We hear a lot these days about the changing nature of town and city centres, but the centre of gravity of our conurbations has never been static. I took this photograph over fifty years ago from the waste land at the bottom of Woolshops in Halifax. Widespread demolition had already swept through the narrow streets, terraces and workshops of – what was traditionally – the heart of the town, leaving vacant lots and uninterrupted lines of sight to the town abattoir. The retail footfall rarely got down this far back in those days, preferring the wider prospects of Commercial Street and the like. And then things changed: development came, new stores and car parks were built, and the abattoir and cart would more likely to be the name of a rather select bar than a description of what could be found outside.
Category Archives: Scanned Negatives
Boating under the pier is prohibited. So is swimming in the birdbath, cycling down the drainpipe, and painting your toenails in the coal cellar. But, when liberty returns to the world, we will be able to board cruise ships for trips under the great piers of Britain.
AWAY 1 : There used to be home and away. Home was where you lived fifty-one weeks of the year. Away was your week at the seaside. This, however, was quite a late shot: the give away is that the fish and chips are in polystyrene boxes. By the 1980s, away was more likely to be a Mediterranean hotspot, and places like Brid were for day-trips and Sunday drives.
When you get to the end of the road, there is an ingrained need in us all, to get in a rowing boat and go that little bit further.
This was one of the first posts I ever put up on my blog, I posted it fifteen years ago in 2006. It came to mind because …. this morning started with a visit to the dentist! Actually, in the intervening fifteen years the dentist has moved, even closer to the town centre. Whist waiting for pain and suffering in downtown Halifax Part II to commence, I took a walk, and, of course, took some photographs.
I took some photographs here back in the 1960s and when I got home I looked some of them out…..
As it turned out, there was no pain and suffering on this occasion: the dentist took one look and booked me in for another appointment to do a filling in a few weeks time. Keep a look out for Pain And Suffering In Downtown Halifax Part III
One of the least known of Henry Moore’s monumental sculptures is his 1970 Reclining Figure which has been on permanent display in Halifax for the last fifty years. In order to overcome the civic antipathy to major arts projects, Moore cleverly disguised the sculpture as an overpass.
One can’t avoid being impressed by how well Artificial Intelligence (AI) copes with the automated colourisation of old black and white photographs. Take, for example, this photograph of a back street in Burslem, North Staffordshire, which I took in the early 1970s when I was living in that part of the world. The negative was stored in my archives shoulder to silver-salted shoulder with dozens of other negatives, mostly of the streets of West Yorkshire. That clever little artificial intelligence, however, decided that the houses of Burslem would have been built from brick rather than Yorkshire stone, and coloured them red instead of mucky brown. What a clever little AI! It’s just a pity that it had to spoil itself by showing off and painting the road green.
Is it just age that makes you far more susceptible to time travel? Sometimes it can be a word like advocaat, sometimes a pattern like the geometric madness of 1960s wallpapers; most times it is an image.
These two photographs were taken at a Christmas Party at my parent’s house, sometime around 1965. They are full of memories, and by themselves could provide a rich itinerary for a week’s worth of time travel. The table with the Christmas drinks – it was always a bottle of advocaat, a small bottle of Babycham, and a bottle of sweet sherry. There may have been some port left over from a previous Christmas, but I can’t recall there ever having been beer, and wine was unheard of. There is that wallpaper which is guilty of assault and battery on the senses, and the posed expressions on the faces of my aunts and uncles. There was a dish of biscuits – maybe even a chocolate one – an artificial tree and a warm sausage roll or two. It was a moment or two in time, captured within the cardboard confines of a colour slide. Now it is a rich vein of memories.
A photograph of mine of Halifax in the early 1960s. The Town Hall was still soot-encrusted, the cars parked outside the White Swan Hotel had an over-abundance of chrome, and Pohlmann’s still sold pianos.