Montrose Through Time is an excellent presentation of the changes that have taken place over the past century or so in this attractive coastal town in Angus. Amberley Publishing's "Through Time" series is a format which does a great job of bringing the past to life in a very immediate way, and Tom Valentine has applied the format very effectively to his home town, Montrose.
The idea is very simple. Take a series of views of the town shown in old postcards, then match them up with modern photographs taken for comparison. What is particularly nice about Montrose Through Time is the care the author has evidently taken to ensure the closest possible matches between the old views and the modern equivalents. You get the sense throughout of the author literally comparing the scene in his viewfinder with a copy of the original postcard.
Montrose Through Time will appeal to anyone who knows the town, either as a resident or a visitor. But the great thing about the way the images have been paired is that the book will also be of interest to anyone interested in the way our settlements have changed over time: and the elements which have not changed. Some of the changes are to be expected. Streets that seemed relatively empty when originally photographed are now home to that blight of the modern world, parked cars. Less obvious is the way what might be called the treescape has changed, often greatly altering the appearance of a scene. In some cases trees in early photographs have been cleared, while in others they have grown: or simply planted where they didn't previously exist.
The most intriguing image in the book is an early postcard view of Beacon Terrace in Ferryden. Here a number of residents appear to have come out to pose for the photographer, while overhead, at very low level, is an early biplane, which appears to have simply flown into the image by chance. This was, presumably, en route into Montrose Air Station, established on the northern side of the town in 1913.