JUST a year after this main picture was taken, the Derby Hotel in Bury was no more. It was 1964, and by this time the hotel was no longer seen as a viable proposition, so the brewery which owned it sold the building to a development company.

For many months, councillors and officials soul-searched about the Derby Hotel’s future. In the end, it was decided that the building needed demolishing and by 1965 it was curtains...or to be more precise, the wrecking ball. The demolition deed was done.

The elegant facade of the Derby Hotel was a much-loved landmark for many years in Bury. It opened its doors in February, 1850, and was one of the town’s main architectural features alongside the Derby Hall and the Atheneum. Its design merit came courtesy of distinguished architect Sydney Smirke, while the Earl of Derby was the driving force behind it all — he was the person who commissioned the build.

Over the years, royalty was entertained more than once at the hotel, which at one stage had stables for 15 horses.

The hotel’s illustrious history also included a double suicide, in 1899, by an artistocratic Belgian consul and his lady friend. Why they chose to end their lives, and why they did so at the Derby Hotel in Bury of all places, nobody knows.

Fortunately, most other events at the Derby Hotel through the decades were happier occasions, and many locals were sad to see it go in the 1960s.

The smaller picture here is clearly of an earlier era than the main one, judging by the beautiful tram which pulled up outside the building, rather than the double decker buses in the main picture. The building itself clearly hadn’t changed much over the years, though the entrance was more closed off with the appearance of a wall at either side between the front columns in the later version.

Street lighting changed, too, in the time that lapsed between the first and second photograph — but perhaps you can spot more differences.