The world of Infrared

infraSCAN007 finalHastings, England – At Rest

For fifty years, Gordon Trewinnard has been taking infrared photographs on 35mm film – both black-and-white and colour – in many different parts of the world.

With infrared photography, the film is sensitive to near-infrared light. Infrared photographs feature very dark skies which result in less infrared light in shadows and dark reflections of those skies from water. Clouds stand out strongly. These wavelengths also penetrate a few millimetres into skin and give a milky look to portraits, although eyes often look black.

Gordon explains: ‘Infrared film reacts differently from other colour emulsions to Cold, Heat, Humidity and Altitude, making it very difficult to get consistent results. For example, you can expose one frame exactly the same as the previous one and get a different result. It’s also necessary to be very accurate with exposures in the snow, desert, and in the tropics – and it’s essential to get the temperature correct during  the development stage.’

imgSCAN011 copyLondon, Bus and Bobbies

Infrared photography became popular with enthusiasts in the 1930s when suitable film was introduced commercially. Colour film appeared in the 1960s. The false colour and unusual tone effects that can be produced with infra-red film are very distinctive.

Some examples are immediately striking as being different in colour and tone, others are much less obvious in their effects. Some of the more subtle pictures have a real metallic charm about them which is impossible to obtain with regular colour emulsions, thus making all the effort worthwhile.

In 2007 Kodak announced that production of the 35mm version of their colour infrared film (Ektachrome Professional Infrared/EIR) would cease as there was insufficient demand, and with his stocks of film now depleted Gordon has now decided to stop taking infrared photographs. He is now making available a selection of those pictures for sale – some are unique positive transparencies, and others are b/w prints.

imgSCAN014 copyTowers in Las Vegas, USA

Non-exclusive, non-transferable reproduction rights are included with the purchase. Gordon asks that his name is credited when the pictures are used on the web or in print. For further details, please contact with an indication of your interest.

Scroll down for more pictures. (The name does not appear on the actual transparencies)

imgSCAN024 copySwiss horse trough

imgSCAN022-copy copyTable mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

imgSCAN023 copySwiss vineyard, Regensberg

imgSCAN021 copyPetersham cemetery, England

imgSCAN012 copyEgypt, Nile Barges

imgSCAN013 copyA field in England, with Horse

New York World’s Fair 1939 – in captivating Kodachrome

New York World’s Fair 1939 – in captivating Kodachrome

These 35mm Kodachrome slides were taken by an unknown skilled amateur, at the New York World’s Fair. They are sharp, in good condition, and mounted in period glass mounts. Each one is unique, Kodachrome not being intended for making duplicates or amateur prints, and so far as we know have never been published.

Kodachrome was a brand name for a colour reversal film introduced by Eastman Kodak in 1935. It was one of the first successful colour materials and was used for both cinematography and still photography. Because of the growth and popularity of alternative photographic materials, its complex processing requirements and the widespread transition to digital photography, Kodachrome lost its market share. Its manufacturing was discontinued in 2009 and its processing ended in December 2010.

The 1939–40 New York World’s Fair, which covered the 1,216 acres of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, was the second largest American world’s fair of all time.


This night shot shows the Ford company’s Road of Tomorrow pavilion. The fair was divided into differently themed zones, such as the Transportation Zone, the Communications and Business Systems Zone, the Food Zone, the Government Zone, and so forth.

Virtually every structure erected on the fairgrounds was extraordinary, and many of them were experimental in many ways. Architects were encouraged by their corporate or government sponsors to be creative, energetic and innovative. Novel building designs, materials and furnishings were the norm.

ny002 copy

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Outdoor public lighting was at the time of a very limited and pedestrian nature, perhaps consisting of simple incandescent pole lamps in a city and nothing in the country. Electrification was still very new and had not reached everywhere in the US. The fair was the first public demonstration of several lighting technologies that would become common in future decades. These ‘night shot’ slides show the state-of-the art lighting, (with a brilliant blue being one of the Fair’s official colours).

ny003 copy[sold]

In the slide of the American Jubilee show the photographer has given a time exposure to ensure that the lights reproduce well.This has the effect of blurring the people walking past – all except one static couple in the distance, captured as they gaze in wonder at the display.

