Tag Archives: Scanned Negatives

Memories, Patterns And Frameworks

SCRAPYARD & RAILWAY SIDINGS, HALIFAX (c1968)

There is something so familiar about this photograph, but it is the familiarity of a memory; something that takes the buildings, the hills, the chimneys and the spires and arranges them into familiar patterns. The hillside must be Beacon Hill, Halifax, but it is not the bold, brooding, in-your-face hill that you see to the north-east, but it’s gentler sibling that has been smoothed by a Calderdale glacier. The railway line is the one leading south from Halifax Station, but the track takes twists and turns that seem to go nowhere. My guess is that I must have been standing somewhere close to where the Eureka Museum now stands, but that might just be me trying to fit memories into a geographical framework.

Commercial Adventures In Halifax

COMMERCIAL STREET, HALIFAX (1960s)

When I was young, and adventurous, and rust-free, I could never resist the opportunities provided by a rainy night when it came to photographic patterns and reflections. I suspect that this is a fairly early photograph of mine, taken in the mid 1960s. I am fairly certain that it was taken in Commercial Street, Halifax from somewhere just outside the Post Office, looking towards Ward’s End. If I am right that is the illuminated sign of the old ABC Cinema towards the left of the picture and the sign of Ramsden’s Stone Trough Brewery in the centre background. The brewery was demolished in 1968, so my photograph obviously pre-dates that. As for the rest of it, you can spend an entertaining minute or so trying to pick out some of the other familiar sights from the darkness: now that I am old and rust-coated, that’s my idea of adventure.

I could never resist a dark rainy night. I must have taken this photo of Commercial Street in Halifax in the mid 1960s: if you look hard enough you can just make out the ABC cinema and Ramsden’s Brewery in the background.

Sheffield In Colour

View From Kelvin Flats, Sheffield (c 1984)

Colour photographs used to be a luxury. Colour film was much more expensive than black and white film, and home processing was not a cheap option. Family pressure meant that I would have to load my camera with a colour film for holidays, but for when I was wandering around the streets of Halifax, Sheffield or Stoke, cheap monochrome film was the norm. Occasionally, however, I would return from holiday and there might have been a colour film, half-used, in the camera. So, equally occasionally, I would walk around whichever town or city I was living in, capturing it in colour. This photograph shows Infirmary Road and Penistone Road in Sheffield, taken, I think, from the vantage point of the Kelvin flats. The date must have been around the mid 1980s.

Flying Ladas

Burdock Way, Halifax. (c.1990)

This is another photo of Burdock Way, Halifax, taken from the same film and shot at the same time – probably about 1990. The road, of course, is still there: what is interesting once again is what is framed between the concrete curves. Whilst there are still garages at the bottom of Boothtown Road, they no longer deal in Lada cars! Ladas are still being manufactured, but you would be lucky to spot one these days speeding along the concrete road that flies over Halifax.

A Sign Of The Times

Burdock Way and Claremount, Halifax. (c.1990)

Los Angeles has its iconic HOLLYWOOD sign, and for many years, Halifax had its equally iconic CRAWFORD-SWIFT sign painted on the side of its factory up on the hill at Claremount and overlooking the town. It might not have been celebrated on postcards or t-shirts, but it was part of the culture of a town which was proud of its industrial mix: from carpets to toffees and from machine tools to mortgages. My photograph is a comparatively late one for me, only about thirty years old, but it shows Crawford Swifts framed by the voluptuous concrete curves of Burdock Way.

Band In The Rain

Ovenden School Band, Halifax

This is another of my Halifax photographs from the late 1960s or the early 1970s. I’m not sure what caught my eye at the time: possibly the band playing in the rain, maybe the two men (teachers?) engaged in an earnest discussion. I’d like to think it was the Alfred Hitchcock figure with the hat on the extreme right of the photo. The band has just finished playing Funeral March Of A Marionette, the theme tune to Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Beware! my imagination is on the run again.

Steam Geolocation

TINSLEY WEST SIGNAL BOX, SHEFFIELD (c1983)

The kids these days have it easy: pick up their smartphones, click the button, and applecadabra they have a photograph which is automatically dated and geolocated to within a metre of where they are standing. When I was a young lad – alright, when I was pushing middle age – you had to be inventive if, in your dotage, you wanted to remember where you took a photograph. You had to find a convenient building with a name on and incorporate that into the photograph. What better than a timeless, solid, signal box. The only problem was, within a few years someone had come along and demolished your geotag, it had vanished like a puff of steam.

Donkey Hill, Halifax

This cobbled way which runs from Old Lane up to Woodside in Halifax, is popularly known as Donkey Hill, although you will probably have difficulty finding that name used on any official map. Countless generations of Halifax folk have memories of sledging down the steep hill as children in winters, and early morning walks to work as adults. It still exists, although now it is heavily overgrown and rubbish-strewn. I took these two photographs back in the late 1960s – or possibly early 70s – when the mills were still weaving and the barren Beacon Hill still cast a shadow over the monochrome town.

The Great Wall Of Northowram

Howes Lane, Northowram

This is another of my photographs taken in Howes Lane, Northowram around fifty years or so ago. This time it is looking towards the head of Shibden Valley, in the direction of Ambler Thorn. The photograph captures one of the great walls of Northowram, a huge stone structure built to enclose a raised field. No doubt there are sound historical reasons for someone having built this monumental edifice: the ancient burial tombs of the legendary Pharaohs of Northowram and Shelf, perhaps!

« Older Entries