Black And White Discoveries

Today I had more fun scanning the old black and white negatives. Let us begin with two large format ones from 1957, both taken in the garden of 29a Stanton Road, London, SW20 where I grew up.

Mum & Jacqueline 1957

My mother and sister, Jacqueline, stand in the garden of the upstairs three bedroomed rented maisonette in which my parents raised their family of five. This little plot is the first one I tended, during my teens. Above the stone steps stands our back door, immediately behind which is a steep set of stairs leading directly into the kitchen. The window to the right is to one of those in the flat occupied by the Downes family who lived underneath. Beneath that window can be seen a pile of tea chests, which is what furniture removers used to pack belongings in those days. Dad drove a removal van. Fred Downes peers through his window to the left. Facing this scene is the railway path leading up to the embankment alongside which we used to play.

Derrick 1957

Jacqueline took this photograph of me.

By 1982 when the next group were taken, we were using 35 millimetre film.

Swimmer 1982

This young man, like a fish in his element, was over the moon when publication of a magazine article illustrated by this image prompted a visit from Olympic swimmer, Duncan Goodhew, who brought a bag of gifts.

Louisa 1982 2

Here, Louisa sleeps in her cot in Gracedale Road.

Louisa 1982 1

I have already featured a number of pictures from the holiday at the Vachettes’ home in Normandy, when I couldn’t find this negative of her.

Becky and Susie 1982

Becky, with cousin Susie, enjoys apples from the Drapers’ tree at Meldreth in Cambridgeshire.

Curtains

Shelley paid a visit this afternoon and gave us a splendid pair of curtains that perfectly fit our French doors to the patio.

Lamb patties meal

This evening we dined on the last of our Hello Fresh selection. The Lamb patties with yoghurt lentils and sweet potato discs were delicious and spicy. Contents can be seen when enlarging the image alongside my helping. Jackie will definitely keep all three recipe cards for further use. I drank more of the bordeaux and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

A Family Outing And A Disappearing Act

Continuing our post-Christmas sort out, I came across a Fortnum and Mason picnic hamper from a previous Wolf and Luci Christmas present. This now contains various items of photographic interest, including some early negatives and slides.

I scanned four black and white negatives from a family trip to Richmond Park in 1962. Three of these have been published before, but scanned from rather faded prints because I had not found the negatives. Despite the fact that a considerable amount of retouching was required, I have now been able to offer more clarity. The wallet in which they were contained was labelled, telling me that I had taken these shots with my old Box Brownie camera. The format of these  images is square.

Mum, Joseph, Maureen, Auntie Jean & Vivien, Uncle Derrick, 1962

Given that I found them in a hamper, it is fortuitous that the first picture is of a picnic (complete with hamper) taken in Richmond Park. My two year old brother Joseph is here stuffing a titbit into his younger cousin Maureen’s willing mouth. Continuing clockwise around the image we have my Auntie Jean, Vivien, unfortunately chomping, Mum, and Uncle Derrick. My sister Elizabeth is largely obscured by my first wife.

Joseph and Maureen 1962 001Joseph and Maureen 1962 2

Joe gave Maureen a piggy back,

Dad and Joseph 1962

and had something to say to Dad.

I have learned through overlaps with my blogging friend Geoff Le Pard, how small a world we inhabit. Geoff grew up not far from where we now live in Hampshire, and he now lives near my childhood home in London. We have often jogged each other’s memories. In a recent post of his, he wrote of the gardening he did in his teens for Mr and Mrs Gosling who lived in a house, which he thought was called ‘Silver Thatch’ on the corner of Vaggs Lane and Silver Street, and wondered whether one day I might photograph the house.

Jackie drove me there today to investigate. Unfortunately we couldn’t find such a house.

April CottageApril Cottage and Spar garage

The only thatch on that particular spot, now featuring a mini roundabout, is actually behind the petrol station and Spar shop on the corner of Silver Street and Everton Road. It is called ‘April Cottage’. Jackie parked in Everton Road whilst I took the above two photos

VaggsLane/Silver Street corner

then walked across to photograph the Vaggs Lane corner as it is today.

I am afraid the Goslings’ house has probably disappeared. Just as Jackie had done when I walked back over to where I had left her. The Modus was nowhere to be seen. Had she done a runner?

As I stood there scratching my head she sped down Vaggs Lane from the other end, round the roundabout, and into the garage forecourt. I entered the vehicle. ‘Where were you? Didn’t you see me parked beside you?’ she asked me most calmly, and with not the slightest inkling of a screech.

Well, no. Why would I? I was concentrating on what I was doing.

My driver had considerately followed me over to the opposite corner, not seen me cross back to Everton Road and had torn up Vaggs Lane in search of me. So, what was she doing? Perhaps whoever spirited away ‘Silver Thatch’, had been having a laugh.

Gammon Steaks meal

This evening we enjoyed the second of our Hello Fresh meals. This was excellent Honey Mustard Gammon Steaks with Parsley Sauce, with which I drank equally good Solliard bordeaux 2014 given to me by Shelley and Ron; and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Wimbledon College As I Knew It

After our day in the sun, we are now in the grip of storm Gertrude. And they have only been given names in alphabetical order since the beginning of the year. Winds approach 50 m.p.h.

Owls

We have had no snow, so quite how a pair of snow-owls came to be on their perch in the garden, I don’t know. Anyway, they are thawing out.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Milton to look at a jacket I had ordered from Fagan’s. It wasn’t big enough, so we ordered a carpet instead.

Over the Christmas holiday period the library has become rather a dumping ground. Today we set about regaining the space for books and contemplation. This took some time, and prompted a certain amount of reorganisation. In the process, I discovered two postcards relating to our schooldays that were in a pile of Chris’s books that Frances had passed on to me.

The school which I and my two brothers had, between us, attended from 1953 to 1978 stands on a site where in 1860 John Brackenbury had purchased two large meadows below the Ridgway known as Tree and Boggy Fields. Brackenbury had helped to run Nelson House School, in Eagle House, Wimbledon High Street. His success there was such that in 1859 he took out a mortgage on the land below the Ridgway and founded the Anglican Preparatory Military Academy in 1860, also known as Brackenbury’s. The grounds of this college were so attractive that the school was opened to the public once a week.

In 1892 the buildings of the Anglican Preparatory Military Academy were purchased by the Jesuits and reopened as Wimbledon College which had existed on other sites earlier that year.

Wimbledon College

One of Chris’s postcards is of the very first pupils’ school photograph. Note the heavy leather rugby ball, such as we still used in the 1950s. Should any of my readers have antecedents likely to be present in this picture from 1893, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Wimbledon College

The other is of the splendid Victorian building I knew. The grounds seen in this photograph are just part of the sublime setting in which I was fortunate enough to spend my grammar school years.  During the summer holidays in 1977 the main college hall burned down. It is not clear what caused the fire, but the kitchens were located in the basement of the hall and it was supposed that the fire started there. Many a time I sat at the refectory tables in that hall, lobbing bits of food at other unruly juvenile diners under the eyes of the Catholic martyrs of the reformation, Saints Thomas More and John Fisher. Patrick Reid, the famous Old Boy who escaped from Colditz Castle in World War II, also looked down on us. I wonder whether their portraits survived the fire.

Extensive renovation and new building has since been undertaken.

Aubergin 'Al Funghetto'

Hello Fresh is an organisation that sends to our homes the ingredients and recipes for making exceedingly good meals. Jessica and Imogen sent us a week’s subscription for Christmas. This consisted of the wherewithal for three meals for two. Because we had such a houseful Jackie froze these goodies. Today we sampled the first. This was Aubergine ‘Al Funghetto’ with Grilled Butterflied Chicken. Containing supplied chicken breasts , aubergine, new potatoes, cherry tomatoes (these didn’t freeze so we replaced them’, flat leaf parsley, garlic, lemon , and chilli flakes, was absolutely delicious. Jackie is retaining the recipe card. Profiteroles was to follow. I finished the chianti and The Cook drank her customary Hoegaarden.

Well done the grandchildren.