Saturday, 30 May 2015

27 : Tall Chimney, Much Smoke

A picture of Elland taken from the top of Blackley in either the 1970s or early 1980s. Elland Power Station is long gone, as is the memory of how much pollution such undertakings created. It might be a tall chimney, but these valleys have steep hillsides.

26 : Not As Grey And Colourless

Crookes Valley Road, Sheffield. I must have taken this photograph back in the early 1980s. At the time we were living at the top of Oxford Street, just to the right from where the photograph was taken. Most of the buildings still exist today - but somehow they don't seem as grey and colourless.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

25 : Far, Far, Away

A scanned negative from my own family collection - a 127 format negative which must have been taken in the late 1950s. It shows my brother, Roger, who was on a school trip to Blankenberge on the Belgian coast. I vaguely remember him being away (I would have been about ten at the time) : away in a foreign country, far, far, away.

24 : A Shining Light Making Me Blue In The Face

Continuing my exploration of the 12 recently purchased glass plate negatives, this intriguing picture of a lighthouse shines no light at all on the area covered by the unknown photographer in question. My first thoughts were that it must be the Yorkshire coast - I am fairly confident that a number of the other negatives were of Yorkshire subjects - but I have looked at mugshots of possible Yorkshire lighthouses until I am blue in the face without pinning this one down.

Monday, 25 May 2015

23 : The Daily Mirror

Self Portrait. Re-scan of a 35mm black and white negative I must have shot (with the help of a mirror) way back in the mid 1960s. 

22 : Plenty Of Stones But Few Clues

The next in the sequence of old glass negatives shows a roughly made jetty with a crude winch device for loading boats. there is a single track rail delivering what looks like trucks of stone or possibly coal. As I scan these old negatives I become more convinced that they date back to the very beginning of the twentieth century, but I have still no clue as to where they were taken.

Friday, 22 May 2015

21 : Could It Be?

This comes from the large shoe box that I like to refer to as The Family Archives. However, I have no idea who it is. Clearly the man is a bowler which makes me think of Great Uncle Fowler: but it is not him. But there was the mysterious man who inherited Uncle F's estate ... could it be?

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

20 : Sitting On The Fence

I was in the process of giving an old memory stick away when I double-checked to see if there was anything on it. Then I found this scan of an old negative which, I fear, is long lost. That is me in about 1955 - sitting on the fence, even in those days.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

19 : One Glass Step Back

The fourth of the scanned glass negatives. I suspect that this is the same abbey as in the first negative and if that is the case I withdraw my suggestion that it is Bolton Abbey. One step forward, one step back.

Monday, 18 May 2015

18 : Climbing The Hill

Rescan of an old negative. It is South Lane in Elland and I must have taken the photograph using a long lens from on top of the hill. In the centre is the bowling green of Elland Working Men's Club. I am not sure what is left forty years after I took this photograph - I must reclaim the hill and take a look.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

17 : Shadow In Monochrome

The third of my twelve glass negatives. This one adds little to the quest to identify dates and places, but it does clearly show what we missed before colour photography came along. This must have looked stunning in real life and is merely a shadow in monochrome. Could these be the same buildings as the picture with the two nurses?

16 : Round Every Corner

I have just come by a small collection of unused postcards dating back to the first two or three decades of the twentieth century. The theme of the collection seems to be old churches and country houses. This one features Forde Abbey in Dorset, a place I must admit I have never heard of before. Round every corner in England there seems to be some ancestral home, but there again, go around the corner again to discover streets of terraced houses and blocks of high-rise flats.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

15 : An Expertise In Nurses' Uniforms

The second of twelve glass negatives and this time we have what looks like a hospital. There are two nurses stood outside the building and any attempt at dating the picture (and therefore the entire box of negatives) must be based on the style of uniform. I am no expert on nurses' uniforms but they could be from any of the first three decades of the twentieth century. But with ten more negatives to go, we are beginning to narrow things down.

14 : One Miserable Face In Three

Another advert from Picture Post of 25 November 1939, this one for marmalade. We tend to get used to advertising claims that 99% of people prefer the product, this one is refreshingly honest. One miserable face in three, that sounds about right.

