Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Garden Visitor


A chance photograph taken through the kitchen window in order to check to see if my Nikon B700 is still working. It is!

Gala Days #2


These photos from the 1967 Halifax Charity Gala parade provide an insight not only into the street scenery of the time - there’s Greenwoods, Barratts, and M&S in the right place - but also the way of life of the time. And let’s not forget Pinky and Perky! 2/3

Pylons Welcomed


Some folks don’t take kindly to electricity pylons, accusing them of ruining what they believe to be “natural” landscapes. Up here, however, there’s nothing natural about these stone mined hills and mill smoked valleys. Pylons are welcome, any day.

Gala Days #1


Back in the summer of 1967 I was about to leave school and take up a promised job as a photographer on the local newspaper. They suggested I should get some practice in before starting work by taking photos at local events. One such was the Halifax Charity Gala parade as it made its way through the streets of Halifax. These are the first two of a series of shots from that day.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Walking Around Egypt

Until we ventured to France in the 1960s, it was my understanding that my father had only ever been abroad once - and that was a day trip to Calais in the 1930s. Thus initially I was surprised to see in his diary for this week in 1934 that he had gone walking around Egypt! The solution was to be found, of course, in the hamlet of Egypt just north of Thornton near Bradford.


Square monochrome photographs seem to be getting quite a following on social media, perhaps it’s time they had their own hashtag. This was St Thomas Church in Greetland near Halifax yesterday. #sqbw

The Cyclists

A few years ago I went through a phase of buying glass plate negatives off eBay. It was a hit or miss pastime as a good proportion of the purchases would arrive in pieces. Luckily this particular image did not suffer that fate and therefore can provide us with an almost perfect phial of pure history.

Uncle Harry

Everyone should have an Uncle Harry in their family. He performed in seaside concert parties in the 1920s and at holiday caravan parks in the 1950s. He played the Working Men's Clubs, grew his hair fashionably long in the 1960s and wore platform shoes to make him look taller. He was frowned upon by the rest of the family, but he had style in bucket-fulls and left memories as grand as any piano.

Pinball Skidding In Doncaster

I took this photograph in Doncaster Market a few years ago. I think it works rather well as a monochrome image - the lack of colour doesn’t simplify it, it turns it into a pinball machine where your eye is sent skidding from one side to the other.

Brighouse Market Time Markers

Another shot from that same strip of negatives from 50+ years ago. I’d obviously moved on from Bradford Road to the site of the old Brighouse Open Market which, I think, was where the bus station is now. Another shot full of time markers.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

230 For 6


This is from an odd little album of some 100 photos from the 1920s and 30s that I bought a few weeks ago. I have no idea where the cricket ground is - but knowing the power of social media, no doubt someone will tell me - along with the date and the name of the batsman - by end of play today.

Yorkshire Mixture


A photo of Halifax taken four years ago rather than forty. What I like about this strange little shot of one of the back yards leading off Horton Street and looking towards Square Church, is that it is a right Yorkshire mixture: dark and light, rough and smooth, formal and informal, work and prayer.

Sky And Wall


Take a wall in Sheffield rather badly photographed forty years ago and a sky from a Photoshop filter pack. Add a touch of feeling bored and half watching the TV whilst messing about on my computer - and voila!

Rain Hats And Chocolate

Back in the days when the road went straight through, when women wore plastic rain hats, and - if you look carefully - when Cadbury’s chocolate was made from a glass and a half of full cream milk.

Heading North

Several years ago I bought an old photo album at an antique market. It contained photos taken on a cruise of “The Northern Capitals” in 1925. I decided to republish the album as a book with some background notes on the ship, the cruise and the people. This lovely image is comes from that album. The book*, I am astonished to discover, is still available on Amazon! (*“Heading North: A 1925 Photo Album Revisited, Alan Burnett”)

Skegness 1980

I didn’t always take photos of back streets and factories in places like Halifax. Some times I would head for more exotic and romantic locations. Here is Skegness in 1980!

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Whatever Happened To The Milk Marketing Board

Certain images are evocative of a time. In this photo of mine from the 1960s, I’m not sure whether it is the vehicles or the advert - whatever happened to the Milk Marketing Board? - or the grey shapes of the mills: but it is the 60s.

Working And Walking

By the week beginning 22nd January 1934, my father seems to have been doing nothing but working over and walking. I think that by 1934 he was working in the Engineering Department at Field Sons & Co at Lidget Green, Bradford. He was certainly working there by the late 1930s.

Double-Fronted Time Stamp


It's the 1980s - and it is Albert Street in Elland if you really want to know - and the car is the time-stamp. Cars of that era were a bit like those double-fronted shunting engines, with bonnet and boot almost interchangeable in terms of design.

Just Three Generations


I remember asking my father about this photograph of his father - Enoch Burnett sat at the front of this group - and he said that it was taken at the time of the Second Boer War (1899-1902). Enoch was in a reserve group of volunteers and he never got further than a training camp in a Bradford park. The historical span of just three generations never ceases to amaze me.

