Sunday 31 January 2010

Black and white, sepia and grey..

Another trawl of Uncle Eric’s photos.

I wonder which bridge this is that was being built or repaired in the 1930s or 40s.


This is East Gate, Warwick, taken during his cycling holiday in 1930.

And Guy’s Cliff Mill, Warwickshire, from the same holiday.

This was from the same holiday and what amazes me is how smart Lichfield Cathedral looks. When I first saw it in the 1960s it was as black as Hades but here the stone looks as clean as anything – partly thanks to the print being over-exposed. Uncle Eric, like Dad, did all his own developing and prinitng.

Here is a close up using the original negative.

This is from his Cornish cycling holiday in 1932.

This is Mold’s main street around the mid 1930s.

This is a Mersey Ferry boat from the late 1920s or 1930s. I think it may be the Upton which was taken by the army in 1941 for use as a ferry and supply vessel for the anti-aircraft forts in Liverpool Bay.


The famous Overhead Railway that ran along the dock road, Liverpool. Photographed at midnight by Uncle Eric in the early 1930s.

A beautiful country scene – probably from Somerset or Warwickshire – 1930 or 1931.

Saturday 30 January 2010

Odd rambling thoughts about an odd week

It’s been a funny old week. I don’t seem to have done much except look through old black and white photos and try to identify places that my Uncle Eric visited in the 1930s.

I find it sad that the only two folk who really knew Eric all their lives are GB and I though Jo and Richard got to know him in his eighties. At least when people have children there is a bit of them that continues on for years to come but when they die childless, as he did, it makes one wonder what life is really all about. All the experiences he had – only a fraction of which are hinted at by his photos – what do they all add up to?

The best that can be hoped for I suppose is that even if one’s memory doesn’t live on at least one has left a legacy of doing one’s bit to improve one’s own tiny portion of the world. And among Eric’s contributions was his role as a Sergeant in the RAF in North Africa and Italy during World War II. Each generation, the better it treats its fellow man and the more it fights for justice and the rights of man, the better legacy it leaves for the next generation. As someone who was both caring and cared about I guess Uncle Eric did his bit in that regard.

The main purpose of sorting through Uncle Eric’s things has been to provide background material for a possible article in the Meccano Magazine. (He worked for Meccano in the 1920s and 30s). But the exercise has resulted in me wanting to get Mum and Dad’s albums out of the loft and scan them in as well. since I haven’t even got a quarter of the way through scanning my own albums in yet I just seem to add one job to another and get nowhere fast...

Jo has been working all week so I haven’t had much chance for chats or crosswords and consequently my embroidery has suffered since it is while with Jo that I tend to do it. Nevertheless I finished one serviette and have started another. This time they are for us rather than gifts as it occurred to me that we don’t have a real set of them – just odd ones I have done over the years.

One of the odd facts I learned this week was that birds sing more loudly in the town than in the country.  Apparently it is because of the competition from background traffic noise.

My quote of the week is one I found on a blogger’s review of Susan Hill’s “Howard’s end is on the Landing”. I love this quote but have mixed views about the author who at times inspires me and at others infuriates me with her elitist view of what makes a writer..

"But if the books I have read have helped to form me, then probably nobody else who ever lived has read exactly the same books, all the same books and only the same books, as me. So just as my genes and the soul within me make me uniquely me, so I am the unique sum of the books I have read. I am my literary DNA."

Another quote that caused me to reflect on life came from Hill Billy Farm Girl in Sweden
Life around us changes every single day. So much is going on in this world and the shocking news about the people suffering at Haiti makes you pause and think for a while. It reminds you how fortunate you are that you have a nice, warm home, a car, a warm meal on the table every day. It reminds you of having the privilege of good health care and you just need to turn the knob and you have warm and clean water coming out of the faucet. It reminds you of how quick things can change, even in your own country, your own home...

So, I hope you are all warm an cosy and safe this weekend and that any changes for you are for the better.

Friday 29 January 2010

Friday My Town Shoot-out - Look Up and Look down

Sorry - not much of an effort this week...

This week's subject for the Friday My Town Shoot-out is Look Up and Look Down.

Heswall - look up

Heswall - look down

Arrowe Park - look up

Arrowe Park - look down

If you would like to see other members' shoot-outs please go to the link page.

To learn more about the Friday My Town Shoot-out why not pay a visit to the
home blog.

Hopefully a better effort next week...

