New photo exhibition is a fascinating look back through Melton’s history

1933 photo of men performing maintenance work on the roof of St Mary's Church in Melton EMN-180424-170910001
1933 photo of men performing maintenance work on the roof of St Mary's Church in Melton EMN-180424-170910001
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If you love looking at old photos of Melton going back to early in the last century then Melton Carnegie Museum is well worth a visit over the next few months.

An exhibition displaying fascinating images of the town’s past was opened to the public on Saturday and it will run through to July 7.

The oId Blacks Head pub in Market Place, Melton, pictured in the 1920s EMN-180424-170739001

The oId Blacks Head pub in Market Place, Melton, pictured in the 1920s EMN-180424-170739001

Many of the pictures, which have been taken from collections kept by the Thorpe End museum and the Record Office for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, have not previously been seen by the general public.

The photos provide a poignant look at byegone times in Melton, showing old businesses which used to trade in the town, popular community events and what life was like during the Second World War.

Visitors are being asked to vote for their favourite images in the exhibition with the most popular ones to feature in a calendar, to go on sale in October.

Katie Bluett, market towns museums supervisor for Leicestershire County Council, said: “We were talking about doing a calendar because no-one seems to do one on Melton anymore.

A float passes by at the Melton Hospital Carnival in 1939 EMN-180424-170750001

A float passes by at the Melton Hospital Carnival in 1939 EMN-180424-170750001

“Then we thought it would be a nice idea to get people to vote on their favourite old photos and it went from there.”

Her colleague Amy Barrs added: “We have had quite a few people coming in to look at the pictures already and they are spending a long time looking at them.

“We’ve also had lots of people voting on their favourite pictures for the calendar.”

One of the most eye-catching images is a group of maintenance men working precariously on the roof with no safety harnesses, which is believed to have been taken in 1933.

A cheese fair in Melton in 1910 - cheeses were stacked on straw in Market Place and some surrounding streets in the town EMN-180424-170801001

A cheese fair in Melton in 1910 - cheeses were stacked on straw in Market Place and some surrounding streets in the town EMN-180424-170801001

Another shot, from the Second World War years, shows evacuees arriving from Sheffield and meeting their new host families in the town’s Corn Exchange building.

A picture from the 1920s shows the former Blacks Head pub in a busy Market Place. The building has not changed must in the last century and some readers will remember it being the home of Pendulum Records until it closed in 2009.

Melton is no stranger to family shows and events, of course, and one popular occasion was the annual Melton Hospital Carnival, which raised money for the town’s War Memorial Hospital and Isolation Hospital.

A photo in the exhibition shows a group of women and girls going past on a float during the 1939 carnival.

Elephants from the Bertram Mills International Circus are led down Burton Street, Melton, possibly after being through the horse wash on Leicester Road EMN-180424-170813001

Elephants from the Bertram Mills International Circus are led down Burton Street, Melton, possibly after being through the horse wash on Leicester Road EMN-180424-170813001

There is also an image showing outdoor swimming in the town’s river in 1930. It shows a gala at the lido, on a loop in the river east of Burton End, known as Swans Nest. Diving boards and wooden changing huts were installed. Mixed bathing wasn’t allowed.

The circus was a popular attraction in Melton as it still is today. A photo from early in the 20th century shows elephants from the Bertram Mills International Circus being led down Burton Street, possibly after being through the horse wash on Leicester Road.

Another interesting picture depicts a cheese fair in the Market Place in 1910. These were traditionally held during April, September and December, and were organised by the town estate from 1883 to 1914.

Cheeses were stacked on straw in Market Place and some surrounding streets in the town for buyers to view and at 11am they would be loaded on to waggons and taken to the railway station to be transported to the big cities.

You can visit Melton in Old Photos at the museum from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4.30pm, and vote for your favourite image for the calendar.

Go online at www.imageleicestershire.org.uk to see a bigger collection of old historic photos collected by the county council.

Evacuees from Sheffield are introduced to their host families in the Corn Exchange in Melton during the Second World War EMN-180424-170824001

Evacuees from Sheffield are introduced to their host families in the Corn Exchange in Melton during the Second World War EMN-180424-170824001

Flooded Burton Street in Melton EMN-180424-170835001

Flooded Burton Street in Melton EMN-180424-170835001

The Prince of Wales, who would become King Edward VIII, pictured hunting in Melton EMN-180424-170847001

The Prince of Wales, who would become King Edward VIII, pictured hunting in Melton EMN-180424-170847001

A swimming gala in 1930 at the lido in Melton, at a loop in the river east of Burton End, known as Swans Nest EMN-180424-170858001

A swimming gala in 1930 at the lido in Melton, at a loop in the river east of Burton End, known as Swans Nest EMN-180424-170858001