1940s England Glass Negative Stereoviews

1940s England Glass Negative Stereoviews

I have to admit that I’ve not seen many stereoviews from the 1940s and I wasn’t sure when this set was from when I first glanced at them, especially because for many years men’s fashion didn’t really change. I’ve since set about trying to research what little information I had with them and I’m sure two from the set are from the late 1940s, I’ll explain why towards the end.


They were in two separate old boxes, one for Ilford photographic paper and one for glass slides. Four of the studio slides were inside waxed paper sleeves with the title ‘self’.


All but two of the negatives, which are clearly copies of older images, are 6x13cm so I would guess these were made with a Verascope stereo camera because of the format.


I have to guess that this young gentleman was an actor because the studio shots aren’t usual for portraits, they look like casting or promotional shots. He also apparently had a Victorian-era actress relative who he was rather proud of.


The two negatives in the set which were different to all the rest show a copy of a CDV of a young actress in a costume at a Bristol studio. The other was a copy of a stereoview of the same lady but much older, in an unnamed studio with a black veil. These two negatives were in their own waxed paper sleeve with a surname on. I’ve tried using the newspaper archive and also a list of actresses from the era but it’s so far drawn a blank. It doesn’t necessarily mean though her surname is the one which is on the sleeve. I have tried to find male actors from Bristol too with the surname just in case, again though it’s returned no results. I will keep looking!


Four negatives show three men having fun in a boat, including the chap we saw before in the studio.


And one of them does indeed appear to show Bristol Harbour in the background.


All of the slides are badly scratched, as is usually the case with glass slides, however they were dirty too. I’ve spent quite some time digitally cleaning, repairing, transposing and aligning them but I’ll include the original scans of the last image to show the before and after.

Why the late 1940s? There are two negatives which are extremely dirty but after cleaning it’s clear that there is a car of an important person driving through a road, by which a crowd has gathered, are waving Union flags and with a policeman nearby directing the cars. I can unfortunately only show one as the other doesn’t work in stereoscopic 3-D as it’s mostly the back of people’s heads and arms waving flags too close to the camera. Even the one I’m sharing was taken far too close to the crowd for it to be put in the stereo window but worse things happen at sea y’know.


After enlarging my high res and cleaned scan I’m sure the second car is the same one seen at the beginning of this silent 1949 video:

Checking the car’s registration shows it is a Lanchester F4 1/2, manufactured in 1939. So unbeknown to me when I first bought this set, two of them may have the future Queen Liz II tearing about Bristol in her car, what a bonus! I had initially thought the 1930s but I’m sure the Royal Family wouldn’t have received such a warm welcome during this decade and I can only find a mention of them visiting Bristol in 1949 or later.

As promised here is the original negative and the untransposed and uncleaned positive of the last slide:


Usually nothing about sharing old stereoviews digitally is quick and easy, I think it is really worthwhile though.

I hope you enjoyed having a random wander or paddle through Bristol in the 1940s, it’s always a surprise to see what history is hidden in a bunch of unknown negatives and despite the state of them, I’m really pleased with how they turned out.

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