ny007 copy
ny008 copy[sold]

The Billy Rose Aquacade was a spectacular musical and water extravaganza foreshadowing the form of many popular Hollywood musicals in the ensuing years. The show was presented in a special amphitheater seating 10,000 people and included an orchestra to accompany the spectacular synchronized swimming performance. It featured Johnny Weismuller and Eleanor Holm, two of the most celebrated swimmers of the era, and dazzled fairgoers with its lighting and cascades and curtains of water, pumped in waterfalls at 8000 gallons a minute.

ny006 copy[sold]

John Hix’s “Strange as It Seems” appeared as a syndicated cartoon feature in 1928. In its heyday, it was reported that the comic strip was syndicated in over 1,300 newspapers and became a familiar brand to millions around the globe for its comic strips, books, radio shows and film shorts. In 1939, the Hix brothers outmaneuvered Ripley’s ‘Believe it Or Not!) for an exhibit at the New York World’s Fair.

The lower slide shows the “Frozen Alive Girls” frontage, with the block of “ice” in which the girls were to be entombed, naked, being clearly visible as the barker ‘tells the tale’. They’re clearly not too thrilled at the prospect.

ny005 copy

A rare interior colour shot of the British Empire pavilion.

(More slides to be added soon.) Price of slides and further details on application.


ny010 copy British Pavilion

ny013 copy[sold]

Santa, Savings, and Fractal geometry

Santa, Savings, and Fractal geometry

Identifier: 2014074 TRUSTEE SAVINGS

The Droste effect — known as mise en abyme in art — is the effect of a picture appearing within itself, in a place where a similar picture would realistically be expected to appear.

The effect is named after the image on the tins and boxes of Droste cocoa powder, one of the main Dutch brands, which displayed a nurse carrying a serving tray with a cup of hot chocolate and a box with the same image. This image, introduced in 1904 was maintained for decades with slight variations. The logo of cheese spread brand The Laughing Cow also features the Droste effect. The effect was used by Giotto di Bondone in 1320, in his Stefaneschi Triptych. The polyptych altarpiece portrays in its center panel Cardinal Giacomo Gaetani Stefaneschi offering the triptych itself to St. Peter.

The appearance is recursive: the smaller version contains an even smaller version of the picture, and so on. Only in theory could this go on forever; practically, it continues only as long as the resolution of the picture allows, which is relatively short, since each iteration geometrically reduces the picture’s size. It is a visual example of a strange loop, a self-referential system of instancing which is the cornerstone of fractal geometry. [Adapted from Wikipedia]

Well the artist responsible for this example didn’t try too hard; after a reasonably recongnisable image within the main picture, the next one is basically a blob.

You can’t escape from Santa, even at NeverSeen Books.


Trustee Savings Bank Christmas Annual 1949. 32 pages including paper cover. Size: 128 x 196 mm.

This little booklet was one of several published in the early post-war years by the Trustee Savings Bank. It’s full of homilies, puzzles, a children’s page, recipes, and other heart-warming stuff typical of the magazines and advertising material of the period.


trustee3click to enlarge

It’s Party Time, and Prince Charles beams out of his pram at his mother, who’s not yet Queen. Meanwhile, there’s a typical English Christmas Tea in progress – though the grandmother in her shawl looks American to me – with the gents all wearing ties, of course. A chocolate Yule Log supplements the bulging Christmas cake, and impossibly real candles light the tree.

The Trustee Savings Bank (TSB) was a British financial institution. Trustee savings banks originated to accept savings deposits from those with moderate means. Their shares were not traded on the stock market but, unlike with mutually held building societies, depositors had no voting rights; nor did they have the power to direct the financial and managerial goals of the organisation. Directors were appointed as trustees (hence the name) on a voluntary basis. [Wikipedia] The complex history and merger with Lloyds is here.


Condition: Good – some creasing, mostly around the spine area.

Price: £6.00 plus postage. Enquiries:

What d’ye LACK?


Identifier: 2014047 WHAT D’YE LACK?

