A RETIRED librarian risked life and limb mapping the changing face of Rossendale over the last century for a glossy new picture book.

Susan Halstead, 60, dug out 45 archive photographs dating back as far as 1897 and took comparison pictures from the same spots in Rawtenstall, Haslingden, Bacup, Whitworth and Ramsbottom for her book Rossendale Then and Now.

To replicate the images, the hist-orian, who worked as a reference librarian at Rawtenstall Library for 20 years, often had to stand in the middle of busy main roads.

Mrs Halstead said that lots of people were curious about what she was doing when they saw her on location with her camera and clipboard. She said: “I was dashing in and out of the middle of roads like Market Street in Bacup, trying not to get hit by cars and get a good picture.

“People who knew me came up and asked me what I was doing.

“I just had to do it as fast as I could and get out of the way.”

The historian spent 18 months compiling and selecting the best historic photographs, taking the contemporary pictures, researching how they had changed and writing the explanatory captions.

She said: “I wanted to show the people as well as the streets and buildings.

“There are brass bands, people at work and leisure, stood outside the mills and school children.

“In one of the pairs of images, you can see people lining the road waiting for King George and Queen Mary’s visit in 1913 and then the bunting and people gathered for the Diamond Jubilee last year.”

According to the historian, Rossendale, unlike many other boroughs, has retained much of its history.

She said: “There are lots of beautiful buildings and interesting architecture left, like that of Rawtenstall Town Hall.

“Through making this book, I’ve learned how important history is to a place.

“And not only because older buildings are generally nicer than new ones."

Rossendale Then and Now is available for £9.99, and can now be ordered via Amazon.