The Thistle, Breck Road

Unknown house interior c1890

Most of us who collects photographs finish up with family albums and family photographs which offer a tantalising glimpse of the past – even if the people and location are often not known. I have dozens of photographs ranging from WW1 soldiers, young children in prams, proud shopkeepers outside their premises, families on the beach – even children on their death bed. So many questions arise – but even unanswered, they are fascinating social documents. Quite a few years back, Audrey Linkman, realising the historical significance of such photographs, established the NW Documentary Photography Archive – which is now housed at the Greater Manchester Record Office. Most of its holdings are from the Manchester area and are a rich and important resource for the wider community. Is it time we did the same for Liverpool and bring together the thousands of photographs held in family albums – along with the stories behind each one? The NWDPA in most cases just copied the original – but the result is a regional treasure trove.

Here are two of my images which would benefit from more information. The first of an old lady and dog outside The Thistle. What was it? It says high class but the only clues are pots of aspidistras in one window and a few bottles in the other. The other photograph is equally enigmatic, showing an old lady in her well-furnished living room. The pictures on the wall suggest she is relatively well off – but there are no clues as to where the house was.

Breck Road 1900

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