What d’ye LACK? The Times Publishing Company, Ltd. [1936] 24 pages plus cover, all on heavy stock.
Anonymous. Illustrations by Aubrey Hammond. Size: 216 x 279 mm

Those of us who are of a certain age will remember when the front page of The Times had no headlines, pictures, or even news stories, but only classified advertisements. The proprietors finally abandoned this tradition in 1966. If the presentation of the newspaper was somewhat dour in times past, it shouldn’t be assumed that the marketing was always unimaginative. This brochure from 1936 is based on a selection of amusing snippets from the pages of ‘The Thunderer’ dating from the 18th and 19th centuries.


The intention was that readers would be entertained by the contents, and then realise that The Times was still an effective place to advertise; the final page of the brochure giving display rates. ‘What d’ye lack?” – a repeated phrase in Oscar Wilde’s fairy tale The Fisherman and His Soul – was an old street-seller’s cry.


The quotes from old advertisements include one for a Villa ‘near Tooting’, illustrated by Pan sitting on a guidepost showing the way to nearby Balham; long before Peter Sellers made it “funny”. Presumably the quaint 19th-century idea of an ‘elegant villa’ in the London suburb – described in the advertisement as being ‘in the country’ – which by 1936 was just about filled with sprawling building development of cheap housing, was an amusing thought. Ironically, there’s many an elegant villa in Tooting (and even more in Balham) that today has an asking price of £4 million and upwards.

Aubrey Lindsay Hammond, (1894 -1940) attended Byam Shaw School of Art in England, and The Academie Julian in Paris. He designed posters for the Underground Group and London Transport, 1925-1934. Dr Chris Mullen writes:
“[Hammond] was an early example of an English designer prepared for any commercial challenge that came his way – book jackets, illustrations commercial and interpretative, posters, art direction for films, and designs for the stage – sets and costumes.”

One of his most famous works was the striking cover for the 1927 Readers Library edition of Thea von Harbou’s novel Metropolis.

This two-colour job for The Times is quite scarce. The National Art Library (V&A) has a copy, but that’s the only one listed in WorldCat.

Condition: Generally good. Two small stains on front cover. Some foxing throughout. Mark on back cover (which is blank).

Price: £34.00 plus postage.





Plastics – and a new world

identifier: 20140908 PLASTICS MAGAZINE


Plastics, May 1945 – vol. 2. no.5. Ziff-Davis, Chicago. 153 pages. Size: 217 x 283 mm. Colour and b/w illustrations.

Norman H. Finkelstein starts his 2008 book in the series Great Inventions with a quote from The Graduate (1967) ….

“I just want to say one word to you. Plastics.”

As with most movie quotes, that’s contracted from the original, which is here, if you have a minute (well, just 57 seconds) to watch that great scene.

By the ‘60s, it wasn’t clever for Benjamin’s adviser to be prescient about the potential for the ‘new’ materials. The huge future for plastics had been evident for many years, given a spur by the special difficulties of the 1940s. Finkelstein explains:

‘The way plastics successfully answered the material needs of World War II not only improved the material’s image and reception but demonstrated that plastic products could have unique qualities that made them even better than the natural materials they often replaced. Before the outbreak of the war, the plastics industry produced a limited array of products – radio cabinets, decorative buttons, toys, and other consumer items. A May 3, 1943, Life magazine article on plastics heralded “war makes gimcrack industry into a sober producer of prime materials.” Gimcrack means showy, worthless, and flimsy, a description not totally without merit for the pre-war period when plastics were not often respected by consumers and manufacturers. Wartime technology changed that impression and turned plastics into a respected family of unique materials.’ [Plastics: Norman H. Finkelstein. Marshall Cavendish 2008.]


Plastics magazine had many functions. Chiefly promoting – presumably to a wider industry rather than the general public – the idea of plastics as the underlying fabric of a new world, it was also a promotional platform for the various manufacturers established in, or just entering, the industry.


Some articles and advertisements reflect the thinking that these new materials required new design, while others seem to be peddling the same unambitious plastic domestic products – combs, trinket boxes – that had been around since the first days of celluloid in the late 19th century. But all the areas that these wonder materials were affecting are here: defence (mostly aircraft), kitchen utilities, photography, the young medium of television, clothes and shoes – though little evidence of toys, which would soon be a huge plastics market. The magazine seems to have lasted for only a few years.


