Thursday, 7 May 2015

Kicking your heels on a wall - Sepia Saturday

This week's prompt with a damaged picture

made me look for photographs that have been hidden away for years.

During WWII a young girl had her photo taken. This had ghostly stripes where light had crept in.

After the war was over our little girl appears again on another shot that we can date to:

Pat, Mary and Margaret - 1947
But the meaning of the pencil numbers remains a mystery. Which one is our little blond.

That's for you to work out
She remembers where the picture was taken in Broad Street, Stamford, Lincolnshire - opposite the Central Cinema (definitely not the one known locally as the 'Flea Pit.'

The wall, she says, belonged to this old building,

Browne's Hospital
(by Andy 2/11/2011 - CC BY-NC-ND-2.0)
The hospital was founded in in 1475 by wealthy wool merchant, William Browne, to provide a home and a house of prayer for 12 poor men and 2 poor women.

But there's no sign of the wall the girls were kicking their heels against in that shot or in one from a different angle.

Browne's Hospital
(By Richard Croft - ex,uk - CC BY-SA 2.0)
The hospital or Bedehouse was richly endowed with property and agricultural land in the vicinity. A bedesman or beadesman, a name derived from the beads of the rosary, was the title given to the poor men, 

Some of the hospital's funds were appropriated by Act of Parliament in in 1871 for the foundation of Stamford High School (where our blond girl was to become a pupil, much later of course) and for the further endowment of Stamford School (where a Sepians was to be educated in the 1940s/1950s)

The blond girl always insisted that the wall in the photo existed and was part of Browne's Hospital.

Now I know it's dangerous to doubt the word of a lady of any age. Francis Firth's photograph of Stamford's Browne's Hospital came to my aid. Copyright does not let me reproduce it.

Please look at the photo displayed by the link. It's taken in 1922 and there on the left is the illusive wall topped by steel railings. In 1947 the railings were no longer there as their metal had been required for the war effort in 1940-1945.

Study Firth's photo a little more and you will see behind the railings a stone urn which matches that in the top right of the picture of the three girls kicking their heels against the wall.

The lady's case is proved. Perhaps this is just as well because she is my wife of 57 years. I couldn't possibly contradict her!

For more stories derived from 'damage' pictures check out Sepia-Saturday-278.


Brett Payne said...

I feel sure that the "ghostly stripes" were due to light leakage, arranged vertically perhaps due to the film being rolled irregularly on the spool when it was removed from the camera.

The pencilled marks on the back could be batch numbers written on there by the printer, Boots or whoever - quite common to see that sort of thing.

Postcardy said...

The 1947 photo looks much better on the front than the back. It looks like the little blond girl is on the left.

La Nightingail said...

Ah-ha! You posted one of those 'made you look' entries. You did, indeed, find the wall your wife swore was there so it's a good thing you didn't contradict her! Incidentally, I believe she's the cute gal on the left of the trio?

Jo Featherston said...

So the entire ow wall below the railings has also disappeared? Hard to see from the modern photographs, but great work finding the old photo of the hospital to match up with that of the girls!

Jo said...

Certainly you mustn't contradict your wife Bob. Interesting bit of research there.

Kristin said...

I think the one on the left, but then again, it could be the one on the right,although the hair looks darker.

Deb Gould said...

What got me the most? Their feet, all crossed at the ankle, same direction; the white socks...sweet, sweet photo!

Mike Brubaker said...

Charming photos, clever detective work, and interesting history, all in one.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob - nope ... you can't argue with your wife .. that's for sure! Wonderful photos and that urn is most definitely there ...

... and the use of metal for the war effort - we forget things like that ...

Cheers Hilary

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

Great sleuthing and a charming picture. Your wife's a beauty.

Anonymous said...

I knew you would solve the mystery of the wall. I also have some vintage photos with penciled numbers on the back. I think they might be the photographer's file identification numbers in case the client wanted to re-order copies. So, even then, they were concerned with preserving the quality of photos.

Great photos with interesting stories.

Anonymous said...

And the moral of the story is Never Doubt a Lady's Word. But great that you could find the photographic evidence to back it up

Barbara Rogers said...

Most enjoyable post...and I'm glad your sleuthing paid off. That is satisfying, isn't it?

Nancy said...

Your little blonde girl and her friends are adorable in their sweet dresses. Yes, never doubt the memory of a lady, but sometimes memories can be less than accurate. You did the research and found her memory fit as a fiddle. Thanks for sharing, Bob.

Lorraine Phelan said...

Excellent detective work:)

Wendy said...

Very good -- I liked seeing the original wall because I could tell the wall in the photo you showed us was surely too tall for the girls to be sitting on.

I have a lot of photos with numbers on the back too. Also a lot of math problems - I guess my relatives and ancestors had no scrap paper.

Joan said...

a fun read of good detective work. It's one of the things that I love about Sepia Saturday -- I am becoming so much more observant as to what is in the photograph -- still in kindergarten, and tagging along with the masters

Patricia Barnard said...

Very interesting photo, Bob, and the information you provided made me look at all the details on the structure of the building, the plants and the girls.