Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Pigs On Show

“I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” 
Winston S. Churchill

Martin's Bank And Ford Anglias


Photographs of streets always provide a fascinating insight into the past. The backdrop - the shape of the buildings and the layout of the streets - may last for centuries, but the decorations - the shop names and signs, the parked cars, the people - change all the time. This was Brighouse over half a century ago - an age of Martin's Bank and Ford Anglias.

Echoes Of The Past

Echoes of a past when there was no news on the web, but the occasional spider's web strung from the dark corners of the news stand, and when click-bait was the sound of a pair of heels on a stone pavement.

Monday, April 10, 2023

In The People's Park


Another of the "Sketches of Halifax" from the 1882 article in the Illustrated London News.

"In The People's Park: The People's Park, given to the town by the late Sir Francis Crossley ... was laid out with much taste and skill by Sir Joseph Paxton; and its terrace, shown in one of our Sketches, likewise commands an interesting view"

Rock Of Ages


From what little I can remember, I think I had a good time there last night. It was great to catch up with friends I hadn't seen for ages, and to get the opportunity to celebrate Jack's move down the hill.

Saturday, April 08, 2023

Mills And Movement


Crouching in the shadow of a shadow; stone walls set under a stone sky; mills and movement.

Friday, April 07, 2023

The Greens

Sometime, you can be going about your day's business, walking the dog or buying a bag of pork pies, and suddenly you have to stop in your tracks, look around and say "what a magnificent place I am lucky enough to live in!"

Monday, April 03, 2023

A View Over Halifax, 1882


In August 1882, The Yorkshire Agricultural Society held its annual show at Saville Park, Halifax. The event drew considerable publicity, not just from other parts of the County, but from wider afield as well. The Illustrated London News - if you are not familiar with the publication, think of it as a bit like The Times but with plenty of pictures - despatched an artist to provide illustrations of the show, and, at the same time, asked them to produce some general sketches of the town itself. This was the origin of the small collection of sketches of Halifax that were featured in the edition of the 5th August 1882.

One of the most striking of these illustrations is a view of the town from Southowram Bank. The enormous number of mill and factory chimneys visible is witness to the busy industry of the town, and this is underlined in the short article which accompanies the feature:-

Halifax, which now ranks third of the Yorkshire woollen cloth manufacturing towns, only Leeds and Bradford standing higher in commercial importance, is situated on the Hebble, a tributary of the river Calder, among the bare hills of that region, which has never been famous for agricultural fertility. There is, however, abundance of water, and the great Yorkshire coalfield is not far removed, so that two of the most necessary conveniences for manufactures have been supplied to Halifax industry.

Other sketches include ones of Woolshops, the Parish Church, People's Park, and the Piece Hall, and I will return to these at a later date.

DAYS : Twigs, Windows And Koi Carp


Scanned twig (Please note, no trees were hurt in the making of this photograph)

I remember being fascinated by the windows and their arrangement. It's as though they set out to create the very opposite of those grand Georgian buildings with their symmetrical windows - and they succeeded brilliantly.

1001 uses for abandoned ecclesiastical buildings. No 237.  It was a popular Sunday School, but it's not open today. Later it became "the UK's most popular koi store", but I'm not sure if it is still open today. Where next?

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Uncle Harry's Cousin


This photograph is simple identified on the back with a caption saying “Uncle Harry’s Cousin”. The uncle was Harry Moore, husband of my father’s sister, Annie. I have no idea, however, who the cousin was - but what a lovely dress! The original print was a faded sepia - but with the help of a little artificial intelligence, the colours come out wonderfully.

Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this vintage postcard is the date. It was posted in 1904 and we must assume that by that time, the “Bill Bailey” song was widely known. The lyrics of the song - which was written and composed by Hughie Cannon two years before this cards was sent - tell the story of a man thrown out of his house by his wife who subsequently changes her mind. The image on the card changes the context somewhat and makes you question why anyone would possibly want Bill Bailey back in the state he is in!

The message on the reverse of the card is equally full of unanswered questions. Will Mr Mumford, the butcher of Brightside, ever make it home? Who knows!

The Empty Niche Of Halifax


Trafalgar Square has its fourth plinth, where sculptors and artists are invited to exhibit their own interpretations of cultural history. Halifax Town Hall has its empty niche, just waiting for a suitable commemoration of local history. But who, or what, should be there?

The Palais Glide


I must have taken this photograph of Wimbledon Palais in the 1970s. By then it was in terminal decline, and moving through the end stages of life of all great venues : from bingo hall to furniture store to builders’ rubble. Forty years earlier it had attracted dancers from all over London with the largest sprung dance floor in Europe. Even ten years before this photograph, the likes of the Beatles, the Stones and the Who had graced its stage. In this photograph it is like an old trouper begging for coins on a street corner.

Dukes And Coffee Cups


The Duke Of Wellington’s Regiment Memorial, Halifax, by Andrew Sinclair, 2019

Sculpture belongs in towns, on the streets, in the squares; not stuck away atop bronze horses in distant parks. It needs to be touched and spoken to. It needs to be a repository of thanks, of memories, and of empty coffee cups.

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...