Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Inspired internet


Incredible as it may seem, this photo of a kindly old soul came from a Victorian photo album found in a bin last year in the UK. the full story is here (tiny warning, some of these people are massive creepy and there is some talk that many of these shots are post-mortem.)

This kind of thing breaks my heart though, how can people just throw something like that away!? Forget 'how can you not be interested', just...it's 150 years old!!!

I don't know if any of my readers can tell me different, but there seems to be a real ambivalence toward the 19th century in the UK. I see so many shows where people poo-poo the Victorian period as 'rubbish' and will chuck things in a skip as soon as look at it. Apparently the charity donation rate is criminally low- and seriously how many times have I heard someone on Antiques Roadshow say 'oh i found it in a skip/the wife threw it out/i work at a tip and found it there.'

When I become president of the world, throwing out anything over 100 years old is immediately illegal.

12 comments:

MiddleEarthsJewels said...

I second the motion..!!

Heather said...

I agree! I have collected old photos since I was little and couldnt stand the idea of them being orphaned. It makes me feel a little sick to think that such treasures can be THROWN away. A couple of years ago I found an entire velvet covered family album with all the photos intact. I felt like I'd found a huge treasure! I love it! And these photos are amazing. Just think of all the stories and adventures these people had....

Sidereal Day said...

It's amazing and appalling the things that people will just throw away.

Steerforth said...

Thanks for the link to my blog. When I uploaded the Victorian photos, I had no idea that they would create such a stir.

I think that people in the UK are far more positive about the Victorian era these days, but in the postwar era they were largely hostile, associating the period with the stuffy, repressed world of their grandparents' generation. The aesthetics of Modernism represented a brave new world that would sweep away the inequalities and inefficiencies of the past.

Also, you have to remember that the Victorian era wasn't regarded as something old that needed to be cherished - we have plenty of buildings that are over 500 years old (the oldest is nearly 2,000 years old). In that context, a building from the 1870s was regarded as almost new.

I think that four decades of poor quality architecture and overdevelopment have made people a lot more sympathetic to the Victorian age!

Rita A. said...

I have gone through all the photos - twice. They are amazing and I'm so glad you saved and shared them. I've been a genealogist for 35 years and the horror stories I've heard make me cringe. Please people even if you don't care others do.
Thank you for saving this history.

ArtSnark said...

you've got my vote! And what a fantastic find (tho he is begging to be photoshopped into a wolfman)

A mermaid in the attic said...

I've been thinking the same thing, I guess it's just because, when you're surrounded by things that are centuries old, something from the 19th century isn't very important...whereas here, we get excited by things that are much younger because our history is much younger. I like to watch Grand Designs, and I'm sometimes appalled when people say things like "oh, this isn't the original fireplace, it's just an Art Nouveau one from the 1890s"...oh please, give ME the Art Nouveau one!

oldflowers4me said...

ooooooohhhhh my hands over my heart....

Andrew Thornton said...

Add my vote for Penny!

Julie Loeschke said...

I've collected old photos for years,too. I don't understand how someone could chuck out family photos. I always think when I look at those picture,"They may not love you any longer,but I will".

missficklemedia.com said...

Sparrow for President!

Jo said...

Living in the UK myself, I do echo the words of Steerforth above... we struggle in maintaining and preserving all history in our lands as it is so very vast!

I think too that our culture has often prioritised 'newness' and contemporary styling in favour of that of previous generations. Many of our cities/towns/villages and homes bear testimony to this, with important cultural and community 'features' having been obliterated in favour of something more modern. Yet in recent years it has become popular to restore properties to their former glory and 'flee markets' are frequently packed with enthusaists seeking vintage treasures.

We are a mixed-up country in many ways.... please forgive us! We are striving for contemporary relevance and also to embrace a rich diversity of cultures, but at the same time bear the scars of a much troubled history too. I've been soooo inspired seeing the passion folk in the US have for the past and for traditional skills as well - you have much to teach us!
Hugs xxx