This is the third book in the ‘Classic Images’ series which uses original photographs that first appeared in the Green and Blue ’Uns – The Motor Cycle and Motor Cycling – back when they were weekly publications during the heyday of the British bike industry in the mid-20th century.
These wonderful ancient glass plate negatives have been hidden away gathering dust in press archives for many decades. Most of them have probably only been seen by the sporting photographers or journalists who were there at the time and who were tasked to make these photographic records.
For me, photographs of famous trials riders and the bikes they rode from that period give great pleasure. I study them for hours comparing machine differences to see how the modern day pre-65 trials scene has progressed. Some of the famous venues that might still be in use today can be compared to how they were back then.
This series of books is a photographic and historic record that is a must have for anyone who is interested in the glory days of the British trials motorcycle and our famous British riders. Many of those riders were household names at the time.
I found the clarity of the monochrome prints in the book were very good, considering how ancient they must be. There are only a few amongst more than 170 images that are a little under exposed, so will appear darkish… but those few are still full of interest. This gave me another insight into the book, because I could imagine those bygone photographers standing on a cold damp hillside; probably perched on a rock in the middle of the wilderness, whilst trying to handle a big heavy camera, doing their utmost to get all the action and the vital exposure correct, so they could sell their wares and earn their keep.
The majority of the printed glass plate photographs are superb. I can recommend this book to all and sundry. I have seen the Classic Images book of the Earl’s Court Show too. This brought back memories of me sitting on my dad’s shoulders to peer above the crowds that flocked to that wonderful venue every year.
To sum up: if you can’t afford a time machine to travel back to those days then the next best thing is to buy the series of Classic Images!
RC Reviewer: Dave Blanchard
Feet Up In The Fifties is published by Mortons Media and costs £15 in softback, including UK delivery