – Jim Taylor and Sid Elston. They were absolutely brimming with memories of the time they worked together for local Bury removals company Arthur Murray (their snappy slogan was: “Keep Moving”!!).


From L-R: Jim Taylor, Helen Lindsay, Sid Elston

Jim and Sid both followed in their fathers’ footsteps – Jim Taylor Snr and Thomas Elston – who worked for the firm in the early days. Murray’s Removals were based in Spring Street – near the Scala cinema and the business was founded in 1909 by brothers Arthur and George Murray.


Over the decades they transported goods from local mills and manufacturers in addition to domestic removals. Sometimes they would encounter local celebrities and sports personalities who needed a reliable firm to transport their belongings to their new homes. We were enthralled when they shared fond stories of helping Violet Carson aka Ena Sharples to keep moving! (Yes, you’re right we are very easily star-struck!)

The photograph below shows Jim leaning nonchalantly on his Bedford van on 30th July 1966. Now why would Jim remember so clearly the exact date? Of course – it was World Cup Final Day! He remembers having the roads to himself that day as they were completely free of traffic.

Thank you Jim and Sid, we really enjoyed hearing your stories and anecdotes and are delighted with our new photograph donation which will be digitised and uploaded to our new image website (coming soon, we promise!)

Anyone donating photographs to Bury Archives Service can be safe in the knowledge that they are stored in the best possible conditions for their long-term preservation. Please get in touch if you would like to ‘preserve memories’ with Bury Archives.








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A Victorian Wedding Dress Revisited

In March 1844 Sarah Fletcher and James W. Kenyon were married in Bury Parish Church.  120 years later, in 1964, Sarah’s wedding dress and James’s waistcoat were donated to the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection at Gawthorpe Hall, near Burnley.

Curators from Gawthorpe Hall

Over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd November both of these beautiful items returned to Bury Parish Church as part of the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection-curated ‘A Victorian Wedding Revisited’ project, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund. We were lucky enough to meet up with the curators during the exhibition and they very kindly allowed us to photograph the display; it was such a privilege to examine the detail of these garments up close.

Prior to the event, curators from Gawthorpe Hall visited Bury Archives to undertake research into the Kenyon family and were accompanied by James and Sarah’s great-grandson, Mike Hopkinson – we met Mike again during the exhibition and he was more than happy to pose beside the bride and groom!

Mike Hopkinson, the bride and groom’s great grandson

A wedding dress would have been an expensive purchase so they were designed to be worn more than once.  On this particular dress the skirt and cape could be detached and worn separately with different outfits.

Mr Kenyon’s family were drapers with premises in Market Place, Bury, so they would have had access to good-quality cloth and haberdashery for the elaborate buttons, trims and fringing.  Originally the dress would have been a paler pink colour but has changed over time, gradually transforming into its present deeper, rose-gold hue, which happens to be very on-trend!



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Captain Charles Sydney Parsons 1891 – 1957

Ahead of the WW1 centenary over four years ago, we put a call out for donations of WW1 documents and photographs. What we aimed to do was gather together as many records as we could to preserve in our archive so that we might go on remembering the stories these items have to tell both during the centenary and on into the future.

Bury Archives arranged for Captain Parson’s scrapbook to be restored by a professional conservator from Manchester Archives

One of the first people to come forward was the then Reference Librarian, Penney Farrell, whose grandfather, Charles Sydney Parsons, fought at Gallipoli. After the war, her grandfather kept a scrapbook of memories from his time in service. There are some fascinating documents in this family archive: along with the scrapbook there are photographs; diary and letter excerpts; aerial photographs of enemy trenches; trench maps and a neck X-ray, taken in France when Captain Parsons was wounded by shrapnel.

Field Message to Captain Parsons

To commemorate the Armistice Centenary, we have put together a number of displays in our search room cabinets. Captain Parsons’ is the latest one to be featured.

Captain C. S. Parsons

Penney chose not to donate the records to the archive but loan them to us for the duration of the WW1 centenary. Reading extracts from her grandfather’s letters and diaries I can understand the reluctance to let go this captivating legacy. Captain Parsons’ incredible account of his experiences in Gallipoli is a thankful reminder (especially to his direct descendants) that he survived and was given the chance to marry, have children and carry on his name through the generations.

