Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Albion And Bailey And A Couple Of Questions


This is a scan of an old negative of mine which gives rise to a couple of questions. I am not sure about the date - there is a train in the image, but trains change so slowly in these parts, it could be anytime during the last sixty years. You can make out the old Riding Hall Carpet Mill in the background, and that, I think, was demolished sometime around 1980. The other question relates to the two main buildings you can see in the picture: both at the time were factories for John Mackintosh & Sons. One was called Bailey Hall and the other was Albion Mills, but I can't remember which was which. If my brother is reading this far away on his sunny Caribbean island, he might be able to tell me, as he worked there fifty or more years ago.


Friday, November 22, 2019

Sepia Saturday 497 : You See What I Mean


The delightful thing about Sepia Saturday prompts is that they spark visual links that defy language. I cannot really explain in words why this weeks prompt image sent me off in search of a particular photograph of my mother, Gladys Burnett, but it did. It may be something about the  shape of the lips, quite possibly it is the chin: but with images, explanations are unnecessary. Quite literally, you can see what I mean.

In fact, it is not a photograph in its own right but a detail from a larger photograph that features Gladys Beanland (as she then was) and her older sister Amy. Gladys was born in 1911 and I suspect that she was about eight or nine when this photograph was taken, which dates it as about 1919 or 1920.


Can I see my mother - the Gladys of some thirty years later - in this photograph? It's difficult to say. It's not the face, certainly it isn't the hair. But there may be something about the shape of the lips and the chin. I can see what I mean.




This is a Sepia Saturday post. To see other posts in response to this weeks prompt, go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the links.




Tuesday, November 19, 2019

John Shaw And The Photographic Bandwagon


This rather stern looking lady was captured by the Heckmondwike studio of John S Shaw. John Shaw was born near Halifax in 1815, and for most of his working life was a farmer in Staffordshire. Only when he was in his sixties to he return to his native West Yorkshire to climb aboard the commercial band-wagon which was studio photography. The last two decades of the nineteenth century was the great age of the popular studio portrait. Production techniques meant that studio portraits were no longer the preserve of the wealthy, and the new age of home photography had not yet arrived. Every town and village needed its photographic studio, and a wide range of men - and a few notable women - were attracted into the profession. They were the computer repair shops, mobile phone case sellers, and Turkish barbers of their day. Unlike all such recent trends, however, they left a lasting legacy which still can be appreciated over one hundred years later.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Postcards From Home : Old Market, Halifax


This 1904 postcard shows a view that will still be familiar to any Halifax resident: the grand facade of the Old Market Arcade, looking towards Market Street and the Woolshops area.  The buildings at the bottom of Old Market have changed since this photograph was taken - and are changing again - but the gloroious building that dominates this scene is still just as magnificent today as it was at the beginning of the last century. The shop at the bottom of Old Market was that of Eagland Bray & Son, grocer and provisioner. Eagland Bray established the firm sixty years before this photograph was taken, and during his life he was a prominent town councillor and pillar of the Wesleyan church. The shop on the top corner of Old Market was that of Gibson Dixon, chemist, druggist, and mineral water manufacturer. We should never take for granted the pleasure and delight of being able to walk by, and shop in,  these same magnificent buildings today.


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Our Naffie


This is a picture from an album of photographs that were largely taken in India in the 1930s. The album belonged to my wife's uncle, Jim Carthew, an army sergeant who saw service in India and Afghanistan. This particular photograph has the caption "Our Naffie", which, I assume, is the name given to the local who provided tea for the soldiers - a play on the acronym NAAFI (The Navy Army, and Air Force Institute). The photograph is less than ninety years old, but it is a photograph of a very different world.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Postcards From Home : Across North Bridge


A vintage postcard of North Bridge, in Halifax, back in the days when it was the main route out of town to the north. Back then, the buildings hugged the side of the road at both ends of the bridge, and it did not have to live under the concrete shadow of the Burdock Way overpass. People streamed over the bridge, as did trams and horses and carts, on their way to Boothtown, Northowram, Southowram and beyond. The building on the right of the picture is the old Grand Theatre, now sadly gone, but when I started crossing the bridge on a daily basis in the late 1950s, it was still just about there. The buildings on the left still survive, but look lost and a little lonely these days. Practically all of what you can see on the far side of the bridge, was swept away in the construction of Burdock Way and its associated roads and roundabout some fifty years ago. I can just about remember the area as a patchwork of shops, mills, pubs and streets of terraced houses.


This particular postcard was posted in 1913, although the photograph probably dates from ten years earlier. The card was sent to Alice and Edith Nutter from their friend Gladys, and is full for the inconsequential chatter that is now the stuff of text messages. Undoubtedly, text messages are cheaper and quicker to reach their destination. But who will look at a text message in one hundred years time and see a picture of Halifax that no longer exists?


Friday, November 08, 2019

The Shaw Syke Redemption



The final two negatives from a 35mm strip shot almost forty years ago show what was left then - and I suspect what still exists now - of the very first Halifax Station. Built  at Shaw Syke in 1844 as the terminus for a branch of the Manchester and Leeds Railway, it survived less than ten years before being replaced by the new station a few hundred yards to the north east.


Thursday, November 07, 2019

Two Gentlemen Of Brighouse



If Shakespeare had been around in the days of Brexit, he might have written a play called Two Gentlemen Of Brighouse, in which two friends, Herbert and Wilfred, travelled to Bradford in pursuit of the same girl, Ethel. This lovely little Victorian photo from the studio of the Brighouse photographer, Martin Manley, would have made a perfect illustration for such a play.

The career of Martin Manley traces the rise and fall of the Victorian studio photography craze. Born in Brighouse in 1850, he was the son of a family of moderate means who owned land and houses in the Bonegate area of the town. In the 1871 census, he is listed as "living from income derived from homes and land", but by 1881 he is listed as being a photographer. This little Carte de Visite must date from the 1880s or 1890s and he is now listing himself as an "Artist in Photography, Miniature and Portrait Painter Etc". By the time of the 1901 census the boom years for Victorian studio photographers are beginning to fade, and Manley is now listed as an "optician and photographer", and ten years later all reference to photography are dropped.

Irrespective of his career path, Martin Manley appears to have remained a keen photographer all his life. He was one of the founder members of the Brighouse Photographic Society, and as early as 1874 there are newspaper reports of him exhibiting his photographs of members of the Royal Family and "famous views of London" at local gatherings.



Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Looking On


Hidden away at the corner of a throw-away old photo is a haunting image that transcends time and place. The child looks on and, in turn, we look on, whilst the supposed subjects look at us.


Monday, November 04, 2019

Monochrome Valley : Snow, Grit And Cold Stone Steps



Two more from the same strip of negatives from thirty-nine years ago; two more from the area around Union Street and Hunger Hill, Halifax. Snow, back in those monochrome days, was a different entity: always dirty, layered with grit. These houses are built on a hillside, with their own terraced pavements up a flight of cold stone steps




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...