Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week features an air stewardess hugging a cute puppy. Auntie Miriam may have been many things, but she was never an air stewardess, but there again it’s a donkey she is hugging and not a puppy. The donkey is undeniably cute however and that look of affection could be a mirror image of the one shared between the stewardess and the puppy.
The date of the theme image is a little uncertain: sometimes in the 1950s is the best that the Preus Museum (Norway’s National Museum of Photography) can come up with. I can be much more precise about my photograph because it comes from the Frank Fieldhouse Digital Collection and as we all know Frank might not have been an airline pilot, but he was an enthusiastic cataloguer. In his unmistakable hand the page in the album is headed “St Annes” and dated 1941. Uncle Frank could never resist the additional comment, that little extra description that makes the difference between a museum catalogue and a personal scrapbook. Those little notes of affection percolate his albums like dandruff on a Rastafarian; announcing his affection for his wife as clear a any 60 point bold typeface. And below this picture is the unforgettable line – “On the sands …. and one is a donkey”
In this strange and wonderful world of blogging nothing is impossible.
It started with an old postcard, the one featured in my last post entitled “No Stamp, No Box, No Pint” It was an old picture postcard posted 101 years ago and featuring the Bell Hotel in Tewkesbury. At one side of the old pub you can just make out a sign advertising the brewery that was supplying the hotel back in 1914 and it was the Wickwar brewery of Armold Perrett & Co. The firm is long gone but the internet suggested that the brewery building still existed and a new brewery – the Wickwar Brewery – had moved into the premises. I looked Wickwar up on a map and discovered to my delight that it was just up the road from where one of my oldest blogging friends – the inimitable Chairman Bill – lives. So I asked him to see if he could find it and if so let me have a photograph of it. And for good measure I asked him to send me a pint of Wickwar Gold as well.
Within 24 hours a set of photographs had arrived in my in-box showing the old brewery buildings and evidence of its occupation by the new Wickwar Brewery. Even better, a message arrived to say that a pint of Wickwar Gold was on the way. I cannot deny that I have always had more than my fair share of faith in the positive benefits of the internet, but I had serious doubts about its ability to deliver a decent pint of beer. So I sat back and I waited.
I have been into town today and on returning home I discovered a very large cardboard box which had been delivered by a van driver whilst I was out. I cut through the outer cardboard packaging with a degree of enthusiasm only to discover an inner box containing an enormous quantity of what the label described as Wickwar Gold (4.5% ABV). There must be at least 20 pints of the stuff in there, constituting a bounty of beer of almost unimaginable proportions. There can only be one person responsible for this – the very same Chairman Bill.
So this unique 100 year journey has taken us from an old postcard of Tewkesbury to a feast of Gloucestershire real ale which will be thoroughly enjoyed in West Yorkshire. All thanks to the wonders of blogging. But as I raise a glass, not just to Chairman Bill but to all my blogging friends, I have to stress that the circle is not yet quite complete. It will only be so when my parcel of Yorkshire goods is finally dispatched down to Gloucestershire. I will let you all know when I have decided what will go in there. But for now, cheers!
There was a time – in the 1950s and 60s – when towns like Halifax seemed to be in love with the future. And the future was motor cars: great big metallic, two-toned, chromium-plated beasts that drank petrol with the abandon of an alcoholic. And the garages that sold them were, in the main, bastions of modernity – plate-glass showcases of the future. Trinity Garage was such a building: standing proudly at the top of Hunger Hill as if mocking it’s very name. The building remains – a little shabby without the chic – but the cars are long gone. Hunger Hill is fighting back.
I had a bit of a bad feeling about this one. As I entered the very long, very dark and very deserted old walkway under the railway line there was a young bloke in a hoody walking a very cross looking dog approaching behind me. The shot looking out of the old stone viaduct was a good one but I knew if I waited a little and repressed my desire to run away, it would be even better. The young chap was charming. He wished me good morning and the dog wagged its tail. And then he walked on. And I took the picture. And I had a bit of a good feeling about this one.
One definition of “providence” is “timely preparation for future eventualities”. So when they built Providence Place Chapel in Cleckheaton in 1857 they probably thought that if the congregation eventually dwindled they could convert the building into an Indian Restaurant. And so they did.