Tuesday, 17 October 2017

1633 : Lost And Found - The Anti-Moth Regiment

There is the remnants of a date stamp on the back of this photograph of an unknown soldier and it seems to be 1933. What kind of soldier could this have been and what was he trying to catch in his net? A Tiger Moth maybe!

1632 : Archives - Alone On A Hill

I seem to recall that we were somewhere in Sussex, not far from Eastbourne. It was early evening and our friends were highlighted against the setting sun. I suppose it would have made a better photograph in colour, but times were hard and colour film was well beyond our means.

Friday, 13 October 2017

1631 : Lost And Found - The Newcastle Engineer

There is something very strong-looking about this Victorian gent. He reminds me of one of those Victorian engineers renowned for building bridges, tunnels and ocean ships. The photographer, William McKenna, was recorded as being a "Photographic Artist" at "the corner of Neville Street, near Clayton Street West" I have found records of a photographic studio on Neville Street as early as 1864, although at that time it was under the name of C. Wilson. This particular photograph looks like it dates from the 1880s or 1890s.

1630 : Archives - Mending The Nets

Another scan from the same strip of film from the early 1980s. Fisherman on the harbour wall in Bridlington mending their nets.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

1629 : Archives - The Marine-Ply Aristocrat

Strings of rowing boats in Bridlington Harbour, their names redolent of times gone by. Ron, Pam, Jim, Ada, Keith: there is even an Alan in there. And floating around within these common circles is the Duchess of Montrose - like a marine-ply aristocrat fallen on hard times.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

1628 : Lost And Found - Sepia Coated Beauty

YOUNG WOMAN WITH HAT - Late Victorian Studio Photograph
The photograph itself is tiny, not much bigger than a postage stamp, and some of the detail has faded away. Over the years it has acquired a patina of sepia-coated age: but still it is a delightful study of a beautiful young woman.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

1627 : Archives - Tally Ho!

We were staying for a few weeks in Eastbourne in the early 1980s and I came across the beautiful Tally Ho pub. It is now a steakhouse rather than a pub, but at least the building remains due to its Grade II listing. It was built in 1927 for the Kemptown Brewery and designed by their in-house architect John Leopold Denman.

1626 : Something New - The Arms Of Talbot

This was the whitewashed walls of the Talbot Arms public house in Settle. There was something about the simplicity of the lines and colours that was attractive, simple and refreshing - like a lightly-hopped Chinook beer.

1625 : Lost And Found - The Apprehensive Woman

APPREHENSIVE WOMAN : William Davey Studios, Islington
There is a look of apprehension on the face of this unknown woman. The photographer was William Davey (1844-1925) who was active in London in the last decade of the nineteenth and first decade of the twentieth century. He was at the Upper Street studios in Islington between 1900 and 1910, so this portrait obviously dates from that period. There is a famous family of photographers in Exeter with the name Davey and William is probably related to them, although the precise link is unclear.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

1624 : Something New - The Purton Hulks

During a walk along the banks of the River Severn in Gloucestershire we came across a series of abandoned barges and small ships that seem to have organically grown out of the riverbank. These are the famous Purton Hulks, old boats that have been deliberately sunk to shore up the fragile river bank.

1623 : Archives - Ligging About

I seem to recall taking this photograph in Eastbourne in the early 1980s. There was something about the wonderfully relaxed stance - it reminded me of the old Yorkshire phrase - "ligging about"

Saturday, 30 September 2017

1622 : Lost And Found - The Leaning Post

There must have been a name for those strange upholstered posts provided by Victorian photographic studios for their patrons to lean against during the lengthy periods of time it was necessary to maintain a pose. Perhaps they were called "leaning posts" - if not, they should have been.

1621 : Archives - Winding Down

Abandoned Mill - Halifax (1974)
The original of this photograph was so under-exposed that I don't think I ever bothered printing it. But modern scanning techniques and programmes like Photoshop allow you to rescue images that otherwise would have been binned. This was taken at a time when the industrial pulse of West Yorkshire was winding down - just like an old iron staircase.

Friday, 29 September 2017

1620 : Something New - Binless Climb

A lone cyclist climbs an otherwise deserted Tetbury Street in the village of Minchinhampton. I don't know which is more surprising - the fact that there are no cars, no people or no dreadful plastic rubbish bins.

1619 : Lost And Found - Mr Polyish

In have no idea who this chap is - there was no studio information on the photograph and it was acquired at one of those jumble sales or antique centres that I frequent in my dotage. When I look at it, however, I am immediately put in mind of the books and characters of H G Wells. There is something rather Mr Polly-ish about him.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

1618 : Archives - Albert

There is something about black and white portraits - they clear away gaudy distractions like a dose of panchromatic DDT. This is my father, the very essence of him, the lines and blemishes of him.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

1617 : Lost And Found - The Electrifying Woman

This Victorian studio portrait comes from the Ipswich studios of J Kerby & Son. The firm was active in the Ipswich area in the 1880s and 1890s, and at one stage advertised that they were able to take portraits with the help of electric lights - albeit for a premium price above their normal rate. This could well be one of those premium photographs - the lady has an electrifying look about her.

