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Tony Flynn
GEORGE SHEPHERD SET TO EXHIBIT A WEALTH OF SALFORD & ECCLES HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHIC TREASURES
But for the intervention of a quick thinking daughter, Eccles and Salford could have so easily lost a priceless and unseen archive of photographs showing everyday life in our great City.

Angie Shepherd was aware that her father George was a keen amateur photographer and when she heard that he was about to chuck out his collection of negatives from 1963 - 1980 into the bin after being stored in a box in his bedroom, thankfully she sprang into action.

When she sorted through them, apart from the beloved family photos, she was amazed to discover a treasure trove of photographs taken of long forgotten streets, fairgrounds, Whit Walks, local pageants, pub scenes, demolition sites and a series of images he took at his place of work, including Protector Lamp, Monton and Metal Box Company, Salford.

When I first saw some of the photographs that Angie sent me, I was transfixed by them, he has captured Eccles and Salford to perfection, each image required several viewings, I swear if Morrissey had seen the fairground photographs taken by George they would be gracing the Smiths album covers.

George has captured everything and I mean everything, who are the Asian people stood outside the Medina Restaurant on Patricroft Bridge watching the Whit Walks? the young children in fancy dress parading through Eccles? the men proudly marching past the Cenotaph? the shopkeepers outside their corner shop in Sunnyside Street, Ordsall?, the elderly ladies peering from an upstairs widow at a procession passing below? 

For me the photographs of the work places are fascinating, we see a long serving employee being presented with a transistor radio as a retirement present, the entire workforce sat outside for a group photo, a young girl dressed up in the traditional garb of a soon to be bride, men at work on lathes, a chap sat on a metal staircase with a really pensive look on his face.

Both of these factories are long closed down but George has captured the spirit of the workplace and I for one can look at these photographs time and time again and see something new every time, truly great photography.

I visited George at his home in Peel Green with Karl H Davison who kindly filmed the event to find out more about the photographs and how they came about.

George told me that he grew up in Aldred Steet, Patricroft, and after being demobbed from the Army he took up his hobby more seriously, he did have a Box Brownie camera but switched to a Voigtlander 35mm camera, this was followed by a Praktica camera, for all you camera buffs.

He took his trusty camera with him everywhere, cafe's, walks, social events, the pub, carnivals, parks, taking photographs as he saw and storing away the negatives, and I think we should all be grateful he did.

I asked him if he had ever thought of exhibiting his photographs and having an exhibition, his reply was priceless,  

"No, It was a memory lane for myself, I could take these photos and look at them and be taken back and be reminded of happy times"

What a lovely sentiment.

It is no exaggeration to say that George's photographs are an important social document that has skillfully captured the way we used to live and play and a great visual record for all times.

The exhibition entitled, "A Walk Down Memory Lane" will be shown at Eccles Community Art Gallery, Boothway, Eccles Precinct from Saturday 11 May until Saturday 2 June 10am - 4pm.

The gallery is also open on a Tuesday and Friday between 11am - 2-pm.

I urge anybody who has either lived in the Eccles/Salford area or who has a love of photography to call in and view the photographs, who knows who you may recognise?

I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

All photographs used in this article are the copyright of George Shepherd, any unauthorised use or distribution is prohibited.


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