Sunday, 13 July 2014

Memories with a Box Brownie

Reading Cathy Murray's Writing a Family History blog last month about days out and holiday snaps, I was reminded of this picture of me trying to get to grips with my granddad's Box Brownie. He'd bought the camera in 1922, apparently, which says something for the durability of technology in those days as I was born over thirty years later!

Box Brownie Camera similar to
my grandfather's.

 What I didn't realise until I looked up the history of the camera, was that marketing for it by the manufacturers Eastman Kodak, was based on the principle that it was so simple to operate, even a child could use it. In the first year it was introduced, in 1900, it sold over 250,000 due to its affordable price.

Cathy Murray's post showed photographs of her family taken in Blackpool in 1945 and 1946. It prompted me to dig around to see what early holiday snaps I had in our photograph archives and I discovered several. The theme of days-out continues with this picture of a whole community waiting for the train to arrive for a day out to Rhyl.

Waiting on Tettenhall Station, circa 1932

My granddad, Ernest George Shelley, is in the centre carrying my father (love the hat, Dad!) next to him is my great-grandfather, 'Granddad Digg' (Thomas Diggory) and on the far right hand side is my Great Aunt Hannah (Diggory).

From the opposite side of the family, there's this photograph of my grandmother, Winifred Griffiths with my mum taken around 1937. I'm not sure where it is (any ideas, anyone?) but you can see what look like beach huts in the distance to the left, and another building in the centre which might be selling teas, ice-creams or even the place where you rent deck chairs. The houses along the periphery are very close to the beach.

The picture below is my mum again, but years later with her aunt, Hilda Griffiths. 

This time, though, I'm fairly sure the photograph was taken at Llandudno, a place we often went as children. My grandmother Winifred, used to sing to holiday makers at The Happy Valley on the Great Orme. You can read about her on my post Strictly Music Hall.

We all know the frustration of finding unidentifiable old photographs but are we any better than our ancestors? What about those hundreds of photographs stored on computers and memory cards, labelled with nothing more revealing than P26488674... etc.? Now there's a nice engrossing task for a wet day!



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