The British Library seems to have no issues from the war years, only those from 1947-49. Worldcat shows no copies in any other library in Europe.  There are currently no copies of any original issues for sale on Abe. You might be able to read it online, or buy a black & white POD reprint – but where’s the fun in that? This copy is a rare collectable that’s also very useful reference material.

Condition: Wear to cover, with some cracking of the laminate at the edges, and new acid-free restoration to the top edge and bottom right corner of the front cover (both sides). Pages firm and bright, with very few marks. Now in a custom folder comprising boards covered in red buckram.

Price: £35.00 plus postage.









ARK – as a new book is published, we offer the first 13 issues

Last June, the Royal College of Art published a book celebrating the College’s journal, ARK. I’ll let the RCA website provide more details.

‘Royal College of Art Critical Writing in Art & Design students have produced a celebratory book exploring the College’s historic and influential visual arts journal, ARK.  ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 1950-1978 … is a wide-ranging anthology of articles and images from the College’s long-running ARK magazine – an influential presence in British cultural life.  CWA&D students have selected and  curated material from ARK’s 54 issues, spanning nearly three decades, to give a snapshot of its bold and fast-changing design, and extraordinary cast of writers and artists that helped propel it to international attention. This new publication features a complete run of ARK covers in full colour including designs by Len Deighton and Alan Fletcher; a preface from design critic Rick Poynor; and a full index of the magazine’s content throughout its duration, as well as rare texts and classic image essays. Together, the material offers a vivid overview of the changing attitudes and approaches to art and design in Britain in an age of considerable flux.  ARK, a style and design journal created by RCA students, was part of an era of cultural transformation across fashion, film, television, advertising, newspapers and magazines. Such was the stature of ARK that it drew contributions from creative luminaries including Ralph Rumney, Lucio Fontana, Alison and Peter Smithson, Toni del Renzio and Reyner Banham. In his preface, Rick Poynor describes this influence:  ‘…ARK has become a vivid historical document. It records, narrates, evokes and recalls its moment (or succession of moments) with energy, eloquence and insight. There were other contemporary British magazines about visual subjects with elements of content or design in common – Motif, Typographica, the short-lived Uppercase, even The Architectural Review – but…none of them could match ARK’s twists and turns, its visual conceits and coups de théâtre, or its eclecticism of content during its heyday from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s.’ ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 1950-1978, designed by Jorg Schwertfeger (MA Visual Communication, 2014) and priced at £15.’

You won’t be able to buy it from Amazon (hooray!) but search online, and you’ll find it available from a real bookseller, including the RCA.

Coincidentally, Neverseen is pleased to offer a run of:

ARK: the Journal of the Royal College of Art. The first thirteen issues. No.13 is subtitled The Journal of Design and Fine Art. Size: approx 238 x 178mm. No.1 has b/w illustrations, all other issues have illustrations in both colour and b/w. Details of condition listed below. I have taken two issues to illustrate interior layouts, to give some idea of the wonderful contents of this collection. All front covers are illustrated at the end of this post.

The illustration of Figureheads from the National Maritime Museum is by Valerie Brook (now Falla). Sixty years on, she’s still producing and exhibiting great artworks. A print of one of Val’s scenes of Hastings hangs on a wall at home as I write this, brightening our mornings. I spoke with her a few weeks ago, and she told me of the arrangement with ARK. “The art editor would approach a student whose style of illustration might suit a particular article in the magazine. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but it’s interesting now to look back…” Valerie looks at her work from that time, which seems to me to reflect an already very mature talent, as a somewhat detached and bemused observer – “Look at how I angled that head!” – and with genuine modesty. Before starting at the RCA, Val’s drawings had won a prize of £100 from Punch – a useful sum that went towards her RCA fees – and I was treated to a view of some of her delightful artwork for the competition.

arkLACEY[click to read]

