Tag Archives: restoration

Pillar boxes weren’t just painted red

3 Jun

Along with the red telephone box, one of the most iconic images of England is the red post box, or more correctly the pillar box (but then I am not an expert on these things).

Post box

Whilst red is the traditional colour (like the one above at Sayers Common, West Sussex) they do come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours. Whilst I am not an expert, they do interest me, especially when I think what might have passed through the little rectangular slot over the years.

The British Postal Museum and Archive blog today included a fascinating post by Assistant Curator Julian Stray which describes the restoration process of an unusual blue pillar box, which was designed specifically for posting airmail in the 1930s.

It is really fascinating to watch the restoration process through a series of photos, through to the photo of the finished article on display at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London. The post describes the amount of thought and effort that went into restoring and conserving this pillar box, from matching the paint colour to locating the correct collection plate (displaying the collection times) to go on the front of the box.

It is a truly wonderful example of the hard work and consideration that goes on behind the scenes in museums around the country and around the globe. I really must try and get to the next open day at the British Postal Museum Store.

2010 to do list – identify my photos

27 Dec

Between now and the new year I will be writing about some of the things I want to achieve with my family history in 2010.

This is really something that needs doing before I try and carry out the to do item that I wrote about yesterday. Amongst all my photos are many that are unidentified, it is these that I need to try and make an attempt at identifying.

There is quite a mixture of photos, some have clues such as writing on the back or the name and address of a photographer’s studio. However many have nothing to go on at all apart from the side of the family that they came from.

Here is an example:

Unknown photo

It is in a rather poor state (it could do with some work on it) and I know it comes from a collection of photos that once belonged to my 2x great uncle Percy TROWER, and it is believed to be either one of his aunts or great-aunts.

I do have the name of the photographer’s studio, which as luck would have it is not far away in Horsham, Sussex. A quick bit of research will hopefully give me the dates when the photographer was working in Horsham and then I should be able to get a rough date for the photo and from there a rough date of birth for the young lady.

I could try and date the clothes that she is wearing, but as I am no expert on historical fashions it is unlikely that I will get very far with that. Likewise with the hairstyles.

Realistically that is probably about as far as I am going to be able to take this photo. I should be able to narrow her identity down to a particular generation but that is about it.

There is a real mix of photos, some men in uniform, several babies, several groups, really just quite a typical collection of family photos that are to be found in shoe boxes up and down the country.

It should be good fun going through these photos, at least they are already scanned. I think the first step will be to move all those that I do know into separate folders so that I am just left with the unidentified photos. I think I shall try and identify one a week, that way I won’t get too hung up on each one.

Of course some may require further detailed research, such as the men in uniform. These may well be the most interesting ones, as the photo itself will provide many clues.

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