Faded Images of Beatrice Rose, London, 1930

Among the old cameras displayed by an antique trader in an open air market was a battered old folding Kodak that probably all the collectors avoided. Someone had scratched "Beatrice Rose" on one side and "B Rose, London, 1930" on the front in a childish scrawl, giving an already worthless camera -- folding Kodaks were always cheap and plentiful -- even less collectability.

But for me this was an extra special camera just because I knew who had owned it, when and where. You don't write Beatrice Rose, London, 1930 on your new camera if your name is Alan Gooseberry from Slough and you bought it in 1934. I have no love of antiques for their own sake but I am fascinated by how people interacted with objects from the past. Maybe Beatrice is no longer with us, but we still have her camera and I can imagine how she used it. Better still, I can put in a roll of film and try it myself.

I had already decided I wanted to buy it even before I noticed there was a film inside. Old folding Kodaks used 120 or 620 type film rolls, the kind where behind the film there is a roll of paper with image numbers and arrows marked on it. You could see these numbers through a little red window on the back and used them to advance the film after each exposure.

Even if the film were quite recent it was still an exciting find, but when I carefully unloaded the film later I realized that the film type was consistent with it being an original from the Beatrice Rose era. Better still, at least one frame had been exposed. I know that with older films you have to extend the development time so I actually doubled the usual time in developing this film.
Looking at the negative it was clear that it was much older than I had expected and even with double development the contrast was very low. There was also some obvious signs of light infiltration. But you could still see quite clearly the picture of a young man standing on a street corner in a town, probably London.

Now I am curious to learn the rest of the story. Who was Beatrice Rose? Who was the guy in the photo? And why did she never develop the film? If you know the answers to any of these questions or think you might be related to Beatrice you can get in touch using the contact page from my website at http://andrewhennigan.com/contact.html
So what does this have to do with communications? Well not much really. It did warn you in the header that sometimes I may drift off topic and in the search for the truth about Beatrice and her faded friend I think I can spare one blog posting.
If there is a message, though, it is this: when you write something be concrete and specific, avoiding generalities. The magic of this otherwise value-less camera is that it is not just any old camera, it is The camera that belonger to Beatrice Rose. And not just any Beatrice Rose -- the one that lived in London in 1930.
(I have posted a message about this topic also on the Ancestry.com message board for the Rose surname at http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.rose/5707/mb.ashx).


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