Opening a gateway to the past with images of Lancaster’s historic sites

Lancashire and Lakeland photographic view album.
Lancashire and Lakeland photographic view album.

In the second of a two part feature, we focus on photos of Lancaster featured in an album dating back to the early 1900s.

Along with pictures of Lancaster, the ‘photographic view’ leather bound album kindly donated to the Lancaster Guardian by Audrey Clayton, illustrates some of the charms of Lancashire and Lakeland, including pictures of Morecambe, Heysham, Grange-over-Sands, Ulverston and Barrow-in-Furness. In the back of the album ‘some of the charms of Lancashire and Lakeland’ are listed, including descriptions of each picture and the history surrounding them.

Lancaster Castle is included in the album.

Lancaster Castle is included in the album.

An extract says, “Lancaster with its noble castle and interesting recollections.

“Here lived the good Duke of Lancaster with his charming second wife, the daughter of the King of Castille, with whom, it is said, he brought a dowry in 1389 of 47 mules laden with gold, and afterwards, when his own daughter Blanche married the king’s son of John of Gaunt, a prosperous era dawned upon the ancient Lune township, and men grew rich and lived happily.

“But not always has fortune smiled upon the town, and we read of terrible plunderings by the ruthless Scots in 1322, and again in 1399; and when the country was ravaged by the Wars of the Roses, the faithful burghers were almost utterly exterminated.

“Later on in history its walls were battered and its buildings demolished by the vandal soldiers of Cromwell, that saintly Goth, who, bible in one hand and sword in the other, 
appeared to delight in the wanton destruction of all that reminded him of his royal victim - the hapless Charles.

“Again in the 17th century the town was all but annihilated by a dreadful fire which swept away the older houses. Later, true to their warlike traditions, many a score of bold Lancastrians fought in the Jacobite rising of 1745.

“But if the town itself can boast of so many interesting memories, what shall we say of its magnificent castle whose ancient and well preserved walls are veritable pages of unwritten history.

“Once the ducal home of John of Gaunt - ‘time honoured Lancaster’ - the noble building has bravely resisted the ravages of time and stands today a splendid monument of a chivalrous past.

“Our photograph shows us the massive gateway, a solid and stately structure, under the high archway of which many a distinguished company of steel-clad knights gay with broidered tunics and rich trappings has ridden into the castle to do homage to the duke, or perchance, sallied forth with clattering arms and closed visors to perform deeds of valour in the tournament or battlefield.

“Our illustration gives us an excellent idea of the town as seen from an elevation, and before us spread the dwellings, public buildings and churches of the 32,000 souls who go to make up the life of Lancaster.

“Among the more important buildings may be mentioned the town hall, with its handsome frontage of Corinthian columns, and Attic roof surmouned by a clock tower, to the right of which the protruding telegraph poles seem out of place in the quiet old-world spot.

“A far more interesting and beautiful structure is the Shire Hall, under the shadow of which are enclosed some old cannon, each with a history of its own.

“The Old Parish Church is also well worth a visit with its high square tower and handsome chancel, the whole facade presenting an appearance at once striking and pleasing.”