I have added a very slight touch of colour to three quite famous pictures of Marlow’s Market Square and upper High Street in Victorian times.

At the top, and in marvellous detail considering it dates from the 1890s, is the view along Spittal Street, with the horse drawn water cart filling up from the stand pipe which was situated near the obelisk.

As well as supplying water to outlying houses the cart was used to dampen down the dusty streets in dry weather.

Further on, to the right, the projecting sign of the Greyhound Hotel can just be seen. However, on the subject of signs, those on the Market Hall are impressive and can be read with a bit of enlargement, insets above.

As well as “Crown Hotel” (the cellar doors are open) there is “Fire Brigade Station” – in this era the fire tender, also horse drawn, was housed behind gates in the left hand arch. On the wall is the most difficult to read sign but refers to the fire bell in the cupola up top: “Notice: In case of fire the bell should be rung for at least five minutes”.

The fire crew, all who worked in the town, would come running, some to pull out the tender and some to round up the horses in the field to the rear.

The rope hanging down can just be seen alongside the sign, positioned out of reach of mischievous youngsters.

Below left, this has been in the Marlow Free Press before on a page with examples of work by Marlow’s first professional photographer, Rebecca Blake from West Street.

Dating from 1860 and outside the shops of London House (an outfitter) and Chas. Foottit (a chemist) are several stovepipe hatted gentlemen and two ghosts, the latter caused by moving during the camera’s long exposure.

Finally, just slightly older and before Mrs Blake had bought one of those newly invented cameras plus a tripod, is a lovely print including a coach and horses, possible the stage arriving from London, a three hour plus journey.

On the right the signs above Pearce’s bow fronted shop advertise printing, hairdressing, library and newspapers, and all going on in one building!

Contact Michael on michael@jazzfans.co or 01628 486571