Category Archives: News From Nowhere

Three Views And A Dollop Of History

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You get three views of Huddersfield for the price of one on this vintage postcard I acquired the other day, but as with all postcards from one hundred years or more ago, you get an awful lot of history as well. Those familiar with Huddersfield, will probably recognise the three views: most of the buildings featured are still standing today. The General Post Office is no longer the post office, but the building still exists and is directly across the street from the current post office which was built in 1914. The view of Church Street was a little confusing until I realised that it is, in fact, Cross Church Street, and that is clearly St Peters Parish Church at the far end.
Turn the card over and the potential interest is maintained. The postmark date is unreadable, but every indication would be that the card was sent at the height of the postcard boom in the period 1903-1907. The recipient was a certain Miss L A Kiddell-Monroe in Clacton-on-Sea and that name, date and location suggests that this was probably the sister of the famous children’s illustrator Joan Kiddell-Monroe who was born in Clacton in 1908.

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Streets Ahead Of Its Time

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Street photography is all the rage at the moment. As a photographic genre it is usually said to date from the introduction of miniature 35mm cameras in the 1930s. But this old print – which appeared in a mixed batch of old photographs bought on eBay – dates from at least a decade earlier. It really is a fine example: whatever the camera, it has managed to capture a moment in time with both style and substance. That look between the two girls is worth a short novella, that busy background could give rise to a short thesis on social history.

 

Restoring Fixby To Its Rightful Place In The World

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I live in Fixby, which today is in Huddersfield. According to Wikipedia, “Fixby is traditionally part of Huddersfield“. This is not the case at all – the township of Fixby was traditionally part of Halifax. It was only transferred to Huddersfield (and Kirklees) when the M62 motorway was built and someone decided that the motorway would henceforth be the division between the two boroughs. One can only assume that, at the same time, they dug up this ancient dividing stone and shipped it off to retirement in a park in West Vale. I plan to kidnap the old stone and replace it in its original position and thus return Fixby to its rightful place in the world. Has anyone got a chisel I can borrow?

Gone Fishing

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For a number of years now I have regularly gathered together all my various blog posts and published them every so often in book form. The main reason for this is to create an archive of my words and images so that when Blogger or WordPress or Facebook eventually curls up and expires, I still have a physical record of what I have been doing for the last twelve years or so. I suspect that words and pictures printed on good old fashioned paper have a better chance of surviving the post-digital apocalypse than anything else. As images have become more important to me over the years, the physical format of the books has grown accordingly – and the last few have weighed in at a coffee table hugging 10 by 8 inches.
I also like to occasionally annoy relatives and friends by giving them a copy of my latest book at birthdays and Christmas – it represents a gift on a similar level of both style and uselessness to a knitted toilet roll cover. If you have a relative or friend who has annoyed you recently, you may want to gift them a copy of my latest magnum opus – aptly entitled “Fishing In The Pond Of Inconsequence”. It is available from Amazon in most countries and good bookshops gone bad. To find it on Amazon simply enter the search term “Alan Burnett Inconsequence” – which quite neatly sums everything up.

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The Last Chara To Dewsbury

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Whenever you look at an old photograph of a familiar scene you become aware of content; the very scale and detail of what is going on. This is Brighouse in the early 1920s: there are shops, there are men waiting for the Black Bull to open and there is a charabanc waiting to trundle you off to Dewsbury Market (fare 2/- return). It is busy, it is lived in, it is a cobbled metropolis.
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The Black Bull is still there but now it is flanked by some concrete conveniences and a Wilko wall. And the last “chara” for Dewsbury left a long time ago.
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Dear Elsie, Excuse me not writing to before now. I will send you a letter later but with the card you will see I have not forgotten you. I got your letter and card was very nice and thank very much. Well my Dear friend how are you keeping I hope you are well. I am very well myself. Do excuse me Elsie Dear not writing before now. I have been thinking about you Elsie Dear all the same. Well Dear I will stop. With love I remain your loving friend, Edith xxxxxx

 

Elsie Shuker of Church Street, St Georges in Shropshire was 28 years old when she received this postcard from her friend Edith in Brighouse. Perhaps they knew each other from being in domestic service together? In the 1939 Register, Elsie Shuker – who was then 44 years old – is simply listed as “Daily Girl, Domestic Duties”.

No Stain On The Land

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We’ve been taking Lucy up to Stainland Recreation Ground for her walks these last few weeks. It makes a change from the usual circuit of the Crematorium (“the circle of gloom”, as Lucy likes to call it). You can look down on a green world from up there. It is Yorkshire at its best: a hint of wildness, more than a dash of raw beauty, and the mills, towers and houses only a long-distance lens away.

A Chess Box Full Of Memories

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18CA42Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week shows two railway workers in Finland playing chess during a break from work. That stance of studied concentration is matched perfectly by my picture which features a chess game between my father and myself. The photograph must have been taken by my brother, Roger, and it dates from around 1965 when we were on a family holiday in Scotland.
That red striped Dennis-the-Menace shirt, I can remember with such clarity I am almost tempted to check to see if it is still in my wardrobe. Those boots which have been set out to dry in the sun, just before (or possibly just after) they were cleaned and “dubbined” to waterproof the leather. They were used to climb the mountains that can be seen in the background which, I believe, were on the banks of Kinlochleven in Scotland. The car and the tartan travel blanket open up another box full of memories: that shade of pale blue, the shine of the chrome bumpers, the wing mirrors sticking out like antlers. My mother, Gladys, pinny-wrapped, watching with a degree of proprietorial interest.
I dare say that I can enlarge the image and review the state of the game and decide whether or not I was in a winning position. That, however, would take my attention away from the image itself: a random image, but one dripping with memories.
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