Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rescue Mission

Welcome - sign in to bid or buy.  Oh that invitation. I'm certainly not in the market for the Jimmy Choo ankle boots, a snip at £400 or the diamond studded white gold Rolex retailing at a cool £3,182.63. So what am I looking at amidst the secondhand and second best items for sale online.

For me the attraction on the popular online auction website is always the photographs.  Not the film stars and celebrities, but those classified as Antique (Pre 1940): People and Portraits - carte de visite and cabinet photographs produced in their thousands in the late 19th century.  Today there are 59 pages and some 2,923 images for sale online.

 'Vintage housemaid in vintage Victorian uniform' taken in a Kentish Town studio, probably on the girl's afternoon off - a gift for her mother? 

Occasionally they come complete with family album, the details meticulously recorded by the seller - Uncle West, Auntie Annie Eplett, Poll and Rosie West - buy now £59.99.  But what if there are no bidders?  Will the seller remove the photos from the album for a quick sale -  £1.99 postage £1 economy delivery - their identities lost forever.

I trawl through the pages - I want to buy them all, the faded and discoloured, those nibbled round the edges  in silent cobwebby attics or water damaged from a long sojourn in some dank and dark basement.

I want to save them, name them, reunite families torn asunder.  Here are some Swindon weddings photographs I rescued, one taken as recently as the 1960s.  Perhaps I've passed this couple in town - Golden Wedding anniversary veterans.

Mr "Macphotos" is no longer working out of 45 Highworth Road and J.M. Cockell, 98 Broad Street has long since hung up his camera but what about the young Mr & Mrs Carter - I wonder where they are now and what about Pat and Trixie and Marjie and Bernard Watt?

The young Mr and Mrs Carter

Same church - same family?

Are these two older attendants the bride and bridesmaid (left) in above photo?  I think I see a resemblance.

Marji and Bernard Watt pictured by L Maylott

Another of L Maylott's photographs and those bridesmaids look familiar

Pat and Trixie

A different generation

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