Add colour to B&W or remove colours to enhance a photo.

Oldham history

Oldham history, mid 19th century.

The photo shown here was for me a great find for Oldham history. I gave it minimal photo restoration and a little additional photo colourising so’s not to invade on the true age being depicted. Holebottom Colliery was situated on Moss Street (now named Fairbottom Street) in Oldham. In 1854 the colliery was operated by Lees, Jones and Co, and this continued until 1878.
The photograph shows Fairbottom Street in the middle of the 19th century. The base of the colliery chimney stack was later covered up by the front stalls of the Kings Cinema, which was built in 1911. The pit shaft is also now under buildings. The large building in the background, is the back of the Theatre Royal on Horsedge Street. The Coliseum, which was built in 1887 would appear later on the extreme right of this view.
In 1856 the pit was part of a valuation of the assets of Lees, Jones and Company. the equipment was listed as:
One pair headstocks, pulleys, capstan and cages.
One 24 horse, condensing engine with pumping gear complete.
One 20 horse, H.P. winding engine, with winding gear complete.
One hemp and one wire rope.
Two boilers fitted up complete.
One boiler house and chimney.
One wire capstan rope.
Smith shop and store rooms.
1305 pairs of rails with iron sleepers.
69 3-basket wagons.
2 houses at Holebottom.

In August 1876 the rotary beam engine at Holebottom was giving 17 strokes/minute and the pumps working 6 strokes/minute. The shaft was 177 yards deep to the Lower Bent seam, passing through five other seams on the way.
Operation passed to Jones and Company in 1878 but legal disputes and geological problems led to closure around 1880.

Holebottom colliery Moss st Oldham, now Fairbottom st

The same site today for this Oldham history photo. This is looking in the opposite direction, so the Kings cinema (Built on the mine) is on the right and the Oldham coliseum being refurbished on the left.

Fairbottom St Oldham with Kings cinema on right. Oldham colisium on left.


Shiloh Spinners

Shiloh Spinners sports day, Royton.

It was quite common for large companies to organise sports or fun days for their employees back in the 50’s. Many had Christmas parties for all the family and the lucky ones got a sports day during the summer. The Elk mill used to have one every year sponsored of course by the owners Shiloh spinning company. They were brilliant for kids mainly because of the fairground rides and plenty of sports activities to join in with.
The photo below shows a time for great fun at the Elk mill, Royton. It’s one that I have restored for myself after living and marrying a Royton girl. There’s some fascinating history surrounding the town so all these photos I have collected will go into a special page for my personal memories.
Hope you like the restoration and colourising, there’s plenty more to come.

This photo – Restored and Colourised.

Shiloh spinners annual sports day

This photo – The original before restoration.

Shiloh Sports Day, original photo

Shiloh Spinners

February 17, 1874, eleven Royton men of modest means met and decided to float a cotton spinning company. There could have been no more suitable place than Royton for this venture, for Royton boasts the first cotton mill in Lancashire – the Old Mill, Thorp Clough. Built in 1764 in the village of Thorp it was less than two miles away from Holden Fold, where these eleven Roytonians decided to build their new mill. They decided to call the new venture the Shiloh Spinning Company Ltd., named after an old wooden mill of the same name partially destroyed by fire which stood on the site they proposed to purchase.
In 1926 work was started on the Elk mill, Royton and was completed and opened in 1927.

Royton Urban District Council

Royton Urban District Council.

The photo below depicts Royton Urban District Council showing off their service vehicles in front of Royton baths. It was quite a common thing to do up until around the 60’s when sadly it seemed to stop globally. I say sadly because in the future it will be more difficult for people to research their own areas and will not be able to identify with their town or village.
I live in this area and love restoring old photos linked to Royton, but the pressure of doing photos for other people restricts the time I have for some self indulgency.
I’m going to set a page up on this website for any old pictures I come across of the my hometown though it may take some time to fill it up due to my work load.

There was quite a lot of work to do on this photo of Royton Urban District Council. Mostly because of colourising it in addition to restoring it. In total there was 21 layers needed to complete the photo, a large part being the colour layers but many more layers were used whilst performing the repair.
I have a new technique for replacing backgrounds for instance adding a new skyline. So this will feature much more in pictures restored in the future. It’s kind of a trademark with me and anything that helps speed up the process is very welcome.

A gentleman from a local site offered this information. “First looks like a Bedford the second from the left looks like an old Dennis ex Desert Campaign four wheel drive. And the last two purpose built refuse bodies which could be on any make of chassis The chimneys are from the left Bath Mill, Fir Mill just over the Baths roof and the Baths when it was heated by coal fired boiler. Your colour choice is not far out from memory amazing update PR”

Royton Urban District Council 1863 to 1974

This is the original photo with the usual creases, blemishes. low contrast and everything else you get with an old picture.

magaret sutcliffe-Royton Council

Brief history of Royton.

Royton council dates from 1863 to 1974, a local government district in Lancashire which covered the modern-day town of Royton and its suburbs and districts.
Royton covers a significant area to the north-west of the Oldham and formed part of the Oldham Parliamentary  constituency until abolished in 1950.

