Unexpected discoveries

Anyone still out there…? I have not written a blog entry for a good five months, though the thought has been there on several occasions. I am attempting a come-back with a bit of a mystery to resolve – not related to the Design Archives specifically, but something that is definitely of archival and historical interest.

To give you the background, there are a number of office moves currently taking place here at the Grand Parade campus. One of the offices has been churning out surplus materials like files, folders and books as a free-for-all to go to new homes. On a rainy Wednesday morning I was passing by the piles of materials and something caught my eye. Of course in true archival mindset, this something had to be a very ‘old-looking’ box…

Scottish vellum envelopes 1

Scottish vellum envelopes 2

I thought for a moment or two that the box would actually hold within it what it said on the lid – vellum envelopes – which in itself would have been brilliant. Imagine my excitement when on opening it, I discovered a selection of seven 5.5×3.5″ glass-plate negatives!

Glass plate negative 1

I emailed the office from which the box had appeared from to see if anyone had any kind of back-story about their origin. The only bit of certainty was that it was found inside another box, filled with French books. While there is no recollection of anyone in the office having seen them before, there was one distant memory of an elderly lady dropping off an assorted box of ‘things’ and that the images could possibly be something to do with her. An alumni perhaps?

Glass plate negative 2

I decided to scan them all to have a better look. They all appear to be taken in the same place and of the same family. On looking at the collection of images with my colleagues, we guess them to be from around the 1910s or so. As for the place – we have no idea!

Glass plate negative 3

I am absolutely certain that there has to be someone out there who is familiar with the location of the photographs, and I would be eternally grateful if you could let me know! Better yet – a long shot to say the least – if you happen to recognise the people portrayed in the images, that would be an absolute lottery win! For identification purposes, if anyone needs to see a larger image file to clarify anything, please do get in touch.

So… over to you!

Glass plate negative 4

Glass plate negative 5

Glass plate negative 6

Glass plate negative 7

One comment

  1. Sirpa Kutilainen

    Due to a migration of this blog to a new layout, all comments made to posts have been lost in the process. Below are the comments, with name, date and time, made for this post.

    Lucy 14 Jul 2015 12.13pm
    I believe the island in the background of the 6th picture down is of Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel.

    Sirpa Kutilainen14 Jul 2015 12.18pm
    YES! That is amazing – thank you VERY much! Next task is to find out where the rest of the photographs have been taken – Devon maybe? And is this a cottage that still belongs to a family? Fascinating!

    Lucy 14 Jul 2015 12.50pm
    The bottom two pictures seem to be overlooking Ilfracombe

    Andrew Jackson 14 Jul 2015 5.43pm
    Good afternoon,
    I am not familiar with the Lundy landscape, but the Devon steer may well be right.
    The coastal town scene looks rather like Ilfracombe, possibly featuring St Nicholas’ Chapel on Lantern Hill mount? The chapel may also be that in the background to the final two images. Scene 3 may be located at the likes of Lynmouth or Coombe Martin?
    Try Sara Hodson at Ilfracombe Museum.
    I would be interested to know if this proves to be the case, best wishes, Andrew.

    Sirpa Kutilainen 15 Jul 2015 9.13am
    Dear Andrew,
    Thank you very much for those pointers – I think from looking at images of ‘modern’ Ilfracombe online, some of the scenes are definitely set there. I will see if I can track down Sara Hodson to see if she might have some ideas! I have also emailed Devon Records Office to see if they had any pointers.
    Thank you again!

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