Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Lost and forgotten streets of Salford nu 15 ...... less about Greengate and more about the photographer

Now this is another of those pictures of Greengate just down from Gorton Street and we are back at the Flying Dutchman and the entrance to Mallett’s Court.

There is much in the picture which brings out Salford life at the beginning of the 20th century.

The first obvious detail is that of the people drawn like a moth to a flame.

Photography and especially street photography was still a novelty to the majority of people, and so when Mr Coulthurst turned up the curious, the vain and those with time on their hands came forth to stare at the camera.

The picture shows  their clothes, a barrow with what looks like fruit and veg and the predominance of children.

Look closely and one of the young girls has a crutch.  It would be silly and pointless to try and second guess why she is using it, but of course this was before the National Health Service.

Indeed it is worth pointing out that the babe in arms would have almost reached its fiftieth birthday before the principle of free medical care at the point it was needed would have been introduced.

There is much more but instead I want to focus on the photographer.

He was Samuel L Coulhurst and his collection of photographs many of which were taken in the working class areas of the twin cities are a powerful record of how people lived.

Mr Coulhurst was born in Blackley, described himself variously as a “book buyer” and “stationary buyer" and lived in various parts of Manchester and Salford.   He married Annie Higson in June 1900 and he died in Helsby in 1939.

He was  well known during the late 19th century, exhibited at the Royal Photographic Society in 1897 and was a member of the Manchester Amateur Photographic Society which under took the first photographic survey of Manchester and Salford between 1892-1901.

In 1901 232 platinotype of their prints were handed to the Manchester and Salford Reference Libraries.*

A third copy was retained by the Society but over the years a number have gone missing.
Some appeared in a book published in 1995.**

The photographs are mounted on sheets of card, either singly or groups of 2 or 4 photographs per sheet. Manuscript details are written in ink beneath each image giving a brief description, a number and the photographer’s name. ***

Pictures; Greengate Old Houses (opposite Bulls Head), Salford,  Samuel L Coulthurst, 1900, m08784, courtesy of Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php?session=pass

*Manchester Local Image Collection, http://images.manchester.gov.uk/index.php

**The Samuel L Coulthurst Photographs: Victorian Salford and Manchester, 1995, Friends of Salford Museum’s Association

***National Archives, http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/A2A/records.aspx?cat=124-2373&cid=0#0

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