Map showing location of The Bird in Hand 35 Dartmouth Rd. Forest Hill, London
Roger Bailey's Sundial Diagram (We are awaiting further explanation).
projects. But if the date is important to determine, I am willing to invest appropriate time and effort.
Consider a sundial on the face of the Birds Eye Pub and the lamps as gnomons. The sun comes onto this wall in the afternoon, well after noon. It only shows afternoon shadows. Attached is a quick sketch of with a few hour and datelines a sundial. The red cross is a point like the bottom of the lamp. The hour lines start the bottom at 1 pm and go up to 8 pm. The shadow in the picture going down to the left indicates a 3:21 time perhaps a 2 to 3 weeks before or after the summer solstice. Given appropriate shadow measurements this could be resolved to a pair of possible dates.
***** Thanks for the reply. This is a puzzle we are trying to solve - not a matter of national security. I didn't realize it would take a lot of effort to analyze the shadows in it.
If it helps to make it simpler, there is a really nice shadow on the front of the pub.
because of the angle of the camera and the tilt of the sidewalk.
I sent the picture to a couple of people I've corresponded with in the past who are experts on sundials. They helped me with the Sheboygan Dead Horse picture. Let's see what they say.
Colleen Fitzpatrick Quizmaster General
***** It is tricky. I thought the lengthiest part of the shadow from the carriage is cast by the man on the right, the one without the moustache. If so shouldn't the angle of that shadow match the one cast on the back of the car and by the men's hats. It is a little strange 'photographically' that the shadows on the ground are fuzzy but the ones on the people's faces and the car are really hard. Could it be a montage?
***** Dear Roger,
We were in touch a while back regarding the well-known Sheboygan Dead Horse picture. You helped me narrow down the dates the picturwe could have been taken by helping me analyze the shadows.
Would you help me with another photo? See attached. I'm also copying below an email from Xavier Briche, the photos own, giving the GPS location of the scene. The pub on the right of the picture The Bird in Hand is still at 35 Dartmouth Rd., St. John, Forest Hill, London.
[The] attached photo...was taken on a kind of overcast day, so there aren't many distinct shadows. The best one I can find is the shadow of the two men in the carriage up the street. I believe the right edge of the shadow is being cast by the elbow of the man on the right in the carriage.
Any comments you have are greatly appreciated.
Colleen Fitzpatrick Quizmaster General
***** Hi Colleen,
This is an interesting puzzle frustrated by the lack of good shadows. The location and orientation of the street, specifically the Birds Eye Pub are easily available on Google Earth. Lat N 51° 26.278, Long W 0° 3.263, wall declining 15° east of north. The problem is the shadows are poorly defined, But the time is known from the clock in the background, 3:21 pm. Given all these all we need is an azimuth or altitude to solve for
Hmmm. I think the back of the car is curved, so that introduces a distortion to the direction of the shadow. I was looking at the lamp post on the right with the bicycyle
***** This fits with the automobile being an English-built Model T. The first Model Ts built at Trafford Park were built in December 1911 or January 1912. I'm convinced that the car is an early Model T Touring Car because of the shapes of the rear fenders and the differential which are clearly visible in the photo.
***** I am truly amazed. Also, it looks like my theory of the added letter on the number plate of the car is looking less and less likely.
In light of Margaret's info, I can now clearly see the sign on the front says "Empire Picture Theatre".
Can i do anything 'locally' to help further?
Perhaps the shadows will give an indication of the day of the year as we know the time of the day is 3.21pm from the station's clock?
Looked again at the Dartmouth Road pub reviews and venue ads and found the current exterior pictured on one website.
I think a British 1910 Ford Model-T is much too late for the LA-4670 license number. All motor cars on the road in 1904 were required to be licensed, not just newly purchased vehicles, so there was plenty of pent-up demand. Websites say London’s original allotment of 9,999 plates beginning A-1 through A-9999 was used up sometime in 1905 and London went to a double alphabetic prefix beginning with LA-1 through LA- 9999, so the car in the photo falls mid-range in that series.
This website shows a 1912 Sunbeam with originally issued tag LF-4900, so perhaps some 50,000 vehicles were registered in London North West between the car in the quiz photograph and this 1912 Sunbeam.
Even if we safely assume that many more new cars were purchased in the period 1909- 1912 than were purchased in the period 1905-1908, I think it’s reasonable to argue that the LA-series of tags was fully allocated well before the end of 1907 in this very wealthy part of London.
Found Campion’s at 27 Dartmouth, just a few doors down from one of the current Bird in Hand locations. Campion’s opened a larger store on Sydenham Road in 1906-1907 and both locations were listed in the 1907 directory. Only the Sydenham Road location was listed in 1908 and later.
