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Thursday, 7 May 2015

Found behind the Mantlepiece

Damaged photographs are the subject for this week. The following two examples from my collection were discovered behind the mantelpiece in a bedroom of my grandparents' former home in Christchurch NZ, when some new owners were preparing to do some renovations.  Jack Morrison built the family home at 2 Aylmer Street in about 1925 and he and his wife Mona brought up a family of six children there. They both passed away in the 1970s and since then ownership of the house has changed several times. A couple of years ago I happened to notice that it had been on the market again, and I thought the buyers might like to know a little about the history of the house and its first occupants, so I contacted the agent, who said she would pass on my details. The new owners were interested and we exchanged several emails and photographs. When these two photographs were found, they kindly posted them over to me, and my mother Jean was immediately able identify the child on the right as her younger brother Derek, who was born on 15 March 1929 and passed away in Wanganui NZ, shortly before his 76th birthday in 2005. The photograph is not is bad condition, considering that it had lain hidden where it fell for at least forty years and possibly much longer. Young Derek grew up, married and became a father of three and grandfather of five. I haven't tried to photoshop the photo, but have forwarded copies on to Derek's daughters, so they could do so if they wished. Sadly he didn't see very much of them in his later years, as he and his wife were no longer together and she and the girls had all moved to Australia.

 The photograph on the left is is very good condition, and is of a little boy called Keith, according to the inscription on the back of its folder : "Kind Regards. Keith aged 19 months". Apparently Keith was the son of  a friend of my grandmother Mona Morrison, but that is all I know about him.

Young Derek has featured in a few of my blogs on the Morrison family, and I think have shown this picture before somewhere, but it is one of my favourite photos, showing him playing cricket in the garden at Aylmer St with his older siblings on Christmas Day, 1932.  For more about the family home at 2 Aylmer St, click here.

Here are Derek and Jean together  in Wellington NZ in 2002, which was probably the last time they saw each other. To see another nice photograph of Derek with his older sister Pat, click here.

One more damaged photograph comes to mind here. It is of my great great grandfather Charles Young, 1818 - 1898, and was found languishing in my aunt's garage after she passed away in 2011. It was printed on what I would describes as a large glass plate, which was cracked in several places and was threatening to fall apart if moved. It could not be glued together effectively, so something needed to be done to save or preserve the original image. The husband of  a distantly related cousin in New Zealand who works in digital design very kindly offered to fix it up for me. All I had to do was email him a photograph of the original plate in large format and you can judge the result for yourselves from the before and after shots.   Charles in all his original glory is now framed and hanging proudly on the wall beside his wife Jane, as you can see here from an earlier post. Thankfully Jane's original matching photograph was not printed on a matching glass plate.  Thank you once again, Kim and Zane Fletcher-Purdom, from Rangiora NZ!

Charles Young on the original glass plate

Charles Young, 1818-1898, after digital restoration

More blogs on photos in less than perfect condition can be examined at Sepia Saturday #278. 
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