This is a photo I took of a badly-deteriorating print. It is a photo of my mother, nee Violet Anne Pallen. It was originally taken in a photographic studio, in London. The year was 1939, and my mum was just fifteen years old. She had already been at work for a year by then. Can you imagine your children holding down a full-time job aged 14 today? I can’t.
Two months after she was handed this print, Britain was at war with Germany. By the time peace arrived in the summer of 1945, Violet was twenty-one. Her late teens and formative years had been spent with the reality of bombing, destruction all around, and the terrors of war that she never forgot.
She was smiling hopefully into the camera, that summer of 1939. She had no idea what awaited her in the future.
I have a case full of old family photos, and I have decided to spend time documenting them. The prints are degrading, and they might soon be lost. I have no negatives, so will have to photograph each one, and save the images digitally. I will eventually pass them on to younger relatives, in the hope and trust that people like my Mum will not be forgotten over time.
The newest addition to our family has been named Violet, after my mum. To be honest, that moved me immensely, and almost broke my heart, at the same time. I loved my mum unreservedly, and still do. She was my best friend, until the day she died. I will make it the business of my later life to ensure that baby Violet remembers the woman she was named after.
If any of the other photos are of general interest, I will post them in a series on this blog.