Category Archives: Scanned Negatives

Faded Pleasure

By the 1960s, all that was left of the once magnificent Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens was a Go-Kart track, a rubbish-filled lake and a host of memories. There were two lakes – Victoria and Alexandra – and I am not sure which this one – I captured in this photo from the late 1960s – was.  I can just about remember going to the gardens in the late 1950s, and by then their glory was very much faded. It is hard to imagine that this forgotten little valley, hidden away behind Hipperholme Cross Roads, was once one of the premier northern leisure resorts of Edwardian England.

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.

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.

God And Industry

A hundred yards or so after taking yesterday’s photograph, I must have turned again towards Halifax and taken this next one in the series. It captures the old railway sidings at North Bridge particularly well, along with Smith’s Wire Works. Monuments to both God and industry vie for control of the skyline.

Grand Scenes

This has always been one of my favourite photographs from the late 1960s. I strongly suspect that the back yard I took this from no longer exists: indeed, nor does the house, nor does the street. And the view no longer exists. Gone are the cooling towers, the gasometers, and the chimneys, and all you would see if you stood there today, would be a lot of trees. This is a different Halifax of fifty or so years ago: a little lost, a lot dirtier; but full of grand scenes.

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