Note that in some cities, the directory was compiles during the last few months of the previous year. So we have to include late 1910 in the answer.
Colleen Fitzpatrick Quizmaster General
***** Your point is well taken. The directory is dated December 1910. Doubtlessly the information was compiled earlier in the year. So the photo was taken between April and December 1910 on a windy day (man in the road with the bicycle is holding his cap and his apron is billowing out) at 3:20 pm (clock tower of the Forest Hill train station). I'd be interested to know when the Johnnie Walker advertisement was first brought out.
N.B. Margaret means "the earliest date the photo was taken was between April and December 1910". The photo could have been taken any time after Miss Maison moved to her location. - Q. Gen.
***** I immediately knew it was England based on the license plate and found confirmation that the LA-prefix was assigned to NW London.
Googled “Bird in Hand” and found several pubs and restaurants still using that name – one is an Italian restaurant in Kensington and another was the location on Dartmouth Road (but I didn’t originally see any of those links that showed a picture of the building exterior).
Googled “Bass barley wine” and Gilbey’s. Then moved to Ancestry.com to search for London city directories and Sir Walter Gilbey and Gilbey’s Wine and Spirits. Started mapping the Gilbey’s locations and there were several in North and Northwest London (none listed on Dartmouth, but Gilbey’s “franchised” their beverage departments to local grocery stores so few were stand-alone locations). Main Gilbey’s store seemed to be in Camden Town, also where Soda-Stream offices were located..
Searched for “Bird in Hand” in city directories, but none were found.
This is a new angle. Dan Jolley has been researching the cars which give a date of abt 1911 when the first Model T was manufactured in England, Xavier has come up with information on the use of two-letter-prefix license plates (April 1910), Diane Burkett has come up with various dates for the liquor ads. Your 1911 directory entries fit perfectly with this.
The Bird in Hand Bass Barley Wine Draught
***** I enjoyed my mini-tour of London.
1. Earliest date -- Late 1904 or 1905. UK numbered license plates were first issued under the terms of the Motor Car Act of 1903 starting Jan. 1, 1904. The London district was initially assigned A and the numbers 1 through 9999. When this allotment of plates was used up a new allotment of plates with a 2-letter prefix beginning with L was used. LA was one of 19 L-prefixes assigned to London North West, and I would presume that LA was the first in this series, so probably in the second allotment of London plates ever issued. Later allotments dropped the hyphen.
the opposite side of the road. The Wikipedia writeup for the Model T indicated that the Model T was also built in at Trafford Park in Manchester, England and Walkerville, Canada. When I searched on "Trafford Park Model T," I found a lot of YouTube videos from 2011, the 100th anniversary of the production start of the Model T at Trafford Park. Those videos showed many Model T variations which were very similar in appearance to the automobile in your quiz photo. The videos showed both US- and English-built Model Ts and showed that the tail lights corresponded with the location of the steering wheel.
One other thing that finally made me believe this is an English-built Model T is something barely visible in the photo. Initially, I thought the car was parked since it is very close to the curb, but I now believe the car was in motion and had moved as far away from the horse-drawn carriages as possible to avoid spooking them. What makes me believe this is what appears to be the top of someone's head just below the top edge of the windshield on the right side of the vehicle. I know there is a lot of supposition here, but that is my answer and I sticking to it (LOL).
Luv these kind of quizzes!!
started producing them. I don't believe this Model T is US built because of the position of the 'tail light' on the right side of the vehicle (the light is on the left side on a US-built Model T). I believe this Model T is one that was built at Trafford Park in Manchester, England, which produced the Model T starting in 1911.
***** Great info. As a beginner it gives me an insight in the depth of knowledge needed. Thanks very much Dan.
When I looked again at the number plate lettering it seems possible the L was added
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Finally, a photo of the original clock tower on the railway station in Forest Hill. When you told me the pub location, we did a street view on Google maps and decided the tower may have been on the train station. Voila!
The [Forest Hill train] station was destroyed in 1944 by a V1 flying bomb. The picture [see second pic above] is probably late 30s but dating it would be another the start of another research in its own right. :)
Steve Grindlay who published this picture also published the one I submitted on his Flickr pages. I have emailed him to see if he has more info.
I originally thought the earliest date for the photo was related to the telephone sign in the distance which would lead one to think that the earliest date for the photo would be 1879 when public telephone service started in the UK. I quickly dismissed this and now think that the earliest date is related to the automobile on the left side of the road. The car appears to me to be a Ford Model T Touring Car.
