Like most people, I love browsing through photographs! Get that old cardboard box out and you open up a flood of memories – there’s one of Peter when he was eight months old, and what is he now – 24 and who would have thought he would grow up to be a fishing-net weaver? Oh dear, that’s me isn’t it, when we first went to Spain for a holiday and I got burnt to a crisp! And so it goes on, times you had forgotten all about, suddenly become as fresh as yesterday, with the old black and white ones, mostly taken with a Box Brownie, seeming more exciting somehow than the newer, colour shots with their perfect focus, true-to-life colours and still recognisable faces.
True, the old pictures do require a lot more thought to figure out just who the people shown are, if they’re recognisable at all, but that is the fun of photo browsing isn’t it – intensely interesting to those immediately concerned, but as boring as watching paint dry to the uninitiated! How often have you dreaded visiting friends and having them drag out their holiday photos to show you?
I’m very fortunate to have quite a little collection of old family photographs, so let’s pretend that you’ve come to visit us, and I’m going to drag them out and show some of them to you. Serves you right for coming!
First, the oldest photo in this group, the one of my grandmother’s wedding. This is a very typical setting of the period, taken in 1905, when long skirts were still in fashion and ladies always wore hats. The men all look very stiff and formal and try as I might, I can’t find a smiling face in the whole group. I especially like my great-grandparents, seated to the left of Gran, the old lady wearing a bonnet that must have been out of fashion, even then!
Next, let’s look at the Frampton Congregation photo, taken at about the same time as the previous shot, and including two great aunts of mine at the left hand end of the third row from the front, in white blouses and black hats. I’m guessing that this was taken either before a Sunday service, or before the whole lot of them went on some sort of outing. A lot of the ladies are wearing boaters and most of the men appear to be wearing their best bowlers!
The next picture was obviously taken a few years later, because it’s of my grandparents again, but this time they have their daughter Hilda (my mother) with them. She appears to be about three or four to me, and what a pretty little dress they’ve put her in.
Then we have a semi-formal portrait taken outside the family home, (Cherry House), at Frampton Cotterell a small village to the north of Bristol. The two older people are my great grandparents, my grandfather is on the right and the two sisters mentioned in the previous ‘Congregation’ picture. The other three are brothers of my grandparents.
Now we take a bit of a leap forward to my Mum and Dad’s wedding in 1933, all flowers and funny hats. The photo was taken in my gran’s home in Bristol, where she had moved from Frampton some years before.
We move across to the other side of my family now – this picture, ‘Family Group’ is of my father’s family and spouses. My grandfather is at the rear second from the left, with my grandmother seated in the centre with me on her lap! Dad is seated on the left at the front and Mum must have taken the photo because she doesn’t appear in this one. Slightly sad to think that everyone in this picture, apart from me, is dead!
And finally the last of these ancient photographs, one of me as a skinny youth, with a ‘fag’ in my hand and the other of Jacqui, holding our first-born, Kerry. We’ve both changed a little in appearance since then!