Brislington Community Museum

First Avenue c.1910

First Avenue c.1910
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This postcard shows the older houses on the north side of First Avenue, St Anne's, toward the top of the hill. Earliest known picture: posted before 3 June 1918.

The hand-written title suggests this is a particularly early postcard from the portfolio of local photographer William Winchester. That suggestion is supported by the trees lining the street, which haven't yet been subjected to the regime of pruning that's so evident in later pictures (and which still continues today).

The man at the top of the ladder appears to be attending to the gas street lamp. The relationship though, between him and the children and the bicyle and the crates at the foot of the ladder, remains a tangle and a subject of conjecture.

A more subtle point of interest is the boundary wall behind the woman near the centre of the picture. It exhibits stylistic qualities reminiscent of those that are celebrated nearby in the old walls of the school of St Anne's in Bloomfield Road. This skillfull arrangement of stones in waves that follow on and flow naturally from the shapes of the stones themselves is known as 'ribbon' pointing and can, in its fullest expression, include spirals (for which it's known as 'snail creep'). This demonstration of the stonemason's craft allows for a far more artistic and liberated construct than those bound by the convention that regulates most rubble walls - where stones are aimed to form courses of horizontal rows.

Visit our notes for more information about this photographer and postcard publisher, and his work in Brislington.

Period: Modern

Exhibit contributed by Ken Taylor

Text written by Ken Taylor (2022)

Photographer: William Albert Winchester

Acquisition number: 220813a2

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