Sunday, 5 January 2020

Farewell To Dublin 1939.

The B & I Lines ferry, M. V. Munster prepares to sail from North Wall, Dublin in 1939 bound for Liverpool.  Sir John Rogerson's Quay on the opposite bank is now lined with modern office blocks. The gasholder, a famous landmark, has long since disappeared.

The photograph is by Fr. Francis P. M. Browne 1880 - 1960. He studied for the priesthood as a Jesuit novitiate in Co Offaly and then at Royal University, Dublin, where he was a classmate of James Joyce.  In 1912, he received a gift from his Uncle Robert, Bishop of Cloyne, a first class ticket from Southampton to Cobh (then Queenstown) via Cherbourg for the maiden voyage of R M S Titanic. He took numerous photographs during his short voyage recording many of his fellow passengers and crew members. He was befriended by a wealthy American couple, who, enjoying his company, offered to pay his return fare onwards to New York. Seeking permission of his superior, he received a telegram "GET OFF THAT SHIP – PROVINCIAL". Landing at Cobh, he returned to Dublin to continue his studies. Learning of the sinking of the ship, he relaised the value of the photographs which he promptly sold to a number of newspapers and journals.  Fr. Browne is regarded by many, as the "Father of Photojournalism" In recognition, Kodak provided him with free film for life.  As a Jesuit Priest, Fr.Browne travelled extensively throughout Ireland as well as Europe using the opportunity to follow his photographic hobby. In his lifetime he took more than 40,000 photographs, many of which have survived.
On completion of his theological studies, Francis Browne joined the Irish Guards and in 1916 was sent to Flanders and France. Wounded five times, and gassed once, he was awarded the Military Cross for distinguished service, and by France, the Croix De Guerre. 
After the war he travelled extensively including an extensive voyage to Australia and South Africa in the hope of improving his health. His travels were fully recorded on film.
Fr Browne died in 1960 aged 80 and is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.  

 This photograph by Fr.Browne shows the Kilkenny bus loading at Aston Quay, Dublin in 1947. Parcels and passenger's luggage are carried on a roof rack. Porters wait with a barrow for the arrival of a bus from Granard, Co.Longford. 
The shelter backs on to the River Liffey and this was the terminus for provincial services until the Central Bus Station - Busarus, opened in 1953. Most of the buildings in the background still exist, as does a tree, perhaps the same one.

The One Man Band

Arthur Griffiths, a Welshman, travelled throughout Britain in the 1950s,  busking as a one man band. He is usually pictured playing a soprano saxaphone to which a collecting cup is attached. Strapped to his back is a large drum which also carries cymbals and a tambourine. Attached to his shoes are cords which are pulled to strike these percussion instruments. He is often pictured surrounded by a crowd of children, attracted by the free entertainment. 

Arthur Griffiths entertains just a few onlookers who don't look too appreciative. He is usually seen wearing this old top hat.

A small contribution

Entertaining a crowd outside Woolworths in Camden High Street, London. The store now has a new, bland frontage and the Brighton pub in the background, as become the Blues Kitchen

Arthur Griffiths entertains shoppers in Hexham, Northumberland in 1950 where he was photographed by Bert Hardy for Picture Post Magazine. The hat has become badly crumpled.

Wim Sonneveld was a popular and highly regarded cabartet artist in Nederland. He started singing in 1932 at the age of 15 before going on to owning his own club and performing on television, film and theatre. On the stage he took the role of Dr. Higgins in My Fair Lady for 702 performances from 1960. One of his creations was the character, Nikkelen Nelis the street singer, perhaps the role that he was performing when photographed as a one man band artist. He died in Amsterdam in 1974, aged 56.

The Wim Sonneveld Award is an annual prize for the most talented Nederland cabaret artist

Wim Sonneveld entertains a group of children

Thursday, 2 January 2020

The Leaving of Liverpool

 A London train prepares to leave from Platform 7 at Lime Street in 1954. Taxis wait on the "Cab Road" between the platforms which allowed road traffic to access the station. 

Lime Street Station is approached by a long series of tunnels and cuttings through the red sandstone, east of the city centre. When opened in 1836, this was the first railway in the world to tunnel beneath city streets. Originally, as a train arrived at Edge Hill, the locomotive was detached and the coaches ran downhill to Lime Street by gravity, their speed controlled by a brakesman. For the return journey, a stationary steam engine would pull the coaches by a cable.The engine was housed in a building at Edge Hill Station, the steam coming through a tunnel from a boiler being in a chamber cut into the sandstone wall of an old cutting.
From 1870, locomotives ran into Lime Street but caused smoke problems in the tunnel. A huge chimney was constructed overhead on Smithdown Lane with a large fan to extract the fumes.
As traffic increased, the tracks were doubled from two lines to four and much of the tunnel opened to the sky. Curiously, where roads cross the line, there are street names attached to the sandstone walls. In one of the tunnels a victorian workmen's hut survives. Disused for more than 50 years, it still contains a hearth, a table, a kettle and a mug.
Look closely at the cutting walls and you will see a number of places where doors and windows are set into the rock providing subterranean offices and shelters.
The station concourse has bronze statues by Tom Murphy. These represent comedian Kenn Dodd and Bessie Braddock,an outspoken Labour MP elected in 1945.

