The archives are now offering a new series of events that are going to run every month. Those are called ‘Archive Bites’ and will be a small expositions that will feature a thematic series of objects from the depths of the archive’s collections. This past week the subject was Plymouth in the past and featured pictures taken circa 1959 and a historical plan of the market part of Plymouth with all the shops clearly market. For the duration of the day, people were coming up to the archives to look at the pictures and swap the stories of the city. Here is what you’ve missed:
- Throwing stones at rats in the car park
- Driving Ford Prefect with it’s windshield wipes closely connected to the revving of its engine.
- The story of a closure of a famous Plymouth restaurant. Allegedly because of fears that people would choose its terrace to jump off it.
- Debating the intricate difference between collecting pink stamps over the green stamps.
Well, well, well. Seems like the old junk/fancy lamp from previous post is still in working condition, the lamp lits up and the lens is fine too. I actually got to see things that haven’t been touched since the advent of digital photography- slides, microfilmed documents and a commemorative reel made especially for the celebration of Marjons 150th birthday.
I even stumbled upon something of special interest to me, as a person interested in the history of microcomputers- a slideshow that was part of a presentation about role of computers in education. You know, the thing that was used before there was PowerPoint and those horrid gradient backgrounds. Here are a few pictures, you can still see what’s what even that the backlight is messing with my phone big time.
We used to do an exercise when I was a student: we would get a random photo, with people we never met, and were tasked with writing a short story using anything that was in the picture. That would include reading facial expressions, body language, the position of the people in relation to one another. It’s not very easy, but if you got a good picture, you could get material for a proper story. This picture is one from our Urban Learning Centre. I have seen it before, but only now I see how rich it is in writing ideas.
Check out the two girls in the middle and their opposing expressions: one is laughing, the other is worried. What do they see? Why are they reacting so differently? Maybe it’s a race and they both have a bet? Not in money though, but with something as precious, something they both want, but there is enough for just one…
How about the three boys in the top right corner? The two of them are looking with interest while the other missed the whole incident. If the three of them were friends, is he the one that is the ‘slow one’ always a step behind those two? Do they laugh at him secretly, because he needs the joke explained to him? Or maybe he knows something those two don’t, a secret that the other two will never know?
How about the hugging kids? I can’t read the face of the one facing the camera. Is she crying or laughing? Does she seek comfort or is giving a celebratory hug to her friend or sibling?
I guess, the inspiration material is only limited by your imagination, but I’ve found this particular picture much more inspiring that many we had used during my course. And the archives have many, many more like this one.
Pictures-everybody love them. We do too, but we love the ones that are annotated even more because it is better to know who is on them. It’s not only because you can put a name to a face, so you don’t just stare on bunch of unknown people. It’s because when a request for information comes, we can send over a picture alongside our findings. But, have you ever tried to find that one picture of your friend Andy from that time you went to a party dressed like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum from 2001? Imagine just that, but with a stack of really old photos of people you’ve never met. So, the next project is listing the photos with the names attached to them so you can find that one guy you’re looking for. Except it’s another good intention that is tough to execute. Mostly because for some reason the names on the pictures are often tiny. Which leaves you squinting through the magnifier for an hour, hoping you’re getting it right. I don’t even know what kind of writing implement they have used, unicorn hair maybe? Here is the picture I took with the magnifier:
Here is the picture of our Urban Sports club c.a 2012 I really like this picture for the creative approach to the subject. It’s hard to look through the sport photos for a long time and not get bored with rows and rows of static faces. Well, this one is different. And if you were unsure of what Urban Sports were, well, the answer is in the picture itself.
I dig in the archives so much and go back into so long ago it makes me feel as old as an average mayfly. But then I am a part of that story too, and so are the people that were in my class.
With the influx of the sport-related pictures came those that were made while I was a student. I remembered that, although we were humanists, we also had some people that were very involved in sports. I tried to find them, but I had little luck. Either I misremembered or they stopped playing before the pictures were taken. But then I stumbled across one face I will never forget. That girl in the black is Charlotte Hook, one of my classmates.
Here I often share memories of people that I never knew, memories that belong to other people. Now let me share memories of Charlotte, because we are too part of Marjon’s story.
She is the most magnificent loudmouth you have ever seen. Usually I am annoyed by loud people, but I was never annoyed by Charlotte. She’s just this person that brings energy with her everywhere she goes. Charlotte is also a professional Scooby-Doo impersonator. She’s a mistress of everything that is zany and goofy and I always was envious of that.
I remember when we were on the Writer’s Retreat in Boscastle. I can still see her sitting in her trademark hoodie, with her hair sticking out like a nest of copper wire, and playing board games with the exuberance of a small tornado. We were all used to her volume, but after one especially explosive exclamation, somebody finally said: ‘Charlotte! That’s REALLY loud!’
Oh Charlotte, never let anyone to shush you! I do hope you google yourself sometimes, so I can tell you: never change.
Filed under people, photos