Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sepia Saturday 65 : Taking A Walk Down Adelaide Street

I am in love with images. Although it is a love affair that has been life-long, it is also a love that has grown in intensity as I have grown older. Like a overgrown child I am happiest if curled up in a corner with a picture book and a glass of milk stout. 

Take, for example, today's Sepia Saturday image, plucked almost at random from an album of Uncle Franks' holiday snaps. It was "almost" at random because I was determined to become a semi-themer this week so I was looking for something which might feature a storefront, or a group of men, or - if all else failed - a car.

So here is our photograph : let us now read it. Well first of all we have a date penciled on the reverse which is the 26th May 1931, but we probably didn't need the intervention of words to narrow the time-frame down. The tower is the main clue as far as location is concerned : with a tower like that it has to be either Paris or Blackpool. One of the cars is in motion and driving on the left so it is Blackpool and the "Olympia" is therefore the Olympia Exhibition Hall that is at the rear of the famous Winter Gardens.

The street therefore is Adelaide Street and we can get a final confirmation of the location by comparing the original image with a Google Street Cam image - as you can see little has changed. But one thing that has changed is the dome that can be seen on the left of the photograph. The Blackpool Olympia Hall was built in 1930 and the dome was demolished during World War II and this gives us our time-frame. The car models would give us final confirmation of a date stamp of the early 1930s.

The Blackpool Winter Gardens complex includes a number of different venues including a theatre, an opera house, a ballroom and extensive conference facilities. Parts of the complex date back to 1875 and elements - such as the Olympia Exhibition Hall - were added to the original building in the years up to the outbreak of the Second World War.

The Winter Gardens still exists today and when I was in Blackpool a couple of years ago I took a photograph of the front of the complex. The whole complex has a rich and varied history. During the First World War, for example, the massive Empress Ballroom was requisitioned by the Admiralty for the construction of the gas envelopes of R33 airships. Excess gas has been a common theme over the years as the Winter Gardens has acted as the main venue of the annual conferences of all the major British political parties. The whole complex is now Grade II listed which means that it should be safe from too much redevelopment. As soon as the sun returns to the sky I think I might take a train to Blackpool and take a walk down Adelaide Street.

Enjoy many other old images by going to the Sepia Saturday Blog and visiting the other participants in Sepia Saturday 65.


24 comments:

  1. Curious! That street lamp looks gas to me, but Blackpool got electric street lighting in 1879 - one of the first towns to get this new-fangled lighting.

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  2. Ah CB : one image reader sends Saturday morning greetings to another image reader.

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  3. Alan: such greetings from one image reader are reciprocated from another image reader on this fine day when the temperature has reached the dizzy heights of 15 degrees.

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  4. Oh wow your Winter Gardens photo is lovely! I'm a big picture person myself! Your street scenes are interesting too! I really enjoyed this theme, and it's many veins! If I'd had more time and the weather would have been better I would have driven to Duluth to track down this store, or what info they have of it! Maybe someday! Thank you!

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  5. What a great theme old and new - love the narative - reminds me of "goodnight Sweetheart" just stepping back 50 or so years.

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  6. That first image contains so much charm; interesting to see the updated image and your commentary of the locale.

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  7. That 'gas' lamp is far more attractive that the modern lamp standards in the modern picture. Adelaide Street - to begin with I thought we were in Australia again.

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  8. God Bless Blackpool ! It still retains a certain Magic.....& magic in Lancashire is a rare thing indeed!
    Sorry ,no Sepia from me this week! I'm only just getting around to answering comments from last Saturday! Have A Great Week Alan.

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  9. Believe it or not, when I was about 6 we moved into a new housing development in Chicago that still had gas lamps. They must have torn down all the original houses put kept the street lighting. Someone used to come every night with a ladder to light the lamps. This would have been about 1944.
    Barbara

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  10. Aww I remember going to see the 'illuminations' as a child. Also stubbed my toe in a swimming pool somewhere in Blackpool and lost my tatty blanket . . hmm story for another day I fear. Great shots.

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  11. Beautiful evocative photograph Alan. Not your usual Blackpool seaside view.

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  12. It's a few years since I visited Blackpool, but I seem to have been whizzing past it a lot lately, including, ironically, today!

    Although I'm not potty about the town, I'd love to go up Blackpoool Tower again and I'd definitely like to ride The Big One!

    Meanwhile, I enjoyed your investigative blogging.

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  13. I love your explaination of the detective work to figure out the date without looking at the backside. :) That first shot is lovely..and the black and white just intensify it!

    Train ride...nice. Hope you have pretty weather to do it soon!

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  14. I have a certain fascination with Blackpool, generated almost entirely by old postcards. Sometimes I wonder if it makes sense to visit these places or to just be happy in preserving my perceived image of them.

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  15. Great post, Alan. Now you've got me wondering why they named it, Adelaide Street. Any ideas?

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  16. Oh to have been around in the days of ballrooms and fantastic cars... I've never been to Blackpool but my (somewhat unreliable) car was built there! Jo :-)

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  17. I love the photo of the Winter Gardens sign. It is surprising how little some places have changed.

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  18. This is such an interesting post, I enjoyed all you had to say. I also enjoyed seeing the present day to compare it with the first ...which by the way is a beautiful photo. I love your winter garden photo too, great colour and clouds in it.
    I too would be very happy to be curled up in a big comfy armchair with a picture book and a glass of stout!

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  19. i love the then and now!! aside from the dome that changed, most rooftops in the foreground were redone. what were those things there? vents???
    nice show Alan!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  20. Even though I've never been to Blackpool, I saw just the portion of that tower and new where you were. I've never known they why or wherefore of the tower, but have seen it so many times in photos, tv shows, and movies. Very interesting post. I'm guessing Blackpool has one of those rocky beaches and not sand.

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  21. Tattered: Sand - as far as the eye can see. Even the Coastuard are on camels.

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  22. wonderful! love the then and now comparisons.

    your winter garden shot is absolutely lovely....

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  23. i also wondered about the tower. I thought maybe it was a gift from France. Ha.
    It's really pretty. glad it's still there.
    Nancy

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  24. It is a wonderful old view with all the cars and streets of old.

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