Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sepia Saturday 83 : Googling 'Andles


The second photograph from my recently discovered family stash, and the eagle-eyed might have already spotted it last week when it was at the top of the photographed stash. If this is the case, perhaps the eagle-eyed would stay with me a few moments and help me out with a couple of issues : date and place. Let us start with what we know : the photograph shows my mothers' sister Amy along with her first husband, Wilf Sykes. Amy was born in July 1904, the same year as her husband, and they were married in 1929.

So much we know - now step forward the eagle-eyed. My first guess on finding the photographic stash was that the photographs dated from the 1930s, but I am beginning to question this assumption. Whilst the settings and styles say the 1930s, Wilf looks a lot older than the thirty-odd years that would make him. I think we might need to advance the clock by ten years and recognise post-war austerity when we see it. Mind you, Wilf was never a well man as far as I remember. A woolsorter by trade, I can just about remember him from my childhood. I do recall all the female members of the family gathering together at family parties, and shaking their heads as they discussed his health. He died in 1963, whilst still in his fifties, so I guess those old maids could spot bodily decay with the precision of a CAT-scanner.

Let us move onto place. Obviously we have the seaside (that is a pier in the background), but which seaside. They lived in Bradford and therefore the obvious choice would be Blackpool, Scarborough or Morecambe, but I am not sure : they had a bit of a reputation of travelling the world - well at least as far as Torquay. The only clue I can make out is half a word near the entrance to the pier - N - - - ANDLE, but what that is a clue to I can't imagine.

I have a week before I uncover the next photograph in the stash, so excuse me whilst I start Googling 'andles.

34 comments:

  1. They both look in their 60s, or at least late 50s, which would make it 1960, which doesn't seem at all right. Looks more early 1940s to me, which puts them in their late 30s - which again can't be right.

    Perhaps they discovered time travel and went back to the 40s in the 60s.

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  2. Now sithee; if you go to http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/Plaques/MusicHallArtistesCommemorativePlaques.htm you will see (close to the bottom) a blue plaque commemorating one Frank Randle, whi frequented Blackpool pier.

    The sign could be an incomplete one saying FRANK RANDLE.

    Now Frank died in 1957, which puts an upper limit on the date.

    Now just to see until when he was active there.

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  3. Whilst my faith in the power of my on-line friends to find solutions to my questions was strong, even I did not expect a suggested solution so quickly.

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  4. Hay's dad was a truck driver and maintains the truck is definitely pre '63, as it has 8 stud wheels. Not that that is much help.

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  5. Brilliant deduction there, Chairman Bill! Those were days, when stars could top the bill with names like Frank Randle, Sid Field etc.

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  6. What a lovely trip down memory lane.
    I was born and grew up in Brighton and remember so well, the Palace and West piers.
    Amazing what you can discover so quickly now with the www and a few eagle eyed spotters to help.
    A lovely read, thank you.

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  7. Great pic. Perhaps he was alcoholic which would account for his older look and puffiness in his face. And you said much discussion amongst the family. I have no idea of the time frame, but it looks to me like there is the letter N at the beginning of the word and maybe two or three letters missing. 'Newandle'maybe. Perhaps it was a ferry port to somewhere across the water.
    QMM

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  8. You mention Uncle Wilf being a wool sorter by trade, but you omit to mention that on the side he was a bookie. I guess you were too young to pick up that colourful snippet of information at family gatherings.

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  9. Great photographa Alan. Wilf's trousers rise so much higher above the waist than my eldest son's, which quite frankly are almost at thigh level on some days.

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  10. A lovely family mystery which I bet every contributor to Sepia Saturday has a box full. The hard ones are like this - photos of the moment.

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  11. I don't have any idea where they are, but they do look middle-aged.

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  12. those old maids could spot bodily decay with the precision of a CAT-scanner...

    LOL Just love that line. I hope you get your answers! :)

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  13. Frank Randle...I like that suggestion.

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  14. Darn that pole that covers the several letters. Not that knowing the word would give you everything. And as someone else mentioned, there is the N on the far let.

    I think your aunt looks like she's in her mid- to late-40s, her husband a bit older. That would put the photo mid- to late-1940s. I think her glasses and dress look about that time period, too, though styles in England could have been different than in the US. Also, her dress is below knee length and not too full. From the illustrations I've seen in newspapers it seems that dresses were shorter before before WWII and continued to grow slightly and slowly longer during and after the war, and became fuller in the 1950s.

