Thursday, April 25, 2019

Words

Dean Clough Mills 1971
Slubbing Dyeing = The dyeing of textile fibres prior to spinning
Melange Printing = Printing of textile fibres with bands of colour alternating with unprinted areas

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Vintage


This was advertised as a vintage postcard on eBay, but it shows a Halifax I remember well. I caught a bus from that stop, I went to the Saturday morning cinema club at that cinema. I have become vintage in my own lifetime.

A little further investigation gives a more reliable date range. The Victoria Hall was still being used as a cinema which means that it was before 1953. Miss Tatlock's Millions starring Wanda Hendrix was first released in 1948, so it must have been after that. With such a time window, I was undoubtedly around, albeit on the young side. 

With nothing better to do, I went over to YouTube and watched the first part of Miss Tatlock's Millions. Vintage as I may be, I hope I have aged better than the film!


Monday, April 22, 2019

Saving Souls



Like some latter-day Victorian parson, I occasionally think I am in the business of saving souls. Many of the nineteenth century studio portraits that come into my possession are showing their age: spots of mould eat into the very soul of the image. A little careful renovation makes them fit fore another century or two.



This is a Cabinet Card from the studio of Alfred Hughes of 433, The Strand, London. Normally one has no idea of whom the subjects of such portraits are, but here we have been provided with a signature at least - and the Rev W Murray seems set to save some souls of his own.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Old Lane and Dean Clough (1971)


A classic Halifax scene which has been recorded by many better photographers than I. The grey chimneys fading into the grey skies make good photographers of us all.

I must have taken this photograph in 1970, back in the days when Dean Clough was still producing carpets by the acre. The great photographer Bill Brandt walked these same street forty years earlier. The street and mill still exists, but these days, the scene has gained colour.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Postcards And Quink Ink


A postcard from 1904 showing Southgate in Halifax. The buildings have a warm familiarity about them. Ryley's stationers brings back warm memories of ledgers and Quink Ink.

29 December 1904 : To: Miss Richardson c/o Mrs Rawson, The Banks, Padiham, Lancashire
Dear Nance, Thanks for the P.C. I am sorry you did not get the one I sent before. Winnie forgot to post it until I got home Tuesday night. We went to see Babes In The Wood at the Royal. Theatre is a new house opened this Xmas for the Pantomime, enjoyed it very much. I remember the P.C. very well, it put me in mind of one Sunday afternoon we went a walk. Must make haste for post with love from your ever loving friend, Maggie. I got this when in Halifax. I will write for Sunday.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

'Twixt Trident And TV Aerial


When Britannia is not ruling the waves she can be found overlooking Elland Bridge from her perch on top of the old Halifax and Huddersfield Bank building. In this 1970 photo from my archives she is snuggled between the chimney pots, 'twixt trident and TV aerial.


What More Can Be Said?


There is something very distinctive about this Victorian lady, who was photographed by Dupont's studio in Brussels in 1893. There is a signature on the reverse, but it is indecipherable. It also says the word "Eindhoven" which I assume was where she was from. 

The Dupont family had been leading photographers in the Belgian capital since the 1840s, and later went on to open studios in a number of other European cities. At the time that this photograph was taken, the Dupont Studio advertised itself as:  "Photographers to the diplomatic corps, to the great bodies of state, the magistrature, the army, the ministries, the public administrations, the world of letters, science and the arts etc" What more can be said?


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Lava Flows And Burdock


It is difficult to appreciate the scale of the construction of Burdock Way in Halifax from a modern perspective: new buildings have taken root, trees have filled the empty spaces, the highway has "bedded-in" to the local scenery. I must have taken this photograph in 1970, when construction had just started, and you almost get the feeling of a great river of molten lava flowing down from Beacon Hill had destroying everything in its course. This is not an "old man complaining about change" post, however: I think Burdock Way was a brave and a forward-thinking project, which still has elements of structural beauty about it. Nevertheless, it is interesting to let your eye wander around the image, catching sight of that which was, but is no more.

