Well, I, Gordon Gandy, hail from Warrington (you know, where the M6 is cobbled). My interest in local history began when I was given a copy of Warrington Hundred, a book published by the Corporation of Warrington in 1947 to commemorate the centenary of the incorporation of the Borough. I found this to be a fascinating read and have treasured my copy ever since. In my final two years at school I took Photography as one of my C.S.E. subjects (on good old film cameras where we processed our photos in a darkroom – none of
this digital stuff back then in the 1970s, well not for the likes of me anyway). In my final two years at school I took Photography as one of my C.S.E. subjects (on good old film cameras where we processed our photos in a darkroom – none of this digital stuff back then in the 1970s, well not for the likes of me anyway).
The photo above shows my photo exhibition in Warrington Market in recent years, with thanks to the manager at the time, Steve Pickering.
A glacial erratic – carried down
from the Lake District
10,000 years ago.
When I left school in 1979 I worked at Lowes (Warrington) Ltd, bookshop and stationers, of 60-62 Sankey Street. During my eight months there a book on old photos was published called Warrington As it Was.
In the mid-1990s I walked around the town centre to photograph the streets on film. Since then I have taken literally thousands of digital images of the town and thought it was a good idea to do something useful with them! I wanted to do what many had done in the past – record the town’s history for future generations to look back on.
But how would my interest in photography and the history of the town come together in one project? And from what angle? My big chance came when the Internet revolution arrived.
In 2001 I began researching the town’s history in a bit more detail. But again, I asked myself “from what angle?” I had learned lots about the town in my younger days and there were loads of great pictures of the old town, but I wanted to do something different – an ongoing project to fill my free time. I didn’t want to write a book, so I thought – I’ll take my own photographs, write my own stories about the town, combine it with my knowledge of the past and publish the results on a website.
Over the next four years I travelled round the town with my camera and notebook to begin recording my hometown in my lifetime. I was so pleased that I did because many of the scenes in my photographs are already part of history and cannot be seen for real today due to redevelopment. I had collected enough information to publish my findings, and so on Thursday, 12 May 2005, the mywarrington website went live.
But it didn’t stop there. Because it is a website, I can keep adding bits to it as I go. And some of the ideas have come from readers of the website. For instance, the Memory Lane page was originally just the Memory Lane poem which my dad helped to write, and I published it in his memory when he passed away in 2008. But a reader suggested that I turn the page over to readers’ memories of life in the town, and
that is what you see today. And as the technology moved on, so did the ability to update the website and display it better ways, hence the layout you see and a new website name was created too. I will continue to feature aspects of the town’s history in words and pictures, plus some of my personal memories of life in the town. If you would like to send in your own memories, please go to the Contact page.