Being Late For My Own Wedding Photo


Occasionally, when you scan old negatives, you come across one which you have never seen before because you may have developed the film thirty odd years ago but you never got around to printing the negative. In the case of this particular picture, I must have taken it during a quiet moment at my own wedding, back in August 1973. That is my brother taking the wedding photographs - all I can assume is that the particular picture he was taking didn't include me.

The Rise And Fall Of Iconic Names


A couple of adverts taken from the Halifax Courier of November 1899 featuring iconic brands in the local Halifax economy. In the century just about to dawn, Mackintosh's would become a major national and international brand in the sweet confectionery industry. And Ramsden's brewery became one of the big three Halifax brewers. One hundred years after these adverts had been published, both companies had vanished.

Visibly Cold



A scan of a colour negative film I shot back in the 1980s. It was winter and the first snow of the season had fallen, but the skies were a lovely shade of blue. You could see the sharp cold in the air. I can still feel it as I look at this scan thirty years later.

Gladys In Excelsior


This is my mother, Gladys Burnett. Lopsided or not, the location is Southmere Drive, Great Horton, Bradford, where we lived until moving to Halifax in 1952. I suspect that this photograph must have been taken around 1950. The motorbike was the pride of my father's life, but he sold it before we moved and I only remember it from old photographs.

Strip Search - Brighouse Market


A celebration of the days when negatives came in strips of six. You can revisit the strip, trying to remember where you might have taken these photographs fifty years ago. You try to identify shops long vanished, streets long demolished. But then you eventually find just one reference - an old market stall sign and everything falls into place. Brighouse market in days long, long gone.

A Pint Of Milk And A Slice Of Cold Bacon


Fifty years ago someone may have been looking over my shoulder and said "why on earth are you taking a photograph of the pantry?" The answer would have been "I have no idea". But as I scan through reels of old film I realise that scenes change little, people change slowly, but domestic details such as this change lots over time. This was the age before the refrigerator was common. The age when milk had to be bought in pints each day, and when bacon was stored on a cold slab under a bit of greaseproof paper. These days it would be the stuff of historical documentary. But, I remember them far too well.  (Scanned 35mm negative. Mid 1960s. 1511C-42)

When The Heart Was Young In Blackpool




A lovely old card dating back to 1906. It must have been one of the first vintage postcards I ever bought - I got it from a second-hand shop in Rotherham back in the early eighties for 20 or 30 pence. The message to Mrs Bailey of Fitzwilliam Road, Rotherham reads as follows:

Dear Mrs B,
Bring your husband here to spend your holidays, it is A10.
Yours affectionately, Florrie

Given the delights that clearly await Mr Bailey at Blackpool, it would seem like an excellent suggestion.

Isobel, Jane and Fifteen Mill Chimneys


I must have taken this photograph of the girl who was to become my wife (right) and her best friend Jane back in 1970 or perhaps 1971. As is the case with many old photographs, it is the background which is just as fascinating as the two girls in the foreground. That is Halifax back in the day when you could still play the game of counting the number of mill chimneys you could see in the background. I picked out fifteen in this photograph.

Damp Heather And Narrow Roads


A cottage, somewhere in the Dales. I seem to recall staying there twenty five or so years ago. It was all stone walls limestone springs. Damp heather and narrow roads.

A Little Off The Top And A Sprouting Tree


You used to have an excuse. An excuse for all those times you beheaded your mother-in-law or cut your grandfathers legs off. And then there came the "Ensign Ful-Vue" (British throughout and a bargain at only 25 shillings) and a whole raft-full of excuses for familial decapitation was removed from the amateur photographic at a stroke. But 75 years down the line and using technology that would have been the stuff of science fiction back then, I can still manage to acquire a tree growing out of my subject's head.

The Restorative Powers Of Water


Smedley's Hydro in Matlock Bath Derbyshire was one of the finest monuments to the passion in the nineteenth and early twentieth century for water cures of one kind or another. Built in 1853 by John Smedley, a man who combined a belief in the restorative powers of natural spring water with a fierce entrepreneurial spirit, it was the largest hydro in the town and in the twentieth century it had become world famous. Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Thomas Beecham and Ivor Novello are amongst the rich and famous who flocked there. By the 1950s custom had drained away and the building was bought by Derbyshire County Council as part of their County Hall complex.  (Scan of a 1930s Postcard - AB Collection)

106 : Two Smiling Theatricals

1707-133 : TWO THEATRICALS Two more smilers, but this time I suspect there are differences. First of all we have, I think, two women ...