This is a regular series of blogs about photographs of the same place taken years apart. I quite like those Then and Now comparison photographs that you see in books or on the Twitter or Facebook.
I always think I should give them a go. However what I have started to notice is that I have been doing Then and Now photographs unintentionally over the years and have been taking photographs of the same thing or place from the same view or perspective years apart.The first instance of this that came to my attention was last year in May when I went to Manchester.
It only really came to my attention that I was doing this a lot, when checking the Places function on the Apple Photos Mac App that I could see I had taken the same photograph of the same thing just years apart!
I grew up in Cambridge, but moved away when I went to university in York. I remember rarely visiting the University of Cambridge as a youngster, why would I? However I did do some specialist maths classes at Trinity College, so would walk down Trinity Lane.
When I was at a JISC RSC Eastern event in Cambridge back in 2009 I did take the time the day before to walk around the town and took this photograph of Trinity Lane in March 2009.
It was taken in the early evening with a Sony DSC-W53 camera, which to be honest struggled with the low light conditions.
I stayed over in Cambridge back in January 2020 and as on previous visits I had a walk around the city before heading to my hotel. I took this photograph of Trinity Lane. I hadn’t recalled I had take a similar photograph already, and it was only when reviewing some photographs that I recalled that I had taken two very similar photographs of Trinity Lane.
I took this with an iPhone 8 in late afternoon I did edit and enahnce the image with Snapseed, but the iPhone was able to deal with the low light conditions so much better.
So there I was digging through some archives across various websites looking mainly old photographs when I came across this photograph of me on the Cambridge News website.
I had actually been looking for some photographs of my old primary school. There was a gallery of images on the site and I was scrolling down through them. It was a little unexpected and I was a little surprised, but there I was, part of the “The Greatest Show on Earth” well a circus performance from my days at Brunswick Infants School in Cambridge. It was 1974 and I was five years old.
I am the little one sitting between the two scarecrow type characters on the right of the photograph. I don’t think I was playing a part, just sitting around.
Obviously, what was then the Cambridge Evening News had been into the school to take photographs. I have no idea if it was actually published in the paper, I suspect it was, but I don’t know for sure.
I don’t really remember that “performance” but I do remember once being a strongman in a circus performance at school, which probably took place a year or two after this photograph.
WHSmith Christmas advert from 1983, click image for a larger version.
Looking at the prices, you realise how much cheaper some things are today. Of course inflation means that these prices in today’s money would be much higher. The ZX Spectrum at £99.95 was expensive, today you can buy a tablet, which is a lot more powerful for as little as £50! Of you can recreate the ZX Spectrum experience for £90.
Back in the 1980s I do remember going to WHSmith to buy Christmas presents. My local branch was in the Lion Square development in Cambridge. The top floor was records and I remember buying quite a few cassette tapes up there as well as the odd piece of vinyl.
The gaming section always looked exciting, the covers of the games always seemed to be so much better than the actual graphics of the games themselves, but that’s 1980s gaming for you.
There was something warm and comforting about the brown and orange that WHSmith had back then. Today of course they seem to have lost their way a little and I am surprised that they are still around.
So what memories of WHSmith in the 1980s do you have?