Days Gone By: The work of photographer Frederick Gillson
PUBLISHED: 14:53 01 June 2018
In 1894 the Post Office authorised the sending of picture postcards though the mail. This was the start of a popular trend to send short messages on the back of a photograph.
Millions of cards were sold, often with photographs of landmarks where people were visiting on holiday to show where they were staying.
This provided work for photographers, who both supplied images for the mass produced printed cards and also real photograph cards printed in the darkroom in small numbers.
One of the Ipswich photographers, who sold real photograph cards, was Frederick Gillson, who first worked from his home at 54 Brooks Hall Road, Ipswich, from the 1920s. He later had premises at 79 Norwich Road, Ipswich, at the junction with Bramford Road.
Much of Mr Gillson’s work has survived through the thousands of his cards that were sold. Local directories suggest that he stopped trading at the end of the 1950s.
In this week’s Days Gone By I feature some of his postcard photographs of Ipswich.
Photographs of St Margarets Green, Ipswich, were published in a recent Days Gone By and reader Roger Newson has written asking if anybody has photographs of a shop which was there in the 1980s.
Roger Newson, from Felixstowe, said: “I have fond memories of The Globe Fantasy Bookshop at 21a St Margarets Green, Ipswich, from 1979 to 1989. When it closed it later became Central City Comics in Eagle Street, Ipswich. Globe’s co-owners were (among others) Dave Wright and the late, but much missed, Steve Bigerstaff. If anybody has any photographs or information I would be pleased to hear.
The scene of a fire where horses were rescued in Ipswich featured recently, and Ipswich reader Keith Roper has sent me a cutting from the Ipswich Evening Star of January 21, 1909, giving details of the incident. The details are interesting as is the style of reporting, part of which I feature.
“An outbreak of fire, which, owing to the sudden and surprising reflection of the lurid glare in the atmosphere, caused great alarm, occurred in the western district of Ipswich just after eleven o’clock on Thursday night, and must have resulted in very considerable damage, of which no details are yet available.
“The scene of the outbreak was an area of about half an acre, or perhaps more, between the Norwich Road, Wellington Street and Waterloo Street, the last-named being a narrow lane with cottages on either side. Within this space, bounded on all sides by houses and other buildings, but with a narrow roadway running diagonally through it from Waterloo Street to Wellington Street, there was a veritable sea of flame, leaping waves and tongues of fire spreading about in all directions in a most alarming manner.
“The fire appears to have originated in the yard or one of the numerous sheds, belonging to Mr Arthur Girling, the builder, some of which are sub-let to other persons for various purposes. Mr Marriott, builder, of London Road, rents a portion of them, and a stable. Other adjacent buildings were occupied by Mr Pendell, a carter etc. The store of a rag and bone and marine store dealer named Page is also situated in the neighbourhood.
From this it will be seen that the character of the buildings and their contents was highly inflammable, and this will account for the astonishing rapidity with which the flames spread.
It seems that Mr R A Calvesbert, who keeps a small shop at the corner of Waterloo Street, noticed a smell like the burning of wood about half past ten o’clock, and he went out in his back yard to look round his sheds. Not finding any trace of fire in his immediate vicinity, he returned to the house and went to bed, from which he was awakened half an hour later by the cry of ‘Fire’ ringing out almost under his windows.
By this time the whole neighbourhood was in turmoil, and the excitement was tremendous. By half past eleven o’clock the whole of the three-cornered area above described was a seething mass of blazing timber, which threw off myriads of sparks and immense clouds of golden smoke, which converted the scene into a brilliant spectacle such as has seldom been surpassed in Ipswich on such terrible occasions.
The fire brigade, as soon as the alarm was received, made all haste to the conflagration with the steamer and manual, and all the available police appeared very smartly from various directions with many of their officers, who at once undertook the control of the ever increasing crowds and the direction of the efforts of some of the many volunteers who assisted those inhabitants of Waterloo Street whose effects were in danger.”
Do you know more about Frederick Gillson, or have any of his postcards that recorded life in the past? To submit a letter, in less than 300 words, write to David Kindred, Days Gone By, Ipswich Star/EADT, Portman House, 120 Princes Street, Ipswich, IP1 1RS or e-mail info@kindred-spirit#