This view of St Thomas, Claremount, framed by the old Halifax Gas Works is another of the repeat offenders from my negative archives: it seems that I couldn’t walk down Bank Bottom without taking such a shot. This was taken before the church spire was removed, which, I think, makes it mid 1960s. I have darker versions of the same scene – one for every mood.
Cleethorpes in the 1980s: out of season and tired. Back then, colour seemed as absent from the persona of this seaside town as meat did from the hamburgers at the burger bar. Everything looks a lot brighter these days; colour is back – long may it stay.
As I trawl through my negative archives, I keep finding scenes that I have photographed on multiple occasions. I have this particular view of Bank Bottom in Halifax either with steam or without it. The without steam option has a more stately feel to it – a bit like Tuscany with industry grafted on.
We can’t do smiles like we used to. Despite our endless ability to preen ourselves in front of app-laden mirror lenses, we could never match the enigma-rich smiles of this unknown trio, captured on a Bristol Channel paddle steamer in the 1920s.
I think I must have taken this photograph in the 1980s, which makes it rather late in my black and white days. By then the Burdock Way overpass had become part of the very body of Halifax; a vital artery rather than a varicose vein. Key buildings had shifted their positions to benefit from its’ fine concrete picture frames.
I think this is York and I suspect this is a bit of York Minster in a contest with the gable ends for visual supremacy. The photograph must date from fairly late in my monochrome days – late eighties or even early nineties – and it demonstrates that nothing does shapes like a black and white photo.
John Edward Wainhouse did not do plain. Ask him to build a dyeworks chimney and you would finish up with a monumental tower; ask him to build a row of cottages and you would get spiral staircases and terraced balconies. His tower still stands proud, his terrace has seen better days. This was taken in 1972 when parts of it were still occupied and before the stone-cleaners came along.
I am not quite sure where this was taken from, but it could well have been in the King Cross area of Halifax. Whilst the dirt was being blasted off the public buildings of the town in the early 1970s, many terraces still bore witness to their sooty past. This multitude of chimneys, bitumen-black, gave evidence to both cause and effect.
There are two possible questions to go with this particular scan from my collection of old negatives. The first is, should old buildings be cleaned? There is an argument which says that power-washing the dirt, soot and grime off these fine old Victorian stone buildings is the architectural equivalent of a face-lift: momentarily interesting but, in the long term, depressingly invasive. However, I am putting off such a debate for a sunnier day in order to concentrate on the second, slightly more prosaic, question: when was Halifax Town Hall stone cleaned? I have combed through the copious wisdom of Uncle Google without pinning an exact date down. The date may remain a mystery, but I am pretty certain of the time: five to eight in the morning (or, just possibly, in the evening!)