Tag Archives: Photographs

Look back to the 1950’s in photographs.

I was fortunate to find a small album of photographs taken in the 1950’s. These photographs give a wonderful insight to this era. The owner of the album dated and identified each photograph. The size of the prints are 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ and 2 1/2″ x 2″.


The owner of this Album lived at No. 59, Westwood Park, Forest Hill, London. This photograph was taken in 1953 and this is a view from their house. The only car in sight looks like a Standard Ten.


This is one of the smaller prints and shows the view from the rear of No. 59, Westwood Park. This photograph was taken in 1953, the railway line in the foreground was known as The Crystal Palace High Level Line and was closed the following year in 1954. The snow covered houses on the high ground in the distance are in Overhill Road.


This photograph was taken during a trip to France in September 1953. The family took the ferry from Dover to Calais. This photo shows the Town Hall in Nancy.  A large group of ‘classic’ cars are in the foreground. The only recognizable car I can see is the Volkswagen Beetle, still going strong today.


Still in France this photograph shows the railway station at Langres. There are Pullman Coaches waiting here.


This photograph shows a French Steam Locomotive at Langres.


Back in England now, a trip to Devon in the summer of 1954. This view shows the Royal Albert Railway Bridge over the River Tamar at Saltash. The Royal Albert Bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Surveying started in 1848 and construction commenced in 1854. The first main span was positioned in 1857 and the completed bridge was opened by Prince Albert on 2nd May 1859. In the foreground is the Ferry. Until the opening of the new road bridge in 1961 these were the only means of crossing at this point between Devon and Cornwall.


This view taken in April 1955 shows a lovely view of the English Countryside. The Thames Gap near Goring, Oxfordshire.


And what could be better than watching a game of Cricket on the village green at Brockham, Surrey. This photograph taken in early Summer 1955. Christ Church was built in 1847.


Now a couple of photographs of London taken in 1955. This view shows Millocrat House, in Eastcheap. This area has been redeveloped since this time and Millocrat House no longer exist.


A photograph taken in 1955 showing the approach to London Bridge Station.


A photograph taken in 1955 showing Trinity House, Trinity Square, London. This view remains virtually unchanged.


And finally the young man who took these photographs….Michael Walter.



Newington Causeway Elephant & Castle

Wednesday 30th March 1949, a 24″ diameter water main has burst below the carriageway of Newington Causeway South London causing extensive damage to the roadway.

These wonderfully detailed original 6″ x 8″ prints were taken from Glass Plate Negatives.   These photographs were taken by the Metropolitan Water Board at the time to serve as a record of the damaged caused.




All the views captured by the camera have long since vanishes, swallowed up in the 1960’s during the redevelopment of the Elephant and Castle. I am glad to have been able to save and to share these great images with you.

Union Street Southwark 1950

A group of original photographs were taken along Union Street in the London Borough of Southwark. These detailed 6″ x 8″prints have been scanned at 600dpi and were originally printed from Glass Plate Negatives. Major water main work was due to take place along this road and as a safeguard against any claims for property damage during excavation works the photographer captured any pre existing damage on film.










Hope you enjoyed this trip back to the past.

Fruit Pickers

This at first glance is an odd title however there is no other information I can add, either to the date or location of these original photographs. These five are some of my favourite photographs in my postcard collection. These show a happy group of fruit pickers posing for the photographer. If any of you readers can add any information I would be most grateful.


The gentleman standing next to the central post is in the process of shaving, the local priest is there as well, 4th gentleman from the right.


These are the children being well cared for, the boy kneeling 4th from the right has a penny whistle in his hands.


Here is the priest posing with the men, sitting on top of the car.


Another shot of the car and now a donkey has joined this happy band.


The gentleman with the razor has made a 2nd appearance (4th from the left) and in the foreground are what appear to be numbered cribs. There are three babes in arms visible in this image. The local priest has once again joined the group and is standing in the back row. Hope you have enjoyed this trip back to the past through these wonderful images.

