A glimpse into 1930s England through newlywed eyes
Wed, May 21, 2014 at 09:00 AM
All photos: Barney Britton
While rummaging through his grandmother's attic one day, Seattle-based editor and photographer Barney Britton happened upon a truly wonderful discovery: A small wooden box filled with nearly 80 color slides dating back to his grandparents' honeymoon in August 1939.
Shortly before the start of World War II, Britton's grandparents, Margaret and Denys, decided to celebrate their marriage by embarking on a camping trip across England in their Morris 8 Convertible (seen in the photo above). Joining the two love birds was their cat, Edgar (seen in the photo below), and Denys' cousin, Eldred, who just so happened to be a great photographer.
Even though Eldred passed away in 1940, Britton has always felt a special connection with the photographic prints he left behind: "I love his informal documentary style," Britton says. "Not only was he an important documentarian of our family history, but he was a damned good photographer."
The touching collection includes priceless color shots of the trio exploring the gorgeous countryside and cities of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk in eastern England. In the photo above, the couple sets up their campsite in Yorkshire as Edgar the cat looks on.
Despite sitting in an attic for at least 20 years, these precious heirloom slides, most of which are glass-mounted, have held up quite well aside from a bit of fading.
For Britton, these slides were the stuff of family legend: "My mother could remember seeing them, so we knew that they had existed at some point. [...] We genuinely believed that they had been accidentally thrown out, so it was great to discover that they were just in a forgotten box, in the attic."
Margaret (pictured above smiling in the Morris 8 convertible) recently passed away at the age of 100 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for almost 20 years, so it was doubly special for Britton's family to be able to see her again as a vibrant, 26-year-old newlywed.
Aside from the obvious value to the family, this exquisite collection is also an historically significant treasure trove for photo history buffs. After all, color photography wasn't common among non-professionals in the 1930s.
Margaret and Denys picnicking in Lincolnshire Wolds.
Denys at Flameborough Head, Yorkshire
Cliffs and boats at Flameborough Head, Yorkshire
Street scene in Lavenham, Suffolk
A bicyclist and a man on horseback pass over bridge in Norfolk.
The port in Boston, Lincolnshire
Denys walks down a path flanked by lupins
Lupins and trees in the English countryside
Convertible parked in the English countryside.
Rural roadblock in Yorkshire
Drawing up a water can in Norfolk
Walking under a clothesline
Wading in the water under Stiffkey Bridge in Norfolk
Denys juggles ice cream cones in Norfolk.
Bridge and ditch in Lincoln, England
The newlyweds watch the sunset from the convertible.
The trio spots cyclists in the English countryside.
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