1616 : Archives - Beware Of The Trains

I have no idea where I took this photograph. When I came to scan the negative, it was an off-cut, a single frame from the end of a film. It was a black and white negative, but age - and a little help from a Photoshop filter - had given it a pleasing patina. There will be people out there who can tell us what the train is, where the crossing point is, and no doubt, the name of the driver. If so, feel free to write in.

1615 : Limited Exposure 10 : Sooty Monochrome Mill-Land

The last frame of my virtual film provides us with the very solidity which is West Yorkshire mill-land. The squat chimney, the generous windows which provided lights for the weaving shed, the hoist and the loading bay that lifted the bales of wool from the wagons - all in a sooty monochrome. My land, my home.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

1614 : Lost And Found - The Helyer Sisters

The only information on the reverse of this old photograph is the names Edith and Flo (Helyer) and the date Christmas 1923. They look quite prim and proper - I wonder what happened to them?

1613 : Archives - Home Collections

This is one of my earliest pictures, taken well over fifty years ago, and it features one of the wagons being used at the Halifax Charity Gala (in 1965, I suspect). They were collecting for the Halifax Children's Holiday Home which had been established in Norland (just outside Halifax) in 1937 in order to "provide holidays for needy local children". Those were the days, when an exciting holiday could be had two miles up the road in Norland.

1612 : Limited Exposure 9 - The Fag End Of A Mill

Moving along the viaduct a little gives rise to a second shot of the mill (it must have a name, all mills had names, it is just that I can't find it). This is the fag-end of the mill (that is a term I have just invented). Originally there was more, now there is less - soon there might be none.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

1611 : Limited Exposure 8 - The Two Rules Of Photography

West Vale Mill
Another photograph from the top of the West Vale railway viaduct. When taking photographs, I have a couple of rules. Rule 1 is "If you pass a pub, take a photograph of it before it closes down". Rule 2 is "If you pass a mill, take a photograph of it before they pull it down".

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

1610 : Limited Exposure 7 - Completed By Pots

A second photograph taken from the West Vale railway viaduct and this one concentrates on the Victorian chimney pots that still grace the rooftops of the terraced houses. Most are now redundant, but when they are removed - as is the case in a couple of them - the houses seem strangely incomplete.

Monday, 11 September 2017

1609 : Limited Exposure 6 - Climbing Terraces

The sixth frame of my virtual film was taken from the railway viaduct and shows the little streets of terraced houses that climb up the hill from Stainland Road. The original shot was in colour, but somehow it looks better in monochrome.

Friday, 8 September 2017

1608 : Limited Exposure 5 - Flying Over West Vale


The Stainland branch line - which ran from Greenland Junction, through West Vale and Holywell Green to Stainland - existed as a working railway line for just over fifty years. Even though it closed almost ninety years ago, some of the infrastructure still exists, in particular the magnificent viaduct that flies over West Vale. This photograph was taken from the top of it.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

1607 : Limited Exposure 4 - Semi-Detached

Glenholme is a delightful early twentieth century house which was built as a home for the two Waller Brothers who owned a mill in West Vale. It provided accommodation for the two families and had two separate entrances. Above one door were carved the initials HHW for Henry Hirst Waller and above the other CHW for Charles Herbert Waller. These days the house is a respite care home.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

1606 : Limited Exposure 3 - Mammoth

Walking down Hullenedge Lane towards West Vale you suddenly catch sight of an old railway viaduct that seems to dominate the valley from this angle. When you are in West Vale itself you hardly notice it, but it is there, like the skeleton of a long dead transport mammoth.

Monday, 4 September 2017

1605 : Limited Exposure 2 - Score 19

Roadsign - Hammerstones Road, Elland
There was a time when roadsigns were made up of individual lettered tiles, like some hand from a Corporation Scrabble game. The second of my virtual film frames came back from the virtual film processor today and shows the hand played by one such player . Assuming no doubles or trebles and forgetting the road - score 19.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

1604 : Limited Exposure 1 : Bethesda Church


Isobel and I were out walking in the sun yesterday, and I was about to use up a boxful of SD cards, clicking away at this, that and the other, when suddenly I remembered what it used to be like. You would set off out knowing that you had invested a sizeable sum in a 20 exposure film, and taking great care before you exposed each frame. Just for the hell of it, I decided to limit myself to an imaginary 20 exposure film during my walk and I came home with five exposures to spare. This was the first "frame". I will "print" the rest over the coming few days.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

1603 : Piece Gathering

Halifax Piece Hall (August 2017)
They have just carried out a major redevelopment at the historic Halifax Piece Hall, replacing the old, stone-cobbled, sloping floor with one which is tiered and stone-flagged. Many people complain about the cost or the look of the new configuration, but it does provide a more usable space for large public gatherings, such as those which were such a part of the history of the Piece Hall in the nineteenth century.

