Friday, October 21, 2011

Sepia Saturday 97 : On Excelsior - Nothing Changes


I am a "themer" for this weeks' Sepia Saturday (Sepia Saturday 97) : I have children, I have one of them who is "looking up", and I have a motorbike. All right, if you are into nit-picking and point-scoring, there wasn't a motorbike on the prompt image, but believe me, it was just off-camera (I choose the images, I should know). Anyway, I have my father, Albert Burnett, my brother Roger perched on the back - and that angelic looking fellow at the front is ... well you know who it is. 

The picture must have been taken in about 1950 and it was taken just outside our house in Southmere Drive, Bradford. Looking at the same scene now (with the aid of Google Street Cam), not all that much has changed. The leaded windows have gone and the doors may be a little smarter, but the buildings are the same. But the 60 years has had a greater impact on the three people. My father died almost ten years ago, but the other two are still going strong : Roger in Dominica and the young angelic one still in West Yorkshire.

The Excelsior Motor Company was the first to go : it went out of business in 1965. The company started life in 1874 as Bayliss, Thomas and Co and they were manufacturers of penny-farthing bikes. Later they made and sold ordinary bicycles and by 1914 they were manufacturing motor-bicycles from their base in Tyseley in Birmingham. I am sure there are people out there who will be able to recognise the precise model of bike we are all sat upon : my best guess is that it was a Talisman Twin. If this is the case it must have been brand new in 1949/50 and this, perhaps, explains why my father is showing it off with such pride. My brother is striking a certain attitude whereas I am sitting there quiet and angelic. Nothing changes.




37 comments:

  1. Could have been a 1950 Universal 125.

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  2. Never mind the Excelsior. What happened to those blond curls? Blowing in the wind is what you get for riding a bike like that.

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  3. What a cool photo. From the photos you've shown, it looks like your dad knew how to enjoy life. And I so understand about the sibling thing. I have a sister with an attitude, too (Hi, Roger!).

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  4. Excellent composition in this photo, I always enjoy seeing the street and houses behind a family photo. The youngest family member is usually the angelic one, in my experience.

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  5. Actually, it looks like you have a bit of an attitude yourself, Angelic One! A pouting, "Where's my pint?" face.

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  6. nice...dude you look a little different...would love to have a bike personally...

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  7. Ah but you still have that young and angelic smile today! Great photo of a happy day!

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  8. I have to agree with Bob; it's the blond curls that really caught my attention. That looks like a fun adventure for little boys.

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  9. Ah, no helmets. Couldn't take that picture today where I live. It must have been a scary treat to ride with dad on the bike.

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  10. The original 'ton up kids' Alan. I've no idea what model the bike is, but it looks pretty impressive.

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  11. That was three ‘angelics’ Alan, just who are you trying to convince? It’s a wonderful picture of the three of you, and one to be treasured. I had a look on google at my old home, and it has been made over out of all recognition, so it’s lovely that you were able to find so little changed.

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  12. Don't you think Excelsior is a wonderful name for a company? They just don't seem to have company names like that any more .

    You look extremely angelic, and that presumably hasn't changed? :)

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  13. 'Quiet and angelic'??? Looking closely at the expression on your face, I'd say you weren't overly impressed at being plonked onto the front of Daddy's motorbike on that particular occasion.

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  14. Rubbishy curls. Mine were a lot better. My great grandson has them too. Great things, genes. I still can't get over your father's stand-up hair!

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  15. Wow! Your hair hasn't changed color in all those years. What's your secret?

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  16. Another winner, I agree. I'm guessing you got your hair from your mother?

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  17. Chairman Bill is close to the mark. It was a 125cc but an earlier model, first manufactured in 1946. My dad bought it secondhand and I can remember cleaning the rust off the wheels. I also remembering him making the seat (just visible) to stop me falling off. Incidentally, the houses in the picture are the ones across the road from our house - but like the little boxes "they all looked the same".

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  18. Your curls look angelic, but your face looks like you are pouting.

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  19. And no helmets on anybody! How times have changed.
    Visited in the U.S. this summer and had a hard time to get used to the no helmet stuff.

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  20. What a lovely picture of the three of you! Beautiful curly and blonde hair the angelical face had!!! and cool bike. Nice post

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  21. It's fairly remarkable how little the houses have changed. No extensions, apparently no garages. My little sister looked angelic just like that. I knew better.

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  22. Love your blond curls...I don't think you were pouting, I think the sun was in your eyes...

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  23. How fun to look at how it's changed (or not) :)

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  24. Love your curly blonde hair. What a cutie you were. Where's Dominica? And why does your brother live there? Inquiring minds want to know.
    Nancy
    Ladies of the grove

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  25. Alan, this is the sweetest photo of you guys...fun to see the old bike and house too.

    Have a great week,

    Kathy M

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  26. My dad had an Excelsior bike and a James I think.

    I love the braces on the little chap at the back.

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  27. Put a Leather Jacket on You & You Could Be The Young Marlon Brando !

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  28. Oh, Alan, it's too bad the houses changed so much. They looked fabulous in 1950. Also, I wonder if that angelic looking little boy looks angelic just because his father is so carefully holding him to prevent unangelic behavior. Possible? Probably not, huh.... I love your old photos. You seem to have some of the best.

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  29. I, also, know about the young sibling thing too. My younger sister had beautiful blond curls and was referred to as the "golden baby". Why after all these years do I remember that???

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  30. You haven't changed a bit, Alan! Great photo. Did your father actually take you for rides often? It's amazing how the houses have stayed the same, for the most part, after all these years.

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  31. Another fine combination of things that change and things that don't. Excelsior is also a term here in the States for an early packing and stuffing material also called wood wool. Looks a bit like your youthful curls.

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  32. An absolutely fabulous photograph and another one that captures the spirit of the moment. You do have the best!

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  33. angelic, or surly???
    but to your defense,
    the sun was in your face...
    ;)~
    HUGZ

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  34. What a fantastic picture! I'm surprised that the Excelsior company lasted until 1965; I thought they packed up long before that.
    I expect your dad let you sit on his bike, but I bet he didn't take you for a ride on it; at least not until you were (much) older!

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  35. What a wonderful post--love the old photo, the current street view & the history. Angelic as ever, eh?

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  36. It is a wonderful photo. I can imagine the changes to the house were minor as it does carry it's same character in appearance.

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  37. It is a wonderful photo. I can imagine the changes to the house were minor as it does carry it's same character in appearance.

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