Historic photographs of Morton church have been discovered in old albums compiled by one of the leading local photographers of past times.
They were taken by William Redshaw (1856-1943) who worked from studio premises in North Street, Bourne, specialising mainly in portraiture although he also had a reputation for his local views. When he died, much of his work was lost although some has survived and has been reproduced by local historian Rex Needle in his definitive history of the town, A Portrait of Bourne.
He has also been in touch with William Redshaw's descendants for many years and in February 2011 two of his granddaughters, Mrs Val Jensen, of Mildenhall, Suffolk, and Mrs Heather Nash, of Vancouver, Canada, came on a visit to Bourne and brought with them photographs they had found hidden away with the family records. All were local views and among them were two views of the 14th century village church of St John the Baptist.
Research indicates that they were taken circa 1880 and although they are not in perfect condition, having been affected by slight damp and prolonged storage, they are of sufficiently good quality for clear reproductions to be made.
One shows the interior of the church and the second is of the impressive west front facing the main street and also includes an interesting feature that has long since disappeared. It is a purpose built pond specially designed for the washing of carts and wagons which were driven into the water, cleaned and then driven out at the other end.
This facility is similar to the old horse pool which can still be seen next to St Peter's Pool adjoining the Wellhead Gardens at Bourne, another large pond which sloped gently at one end to allow horse and cart together to be washed in the clear spring water.
The washing pond at Morton survived well into the 20th century but disappeared with the arrival of the motor car and the mechanisation of farm power when the cart gave way to the tractor. This photograph is therefore an evocative reminder of the way things were.
Article © REX NEEDLE 2011.
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