A fly on the window and not on the wall. A tiny, moth-like fly, which turns out to be a miniature work of art: picked out against a Yorkshire sky.
Monthly Archives: May 2019
This is an old sepia photograph of a seaside resort, which was taken, I suspect, in the early twentieth century. I don’t know where it was taken: I am sure it is somewhere in England, but there are few clues in the photograph itself. There is what looks like a ruined castle on the top of a hill in the background, and for a time I flirted with the idea of Scarborough. The wall is too high, however, the buildings in the centre are too grand, and the harbour is missing. Wherever the photograph was taken it is evocative of a grand old age.
People today just don’t know how to behave. There is no discipline. Fighting, swearing, misbehaving on a Corporation tramcar – we didn’t act like that when I was young.
There is something rather lovely about this old gravestone, standing snug against the sandstone walls of St Martin’s in Brighouse. Perhaps it’s the almost Pre-Raphaelite design, perhaps it is the challenge presented by the Roman numerals. It stands out not by its size or dominance of the graveyard, but by the fact that it hides its beauty and challenges you to discover it.
JOSEPH BARBER DIED
MARCH XIX MDCCCLXII
AGED LVII YEARS
MARIANNE BARBER DIED
SEPTEMBER XIII MDCCCLXXV
Joseph Barber was a Brighouse solicitor and mill-owner. His son, William (who may well have commissioned the gravestone), at one stage contested the Halifax constituency as a Conservative candidate and later became a High Court Judge.
What better way to spend a sunny day than wandering around a Yorkshire churchyard, looking for history and finding it under every stone slab.
The old Crossley Orphanage – now the Crossley Heath School – remains one of the most handsome buildings in Halifax. Nevertheless – almost 50 years after I attended it – I still have nightmares about getting lost within its labyrinthine corridors.
Seven people and a wall. Seven mid-century faces: post-war, post-depression – all tweed jackets and Oxford bags. That first, troubling half century is behind them – the future is awaiting them.
Forget love and marriage, fish and chips, Cagney and Lacey: surely the finest combination of all is a warm spring sun on solid Yorkshire stone.
This little Victorian Carte de Visite dates from a time when photographs were for special occasions, rather than the result of a selfie-click on a smartphone. Young men or women would have their photographs taken on birthdays and holidays, wearing their very best clothes, and posing against a background of stone antiquities and tree-trunk props (the props really were to prop you up and keep you still to accommodate the lengthy shutter speeds of the Victorian cameras). Every northern mill town would have its fill of photographic studios, and these would often have branches in the seaside towns that were becoming more and more popular for Bank Holiday trips.
Who this young lady is, I have no idea, but she has the look of a woman of strong character, who might just have severed that tree branch all by herself.