In 1970 or 71, artist / robot-maker, collector, performer and archetypal British eccentric Bruce Lacey put on a show at the National Film Theatre, entitled ‘Bruce Lacey Exposes Himself’. It was a wonderfully rambling exposition of his obsessions, with films of his machines and ‘collections of random junk’– including a screening of Ken Russell’s The Preservation Man (1962) (which is here, if it’s still there), and jumpy home movie footage of his aunt walking her dog, taken on 9.5mm film decades earlier. I was technician for the show. Bruce arrived with a 45rpm disc. “I wanted the recording to sound old,” he explained, “so I buried it in the garden for a while.” It still had mud in the grooves, but I risked damaging our record player stylus. That isn’t Lord Tennyson you hear supposedly emanating from the cylinder player in the BBC Monitor film, it’s Bruce (imitating a faded recording of the great poet), wearing a ‘Sgt. Pepper’ jacket years before the Beatles latched on. I remember that Lacey’s NFT show was my first experience of arranging a radio mic. Unrestrained by cables Bruce darted among the audience as he commented on the images on the screen, and in-between clips, with a non-stop monologue of observations, ruminations and fears. “I always look in a toilet bowl first,” he explained to the audience at one point, probably apropos of nothing. “Spiders lurk there, and then they crawl up your bum.” (Audience laughter.) “They do!” I’m happy to learn that Bruce is still exposing himself all over the country. Lacey’s contribution to the issue of ARK included here was a short piece, a double-page spread explaining his collecting mania, illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings of his “forlorn objects”, including a grouping of eight magic lanterns – long before such items started to be seriously sought out by more conventional collectors. The way he treats his “stuff” is outrageously uncuratorial and delightfully refreshing.

The ARK layouts are beautiful, and the text engaging with no waffle or padding. The advertisements are in themselves attractive, no doubt helped by a succession of Advertising Managers who were top-flight budding artists. In recent years I was privileged to know Bob Falla, a fine talent who served on ARK in that capacity for a while. I could go on writing forever about these wonderful magazines and the memories they evoke, but I have to stop here. The covers of the thirteen issues offered here are shown below.
Condition: Most copies have some minor foxing and spotting to some pages, not very evident except where noted below. A few finger marks, and fading to some spines.

1. Foxing to covers, noticeable on the back. 2. Minor foxing to covers. Small stain to very edge of top right of several pages. 3. Foxing to covers, and last page. Staining (coffee) to top corner / outer margin of most pages. This has been treated. 4. Foxing to cover, noticeable on the back. 5. Foxing to covers. Stain to outer margin, last 10 pages and back cover. 6. Foxing to covers. 7. Foxing to covers, noticeable on back. 8. Back cover has a flattened fold. 9. Foxing to covers, stain to top margin last 10 pages and inside back cover. 10. Noticeable foxing to covers. Small top corner fold to front cover. 11. Some spotting to spine. 12. Back cover rather soiled. 13. Foxing to covers and first few pages. Top of spine bumped.

Price: £250.00 plus postage
















The Cyclist, 1889 – 1900

identifier: CYCLIST 1889-1890 [SOLD]

One day in the mid-1960s, as I pedalled along the A23 I was overtaken by a man riding a penny-farthing bicycle. Curious as to what would happen when he reached the red traffic lights up ahead, I was impressed by his technique of slowing almost to a stop and then reaching out to the top of the traffic light pole for support until the lights went green, and then somehow shoving off and away. I think that was the last time I saw a cyclist stop at a red light. I never got to ride a penny-farthing (sorry – Ordinary) but some thirty years ago, encouraged by some cyclist ‘friends’, I entered the first (?) mass Annual London to Brighton cycle ride – on a borrowed ladies’ bike that had been made in 1913, and was equipped with one gear. I’d sold my own bike after too many near-misses with Belgian juggernauts on the New Cross one-way system. I was totally unprepared for the 50-mile ride, but none of us would be the first to give up – so we persevered, walking most of the last ten miles. The train brought us home, and that night my legs felt as if they were exploding. I still have a bike, and drag it out every few months for a flat ride, just a mile or two along the coastal path, but I wouldn’t call myself a cycling enthusiast. So I don’t need this wonderful and very rare book:

The Cyclist Christmas Number for 1889 and Year Book for 1890.