Stars of the 1950’s

I purchased these original postcards many years ago and today would like to share them with you. Many I know will remember seeing these stars on film and on television. For instance, Dorothy Malone as Constance MacKenzie in the Peyton Place TV series, between 1964 & 1968. It was one of my mothers favourite soaps at the time and we all enjoyed watching it on our Black & White TV, hard to believe it was all those years ago. I hope this image and the others that follow will bring back happy memories.

Dorothy Malone

Dorothy Malone.

Barbara Rush

Barbara Rush who played Marsha Russell in  Peyton Place (1968 -69)

Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr who starred in the film, The King and I, love watching this movie classic.

Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck who starred in the TV series, The Big Valley from 1965 to 1969, again brings back happy memories of watching this series on TV with mum & dad.

Shelley Winters

Shelley Winters, I remember watching her in many films on TV, I recently saw her again in Winchester 73 alongside one of my favourite actors, James Stewart. I hope you enjoyed my short trip down memory lane.

Time before laptop and mobile.

The following photographs were taken in October 1958 at the Metropolitan Water Board District Office at Oakhill Road Putney. No mod cons at this time, basic equipment but a wonderful time of comradeship and working together in the ‘family’ atmosphere of the Metropolitan Water Board (now Thames Water). I worked at the Brixton Office from 1969 to 2007 as a draughtsman and custodian of records and was very lucky to be able to save these photographs during all the changes throughout the years.

Oakhill Road Putney 1958 (6)

This photograph shows the inspectors sorting through their paperwork, their job would be to liaise with companies to check that they complied with water byelaws and also to read and check their water meters. Note the high stools the men to the right are seated on. These were built to last and those in the photograph date from the 1900’s.

Oakhill Road Putney 1958 (5)

These are the local Turncocks and Assistant Turncocks, each had their own local area to look after and the job, as the name suggest, was to open and close water main valves, flush water mains and to operate domestic stop cocks at the property boundaries. Their local knowledge was vast and in the case of a burst water main they knew the right valves to operate to isolate the water main. Each man lived in a MWB house on their local area and travelled around on bicycles.

Oakhill Road Putney 1958 (7)

Taking a break before the day’s work.

Oakhill Road Putney 1958 (3)

The Oakhill Road Office was in a large detached Victorian house with very basic facilities.

Oakhill Road Putney 1958 (2)

A single WC on the ground floor.

Oakhill Road Putney 1958 (8)

The storeroom, note the oil filled road lamps.

Oakhill Road Putney 1958 (4)

Bicycles parked in the yard.

Oakhill Road Putney 1958 (1)

Bicycles parked at the front of the house. Look closely at the first bike and you will see the various keys used to operate the water valves.


Not the main Subject

Sometimes it’s not the subject matter in the foreground, it is what is captured in the background.


This photo (above) was taken on 22nd February 1937 in Whitechapel High Street to record water main improvement works but the information in the background is just as interesting. Look at the enlarged details below.


This shows Mr. N. Steingold Diamond Merchants shop window in great detail.


And this shows Mr. W. E. Humphries shop window, corsets for sale, with price shown 4s 11d and 6s 11d (that would be 25p & 35p).

The photo below, taken 31st August 1959 shows water main diversion works in Wandsworth High Street.

65 wandsworth high street 1959 001

Now take a closer look at the advertising board in the background.


After 60 years we still have a break with a Kit Kat.

And finally this shows the head office of the Metropolitan Water Board near the Angel Islington. Taken during the First World War on 11th January 1915.


Now look at the enlarged detail below showing the Wartime army recruitment posters.

Fall In

Follow the Flag and Fall In.

So dear reader next time you view a photograph take a second look, you may find an interesting item of social history. Bye for now….keep you eyes peeled !

Scans from original Metropolitan Water Board Photographs.