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the-well

The digitally enhanced image here is from one of Wilfred Chaplin’s glass plate negatives.  Unlike prints, you can’t really write on the back of glass negatives.  There was no index book or any other documentation whatsoever with Wilfred’s collection of glass plate negatives.  However we have managed to identify where most of them were taken, as they are local.  The odd footpath in a wood with a fungal growth on a tree will perhaps remain forever as “unknown location” but at least the fungus is identified!

One image in bright sunlight of the impressive wrought iron gates at the entrance to Wilton house took a visit to confirm.

We were reasonably sure that this well image was local as all the other images were local but no-one could say where it was or had been in the 1950s.  One volunteer spent some time identifying the shield carved on the side; probably from Italy was his conclusion!  Was it a font that had been moved outside or the surrounding church demolished?  The bucket mechanism wasn’t right for a working well.  Simple buckets float on the water surface and do not collect any water.  Then one day I was visiting Heale House gardens in the Woodford valley and there in a field in the distance, the other side of the river was this well-head complete with its ironmongery.  The story is that in the 1900s, when Peto “did’ Heale House garden, he brought this well head back from Venice and made it the centre piece of a large rose garden which required a number of full time gardeners.  The rose garden is now gone and the land is pasture again used for farming sheep.  This well-head now stands incongruously in the middle of a field.  At last Wilfred Chaplin’s image location is identified, and it is local despite what many sceptics had speculated.

Alan is cataloguing our photo archive…

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