Maltby, South Yorkshire, 1958.
My mother’s father had a passion for all things technical and was constantly enthused by emerging technologies. Eager to learn how a radio worked, he took one apart and rebuilt it again, restoring it to full working order. And before the bakelite telephone became commonplace in the hallways of Britain, he had managed to install a network of telephones in his own home so that it was possible to make calls between rooms.
“He was always taking something apart or making something” my mother recalls.
And photography. He loved photography.
He bought my mother a second-hand Kodak Duaflex II camera for her fourteenth birthday. And in 1958, it was an old camera then.
Yet my mother used it and cherished it; that camera being the catalyst for her enthusiasm and continued enjoyment of photography throughout her life.
She remembers it with fondness.
She took some good photographs too. Rare photographs of her family and friends in the village of Maltby, south Yorkshire.
“The camera took Kodak 620 film and you only got twelve pictures per roll.”, she remembers with relative ease. “You can’t get that film anymore. And the negatives were square.”
Having exposed a roll of twelve, my mother would take her film to a shop on Maltby High Street for development and printing. The proprietor, Harold Hunsley, would select what he considered to be the best photograph developed that week; produce an enlarged print of it and display it in his shop window until the following week.
He would then give the enlargement to the lucky winner, free of charge. – A Weekly Photo Challenge in the late fifties!
“And one week, I won!”, exclaims my mother with glee. She rushes off to another room to rummage through her photographs, stored away in the bottom section of a cupboard. And she’s laughing when she returns; remembering her brother’s chagrin with delight.
For outside their house on Victoria Street, Maltby, and overlooking the Crags, my mother captured this image of her brother and sister (circa 1958 – 1959). The black cat is Sooty.
The week-long exposure in Harold Hunsley’s shop window of her brother cuddling their family pet caused him so much grief that he too remembers her early photographic achievement.
But not for the same reason.