The steam engine negative has been in my desk drawer for some months, awaiting a spare moment to scan.  I was not optimistic about the results, the 120 negative appeared over-exposed but, after fiddling with the levels in Photoshop, the positive image is better than I had expected.

I would have taken this on the family Kodak Brownie Cresta 120 roll film camera.  This Bakelite device with cream shutter release and film wind-on, captured our family history from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s.  According to Saturated Imagery, this chunky viewfinder camera was made by Kodak in the UK from 1955-1958. It is typically simple, virtually the same as a box camera in features except for the moulded Bakelite body.  In a slider over the lens, it has a close-up filter for use with a range of 4-7ft, and a yellow filter – used to heighten the contrast when shooting skies.


The image dates from 1962, a summer’s day out to Doncaster Station with the Altrincham Grammar School Trainspotters Society – an august body of young enthusiasts with a constant eye for mischief. The LNER Class A4 streamlined 4-6-2, Guillemot, is heading north with a passenger service, probably destined for Edinburgh Waverley.  Introduced in 1935, the Gresley streamlined design included a corridor tender, but not this example which is sister to the more famous 60022, Mallard.

Introduced on the 8th January 1938, it was taken out of service on 20th March 1964, not that long after I took this picture.  I have resisted repairing the image – the dust spots add an air of authenticity and help fill an otherwise blank sky – I obviously neglected to use the yellow filter 🙂

To the left of the image is what appears to be a Standard Class 9F** emerging from Doncaster sheds – introduced in 1955, these were the last steam engines to be commissioned by British Railways.  To the right, in shorts, is a fellow trainspotter, Peter Parker – I could be wrong on both counts.

** Several like-minded enthusiasts have suggested this is a Peppercorn A2 Pacific – it makes more sense and I bow to their superior knowledge.  Looking at the plan of the station on Google Earth, I now think Guillemot is heading south.


  1. Pit · March 31, 2020

    How very interesting! 🙂

  2. Tish Farrell · March 31, 2020

    My camera! Bought for me aged 7 by my little sister’s godmother. What a sound woman she was.

    • northumbrianlight · April 1, 2020

      A very sound woman indeed. I went looking to see how much they cost in the 1950s – the 127 variant was 24/6. I had forgotten that many adverts only showed the shilling and not the pound price.

  3. Sue · March 31, 2020

    Ah, nostalgia, Robin!

    • northumbrianlight · April 1, 2020

      You can’t beat it Sue 🙂 I am fairly sure I recognise the boy on the right – it’s his ears 😀

      • Sue · April 1, 2020


  4. sustainabilitea · March 31, 2020

    What a perfectly nostalgic photo, Robin. Hope you and yours are safe and healthy.


  5. J.D. Riso · April 1, 2020

    I love the aged feel of the image. Imperfectly perfect.

    • northumbrianlight · April 1, 2020

      Yes, much to be said for leaving old images as they are. Trust you are still doing ok.

  6. Thom Hickey · April 1, 2020

    Hitting a very high nostalgia quotient there!

    Stay well

    Regards Thom

  7. Aviationtrails · April 1, 2020

    How camera technology has moved on!

    • northumbrianlight · April 2, 2020

      Indeed – a bit like cars, there was a time when you could open them up and understand how they worked. Now I don’t have a clue.

      • Aviationtrails · April 2, 2020

        Me neither! I daren’t even open the bonnet!

  8. HogriderDookes · June 10, 2020

    Lovely shot there and very evocative of my younger years.
    Incidentally, that other loco isn’t a 9f, it looks like a Peppercorn A2 pacific…

    • northumbrianlight · June 11, 2020

      Many thanks – what a fine innocent youth we had 🙂 A train fanatic friend agrees with you re the A2. I must insert a footnote.

      • HogriderDookes · June 11, 2020

        We certainly did!
        My train spotting days were largely spent around Crewe. I still vividly remember the excitement when A3 “Blink Bonney” turned up one day, a very rare “cop” for spotters fed a normal diet of Black Fives and Royal Scots…happy innocent days!

      • northumbrianlight · June 11, 2020

        Mine were in the NW too – Crewe certainly + the Manchester ‘cathedrals’ – Central, Exchange & Victoria and Piccadilly

      • HogriderDookes · June 11, 2020

        Don’t forget Lime Street! I used to love those smoky tunnels on the approach from Edge Hill, only matched by the excitement of walk ing down the mainline departure platforms to see what was on the front, because of the curve you could never see what it was until you were by the tender!
        Blimey, I’m getting all nostalgic!

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