3 static negatives

Animated gif file made from 3 consecutive black and white negatives shot in the 1970s as part of my duties to photograph the school teams and provide prints.


Team photos taken at Cowley Boys School in the mid to late 1970s.
It was sleeting as I took the pictures. As always I shot a few frames of each team so as to minimise the chance of anyone spoiling the shot by blinking or gesticulating.

Some forty years after taking these images I can recover a time element by animating between the three negatives, a highish definition black and white video of a time gone.

A separate image from another day and using the side of the quad rather than the steps.


Victoria Park St.Helens, 1979.

Fellow Cowley pupil Robert Williams takes a photo as I record him and Victoria Park during a 6th form Photo Society outing in 1979.
Pilkingtons Glass was a major manufacturer based in the town and employed a whole lot of townsfolk in the factories dotted around.

Team photos

My first income from photography came from taking over the team photos at Cowley Boys School. I didnt charge very much, 50p bought a whole plate (8.5″x6.5″) print in black and white. Cheap even at the time this enabled me to buy short lengths of outdated film or chemicals for the darkroom.

Sleet added to the atmosphere in this shot. Of course I should really have followed a Masters advice and photographed the teams directly after a match – much less smiling!

Petrol at the YMCA

Fellow Cowley Boys 5th form pupils play for one night only at the YMCA in St.Helens town centre in 1978. I was asked along to record the evening by Les Glover one of the singers.

Petrol were opening for another band and the hall started to fill up as they played. I had to use flash as it was so dark, manual cameras and slow film were the tools at hand and compromise had to come somewhere.

It would have been good to photograph the audience as well, perhaps a modern dSLR or mirrorless camera and a time machine would finish the job.

Lunchtime in the 6th form canteen

Robert Williams being tolerant of my need to photograph things that don’t necessarily need photographing.
Cowley school St.Helens in either 1978 or 1979, the first mixed sixth form.

Changing room antics

The far changing room at Cowley boys school, St.Helens, 1976 or 1977.

Not the changing room used for filming the final changing room scene in the film “Chariots of fire” at the other end of the building a few years later. Timer exposure Lubitel II camera on a tripod.

Mrs Ellwood

“A” level Geography lesson underway in Cowley Boys Sixth Form Centre.

By the motion blur on the papers I would guess an exposure of approx 1/15th of a second at f2

Mr Dobbs

The tireless Mr Dobbs music master conducts the school brass band on the balcony of the main hall at Cowley School.
He deserved a much better tenor horn player than I was that’s for sure.

Morning assembly saw all the pupils in the main hall for hymns, prayers and announcements. When the band didnt play the hymns were accompanied by piano from the front of the hall.

Some favourite Hymns:
There Is a Green Hill Far Away.
In the bleak mid Winter
Immortal Invisible.

Keith Hunt takes a picture

Fellow 6th form Photo Soc member Keith Hunt photographs the scene out of the window of the 6th Form Centre in 1978 or 1979.
Cowley Boys School St.Helens.

The Summer of 76

The long hot Summer of 1976 was certainly felt in the South facing classrooms of Cowley boys school. Windows went unopened as we baked in our polyester uniforms and tried to stay awake as the lessons progressed slowly. The Helios 58mm lens combined with the poor blacking in the Zenith E body meant shooting into light always exhibited light flares, this light flare helps convey the atmosphere so not too bad.
Cowley Boys School. St.Helens.

Lunchtime at school

The art of the queue. Canteen at Cowley Boys School in either 1978 or 1979.

Canteen interior. These were a common design across the whole area and is the same design as the Parish Church primary school canteen.

Classroom photography

French lesson. Always exciting to see if you could capture a lesson in progress, Sitting at the front of the class gave me this opportunity to get a different angle. Can not recall if the teacher responded to the sound of the shutter going off and the mirror bouncing up, I certainly would have appreciated a silent shutter in the 1970s.

Zenith E FP4 film.
Cowley Boys School. St.Helens.

Photo Society Outing

Image circa 1978/79 we were all 6th form pupils at Cowley when this image was taken (The girls and boys school combined for the first time).

I only started to stage manage my photography when I did commercial work but this picture was setup as a bit of fun. The photo Society at Cowley consisted of people who prefered to do photography rather than games in the games period. In retrospect I should have joined in the games but at the time it seemed much safer and more comfortable to photograph. The girls were not part of the society but followed us on our jaunt to see what we got up to.

Lubitel II 6×6 tlr camera from Russia (£11.75 brand new).

Physics lesson

Mr Ross delivers a lesson in thermodynamics and graciously ignores the sound of my camera going off.

Zenith E 58mm lens FP4. Likely shot at f2 30th of a second, a quick grab so not overly sharp.
Cowley Boys School. St.Helens.