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Welcome to Bentham’s Bygone Years

Every settlement has a past,  and knowledge of the past gives a better understanding of the present.

When I became the Headteacher at High Bentham Primary School in 1973 I had no knowledge of the fascinating history of the Benthams. It was only when, in class, we started to talk about the children’s families and pupils started to bring photographs and artefacts, such as bobbins from the silk mill, that I started to develop an interest in the history of this locality.

As a teenager I had been keen on photography and I always had a darkroom so it was easy to copy photographs and articles and gradually a collection grew creating a useful reference tool for class topics. This material later provided the backbone of three publications.  ‘Bentham in Times Past’ published by Countryside Publications’ and compiled by Peter Bolton and myself, ‘A Century Of Bentham’ and ‘Bentham As It Were’, both written by myself and published by Landy Publishing.

The onset of the digital age has made copying and printing simpler and most of the photographs have been scanned and stored digitally.  Some time ago I was amazed to find the collection amounted to about 1300 images. After staging two very popular exhibitions in Bentham Town Hall I decided it would be best to make the pictures available to all on a website. When the chance was offered for Dickon Siddall to prepare the pictures for publication through the Town Council website I seized the opportunity and the results are here for you to see.  I hope you enjoy viewing this part Bentham’s heritage.

Since the pictures were submitted others have been donated and I hope to add these together with one or two additional categories  sometime soon.  My thanks to all those kind people who have lent and donated pictures to make this site possible.

David Johnson
March 2014