Lime Street has been extended several times since 1836. The 1867 train shed with a span of 61 metre was then the largest in the world. 
Another Lime Street curiosity is Platform E. This is a short track between the former Platforms 6 and 7. It does not serve passenger trains and is popularly known as Platform 6¾. 

In front of the station is the former North Western Hotel. Built by Alfred Waterhouse in 1871, it is in the style of a French Chateau. It closed in 1933 and has since seen various roles but it is currently being restored to its original purpose. 

Many transatlantic passengers will have passed through Lime Street Station although the Riverside had its own terminus for boat trains. Because of the port, Liverpool has long had links with the United States. Here was America's first consulate, opened in 1790 and it was in Liverpool that the American Civil War finally ended when the warship Shenandoah, surrendered in 1865.

Lime Street itself was laid out in 1790. The name is derived from the lime kilns of the area, owned by local businessman, William Harvey. They were removed in 1804 when the fumes caused a problem for a local hospital. Opposite the station is St George's Hall, a magnificent building in the Greek Neoclassical style. Opened in 1854, its purpose was to host music festivals, meetings and dinners. It was equipped with a unique heating and ventilation system that circulated warm air. In summer, the air was cooled by mains water thus making this the first air conditioned building in the world.

 An express pulls out of the station amidst a cloud of smoke and steam in 1950. 

The photographs, originally by Bert Hardy, have been digitally colourised.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

The Banks of the River Elbe

On the banks of the River Elbe, in the western suburbs of Hamburg, lies the prosperous district of Blankenese. It was here that the wealthy shipowners of the city had their homes. Here too was the family home of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. His father was an importer but moved to the country when the National Socialist Government came to power. Lagerfeld returned to Blankenese in 1991 when he purchased a luxury villa.

The River is the route from the great docks of the northern city, to the North Sea and ships are constantly passing.

Not far from the Blankeneser Kirche, the parish church, was a kindergarten, the responsibility in 1960 of Pastor Georg Plattenkreig. It was the Pastor's idea that the children should have a donkey and "Mufti" soon arrived to graze the grass of a small park on the river foreshore. The children were thrilled and the good natured ass put up with being petted, cuddled and even pulled by the tail. In return "Mufti" was constantly fed apples and other treats. The donkey would often escape and it  Pastor Plate's son who would have to search for him, usually on the Blankeneser Hauptstraße, the High Street. In time "Mufti" became more and more agressive. Despite assurances that the donkey was a gelding, he was seeking female company.  Although the smaller children became afraid of him, they never came to harm. When the Bishop came to visit Provost Hasselmann, he insisted on seeing the animal. The two churchmen entered the park but "Mufti", seeing the the black cloaked figures gave chase. The Bishop being quite agile managed to escape, but the Provost had to hide in a bush until the donkey calmed down. Mufti's fate was sealed and he was dispatched in disgrace to a donkey farm on Lüneburg Heath. Here, his female companions found him quite attractive and several foals were sired by the supposed gelding.

Blankeneser Hauptstraße begins near the Stranweg Ferry Landing and winds its way up the steep hillside, doubling back on itself at a higher level. The higher the road climbs, the larger and grander are the villas that line the narrow street. These were once the homes of shipowners or merchants. Many of the former residents were Jewish and their houses are marked by plaques set in the pavement in memory of their fate. The photograph below was by Dorit Vrolijk and shows the lower part of Blankeneser Hauptstraße in 1890.

Monday, 9 December 2019

Modern Sketch - 时代漫画

The monthly Chinese magazine 时代漫画 / Modern Sketch was published for just 39 issues from January 1934.  This was an art, humour and satire periodical published in Shanghai and was highly regarded for the quality of its content especially the cover illustrations reproduced below. The readerrship was largely male and the mildly erotic illustrations reflected this.

      Cover of the first issue January 1934 by Zhang Guangyu

  February 1934, illustrated by Ye Qianyu

             Compassion for the World” The Pope: "The Lord Shall Provide"

        Chen Juanyin, “China’s Characters Who Count”

             Chen Paixi, 
“Official Malfeasance among the Cantonese Gentry”

   Chinese opera character drawn by a child (Chen Keyan) for this 1935 cover

      Crespi Zhang Guangyu’s cheerful January 1935 contribution commemorated the Republican government’s Year of Children

 Hu Kao, “The Perfect Life of Leisure!”

— Ain’t no time for learning in the gusty old fall,
Woo woo...chee chee...a shoo shoo shoo...
— Ain’t no time for books in the warm and breezy spring,Pa pa...doo doo...a go go go
— Ain’t no time for homework in the scorching summer,Wah wah...lah lah...a yeah yeah yeah
— Ain’t no time to study on those chilly winter nights,
Dah bom...a lah lah lah...

