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Northern Capitals 12 : Now You See Her

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18DA52wPage 12 and at last we have a clue. The photographs on page 11 and 12 are the same except for the exchange of the ship’s officer with the bow tie for the young girl in a chequered dress. The album is unlikely to belong to the ship’s officer, but could our mysterious photographer be the young girl in the chequered dress?

10 From The Seaside 2 : Somewhere Under The Rainbow

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This is one of my pictures from the 1960s of the old fishing harbour at Bridlington. The Sailor’s Bethel was a non-conformist church catering for the welfare and spiritual needs of fishermen and sailors. The building is still there, but is now known by the less picturesque name of The Harbourside Evangelical Church.

Highly Pleased With My Forthcoming Funeral

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It seems impossible to watch daytime TV at the moment without being continuously assailed by elderly actors and celebrities reminding you that you need to take care of those “final expenses”. Whilst this obsession with paying a few quid a week to pay for your own funeral is not new, it does seem to have skipped a few generations (Message to The Lad: when “my time comes” you can pick up the bill for the “lovely send-off”, it’s the least you can do to pay back all those years of spending money I forked out for you). The modern approach to paying for your own funeral is not half as entertaining as the one favoured by the working class in nineteenth century Britain. That was the great age of Friendly and Burial societies, where you paid the equivalent of a few quid into a fund and got in return, not just a decent send-off, but a good time as well, whilst you were still around to enjoy it.
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Browsing through an old copy of The Leeds Times the other day (as one does), I came across this announcement concerning the activities of local Friendly and Burial Societies. Organisations such as the Honourable Order Of The Peaceful Dove and the Ancient Order Of Druids saw no contradiction between describing themselves as “Secret Orders” and advertising their activities in the columns of the local newspaper. Once you had paid your “subs” into the kitty, you not only got a good send off and a few pound for you surviving relatives, you also got regular dinners, useful conversation, and – given that meetings were always held in pubs – a goodly amount of ale as well. 
However good their “lifetime payment guarantees” and the like are, I can’t imagine that many pensioners these days, after paying their weekly subscription, go home “highly pleased with a well spent day”.

The Chapel On The Hill

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I was watching an old episode of Time Team the other day and they were going on about how the ancients used to try and build temples and the like on top of hills. The chapel-buildings of West Yorkshire were the same : show them a half-decent hill and they would stick a chapel on it. I spotted this view of the one in Blackley the other day whilst walking the dog

10 From The Seaside 1 : Bracing Bits

Skegness Pier (1980)
Spring came yesterday. It has gone away again today, but that one oblique glance at the sun was enough to make me want to go to the seaside. So a new mini-series of scans from my old negatives starts with the seaside at its bracing best – Skegness. This photograph was taken a couple of years after the great storm of January 1978 cut the pier into three bits.

The Musical Boy Scouts

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This trio of musicians appears on the front of a vintage post card which was sent to a Mr E A Hopkins in Cardiff in October 1913. The message on the reverse is as follows:-

Lydney, 18/10/13
Dearest,  These are poor cards. The boy at the back is the cleverest, he plays cello alright. Best love, Mame xxxxxx
Lydney is a small town in Gloucestershire near the Forest of Dean, and Mame’s “dearest” lived some 50 miles away in Cardiff.

The Singer Trio – who were also known as “The Musical Boy Scouts” – toured the variety halls and music halls of Britain in the early part of the twentieth century. In an advert in the variety newspaper “The Era” in November 1913, they described themselves as follows in an advert for tour dates:
“SINGER TRIO : Wonderful musicians. 15 stringed instruments (not toys) played (not played with). Great success everywhere. Wanted. Known at liberty Oct 17, 24.

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NORTHAMPTON DAILY ECHO 21 December 1914
The following year brought the outbreak of the First World War, but the Singer Trio were still touring the theatres, although now they were having to share the billing with moving picture shows about the horrors of war – “a beautifully coloured production”!

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MANSFIELD REPORTER AND SUTTON TIMES  11 September 1914
There are frequent mentions of the Trio in the stage and variety press until September 1915, after which all mention of them ceases. One can only assume that the “musical boy scouts” were eventually drawn into that most tragic of twentieth century performances – the Great War.
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