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NOSTALGIA: Wakes Week in Glossop

Walk down Glossop main street during the last week in July and you would see shops closed and hardly anyone about.

It was the first week of Glossop ‘Wakes’. Most people were on holiday and some shopkeepers too were taking a break.

Until the early 1960s Glossop was a mill town. Factories were either spinning cotton, making paper and clothes, printing fabrics or canning food.

And any of them closed for the week, a tradition that went back decades.

It was the same in other towns and villages in High Peak.

Production stopped, workers were given a week’s holiday pay and most people spent the week away.

It was mainly to Blackpool, Southport, Morecambe and Rhyl, but in the summer of 1947 the Chronicle was reporting that people were become more adventurous.

The rush to Benidorm was still well in the future, but popular choices 75 years ago were Great Yarmouth, Ilfracombe and other east and south coastal towns.

The Chronicle said the reason could be that many ex-servicemen had been stationed there before the push into mainland Europe to fight in the Second World War.

Now the fighting was over they wanted to take their families there for a holiday.

But the northern holiday resorts were still popular with Glossop Carriage Company and North Western Road Car Company carrying coach loads of passengers to north west and north east coasts until the 1960s.

But then times began to change, foreign holidays became more affordable and the mills stopped closing for Wakes Week.

Instead, workers could chose when to take their holiday and many were choosing to spend a week abroad.

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