Monthly Archives: May 2020

Time And Place

I am not quite sure where the next image on the negative strip was taken, but it must have been somewhere between Coley (Image 1) and Hipperholme (Image 3). Half demolished buildings, slag heaps, silhouetted chimneys: it’s an image of time rather than place. Hopefully someone will be able to pin down the location: all suggestions will be gratefully received.

The Feel Of History

My negative scanning moves on to a new strip of negatives, one with just three negatives on it. It dates, I think, from the mid to late 1960s, and all three photographs are from the area around Halifax.

I am almost certain that the first shows the tower of Coley Church, brooding in the background, slightly aloof then – and now – from everything that goes on around it. I think, but can’t be certain, that the building with the carts is Sowood House at the bottom of Coley Lane. You could probably take exactly the same scene in 2020 and little will have structurally changed: the house still stands, the church tower can still be seen in the background. You could turn the digital image into monochrome, you could apply every Photoshop ageing filter in your package: you could scratch it, add dust to it, tire it, and fade it. And yet, you would not be able to make it feel as old as this image. Quite clearly, it was taken in my lifetime (I took it!), but it is another age, it has the feel of history.

Grandeur Without Guilt

Yesterday, I went for a socially distanced walk with my son in the grounds of Wortley Hall, Sheffield. This magnificent eighteenth century stately home has, for the past half century, been owned by the British labour and trade union movement, and used for meetings and residential courses, as well as being made available to the general public as a venue. A beautiful setting for a gorgeous walk: grandeur without guilt.

One Of The Grandest Views

The final shot in this particular strip of six negatives, and all the climbing and scaling of hillside and stone steps is worthwhile. The view from the top of Godley Bank, when you suddenly catch sight of that carpet of industry and activity that is Halifax, must be one of the grandest views of the north of England. Even better when seen from the top of a bus. Again, this must date from around 1967: a year or two before those houses to the right of the road were demolished.

Godley Bridge

Anyone who has been following the progress of my scans for the last few days will know where I had arrived at by the end of this strip of negatives from the late 1960s. It is Halifax’s answer to a triumphal arch: built by the Borough Engineer in 1900 out of stone and cast iron; a monument to the power of hard work and industry. It is the stone steps leading up to Godley Bridge.

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