Every photo tells a story

editorial image

I HAVE many photographs which allow me to show a different one practically every week. I also have many photographs which are in what I refer to my ‘pending file’. This means further research is required. In some cases I have a photograph which I know very little about or with some I know nothing at all about them.

Some of these have stood up in my office window for many years. Just so that I can see them every day as a reminder to watch out for information about their content I might read about by chance and not link the two together.

One of these is this photograph of a couple and their daughter being photographed with a cake that says Bon-Voyage. For years I have wondered who is this family and where did they go to? Bon-voyage would suggest they were travelling overseas to begin a new life perhaps.

The answer to that question came while I was looking through the 1950s Brighouse Echo’s back-issues where I saw a report about the Hudson family who were leaving to live in South Africa.

Ernest Hudson and his wife Mary lived at Victoria Avenue, Clifton, and were well known in the community. Ernest was educated at Rastrick Common School and started his working life as an apprentice fitter at Blakeborough’s. Within 26 years he was going off with his family to start a new life in South Africa as the manager of Blakeborough’s newly erected branch in Benoni which was about 20 miles from Johannesburg.

Ernest was also a Brighouse Councillor for the Central Ward from 1939 to 1946 as a representative for the Labour Party. He was also a governor at Rastrick Common School which he was particularly proud of being that it was his old school.

But away from that side of his life he and his wife were the producers of the Victory Follies, which they turned from being a very small concert party to being a richly talented pantomime troupe. All the children were drawn from the local community principally from the congregations of the village Churches.

Our second featured photograph shows the Victory Follies in full dress for their next performance.

My next piece of good fortune in respect of the mystery photograph was a story I read in the 2006 Brighouse Echo. The story is about Denise Moira Clark who was in England visiting her old school in Clifton for the first time in 52 years. Denise is the child on the 1950s photograph holding the Bon-voyage cake.

What memories that visit must have brought back to her after all those years from living in the small hill top village.

I am sure she would have seen many changes, none more so than all the open fields that have disappeared and have since been re-developed for housing.

Were you one of Ernest and Mary’s Victory Follies who can remember those post war days? I would be pleased to hear about your memories from those days, including the many visits to Sunny Vale and the annual pantomimes you all took part in.

With Christmas here and the New Year just around the corner I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers all the best for the festive season and best wishes for 2013. Over the last year I have enjoyed receiving all your letters, phone calls and e-mails about my weekly stories and those stories and memories you have shared with us. I look forward to hearing from you all again in 2013.