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Historic images of Cheese Rolling event come to light

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Photographer Annie Blick unearthed some rare glass photographic plates showing one of the Cotswolds’ quirkiest events – the Cheese Rolling at Cooper’s Hill near Gloucester.

“I bought them about 35 years ago I think,” said Annie. “They are 3.5”x 4.5” glass plates and by the clothes I would guess the pictures were taken in the 1920s.”

Cheese4 | Historic images of Cheese Rolling event come to light
A fierce-looking Master of Ceremonies.

The plates came in an envelope with the name ‘Walwin’s – Kodak Specialists’ a long-gone camera shop that was in Southgate Street, Gloucester. It was common for press photographers to use glass plates instead of film right up until the 1960s, but Annie’s pictures are much earlier than that.

Cheese Rolling 2 | Historic images of Cheese Rolling event come to light
Walwin’s – a former camera shop in Gloucester.

The event has become world famous following Netflix’s documentary in 2020, We Are Champions, which shows Flo Early’s preparations in 2019 to win the ladies race for an unprecedented fourth time.

On the last Monday of May fearless racers descend the precipitous Coopers Hill, chasing a large Double Gloucester cheese. The oldest documentation of the race is a note written to Gloucester’s town crier in 1826, though many believe the tradition is at least 600 years old.

Pictures courtesy of Annie Blick

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