History in Kent => General History => Topic started by: smiffy on April 29, 2018, 15:34:53

Title: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on April 29, 2018, 15:34:53
Over the past few years I've seen quite a few old photographs being displayed in other places which are labelled as "unidentified" and seem to have remained so. Assuming there are no copyright issues I thought it might be interesting to post a few here to see if anyone can offer any suggestions as to their location.

Some of them I've managed to identify myself, some I have an idea about and others have me completely stumped. This will be a very "medway-centric" thread on my part, but there's nothing to stop anyone posting unidentified photographs from other Kent locations here if they want to.

This first one is one of those that I can't place. This isolated terrace of four houses look like they may be 18th century in date and almost certainly are long gone. The torn poster says "High Street" but that doesn't really help much. They appear to be at the end of a cul-de-sac with a fence or wall across the end with nothing visible beyond.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: CAT on April 29, 2018, 20:43:31
Is there any clue as to the source of the picture? In Canterbury the council produced a series of photographs of buildings/streets destined for demolition in the 1920's and 1930's as part of the slum clearence. Could it be that the councils of medway did a similar thing?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: mikeb on April 29, 2018, 22:19:05
The houses remind me very much of the houses that once stood in The Common, Parrs Lane , Gas House Lane area of Rochester. I checked through, (as I am sure you have smiffy) on the Medway Archives site, but with no luck.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: conan on April 29, 2018, 22:20:41
That's a mansard roof, I haven't seen many of those in photos of old Kent buildings
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on April 29, 2018, 22:25:43
As far as I know this is held in the Medway Council archives and even they don't seem  to know where it is! This is probably why it doesn't come up in a search. No clue as to the date I'm afraid, but I would say the absence of any TV aerials would make it mid-fifties at the latest.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: lutonman1 on May 02, 2018, 13:01:35
Am I missing something here, there is a space for a photograph, but on my old computer, nothing appears.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 02, 2018, 13:59:29
Sounds like a problem with your browser. Have you tried updating it or using a different one?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: grandarog on May 02, 2018, 19:42:24
Try refreshing/reloading the page ,mine does that sometimes. Refreshing/reloading with the round arrow on the tool bar brings picture up. :)
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Signals99 on May 03, 2018, 09:47:08
Has anyone got a map of Rochester high st circa 1940 ,there was a very narrow road /lane that ran between the high st and corporation street, there was a corn chandeliers on one corner and I beleave a pub on the other,think it was called  ALMA place ,got a feeling this photo may have been the cottages in the yard behind the pub,a school boy pal of mine,Leon Filmer,lived in Alma place .
Sorry if I got it wrong again,but just had to post ,as cottages look so familiar .
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: JohnWalker on May 03, 2018, 10:29:02
Looks like a very large gate at the end of the road....
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Signals99 on May 03, 2018, 12:32:26
Apologies all round, I am told the road was Almond Place not Alma, the pub was the Queen Charlotte. Anyway thanks for the info, plus I now know how to find maps street plans,etc..😔 Consider myself suitably chastised.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: CDP on May 03, 2018, 13:15:39
Could it be the old Sheppy Street in Bluetown, Sheerness ?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 03, 2018, 13:54:56
CDP - this is held by Medway archives so unlikely to be Sheppey.

This may be the place you're thinking of, Signals99 - similar in shape but not the same.


Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: filmer01 on May 03, 2018, 15:42:55
I think that it looks like wall across the end of the road, with a shadow between it and the houses, so a separate wall unconnected to the houses.

Assuming a usual storey height of about 8ft then the wall is 10 to 12ft tall. Even so the upper windows easily overlook to the other side of it.

The question then becomes what needs a wall that high on its boundary? Find the answer to that and you find the houses.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: JohnWalker on May 03, 2018, 16:29:34
I think that it looks like wall across the end of the road, with a shadow between it and the houses, so a separate wall unconnected to the houses.

Assuming a usual storey height of about 8ft then the wall is 10 to 12ft tall. Even so the upper windows easily overlook to the other side of it.

The question then becomes what needs a wall that high on its boundary? Find the answer to that and you find the houses.

