Thursday, March 13, 2008

Antiquarian Photographs Restored to Full Glorious Technicolor

This week we’ve been regressing to our childhoods by colouring in a few old photographs that we’d found. Well, when we say ‘photographs’, there’s actually two photographs and one painting, and when we say ‘found’, they weren’t exactly lost, just hiding in some old copies of the Evening Gazette (copyright lawyers on stand by) that Joolz (over at Blackpool donated to us and we scanned in.
But we’ve enjoyed ourselves immensely, and now we’re covered with large splotches of red and green paint, and that’s what really counts.
First up then, Marton Post Office, featuring ancient Ellen ‘Granny’ Townsend, giving us her impression of Mrs Tiggywinkle:

If you look closely you might be able to spot Bagpuss in the window.
According to the caption that we removed from the bottom of the photograph: “Mrs. Ellen Townsend was postmistress at Warton for 60 years and retired aged 69.”
By our calculations she must have taken on the position when she was nine years old then. Not a bad age to become the manager of a sub-post office, eh? We couldn’t help wondering how young the staff members working beneath her were. Images of parcels being delivered to Warton cottages (as opposed to Marton cottages...which as Nick correctly pointed out was wrong) by toddlers in their nappies spring to mind.
Anyhow, we coloured Mrs. Townend in typical Victorian mourning black, as would befit the postmistress at Marton (make that Warton...too many late nights here), with matching welsh shawl and pinny in pale blue, and stereotypical black Lancashire clogs with stonking great hobnails in them.

Our second image is the painting that we mentioned. No doubt it was originally in colour. Then it was converted into black and white for the Gazette. Now it’s been restored by us to its former glory again…only we’d no idea what colours that former glory involved, so we just made them up.

Believe it or not, this is Blackpool seafront in 1750, looking from the Gynn (more or less) towards Forshaws, (also more or less) where the Metropole stands nowadays. Doesn’t look much like a desolate rabbit warren as some local historians would have us believe, does it? In fact, to be honest, it looks almost exactly the same as it does today…without the Pembroke Hotel casting its prison-like shadow over everything, of course, or the tram lines, or the promenades, all three of them, or the rent boys lining the middle walk…in fact, it’s unrecognisable really. Still…good though, innit?

Last, but by no means best, is this rather fetching photograph from the 1950s, showing the pinnacle of Blackpool Tower under refurbishment:

That bloke (whoever he was) had some bottle, hadn’t he? No harness (the Health and Safety Executive would be having a fit if they saw this), no paint pot (presumably he keeps the Red Oxide in his pockets) and no hair (must be very chilly on the back of his rotund neck up there).
He makes John Noakes look like a wimp.
If anybody out there knows who this bloke might be and happens to be reading this, we’d like to hear from you. Nutters of this magnitude, quite frankly, deserve their own article. (Can’t help wondering if Blackpool Council gave him permission to be up there.)
Anyhow, we’ve coloured him in and given him a stylistic ‘Corporation Green’ jacket, Mary Quant dungarees and slippery boots…just to heighten the sense of expectation.
In the background you can see the old Odeon building, which we’ve highlighted in yellow…because that’s what colour it was.

Next week we’ll be showing you how to make an Iron Age roundhouse for Action Man from some old squeezy bottles with the words ‘Fairy Liquid’ scribbled out in black marker pen, some sticky-backed plastic and three wire coat hangers.


Jayne said...

Oh yes, the postmistress is the very image of Mrs Tiggywinkle!
Dad tells some hair-raising tales of blokes on buildings working without any safety gear - makes me shudder!
You get a gold star and an elephant stamp for your colouring in this week ;)

Brian Hughes said...

Thank you Jayne. I was going to use some glitter in selected places, but I'd run out of Copydex.

Nick said...

Nice colouring, but can you make your mind up if it's Marton or Warton! Maybe you've got fat keyboard fingers like me!!

Weren't those stick men on the Tower brave (daft)?

Brian Hughes said...'re quite right. That ought to read 'delivered to Warton cottages'. My fault...we've been tracking down Norse elements around Marton too much recently, and I must have got confused.

On the other hand, maybe those post-children just had very long rounds.

As for those blokes up the Tower...they've impressed me. I get nervous just standing in the lift. Having said that, I've seen the state of those lifts, so that's hardly surprising.