Title page: John Quillpen’s Ride by “F.S.S.” and The Compleat Cycler by Isaac Vaulton. Being “The Cyclist” Christmas Number for 1889 and Year Book for 1890.
Publisher: Illife & Son, 3, Bride Street, Ludgate Circus, London, E.C. and Coventry.
Total page count: 248. With loose-leaf 4-page supplement on blue paper, listing distributors of The Cyclist magazine. Size: 200 x 277mm.



John Quillpen’s Ride
The Compleat Cycler
Resume of Cycling for 1889
Gearing Tables
Racing Calendar for 1889
Who’s Who in Cycling in 1890
The Clubs of the United Kingdom
Volunteer Section
Results of Amateur Championships 1878-89
Tables of Amateur Path Records
Tables of Professional Path Records
Manufacturers, Agents, &c.

Editor: F. Sturmey. The illustrations are by George A W Moore.


Extremely rare. This isn’t in the British Library, or on WorldCat. The Bodleian might have it, and the Veteran Cycle Club Library has a scanned photocopy with pages missing.

Condition: Generally good, with text block in good condition. Repairs have been kept minimal. Some losses to edges of cover, now professionally repaired with acid-free paper. Sellotape staining to cover. The original binding method was stab-stitching near the left edge of the block, and the cord has now been replaced. The cover has been re-attached with Japanese tissue, and some loss to the lower back strip at the spine repaired. Now in an acid-free paper wallet, in cloth covered boards, ready for your bookshelf.


Scroll down for more images and further items:















Chums – and rhinos

identifier: 2014049 CHUMS 1235

CHUMS No. 1,235 Vol.XXIV May 13, 1916. 14-page story paper (pages 615-628). Size: 230 x 300mm. The cover features the story REPAID IN FULL, A Stirring Yarn of Picture-Hunting in the Wilds, By REGINALD C. FRY, which is continued inside. Cover drawing signed Edwd. Martlew.

I had a letter this week from an elderly friend, telling me about his visit as a young boy – almost 90 years ago – to see With Cherry Kearton in the Jungle (1926) at Clifftonville, Margate, with Kearton presenting on the stage. Being shot by a film crew’s camera wasn’t the greatest danger for African wild animals at that time, including the suspicious rhino that appears in Kearton’s film.

Which brings us to Chums…..


“…never fear, we’ll bag the finest wild animal pictures the British public has ever seen!”

And in Chapter 3 – The Greatest Film Ever! – they do … a charging rhinoceros that gets shot and killed in the process. The writer explains that the local men who carry out the white man’s bidding are known as “boys”, which then appears in parenthesis throughout. The ‘n-word’ is also used but the writer doesn’t need to explain to young white English boys what that term means. I’m tempted to write something like “thoroughly non-PC in every way”, but that obvious phrase doesn’t cover it, and in any case the way that the terms PC and non-PC have been used has changed over the years, and in themselves now have no clear meaning. What should we do with this old material? I say keep it visible, so that the present generation can begin to understand how the mess that the world is in today was in part created. And maybe this example could help to highlight the continuing plight of rhinos being killed for their horns. Please feel free to use this cover scan for educational blogs (but: I don’t know the copyright status of this image, which probably cannot be formally cleared).

I think they’ve left the shooting a bit late, given the inevitable inertia of a black rhino weight of 3000 lbs or more (twice that for a white rhino).


Chums was published from 1892 (Cassell) and then Amalgamated (from 1927) until 1941 – monthly from 1932, annually from 1934.

Condition: pages are tanned and fragile, especially at the edges, with nicks and small tears. Centre folds are coming apart (see pictures), where this issue has been removed from a bound volume. Now in an acid-free paper sleeve.

Price: £8.00 plus postage




The Barnsley Disaster

identifier: 2014005 BARNSLEY DISASTER  SOLD

The Children’s Disaster at Barnsley. (George Cresswell).

In the Public Hall, at Barnsley.
The children went to view
The animated pictures,
As children love to do.



[Poems, including The Barnsley Disaster] pamphlet.

Series No.15. Ombler & Sons, Printers, 26 & 27 Mason Street, Hull.
LEAD THE WAY by Bingley Wilson. The Barnsley Disaster by Bingley Wilson. Tom Jinkin’s Dream of Balaam’s Ass. The West Hull Bye-Election. The Barnsley Disaster by George Cresswell (The Engine-driver Poet), 3 Dorset Street, Hessle Road, Hull.