I thought it might have been a large gate across the road but seeing your post filmer01, it does look more like a wall.  Perhaps a gate just out of sight?
Boundary of the Dockyard or a barracks ?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 03, 2018, 17:07:04
I found a location off St.Margaret's Street in Rochester that looks like a possibility, but it would mean that this photograph needs to date to before 1895. After this they are no longer on the map.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Roseann on May 05, 2018, 18:29:53
I`m sure I reconise this place as I used to go there to get my goldfish food in the white clad building. They have now taken the paint off and it used to be called Symons or Symmes. It was on the corner of Rochester high street and Almon place, you can see the high building which was the electric company.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Roseann on May 05, 2018, 18:50:32
Here is an old 40s view of the other place named Alma place in Strood it looks as if the house behind the pub may be a row of terraced ones but still not sure if these are the ones in the first picture, just thought it might help.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 05, 2018, 19:41:00
Hi Roseann,

The place you describe in Almon Place still exists and is probably the same as the one mentioned by Signals99 in his post. It's definitely not the same location as shown in the original photo. As for Alma Place in Strood - well, this didn't exist until the mid 1890's so it can't be there either.

Thanks for your input, but I think this may well remain in the "unknown" file for the time being.


Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 06, 2018, 18:41:38
Not a photograph, but I though it would be quite well suited to this thread. The title given is "The road to Rochester" - the question being, which road and where? I think that the bridge carries a railway as there would appear to be a train visible towards the left about to cross it. Looks like a pub on the right, but unfortunately there are no readable signs. If it's still there then perhaps one of our members could identify it.

The painting is by Charles William Wyllie, the younger brother of William Lionel Wyllie - a famous maritime artist - and is dated 1904.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: conan on May 06, 2018, 19:59:34
The castle and Cathedral are on the horizon with castle to the left, taking a backsite on that angle,I reckon that this was painted from over the river somewhere in Strood.   
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Roseann on May 06, 2018, 20:12:17
Maybe if someone can identify the railway bridge? I`ve looked at the ones in Gun lane, Canal rd,  London rd and others, but they don`t look like the one in the picture.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 06, 2018, 21:51:54
I don't think that's the Castle and Cathedral on the horizon conan - zooming in a bit it seems to be a church with a tower and what looks like a small roof spire.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: jimawilliams on May 06, 2018, 23:32:00
A clearer image may be viewed at
http://19thcenturybritpaint.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/charles-william-wyllie.html
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: kyn on May 06, 2018, 23:54:30
Here?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 07, 2018, 13:05:04
Looks a bit too rural to be Rochester High Street, kyn! The church looks pretty distinctive - I've had a search through some Kent church images but haven't been able to find anything similar.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Bilgerat on May 07, 2018, 13:32:55
Just playing devils advocate here, but it may be that this is just an abstract scene, not related to any particular place?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: grandarog on May 07, 2018, 14:10:17
Quote from the link posted by jimawilliams

"Very odd as the Road to Rochester bears a striking resemblance to the old Queens Arms public house in the Underhill area of High Barnet, plus the railway bridge and church on the hill. Barnet museum has some photos of the building."

As Bilgerat says could well be a fictional scene composed by the artist.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: filmer01 on May 07, 2018, 14:49:24
St John the Baptist, Chipping Barnet looks like the building to me...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_John_the_Baptist_Church,_Chipping_Barnet
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: mikeb on May 07, 2018, 15:44:11
If you Google Earth "St John the Baptist Chipping Barnet" , track south on the map down the A1000 (aka The Great North Road), you will find the junction with the A110 Station Road. The railway line crosses the A1000 just north of this junction.Street view back towards the church and, I think, possibly, bingo..
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Troyboy on May 07, 2018, 17:40:44
A clearer image may be viewed at
http://19thcenturybritpaint.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/charles-william-wyllie.html
this Rochester High Street, the spire above the railway bridge is St.Barts Hospital.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 07, 2018, 17:51:26
The Barnet location is almost certainly the correct one. This means the pub is in fact the "Queen's Arms". Take a look at the photograph on this page:

http://www.beesoverseas.com/underhill-early-years.html

So why the road to Rochester? More like the road to Chipping Barnet!

Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: mikeb on May 07, 2018, 19:46:33
Definitely smiffy. If you down load the image from your link you get a slightly larger image and you can see the railway bridge & embankment. Well done everyone!
Perhaps Wylie thought "Rochester Road" more commercial than "Barnet Road"?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: jimawilliams on May 07, 2018, 23:03:04
All makes total sense now, quiet easy really and very logical!
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Bilgerat on May 08, 2018, 09:46:37
Especially as the older of the two Blackwall Tunnels was opened in 1896.....
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: CAT on May 08, 2018, 13:44:18
I guess technically the artist was correct in calling it 'The Road to Rochester', which it still is a road to Rochester regardless of where it was painted as long as it got you to Rochester? I suppose the artist was familiar with this as a main thoroughfare to Rochester, possibly forming one of the mail coach routes? I had a similar problem with an early nineteenth-century print titled 'On the Road to Dover', which took me ages to work out it was actually a view from the outer boroughs of London along a mail route to the south coast.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 08, 2018, 16:18:50
We can't be sure that it was Wyllie himself who named this picture. It may have been mistakenly given this title at some later date by a third party.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: filmer01 on May 08, 2018, 17:59:11
Is there some poor soul, somewhere, looking at a picture of The Road to Chipping Barnet thinking what’s that castle doing there? :)
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 08, 2018, 19:07:29
I've found that very picture!  :)
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: CAT on May 08, 2018, 19:10:43
Is that the Tower of London I can see in the distance?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Bryn Clinch on May 08, 2018, 19:50:14
There seems to be something very odd going on here. The sky castle and church/cathedral are totally different in the two pictures  - or have I misunderstood something.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: BygoneMedway on May 08, 2018, 19:56:38
I believe our smithy has added the castle and cathedral Bryn ;-)
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 08, 2018, 21:10:44
Blame filmer01, he made me do it. :)
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 13, 2018, 18:08:50
This is another photograph that hasn't been clearly identified, but I'm pretty sure that this is Best Street in Chatham. The view would be looking NW toward the junction with James Street. I'm not sure of the date, but I don't think it can be much later than the 1930's as within a few years after the end of the war most of this area had already been cleared.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: mikeb on May 13, 2018, 19:52:10
There is a distinct similarity between these houses and those in your original post smiffy. Three storey, mansard roofs, clapboarding. Could be the same area?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 13, 2018, 22:14:59
It could well be the same area, but so far I haven't been able to find an exact enough match, only a couple of "maybe's".
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 25, 2018, 17:57:02
Here is photograph, which I believe is also held by the Medway archives, of another unknown location. Possibly taken in the 1900's, the only clue to its location are the business premises visible toward the left which I think reads (something) N & Co Ltd. A Kelly's of the right period may make it possible to find all the local limited companies ending with an "n" that would enable the search to be narrowed down somewhat. Otherwise this looks like another one which will probably remain in the unknown file.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Lyn L on May 25, 2018, 18:51:18
Could it possibly have been where La Providence entrance is now. Hope someone has a Kelly's for around then and can provide the answer.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 25, 2018, 21:20:14
I don't think so Lyn - the premises opposite La Providence (Theobald Square as it was) look quite old but don't seem to match. Also, these places look like they were back-to-backs, as evidenced by the washing lines which indicate no rear yards or gardens.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Lyn L on May 26, 2018, 07:08:20
Such a shame that place names weren't shown on the photos at all in years gone by. Maybe we will never know where these places were. It's the same with old 'family' ones , years later no one has a clue who the person/s may have been.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 26, 2018, 14:09:29
I've got a few old photos that belonged to Dad and, as you say, don't have a clue who the people in them are. The same goes for dozens of pictures taken while he was in the Navy.

