Old photographs: Winsley

Winsley, Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire
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St Nicholas Church, WinsleySt Nicholas’ parish church in the 1920s or 1930s, but little changed today. Only the almost detached tower remains from the medieval building, which was a chapel of Holy Trinity church, Bradford; the hall-like church building dates from 1841.

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The Wheatsheaf corner, WinsleyNear the western entry into Winsley village, with wall of Burghope Manor on the left and The Wheatsheaf on the right, which was then operating as a shop (not a pub, despite its pub-like name).

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 Seven Stars and school, WinsleyThe old road through the village with the Seven Stars public house on the right and Winsley School, now Winsley Social Club, on the left with the tower of the church beyond, far left. The sign behind the man refers to water from the well of which the winding gear can be seen next to him. At the back are Church Cottages and blacksmith’s forge, all then with thatched roofs.

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thatched house, WinsleyMany, possibly most, of the old houses in Winsley were thatched. These cottages are in the lane that winds around from the church, passing the former Post Office, back to the road to Bath at the Wheatsheaf. They have Welsh slate roofs now and the gable on the right front has been greatly reduced.

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thatched houses, WinsleyAnother view of the same houses. This old postcard from the beginning of the twentieth century has the title “Ye Olde Cottages, Winsley”, so the thatch was considered quaint even then. The photographer, Wilkinson of Trowbridge, seems to gathered quite a crowd of curious onlookers.

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Winsley Sanatorium from the airThe redundant quarries at Murhill, Winsley were selected as a suitable place for a hospital to treat tuberculosis patients. Winsley Sanatorium is seen in this aerial photograph postcard (right). The caption says it is in Limpley Stoke, Somerset, although it was definitely in Winsley and Limpley Stoke also is in Wiltshire.

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ConkwellThe hamlet of Conkwell  in a postcard that was sent in 1925. Only the left side is in Winsley and Wiltshire; the right side is in Bathford, Somerset.

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Liberal Party meeting, Conkwell GrangeA Liberal Party rally at Conkwell Grange in 1910. The big neo-baroque house was only three years old at the time and had been built for James Thornton, to the design of the architect Sir Edward Guy Dawber (1861-1838) at an estimated cost of £25-30,000. It is now at the centre of an estate of 300 acres mostly devoted to woodland and horses.

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Turleigh in about 1905A view of the hamlet of Turleigh in about 1905, taken from Turleigh Down. Little has changed structurally, apart from the removal of whitewash from many houses. The main difference today is that the surrounding hills support many more trees than they did then. This is a postcard that was produced by Phoebus Studios in Bradford.

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Turleigh tollbarThe old toll bar on the Bradford side of the village of Turleigh. The gate is open and pushed back on the left, so the photograph is likely to date from after the abolition of tolls in the early 1880s. Incidentally, the sign of the Prince of Wales pub can just be made out on the right.

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Avoncliff weir and mill on the Winsley sideAvoncliff Mill, seen from the Kennet & Avon Canal Aqueduct, probably in the 1930s. The weir drove mills on both sides of the river; that on the Winsley side was the smaller and was mainly used for grinding flour, but also had a period during which flock was produced from old clothes and another for producing chlorophyll. After years of dilapidation, during which the roof fell in, it is now being converted into a house.

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GWR paririe tank with coal wagons at AvoncliffDespite its small size, the hamlet of Avoncliff  is still served by Avoncliff Station. It was opened as a halt in 1906 and did not suffer from closing in the Beeching era of the 1960s, mainly because it was not practical to replace the trains with buses. In this photograph a Great Western Railway prairie tank engine is taking a train of coal wagons underneath the canal aqueduct, towards Bradford.

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