Here’s another little repair from my family archive.
This is my mum, sat on my Dad’s lap at her 21st birthday party. I love this photo.
And just for fun, here’s me at college, in a Maidstone cocktail bar, celebrating my 21st birthday. I haven’t got any photos of my actual 21st birthday party but it was a riot! It was in my student house and I had a jelly and ice cream party (in contrast to the grown up cocktails night out!). My room was on the top floor. There were four other bedrooms between me and the bathroom and kitchen at the bottom. I had a bean bag which I carefully hid on top of a cupboard out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, somebody found it and poked their finger into a tiny little gap in one of the seams. The hole got bigger and a few polystyrene balls escaped. Then a few more. Before I knew it, a single mattress with a student on top was surfing down the stairs on a sea of polystyrene beads, all the way to the trifles at the bottom. The next day, after a mammoth clean up, we were spotting the little beads in the streets down in the town centre. Turns out somebody thought it would be fun to put the beads in all the pockets in the coats room too. A few days later, they did have a whip round though and bought me a replacement bag of beads to repair it. Can’t say fairer than that!
This is my mum and dad’s engagement party in 1959. In those days, as well as wedding presents, you got gifts on your engagement too, for your bottom draw (a place where valuables are stored, especially the linen, etc., that a ‘woman’ might store in preparation for her marriage). That’s a big drawer to hold all this booty!
These gifts were mostly household items and included towels, a toaster, glassware and an alarm clock. I know for a fact they still use the cutlery that’s behind them on the table and mum says they still have the glass coffee jug and some of the glasses. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2011.
I showed mum this photo to check some details. She said she loved the retouching but could I just make the tablecloth longer to cover the packaging stored underneath. I said no, but perhaps I will, another day! Here’s the original photo below.
This photo is of my dad’s mum, ‘going to work on an egg’. She isn’t, actually. She’s visiting the Ideal Home Exhibition in 1962. This photo came in a little yellow wallet (below) and was a promotion for Polaroid (or acrobatic lions. Or eggs).
“You have just seen how the remarkable Polaroid Land Camera works. This amazing camera shortens the entire photographic process to just 10 seconds. You click the shutter, count slowly up to 10 then remove a beautiful, finished black and white print. Photography cannot be any easier!
We are sure you will want to keep this picture of yourself for many years. That is why it was sealed under plastic with the Polaroid Print Coater. This Coater comes packed with every Picture Roll and with a few quick strokes it makes a Polaroid Land Picture a lasting print that will not discolour or fade.”
Unfortunately, some 50+ years later, the polaroid was looking a little dishevelled but I enjoyed restoring it.
This is a photo of my grandad when he worked at Lesney (early ’60s we think). Lesney is most famous for its Matchbox toys. I read that Matchbox began when Mr Odell, one of Lesney’s partners, once designed a toy for his daughter because her school only allowed children to bring toys that could fit inside a matchbox.
I heard the name Lesney a lot as a child. As well as my grandad, my nan also worked there, as did my mum and her brothers. One of my uncles met his wife there.
Here is the original photo with its scratches and tears.
Here’s another great photo from The Suitcase. This is my mum in the centre with her mum and dad to her right and my brother in front. I’m not around yet.
They were in Epping Forest, celebrating my brother’s first birthday. The dog belonged to her parents. The car was my grandad’s. What a beauty. He always had nice cars as I remember.
I wanted to retouch this one as it’s such a lovely shot with only my mum noticing the camera. As well as some scratches, it had some double exposure issues down the right hand side (below). The original was smaller than 6″x 4″ but I scanned it in at 1,200 dpi so I should be able to do her a nice 10″x 8″ print.
Here’s another photo from The Suitcase. I wasn’t going to retouch this one as it’s a bit blurry to begin with, plus it’s very badly scratched, but it’s such a handsome photo of my dad, I thought I’d take on the challenge (original below).
It was taken in ’57 in his RAF barracks in West Germany. He’s all dressed up for a demob party which ended in a nightclub. He thinks he’s still got the waistcoat (which wouldn’t surprise me) as well as the suitcase with wooden strips you see on top of the locker. We’re not sure who the pin-up is – possibly a German film star – but he hadn’t met my mum yet so we’ll let him have that!
If you’ve got any old photos you’d like saving, email firstname.lastname@example.org
I found this cute pic of one of my cousins in ‘The Suitcase’. The Suitcase lives at my parents’ house and is full of old family photos. Some order is maintained with a few surviving packets and wallets but there are lots of loose photos too and it’s always fun to look through. Even if there’s something specific we’re looking for, we always allow time to be distracted and to ‘ooh’ and ‘aww’. There’s also something special about handling old photos instead of them all being stuck down in albums. However, it does mean some come with battle scars. That’s good news for me though as I love a retouching challenge.
I’m visiting at the weekend and will have a rummage and see what else I can find to fix. If you’ve got any photos that could do with some tlc, please get in touch (email@example.com) – I’d love to see them.