I did, however, once make a post on a Navy forum and was contacted by someone whose father had served on the same ship as dad. He wanted to know if I had any crew photographs - I sent him one that I had and it turned out his father was clearly visible. He was thrilled to bits as he had never seen him in uniform before, so that was quite a nice result.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: Lyn L on May 26, 2018, 15:48:21
That was a good result after contacting a Naval forum. I have some old ones but fortunately do know who most people are in them. I also have one of my late hubby in his tropical whites, I had never seen him in that before. He bought a posh camera on one of his trips but it was slides ( I never fathomed out how to use it ! ) so although I had seen the slide it was brilliant when I had it made into a big photo after he died . There are lots of  slides with most  places he went to when he was with the first NATO squadron. 1967. We were sent a photo of his Grandfather who joined the navy in 1916, we had never seen any of the family apart from his Mum, they came from a family member in Canada . I was so lucky I started family history as they certainly weren't spoken about for some strange reason  by his parents ( a few 'secrets' ) there, but they had both passed away when I uncovered things.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 26, 2018, 18:43:17
I think that many families have "secrets" - perhaps someone who was never mentioned or rarely spoken about for some reason. Mine is no exception.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: 80sChild on May 28, 2018, 12:05:12
In one of the books of old Kent photos my family has, we've seen this photo:

http://imgbox.com/2sCY4z8w

The problem is the caption is incredibly vague. It pretty much says 'Fire in Maidstone, 1960s' and that's mostly it.

 We have practically no idea where in Maidstone it is, and have been scratching our heads trying to figure it out. :(
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 28, 2018, 13:51:22
80sChild - The reason you've been scratching your head is because this isn't Maidstone at all - it's Canterbury! Possibly the burning down of Hookers Mill in 1954. You'll find a bit about it in the Factories & Mills section.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: 80sChild on May 28, 2018, 16:40:24
Well that explains a lot!

I think a strongly worded letter to the publishers is in order here....
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: CAT on May 29, 2018, 08:10:08
I agree with a strongly worded letter to the publisher, as the image is of the aftermath of the burning down of Abbott's Mill on the 17th October 1933. Dean's/Denne's or Hooker's Mill was situated just up the road at the junction of The Causeway and North Lane. That did indeed burn down in 1954.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 29, 2018, 14:49:33
I think it was Abbot's Mill that was also called Denne's and Hookers Mill the one also known as Dean's.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: CAT on May 29, 2018, 16:53:17
Historically, Abbott's Mill is shown on early O. S. maps as standing on the junction of St Radigund's Street and Black Friars Lane, straddling the river opposite the present Miller's Arms PH. The wheel pits, races and iron columns to this mill still survive in a small garden opposite the pub with the original early nineteenth century sluice gates a little further on.

Later named Hooker's, previously Dean's Mill, stood over the way on the junction of The Causeway and North Lane/St Stephen's Road.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: conan on May 29, 2018, 19:57:19
OS 25 inch to the mile showing the 2 mills Abbey mill being shown as flour mill in almost centre of image

