Mystery of fabulous Hucknall photographs

King Edwards Funeral May 6 1910
King Edwards Funeral May 6 1910
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Unique images of local life in Hucknall taken 100 years ago are set to go under the auctioneer’s hammer next month.

Auctioneer Nigel Kirk uncovered the collection of around 600 unique stereo-photographic slides which will to be sold in one lot by Mellors & Kirk next month.

The Vicarage - August 1910

The Vicarage - August 1910

But who was the mystery photographer who captured so many fascinating scenes?

Here, Mr Kirk offers his own solution...

Mr Kirk said: “The fragile 4.5 x 7.0cm glass slides date from 1910-13. A high proportion of them are of Nottinghamshire, especially ‘Hucknall Torkard’ as many are so captioned.

“One taken in April 1912 is of a long line of Hucknall school children waiting to receive a free dinner during the National Coal Strike.

April 1912-  Children on their way to receive a free dinner

April 1912- Children on their way to receive a free dinner

“The miners demanded “eight hours work, eight hours play, eight hours sleep for 8 Bob (40p) per day”.

“The long drawn out strike led to some improvement, but not much, in their conditions.

“Happier events included Miss Jackson of Broom Hill laying the first stone of the big extension to Hucknall National School on July 14 1911, and the coronation celebrations in Hucknall, on the Forest and at Nottingham Guildhall.

“There are some unusual views, such as a burnt out shop and numerous images of Nottingham, Wilford, Bulwell, Linby, Papplewick and even the visit of Bostock & Wombwell’s famous menagerie.”

Stone laying at the National School by Jackson of Broomhill June 14 1911

Stone laying at the National School by Jackson of Broomhill June 14 1911

The photographer also took pictures of London, and the cities such as Bradford and Halifax, Leeds and York.

Mr Kirk said: “So who was our mystery photographer?

“A serious amateur with an experimental bent, his spidery handwriting with which they are all carefully captioned reveals no hint as to his identity, save initials which show his surname began with a ‘B’.

“A possible clue may be that there are a few of Hucknall Vicarage on Annesley Road, including several family groups in the garden.

Coronation at Hucknall June 22 1911

Coronation at Hucknall June 22 1911

“I think it is therefore probable he (or she) was a member of the family of the Reverend Thomas Gerrard Barber (1876-1952) vicar of Hucknall from 1907-1946.

“He famously obtained permission to open Lord Byron’s vault in Hucknall church and was the author of Byron and Where he is Buried, published in 1939.

“There is a ghostly night-time shot of the Vicarage by moonlight and another of the solar eclipse of 1912. Going through the whole collection leaves one with a very vivid impression of an England and Nottinghamshire in those ‘golden’ Edwardian years that abruptly ended with the 1914-18 war.

Stereo photography on cards, or glass slides, was very popular in the Victorian period and the collection comes complete with an original Verascope Richard stereo-viewer.

The whole collection can be viewed at The Auction House from Sunday March 6. The sale will be held on March 9/10.