Words, Images And Memories From The Writer And Blogger, Alan Burnett
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The last two frames of the strip of negatives from the winter of 1964/65 reveal how I can be so sure of both the date and the place. They show the destination of my walk, which was to my brothers’ new house in East Street, Lightcliffe. I may be neither a rock, nor an island (thank you Paul and Art for accompanying me in my walk), but at least at the end of my walk I can have the pleasure of watching Roger dig up rocks from his back yard.
I can remember the project well: he was clearing the yard to make room for the boat he was about to build there. By the Spring of 1965, the boat was well on the way to completion, and later that year it was starting its journey around the canals of northern Britain.
It was replaced by further boats, each of increasing size and complexity, and they would eventually take my brother and his family to the other side of the world. He will probably be reading this post from his island home in the West Indies: with memories of all those years ago …. and trying hard to remember what on earth snow is.
Six photographs from the early 1980s when we were living in Sheffield. The first four were taken in a snow-covered Crookes Valley Park. The fifth shows the top of Oxford Street and the house we were living in at the time. The final shot shows the group of shops on Crookes Valley Road, leading up to the junction with Crookesmoor Road.
A short strip of four negatives that must date from the 1960s. More than likely it was 1968: that was the year of demonstrations, and that was the year I must have caught a coach to London, slogan at the ready and camera in hand. I can vaguely remember the crowds, the excitement, and the noise. If I dig a little further, I can probably remember the cause and even taking the photographs. Just memories now; memories and a short strip of 35mm negatives.
The entrance to the Grand Pier at Weston-Super-Mare in England. The photo dates from the mid 1930s, and the couple standing in front of the “Mirth” sign are my Uncle and Aunt, Frank and Miriam Fieldhouse. The miserable chap who is the embodiment of anything but “Enjoyment” is, happily, unknown. From the posters on display, it appears that Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record-breaking car “Bluebird” was being exhibited on the pier at the time. There may be a distinct lack of mirth and enjoyment, but this little sepia print is certainly full of life.
I have a feeling that this photograph was taken from a little further along Syke Lane, just outside Priestley Green. It was, however, 56 years ago, and it was in the middle of winter, and there was a freshly fallen silent shrewd of snow, so maybe I am imagining things. Now, it is a different century, it is summer and the forecast is for sun and blue skies. Lucy-dog wants a walk, but where shall we go? Why not! Let’s see if I can find those fields and that fence, let’s see if I can remember that song.
My walk of 1964 has taken me into the centre of the lovely hamlet of Priestley Green, and, as always, my eye is drawn to the cottages that are known as “The Sisters”. Nobody quite seems to know why they are thus called, although we do know that they were built in 1630 by Samuel Sunderland of nearby Coley Hall. I am alone on my walk of 56 years ago, and I probably imagined myself living in this delightful spot, gazing out of those windows onto the streets below. There is a well outside the gate of these cottages, whose waters were supposed to posses magical powers for all who drank them. The power to travel back through time by more than fifty years perhaps.
So my walk – in a deep and dark December (or possibly, January, or maybe February) – back in the winter of 1964/65, took me passed Coley Church and then down Northedge Lane towards Priestley Green. I still occasionally go down this lane, although I am not sure I would chance it in the snow these days. Just as lovely now, and a fair bit greener.
Having identified a direction of travel with this sequence of negatives featuring Sheffield in the early 1980s, it should be relatively simple to work out where I was when I took this photo. I’ve even managed to incorporate a road sign, just in case my memory might need some navigational help forty years down the line. I am still not sure where I am, however, and I need help in identifying those rather nice bay windows.
This is a joyous photo. I have no idea who the people are, but they are striding away from the Marine Bathing Pavilion in Margate. At a guess, we are in the late 1920s, although, again, I can’t be sure about that. What we can be certain about, however, is that they are having a great time.