Monday, 21 December 2015

1412 : Parliament In Terminal Decline


Obviously Parliament Street in Halifax is no more. Indeed I am having difficulty of finding evidence of it ever having existed. But I took a photograph of it when it was in terminal decline, forty or so years ago, so it must have been more than a figment of my imagination. I suspect it must have been somewhere up Pellon Lane. No doubt someone will remember it.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

1411 : A Carpet Of Mills


The last of my six images from a single strip of 50 year old negatives takes me a little further along what I suspect is Bradford Old Road and looking down at the western end of Halifax. There is still almost a carpet of mills along the valley sides, although most of them would vanish over the coming ten or twenty years. The remaining few provide penthouse apartments for commuting bankers.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

1410 : Northern Soul


At some stage during my walk 50 years ago I must have turned back on myself, re-crossed Godley Bridge and headed along Claremont Road towards Bradford Old Road. Although it is the same town and the same buildings I am looking down on, the relationships between the various spires and chimney has changed. The prominent spire in the centre of this picture is the glorious All Souls Church of Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Friday, 11 December 2015

1409 : The Leach Of Smoke


This is the fourth image from my strip of 1966 negatives and by now I have obviously walked along Godley Bank in the direction of Southowran Bank. Even though it is the 1960s, the memory of industrial pollution still lingers on: the smoke seeming to leach out of the very hills into the atmosphere.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

1408 : Albion In Excelsis


For the third shot in my sequence of six negatives dating back to 1966, the sun seems to have made a surprise appearance from behind some grey-scale cloud.  The tall tower of the Victorian Town Hall is being outgrown by the blocks of flats in Albion Street.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

1407 : Bridge Of Change


The second of the images from my strip of six negatives and the camera has swung around in an anti-clockwise direction. The Burdock Way fly-over was still five years in the future and therefore the mills at the north end of North Bridge are still in place, although the Grand Theatre at the south end of the bridge has already been demolished.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

1406 : A Chimney Cull

I have to go into hospital this week and therefore I am pre-posting a series of images in order to preserve the continuity of this blog. All six photographs come from the same strip of negatives I shot fifty years ago during a short walk along Godley and Southowram Banks above Halifax. Without realising what I was doing, I was capturing the town on the brink of transition at a time when soot-encrusted mill chimneys were being replaced by concrete high-rise flats.


The first of my sequence was taken from the top of Godley Bridge and looks down on the A58 running down into Halifax. Within a couple of years of the photograph being taken the houses on the right of the shot had been demolished and a radical cull of mills and their chimneys had taken place.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

1405 : An Old Trouper Begging For Coins


I must have taken this photograph of Wimbledon Palais in the 1970s. By then it was in terminal decline, and moving through the end stages of life of all great venues : from bingo hall to furniture store to builders' rubble. Forty years earlier it had attracted dancers from all over London with the largest sprung dance floor in Europe. Even ten years before this photograph, the likes of the Beatles, the Stones and the Who had graced its stage. In this photograph it is like an old trouper begging for coins on a street corner.

Friday, 4 December 2015

1404 : The Impossible Fire Escape


Shaw Lane Mills, Halifax : 1980s. The fire escape is like one of those M C Escher Impossible Stairways - you can run but you can never escape. A bit like the local mill for generation after generation of my family.

Monday, 30 November 2015

1403 : More Kelvin Memories


Another memory of the Kelvin Flats in Sheffield - a memory because the high rise concrete towers are long gone. But for a time, albeit a very brief time, there must have been a thrill of excitement in walking across those concrete walkways in the sky, looking down at the world below.

Monday, 23 November 2015

1402 : Concrete Forests


A photograph dating back to the early 1980s. The block of flats are in Sheffield, but which one of more than half a dozen concrete forests it is, I am not sure. The branches of the tree provide rare relief from the harsh lines of concrete.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

1401 : Impressions Of Turner


Another Scan from an old colour slide which dates back, I think, to 1973. The scan revealed an old, scratched, partly degraded view of little interest to anyone; so it was ideal for a little Photoshop experimentation. The results have a feel of Turner crossed with the Impressionists.

