Leek, nestled at the foot of the Pennines in North Staffordshire, is a small, quiet market town rich in history and still boasting a wealth of architectural gems scattered throughout its narrow streets. Its people are friendly and welcoming, and visitors from Stoke-on-Trent and beyond stop by regularly to search its antique shops and to learn of its wonderful textile heritage. It has strong connections with such august figures as William Morris, who lived in the town for a period, and architect Norman Shaw. Leek Through the Ages is the sister volume to Leek Through Time, published in 2012, and covers subjects not included in the earlier title. It contains early photographs of many of Leek's pubs, which numbered fifty-two within living memory - a considerable number for a town boasting only 20,000 residents today, a time of rapid population growth. School-leavers would declare that they were going to tour every pub in the town and drink a half pint of beer in each - where they would obtain the money to do this from and why many more young people didn't die of alcohol poisoning suggests that this was a vain boast.
Neil Collingwood was born in 1956 in Leek, Staffordshire. He developed an interest in local history following a period working as a museum attendant at Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Museum after obtaining his degree in Applied Biology. He soon discovered the archive collection of old photographs that the museum held and asked for permission to catalogue them on computer. Neil has given many talks on Newcastle-under-Lyme using both old photos and his own.