Thursday, December 24, 2020



A seasonal image for the Christmas period: an early twentieth century celebrity postcard. It is captioned "The mother of The Missess Zena and Phyllis Dare".  Zena and Phyllis were musical comedy stars of the early years of the twentieth century, and their mother was Harriette Amelia Wheeler. She was the victim of an unhappy marriage and a violent husband, and clearly directed her energies into encouraging her daughters to go on the stage. As the postcard demonstrates, she also enjoyed a certain celebrity status herself. Her husband, Arthur Albert Dones was a divorce clerk, an occupation that may have come in useful when Harriette eventually divorced him for cruelty and adultery in 1915.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020



A wet day in Brighouse, fifty-four years ago. Full of memories - donkey jackets. mini cars and Timothy Whites chemist. More resonant in these difficult times, memories of crowded pavements and social interaction.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020



On a day that we seem to be more isolated from the rest of the world than ever before, a reminder of the times when travel was easier. A reminder also of summer, and one of the beautiful capitals of Northern Europe. This was the city of Tallinn in Estonia during a visit in 2016.

Monday, December 21, 2020



Sometime, all you need is a shape. Detail is superfluous when outlines tell a story. This is my mother, Gladys, fifty-five years ago. I probably mis-judged the back-lighting, but I like to think that I was concerned only with capturing a shape.

Sunday, December 20, 2020



What a pity the placenamers of old didn't have access to Photoshop filters. Black Brook in West Vale could have been Gauguin Blue Brook and North Dean Mills could have been renamed Munchian Orange Mills. The world would have been a more colourful place.

Saturday, December 19, 2020


The 16th century Clough House stood on Halifax Old Road, just north of Huddersfield. Its grandness can be judged by the fact that under the 1664 Hearth Tax it was taxed on five hearths, which at the time was not just grand it was positively greedy. Sadly it was demolished in 1899 and now lives on only in an old postcard in my collection.


Friday, December 18, 2020



A welcome Christmas present from the British Newspaper Archives - they have finally got around to making a start on digitising back copies of the Brighouse and Rastrick Gazette. Three full years are already available - 1881,1882 and 1889 - so there is plenty to keep my occupied during the coming Merry Little Christmas. Perhaps I will go and get myself a new set of artificial teeth to celebrate.

Thursday, December 17, 2020



Take a cut flower on its last legs (and before you say it, of course flowers have legs); add a bit of colour left over from spray painting a railway viaduct; shake it all about, and you come up with the first of our exclusive 2021 range of wallpapers. What else is there to do on a winters' night when you are waiting for Match of the Day to start?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020



A stone wall somewhere in Yorkshire - it was 40 years ago and I can't remember exactly where. It probably was somewhere around Halifax, where there is stone enough to spare. There is something appealing about the slight curve: whether subsidence or intent, it gives it a sinuous feeling.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020



Dusk over Worsbrough Reservoir, near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. A fine end to a fine winters' day. 

Monday, December 14, 2020


Today's picture is there to remind me that this year I have been further than the Tesco car park in Brighouse. Ten months ago I was in the Caribbean, visiting island after island, relative after relative. Since then I've been to .... the Tesco car park in Brighouse.

Sunday, December 13, 2020



A photograph I took of Shad Thames near Tower Bridge, London back in the 1970s. It feels like only yesterday but it is more than half a lifetime ago. The area still exists but it is now full of smart bars and restaurants and £1 million flats. "Shad" - seemingly a corruption of St Johns - is such a wonderful word.

Saturday, December 12, 2020



A photograph of mine from the early 1980s, revisited via some Photoshop filters. When the world is normal again, I must revisit Cleethorpes, it has always been one of my favourite places.

Friday, December 11, 2020


Christmas is almost upon us, and even a lockdown Christmas seems to generate a slay-full of jobs that interfere with the gentle art of blogging. I can't just stop, I'm not even sure that I can simply take a break: but at least I can limit myself over the next couple of weeks to sharing a few favourite images. For some time now I have been creating a daily calendar which sits on top of my desk. So, in the lead-up to Christmas, I will share my daily calendar.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020


When it comes to Photoshop filters, cold turkey doesn't work. I've tried, I've repeated the mantra "skies are blue, grass is green" again and again, but still I have cravings. It's too close to Christmas to start on these grand life-changing resolutions, so I am going to postpone my chromatic temperance until January. Here are the hills above Sowerby Bridge yesterday. The sky wasn't really orange, but what the hell. Cheers!

Monday, December 07, 2020

The Trouble With Filters

The trouble with filters is that they are addictive; they should carry some kind of Government health warning. Once you have painted the sky orange and the sea green, there is no stopping you - you become as incautious with your colour palette as a Government Minister with PPE contracts. I have spent the weekend experimenting with blue sheep, yellow brick roads and bright pink Victorian mourning suits. This morning I have made a pledge to stop; to return to the land of reality, to restrict myself to fifty shades of grey. But before I bundle all my Photoshop filters up and load them on the wagon, just one final one, for old times sake. This is from the same strip of negatives as the shot of Elland Bridge that started me on this road to self-destruction. The camera has pointed the other way, looking up the valley towards West Vale. The hillside was never this orange, nor the sky this shade of blue. But, as I said, it is one for the road.

Friday, December 04, 2020

A Touch Of Colour


You need a touch of colour on days like today. Days when daylight comes grudgingly and brings a sleet storm or two with it. Days when you approach a pile of grainy black and grey photos from forty odd years ago and wonder why our memories never made it into technicolour. So, on days like today, you press this button and that button, slide this slider and adjust that one. This is the age of the Photoshop filter. It is a hit and miss game: pictorial roulette where the odds are stacked in favour of the monochrome banker. But occasionally, just occasionally, you win one and something emerges that makes you smile. Something with a touch of colour.

I must have taken the original photograph from Hullen Edge, looking down towards Elland Bridge. It was the mid to late 1970s: what is now the Barge and Barrel was then the Bar Bados and the bypass was still as bright as a concrete button. The mills were still working and the trees on the hillside merged into an unrealistically blue sky.

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

You Can See The Teeth Marks


Another photograph of Halifax, and, almost inevitably, another photograph featuring Beacon Hill. Taking a photograph of Halifax without Beacon Hill is a bit like taking a picture of Blackpool without its tower or Hollywood without its sign. I must have taken this photograph from King Street, from the same position I took the photo of the swings and the Parish Church. It shows the iconic hill with chunks eaten away from it, as though it has been visited by a peckish rock-eating giant who has taken a bite or two and then decided that the local hill is a little too tough. The remaining photos on this particular strip of negatives (from 1966/67 I think) are taken in one of the hillside quarries and show layer after layer of sedimentary bands. If you look closely, however, I am sure you can see the teeth marks!

Black Friar

For a time, during the late 1970s, I had a job leading parties of foreign visitors on tours of historic London pubs. One of my favourite sto...