8 internal pages, plus folded pink paper cover. Size: 128 x 193mm.

The physical dangers of attending a filmshow in the early days of cinema were largely because of the highly flammable nature of early nitrocellulose film, not helped by open-flame illuminants, sometimes including volatile ether as a fuel. The latter caused the infamous Charity Bazaar fire in Paris in 1897, which claimed over 100 lives. But fire wasn’t the only danger.

The Barnsley Public Hall disaster occurred during a penny performance for children in Barnsley, West Riding of Yorkshire, on 11 January 1908. Children from across Barnsley had come to watch a film, walking to the public hall through falling snow. According to news reports at the time, a large number showed up, and the hall quickly became overcrowded. With the ground floor seats full, children packed into the gallery to such an extent that the aisles of the gallery were filled and children were pressed against the lower gallery railing. In order to relieve some of the crowding, and concerned about the press of bodies against the gallery railing, an attendant in the hall called for some of the children to descend the stairs to the main floor. This precipitated a mass rush for the stairs as children pushed to gain access to the ground level. As the crowd surged down the narrow staircase, a number of children fell and were trampled or were crushed. Others, under pressure from the crowd behind them, had to climb or walk over the fallen to escape danger. Even children who had not originally joined the stampede became panicked because of the screams of those on the stairs. Theatre attendants and police who were quickly called managed to keep the children on the main floor safe and evacuate them. They then worked to extricate those who had been injured. According to a wire news report at the time, “When the reserve police arrived they found the narrow stairway practically blocked with bodies.”

16 died and more than 40 were injured. Wire services carried news of the disaster far and wide, and newspapers as far away as New York City covered the story, sometimes in a sensational manner and with graphic detail about the injuries of the victims. [adapted from Wikipedia]

The disaster was commemorated on its 100th anniversary, 11 January 2008, with a civic ceremony. A plaque was unveiled inside the building, now called the Civic, which listed the names of the sixteen victims of the tragedy, all of whom were under the age of 10 at the time of their deaths. Among the attenders was a younger sister of two of the victims.

Barnsley0003[click to read]

There are two poems about the accident in this pamphlet: The Barnsley Disaster by Bingley Wilson, and The Children’s Disaster at Barnsley by George Gresswell. The poems here are perhaps typical of the period. To us, they might seem irredeemably trite – predictable rhyming doggerel, unsuited for such a tragedy. But no doubt they came from the heart. Wilson contributed to A Book of Poems for the Blue Cross Fund (to help horses in war time) 1917.

George Gresswell

George Gresswell

Some quick research on George ‘The Engine-Driver Poet’ Gresswell reveals that he was no stranger to the fragility of young lives. In 1892 the York Herald reported on ‘…the body of a child which was picked up the day previously in the Barmston Drain at Hull, enveloped in some old clothing. George Gresswell, an engine driver, deposed to finding the bundle, which on examination was found to contain the body of a male infant…’ (York Herald, 26 May 1892). Gresswell would also have been familiar with survivors’ trauma – he was driving the Hornsea Express when it ran down a pedestrian in 1903. (‘Killed by Hornsea Express’, Hull Daily Mail, 14 October 1903). His other verses of mourning included one about the Loss of the Golden Sunrise – a steam trawler sunk in a fishing accident, with one crewman drowned – in 1908. I’ve found a reference to an anthology of his rhymes, published in 2006, but this has proved elusive.

Barnsley0005[click to read]

A contributor to the local paper wrote in 1912, ‘I always read with interest the verses of George Gresswell, the engine-driver poet. Mr Gresswell does not profess to be a grammarian, but he certainly can claim to be a mouthpiece of what people are thinking.’ (Humber-Side Echoes, Hull Daily Mail, 23 July 1912.) Other numbers in this series of leaflets are listed on the back cover. I’d like to find a copy of No.4, which includes the poem A Railway Message from Mars.

Condition: Generally good. Staining from rusty staples (they have now been removed) caused deterioration of the paper in the central gutter area, and those areas have been repaired with acid-free Japanese tissue. Now in acid-free paper wallet.

