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Step Back In Time pt 2

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I'm so pleased you enjoyed the last post. Want more photos? Of course you do.

This is the Hardmans' House, number 59 Rodney Street. For those of you that don't know Liverpool, Rodney Street is sometimes called the Harley Street of the North (lots of doctors, dentists etc). It was even the birthplace of a Prime Minister as William Gladstone entered into the world at no. 62. Building work began on the street in 1783 so, as you may expect, the house and the basic interior are very classically Georgian. The living areas don't quite fit that style though.

The kitchen clearly doesn't belong to either a tidy person or a cook. Or even a person that throws things away. Those cabinets are full of unopened wartime rations. When they came to pack everything up in the early 2000s so that building work could be carried out prior to reopening the house, an ancient tin of treacle exploded over a member of staff. Let that be a warning to you - 60 years is too long to keep tins!

I'm sure I've seen a blogger with a copy of the New Zealand Lamb book...

I believe I mentioned clutter in the last post? There is So. Much. Stuff. It's everywhere. All fascinating though.

The business areas of the house are where the most time was spent and so they are equally chockablock with stuff, but in far more organised fashion.

Now that everyone has a camera it doesn't seem like such a big thing to have your photograph taken but professional photography was a good, solid business, especially during the war years. Official portraits would be taken to mark christenings, weddings, 21st birthdays and as mementos for loved ones.

Waiting Room

The studio looks quite basic for somewhere where so many beautiful portraits were taken. I suppose all you need is a backdrop, some cameras and lighting equipment though and it's definitely got those.

Can you believe they used to make babies pose on this? Terrifying!

I'm far from being an expert on old photographic techniques but I can definitely say that it was a lengthy process. The Hardmans employed a team of staff to work on mixing chemicals, developing negatives, touching up photos, tinting in the colours and mounting and framing the finished portraits.

Storing darkroom chemicals in old cider bottles, whatever next.

I showed some of Margaret's work in the last post and here is some of Edward's. He worked professionally on portraits, including publicity photos for stars appearing at Liverpool Playhouse, but his passion was landscapes. His work includes lots of amazing period photographs of Liverpool and Chester and some stunning shots of Scotland, France, Switzerland etc.

Ivor Novello, on display in the Exhibition Room at the house. Beautiful, beautiful man. Apologies for the blurriness - very hard to take non-flash photos in that room.

Property Merger
Margot Fonteyn
Searchlight on Anglican Cathedral
A Memory of Avignon
Museum Steps

If you want to see more of Edward's photographs then have a look at the Mersey Gateway site or the official NT prints site. He has the most amazing body of work.


  1. This is wonderful history, thanks for posting and illuminating.

  2. This stuff has totally blown my mind. In fact I think it blew my mind so much that I actually forgot to comment on the last post!

    All the stuff is what makes it so special - I can't get my head around the fact that all that stuff has been in there this whole time. God bless them for being hoarders!

    Also - they have a red telephone - like Batman!

  3. Just read through this and the last post, sounds absolutely fascinating! I love social history like this, and all the little details. That collection of Penguins, amazing. xx

  4. Fantastic post... The stuffed leopard is terrifying!

    Loving the collection of Penguin books :)

    It just blows your mind, we've had so many technological advances but they were taking photos when having a camera was a rarity.
    Absolutely brilliant!

  5. A.MA.ZING. Thank god they kept all that stuff and that places like this exist. I want that typewriter and the red phone.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  6. What a great post, so interesting and as always really good photos.


  7. very cool. Is the kettle a humming one??? my great auntie had one that looks very similar (hers was electric though) and it hummed when it boiled as it had an mouth organ type thing over its spout. I used it for years when i was a student util it got a leak next to the electics and had to go (a sad sad day!). brings back good memorys!

  8. This is so great! it must've been a wonderful feeling to see things as they were used such a long time ago!

  9. Love the pics of the house. Mmmm, all that enamelware and books and clutter. My ideal home!

  10. Oh, how lovely! I especially like the kitchen sink!

  11. You have me on looking up houses in Liverpool. You make me want to move back SO MUCH!

  12. And what, pray tell, is wrong with a houseful of clutter?! I'm thinking nothing..

    His work is amazing, i love that sign about 'letting your mind be calm', i think i ought to bear that in mind in general life :)

    And my mother will be thrilled when i tell her about the treacle, when they had a new kitchen last summer, they cleared out the cupboards and we found a tin of treacle which was 21yrs out of she'll be glad she no longer needs to be ridiculed for the oldest tin of treacle ever! :)

  13. i LOVE these photos. could stare at them all day!

  14. What great photographs. I love the one of the illuminated cathedral and the view from the museum steps is fascinating. I love them. Must visit their house.

  15. This was so interesting - I particularly like the little notice on make up :)
    these photos are completely gorgeous!! x

  16. Fab photos Hun.

    That hall is stunning, wish I had one like that.

    What a thing to explode over you! Glad I wasn't them.

    X x

  17. Beautiful pics and fascinating story. Love the pic of all the Penguin book spines. xx
    We Shop Therefore We Are

  18. What another great post.
    I love Edward's photos especially the Museum steps.

  19. fabulous pictures! I love all the bits and bobs. The front door is just the way I like them. That made no sense.

  20. I can't even begin to imagine how much mess the exploding treacle made! I absolutely love that cream/red kettle, I'm sure I've seen a similar cream/green one somewhere. Wish I had one! Impressive display of penguin books too, they have quite a collection of stuff!

  21. Another wonderful post, thanks Alex. I love all the old packaging, and the collection of Penguin books. The chemicals in cider bottles is rather dangerous isn't it! xx

  22. Wonderful stuff, Alex! It so reminds me of some of my elderly Great-Aunts' houses I visited as a child. x

  23. Oh, that big line of Penguin Classics.... awesome. And such amazing work!

  24. This is fascinating. I'd love to spend sometime poking around in this house. Did I see some false teeth in there? And that leopard rug?! Awful. I can imagine the place had that wonderful old smell about it too. Great post.
    Thanks for your comment on my next wardrobe challenge, I hadnt thought about seasonal items. But then the weather hasn't exactly been summery. Perhaps I'll do some now and then some more in autumn...

  25. I love your pictures they are simply beautiful. What a fab post! x

  26. Quite amazing Alex! I soooo want to go there!!!

  27. Wowowow, looks such a fascinating place! Yikes to the 60 year old treacle, hope the person in question didn't have long hair! Reckon I could spend days wandering around that place - all the old fahioned packaging, all those Penguins!

    And who knew Ivor Novello was so dashing?! xx

  28. Oh goodness... the typewriter, telephone and those Penguin spines have completely captured me! Such an interesting look at the past, I really do enjoy delving into stuff like this. Great post x

  29. Fabulous post, I really enjoyed looking at all the pictures!

  30. This is awesome - there's a similar place up north called beamish. Really interesting place, you'll have to google it.

    We didn't keep the fox, it was crumpled up in the corner but everything in the studio belong to the guy who owns the place! His surname is Fox, you see. Someone painted it for him! :)

  31. Wow I love this post, the photographs are all brillant!

  32. What a brilliant and fascinating post Alex. I loved it. What a place! I like the mish mash of period styles from Art Deco backwards.

    The false teeth made me laugh and that leopard! I couldn't even pose on it now.

    The portrait of Ivor Novello is stunning. Thank you for sharing this xx


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