[Last updated 31 May 2000]


The Wirksworth Website is joining The Wirksworth Heritage Centre to make an Appeal for Old Photos of Wirksworth people, places and events from before 1920. If the photo owner will give permission, we would like to make an electronic copy of the photo, and add the copy to a Photo Database. The original photo will be unharmed, treated with great care and respect, and returned at once to its owner. The Photo Database will be kept at the Heritage Centre for anyone to view, and to show our descendants what Wirksworth and the people were like all those years ago. When we have enough photos, we hope to put them on a CD disc, together with all the records in this Wirksworth website. The CD will be sold at cost, and will represent an unrivalled collection about Wirksworth's past. There should be room on the CD to store all the photos we receive. Some of the photos may be added to the Wirksworth Website.

For those submitting photos, we especially ask to be told all that the photo's owner can remember about the place, the event and the people - especially the people. This memory will unfortunately die with us unless an effort is made to record it somehow, now. Perhaps Grandfather was in that photo of the cricket team, but who were the other people? If we can record someone's name and approximate age, we may be able to identify them in the Parish Records. Those related will then have that electrifying pleasure of seeing what great grandfather George and his wife Lydia actually looked like. Photos don't have to be well taken or in good condition to be very valuable.

The Project is being run by Derek Walker of Wirksworth, with help from John Palmer of Dorset. Derek works for The Heritage Centre and John is the designer of this Wirksworth Website. If you have a photo or two that you would like to see in the History of Wirksworth, please contact Derek Walker on (Derek@gilkin.demon.co.uk). If you don't have e-mail, please send a letter to Derek at:

Derek Walker,
Old Photo Project,
The Heritage Centre,
Crown Yard,
DE4 4ET,

You will be told what to do next, by e-mail or letter. The photo or photos should be sent to Derek by recorded delivery, he will scan the photo to make an electronic copy, then send the photo straight back to you. We will also type out all you can tell us about the photo and put this into a database.

We are interested in photos from Wirksworth parish, which means Wirksworth town as well as the surrounding villages of Alderwasley, Ashleyhay, Biggin, Bolehill, Bonsall, Brassington, Callow, Carsington, Cromford, Griffe Grange, Hognaston, Hopton, Ible, Idridghay, Ivonbrook, Kirk Ireton, Longwaybank, Middleton, Parwich, Steeple Grange and so on.
We would like photos of individual people and families, but also group pictures from school, football and cricket teams, soldiers parading and work mates.
Really interesting are street scenes showing old buildings, pubs, factories, quarries and mines, even views of fields that have now vanished.

Below is an article from the local paper, describing the Project. Although some of it may be a bit "over the top", I think it does convey the excitement and possibilities of the Project.

Please help us, and tell the future about their past.

Derek Walker and John Palmer

Transcription of Article, Matlock Mercury
Thu 27 Apr 2000

Photo project to paint picture of townsfolk.

If you've ever wondered about tracing your family tree, you may have thought the process involved dusty old records and ancient parish registers.
But now, thanks to a pioneering project taking place in a Dales town, people from all over the world will be able to see what their ancestors from the Wirksworth area actually looked like - using only their home computer!
Old photographs depicting people, places and events in the town before the 1920s are being collected by local history buffs and will be stored on compact disc and published on the Internet.
It's hoped that the scheme - which is being spearheaded by the Wirksworth Heritage centre in Crown yard - will allow people tracing their family tree to not only find out who their relatives were, but what they looked like!
"Its a fantastic opportunity," said Derek Walker, a director at the Heritage Centre. "You've always been able to trace your family tree, but never really had the chance to find out what your ancestors looked like."
"Hopefully, using the CD or the website you will be able to enter a name and find photographs of a relative."
The photos will be the latest addition to a unique Internet website charting the history of life in Wirksworth, which includes more than 300 years' worth of parish records from the town.
The site has been compiled by Dorset man John Palmer, whose ancestors are from Middleton-by-Wirksworth. He received a commendation from the town council for his efforts last year.
Organisers hope the photographs will cover a similar period and tie in with the existing records.
Mr Walker is appealing for anyone who has old photographs which they would like to see included in the current project to contact him.
"We're looking for photographs dating from before 1920, of people, scenes and interesting events," he said.


"It would be helpful if they can put names to faces, although if this isn't possible the CD or website may be a way of identifying people on the photos.
"We can't guarantee that all the photographs will go on the CD, but we will collect them and ensure they're carefully looked after."
The service will eventually be available at the Heritage Centre for use by visitors and locals, and the CD will also go on sale.
Mr Palmer's website - (www.wirksworth.org.uk)- includes all the town's parish records from 1600 to 1900 as well as other lists of 8,258 differently-spelled surnames, marriages, deaths, memorial inscriptions, occupations and a special section on the surname Doxey.
There's even a list of crimes committed in Wirksworth between 1770-1829... and the punishments handed out!
Nearly 40,000 people have visited the site - which took three years to set up - since it was launched 16 months ago.
Anyone wanting to submit photographs for the project can call Mr Walker on 01629-823410