Lambeth Bridge

Lambeth BridgeIn 1879, King Edward, then Prince of Wales, opened Lambeth Suspension Bridge; and on July 19th, 1932, his son, King George V, declared open its £936,000 successor. A great throng watched the barriers lift at the Royal touch, and to the sounds of sirens and cheering, the King and Queen, escorted by Life Guards and outriders, passed ceremoniously across. The graceful steel structure, carried on granite piers, is ornamented at either end with pylons each topped by a gilded pineapple.

Heavy traffic was slow to make use of Sir Reginald Blomfield’s fine new bridge, but in July, 1934, 10,222 vehicles were recorded within twelve hours.
Cigarette card caption, W.D. & H.O. Wills. 1935.

Thousands of Londoners have yet to receive the surprise of a first walk over Lambeth Bridge. It has the great merit of blotting out the bridge at Charing Cross as we look eastwards down the Thames.

London has nothing to show more majestic than the sight from this bridge. We see the towers of Westminster clustering together as one great group, with over 1000 feet of the noble facade of the Houses of Parliament joining up with the walls of the Abbey, picking up its incomparable eastern windows as we walk to bring them into view. We see three great cathedral churches, two palaces, two domes, and upstream and downstream are ancient towers and new facades, the familiar scene of yesterday and the new scene coming on.
‘London’, Arthur Mee, Hodder and Stoughton. 1937.

From a postcard.

The towers of Westminster.

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The Tui tops up.

Friday Flashback 3.

DH Dominie

 Filling the fuel tank of a DH 89 at Hood Aerodrome, Masterton, New Zealand in 1985.

De Havilland’s DH 89 first appeared in 1934 and quickly became a popular short-haul aircraft with airlines around the world, seeing service from the ’30s to the ’50s and even into the early 1960s.

DH 89“The D.H. Dragon-Rapide is a medium-sized eight-passenger air liner resembling a twin-engined version of the D.H. 86. It has the same general features, including tapered wings, undercarriage faired into the engine nacelles, and is of the same type of construction. It is fitted with two 200 h.p. D.H. “Gypsy-Six” engines, which give it a cruising speed of 140 m.p.h.”

A military version, called the Dominie, was developed for navigator training and, after World War Two, many were sold to civilian operators – like the one in the top picture. This was delivered to the R.N.Z.A.F. in 1943, bought by the National Airways Corporation for its Northland (north of Auckland) service three years later, christened Tui*, and was retired at the end of 1962.

DH 89B

When these photographs were taken at Hood in 1985, it was locally owned and had just emerged from a two-year major rebuild.

The Tui now lives at Mandeville aircraft museum in the South Island and is still available for tourist flights. Watch a video here.

*A tui is a New Zealand native bird.

An Emigrant’s Tale (#2)

Sailing ship Hesperus from a postcard.

My father, John Grubb, a ship-builder by trade, came to New Zealand in 1847, and after spending about a year in Wellington, went to Lyttelton under agreement with the Canterbury Association to build a jetty and make other arrangements for the arrival of the first settlers.

During this time my mother and three children lived in Dundee, until arrangements were made for them to join Father and come to New Zealand in the Charlotte Jane, one of the four ships chartered by the Canterbury Association to bring the first settlers to Lyttelton.

Before the ships sailed, Lord Lyttelton, the president of the Association gave the passengers a farewell luncheon at Gravesend, where four marquees were erected, one for each ship. During the voyage Mr. J. E. Fitzgerald, who was in charge of the expedition, edited two papers, The Cockroach and Sea Pie; he also composed the Night Watch Song of the Charlotte Jane, of which the first verse ran as follows:-

” ‘Tis the first watch of the night, brothers,
And the strong wind rides the deep,
And the cold stars shining bright, brothers,
Their mystic courses keep.
Whilst our ship her path is cleaving
The flashing waters through,
Here’s a health to the land we’re leaving
And the land we’re going to.”

Mrs T. V. Whitmore, Canterbury Pilgrims’ Association. Reproduced in ‘Tales of Pioneer Women’. 1940.

Wellington whales

Matariki, the southern right whale that’s been entertaining the population of Wellington for the past week and making headlines around the world, is lucky to be living in the 21st century and not the 19th or 20th. Back in the early 1840s, when the fledgling settlement pinned its economic hopes on becoming the port of choice for the whaling industry, he or she would have met with a very different reception.

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Wellington in September 1841 drawn by Charles Heaphy, “draftsman” to the New Zealand Company.

