Discovered by a Volunteer

2013-042 01 The rather special black and white photograph here shows Otto Shaw, J.P., founder of Red Hill School in Kent, posing with Red Hill student Ralph Gee's 1953 mural of the school - "in a Sunday best suit I never saw him wearing", according to Ralph. As for the mural,  "He never even  showed  he noticed it while I was there." To see the two together was a bit of a surprise.

The photograph turned up within the first minute of Peter Still beginning to catalogue the Maurice Bridgeland Collection earlier this year. Peter had been at Red Hill as a student, and took on cataloguing the Bridgeland Collection in the reasonable hope that something Red Hill might appear. To put his hand into the box, pull out the first envelope, and find this and two other Red Hill photographs immediately is beyond the reasonable bounds of beginner's volunteer luck ! But it happened. And it showed right away just how rich in information the Bridgeland Collection is. Just look at some of the other offerings in PETiTathon2015! Day Three.

The photograph was taken by Douglas Weaver Press and Commercial Photographers of Ashford, Kent, probably in 1954. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of Sue Gambrill who, with her husband Ian, bought the business when the Weaver brothers retired in 1972. Ian had worked at the company since he was 16, and before his death he and Sue set up a photolibrary in Tideford, Devon, called Reflections - Past and Present, with over 200,000 negatives to care for. The original print in our possession had been damaged, but has been lightly restored by Ralph Gee himself, using a photograph from the time taken by Old Redhillian and press photographer, the late Clifford Ling.



ralph gee mural



Ralph's original, as reconstructed by him digitally many years later, based on the Clifford Ling photograph. The mural itself will have been painted over many years ago. The white space in the lower right corner frames the pantry door.



 The two together

mural superimposed

As they might look if superimposed. We could have made the fit better, but at the expense of Otto Shaw's head, which didn't seem appropriate.




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