This is a classic British “snap” from the 1930s. Amongst our island nation, there is some compelling desire to take to the nearest small boat and explore our coastline. It doesn’t matter that the sea is grey, and the coastal wind is sharp enough to cut your jib on – we take to the water. Perhaps we go in search of neighbours.
My first thought when I examined this old Carte de Visite from the Wolverhampton studios of Carl Holt was, who was the real woman under all these clothes? She has the look of a bleached milk chocolate wrapped in too many layers of coloured cellophane – or rather mourning-black crape. It is high summer outside, and I am forced to wonder how people managed when the sun came out? The clue, perhaps, is in the address of Carl Holt’s studio – Winter Hill, Wolverhampton!
I worked in Doncaster for close on twenty years back in the 1980s, and I passed this church regularly. It was an impressive building, standing within its own grounds but surrounded by busy roads. Like so many churches, however, it was showing its age. The discovery of this postcard, prompted me to check up on the state of the church now, and it appears to be a thriving religious centre again. Looking at the website, I also discovered that one of the church elders is a chap I used to work with thirty years ago.
It would have been my fathers’ birthday today – he would have been 107 years old! This photograph must have been taken in the late 1920s in Bradford, Yorkshire when, as a teenager, he would have been looking forward to what life would bring him. It brought him a long and happy life and a family that remembers him still. Happy birthday Albert.
It started as the Wheatsheaf, way back when. The current building is part of Halifax Borough Market and dates from the 1890s, but it seems that a Wheatsheaf pub was on Market Street before that. In the 1970s, the pub name was changed to The William Deighton, in memory of the excise officer murdered by the Cragg Vale Coiners back in the middle of the eighteenth century. Twenty years later it was renamed again: becoming the Portman and Pickles in celebration of two famous Halifax born actors. Having developed a fine line in names that evoked local history, all that was abandoned in 2012 when the name was changed again to The Jubilee, to commemorate some royal jubilee or another. It seems a bit of a shame – there are countless jubilees, but there was only one William Deighton.
Two of the men convicted of murdering William Deighton were executed at Tyburn in York in 1775 and later their bodies were brought to Beacon Hill in Halifax and hung there in chains. It is said that their bodies were so arranged that their lifeless fingers were pointing towards Bull Close Lane, the site of the murder. If the Wheatsheaf / William Deighton / Portman & Pickles / Jubilee had been standing then, you could have seen the lifeless bodies hanging on Beacon Hill from the upstairs window. Now that’s history for you!
Another scan from my archive of negatives taken in the Halifax area in the 1960s and 1970s. This one shows Elland Power Station dominating the lower Calder Valley and the new Elland Bypass. Elland Bridge can be seen in the foreground.
Historical events are not random: each follows from a series of previous events and leads to a range of future events. Causes and consequences hold history together like the threads of a spiders’ web. Sometimes, however, the best way to examine these limitless connections is to jump into history at random: one day, one year, one newspaper – selected by a random number generator.
DAILY HERALD : 14 NOVEMBER 1933
Nothing changes: disarmament talks are going nowhere, trade wars are rife, there’s a war in Afghanistan, daylight robbery and old people killed by speeding cars! But there is one story that you don’t see every week – a Hollywood starlet being divorced by her husband because he “does not want her to be tied to a dying man!”
Ahh – if only it were true. It turns out that Judith Allen was the one doing the divorcing whilst her husband of a few months was recovering from a heart attack in hospital. She had already been seen out on a date with Gary Cooper. Sonnenberg, in fact, survived another nine years (and another marriage) and died of illness whilst serving in the American Navy during the Second World War.
Judith Allen lived a long life (1911-1996) and married a couple more times after leaving poor Gus Sonnenberg in his hospital bed. She starred in a number of not very well known films during the 1930s, including one entitled “The Port Of Missing Girls”. By some unfortunate coincidence, Judith Allen shares the front page of the Daily Herald with a story of a young woman, Mrs Madeleine Buxton, who went missing from a ship en route to the port of Southampton.
I have no idea where some of the old prints in my collection come from. This particular picture, however, comes from Tatler’s Candid Camera Studio in Katoomba, New South Wales. I can also tell you that it features the unmistakable features of William O’Neill. How William got from one side of the world to the other is, however, a mystery.
I took this photograph over fifty years ago at the Halifax Charity Gala. Even though it was the infamous “swinging sixties”; times were simpler then, and high-tech entertainment consisted of a hardboard bowing alley and some half drainpipes.