Friday, 15 May 2015

13 : A Glass Abbey

I have just taken delivery of a box of twelve old glass negatives. I have no idea of their date or the subject of the photographs - it will be a process of discovery as I scan them over the coming days. The quality of the negatives seems a little mixed, although I haven't examined them all in detail yet. This first one shows a river and a ruined abbey - at a guess I would say that it is Bolton Abbey in North Yorkshire. We shall see what surprises are still to come to light as we scan the rest of the collection.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

12 : Electrically Recorded

The thing about scanning is that sometimes you just can't resist scanning something. Scanning creates images out of objects, patterns out of the prosaic. I have a small collection of old 78rpm records. The labels take us back to a time when the cutting edge of recording technology was not "digitally recorded" but "electrically recorded".

11 : Small Past, Big Future

Self-portrait. Fifty years or more ago. Small past, big future. And as I look back at it as it emerges from the scanner, I can't help thinking : big past, small future.

10 : Uncommon Stock

Another share certificate from the batch I just bought for a fiver off eBay. Unlike the one featured on my post on News From Nowhere, this company is still going strong. I just hope that being a shareholder might increase my chances of getting my memoirs published.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

9 : Hidden In An Envelope


Another shot from a strip of negatives I shot back in 1966 - or there about - which has been hidden away in a negative envelope for the best part of fifty years. Again I have to dig deep to find a name, but Peter Brown comes to mind. Who knows, he may see this and recognise himself.

8 : Scanning A Robin

As I look back at some of the photographs I took whilst at school I find myself reaching out in search of a name. I think his name was Robin Ensore but it must be fifty years since I saw him last. As the scanning machine brings him back to life, I can't help but wonder what life had in store for him.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

7 : Albert At An Angle

This photograph of my father, Albert Burnett, must have been taken at the time of his marriage in 1936. I suspect the house in the background is the house they rented on Cooper Lane, Bradford. Everything - fence, walls, garden, windows - seems to be at an angle, but Albert sits straight and proud.

6 : Keep Your Hair On

Picture Post 25 November 1939

A couple of months into the war and the thoughts of British girls were still focused on permanent waves. Before twelve months were out the waves which dominated everyones' lives were the waves below which enemy submarines were on patrol.

5 : An Indelible Date Stamp

Stamped on the back of this photograph is the date 20 DEC 1935. Young children are timeless but their hair styles are as reliable as any date stamp. Is she still alive? If she is, she will be in her eighties now. And the indelible date stamp will now be a digital time stamp.

4 : Three Friends In A Bar

Once photography had developed far enough to free sitters from the need to adopt fixed poses, it opened up the prospect of capturing the moment. A moment that was unique, a moment that could never be repeated. Three friends in a bar. National Service. The 1950s. I have no idea who they were or who they became - that is the beauty of buying job lots of memories. But the moment has been fixed in time, and now it has been shared with the world.

3 : His Serene Highness Leo

Whilst searching through my bound copies of Punch Magazine for a suitable illustration for my News From Nowhere post, I came across this from the 1st of June 1889, which -given a new Royal arrival this week - seems worth posting here. The child featured in the cartoon is Lord Leopold Mountbatten, the son of Prince Henry of Battenberg who, in turn, was the son of Prince Alexander of Hesse. It appears that Queen Victoria issued a Royal Warrant that allowed Leo to be called Prince in addition to His Serene Highness!. All this royal flummery gets terribly boring. Nothing changes.

2 : Dull Days In The Asylum

A 1908 postcard to Miss Hanson who worked at the West Riding Asylum in Wakefield. The message is as follows:

Not quite forgotten you having a grand time been rather dull this last two days. Now would this suit Miss C and yourself. Kind regards to her and yourself, Sincerely Yours ..

1 : Please Have Bed Ready

This 1909 postcard features the Winter Gardens and Wellington Pier in Great Yarmouth. Both, it would appear, are still standing although the Winter Gardens is closed because it is in a bad state of repair. Like all such scenes of 100 years ago, it looks less crowded and somehow on a larger scale than present day views. Piers such as this were traditionally the location for variety theatres and it would seem that this card was sent by a performer. The message is as follows:

To : Mrs C Fortescue, 1 Durham Road, Winchester Road, Lower Edmonton.
Dear Mother, Just a line hoping you are quite well. Shall come home on Saturday night so please have bed ready as I shall retire early. I shall come home straight from Brixton after rehearsal, I expect about 11 o clock pm. Love to Dad and yourself. Yours Bert.

119 : Three Soldiers

Three Soldiers : Unknown Subjects (c.1940)