There are few things more evocative of times past than an old photo, and of course they help us to understand how our village has changed over the last century. If you think of why you take a photo you’ll find that the same reasons applied for earlier photographers – a village event, a snowy scene, a sporting activity, an attractive building, a proud business proprietor, taken for a particular reason but indirectly giving an insight into times past. Photos often don't have dates on them, so we need to rely on 'style of dress' or 'vehicles' to date them.

Photography took off early in the Astons with a Presbyterian Minister the Reverend Curry recording village life during the 1890s. His glass lantern slides were converted to 35mm slides by Michael Page in the 1980s, then scanned into digital files and retouched using software by his granddaughter Anna Dillon in the 1990s. In 2010 Peter le Conte took the 'raw' digital files and resized them and prepared them for our village website.

Another series of photos were taken by EH Leach between 1910 to 1915 – which can be seen online on the English Heritage website: and yet another series in the 1930s by Percy Simms and Son (of Chipping Camden) which can be seen on the Oxfordshire County Council’s Online Heritage website: Some of the Simms Collection were made into postcards - examples of which are in the Aston's History Group archive. 

Percy Simms seems to have been aware of the 1890s series as his photos are taken from the same positions of the same views. This makes for a marvellous comparison of how the villages had changed, or remained the same, in the intervening 50 years. 


The Astons History Project's archive of pictures, and documents, is gradually being digitised and added to our community archive. Do you have any interesting photos that could be scanned and added to the village archive? 


A snowy scene. The Boot pub. 1980s.

A sporting activity. The old pavilion.2007.

A proud business proprietor. Clements grocer & greengrocer. 1950s.

A parochial parish council meeting, on the steps of Manor Barn. 1930s.

Installation of the refurbished church clock. 2012.

The old Filberts Cottage being demolished. 2011.

How's this for unexpected historic relevance?

This picture of the school football team was taken in front of the toilet block. We had heard from ex pupils that the boys' section was open air, but this picture confirms that oral evidence. See also the low-level doors for the removal of 'soil' buckets from the roofed cubicle toilets.