Thursday, 29 December 2011

An Aviator in the Family?

Sadly not, but I am intrigued by this souvenir photograph as Marcus D. Manton looks rather mature to be dubbed 'The Boy Aviator'! Born in 1893, he qualified as a pilot in 1912. He piloted a Graham White biplane over Bisley in 1913 with a machine gunner who fired successfully at targets on the ground. He teamed up with the flier B. C. Hucks  and the pair were described as the foremost exponents of aerobatic displays.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Santa's Sleigh

I was looking for a suitable photograph to mark Christmas. Imagine my surprise when I came across an album of family photographs that I had never seen before. There were about forty snaps and at least a dozen were of me as a toddler! What an unexpected Christmas present. Here is a photograph of two of my cousins - Christine and Jennifer. I would imagine it was taken in a London store around 1960. Father Christmas looked very different then. I wonder why he is wearing washing-up gloves?

Saturday, 10 December 2011

By way of comparison, Anthony has very recently published the 1976 edition of the Argos Catalogue. Every day items look even more dated! Click HERE to visit his flickr account. Vintage British Argos 1976 Catalogue
Anthony Voz has scanned in the 1985 Argos catalogue.When I look at some of the items on offer, I remember that - at the time - everyone thought they were cutting edge! Wonderful! Thank you Anthony. (Click HERE to be taken to his flickr set) Vintage British Argos 1985 Catalogue

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Potter's Museum of Curiousity

When I was a child in the 60s, I always looked forward to our annual coach trip to the sea at Brighton. There was always a break in the journey from our home in Berkshire. The location never altered - Potter's Museum of Curiosity in Bramber, near Steyning, Sussex.

Walter Potter specialised in anthropomorphic taxidermy where stuffed animals are dressed as people or displayed in human activities. Such displays were very popular in Victorian and Edwardian times. I loved it and so did hundreds of other people - the museum was always packed when I went there with my parents. My absolute favourite was the funeral of Cock Robin.

I was recently looking through a box of papers and found my original small collection of printed ephemera that I kept from my visits. Here is a selection of them. For this who want to know more about this marvellous collection and its sad demise, I will place a few links at the end as well as two Pathe Films short films about it. Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.

One of the booklets available that detailed some of the amazing tableaux.

A wonderful guide book filled with hand-drawn illustrations

The Kittens' Wedding
The Rabbits' Village School

My Favourite - The Burial of Cock Robin

A page from the brochure featuring Walter Potter

The frontispiece of one of the booklets

A familiar view to many. Far right is the museum, the tearoom to the left

The Squirrel Club - playing cards

The Kittens' Tea Party



Walter Potter on Wikipedia

Great selection of photographs in Daily Telegraph article

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Arthur Askey - Busy Bee!

They don't make them like this anymore! Enjoy Arthur singing what was probably his most famous song. Here, he chatters for some 1min 40sec before launching into his eccentric performance. Considering how popular he was, then, people today don't know what to make of it. Just click on the screen and enjoy!


Monday, 19 September 2011

Wild Cat!

I photographed this wild cat at a wildlife sanctuary in Belize. Now, I cannot remember what breed it is. Does anyone have any ideas, please?

Monday, 5 September 2011

Desert Encounter!

I walked past a plastered wall and noticed that a piece of plaster had fallen away and revealed this eye. It reminded me of the veiled face of a bedouin woman. When I was a baby, my mother caught sight of a desert nomad heading in her direction. He galloped his stallion furiously towards her and she, evidently, held me up in front of her. He pulled his horse up at the last moment in a cloud of dust. With a hand resting on his Khanja (a large curved knife), he raised his ancient rifle above his head in salute and raced off back into the Cyrenaican desert! What do you see in this picture?

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Sand Sculpture

I wandered along the main street this afternoon and stopped outside a department store. On the ground was a blue plastic sheet topped with a sand sculpture of a dog and its bone. As it began to drizzle lightly, the eastern european migrant who crafted it simply scooped up the sand by the handful and dropped it into a carrier bag. He then rolled up the sheet and walked away. No doubt, when the weather is better, he will be back. It is nice to see something new!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Blooming Lovely!

I found this snap while looking for another image. I like the patterns inside the blooms. Lovely!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Flight of Fancy!

This postcard was sent to someone in Liverpool in 1912. It was three years after Bleriot had flown across the English Channel. I am not sure how high they are flying but it raises a few questions. Why haven't their hats blown off; has the draught extinguished his pipe; why isn't her hair more windswept; and, most importantly, what on earth have they done with their legs? It also looks like the undercarriage is about to collide with St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Friday, 29 July 2011


Looking at this print I made from a glass plate negative, I think this cat and dog must have come to some sort of agreement to pose for the photographer. I can detect that the cat is not quite relaxed. What do you think?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Early Colour

I just love the way some Edwardian postcards were so well hand-tinted that they looked like real colour photographs. Here are two examples.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Amazing Blitz Pictures of Britain in WW2

Blitz Britain: Amazing colour pictures of London under siege from Nazi bombers during World War II. Click HERE to view them


The BBC has released details of the 50 most detested Americanisms. Click HERE to view them. I wonder if any American followers know of a list of most undersirable Englishisms?

