Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Coming up: Photographing the past.

Wasdale Head Inn: Abraham Brothers.Fell & Rock club©

"The two brothers were the eldest of the four sons of George Perry Abraham, the founder of the family firm who took early photographs of Lakeland scenery and snapshots of the tourists walking down to the lake. The third brother, Sidney, became a bank manager in Keswick and died before the last war while the youngest son, John, who at one time was acting Governor of Tanganyika, died in 1939. George was born in Keswick in 1872 and Ashley four years later. The early ambition, of the elder brother was to paint Lakeland scenery rather than photograph it—he studied at an art school in Manchester and there was a splendid oil painting of Skiddaw, done when he was only 14 in his study—but both George and Ashley later went into the family business.
Their first day's "real" climbing—after scrambling at Castle Head near Keswick—took place about 90 years ago and George, told me all about it as we sat in his study one November day in 1964. They took their mother's clothes line and went off to climb Pillar Rock. "There were some Alpine Club men on the Rock that day," George recalled, "but instead of frightening us away or laughing at us they offered to lend us a proper rope and gave us all the help they could. I Remember thinking at the time 'What wonderful men!' and I made up my mind to become a climber."

This Friday, Harry Griffin considers the legacy of George and Ashley Abraham. 'The Keswick Brothers'.Universally recognized as the original climbing action photographers.