 Huang Weiqiang, “The Internationalized Hong Kong Meat Market”

Sheng Gongmu (Te Wei), “The Borderlands”

Yan Zhexi, “Nothing of the Sort!”

Ye Qianyu, “Supply Exceeds Demand, Demand Exceeds Supply”

Ye Qianyu, “The Second-class Rail Carriage”

Yu Yongpeng, “Competing Vehicles”

Yu Yongpeng, “Repairing a Rich Man’s Head”

Instructions: The face is painted green to facilitate malingering. The scalp is lubricated to slip out of tight situations. The eyes are different colors for sizing up different sorts of characters. The ears are nailed shut to help shirk responsibility. The teeth are sharp and the tongue coated with honey as an aid to persuasion. But little does the rich man know how the small-timers leech off of him!

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

From the cells to the dock

In the days before personal radios, the only means of communication for a policeman  was his whistle or a rattle with which he might summon the help of fellow officers.

Before going on duty  each morning, police officers would attend a military style parade and inspection, conducted by  a sergeant.  They would show that they were properly turned out and had all of the necessary equipment such as a truncheon, handcuffs, whistle etc. They would then be allocated a beat for that day  and would not be allowed to return to the station unless they had  made an arrest.  The policeman  would be at  certain points at set times in order  that a sergeant or inspector might meet  him to see if he had anything to report. He would remain on the streets for his full 12 hour turn of duty. 

The introduction of police boxes allowed the officer to telephone and report to the station  as could the public.

The charge room  at Newton Street, now the Manchester Police Museum, still has some of its 19th century furnishings and examples of handcuffs, truncheons, lamps etc.

 Next door are the police cells, just five at this station. Slatted bunks and wooden pillows didn't make for a comfortable night’s sleep.

No larger than a prisoner’s accommodation was the space allocated for the  "Reserve Man's Office".  This was a constable whose duties included fingerprinting and feeding the prisoners and keeping the station clean and tidy. They had a reputation for being eccentric;  one  Reserve Man at Newton Street would often be seen in the cell corridor, standing on his head, practicing yoga while a colleague at another station would regularly entertain his charges with his violin playing.

Upstairs is a Police Court.  The furnishings and fittings were rescued from Denton Police Station when it closed and re-erected here. Occasionally the court comes to life when it is used to train police recruits in court procedures.  A museum volunteer or a serving magistrate will sit on the bench whilst the initiate learns how to conduct himself in court  and how to give evidence.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

"The Adventure of Silver Blaze"

"Holmes gave me a  sketch of the events" 

An digitally colourised illustration by Sidney Paget for the Strand Magazine which published Conan Doyle's  "The Adventure of Silver Blaze" in 1892. In this short story, Sherlock Holmes investigates the disappearance of a famous racehorse on the eve of an important race and the murder of its trainer. The tale includes a famous quote:

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?
Holmes: To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.
Gregory: The dog did nothing in the night-time.
Holmes: That was the curious incident.

The artist, Sidney Paget produced more than 350 illustrations to accompany the Sherlock Holmes stories. It was he who in 1891, first depicted the detective wearing a deerstalker hat and Inverness cape, clothes that were never described by the author. Holmes' calabash pipe was introduced by American stage actor William Gillette who played the detective in more than 1300 performances

Strand Magazine was published monthly between 1891 and 1950.Its content comprised of fiction, general interest  articles and puzzles. Many of Conan Doyle's short stories were published as well as a serialisation of "The Hound of the Baskervilles"

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Union Road, New Mills.

Looking down Union Road in 1970. A North western bus is approaching the bus station. On the left is Barclay's Bank followed by Seymour Mead grocers, Gaystyles hairdressing and Turner's shoeshop. The shop on the right may at this time have been the Co-op lighting store; it had previously been Dodd's butchers shop.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

The Navigation Inn

The Navigation Inn, Johnson Street, Whaley Bridge. It was originally known as The Vaux Inn and was owned by Clarke's Brewery of Reddish before passing to Boddingtons. Vaux's Row was the original name for Johnson Street. The pub closed about 2009 and has since been converted to housing. This watercolor painting is by David Easton, 2019.


Thursday, 5 September 2019

Bridge Street, New Mills

Bridge Street, New Mills, photographed in the early 1900s.

On the right is the Bridge Street Tavern. The licensee was Abel Wild, Licensed Retailer of Ale and Porter. This photograph is dated 1902. At the corner of Mellor Road is Isaac Arnfield's grocery shop.

At the opposite end of Bridge Street and at the start of Dye House Lane was the White Hart Tavern. Arnfield's shop is seen on the opposite corner.

The same scene in 1954.  The North Western Bus is on the route between Birch Vale and New Mills via Thornsett. The start of Dye House Lane is at the front of the White Hart.

At the lower end of Bridge Street, opposite the former Bridge Street Tavern was Thompson's Bakery shop.

These photographs have been digitally colourised.