1602 : Don't Look At The Camera

Cows In A Field, Bradford Road, Fixby (August 2017)
I tried telling these cows not to stare at the camera lens, but you know what youngsters are like. Perhaps they were spooked, not by me, but by the rather strange coloured clouds.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

1601 Old Lane Is An Old Lane

Old Lane, Halifax (August 2017)

Can a street name be more descriptive than this? So steep there has to be a hand-rail to help you up it, still covered in the stone sets of centuries past: Old Lane is an old lane.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

1600 : The Rise And Fall Of The Hills

Back Randolph Street, Halifax  (August 2017)

For whatever reason, this photograph says Halifax to me. Although I was born seven miles away in Bradford and now live four miles away in Huddersfield, Halifax as always been - and always will be - home. The built environment - whether it was built fifty years ago or one hundred and fifty years ago - cannot overwhelm the shape of the landscape, the rise and fall of the hills.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

1599 : My Concrete Muse

Burdock Way, Halifax (August 2017)

This is a scene I keep returning to: I can never pass the concrete Burdock Way Overpass without taking out whatever camera I may have with me. My adolescent eye was captured by these concrete curves forty years ago and I have been returning to them ever since.

Monday, 17 July 2017

1598 : Chairs

Grounds Of Polesden Lacey House, Surrey

More deck chairs, but an entirely different scene. We are now looking across the South Downs from the splendour of the gardens of Polesden Lacey House - a great Victorian/Edwardian country house constructed out of the eye-watering profits of the McEwens Brewery. Cheers! - or should it be Chairs!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

1597 : A Large House - A Small World

Oakley Court Hotel, Windsor

We recently spent a night at the Oakley Court Hotel near Windsor - a splendidly spooky place on the banks of the River Thames. Whilst there, I discovered that it had been used as the set for the films "The Brides of Dracula" and "The Plague Of The Zombies". Laster, I also discovered that my good friend Jane Gordon-Cumming had used it as the setting for her novel "A Proper Family Christmas". A large house - a small world.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

1596 : The Duchess Of Cambridge

Thames Street, Windsor

​In the shadow of the massive stone walls of Windsor Castle stands the Duchess of Cambridge Pub. In the shadows of the Duchess of Cambridge Pub sits someone who is highly unlikely to be the Duchess of Cambridge.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

1595 : Welcome To Paradise

Havana House, Windsor

Deep within Windsor Station there is a small shop - Havana House - that sells the finest malt whisky and the very finest Havana cigars. Next to the door is a sign proclaiming "Welcome To Paradise". Was ever a truer word written?

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

1594 : Shaking Heads In Shropshire

Timbered Building, High Street, Bishop's Castle, Shropshire

Bishop's Castle takes its name from the castle built by the Bishop Of Hereford on land given to him in Saxon Times by Edwin Shakehead. By far the most fascinating part of that explanation is that someone could have the name Edwin Shakehead. Wonderful!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

1593 : Rustic Ride

Old Bike - Presteigne, Wales

Just around the corner from the old petrol pump is parked - permanently, it is to be hoped - this old rust-covered contraption. I love the way the seat has been protected from the elements by a plastic bag, just in case some dare-devil owner decides they want a rustic ride.

Monday, 3 July 2017

1592 : Running Board School

Petrol Pump, Hereford Street, Presteigne, Wales 

A strange combination : a petrol pump which must have been last used when cars with running boards were running by, and a plaque to a school (Harford House Private Girls School 1860-70) which must have last resonated with the songs of young schoolgirls when schoolgirls sang rather that texted. 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

1591 : The Shoe Seller Of Pinosa

Pinosa Market : The shoe seller. The market can be in Pinosa, Pondicherry or Pickering - but the shoes will probably be the same and the patter of the shoe seller will definitely be the same. "They'll last you a lifetime, these - like walking on air"

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

1590 : Blowing In The Wind

Market Day, Pinosa : "The wind in Spain blows mainly off the plains". And once it comes off the plains, it sweeps around the mountains and gets funnelled through the concrete streets of little market town, playing games with hanging garments, throwing coloured caution to the wind.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

1589 : Land Of Mobility Scooters And Cheap Beer

Benidorm : land of mobility scooters and cheap beer. But there is nothing wrong with that - if you have worked in a hard industrial environment all your life you probably need a mobility scooter to get around, and if you have worked hard for just enough to get by on, you deserve all the cheap beers you can get.

Friday, 2 June 2017

1588 : Benidorm - Brash And Proud Of It

If you move a few miles down the coast from Denia with its picturesque little streets and wall-hugging cars you come to the brash and proud resort of Benidorm.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

1587 : Why Oh Why?

Why would anyone want to get hold of an old Schweppes van, cut it in half and then mount it on the side of a north-facing wall in a back street in a small Spanish town? Is the other half similarly mounted on a south-facing wall in another town? Who knows? But it made me stop in my tracks and take my camera out.

Monday, 29 May 2017

1586 : Blowing In The Denia Wind

Another example of Denia graffiti. The rough concrete wall adds to the quality of this piece of art which was hidden away in a loading bay down a back street. I was seriously tempted to chisel it off the building and take it home.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

1585 : Sculpture In A Bottle

The simplicity of the lines and of the colours of this scene in Denia make you want to stop and stare. You could bottle the scene up and present it as a piece of sculpture.