Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Filling Up

Let's travel back in time. It was the mid 1960s and I was earning a little extra money whilst still at school by working in the local petrol station in Northowram. This was before the days of self-service, so my job was to go out and fill the cars up with petrol. Occasionally I would fill up petrol cans with petrol. And then, one night, someone turned up with an old fashioned petrol lighter and demanded it filling up with petrol! It was, of course, my brother and he managed top capture the event for posterity.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Pablo Picasso, A Glass Of Beer And A Cubist Fence


I have suitcases full of old photographs, acquired from here, there, and endless market stalls: lost and unwanted prints of people long forgotten and places long gone. My escape route from grim reality is to delve into these collections, and befriend one of the anonymous subjects. As a pastime it is relatively harmless, less challenging than keeping ferrets, and cheaper than polygamy. And you never know what you might discover! Which brings me on to Pablo Picasso, a glass of beer and a garden fence. I have no idea where I acquired this photograph from, it certainly isn't one of those photographs that have been passed to me as designated keeper of family photographs. I accept that it probably isn't Pablo Picasso - but look at that face and compare it with some of the photographs of the great painter himself. And he's holding a paint brush. And that fence-post has a distinctively cubist look about it. And wasn't one of Picasso's finest paintings entitled "The Glass Of Beer"? You can make your own mind up, but I believe I have discovered a masterpiece.

Saturday, January 15, 2022


Forcing forward in the spirit of liberty or getting bogged down in the mud of history: today's calendar image dates back to 1982 and the Yorkshire Miners' Gala Parade in Doncaster. Around the corner was the miners' strike and changes beyond the imagination of those valiant banner-pushers.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Thrills In Halifax

The basis of today's image is a photograph I took in the mid 1960s at Halifax Charity Gala in Manor Heath Park. The thrills were provided by the noise, the crowds, the smell of candy floss and deep fried chats .... and a waltzer.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Copley Bridge


The bridge which spanned the River Calder at the village of Copley, near Halifax, formed a solid memory from my youth. Often I would run over its' hefty stone spans on school cross country runs, whilst at other times I would stroll the route, pausing to watch the river flow by on its' way from moors to sea. That was sixty years ago, and at some stage I must have paused to take this photograph. The village houses, built by Edward Ackroyd in 1849,  are still visible, and at that time the mill will have still been standing.

Sadly the bridge wasn't quite as solid as my memories of it - it was washed away by the 2015 Boxing Day floods. A new steel footbridge now stands in its place and new houses stand where the mill once stood.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Faded Memories Of Elland

Two of my old photographs of Elland - taken in the 1970s - and a new interpretation which forms my daily desktop calendar image.

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Thursday, January 06, 2022

So Enoch Was A Motor Driver's Mate


It is the day that all cultivators of family trees have been waiting for, the day of the great reveal, the day some of the questions get answered. Yes, it is the release of the 1921 census records, and genealogy addicts have been rushing online to find out exactly what their grandfathers or great-grandfathers - or for those so young that they should have better things to do - great-great grandfathers, were doing on the 19th June 1921. Getting access to the records is not cheap, so you still need two be selective in which particular gene pool you go fishing, but I could not resist getting the record for my grandfather, Enoch Burnett, which included information about my father and his brothers and sisters. There weren't too many surprises; my father was still at school and his brothers and sisters were all working in the mills around Great Horton in Bradford. My grandmother looked after the home in Arctic Parade, but my grandfather, Enoch, was the main surprise. From previous census records I had been used to him as a window cleaner and a fairground labourer, but here he is in 1921 working as a motor driver's mate. That piece of information alone was worth the cost of accessing the record.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Southgate Memories


Memories tend not to be photographic: time smooths the edges, blurs the focus and calms the emotions.

I must have taken the original black and white photograph of Southgate in Halifax around 1967. The new version - with a little help from Photoshop -  is from last night. 

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

On This Day - 4 Jan 1922 : Keep Fit And Avoid Infection


From The Halifax Daily Courier And Guardian : 4 January 1922

A watchful eye is being kept by the Ministry of Health on the progress of influenza, which prevails to a serious extent in many parts of the country. We hear of the visitation of the old enemy, "Flu" to many Halifax families, but so far, no serious epidemic threatens us. All necessary precautions, however, should be taken. Influenza is dangerous mostly because of what may follow it. At the first feeling of illness victims should leave work, go home, and go to bed; keep warm and send for the doctor. Every person suffering from the disease is a danger to others. The golden rule is to keep fit and avoid infection as much as possible"

The Man With The Hat


Someone once said that an image is a collection of lines and shapes that evokes memories and emotions (*), and if this is the case, I am addicted to images. Like any serious collector - be it of beermats, vintage tractors, or artificial limbs - I am always in search of new and pleasing images to add to my collection. Unlike most serious collectors, I am surrounded by possibilities and unchallenged by competitors: which brings me to the man with the hat.

I found him at the edge of a picture of my late Auntie Miriam, who was posing on a boat on Lake Windermere eighty years ago. Far be it from me to suggest that Auntie M should be ignored (just ask my brother what happened to him when he once tried to sneak past her cottage window!), but I have cropped her out, and set my focus directly on her chance fellow-passenger, the man with the hat. There is something enormously pleasing about the pose, something casual but relaxed about the stance, something slightly mysterious about the subject of his concentrated stare, and something enigmatic about his smile. Thus, the man with the hat is welcomed into my collection and takes his place in my virtual gallery.

(*) Having done a Google search for this quotation and found no results, I am inclined to think I invented it!

Saturday, January 01, 2022

1 January 2022

 The Sun Shines On The Ossett Caryatids

Brighouse Lives On


What better way to start the new year than with a puzzle? I acquired this old picture postcard of Brighouse recently, and set about trying to identify where the original photograph must have been taken from. Some prominent landmarks such as the river and canal are hidden from the view, whilst others - such as Sugden's Flour Mill - had yet to be built. I often find that the best way to identify such viewpoints is to use Google Earth and then play around with the angles and perspectives until you get the beginnings of a match. So if you line up the houses in the foreground (Gooder Lane), the glimpse of the railway line, the somewhat prominent building, centre-left in the photograph (the current Cliffe Hall Club on Cliffe Road) and the views of the Central Methodist Church, Brighouse Sixth Form College, and St Martins, in the distance; you finish up in Victoria Street. Here is the approximate current Google Earth view of the same scene.

Comparing the two images; mills have gone and trees have come, and what were once main roads are now just byways. The same railway line, however, skirts many of the same houses today, and as we enter a new year - Brighouse lives on.

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...