WHITSUNTIDE AND PHOTOGRAPHS
As I have recalled one memory,
then another has been set off in my mind.
For example, having my photograph taken,
this event always took place once a year, immediately after Whit Sunday, when we had new clothes to show off.
To side- track, it was the tradition at Whitsun Tide,
all children were bought new clothes.
(The previous year's " Whit" clothes were relegated for playing in, whether they still fitted or not, remember there was a war on and clothing was strictly rationed with clothing coupons.)
Mary, David, John, Elizabeth & Philip
On Whit Sunday, we proudly wore our new outfits and visited people who kindly gave us money, 6d was a fortune in those days.
The new outfits then became our "Sunday Best".
Jack & Tony
Although my relatives, including my Mother did not have a lot of money, a visit to Mr. Roberts, Photographer, was a must.
He had his studio in Shambles Street,
opposite the bottom of Rich Lane.
I used to have two photos taken,
one with my cousins on my Mother's "side" of the family
and one with my Dad's "side" of the family.
Come to think of it, we all got on very well together,
it would have been cheaper to have one family photo,
with all of us on.
We would be frog marched into Mr. Roberts Studio,
under the threat of dire consequences, if we did not smile,
got a crease, and horror of horrors,
wipe the tops of our shoes on our socks to keep them shiny.
It always took ages to arrange the group,
we were lined up like the "Bisto" kids,
I, being the smallest was the vanguard of the group.
I cannot say that I had the impression that Mr Roberts was particularly fond of children, maybe he could remember previous visits of this particular group of ruffians.
Once we were arranged to his satisfaction,
he would disappear under a big piece of black cloth, hanging over this instrument which looked as if it had had a previous
Life in the torture chambers of The Tower of London.
By this time, we were all fidgety,
my huge bow of hair ribbon would be somewhat askew,
at least one of the lads' socks would be at "half mast",
then "Boom", this blinding white light used to flash
from the direction of the camera,
the magnesium was set alight. Honestly, we were half blinded by this, and for the next half hour, we would be stumbling around,
as if we were playing a game of "blind man's bluff",
without the eyes being covered up.
I wondered why for years,
I associated having my photo taken with being "told off".
A few weeks would go by,
then great excitement, the "proofs" were ready,
and either my Mother or one of my Aunts would collect them.
The proofs were a selection of the same photo,
with PROOF stamped across it,
I think that photographers in the past must have been caught out,
and maybe customers had never returned to order
and had kept the proofs.
(It is strange that although money and materials were short,
most people managed a visit to the photographer.)
The problem then arose, as to who to give them to,
and many a family feud was started because,
some Uncle or Aunt had been left off the distribution list.
Mary, Jack and Tony (our first studio photo)
The mention of socks,
reminds me that my Mother used to knit all my socks,
knickers, and vests with cotton,
which was sold cheaply by the Linen Mill,
where my Grandma still worked.
The agony of those early days,
until they had been boiled a few times and the texture softened
music ~ "Every Day of My Life"
On a more serious note, the true meaning of Whitsuntide tended to be overlooked, it was in fact a Church Festival.
All the local Chapels and Churches would congregate in each village, and the members of each establishment, would go on the "Whit" walk, the banner of each church being held in front of the procession.