Fascinating scenes survived the wreckers
THIS week we again delve through the archive of Reflections Images Past and Present, to look at some more splendid pictures taken by memorable photographic gurus Douglas and George Weaver. It is thanks to the huge efforts of the late brothers that east Kent, and particularly Ashford, has been recorded in great detail, giving one a feel for life in days gone by. The immense archive is somewhat unique, and over the years, I have regularly heard ‘horror’ stories of photographic archives of the area being destroyed and burned. There are two specific stories that spring to mind. One of glass plate negatives being used as hardcore for a concrete hardstanding at the rear of former photographer’s premises in Folkestone, and closer to home, a chief photographer telling his staff to slash the negatives and plates with a knife, so nobody else could use them. Although there are difficulties with keeping old negatives, these acts could be classed as ‘criminal’ to those of us who are passionate about the pictorial history of our area. Historians like me owe huge thanks to the likes of Sue Gambrill and her late husband Ian, for preserving such a valued archive for many generations to come. This week’s trio of splendid images come from 1960. The images are copyrighted, but prints can be ordered by contacting Sue Gambrill at Reflections on 01752 851126 and quoting the reference number under the required picture. Others can be ordered via the website www.reflectionsimages.co.uk Our first picture this week shows nurses, staff and guests together for a prizegiving at Ashford Hospital in May 1960. The happy event was attended by those on the hospital board, local dignitaries, and the late Bill Deedes MP, pictured front row on the right. The once bustling hospital which was opened by the Duke and Duchess of York in 1926, has recently been in the news after work begun to demolish a large section of the former hospital. Although the frontage is still standing, it’s future preservation and usage still remains in doubt. The second picture shows the Beaver Road premises of County Motors, in June 1960, during an event attended by local sea cadets. Their premises which later became part of Ford dealership John Wilment, was once sandwiched between the former cinema at the corner of Newtown Road and adjoining premises which became home to DIY giant B&Q in 1976. Our final picture shows prizewinners at the North Boys School’s sports day in May 1960. Sadly individual names are absent, but how many local lads can identify themselves in this splendid picture from 50 years ago? If you can identify yourself, please contact me at the usual address. I would like to appeal to readers who either took or have any amateur or professional pictures of the town during the changes from the 1950s to the 1970s as I would love to see them. I am always keen to hear from those who worked in the town, perhaps in local government, and whose job entailed taking photographs for planning and conservation, highways and consultation, and those involved with the Compulsory Purchase regulations in the 1970s. Have you got any pictures, negatives or transparencies from the past that you would be willing to share with readers?
Send pictures with brief details, to Steve Salter, Kentish Express Remember When, 34-36 North Street, Ashford, Kent, TN24 8JR, or by e-mail to, rememberwhen_ firstname.lastname@example.org Please supply a return address for the return of originals.
Winners at the North Boys Schools sports day, May 1960