A while ago I received a communiqué from a member of the ‘Soddenham diaspora’ who sent me a number of photographs of ‘the old country’ he had just inherited. Mr. Pickard, a regular visitor to our humble website, sent me an elegantly typed letter explaining his scant knowledge of the images and why they were sorted in such a way. He wrote;
“Hi Les, About a week ago I was given a whole load of old boxes and tins that belonged to my uncle who for most of his life lived in Soddenham as did his father. I’ve been working my way through the contents of these boxes. In an an old rusty biscuit tin labelled “Old Soddenham Pictures” are a lot of images sorted into various envelopes with odd titles.”
Amongst the many photographs were this curious selection in an envelope marked ‘The Lanes,’ each showing a very simple visage of a regular country lane but with a quite unsettling atmosphere. Although they are not named, the Historical Society and Curry Club have been out and about searching for clues and we believe we can identify each one. The first one (above) is a track that runs between the Mulgrew’s Field and the Lichen Orchard viewed towards the south west from the Murrow’s Drift. The number 8 is written on the reverse.
The second photo is the view down Pricking Lane from just after the Lichen Orchard. This is the only photograph with no inscription:
The third image (below) is the lane that eventually became Murrow’s Drift looking North about 250 yards North of Tombstone Walk. This would date the image no later than 1902 when the road was crudely paved. This image is also inscribed with the number 8.
The last image was a little harder to place but we all think that this is highly likely to be Tombstone Walk itself, looking Westwards from Main Street. Again, the figure is unrecognisable but could be (and is likely to be) the same person as in the previous photo.
This is the only photo with a written inscription:
This is taken from Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost,’ but the connection with this particular image remains a mystery…
For those who would like to wander around our lanes and retrace the steps of the photographer, or just see how things have changes since these photos were taken, here is a map showing the approximate positions and direction of each of the four photos in this post.
A Message from The Soddenham Historical Society and Curry Club
Perhaps you can help? We are enthusiastic amateurs and try our best with the resources available to us but recognise that we may not be as accurate as we would like to be. Are our conclusions correct? Do you have another answer? Can you prove it? We would love to hear from you. Get in touch with Les Taret via the contact form here. In particular, we are looking for the link between the passage from Paradise Lost, the number 8, the mysterious figure and what these have to do with our lanes.
Many thanks to Mr Pickard for granting us permission to share these images with the general public.