I bought both of these pictures on eBay, having been shown them by a friend. They’re only really connected by the decade in which they were taken. We don’t have very many pictures from that period though, so it’s worth putting them together for one of these mini-posts.
1937.Chelsea Bridge. The 51st Anti-Aircraft Brigade is the caption for this convoy of odd looking equipment heading south across the recently built bridge. The Brigade was a unit of the Territorial Army based at the Duke of York’s Headquarters just off the King’s Road (now the Saatchi Gallery).
What is that stuff on the trailer? Military experts will no doubt tell us in due course that the giant metal nipples serve a perfectly reasonable purpose. I can’t find an angle in which that sign is legible. Nor can I complete the phrase “Load not..” on the rear of the truck pulling the trailer which appears to have a large metal cylinder in the back. The two vehicles ahead of the truck are clearly pulling anti-aircraft guns.
It’s not strange that in 1937 plans were already being made on how London would be defended from air attack. I dealt with a civil defense exercise in 1939 in this post. The man on the bike doesn’t seem bothered and the two pedestrians look quite calm.
The picture wasn’t very expensive. I paid a little more for this one.
I liked it because it was very clear, and even though it was just a view looking north up Edith Grove, across the King’s Road, with Fulham Road visible in the distance. There is good detail on F W Norris’s Wine Stores, featuring draught and bottled beers. The few passers by are good too especially the two girls in the foreground wearing distinctly 30s hats.
I didn’t actually unwrap the picture from its plastic and cardboard packaging until I came to scan it and then I turned it over to find that on the back was some information which completely changed the picture.
“Double motor cycle tragedy. Brother and sister killed.”
The picture came from a newspaper picture library. There is a short account of an accident in which a brother and sister on a motor bike travelling north to south towards their home in Clapham were struck by a car in the early hours of a Sunday morning. She died instantly, he later at a hospital. The picture has been cut from a larger piece of paper. It looks like there was a diagram below the short account in red ink.
So my attractive picture of a Chelsea street in 1930 becomes a record of sudden death.
Drive carefully this Christmas.
Miscelleany: Madonna through the looking glass
Some of you will have read the recent post about the King’s Road in the 1980s featuring photographs by my friend CC. One of them was a monochrome version of one of her friends, a hairdresser who works in the King’s Road dressed as Madonna for a Christmas Eve party at the salon. CC told me there was a colour version so I thought that would look good for one of my Christmas posts.
This one is one of “Madonna’s” co-workers, also dressed up for the day.
The lady herself.
And the back view, which rather gives the game away.
I should add that the gentleman himself has given permission for these pictures to go up on the blog.
See you tomorrow.