Friday, 20 November 2015

1400 : The Curve Of The Concrete


I took this picture thirty years ago. It shows the lower highway of the Tinsley Viaduct (the upper highway carries the M1 motorway) just outside Sheffield and adjacent to the Meadowhall Shopping Centre. There is something quite pleasing about the curve of the concrete.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

1399 : Soot And Stone, Muck And Water


An old abandoned mill on the banks of the canal in Huddersfield. Soot and stone. Muck and water. Lost and gone.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

1398 : Climate, Chemicals Or Colour Intensity


Strange colours over the Huddersfield Broad Canal. Perhaps it is climatic conditions in the upper atmosphere. Perhaps it is chemical residue from the waters of the canal. Perhaps it is too heavy a hand on the Photoshop filters.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

1397 : Edificio Eloy Pastor



A doorwar in Monovar, Spain. I have no idea what attracted me to it, but something did.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

1396 : Looped Around And Left To Dangle


Spain doesn't do town planning particularly well. Buildings of every type, every style and every state of repair cuddle up with each other like wartime Londoners is an air raid shelter. Cables are strung from any convenient pole or parapet, and if there is any cable left it simply gets looped around and left to dangle.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

1395 : A Little More To The Right


As so often, you take a photograph in an instant. A passing impression. But when you get home and look at the image in more detail you wish you could be transported back to that same moment in time and space. To live life again. And this time, to move the camera just a little more to the right! (Puerto de Atocha Railway Station, Madrid, Spain. October 2015)

Friday, 6 November 2015

1394 : Military Braid And Mobile Phones


I spotted this chap in Madrid, happily texting his mate or updating his Facebook profile whilst the rest of the band were engaged in an extended chorus. The band was a military affair - all very proper, very ordered, very organised. The smartphone is in splendid contrast to all that military braid and brass buttons.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

1393 : Human Statues Of The World Unite


Puerta de Sol in Madrid. The centre of the city. Folk from there about think of it as the centre of the universe. And some kind of gravitational force seems to attract human statues from all over the continent to its pavements.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

1392 : Lines And Angles


Full of lines and angles, light and dark, in and out. (Madrid, Spain, October 2015)

Monday, 2 November 2015

1391 : Do Not Try This At Home


If you tried this kind of thing on the walls of your terraced house in Todmorden you would have the Council knocking at your door faster than you could say Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez. But this is Spain - the Plaza Mayor in Madrid - and folk come from miles around to view it. Try telling that to the chap from the Planning Department.

Friday, 30 October 2015

1390 : The Chairman Of Madrid


Wherever you went in Madrid there were always people in the background; people carrying things. Like extras on a film set, they would cross and recross each scene, providing much needed  verisimilitude. I half suspected that they would sneak around the corner, pick up another prop, and then cross the scene again. Sometimes a packing case, sometime a drain pipe, sometimes a chair.

1389 : Burnt Warm By The Sun


The walls of some anonymous building in Madrid. The walls yellow, the woodwork brown, the windows reflecting deep, deep blue. The whole thing burnt warm by the sun.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

1388 : Writing On The Wall


WRITING ON THE WALL
Writing on the outside wall of the Prado Gallery in Madrid. Sometimes it doesn't matter what the writing says, what matters is the way that it says it. Sometimes what should be on the inside is on the outside.

Friday, 23 October 2015

1387 : Sculptured Icing Sugar


SCULPTURED ICING SUGAR
Many of the buildings in Madrid made me think of sculptured icing sugar. Whole streets were like show-stopper challenges in some giant version of The Great British Bakeoff. If you could find a sharp enough knife and cut into them, there would probably be a rich fruit cake inside.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

1386 : A Decent Lens And Long Legs


Madrid is full of delightful street signs that deserve to be recorded. They tend to be small and fairly high up on buildings but a decent lens and long legs get around such problems. The Calle de los Donados translates as the street of the donated and was the site of an old charity hospital and a home for the blind.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

1385 : Trees Nudging Concrete


Madrid is a real city of contrasts: you get fine old buildings with bits of modern metal sticking out of them and trees nudging up against concrete walls. You get blue skies in the heavens and rainbows painted on the gable ends.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

1384 : Like A Beer Swilling Bird


Like a bird, high over Madrid, floating on thermals. Looking down on the traffic, down on the people, down on everyday life. Like a bird - perched at a table on the rooftop restaurant at El Cortes Ingles and enjoying a lunchtime beer.

Monday, 19 October 2015

1383 : Flying Spaniard


The first of a short season of photographs taken during our recent trip to Spain shows the High Speed Train (RENFE-ALVIA) at Elda-Petrer Station on its way from Alicante to Madrid. Not so much the Flying Scotsman, more the Flying Spaniard.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

1382 : The Way People Walk


When you dip into a box of old slides and start scanning you never know what you will find. This is obviously Paris and therefore it must have been 1973 when we were there on our honeymoon. Even without the Eiffel Tower there would have been a French feel to the photograph - it is something to do with the spaces and the way people walk.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

