Remembering Maltby – Harold Hunsley, Photographer (1902 – 1975)
In my article: A 1950’s Weekly Photo Challenge, I capture my mother’s recollection of photography in the mining village of Maltby, south Yorkshire, during the 1950’s – as well as her amusing anecdote of how she embarrassed her brother with a single photograph.
That post allowed me to share some relevant and old photographs of Maltby that I had restored – and at the same time, record as many details of the story as possible.
One such detail was that of Harold Hunsley, who, after returning from the Second World War as a photographer, began his photographic business through his store on Blyth Road, Maltby. It was the local go-to store for photographic film, development and equipment.
Later, he relocated to business premises on Maltby High Street (where Ellie’s Pizzeria is now); this store being the one that both my parents remember visiting.
My father remembers visiting the studio in his shop when he was a young boy and seeing the big flash bulbs there.
He took photographs of everything and everyone at those times. He would fill both his shop windows with proof enlargements of his images, which could then be ordered by the number written on them.
“Everyone I know has his photos from these times” my mother recalls. “He even photographed our wedding.”
A blast from the past
Recently, the exterior sign that once decked the entrance to Harold Hunsley’s business on Maltby High Street was discovered on a farm in Wetherby, north Yorkshire, where it had been stored and kept in good condition. Seemingly, the farm owners had no knowledge of its history and sold it locally.
Its discovery came to my attention when the sign exchanged hands for a second time through an eBay auction in December 2017.
The new recipient, intrigued to know if this sign once belonged to the Harold Hunsley mentioned in my mother’s story, contacted me to see if I could obtain more information that would make that connection and vouch for its authenticity.
“My friend used to work for Harold Hunsley”, says my mother. “She worked in both of his shops for years. If anybody knows, she will.”
And she did.
Upon his return from the Second World War, Harold Hunsley married Constance Hutchinson (a Maltby lass) in December 1944(1).
Her father was the manager of a grocery shop on Muglet Lane, Maltby. He sold general household items but is remembered most notably for selling biscuits straight out of big cardboard boxes and weighing them to customer requirements.
An old Hunsley photograph records his first business premises as 17-19 Blyth Road, Maltby. Towards the end of the 1950’s he had moved his business to High Street, Maltby.
By the mid 1960’s, Harold Hunsley was living at the Bungalow, Limesway, Maltby.
Hunsley had a brother who lived near Wetherby, north Yorkshire, which explains how the sign came to rest there for all these years.
Old photograph restoration Wolverson Photography.
Dates obtained from freeBMD.org