(https://i.imgur.com/ivUrj7xl.png)
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on May 29, 2018, 20:09:22
I'd say that the location and date of the photograph has now been firmly established!
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: lutonman1 on June 02, 2018, 03:45:08
Can`t see the photo (old computer) but Best street in Chatham, my uncle Mr.Phillips & family lived there.
I visited them a couple of times, in the 1930`s, probably 1935 - 1939, then I was evacuated to Newington.
The houses if I remember right, were made of wood, a dark grey colour,  I thought then, a bit like Dutch houses, with that kind of roof. I would have been eight to eleven years old then. My Dad worked in the  Navy House, in Clover Street then. .
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on June 02, 2018, 14:55:47
lutonman1, is it just this forum you're having trouble seeing pictures in, or is it the same everywhere?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: lutonman1 on June 07, 2018, 10:54:02
This one, my computer is of 2007 vintage. Photo bucket on here, is just a round circle, no pictures.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on June 07, 2018, 14:26:11
I can understand you not seeing photobucket images as this is a well known problem, but there shouldn't be any issues with any pictures that have been uploaded direct to the forum. All of my photos, such as the Best street one, are direct uploads.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on July 03, 2018, 17:55:13
This has been labelled as unidentified and certainly had me stumped for a while. However I have now been able to positively identify this location. I wonder if anyone else would like to have a stab at it first? A couple of clues - It's in Chatham and has its own thread on the forum.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: JohnWalker on July 03, 2018, 19:08:52
Taken from the rear of what is now KFC in the high Street ?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: mikeb on July 03, 2018, 20:19:02
Bonners Alley off Chatham High Street? As John Walker says to the rear of KFC?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on July 03, 2018, 21:35:40
You are both correct - the building on the right was a butchers with an abottoir and was demolished quite some time ago. The alley is still there but has changed quite a bit since this photograph was taken, and yes, the building just visible on the left is now a KFC. This is the front view as it was in the 1960's:
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: mikeb on July 03, 2018, 22:29:24
Thanks Smiffy. My 2nd G. GParents moved from the Oxfordshire village of Deddington to Bonners Alley C1872. What a culture shock that must have been! This photo fills a gap in recording where they lived aa it is the only photo I have seen of the alley.
Two queries - do we have a date for the photo, and why would someone take a photo of a gas lamp post? Mind you I'm glad they did!
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on July 03, 2018, 23:31:26
mikeb, sorry i don't have a date for the photo but I would guess pre-war as If you look at the building in the background, you can see what seem to be tin baths hanging up outside. As for someone taking a picture of a lamp post, what I'd like to know is why would someone move all the way from a pleasant Oxfordshire village to an alleyway in Chatham town centre!?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: mikeb on July 04, 2018, 10:18:09
Wandering off topic, but you did ask smiffy.
2nd G.Father was William French 1832-1893.
Deddington was / is a very rural village and and the family were "Ag Lab". The 1870'a was a time of great depression in agriculture.
1861 & William is on board HMS Orion, a Chatham ship. He is in the RMLI. So he got to know Chatham I assume.
1871 he is back home, newly married & is Sexton to the local church.
1881 Bonners Alley, "Gen Lab"
1891 They had moved "up the hill" to Old Road Chatham "Plate Layer on Railway" living next door to the vicar of St. Pauls no less.
In the 1870's the Dockyard was expanding and there was an influx of "Gen Labs" from all over as a result. I guess things were bad in Oxfordshire, William knew Chatham, brought the family south seeking employment. They prospered. Of their eight children, seven were born in Chatham.
Back to the photo, the 1871 census lists five families living in Bonners Alley.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on July 04, 2018, 12:37:05
So what must have been quite an upheaval turned out to be a good move. Interesting that these days many people are tempted to move out of towns into more rural areas, whereas in the past the opposite was true.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on July 05, 2018, 13:01:20
As an addendum, this map is from the 1866 OS, so just a few years before your 2nd G.Father and family moved in.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on July 17, 2018, 17:00:42
This is by a Rochester based photographer and dates to the early part of the first war. There is no indication as to where this is, but I presume that it's outside of some military stables. I know there used to be some large stables at the bottom of Westcourt Street in Brompton so possibly this is the location?
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on August 20, 2018, 17:54:19
These are a pair of photographs that I found individually before realising they were of the same location and probably taken at the same time - at a guess around 1930. The only information I have is that this was somewhere in Medway, and using the trees as a clue I think I've finally pinned this down to a view of Russell Square. Russell Square was located between Best Street and Richard Street in Chatham and entered via Rhode Street. Once a densely populated residential area, just about every building here is now long gone and what you would see from the same viewpoint today is - yes you've guessed it - a car park!
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: mikeb on August 20, 2018, 18:49:08
Wonderfully evocative photos smiffy, thanks. From your description I take it that the buildings in the background could be High Street/ They seem lower than Russell Sq which was on the scarp down from New Road? I used to deliver papers around this area in the late 1950's and these houses were gone by then, I think, although Rhode St / Best Street were still there.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: smiffy on August 20, 2018, 20:22:22
mikeb,

I think the top photo shows some buildings looking along Richard Street, with what is possibly the end of the Naval Institute visible. The bottom one maybe the side of a Sunday school in James Street as shown on older maps, but which is marked on later maps as a canteen.
Title: Re: Unidentified Photographs
Post by: filmer01 on August 20, 2018, 20:31:35
Definitely the same place and time, the two children are the obvious evidence.