What is this?
You see…… it is a treasure chest, full of photographs. Some I recognize. Many I don’t. The top one is from 1951. I know that because my mother is in it and she is in a hospital ward. She had TB and spent 6 months in hospital that year. It also Christmas time and they all look cheery. I have not scanned these images – I just photographed them (sort of flatish) on the floor so excuse the quality. But the nurses uniforms! Carry on Matron! I have marked my mother – she seems to be well on the way to recovery by this stage. Just think, this was only a few years after the end of the war. I imagine rationing is still in place and times must have been very hard.
Now this one fascinates me.
The picture is in poor condition. I don’t know where it was taken. Possibly the mountain behind Llanbradach? Who are they? Why did my parents have a copy? It could be a Cartier Bresson. The matriarch and her entourage looking at the camera but the patriarch too absorbed in his grandchild. I love the flat cap – would this be the 30s? A nice hillside with a rocky outcrop on top. A blanket for mam to sit on. Are they related to me? I have no idea.
No what about this. I am just about old enough to remember the era when the houses in Garden Street had outside toilets at the end of the garden, no proper bathrooms – a tin bath in front of the fire instead – and washing machines were a luxury.
I don’t know who this is but she is working hard – washing the clothes or linen in a tin bath. By hand. Yes you youngsters, by hand. Outside too. Maybe this was in Garden Street. The slate walls look right. So does the brickwork on the house behind. Long terraces of miners’ houses. Look at the strength in the arms of the woman – her pinny neat and smart. Not looking at the camera. Too busy. Who took the photo and why? Intriguing.
One last one for today. This handsome, debonair, Basil Rathbone lookalike(??) is my dear old late dad. He told me once, if I recall correctly, that this was his demob suit. The suit given to you when you were demobilized from the forces after the war. He was in the Royal Navy on the subs. I went round an old sub at Gosport once and he was with me. He was 6′ tall, I somewhat more, and the headroom was about 5′. So he must have spent most of his service time hunched over.
I am sure this was taken in the back garden of 54 Garden Street. The building behind him is that very loo at the end of the garden. I guess that’s why they could all sing in those days. You sang to let people know it was occupied. Nowadays you’d probably hear the whining of a space invaders game on a play station thingy.
So, history come alive. And next time someone passes you the biscuit tin, have a look inside. It may not be a chocolate finger. Bore da!