Friday, August 28, 2020

Memories, Thick And Fast

This certainly isn't my best photograph from the 1960s - there's a bit of camera shake, the developing was more miss than hit, and it was a dark, wet, misty day to start out with. But what it lacks in photographic quality, it makes up in part with atmosphere. As I look at it now, the memories come thick and fast: policemen in long white coats; Marks and Spencers at the top of town; the Co-op arcade; upstairs cafes; Stylo and John Temple! It doesn't matter of the photograph isn't all that clear - neither are my memories.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Old Photo, Old Bank, Old Friends

 


The last shot in this particular sequence of negatives from fifty years ago focuses on people rather than places; but still has a fair amount to tell us about changes to Halifax over the last half century. I think I must have taken this picture from Old Bank, which was the cobbled road that ran from Back Bottom to Beacon Hill Road. I tried walking up there a couple of years ago and it was a matter of trying to find the remains of the road which were almost completely overgrown. If you walk up the old road today you are still rewarded with a fine view of Halifax. Fifty years ago, I was rewarded with a fine view of my future wife and one of our oldest and closest friends.



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Rainbow Ripples In The Old Mill Stream

 

I posted one of my old photographs, of Fletchers' Mill in Halifax, to the Old Halifax Facebook Group yesterday. It's an image I have featured on this Blog before, but it was new to the Old Halifax Group. Several people wrote in with memories of the mill. Someone in particular mentioned that the waste dyes from the dye works used to pollute the Hebble Brook which ran alongside the mill.

The next shot on the strip of negatives I was scanning had a more focussed view of the river. These, however, were monochrome days, and thus there was little chance of seeing the rainbow ripples in the old mill stream.

These are, however, Photoshop days, and therefore with a little creative work with digital paintbrushes, the colourful past can be brought back to life! Realism, however, is neither intended nor achieved!



Friday, August 21, 2020

Rainy Days And Mondays

Here is another of my photographs of Sheffield taken back in the 1980s. The common feature of so many of these seems to be that they were taken on rainy days and Mondays, but there were still shops on the streets, cars on the roads and shoppers going about their business. This is Surrey Street, with the Town Hall on the left. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Colouring The Family Tree

These days, cars can drive themselves down motorways, computers can land aeroplanes, and algorithms can determine future accademic success.... and nifty little smartphone apps can add colour to your dead grandmothers' face. The technology is there, but should we use it just because it is available? I must confess, I can't decide: in some ways it is nice to see my grandmother Kate Beanland with a bit of colour in her cheeks, but maybe by adding colour we subtract history.



Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Greetings From Elland

 


When you go to Paris, you take a photograph of the Eiffel Tower, in New York it's the Statue of Liberty .... and when you visit Elland it has to be the Calder Valley from Hullen Edge. I must have taken this photograph in the late 1970s: the bypass looks as though it is still a fresh scar on the landscape. It's winter, it's wet, and the river was just as incapable of knowing its place, as it is these days. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

A Lazy S

 


Whenever I look at my old photographs of Halifax from the sixties and seventies, I am reminded of just how much it was a period of change for the town. Roads were being built whilst others were being demolished, chimneys were coming down whilst tower blocks were going up. And the trees were coming back: after being ground down by the soot of the industrial revolution for two centuries, they were beginning to repopulate the hills.

This third photograph taken from the top of Beacon Hill seems to sum all that change up. The road up to Southowram seems to snake like a lazy s: the old is being swept away by the new.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Where Houses Weren't And Mills Were


Here is the second of the photographs taken from the top of Beacon Hill, Halifax in the early 1970s. My camera has swung around, so now I am looking in the direction of The Shay and Savile Park. You can just make out the three graces - St Jude's Church, Crossley Heath and Wainhouse Tower - on the near horizon. Just as with the last of these photographs taken from my "1970s drone" you can focus in on particular areas and see how things have changed in the last half century or so. You can see where houses weren't and where mills and factories still were. You can see that the Building Society headquarters has made it through the historical cut, but Eureka hasn't. It is the kind of picture you could set an exam on, write a book about or compose a sonnet to.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Another Snowy Night In Sheffield


Another set of photographs from the early 1980s in Sheffield. Perhaps it was always snowing in winter in Sheffield forty years ago, but more likely these photographs were taken on the same night as the ones I featured a couple of weeks ago. The weather may have been bad, but it didn't stop people going out and about, getting their Christmas shopping done.

