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Friday, 03 January 2014 13:29

A 12 year old, an Instamatic and the cupboard under the stairs

Written by Mike
Probably shot during April 1967, as a twelve year old I was much more interested in collecting numbers than taking photos.  Caprotti fitted BR Standard 5MT no. 73133 at Patricroft, keeping company with a green-liveried Class 40 and what appears to be a Black 5. Probably shot during April 1967, as a twelve year old I was much more interested in collecting numbers than taking photos. Caprotti fitted BR Standard 5MT no. 73133 at Patricroft, keeping company with a green-liveried Class 40 and what appears to be a Black 5.

During Pam’s last visit to our home in Polemi, she brought back a bunch of stuff she thought I’d like.  In amongst this lot was my train spotting books from 1967 to about 1970.  And in there, I found three gems.

There were three much thumbed black and white, smaller than postcard size pictures I’d attached to my notebooks (with Elastoplast of all things?).  As they had been either front or back covers for my notebooks, they are well and truly worn.

I’ve now scanned them, done some simple touching up to try to repair 45 years of damage, and they’re the pictures attached to this article.

History

These pictures were shot during the peak of my train spotting days – in 1967 I was aged 12.  In particular, the Patricroft shot was made on the way out after having RUN round the shed to gather the numbers before heading off to the next shed.

Shot during 1967, Class 55 'Deltic' no. D9004 'Queens Own Highlander' in green livery with half yellow warning panels at York. I always thought this livery really suited the Deltics.

Kodak Instamatic 25

They would have been shot with my Kodak Instamatic 25, a very simple camera that shot on (square) 126 film.  Mine had the added feature of having been dropped, so it was held together with an elastic band.  Some things don’t change.  On a China trip I dropped a brand new Nikon D2x and 17-35 f2.8 down a slag heap.  It went about 30m.  But worked perfectly afterwards.

I would have processed these myself.  The developing of negatives I had sorted by that time using the kit in the school darkroom.

Class 28 Co-Bo 'Metrovick' no. D5708 at Carlisle Kingmoor during 1967, showing its 12C allocation to Barrow. The people at Carlisle diesel depot called them 'Crossleys' after the maker of the diesel engine itself, and they hated them.  Note the line of Class 17s on the right.  They were almost equally as unpopular, being found to be very unreliable.

Johnson Postcard enlarger

The printing would have been done using a Johnson Postcard enlarger.  That was a box you slid a negative into one end, a piece of postcard sized printing paper into the other end, and then exposed the paper by holding the contraption up to a light.

I managed to do this in the cupboard under the stairs because I only needed small dishes for developing, washing and fixing.  That’s the ingenuity of a 12 year old for you!

 

Mike

Mike

Mike McCormac has been a photographer since about ten years old.  He's a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and splits his time between living in Olney in the United Kingdom and a village in the hills near Paphos in Cyprus.

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