• Crowhurst Yew - 'Voices from the Past'

    The latest arrival in the historical archive is this fine glass lantern slide of the ancient Crowhurst Yew in Surrey, part of a series called 'Voices from the Past' and probably dating from around 1910. Still a famed and remarkable tree and one that I photographed almost twenty years ago for "Heritage Trees of Great Britain & Northern Ireland". The notice on the old door states that:

    'The Key of the tree can be had at the Manor House on opposite side of the road'.

    The sign is long gone but the tree is still in great shape.

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  • Lassington Oak

    Latest acquisition for the archive collection is this splendid image of the famous Lassington Oak - a grand old tree that once grew in Lassington Wood near Highnam in Gloucestershire. The photograph is actually dated 15th August 1895 on the reverse and would appear to have been taken by some unknown amateur photographer. Look carefully and you'll see that he hitched his horse near the tree while he took the shot. This may be the earliest existing image of the tree, although it was soon to be followed in the Edwardian era by a whole host of representations on postcards - clearly a popular local subject with plenty of sales potential. The tree fell in 1960 and if you look online you'll see that the rotting remains still survive on the woodland floor. Fame of the name has survived in the title of the local morris side - Lassington Oak. Again, find out more about them on the Internet.

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  • Selling coppice almost 200 years ago

    Latest piece of wonderful ephemera acquired for the archive collection is this auction notice for Oak and Ash Coppice around Ledbury, Herefordshire back in 1822. Printed on incredibly thin paper it's a miracle that it survived. Note the use of so many different fonts - a typical feature of such posters from the 19th century. I know for a fact that some of these woods still exist. Frith Wood is a large wood above Ledbury and Astwood is a small block of woodland near Aylton, just a couple of miles from Ledbury. I plan to try and track down some of the other names. I particularly like the way that whoever once owned this has scribbled the prices realised at the sale plus the names of the individual buyers. A unique and truly fascinating piece of social history!

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  • Bryan's Ground

    A day off on Monday & we went to see a local, well fairly local, garden at Bryan's Ground, near Presteigne. A superb 3 acre patch that has been evolving for a little over a century around an arts & crafts house built in 1912. This is not your usual formal, neatly manicured garden where a weed would be ashamed to show its face, but a glorious mixture of inspired planting, indulged colonisation, nooks, crannies, follies and sculptural fancies, richly interplanted with many fine trees and hedges, along with the mighty existing trees that must have cast their shadows across Bryan's Ground long before the house existed.

    The gardens are only open on Sunday and Monday afternoons between April and July, but I can't recommend them highly enough.

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  • A cracking little album from the 20s

    My partner Jan has a great knack of turning up some wonderful photographs from the past. This time she discovered a small family album from the 1920s among a jumble of clutter on a car boot table, rescuing it for the princely sum of £1.50. Granted, many of the images are poorly composed, sometimes creased or badly faded, but here and there the occasional nugget jumps off the page. It's that never ending fascination with these intimate moments of the lives of unknown people (none of the pictures are captioned) in unknown places from around a century ago that grabs the attention and fires the imagination, prompting so many questions that will never be answered.

    Jan's main reason for buying the album? She spotted a picture of a Scottie dog.

    ... and then we had a closer look at some of the other pictures & sure enough their faithful Scottie features with the family.

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Archie Miles photography

Archie's Blog

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