    My guess for the photo is mid- to late-1940s but definitely post-WWII.

    No guesses on location. You'll have to get help from the UK gang on that one!

    I like that your aunt's hand is tucked under her husband's arm.

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  15. The spacing does look correct, if the sign reads "FRANK RANDLE." And I'd guess late '40s, early '50s, judging by styles and the principles' apparent age.

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  16. I wonder if a friend took this or just one of those random street photographers who would then hand them a card indicating where they could purchase the shot. Would seem plausible at an entertainment pier.

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  17. I wonder if a friend took this or just one of those random street photographers who would then hand them a card indicating where they could purchase the shot. Would seem plausible at an entertainment pier.

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  18. If he was a woolsorter, maybe he had woolsorter's disease? Also, apparently, known as bradford's disease.

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  19. We think it may be Southport.Have a look at the shape of the ‘turrets’ on the pier. I’d say it was 1950’s; the truck, the style of dress etc.

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  20. I believe the first letter in the sign is an "M" not an "N". Beyond aI cannot help much, but that couple looks to me like they are in their 50's.

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  21. There is some sort of tall thin construction over his right shoulder. Could it be Blackpool Tower? That would be about right from the South Pier.

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  22. Bet you get The Two Ronnie's Sketch come up about 'Four Candles' / Fork 'andles'!!!
    Looks like the 1940's to me, but I can'te 'elp with the 'andles!

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  23. Well, I can't offer a clue, but I certainly enjoyed reading the detective work if others!

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  24. While I can't offer a clue, I certainly enjoy reading the detective work of others!

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  25. Some intriguing detective work done here on your behalf, Alan. I'd go with late 1940s - early 50s too. I like the idea of a seaside photographer as well.

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  26. My guess is late 1940"s, only because of the truck, but not a clue where they might be. I am admiring your continuous discipline to go it one photo at a time!

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  27. Can't help with the identification, but it is a great candid photograph

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  28. Well I snipped from the photo and I cropped the corner and I enlarged and enhanced and all sorts of things. If it is indeed this, "Frank Randle", then why is the FRA (and "K") cut off? It appears that there is a building on the left handside. Would the name wind around the building at the corner?

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  29. well, one learns more in the comments than in the post itself...

    should we have the bookie's body exhumed for forensic investigation, and see if there was foul play in his demise???
    ;)~

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  30. Ah another great family mystery! I noticed a N too in the beginning, and it appears there are a few other letters missing, too few for north I think ....but doesn't this photo just make you want to run and start jotting things down on some of your own photos for a later date when some family member might later see it and say where in the world was this taken!

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  31. Enjoyed this blogpost very much and the comments are all part of the experience! All the fun of the fair here. I would guess 1940s too but I don't know much about 'andles.

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  32. This really is an amazing photograph. There is so much activity around the couple and the background is wonderful.

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  33. Sorry Alan,'cant help you! I dont think its Blackpool.But Where? Usually Holiday snaps include a famous landmark (thats why I dont think its Blackpool!).But I cant even make out whats behind them.Wherever , he looks pleased to be there(!)

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  34. Judging by this selection of pier postcards and other old photos, I believe that your photograph must have been taken at Blackpool's Central Pier. The towers and central roof match the Central Pier entrance shown on these pre-Great War postcards here and here most closely, although the open towers have been closed in.

    The lorry on the right hand side is probably of post-Second World War vintage - perhaps a 3 ton Bedford - although my knowledge of such vehicles is rudimentary at best, and I have to rely on images such as this and this.

    I would say that Chairman Bill is spot on with Frank Randle. There is just enough room for a K and a space in the part hidden by the lampost festooned with illuminations and assorted paraphernalia.

    Given his reputed ill health, the male figure is perhaps not the best for an age estimate. She has somewhat thinning, but still not very grey, hair, and a relatively unlined face, although the direction of the sunmidday sun does not help much. I would say she is in her 40s or early 50s.

    All of these point to a date of perhaps the late 1940s or the early to mid-1950s, which fits very well with the period that Arthur Hughes aka McEvoy aka Twist aka Frank Randle was plying his comedic talents in Blackpool.

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