Saved – A Terrific 1980’s Photo Collection.

Scan from Print of Midland Compound and Leander on 12th Feb 1983
Roger Hill / Steven Draper Collection

The problem with eBay is that it allows you to then stumble across all sorts of things you did not think you were specifically looking for. This happened to me (again) very recently while kicking myself for forgetting about a particular lot of interesting photo and discovering it in my Ended list !!  In the similar items area it showed a picture of a lot containing 200+ photos, in albums.

There are lots of photo’s on ebay, but from the couple of samples my own eye for photography alerted me to the fact they appeared to be taken by someone who was pretty good – especially as we are talking about mainline steam images from the earlish 1980’s taken on film and lab or home darkroom printed.

An email to the seller confirmed that the right to use the photos (copyright) came with the pictures. They had come from a house clearance in the York area which brought some sadness to me as that probably meant the creator of the images had passed away. At least I could preserve the collection and maybe share a few online.

A few days after purchasing them for what I think was a very reasonable price – the My Hermes lady brought 2 heavy and well wrapped boxes to my door and I distracted myself from all the things I was meant to be doing and suddenly found it was early afternoon !

Wow – I wish I’d done one of those unboxing videos as the 8 albums revealed a treasure chest of mostly 8″ x 10″ images in both colour and black and white of the Mainline Steam Tour Superstars working classic ‘tours’  from the early 80’s. Quality was comparable to many of the best I’ve seen online – although in fairness many of the early tours have limited documentation. When it comes to my own photos I’m very particular about composing the whole scene, and these ozzed the things I like – backlighting, low angles, the whole train and including other railway infrastructure elements like signals.

Many appear to be around from top spots along the famous Settle and Carlisle line in all sorts of weathers, and some suggest they were taken during a Steam Chase between locations as the same train formation is seen in several places.

Obviously I was wondering who’d taken the pictures and was thinking about posting the images to various forums when I discovered a piece of paper in between a couple of photos. It was addressed to Roger Hill and in the day before anyone had even thought of Facebook it contained a list of hand written comments by other photographers regarding on particular photo.

Internet research quickly lead me to a facebook post that announced the sad news that Roger, a prolific railway photographer from the 1980’s  had indeed died on Christmas Eve 2016 and I paused for a few moments to think about his family and friends. Whether I have all or just some of the photos I do not know, but at least 200 amazing photo’s had found their way to me and as they have never been seen online I cannot wait to start scanning them and sharing them with you.

Now all I need to do is wrap some of my own eBay sales and put these somewhere safe – but if you have any comments or questions please let me know and I’ll get back to you.

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