1381 : Don't Dilly Dali On The Way


In Marbella you can take a short walk from the sea front up into the old town along the Avenue del Mar Avenda. If you are lucky you will be heading to one of the delightful bars that populate the old town, but despite your destination take your time as you walk up the tree lined avenue which is punctuated by cooling fountains and wonderfully bizarre Salvador Dali statues.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

1380 : That Bloody Moon Again


This was taken a few nights before the famous "Bloody Moon", from where we sat at a restaurant in Fuengirola. Beautiful warm evening, excellent company, and a rare steak to remember.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

1379 : Counterfeit Neo-Celebrities And Honest Work


In a part of the world which seems to be occupied by neo-celebrities and neo-celbrity watchers, these guys who plied the beaches attempting to sell counterfeit Gucci bags seemed to be amongst the few people actually working.

Monday, 28 September 2015

1378 : The Misery Of Old Age


Spain in late September. A ten minute walk to the beach and a quick check to ensure that the sun is almost over the yardarm. And then it's off for the first refreshing drink of the day. Retirement is such a bitch, isn't it!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

1377 : The Mass Acres Of Glencoe

I am not sure if I remember myself in this picture which must have been taken fifty years ago. We were on holiday in Scotland and I think this photograph was taken on the open moorland somewhere near to Glencoe. These days my camera is a bit bigger - and so is my stomach!

Friday, 11 September 2015

1376 : Discretion Is The Better Part Of Fire Fighting


Fire Hydrants : In America they stand proud on street corners, icons of urban sculpture. Here we bury them five foot under and attach discreet signs on granite walls.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

1374 : Knot Planned For Balance

Such windows as these were not planned for balance. They were not placed for symmetry or to take the eye on a journey. They developed over time : organically. Like knots in an ancient oak tree.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

1373 : Dura Virum Nutrix


I went to the Cumbrian town of Sedbergh last week. The buildings have a bleakness about them which might be attractive on a sunny day. But against a grey sky the grey stone is stark. This is one of the old school buildings. The motto tattooed on its side reads "Dura Virum Nutrix" which, I believe, means " Stern nurse of man". That says it all.

Monday, 7 September 2015

1372 : Summer Is A Going Out


We don't seem to have seen much of summer this year. That's OK, we are used to it here in the north. It is a price we pay for green fields and windswept moors. But what summer there is has this annoying habit - just before it migrates south or wherever it goes for eleven months of the year - of paying you a brief and surprise visit, just to let you know what you will be missing. Yesterday was such a day.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

1371 : The Yellow Plastic Penguins Of Prague


Some cities would be a bit sniffy about having an installation of yellow penguins made from recycled plastic bottles next to an iconic medieval bridge. Some cities might not like the way they lit up at night. The way they drew the eyes of tourists away from ancient churches and marble statues. Some cities would not have it. But Prague loves upside-down horses, chicken-wire washing and yellow plastic penguins. That's why I like Prague.

Friday, 4 September 2015

1370 : Surely There Was Colour


There can't have been many advantages to working in the mill. The hours were long, the machines were noisy and dangerous and the pay was poor. And because almost all of the old photographs we have of mill workers a hundred years ago are monochrome, it appears to be a grey landscape my ancestors inhabited. But there must have been colour - pinks, blues and yellows. There was when we went around Bradford Industrial Museum a couple of weeks ago. Surely there was colour.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

1369 : Wool On The Drizzled Breeze


I grew up with wool. My childhood was spent in the West Riding of Yorkshire when the wooden industry still survived. Wool clung to the barbed wire on the moors. Wool spilled out of sacks stacked outside stone mills. Wool fibres floated on the drizzled breeze. Now they are a museum exhibit.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

1368 : A Past In The Past


A Jowett Javelin car in the Bradford Industrial Museum. The cars were made only a few miles from where the museum now stands - exhibits tracing an industrial past which is now in the past.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

1367 : Reflections On Bradford


The strange thing about these reflections in this building on Hall Ings, Bradford is that they somehow enhance the colours and shapes; turning a dull sky bright blue and a concrete pile into a Daliesque sculpture.

Monday, 31 August 2015

1366 : Samson Vandalised


This wonderful piece of street graffiti can be found on one of the stone arches by Bradford Cathedral. It is said to be the work of an artist simply known as Mooney and depicts Sampson in chains. According to the Bradford Telegraph and Argus, last year it was "vandalised" by someone painting graffiti on top of it, but that graffiti has now been cleaned off to reveal the original graffiti. It is a strange world we live in.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

1365 : The Stone-Faced Sentinels Of Prague



So many of the buildings in Prague seem almost alive with sculptured figures. Every doorway is guarded by a stone-faced sentinel, every pediment supported by a marble-muscled custodian.