Carlin How Washday Blues

I absolutely love this picture – it wasn’t just Sutcliffe who preserved history; Joseph Edward Huntrods photograph freezes a moment in time which in its day would have been regarded as hum-drum, every girls Monday nightmare.  This is before the days of washing powder and detergents, the only whitener was the blue!.  The bonnet and the apron were everyday requirements for a girl who was expected to wash, ’poss’ the clothes and peg them out and then look fresh and clean to wait on her mistress or master – they saved the clothes from wear and dirt.  She would have been up at about 4 in the morning fetching and boiling the water to do the wash. Julie Riddiough tells us: ”This woman is Mrs Rachel Ann Huntrods (nee Park) she was the wife of Joseph Edward Huntrods the photographer that lived in Errington Street, Brotton, He also opened the first picture house in Brotton and later moved to Eldon near Bishop Auckland (where Rachel was from) to open a picture house there with her brother.” So it wasn’t just Sutcliffe who used his family as props and models in his photography! Colin Turner advises: ”I have sent Julie a picture (colour) showing that the Eldon picture house survived until recently and still had the projection screen on the end wall, althought it had gone through many owners as a garage/storage since it closed as a picture house (unknown date – probably late 1920s). I would love to know if any of his photos of the Eldon area survive, as I regularly put on an exhibition ‘Images of Eldon’ to show people the past”.

Victor Huntrods Brown says of this image: ”My grandmother by my grandfather.  I have the original. He died very young of a problem which I  suspect may have been brought on by chemicals he worked with developing photos etc.  My reason for thinking this is that in correspondence from his cousin Dick Borrows (a photographer with the Northern Echo); ill health next to photography is the number one topic.”

Image courtesy of Carlin How Community Centre, thanks to Julie Riddiough and Colin Turner for the updates. Many thanks to Victor Huntrods Brown for an appropriate footnote to this haunting image.

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