Price: SOLD



The Lantern: The Cyclist Year Book

identifier: 2014045 LANTERNCYCLIST [SOLD]

The Lantern: The Christmas Number and Year Book of The Cyclist for 1887-88.

Published by Iliffe & Son, 98 Fleet St, London & Coventry. PRICE ONE SHILLING.

Softback, size 204 x 278mm. Pagination starts on page 33 (following the unpaginated Christmas Number), and ends with page 126. The many advertising pages are extra to the 126.

Contents as follows:

First: Eighteen pages of advertisements (most advertising pages are on pink paper). Introduction, explaining that the contents are “a combination of fact and fancy…”. Thirteen plates on thick stock, one showing the year 1887 passing, and heralding 1888, and one for each month. The plates comprise drawings of mock-historical scenes appropriate to the season, three or four per page, with one picture on each page having cycling relevance.

The illustrations are all by George A W Moore, a young man who provides his self-portrait, together with those of the other contributors, on the back of the December plate.

click to read

Two pages of ads, then: ‘Our Lantern Social … Critical, Sarcastic Commentary of the doings in the Cycling World during the Year 1887’ – an extraordinary spoof description of a magic lantern show and its participants, all well known characters in the cycling world at that time. Several circular sketches of the supposed lantern slides projected at the show are included. This ‘account’ stretches over almost 40 pages (37-76), including music sheet, words to songs and recitations, all interspersed with a further 24 unpaginated pink pages of ads. These are mostly for cycles and accessories, but also include a half-page for cameras and magic lanterns by Perken Son & Rayment, and others for Kingston Dry Plates, and Shew’s Eclipse Pocket Camera.

[click to enlarge]

There follows a Resume of Cycling 1887, Racing Record, Cycle Clubs of the United Kingdom, Who’s Who in Cycling, and a final article: Instantaneous Photography for Cyclists, by editor Henry Sturmey (1857-1930). He provides some useful hints on the particular requirements for the photographer of moving objects, and for their presentation suggests “no better way can be adopted than reproducing his pictures as lantern slides…”. Sturmey will be best remembered by my generation as the inventor with William Archer of the Sturmey-Archer three-speed hub for bicycles.

The cover, also by George Moore, is a tour-de-force, and seems to be previously unknown in the specialist world of magic lantern research. Moore’s drawings are professional, and up to anything being published in Punch or the other major general magazines of the period. A collection of his cyclist-related cartoons from Bicycling News was re-published as a 5-volume limited edition hardback set (The George Moore Collection, Beekay, 1979-82), but I have not seen these, which are fairly scarce. Moore has some small fame as being responsible for the first mention of a sidecar, in a cartoon in the January 7, 1903 issue of Motor Cycling.

Although 12 pence was quite an expense, this was very good value for such a sumptuous publication. Karl Kron, author of Ten Thousand Miles on a Bicycle (1887) described the previous year’s annual, which is similar, as “perhaps the most elaborate and costly amount of such material ever offered for a shilling”.

This 1887-88 publication exceeds all expectations in interest, and is very rare. It does not seem to be listed on WorldCat as a separate item (one or two institutions have editions of the Year Book which have not been catalogued by date), and variations in the title wording on the cover and the title page, and cataloguers’ variants, make it difficult to look for. I have been able to trace only one other known example, in the John Johnson Collection at the Bodleian. The National Cycling Archive, University of Warwick possibly has one too, the cataloguing is ambiguous.

The main text block is in generally very good condition, clean and bright. The cover has some minor paper loss from the spine and front top corner, corner loss on back, is foxed and has two ink stains on the front. Sellotape has been removed, leaving residue staining. Small tears to the front cover have been closed with professional repair tissue on the blank borders of the inside of the cover. The rear cover has recently been strengthened with Japanese tissue where it joins the text block, and at the outer edge, to enable the item to be read without the risk of further damage. There have been no other new repairs. The staples are showing rust. The item is housed in a new custom-made clam shell box in blue bookcloth.

Price: SOLD


 One of the 12 monthly plates



Imaginary lantern slides, shown at the Annual Social

Imaginary lantern slides, shown at the Annual Social. Click to enlarge