The township of Royton historically lay in the large parish of Prestwich cum Oldham. In 1863 Royton Local Government District was created when the township adopted the local Government act of 1858. A local board was formed to govern the town and in 1879 the district was enlarged by the addition of parts of Thornham township. The Local Government act of 1894 then reconstituted the area as an Urban District thus Royton Urban District Council replaced the local board. The urban district was divided into five wards: Dogford, Dryclough, Haggate, Heyside, and Thornham, with each ward returning three councillors to the fifteen-member council. The only change to boundaries was in 1933, when the Lancashire Review Order added a small area from the neighbouring borough of Middleton.

In 1974 Royton Urban District was abolished by the Local Government act of 1972 and its former area transferred to Gtr Manchester to form part of the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham. This is how it stands today, 2014, though many people still regret the loss of being part of Lancashire and stoically address their mail as Lancs and not Gtr Manchester.

Asian family photo

Asian family photo restored & colourised.

Not in the best condition, this great Asian family photo sent into me for repair was pretty bad but I got there in the end. Such a difficult photo to restore with just about everything wrong with it that can go wrong. There was creases, pealing, light and dark emanations shouting out for help.
The original photo that you can see below was, as becoming the norm, almost reaching the point of no return. I guess in hot sticky with quickly and dramatic changes in weather you can expect this kind of decay so this could be one of the better preserved photos, who knows.
I quite often start by restoring the worst parts of an image then everything else is plain sailing after that. In this case though I couldn’t really see the picture changing into a great finish like the customer would expect. So I started with all the easy parts then working through to the real bad stuff. Not a great idea as you can encounter areas that simply don’t work out the way you expected and then you have to start over again. Bugger it, I decided the easy route first to encourage me and keep my enthusiasm, fortunately everything worked out ok.
Never having done an Asian family photo before I had reservations about colours working on top of a black and white old photograph. Panic set in but then I thought why should it be any different from others that I have successfully completed. Turned out it was absolutely no different except for the fact that colouring the skin tones was actually easier.
I like the result very much and look forward to doing other similar work. For a very low price of £15.00 my customer was extremely happy and as I always say, that makes me happy too.

Original Photo.

Asian family photo

Click on the photo to enlarge it and you should see most of the damage on this great 60 year old Asian family photo.
Just in case you can’t see everything I had to restore I have included a magnified portion of the picture depicting one of the young boys. This type of damage was all over most of the photo.

Asian family photo magnified showing the extent of the damage.





Restoration and Colourising completed.

Great finish and well worth the cost of getting back those memories before it’s too late.

Asian family photo restored and colourised.

See more of my work here

Elsworth Rovers 1929

Elsworth Rovers football team 1929

This is the Elsworth Rovers football team (Cambridgeshire) of 1929-1930 after winning the Histon and District cup. Elsworth is a small town sited between Cambridge and Huntingdon and quite picturesque if you care to visit the area.  The photo was sent into me for restoration and was in very poor condition as you can see below. I suspect the picture was actually a mobile phone snap of the original taken in poor light which resulted in it being blurred. If you aren’t aware, blurring can not be restored no matter how good you are so I had a look around the net to see if there was anything else I could use. Surprisingly I found one straight away but it was from a local chronicle which obviously had copyright affixed to it. After merging the two photos copyright has no sway with ownership so both pictures helped to get the restoration looking really good.

Helston Rovers football team 1929The original photo of Elsworth Rovers football team winning the Histon & district cup in 1929-30.
Just click the photo to enlarge and you will see how bad it was and definitely needed the inclusion of the one I found within the archives of the Elsworth Chronicle.
You may ask why bother with this blurred one when the chronicle one was a much better quality. The answer is pretty simple in that you can’t use copyrighted material without permission. I discovered it was also embedded copyright so using both photos was not just necessary but also very useful when looking for reference points during repair. There was quite a lot of damage on the chronicle photo with things like inclusions and general dust and scratches therefore putting them together gave me that perfect result.

Restoration of Elsworth football team photo.The restoration.
If you enlarge this photo you will see how great the photo restoration turned out. I managed to sharpen it up somewhat from the chronicle photo and then performed all the repairs that were required. I put more contrast in to give it some much needed depth of field and added a few more touches to totally enhance the photo.
This is the names of the team line-up in 1929:
Back row – J W Throssell, S Braybrook, H Noble, W Sulman, T Fountain, W Parnell, C Tabraham, M Fisher, F Wayman.
Middle row – S Buckley, J Parnell, L Jessop, D Circus, B Wayman.
Front row – P Childerley, C Lambert.

Elsworth Rovers 1929 - 1930 in full colourThe final product.
Unfortunately my research did not find what colours Elsworth Rovers played in, though I’m quite familiar with shades on B&W photos so I decided on Gold and Black.
I doubt they were the actual colours but the team looks damn good to me and the customer so they are staying like this for the history books.
If you know what the colours really were, drop me a line and I’ll change them if they aren’t too drab 🙂