Thursday 28 January 2010

Some more gems

By popular demand – well, Linda and Jendiana wanted them! - some more gems from Uncle Eric’s photos.

Here are Mum and GB on 10th April 1945 in Calderstones Park. I suspect this was virtually the first time Uncle Eric had seen GB as the former was still in the army at that stage and may have been on his first leave after his exploits in North Africa and Italy. Love the pram!

This is Loggerheads Mill – an undated and very small photo but probably from the 1930s. It was interesting to find the original negative and scan it in to create this version of the photo.

Train enthusiasts may be interested in this old locomotive from the 1930s:-

Around 1933 Uncle Eric went to the Isle of Man TT and this is a photo he took of J F Pringle, an Australian, parting company with his Norton at Dunlop corner.

GB likes ships so here is one for him to investigate – the Cobnhavn. Undated but assumed to be the early 1930s.

Napes Needles, Great Gable, in the Lake District during a camping holiday, 1938:-.

Self portrait – 1930 at Land’s End. I’d love to know what colour those wonderful socks were?

The other day we had GB feeding the chickens – now he’s feeding the ducks on Llangollen Canal in 1948. I wonder how many photos of GB walking along this stretch of the canal there have been over the years? It was only about four years ago that I took one

But here are my favourites of all Uncle Eric’s photos – GB being bathed by the fire, 22nd April 1945. Sadly I haven’t been able to find the negatives to see if I can get a better print of the first one.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Eric's first car

This was Uncle Eric's first car - a 1924, 3 litre, blue, two-seater Bentley, registration PX247.


HMS Conway

This photo of Uncle Eric’s can be dated exactly. It was taken on 21st May 1941. I know that because the ship is easily identified as the HMS Conway and she was moved from the Mersey to Menai on May 21 - 22 1941.

HMS Conway was a navy training ship. After an Abandon Ship incident in 1941, the Conway Committee decided that training clearly needed to be carried on in more peaceful surroundings than the Mersey- a prime bombing target. They decided that the 102 year old wooden vessel should be moved to the Menai Strait in North Wales. It would be her first sea passage for 65 years. Eric was obviously on leave at the time and took the opportunity of being in Liverpool to get this photo of the Conway being towed out of the Mersey.

She was towed by the Rea tugs Langworth and Dongarth to Glyn Garth Mooring on the Menai Straits, Anglesey, West of Bangor Pier and close to the Anglesey shore - the mooring is still marked on charts. She arrived of Bangor late in the evening.

At 8.15am on Wed 14th April 1953 HMS Conway slipped her mooring off Plas Newydd in the Menai Strait and was taken under tow on the first stage of her return to Birkenhead for a refit. A little over two hours later, under the fearful gaze of the thousands who waited to cheer her through Menai Suspension Bridge, she would be driven ashore by an unexpectedly powerful tide, and as that tide fell it would reduce Britain’s last commissioned, massively built floating wooden walled Ship-of-the-Line to a total constructive loss within a matter of hours. For over three years her flooded, broken hull would haunt the banks of the Strait until, in a last fitting blaze of glory, she caught fire in unexplained circumstances and burned to the waterline.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Odds and Ends from Uncle Eric

I have been sorting through a lot of Uncle Eric’s photos seeking items to help with a possible article in the Meccano magazine. The end result has not been overly helpful in that regard but it has brought up some gems.

This photo of Eric – presumably on Eric’s camera - was taken by Dad when he and Mum were camping with Eric in the Lake District in the late 1930s. Uncle Eric had labelled it ‘Boots maketh the man’

This photo by Uncle Eric fascinates me. What are the stone pillars and where is it? Is it perhaps some sort of dou8ble market cross? I’d love to know the answer.

And how about this great hay harvest picture from the 1930s or 40s. I wonder where that was taken.

And this hay loader from the 1940s looks like N Wales or the Lake District. Possibly when he camped near Valle Crucis in 1948.

I was really taken with this car – a Bentley? I wonder whose it was?

Eric did a lot of cycling (this is a photo of a friend of his in Cheshire) and had holidays cycling on his own in Warwickshire, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall in 1930, 1931 and 1932.

One of the amusing things is the effort to which we go to exclude people and cars from our shots of famous scenes – like this 1931 photo of Anne Hathaway’s cottage. Ironically, of course, it is the people and vehicles which end up making a photo more interesting in years to come.

And to finish today’s little offering here is something for all you choc-a-holics – a permit to purchase chocolate!

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