Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sepia Saturday : The Speed Boys Fly


A dip into the old photograph box pulls out this picture of two boys on their scooters. The one on the right is my brother Roger, the one of the left I am unsure about although the name "Colin Mallinson" creeps out of some dusty corner of my mind for no apparent reason. I know that Rog, in far off Dominica, checks out my blog every so often so at some stage he might let me know who his companion was. The writing on the bottom of the photograph is my mothers'. I think I recognise the location of the photograph : it must have been taken in Great Horton, Bradford and therefore must have been taken before 1952 when the family moved 5 miles down the road (up the road) to Halifax. "Eva's " grocers' shop cohabits that aforementioned dusty corner along with Colin Mallinson and road names such as Southmere Drive and Esmond Street.

So this is a post with almost as many answers as questions : an unusual feature for my Sepia Saturday contributions. We know who, at least, half the people are, we know where the photograph was taken, and we have a fair idea when it was taken. But Sepia Saturday wouldn't be Sepia Saturday without a bit of a mystery. So flip the photograph over and look on the reverse side.  Why is it crown copyright and the property of the Air Ministry? They might be speed boys but surely they hadn't achieved escape velocity. My guess is that the photograph was home developed and printed using paper stock that was a wartime legacy, which, shall we say, fell off the back of a Air Ministry wagon. Could perhaps the photographer have served in the Air Force Photo Reconnaissance Service during the War? Could he or she have "liberated" a stock of photographic paper before being demobbed? Were the two lads on some kind of top secret test of foot-driven flying machines? There, I knew I would finish up with more questions than answers if I tried hard enough.

You can spend your weekend speeding through all the other Sepia Saturday posts by following the links from the Sepia Saturday Blog.


27 comments:

  1. Simple pleasures. I loved my scooter, too.

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  2. Alan, refresh my memory; what exactly was dividend tea?

    Thing's don't change much, do they? My 12 year old son has one of those aluminium JD Bug scooters too. Bloody nightmare - always threatening to mow down elderly pedestrians on the damned thing.

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  3. Oh God, the scooter's still around you know? Love their haircuts I swear all boys went to the same barber who used the same bowl

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  4. CH : Good question. I seem to remember that you either got a little card (like a cigarette card) or a stamp with each packet and that was the dividend. No doubt others will fill the gaps in our collective memory.

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  5. For CH read CB (or PvB if you want to be proper)

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  6. Interesting. Here in the States the haircut would have been a buzz cut rather than that bowl style - we went for the military look back then.

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  7. Oh the two boys are enjoying their ride. You have created many questions just by commenting on the photos...funny to consider the photgrapic paper being recycled as it were, but folks did not waste things...I loved to steal my brother's scooter when I got a chance grwoing up. Still like scooters...

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  8. i adore this photo!!!!!

    and congrats on tipping on having more answers and questions today!

    hope to get a ss post up sometime today, but first snow removal and errands call.

    peace!

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  9. Wonderful photograph. Boys' scooter joys are still flying strong. I bought my two youngest grandsons scooters for the birthdays last year, and they love them.

    I enjoy the little mysteries you weave around your photographs very much.

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  10. Always love your photo stories. It seems I didn't see scooters for a long time, mostly skateboards, but my gd has a scooter now and they are probably making a comeback. Great post.
    QMM

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  11. Oh this is a great photo...darling boys..your brother Roger and who ever but what really appeals to me is the background...I enjoy looking at the places around these delightful posts...and it often helps when we aren't so sure of maybe where it was...! Thanks!

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  12. Great photo and interesting questions. Makes me want to hunt down my black and white photos.

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  13. Great photo. Apart from the haircuts, I think American boys would have worn different socks, though I'm not certain of that. Seems that they would have worn anklet socks, not knee socks.

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  14. My father called that Moonlight Requisitions. He has told many tales of how things were "acquired" in the military.

    It's a wonderful photo, perfectly posed, with an interesting time and place captured.

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  15. My father told me some years ago how, as a young lad during the war, he bought some some expired government photographic film (could it have been Air Ministry? possibly) which he and a friend cut up and used in their photographic adventures, with a home-made enlarger cobbled together from various scrounged parts. I'm guessing there would have been plenty of expired printing out paper as well, both before and after the war.

    Regards, Brett

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  16. I used to love my scooter too, until I was of an age to stray further afield and graduated to a bike.

    Reading about 'dividend tea'... I seem to remember Co-op Dividend tea. Didn't it come with stamps which could be collected and 'spent' within the shop??

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  17. H : I certainly remember Co-op dividend (or divvy) - but did it extend to tea? I must do some digging - it would make an interesting post.

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  18. Brette : How interesting that you have anecdotal evidence to support my theory.

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  19. Many of the kids at the local primary go to school on their scooters - their parents carry them home!

    My grandsons owned scooters but have grown out of them now and replaced them by surfboards.

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  20. It's a wonderful photo, for sure. I think the theory about the paper falling off the wagon is the one I'd go with!

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  21. Scotters caught my fancy. My dad tried to import some fancy ones in the mid 50's but the retailers here said there was no market for them in this country/city. It was years before they cropped up here. Then back in 99/2000 they became a rage. Thanks for taking me down memory lane.

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  22. Interesting question about the Air Ministry. I'd like to know the answer to that mystery! And yes, Roger, let us know who your cute little friend was on the scooter!

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  23. Maybe Roger will not only remember his companion's name but also who took the photograph, which may answer one or two of your questions. Or not.

    The boys look like they're having fun!

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  24. i love the notion the boys might be on some secret op...
    :D~
    HUGZ

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  25. Anonymous7:08 PM

    Glad I noticed this on google .

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