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Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to use socks, trousers, gym shoes & dumper trucks to date photographs ...

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Thank heavens for Bernie Dawson's hockey socks.  I have been able to use them as dating evidence to satisfy myself that this study, - forgive me, Dr Ferris - largely of legs, was taken in 1980.  The legs, L to R, belong to Ros Cleal, Dave Southwood, Terry Courtney, Philip Dixon, Jim Gale, Anna Collinge, and Bernie Dawson.  I didn't write anything on this photo, so have been searching for dating and identification clues.

The dating sequence is this.  Dr Phillpotts's Cutting AXV photograph here shows that the dumper truck(s) during the 1979 season were yellow.  I am certain from my own personal recollection, having driven the dumper trucks quite a bit, in both the 1979 and 1980 seasons, of two things: first, that there was no mid-season change of dumper trucks, second that the 1980 dumper truck was grey.  But memory can mislead, so I checked.  Bernie's dated top photo here, shows the 1980 cuttings. Four photos of mine, taken at about the same time, from the opposite end of the cutting, here, bottom photo, here and two here pan across that same cutting, in sequence from right to left. The fourth photo (the bottom one in the third link) has the dumper truck in the background and it is grey.

(I also remember having a conversation with Richard Savage about the change of truck model, comparing 1979 and 1980, as the latter model had a smaller bucket, was less powerful, and was harder to drive - it was so old that it did not have a synchromesh gearbox, which involved a different technique with the clutch.  I was pining for the superior 1979 version.  I recall Richard patiently explaining to me that reason for the inferior truck was, of course, cost: the 1979 version had been quite expensive on hire charges and the 1980 one was either cheaper or free because it was a vintage model.)  

Next step: the top photo here clearly shows Bernie Dawson sitting on a grey dumper truck wearing distinctive red and blue socks.  Doubtless, given Bernie's predilections, they were hockey socks.  Thus the legs in the right foreground of today's photo belong to Bernie, and the year is 1980.

The three sets of legs on the left are easy to identify as this photo, obviously taken at the same time, shows Ros, Dave and Terry.

The identification of the last set of legs on the right was quite tricky, but I think I've cracked it.  Step 1: this shot shows Jane Dineen eating her sandwich. Crucially, the dumper truck in the background is grey. Thus 1980. Step 2: this one, obviously taken at the same time, shows Jane eating the same sandwich: this time there is no dumper truck but Anna Collinge is sitting next to Jane wearing a pair of white trousers. Step 3: the photo at the bottom of this older post shows an empty wheelbarrow by the a hut door. Comparison with today's photo shows that the bits of paper on the hut door are the same: 1980 again. Usefully, Miss Dineen, as further corroboration, is clutching the same pair of trousers that she is wearing in the earlier sandwich photos. Note also the wheelbarrow and Mr Parry's garb.  Step 4: this photo plainly shows Mr Parry in the same clothing and Anna Collinge, sitting in the second wheelbarrow away from the hut door on the right as you look at the photo. Step 5: an additional photo from the Parker archive is needed:


This shows the bottom half of Mr Parry, in the same garb and Anna, in the same clothes as the photo in step 4.  In the bottom corner of this photo, Anna is wearing a white gym shoe, the top of which can just be glimpsed. 

The person whose legs I seek to identify in today's picture is wearing white trousers, white gym shoes and sitting in the second wheelbarrow on the right as we look at the photo.  I suggest, given that we were largely creatures of break-time habit, that there is some likelihood that Anna usually sat in the second wheelbarrow.  The balance of the evidence comes from the proof from the other two photos that during the 1980 season she had a pair of white trousers and white gym shoes.  

And that, My Lord, concludes the case for the Crown.

The detective work involved in arriving at the above conclusion has revealed a number of inadvertent dating and textual errors in earlier posts.  These I have corrected: I realised that I had misled myself twice by wrongly identifying parts of the (always) yellow JCB as the 1980 dumper truck.  Careful re-examination at enhanced magnification clearly reveals the hydraulic arms and the front shovel of the JCB backhoe loader in the top photo here, and the bucket of the eponymous backhoe in this one.  I should of course have spotted before that it couldn't be the dumper truck as it wasn't grey!  Phew!

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