Adecade of research is nearing conclusion for former Derbeian Leonard Seale who is hoping to finally publish his book at the end of this year. Jane Goddard reports.
SOME ten years ago, former Chaddesden resident Len Seale embarked on a daunting task. He decided to attempt to put together a photograph-based book on the Chaddesden and Spondon areas of Derby, covering the years from the mid-1930s through to the 1950s. The inspiration to embark on such a massive task came from an old football photograph featuring Morley Road Youth Club.
Spondon House School teaching staff in 1945. Back, from left: J Allen, M White, D Davis, R Elliott, E Flint, R Waldron, unknown, G White, Mr Walters, A Walton. Middle: Miss Gough, Miss Bennieston, Miss Davis, unknown, unknown, Miss Holmes. Front: W Ball and Mr Jephson.
Mr Seale, who now lives in Welshpool and used to work in Derby City Council engineers’ department, sent in the picture to Bygones with the question “Where are they now?”. The response came back that at least four of those young men had died of cancer over the years. Len said: “I decided to put together a book and dedicate it to Macmillan Cancer Support. Originally, the project was to be based on schools but, due to the feedback I have received from many, many people over the years, I have now included a variety of other subjects.
“These include military, National Service, Scouts, Guides, carnivals, apprenticeships, football, cricket and many others. I have also been quite flexible in the dates covered. If the picture is good then I have used it, even if it outside of the mid-1930s to 1950s timescale.”
Spondon House School girls at Amber Valley Camp in the late 1940s to early 1950s.
One of the key aspects of the project has been Len’s determination to add names to faces on the photographs he has traced. He explained: “I have attempted to get names, dates and venues because I feel that, without this information, a photograph can be meaningless.”
As part of his painstaking research and gathering of photographs, Len has made contact with hundreds of people with Chaddesden and Spondon connections and has even written to complete strangers when he has seen mention of subjects he is researching in our own Bygones pages. He said: “I get Bygones and have been known to write on spec to people if they have mentioned a Spondon school or Chaddesden football team, for example, and ask them if they have any old photographs. Continue reading