Sunday, 7 July 2019

It's All in a Bag

This year's Larks in the Park on Fleetville Rec attracted the usual friendly crowd of visitors; locals in the main, although it included  many families from across the city.  To greet them were the usual collection of stalls, entertainments and stands representing such charitable organisations such as Highfield Park Trust.  And the bold new marquee charting the latest progress of the proposed new Community Centre building.

Relevant to this story was the bric-a-brac stall, the place where you hope to sell items of a miscellaneous nature, and perhaps pick up treats for a grandchild or two.  Standing on the ground was one of those very ordinary bags you might use to carry a small amount of shopping home from the supermarket or greengrocer.  One visitor carefully investigated its contents and pulled out – a photograph!

A large school photograph, mounted, but without any information of any kind either on the front or back.   Our visitor knew exactly where this picture belonged and walked over to the Fleetville Diaries stand with it.  Apologies to anyone else also at the stand who, at that moment, felt rather left out, but the arrival of the image was rather exciting, as you may gather from the version shown below.

It had been taken at Camp Elementary School around 1930, as evidenced by the back rows who were clearly senior pupils; in fact the whole class of 42 pupils are probably eleven years or over. The school lost its seniors to Priory Park and Hatfield Road schools to enable Camp to become a JMI school.  Mr E Richmond, who lived in Windermere Avenue, was its teacher; he is seen in Camp School  football team photos of the time.  As to where the class was arranged, it certainly wouldn't be possible today.  The space was part of the playground between  the headmaster's house (right) and the main school building; Royston Road is behind.  Today waste bins, parked cars and a modern building occupy the space where the house once stood.

A senior class at Camp Elementary School c1930.

But where has this photograph – still in very good condition – been since the fresh faces lined up c1930?  Not every family would have been able to purchase a copy, or even would have wanted to.  Maybe it was stored in the home of a former member of staff.  If not, it probably spent most of its lifetime in the successive homes of one member of the class shown, though interestingly there is no pencilled circle or extra finger marks around any of the faces shown as is often the case!  To make identification even more difficult – and this is a common issue – no names or dates have been written on the reverse.

Questions therefore remain: who were these children of Camp district, who would today be between 100 and 105 years old.  How did the photo in a bag reach Fleetville Rec in June 2019?  Was it the result of a house clearance, or younger family members having a sort out?  The story of this class photograph remains largely hidden from us throughout the past ninety years.

But if you have information to add please get in touch: the email address is

And if you would like similar photographs to reach a safe and permanent home – even if it is only a copy of the original – then do use the same email address.  Far too many historically important images of life in our city are being lost because their guardians just don't know what to do with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment