Is one even able to contemplate what Cape Town’s harbour was like in the days of sail? These photographs evoke that period. Imagine the harbour without a steamship in sight. The first regular service between SA and the UK was only commenced in 1857 by the Union Steam Company.
Main picture: Sailing ships at anchor in Table Bay mid 1800s
Photos reveal more than a moment in time. They also evoke emotions and provide a link to the past. Hopefully, this trove of photographs will take you back in time to another era.
Main picture: Cars racing on the roof of the Fiat Factory in 1923
The Great Depression lasted from 1929 to 1939, and was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors. Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and employment as failing companies laid off workers. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its lowest point, some 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half the country’s banks had failed.
The motto of the era was “Use it up — wear it out, — make it do or do without!”
This photographic depiction of the era vividly highlights the devastation that it left in its wake in America.
Main picture: Amongst the countless millions reduced to penury
Some years ago I first received an email claiming that these stunning photographs were only found in a Brownie Box Camera recently. The photos are real but the astonishing claims made were a figment of somebody’s imagination.
Most of one’s “small talk” revolves around financial considerations, not of a global or national kind, but rather those of the most mundane issues such as the cost of bread or the price of petrol. As most of these photographs relate to America, the dollar amounts have been converted into Rands.
Main picture: If they think I’ll pay 30 cents for a haircut, forget it.
In any selection of old photographs, there will be some that I have seen many times. In this collection, all were unique.
Main picture: World economic crisis, 1929
History is comprised of a myriad of moments lost in the mists of time. These photographs bring back to life a mere handful of those moments in time. Each, in its own way, casts a sharp light on the life and times of a bygone era.
Become entranced in how the world behaved, loved and lived in the past.
Main picture: Carrying a Rolls Royce across a river in Nepal in 1950
Helen Keller and Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin was a famous silent film movie actor and Helen Keller was an author, political activist and lecturer who was deaf and blind. She still learned to communicate. Bizarrely there is a photograph of Charlie Chaplin and Helen Keller meeting each other in 1912 Hollywood. They are standing face to face and Helen appears to be touching Charlie’s face to read his expression. It’s probably not seen often because it looks like a photograph a friend may have taken as a keepsake of the meeting.
It is not that I am au fait with Cape Town but apart from Port Elizabeth, I possess a natural affinity for Cape Town. Besides spending three months in Cape Town performing a due diligence and many an Easter participating in the Two Oceans, I have never actually spent much time there.
Nonetheless photographs of the old Cape Town always appeal to me. Here are my latest batch.
Main picture: The majestic Table Mountain
This stunning array of colourised photographs showcases a bygone era. Amongst them is a photograph of Union soldiers in 1863 during the American Civil War. Another one shows Madison Square in 1900. Most like a pilot receiving a haircut beside his plane during the Battle of Britain represent prosaic yet enlightening scenes.