Looking at this photograph I took 50 years ago, it almost looks as if a river of molten lava has flowed down Beacon Hill and through Halifax. That was Burdock Way in the making.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Postcards From Home : Ward's End, Halifax


With some old picture postcards, all you need is a big magnifying glass and a spare morning, and you can get lost in history (and with digital technology you don't even need the magnifying glass, just a good scan and a decent zoom). This old picture postcard of Ward's End in Halifax is a case in point. It provides a wonderful comparison between the familiar and the unexpected: buildings and shapes that can still be seen today, next to structures that are nothing but a dismal memory. The building on the right is the old Palace Theatre and Hippodrome, which was opened in 1903 and for a time was the grandest theatre in the town. It made it until it was just able to make an impression on my memory, and then it was cruelly demolished in 1959 to make way for the less than magnificent Southgate House. The final performance at the theatre before demolition was of the musical Brigadoon. Perhaps the theatre will reappear every 100 years for a day. I have a feeling that I might not be around in 2059 - perhaps someone could check on my behalf.


Friday, April 12, 2019

Sticking To A Good Idea


I have a book, somewhere on my bookshelf, which charts the history of great ideas and how they came about. It starts off by imagining how our ancestors might have thought up the idea of the wheel ,and goes on to describe the moment of sublime insight that gave us such inventions as the vacuum cleaner, penicillin, and the one-sheet toilet roll dispenser. I have a new chapter to add to this volume; an idea of grace and beauty which emerged over a meal out at the pub last night.

We were having dinner with two good friends and they brought their granddaughter along with them. The delightful Phoebe was presented with a sticker book to keep her occupied whilst the grown-ups put the problems of the world to right, and decided on the location of their next shopping outing. Paul and I, having abandoned any hope of putting the world to right, and lacking sufficient interest in shopping expeditions, started to wonder why we couldn't be supplied with sticker books to keep us occupied.

We decided that our interest in creatures of the deep (the subject of Phoebe's book) was limited to the question of how many of them we could eat with chips, so a different subject matter came to mind. And that is how the concept of the Scottish Malt Whisky Sticker Book came about. A series of maps of the Highlands and Islands along with page after page of small stickers illustrated with a whisky bottle. The stickers are, of course, of the "scratch 'n sniff" variety, so connoisseurs can firstly identify, then locate, then stick each of the glorious stickers.

Boredom can be a thing of the past. Hour upon hour of harmless entertainment is at hand. Buy the whisky lover in your life a Scottish Malt Whisky Sticker Book today.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Superglued To The Hillside

TERRACED HOUSES, SOUTHOWRAM BANK, HALIFAX. SCANNED NEGATIVE, 1974
Houses that are superglued to the hillside: two storeys at the front, three at the back. From the top window you could see all the way to Wainhouse Tower - if it wasn't for the mills in between.

Howard and Louise Bantes


This is a nineteenth century photograph (but only just) from the studio of Borman and Johnson of Main Street, Danbury in Connecticut. Before Norman and Johnson took over, the studio belonged to a certain Mr Blackman. On the reverse, the names of the two children are listed as A Howard Bantes, age 12; and Louise Rosina Bantes, age 5. The date "Xmas 1899" is also inscribed.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Pictures From Nowhere : A Thing Of Beauty



Aunt Lily And Granma Nunn

An old faded print of so little significance that it has been long abandoned. A faded caption on the reverse commemorating faded relationships. A thing of beauty.



Monday, April 08, 2019

Pictures From Nowhere : A Busy Photo


There is nothing better than a busy photograph. Two tin baths, half a skirt, a branch cutting through a frown: this 1926 photo contains enough for a lengthy essay.

Monochrome Valley : Chip Shop In Halifax

CHIP SHOP IN HALIFAX (1970)

There was a time when every street corner had its own chip shop: a healthier age, when folk walked for their take-aways.


Thursday, April 04, 2019

Devil's Cauldron Or Cradle Of The Arts?

