Friday, January 11, 2019

A Trip Through The Stratosphere To Southend (Sepia Saturday 452)

The Sepia Saturday theme this week focuses on means of transport and has a photograph from the 1950s  that seems to look back to an earlier age. My submission is a photograph from the 1930s that looks to the future.

My photograph features the unmistakable features of Frank Fieldhouse ("Uncle Frank"), and thanks to his obsessive caption-writing, I can tell you that he is pictured in front of the Stratosphere Rocket ride at the Kursaal Amusement Park in Southend in August 1938. The Kursaal (a German word meaning "place of healthy amusement") is famous for being the first purpose-built amusement park in the world, and from the late nineteenth century until the 1980s it provided a series of attractions for visitors: from ghost trains to motorcycle riders, from roller coasters to rock concerts.

Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features a 1959 photograph from the National Library of Ireland, which shows a group of railway workers repairing a line after an accident. Although it is a relatively late photograph (in Sepia Saturday terms), there is something slightly old-fashioned about it. By contrast, my 1938 photograph looks forward to an age when you could flag down a rocket ship and whizz through the stratosphere to Southend.

To see more Sepia Saturday posts, go to the Sepia Saturday Blog and follow the link.


  1. That's a great photo capture of early amusement parks, and Uncle Frank!

  2. That is a major structure that holds the ride. I am assuming they would not be traveling the lands to share but everyone has to come to the site.

  3. Not sure why, but my comment this weekend did not fix onto your post. Seeing the impressive structure for the Stratosphere Rocket makes me wish there was a time machine video camera that recorded Miriam and Frank's thrilling ride.


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