Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Give Them One For Christmas


F J Garrison's Photographic Studio in Doncaster used to have a slogan: "They've often asked you for your portrait - give them one for Christmas". This young man gave them one, and it's lasted well over 100 years. Not many smartphone selfies will last that long!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Brighouse And The Change


I took this photograph of Brighouse either in the late 60s or early 70s. It was a time when traditional industries coexisted with newcomers, and life in the lower valley was changing. Brighouse seems to have coped better with that change than many of its neighbours.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Postcards From Home : Halifax From Beacon Hill


Much of my early life seems to be in this old picture postcard. My father worked at the factory on the left; for a time I worked in the mill on the right. My school is on the horizon, my youth in the soot-coated streets around the market.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Fat Tummy Of Princess Alix


This rather chubby baby was the first photograph in one of my parent's photograph albums. Theoretically it should be either me or my brother, but it looks nothing like Roger, and I have never been that fat. I tried facial recognition: Lightroom suggested it was my son whilst Google suggested that it was Princess Alix of Hesse, the wife of Tsar Nicholas II (both suggestions highlight the limitations of facial recognition technology). I asked my wife who it might be: she simply smiled and said "I would recognise your fat little tummy anywhere!".

Friday, March 08, 2019

Five From Brighouse : 5. With Alfred Hitchcock in Brighouse


I am ending this short tour of Brighouse back in the 1960s with a return to the market. There is, however, something slightly odd about this final negative scan. Looking carefully at the young chap towards the right of the group of market shoppers, I have the distinct impression that it might be me. But if it is, who took the photograph? I am sure that I was responsible for the rest of the shots on this particular strip of film, but did I have a sturdy tripod and time delay, or an accommodating assistant? However it was done it appears that, like Alfred Hitchcock, I have made a guest appearance in one of my own films.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Five From Brighouse : 4. No Waiting This Side


It is still 1966 and we have moved back from Brighouse Market onto Commercial Street. There are no yellow lines and no parking meters, but be careful, there is no waiting on this side today.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Five From Brighouse : 3. A Time Of Ajax And Omo


We are still in Brighouse, still in the old open air market. We are still in the time of Ajax and Omo; we are still in the land of plastic rain hats and eggs piled high on trays. It is raining, which is surprising, because it never rained when I was young.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Five From Brighouse : 2. Clean And Bright And Full Of Life

Brighouse Market 1966 (Alan Burnett)
All sorts of things are evocative of a time, but in this particular case it is the Geest banana boxes and the advert for Worthington beers. They are as dated as the view itself. The Worthington jingle went thus: "What about a Worthington? Britain's finest beer; What about a Worthington? It makes you want to cheer; It's clean and bright and full of life ..." The final line has been lost in history, but you can make it up without too much effort.

Monday, March 04, 2019

Five From Brighouse : 1. 1960s Headscarves


My old 35mm negatives are cut into strips of five or six. This week I am focussing on a strip of five negatives from the mid 1960s - at a guess 1966. All five photographs were taken in Brighouse - the majority of them within Brighouse Street Market. The styles of the coats, the size of the bags and the cut of the headscarves; all proclaim the 1960s.

Postcards From Home : Halifax Town Hall - Saved By The Banks


This old picture postcard was never used and therefore we don't have a postmark to help us date it. It was published by a Halifax firm - Ryley's of 27, Southgate - but I have been unable to trace when they were active in business. The photograph appears to have been taken at eight in the morning and there is little traffic about to help us with the dating process, other than a rather indistinct motorcycle of indeterminate vintage. This, however, is one of those rare occasions when we can proclaim "Saved by the Bank!". On the corner of Crossley Street and Town Hall Street East in the picture, you can plainly make out the offices of the Union of London and Smiths Bank Limited. This particular conglomerate was formed in 1903 by the merger of the Union Bank of London and Smiths Bank, but was short lived; being acquired in 1918 by the National Provincial Bank, and being renamed the National Provincial and Union Bank of England. Banks - neither then nor now - have ever been shy about spending a bob or two to re-brand themselves, so we can assume that the old name plates were quickly taken down and replaced by new ones. We therefore have a time window: the rest is down to gut instincts based on design, printing process and the look of the streets. In conclusion, I suspect that we are looking at a photograph of Halifax Town Hall taken somewhere around 1912.