Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Musings on photos past 2 - English Belshaw Christmas 1952

We all had a very happy and relaxed Christmas. Now I am back to sorting photos.

In my first post in this series, Musings on photos past, I commented that a photo without a context was often just a piece of visual wall paper.

In 1952, Dad went overseas on a Fulbright Scholarship for a year, leaving the family in Armidale. Before he went, he chopped a year's supply of wood for the kitchen stove and the two open fireplaces that provided a measure of heating during the cold Armidale winter. As kids, we stacked and re-stacked those wood piles to create forts and other constructions.

In England, he spent Christmas 1952 with some of the English Belshaws. At the back from left to right people are listed as Arthur, John, Bob, Joyce, Jim (my father). At the front from left to right Andrew, Alice, Mother, Self, Gwyn. Comments follow the photo.   English family, Christmas 1952

This photo is unusual because it actually has names attached. When in 1906 my Grandfather Belshaw and his family emigrated from Wigan in Lancashire  to Canterbury in New Zealand in search of a better life, they did retain contact with those remaining in England. When Dad did his PhD at Manchester in the the 1930s, he visited them. So contact continued.

We have lost contact since. Of those in the photo, I knew only Bob and Joyce (Meade), for they sent my brother and I Christmas presents as kids and in fact Sue and I stayed with them when we visited England in 1979. However, I lost all contact after Bob and Joyce's death.

All this means that I have a box of fading black and white photos from my father that presently sit there without context, frozen in time. So, for the moment, I cannot tell a proper story that might bring them all back to life.    

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