New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator. Saturday 30th July 1842.

During the past week, more than one of the cetacea have entered our harbour. They were mostly considered by those who saw them, to be young, or small species of the common or black whale. In one case a female followed by her cub were distinctly made out. The appearance of these strangers in Port Nicholson is by no means a common occurance, and all the spare hands and boats went in pursuit, but hitherto without success.

With the knowledge that most of the species of true cetacea frequenting the South Seas are by no means satisfactorily determined by systematic naturalists, we feel as strong a desire to see a specimen, for the sake of science, as the practical whaler can for the oil. The crania and imperfect skeletons of many of the larger cetacea are to be met with on the coast, and although the crania are in themselves of high prize to the comparitive anatomist, it yet does not, as we have distinctly repeatedly shewn, enable him to distinguish species.

The living specimens now in the bay, are said to have had no appearance of protuberance or fin on the back, and consequently must belong to that species possessing the elongated baleen, but all measurements which are simply comparitive, however they may differ, will not determine species – without the number of vertebrae composing the spinal column were at the same time given.

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Port Nicholson as British settlers found it in 1840. They could never have imagined a time when a right whale would be allowed to roam their harbour unmolested – and stay long enough to start its own Facebook page.

The last shore-based whaling station in New Zealand closed as recently as 1964.

(Images from the Te Papa collection).

Bodinnick Landing

Friday Flashback #2

Bodinnick ferry

The Bodinnick ferry landing on the east bank of the River Fowey, Cornwall, England in 1973. The Old Ferry Inn has expanded to the left since then, and the ferry is bigger too.

The house on the right, no longer covered in ivy, is forever associated with the novelist Daphne du Maurier whose family home it was.

There has been a ferry between this spot and Fowey, on the opposite bank, since the 13th or 14th century (depending on your source).

Image © M. Warman.

The Wool Wagon

Bullock Team and Wool Wagon, Cheviot. Nelson Province, Hon. W. Robinson‘s Station.

C_wool wagon

This photograph represents one of the methods by which wool is conveyed from the wool sheds on the Cheviot Station to Port Robinson in Gore Bay, a distance of about nine miles. The land is very undulating as far as “First Beach,” after which the track lies through shingle and sandhills until the pass of “Cathedral Cutting” is reached, where the numerous steep zigzags put the strength and temper of the bullocks to the severest test.

Bullock wagon pulling a wagon of wool bales. Image from Te Papa collection.

Port Robinson is afterwards gained by a steep descent. There a large woolshed has been erected, also a wharf running directly into the bay. The wool is placed in an iron pontoon, 70 or 80 bales at a time, then run down the inclined plane of the wharf by a wire rope worked by a stationary engine, until the pontoon reaches deep water, when it is hauled alongside a steamer moored a short distance away.

C_ship

 ‘The Wool Season’ by John Gibb, 1885.

It is said that two or three days only are required to ship wool from this station, the value of which may reach £30,000.
Messrs. F. Bradley & Co., Photographic Publishers, Christchurch. c. 1880s.

(‘Station’, in this case, refers to what Americans would call a ranch)

Getting personal

Today I’d like to introduce a new feature where I dive into my personal photo archive once a week and present an image or two from the ancient times, a.k.a. the 20th century. Eighteen years into the 21st, I’m forced to admit (reluctantly) that I have negatives older than some of my blog visitors. For example

Chris Barber

1970. The 100 Club, Oxford Street, London.
Legendary British jazz trombonist Chris Barber was a mere lad of 40 when I shot this. Now he’s 88 and, at time of writing, still playing. Watch and listen.

I’ve tried to avoid getting too close to The Present in my posts, for obvious reasons, but it seems this image can now be classified as a genuine ‘past impression’ – the numbers don’t lie – and as such might be informative, educational, or just mildly diverting for readers under 45. The rest of us can wallow in nostalgia.

I’ll tag this section Friday Flashback to distinguish it from the really old content you’ll find on other days of the week. Not a very original title, I’ll admit, so I hope I haven’t infringed somebody’s ™ or ®.

You might get two or three images in a post with story attached, or just one with a caption, when (hopefully) the photograph by itself holds as much interest as time and place.

Fisherman

1987. Lake Ferry, Palliser Bay, New Zealand.
A fisherman with two rods on the back of his motor-trike rides along a sand bar in search of a calmer spot for surf-casting. He’s silhouetted against spray rising from waves pounding the beach on the other side of the ridge.

You’re welcome to leave a comment and let me know if you think this idea sucks or has merit.