Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Mr Bamforth’s amazing picture postcards and film company ......... with best wishes from Holmfirth

Bamforth postcard, date unknown
Now I had never bothered to check who made this picture postcard from the Great War which was a mistake given that it was produced by Bamforth & Co, Holmfirth, from their Patriot Series.

Holmfirth is that little gem of a place which I never tire of visiting.*

On our first trip having been up to the winery high above the town we sauntered down for a wander and there I found the Picturedrome.

It opened in 1912 and in its day offered both  films and variety.

Now it looks as if it has been much mucked about with over the last hundred years but something of its former grandeur is still there.

It is a big enough to seat a couple of hundred people, has a double set of doors, with a veranda above it and must have made you feel special each time you went to watch that magic of light and moving pictures played out in the dark.

The Picturedrome, © Peter Topping
It reminded me of many similar old picture houses I have known but tended to ignore because they had long since passed into other use, closed by the grander cinemas that opened in the 1920s and 30s.

I guess in its time there would not have been many other buildings of its size in the Holmfirth.

There was a blue plaque giving a few details but nothing about the enterprising individual or individuals who saw the potential those films as entertainment were going to have.

But then perhaps I should not have been surprised at the opening of a cinema in Holmfirth given that it was a centre of film making in the years either side of the 20th century.

It was the company of Bamforth Ltd capitalising on their magic lantern business which from 1898 made films in this tiny west Yorkshire town.

Detail from the reverse of the card
Between 1898-1900 they made 14 and in the two years 1913-1915 turned out 120 before switching production to London.

And by sheer chance having used this picture postcard from the Great War on a number of occasions I looked closely at found that here was one of Mr Bamforth’s postcards.

In time I shall go looking for a catalogue of their postcards and may be able to find a date for "Mother, Why Doesnt Daddy Come Home?"

All of which is both a lesson in looking more closely to what you have in the collection and of course to another of those amazing little facts about one of our small towns.

Pictures; Mother, Why Doesnt Daddy Come Home? date unknown, Bamforth & Co, Holmfirth, the Patriot Series nu 1888, from the collection of David Harrop

Painting; the Holmfirth Picturedrome © 2014 Peter Topping, Paintings from Pictures,
Facebook:  Paintings from Pictures


** Holmfirth Vineyard and Restaurant,

No comments:

Post a Comment