Book captures another slice of history

PEOPLE in Wells very rarely create a historic record of their road. Residents of Chamberlain Street have done it twice, writes Philip Welch.

Back in 2012 they created a book to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, photographing residents outside their front doors.

Then in 2022 they produced an updated and enhanced version, pictured right, in memory of the Queen in her Platinum Jubilee year, with 46 households taking part compared with 36 in 2012.

The delightful photos of residents were all taken by 87-year-old Ann Cook who lives in the street and is the oldest accredited photographer working at Glastonbury Festival.

She even took aerial photos of the street from a cherry picker which happened to be there clearing house gutters.

Concise and intriguing stories written by the residents themselves are placed next to their photos.

Also in the new book are two pages of pictures of the disastrous fire in 2019 which tore through Robert and Sarah Powell’s house at No 26.

“While I was walking the dog I received a phone call from a Chamberlain Street neighbour asking if I knew our house was on fire,” said Robert.

The fire brigade took six hours to extinguish the fire and the Powells had to move out for 20 months for the house to be rebuilt.

Ann paid particular tribute to Diana McNulty for organising the new book project.

“While I was taking the photographs Diana would brilliantly hold up traffic, at least twice stopped me being run over by a bus,” said Ann, “and shouting ‘car coming’ because she knows I am deaf, especially when in the throes of artistic endeavour. Then I don’t hear a thing.”

Nineteen houses or flats have changed hands since 2010 but the 2022 book has built relationships between newcomers and their neighbours, and will be something to show grandchildren.

To order a copy of either book email Ann on: or