This was a world before on-line shopping, a world when familiar high-street names seemed as solid as the concrete boxes they inhabited. It was a world of crowded buses and glaring lightbulbs - a world long before LED's and lockdown distancing.




Thursday, August 13, 2020

Back On Top Of Beacon Hill


Looking back at my old photographs, it would appear that I spent much of my youth stood on top of Beacon Hill, Halifax! If it were true, such behaviour can be partly justified by the fact that the top of Beacon Hill was the nearest we had to drones fifty years ago. From there, you could look down on the town in all its glory – and as a lover of Halifax, I would happily defend the choice of the word “glory” with anyone over a pint or two. Words can’t really do it justice, so instead just look at the mills and the towers, the bridges and the spires. Who needs Florence when Halifax is only a couple of miles from the M62?


Saturday, August 08, 2020

A Trolleybus Through Time

I know a trolleybus is not a tram, but beggars can't be choosers in the world of old photographs. This week's Sepia Saturday challenge photo features an electric tramway in Wellington, New Zealand. The best I can come up with, in terms of a match, is this photograph of a trolleybus in Derby. 

The photograph is the work of the legendary Uncle Frank - collector of bus tickets, recorder of TV adverts, and avid caption writer on the back of photographs - and therefore we know that it was taken in Osmaston Road, Derby. It is dated 1941, which may provide some clues as to what Frank Fieldhouse was doing in Derby at the time. Osmaston Road is in the neighbourhood of the various Rolls Royce factories, which, during the war were heavily involved in aircraft production. Frank was a machine operator and was no doubt involved in one aspect or another of wartime production.

Electric tramways in Wellington, New Zealand seem an awful long way away, at the moment. It would take more than a tram or a trolley bus to get us there. But at least we can travel through time back to the streets of Derby 80 years ago - without any need of face coverings or social distancing.

Tuesday, August 04, 2020

If It Wasn't For The Trees In-Between


This photograph must have been taken some time around 1972. Friends were visiting from "down south" and being shown Halifax - and where better to see it from than the top of Godley Bridge? Halifax was changing by then, new buildings were appearing on the skyline, and old mill chimneys were vanishing. My wife and I were passing the spot this photograph was taken from only yesterday, and I couldn't resist trying to recreate it, although only one member of the original cast was available for the reunion. The spot is the same, and the view wouldn't be all that dissimilar - if it wasn't for the trees in-between.


Monday, August 03, 2020

I Am Neither A Rock Nor An Island



The last two frames of the strip of negatives from the winter of 1964/65 reveal how I can be so sure of both the date and the place. They show the destination of my walk, which was to my brothers' new house in East Street, Lightcliffe. I may be neither a rock, nor an island (thank you Paul and Art for accompanying me in my walk), but at least at the end of my walk I can have the pleasure of watching Roger dig up rocks from his back yard.

I can remember the project well: he was clearing the yard to make room for the boat he was about to build there. By the Spring of 1965, the boat was well on the way to completion, and later that year it was starting its journey around the canals of northern Britain.

It was replaced by further boats, each of increasing size and complexity, and they would eventually take my brother and his family to the other side of the world. He will probably be reading this post from his island home in the West Indies: with memories of all those years ago .... and trying hard to remember what on earth snow is.

On A Freshly Fallen Silent Shroud Of Snow



I have a feeling that this photograph was taken from a little further along Syke Lane, just outside Priestley Green. It was, however, 56 years ago, and it was in the middle of winter, and there was a freshly fallen silent shrewd of snow, so maybe I am imagining things. Now, it is a different century, it is summer and the forecast is for sun and blue skies. Lucy-dog wants a walk, but where shall we go? Why not! Let’s see if I can find those fields and that fence, let’s see if I can remember that song.

I Am Alone, Gazing From My Window To The Streets Below



My walk of 1964 has taken me into the centre of the lovely hamlet of Priestley Green, and, as always, my eye is drawn to the cottages that are known as “The Sisters”. Nobody quite seems to know why they are thus called, although we do know that they were built in 1630 by Samuel Sunderland of nearby Coley Hall. I am alone on my walk of 56 years ago, and I probably imagined myself living in this delightful spot, gazing out of those windows onto the streets below. There is a well outside the gate of these cottages, whose waters were supposed to posses magical powers for all who drank them. The power to travel back through time by more than fifty years perhaps.

Harry Moore, Sammy Davis Junior, And Me

  I'm a great believer in pointlessness. To have the luxury of allowing your mind to wander down thought paths with the freedom and irre...