Player's Navy Cut In Half


Geologists retell the history of the earth by examining the way rock strata have been formed and changed over time. Archeologists investigate the story of mankind by digger through layers of human habitation. If you happen to live in Wibsey, you can examine the history of the Post Office as a building by looking at the way the gable-end adverts have been curtailed by generations of building projects.

Together They Spell History

The last shot from the sixty year old strip of negatives I have been featuring this last week. As the other five shots are clearly of Halifax it seems likely that I took this one there as well - at a guess, perhaps at Manor Heath. Together they spell history.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Architecture At Its Best


There was no need to place these two figures here - any old lump of concrete would have done. But they did, an in doing so they transformed an ordinary window into a work of art. Every day, for the best part of a century, people must have passed it by and felt a little joy by it being there. Architecture at its best.

Neural Halifax

This is a new version of a photo I took in the 1960s. The original was in monochrome, but the added colour and the Neural filter somehow help your eyes as they explore the scene. It’s still a greyscale-Halifax, but surrounded by romantic colour.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Stained Glass Window


The churches and chapels of these parts are full of stained glass windows which, when the sun comes out, tell tales of spiritual devotions. These colourful glasses, found next to a Saltaire Antique Shop window, tell stranger tales of more earthly spirits and more potent therapies.

Twelve From Cleckheaton

For my “Twelve From” project this week I visited Cleckheaton: a town full of architectural gems and home of one of my favourite West Yorkshire buildings, the magnificent former Providence Congregational Chapel. There’s a nice little indoor market as well.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Same Day, Same Town, Different Street, Different Washing

Old negatives cut into strips of six allow me to retrace my steps half a century after those steps first climbed the cobbled streets of Horley Green in Halifax. Therefore this, I believe, was Parker Street. Same day, same town, different street, different washing.

A Colourful Cheat

This lovely portrait was part of a collection of old family photographs passed on by a distant relation. I don’t know for certain who it is, but it is a truly stunning photograph. I’ve added a touch of colour, but I make no apologies if you think that is cheating. The real cheating was to take the colour away in the first place.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Washing On The Line


This has always been one of my favourite photos from the 1960s. When I put it on Facebook a few years ago, people helped me to work out where I must have been stood - Neville Street in Horley Green - when I took it. The washing makes the photo. It makes my think of the Paul Simon song. “My Little Town” and the line “hanging out shirts in the dirty breeze”

Albert And The "Girl"

We are into the third week of my fathers’ diary from ninety years ago. At the time he was “courting” my mother, and on Saturday he went to see Gladys’s sister (Amy) marry Wilf. You might get somewhat suspicious as to his visit to the New Victoria on Monday with, or to see, “girl”, but worry not, the reference is to the New Victoria Cinema, Girlington, Bradford.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Fading Into Vagueness

I can just about remember taking this photograph, which is not bad as it was more than half a century ago. I was standing at Stump Cross looking up Godley Lane towards Halifax. I can't remember why I took it, however, such detail fades into vagueness - just like the photo.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Dedicated To Uncle Frank

My Uncle Frank was one of my great heroes. He amassed numerous collections of ephemera, without rhyme, reason or even explanation. His collection of 1930s cigarette cards was memorable and his archive of 1940s bus tickets was nothing short of breathtaking. It is one of my ambitions to emulate him. Several years ago I built up a small collection of negatives from film stills of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Today’s image is from one of them. I dedicate it to Uncle Frank.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Advertising Victory


This advert for Osram lamps is taken from one of my collection of old Picture Post magazines. If nothing else it illustrates the timeless desire of advertisers to jump on any passing bandwagon. No doubt there was a “At Waterloo, the Dukes’ wellington boots are made out of Dunlop rubber” slogan flying around in the early nineteenth century.

A Battle Of Shapes


OK, it might not be what you had in mind when you asked for a black and white photo of Halifax, but there is no denying that’s what it is. It gets rid of all the grey in-between stuff. It ends up as a battle of shapes - hard to tell which shape wins.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

A Watery Pint


This is a “Found Photo” - just one of the hundreds of old photos in an album I recently bought for the price of a couple of pints. Those pints couldn’t have been enjoyed at the Dun Bull Hotel - which is featured in this 1920s photo - as it was demolished in 1935 when Mardale Green was flooded to create Haweswater Reservoir.



Twelve From Morley


Monday, January 08, 2024

The Visual Date-Stamp


My parents, Albert and Gladys. The photograph dates from around 1934 or 35, a year or two before they were married. My father was a keen cyclist and my mother was a less keen passenger on the back of their tandem. A great photo, but the bonus is the couple walking in the background providing us with a kind of visual date stamp.


Each generation of photographer must co-exist with annoying objects that photo-bomb their prize shots. These days it is plastic wheelie-bins and over-large cars, 100 years ago it was probably tram lines. Back in the 1960s it was TV aerials, although in retrospect, like these on New Bank, Halifax, they had a kind of sculptured grace.

A Lot Of Gas And Some Empty Chairs

  You can decide which jet of nostalgia is turned on by this advert which I found in my copy of the 1931 Souvenir Book of the Historical Pag...