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The Andrews Pages Picture Gallery : Lancashire
A selection of photographs, prints and postcards. Some have personal or family connections
 
Jacob's Ladder, Nuttall Park, early twentieth century


It has taken a long time to track down where this photographic postcard was taken. Was it anything to do with the Heights of Jacob in Matlock Bath, for example? Or Jacob's Ladder at Devil's Bridge Aberystwyth? Or even the one at Edale? The short answer is no, it isn't any of them. I eventually discovered the location when I was searching for postcards by A. E. Shaw & Co. of Blackburn and came across the same scene, minus the dog and the infant child, on a card published by Shaw that had been posted in the first decade on the twentieth century. The photograph here is difficult to date but was possibly taken shortly after 1900. The initials P. T. can be seen on the stones, probably indicating who the photographer was. The only name found so far is of a Frank Peirt Tillotson who lived in Burnley in 1911.

The young child in the picture is wearing what looks to be a baby dress with probably lace around the sleeves and on the bodice. Whilst we can't see the detail here, such dresses were beautifully and lovingly made. The photograph was taken on a dry sunny day in the early autumn as there are some fallen leaves on the stone paving slabs and steps.

This Jacob's Ladder seems to have been quite a well kept secret as newspaper searches have only found one reference - in 1905. The short article was discussing possible routes and giving advice for walkers visiting the area - it was recommended that the route more elderly walkers could take a should include going "up the picturesque Jacob's Ladder from Nuttall Lane to Grant's Tower"[1].

The original Jacob's Ladder can be found in the Bible, when Jacob flees from his brother Esau. Here we have a "ladder" of stone steps, with an infant child in front of it and trees beside it instead of angels described in the Book of Genesis (below). Flights of steps like these were usually used by workers in years gone by.


Genesis Chapter 28: verses 10-19
The vision of Jacob's ladder

10 And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran.
11 And he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set ; and he took of the stones of the place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven ; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said I am the LORD, God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac : the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed ;
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee back into this land ; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. ...
16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said Surely the LORD is in this place ; and I knew it not.
17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. ...


Interesting external links:

John Ireland's page for walkers describes the ladder.

John Crossthwaite took this lovely winter scene in March 2018. The metal handrails, which are on a bridge, shown in the photograph above are still in use but the rustic fencing must have been replaced a number of times.


"Jacob's Ladder". No. 4. No publisher. Card unused. Half Penny postage.
In the collection of, provided by and © Ann Andrews.
Page designed by, researched and written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References:

[1] "Bolton Evening News", 27 May 1905.

[2] Quotation from Genesis transcribed from my family Bible, published in 1835.



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