Friday, 27 February 2009

John Raven-Hill's Coronation


Later on I may be recruiting images for a possible book on motor cars. So, keep it to yourselves for the moment, but in the meantime I feel moved to share this fabulous photograph with you. The father of The Mother of My Youngest Children (doesn't it get complicated), the late John Raven-Hill, took his camera to the Coronation in 1953. Judging by his pictures we don't think he was there on the actual day (he'd have been at home in Middlesex pointing with a large briar pipe at an Ekco television or similar), but he appears to have gone round either earlier or later snapping buildings decorated with celebratory flags and heraldry. Marble Arch, the Dorchester, Hawksmoor's frontage on Westminster Abbey. Except what he really did, quite accidentally, was photograph the traffic in front of them. Incredible, never-to-be-repeated, random selections of vehicles. Unconscious, brilliant. So I come to the photograph, and the reason for this post. The background's easy- that's The Sanctuary, just to the side of the western end of the Abbey. Together with a Ministry of Works van, a Ford Prefect and a Bedford Duple coach. But what's the car speeding across the foreground? I'm here to be shot down in flames, but my money's on a Humber Imperial.

28 comments:

Diplomat said...

Well - I'm inclined to agree with you. This is very dissapointing as you well know I like to be in charge of vehicle recognition for the unmitigated collection. The Imperial was supersceded at some point by the Super Snipe - I was run over by a Super Snipe at low speed on a gravel driveway at the tender age of 3 or 4 yrs and the marque made quite an impression. I have vague memories of crunching noises and the whisper-quiet exhaust note as the lumbering beast squished me into the gravel,there was some background whailing reminiscent of a piece by Enio Morriconi.

Peter Ashley said...

Don't suppose there's a photograph?

Jill said...

Diplo wears the vehicle ID crown, no question. I'm inclined to agree with Mr.A. and go for an Imperial (Limousine?). Humber listed a Super Snipe in this era too but the experts should be able to differentiate - they all look very similar. Cars as 'stand-ins' to the main picture...I like that.

Jon Dudley said...

Sorry, it's Jon...didn't cancel Jill's googly-mail thing

Diplomat said...

John - you should know it's perfectly safe and acceptable for you to appear in the intraweb in any of your guises, trans-gender-multiple-personality syndrome is actually the norm in blogland - I mean, how long has Thora Hurd been representing herself as this "Peter Ashley" fellow and getting away with it.

Peter Ashley said...

I'm not Douglas's missus, honest

Diplomat said...

I believe I may have mentioned that my brother in law met Douglas in the bogs at Daymer Bay.

Peter Ashley said...

Funny this meeting famous people in public bogs. Malcolm Muggeridge stood next to me in the Inverary bogs in 1963. It was raining very hard and he said "Frightful day".

Jon Dudley said...

You're right Diplo. I must get over this trans-gender thing. Now what's all this meeting people in blogs?

Peter Ashley said...

Other Bog Stars in my Urinal Firmament are Tim Woodward in The French, and Richard Warwick. He was one of the rebel trio in ...if, not McDowell, obviously, and not the blonde one who's a mate of Fred's. It was a big caravan of a bog, and we had a laugh while outside Bryan Forbes was directing Tatum O'Neal in International Velvet.

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