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Star of the County Down

I heard a song by John McCormack on Desert Island Discs this week which caught my imagination, Here it is in a 1939 recording. Wikipedia records the fact that that McCormack (1864-1945) was a world famous Irish tenor. Read more about him HERE. His is an interesting story. The recording reminded me of a section from On Wenlock Edge - Vaughan Williams' song cycle drawing on six poems from AE Houseman's A Shropshire Lad. Does anyone else recognise the similarity?

School Certificate

Here is a school certificate awarded to Samuel Rogers whose Band of Hope membership document was recently posted. Remarkably for the time, he was advanced a standard for subjects 7 to 17: Recitation, Geography, Singing from Rote, Grammar, Composition, History, Drill, Algebra, Shorthand, French and Gymnastics. Didn't young scholars fit a lot into their schooldays in 1892?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sowing Seeds!

Another leaflet from my extensive Second World War Dig for Victory campaign collection of ephemera. In America, I believe they had 'Victory Gardens'.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

More Temperance Memorabilia

The Independent Order of Rechabites was a friendly society that was founded in England in 1835, according to Wikipedia. It was part of the temperance movement to promote total abstinence from alcoholic beverages.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Big Foot!

A few months ago, I saw this giant shoe outside a London theatre. It was used to advertise a musical - Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I wonder how tall the owner is!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


Lily is one of our three remaining cats. She is reluctant to pose in our new garden and this was the final photograph of 25 taken recently! She can be a right little madam!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Posing for the Camera

Is it me or do some of these young children look slightly sinister. The images were all taken by an Edwardian photographer and have been reprinted from the original glass plate negatives.

A gigantic whip for such a small pony!

Another whip for a wooden horse

Anyone for Tennis?

Does the book indicate she can read?

Do you think she might be related to Gulliver?

Hang on. The carpet is showing!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Reject the Demon Drink!

I am temperance, but I never got one of these. It was given to a young child who joined the Band of Hope union. The organisation began life in Leeds in 1847 with the aim of teaching children the importance and principles of sobriety and teetotalism. According to Wikipedia, it was set up in an era when hard liquor was generally viewed as a necessity of life, next only to food and water, the Band of Hope and other temperance organisations fought to counteract the influence of pubs and brewers, with the specific intention of rescuing 'unfortunates' whose lives had been blighted by drink and teach complete abstinence.

Another Face in the Bark

I arrive early for an open air concert by Van Morrison and went exploring the parkland around the stage. I found this face in the bark and it reminded me of an owl.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Hungry Trees that Devour Objects!

I saw some strange photographs in today's Sun newspaper. Click HERE to see them!

New Book Blog Launch!

I caught a glimpse of a new blog from a book-lover which has a introductory post that has left me desperate for more. If you like books, then you ought to go over to A Book-Lover's Journey and sign up to follow its progress. Click HERE to visit the blog.

Friday, 17 June 2011


I found a catalogue of surgical instruments the other day. Some of the items on sale frightened me no end. Well, to be quite honest, nearly all of them did so! Here are some sample pages. Ouch! Click once, and then again, for an enlarged view of the instruments!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Help solve a Puzzle!

I found this photograph at a car boot sale recently. It came with some postcards. I am wondering what sort of people they are. So far, I have imagined they might be prospectors, explorers, quarrymen, but I don't think they are cowboys. Can anyone suggest what their occupation might be? Click once and then again for a close up view. I first thought the location was America, but it might be Australia. Why? Well, the chap on the right of the three blokes at the rear seems to be wearing an Aussie hat, but the man on the extreme right (front) looks is wearing a pith helmet - sometimes known as a sola topee.

Can Photograph Albums survive the Digital Age?

Here is a link to a fascinating article  described as 'An evocative survey of photo albums captures the history of American photography - and asks whether we'll ever impose order on our sprawling digital collections?' Click HERE to read it.

Reading the article lead me to think about my own photographic collection. I have more than 20,000 images on my MacBook laptop which take up no room at all. Pre-digital collections are different. I have boxes and boxes and boxes of prints and negative wallets, each of which contain 36 photogaphs. I also have boxes and boxes of 35mm transparencies. Together they take up huge amounts of space. Oh, how I wish there was a Scanning Fairy who overnight could transform them all into digital images. I have not come across one yet, but if you have one with time on its hands, please send it over!

Sante Fe 2002

The Banned List

Read about the Banned List - the top 100 words or phrases to avoid HERE. How many of them do you use?

Monday, 13 June 2011

Long Live The King!

On Coronation Day 1901, nearly every town and village in Britain celebrated the event with their own pageants. Here are three views of one such event, somewhere in England. Look how happy these new Edwardians are. Wonderful!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Taking a Leak!

I was quite surprised when I noticed what this statue represented. Just by chance, I had pressed the wrong button and shot two seconds of video. That said, you have to quick to see it! It is at the end of the post. Outrageous!