SCANNED NEGATIVES : HALIFAX FROM THE SHIBDEN VALLEY (c1968)


This is one of my photos from 50 years ago and shows Halifax from  the Shibden Valley. The town seems to be spilling from the lip of some giant industrial cauldron, or nestling in a cradle of the arts.

This particular photograph comes from a time when my brother, Roger, and I were planning a slide presentation (a kind of 1960s equivalent of a vlog), which we had given the working title, "Halifax : Devil's Cauldron or Cradle of the Arts?". The presentation never got finished, but the title has stuck with me down the years.


Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Postcards From Home : Bull Green, Halifax

POSTCARDS FROM HOME : BULL GREEN, HALIFAX (1950s)


Bull Green, Halifax in the 1950s. Little has changed as far as the built environment is concerned, but it is a different world revolving around the roundabout these days.

I suspect that this postcard dates from the 1950s, but as it was never postally used I have no proof of that. The Bull Green we see in the photograph is certainly the Bull Green that emerged from the redevelopment of the area in the early 1930s, and one suspects that the photograph was taken from the newly built Bull Green House. A similar photograph today wouldn't be all that different: most of the buildings you can see have survived (other than the rather ornate bus shelter). The road layout is different as are the crossings, and you would have to be up very early in the morning to see so few cars on the road.

Some say that Bull Green got its name from a bull baiting arena; others say it was the site of an old cattle market - as was the adjacent Cow Green. Why there were two distinct markets, I do not know:  some strange Methodist propriety perhaps?

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Cobbles And Clotheslines

SCANNED NEGATIVES : COBBLES AND CLOTHESLINES


Another of my photographs from fifty years ago. This was one of the many streets that climbed the hill to Claremount, Halifax. Streets of cobbles and clotheslines.

Many of the tightly packed streets that climbed up New Bank were swept away when Burdock Way carved its way through Halifax. The houses had no gardens - a back yard was the most you could hope for. When it came to drying the washing, lines were spread across the streets. Few vehicles attempted such gradients - those that did, had to dodge the clotheslines.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Oaks And Stone

PICTURES FROM NOWHERE : OAKS AND STONE, RUPERRA, 7th APRIL 1932


An old photograph of a young man walking near Ruperra Castle in Wales in 1932. The photo is entitled "Oaks and Stone", but that poetic title is the extent of my knowledge.

This is a print from a tiny album of photographs taken in 1932 at Ruperra Castle in Wales. Whoever took the photograph has given it the rather poetic title "Oaks and Stone", and the subject has adopted somewhat aesthetic pose. During the early 1930s, the castle was the property of Evan Morgan, 4th Baron and 2nd Viscount Tredegar. Morgan was a noted poet and eccentric and a friend of people such as the poet, Lord Alfred Douglas; the painter, Augustus John; the socialite Nancy Cunard; and the author, H G Wells. Our figure is clearly none of those, but I would happily give an oak dresser or a stone jar to know who it was.


Brass And Bibles

POSTCARDS FROM HOME : COMMERCIAL STREET, HALIFAX (1908)


When it came to buildings, the folk of West Yorkshire favoured banks and chapels; temples to the soul and to commerce; brass and bibles.

This fine building was erected in 1898 for the Halifax and Huddersfield Union Banking Company. To make way for it, part of Somerset House was demolished, but architectural vandalism can perhaps be excused if the vandals in question have decent taste. Today it hangs on as the premises of Lloyds Bank, but in an era of ATM's and on-line banking who knows how long it will be before it becomes an empty and soulless shell.


The card was used in February 1908 for Bert to send his "kind regards" to Miss Fildes of Pendleton, Lancashire. The likely recipient of his regards was Jessie Fildes a twenty-five year old hand weaver. There is a record of a Jessie Fildes marrying a Albert Torkington in 1918, but whether this is the same Jessie and Bert, we may never know. It it nice to think, however, that those kind regards bore fruit.


Letters Patent For Artistic Improvements

According to the scrawled date on the reverse of this Victorian Cabinet Card, it was taken somewhere around the 11th November 1889. T...