Saturday, January 09, 2010

Sepia

I love the idea of Sepia Saturday, not only because I love sepia photographs, and cos its a help to a slightly lazy and/or frequently uninspired blogger like me but also because it coincides with a current project of mine.

My parents made scrap books for the family some years ago - at least 2 scrapbooks for each family (3 of us siblings) - one for the parents, one for the children. So many old family photos, with added notes, memories, annotation - they are so precious.

This Christmas as I've visited family, I've temporarily borrowed these scrap books in order to scan in the photos and create a digital archive.

This project grew out of this remembrance post about my grandad. I could see in my mind's eye, as I wrote the post, a couple of particular photographs which I knew existed somewhere in the family - I just didn't know who had them. And so I resolved to search them out and acquire my own digital copies.

During the last couple of days of my Christmas holidays I have spent some enchanted time immersed in these family memories and momentos - glimpses of a past I don't recall but feel connected to by familiar faces and family history, images which transported me back to my childhood - it would be easy to wander and get lost there for quite some time.


So, I shall begin my Sepia Saturdayage with a couple more photos of this much-loved grandad.

I haven't yet found the string-vest photo I remembered, but it was similar to this photo of my grandad - on the right. He'd given up smoking by the time I remember him and suffered from emphesemia and constant chest problems. But was nearly awful cheerful. In the centre is his best friend, my great uncle Tom who I don't remember. He married my nan's sister, and was in the trenches at Ypres with grandad.




This is grandad - in the white coat to the left - in the workroom with the other craftsmen shoe-makers. I still have some leather offcuts that came from him.



And here relaxing in his beloved garden in North East London. I loved staying with nan and grandad in this little house.



I have such vivid memories of grandad like this - wiry and wrinkly and always brown from being in the garden where you can see the coal bunker to the back right of the picture, and onions from the vegetable patch drying in a hammock under the window...

21 comments:

Alan Burnett said...

Great to have you participating in Sepia Saturday. A fascinating post - just what we had in mind when we discovered the idea. I have added you to the list of participants.

SueG said...

Fabulous! Thanks.

Dumdad said...

I love these old photos.

Steve said...

These are great photos! I love the onions under the window -- I've never heard of that drying technique before! (Or the need to dry onions at all, for that matter.) The one in the shoe workshop is also interesting.

I have an old scrapbook of my great aunt's that I love, detailing all her stops on a trip to Europe in 1968. It's fascinating stuff!

Martin H. said...

I get the impression that your grandad was quite a character. This is a smashing post and I love the way you remember him most fondly, "..wiry and wrinkly and always brown from being in the garden." Wonderful.

tony said...

Brilliant Photos! Yes It's Easy To Get Lost Within These Memories! What Part Of East London Was That Photo Taken? (I ask, because I used To live in The East End)

Jill said...

What an incredibly distinguished group of gents!

Akelamalu said...

What wonderful memories old photos evoke! Thanks for sharing yours Lettuce. x

Betsy said...

Oh, I'm so glad you are joining in! With borrowing your siblings scrapbooks, you will certainly have many wonderful pictures to share with us! What cute memories of your grand dad....he sounds wonderful!

ArtSparker said...

That looks just like the back garden Alan Bates rescued "My Dog Tulip" from, except for the lawn. Shoe-making seems like a wonderful occupation- practical sculpture.

Baino said...

These are great. I keep meaning to dig out some of mine and post as well. Perha's next week, I'll raid the annals and see what I can come up with. I remember coal bunkers, we had one as a child and used to play hide and seek in the thing although in Manchester in the 60's coal was banned because it caused so much pollution so we burned cleaner 'coke'. Great shots.

Leah said...

I am so very glad I got to meet your grandad! I went back and read your other linked post, which I'd missed the first time around. Just beautiful.

lettuce said...

thanks Alan - and Sue.

Dumdad, what is weird and a little scary is how ancient some of those from the 50's and 60's look...

Steve, I guess maybe they are there more for storage than drying as such. I like the workshop photo too

He was, Martin - right up until his death in his early 90's :-}

Tony, this little house was in Walthamstow. The family were from the East End (Hackney, Bethnal Green) but Nan and grandad moved a little further out after the war. It was a scandal in the family that they were going so "far", haha.

Jill and Akelamalu - aren't they? don't they? :-}

Betsy I'm enjoying it, great idea.

ArtSparker, I wish I had photos of the other end of the garden - long, thin, rows and rows of fruit and veg and greenhouse.

Baino, I remember the coal being delivered at our house when I was a child. I read something about the smogs yesterday, apparently a theatre production once had to be stopped halfway through as the audience couldn't see the stage. Blimey eh?

thanks Leah. he was a beautiful man.

Tom said...

that last one is a keeper...
will have to rummage through my mom's old photos...see if she has any of these sepias

Harnett-Hargrove said...

I do love that private garden space... what a great memory to share. I notice the functional fabrics strip hanging from the door frame to shoo the bugs away! -J

Barbara said...

This is the kind of thing that keeps family alive through the generations. I need to follow your lead and do something with the many photos that sit in albums in boxes in my basement.

Stephanie said...

Wonderful photo of your grandad napping in the garden! Got that ladder right behind him, waiting for some work later in the day.

goatman said...

After viewing a lot of sepia photos and old movies in my youth, I used to think that's what it looked like back then.
No color and drab skies, kinda like here, today . . .

Shammickite said...

You've inspired me. I think I shall have to write a post about my granddad. I only ever had one grandparent, my mum's dad. All the others were gone before I arrived in the world. And my sons never knew their grandparents, so I'd better start looking in the old photo box.
Your grandad looks like quite a character!

tut-tut said...

You are a master at this. I too love the bottom one. Sepia Saturday, eh?

GreenWhisper said...

the pic of your grandad is so cool and OMG at your description - wiry and wrinkly and always brown from being in the garden - so like my own dearly missed father.. spent most of my childhood out there with him ;)