Aerial photograph of enemy trenches

Other documents from the collection including a Christmas card from 1917

Extracts from letters home

Captain Parsons describes the horror of the trenches:

“The Helles front was far more gruesome than the Suvla front, for not only were there heaps of unburied bodies out in front of the trenches, but many of the trenches themselves were cut through old graves, so that there were heaps of places which smelt like grave yards, and in which the bodies were quite exposed to view, and they were all in varying stages of decomposition, varying from the skeleton stage up to the almost fresh stage.”

His relief after spending 23 consecutive days in the firing line and the successful evacuation of Suvla:

“That night I slept like a log on the floor of the ward-room of one of our battleships, underneath a table. It is surprising what extraordinary places one gets used to sleeping in when on active service; I reckon I shall prefer to sleep under rather than on top of a civilised bed next time I get into a house.”

His deep sadness at the loss of comrades on Christmas Eve 1915:

“Unfortunately what little pleasure we might have extracted from Christmas was absolutely knocked on the head by a very sad event which occurred on Christmas eve evening. My company commander and 2nd Lieut. Straight (the newly married Canadian officer from the 12th) went down to the beach to do a little shopping (clothes etc), and to our surprise did not turn up to dinner. Eventually at about 8.30 pm we received a message from which it appeared that they had been killed by a bomb dropped from a Turkish or Bulgarian aeroplane on the beach. It was an awful shock to all of us…”

Photographs and documents from this collection will be on display in the search room for the rest of 2018.


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Donation of the Month: Rifleman Edmund Kaye

We’re reposting the following blog article, written in January 2016, as items relating to Rifleman Edmund Kaye are now on show in the archive’s search room to mark the Armistice and centenary of the ending of WW1.

Bury Archives & Local History

Back in October last year we were contacted by Mr. Bernard Kaye who requested information on how to donate documents and photographs relating to his grandfather, Rifleman Edmund Kaye (from Radcliffe) who was killed in action during World War One. We informed Bernard that we would be delighted to accept the documents into our archives and in return would digitise them and provide the family with a copy of the originals.

IMG_8088 Rifleman Edmund Kaye

The collection includes Army Forms, correspondence from the War Graves Commission, photographs and letters sent from Edmund to his young daughter, Hilda and his wife, Mary Ann.

IMG_8093 Army Form reporting Edmund’s death on 30th November 1917

The letter sent to his little girl, although short, is particularly poignant: Edmund begins his letter, “I thank you love for your card and glad you think of Daddy” and signs off with a heartfelt request for Hilda not to forget her prayers…

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East Lancashire Railway Armistice Exhibition

We could never have imagined, when we began our WW1 project four years’ ago, just how far and deep the sentiment (Bury remembering the First World War) would spread into our community. The extracted newspaper images, obituaries and articles have inspired painters, poets, historians and genealogists to keep on remembering those local lads who lost their lives a century ago.

Luggage Tags with Soldiers’ face images from local newspaper archive; text taken from Bury Station’s Roll of Honour

Armistice Exhibition 2018 on the over-bridge at Bury Station

The Armistice is nearly upon us and this has brought with it fresh opportunities for our community to get involved and to pay their respects to all those who fell. We did just that with a visit to the East Lancashire Railway Armistice Exhibition which decorates the over-bridge at Bury Station.

Using images, obituaries and articles taken from our newspaper archive and displaying them in such a unique way makes for a very thought-provoking tribute. We instantly connected with it because it feels very recognisable; the suitcases, luggage tags and hundreds of faces gathered together helps us to imagine the daily situation on that train station during 1914 – 1918. There would have been cheers and shouts, tears and goodbyes; silent prayers and the terrifying fear that loved ones would never see each other again – reality hits hard when we see the hundreds of military men decorating the station walkway. The ELR have shown us what an Archive does best! and that is to connect us directly to the past.

Above and below are just some of the pictures we took at the station; the red brick walls, dark red floors and knitted poppies complement what is a very striking exhibition:

Thanks to all at the ELR who have put so much thought in helping Bury to remember The First World War.

The Armistice Exhibition will be on display at Bury Station until the 11th November 2018.


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