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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Finsbury Park Bandstand

The New Band Stand, Finsbury Park (Photographed from an Aëroplane.)

I was sent this image by a bandstand enthusiast who scanned it from a postcard. The postcard is undated, but from it being photographed from an "aëroplane" and that the women's costumes seem to be Edwardian, I would date it between 1909 (the first powered flights in the UK) and the early years of WW I (I imagine HM Gov. would have been requisitioning anything and anyone that flew for military purposes during WW I, particularly for aerial photography.)

From the hill in the distance, the camera seems to be pointing NN-E, in which case the shadow indicates the photograph was taken in the afternoon, the bandstand is just south of the "boating lake" (or "duck pond", as I've always known it), and some sort of restaurant or tea room (it looks as if there are long tables under a sort of verandah) is more or less where the boat hire cabin is now.

The gentleman who owns the postcard pointed out that the frame of the bandstand was of timber (cheap!), so it wouldn't have lasted like some of the Victorian cast iron stands that still survive today.

This might be a bit fanciful, but zooming in on the bandstand, it appears to have equipment in there, as if a band was set up to play, but they've all gone for a break. Sunday afternoon in the park? (On second thought, this is unlikely; there are no chairs out for the audience.)

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Comment by Hugh on August 12, 2017 at 14:51

Great photo. Thanks for adding. This 1937 OS map suggests that your orientation for the direction of the photo is pretty accurate.

(Love the use of a dieresis over the 'e' of aeroplane.)

As far as the wooden construction is concerned. I think this was the most commonly used material during Edwardian times. The elaborate cast iron structures were Victorian. 

Comment by EMC2 on August 13, 2017 at 15:15

Seems the "Socialists" were gathering near a bandstand in 1889. Good to see Trolls were active then too.

and the newer stand was probably erected in 1905-6ish...

Comment by H Fenton on September 4, 2017 at 21:08

This photograph is from the "Aero Photo Co" of Stoke Newington, they were not registered as a company, as far as I have found they were active 1905-8.  They seem to have been good at registering copyright so we get some records from the National Archives. They used kites to lift their cameras not aeroplanes which is why the photo appears to be so low a position. Saying that the photo was taken using an aeroplane on their postcards seems just to be a ploy to help sell them - aeroplanes were very new and exciting at the time - more exciting that a kite.

The copyright on this image was registered in January 1908, as there are leaves on the trees it would suggest that the photo was taken in Summer 1907.  http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C13395834

I'm just at an early stage of researching "Aero Photo Co".

Comment by Roy aka Smiffy on September 10, 2017 at 12:12

What a wonderful photo, many thanks for sharing it. The beautiful tea room holds a special place in my childhood memories of the late 40s and 50s. Pocket money was tight but a glass of ‘Tizer’ or an ice cream between two wafers was a very special treat.

 In wet weather it was a welcome shelter or sitting under the veranda sheltering from the sun eating your ice cream before it melted.

 Watching rowers was fun too. Those unfamiliar with the knack of getting into and out of the splendid rowing boats gave us a few giggles.  

Comment by Joe H on September 10, 2017 at 15:17

The "Photographed from an Aëroplane" title had me fooled, but I did wonder why no-one in the picture seemed to be looking towards the camera. A plane during the Edwardian period would surely have attracted a lot of attention (as H Fenton comments above, planes were "very new and exciting at the time"), especially from people enjoying some leisure time. H's kite revelation above clears up that question, and also brings the date forward a few years. Thanks, H!

Now I wonder if these were man-lifting kites (such as those used for military reconnaissance), which, while cumbersome, would have made the taking of a good photograph with a few attempts much easier than using a camera somehow operated remotely from the ground. Although a kite big enough to raise a man would have been quite a sight too, it would have gone up silently, and would therefore less likely noticed by the people in the park than a noisy plane.

Then again, wouldn't photographing from a tethered and manned balloon (hot air or hydrogen) have been a more practical option?

H, I'd be interested to know what else you find out about the "Aero Photo Co.", and especially interested to see any other local images they produced.

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