If it is a Model T built in the US, the earliest date the photo could have been taken is 1908 which is when Henry Ford
later. The fonts for the A and L seem different. The registration numbers for London before the change of April 1910 could perhaps have been A-4670 and the L was added after.
Does this make sense and are you sure
this is not an imported model or a model similar to the Ford T?
There is only one surviving record of registration numbers for 1917-1919 at the London Metropolitan Archive (LMA). If i can find half a day to spare in February i may have a look to see if the car was still registered 5/6 years later. Perhaps there will be more information about the original registration.
***** I don't have a specific link I can give you concerning English-built Model Ts. After looking at numerous photos of US-built Model Ts which all had the tail light on the left side of the vehicle, the light bulb went off. I figured that, since we were in England, the tail light might have been moved to the right side of the vehicle since they drive on
Driver's head is just visible below top edge of wind- shield. Note also that the tail light is on the right.
Photo of Bird in Hand pub and neighboring buildings on Darthmouth Rd compared to buildings in photo. Note the chimneys are the same in the two pictures. Also note the brick buildings with A-frame roofs are still present. www.panoramio.com/photo/59024910
Google Street View of building further up street from Bird in Hand pub. Hancock's pub is now D. Wines, and off-license grocery.
I started work on this picture by enlarging the photo and looking for business names. I noticed "James Verey" on the front of the pub with the barrell-shaped sign. A quick search for James Verey in England (the people ARE driving on the left) yielding an obituary for a James Verey, owner of the Bird-in-Hand public house in Lewisham.
There is also a record in England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966 Record in Ancestry. It says “ Verey James of The Bird in Hand beerhouse , 35 Dartmouth road, Forest Hill, Kent, died 19 July 1921; Probate London 21 October to Sarah Emily Verey, widow. Effects 13149 pounds 17 shillings 6 pence.
As to the earliest year, I first thought it might be 1903, since that was when vehicle registration was first required in the UK.
-prefix registration numbers were not released in alphabetic order, although later ones were. The LF release date of May 1912 fits perfectly with the 1912 Sunbeam I'd sent earlier.
Notice that the car is parked or passing in front of a store that sells tyres - accidental or by intent.
I am puzzled that the Campion sign is still hanging on the same storefront, at least 3 years after it moved to Sydenham Road and that there are no other motorized vehicles on the road at a relatively late date of 1910 and slightly later.
Intrigued by the child in the pram barely visible on the left. Sure wish I could see Mummy or the nanny pushing it.
***** Ford Model T Touring Cars with the fender style of the car in the photo were built up to 1914. The fender design changed to a more hemispherical shape on the 1915 model.
***** I checked the opposite side of the street and found a business not listed in the 1911
directory -- The Empire Picture Theatre. According to Lewisham's Lost Cinemas,it was originally called the Picture Playhouse and opened in 1910. The Centre for British Film and Television Studies's London Project says it opened on 10 September 1910 and was renamed the Forest Hill Picture Playhouse by 6 April 1911 (Harry John Coles, proprietor).(londonfilm.bbk.ac.uk/browse/?borough=Lewisham). Still later it was renamed the Empire Picture Theatre. The theatre was closed in 1914.In light of this data, the date of the photograph has to be pushed forward to after 6 April 1911.
***** I'm not sure whether it's usable, but what about the shadow created by the folded down top on the back of the car?
leaning against it. The basket on the front casts a sharp chadow against the pole, but the distance is short between the edge of the basket and the edge of the shadow, so it might be toohard to measure accurately. Any error in the measurement is likely to be greater than the distance itself. The lamp post is interesting - but doesn't cast a noticeable shadow. It probably has a shadow, it just can't be seen
Then I checked city directories, first to establish when the Bird-in-Hand was in business, then to check out the neighbors. Miss Maison did not appear till the 1911 edition.
I had a look at the picture, but there aren't any distinct shadows to use for analysis. The only one that might be usable is the shadow in the street of the two men in the buggy. I think the right edge of the shadow corresponds to the elbow of the man on the right in the carriage. I used to be in touch with some people who worked with sundials. I'll see if I can contact them. They may be able to do some analysis for us.
Colleen Fitzpatrick Quizmaster General
the date. If the clock is wrong the shadows can show attitude and azimuth to calculate date and time. The lamps on the pub show reasonable shadows, perhaps correctable for perspective to find altitude and azimuth. Before investing time and energy I need to know if this determination of date is important or just a curiosity. It is a solvable puzzle but the solution requires resources, time and effort. These resources I would rather spend on bigger
Comments from Marcelle
I learned two very good lessons from this quiz (in addition to everything I learned about London from the photo itself).
1. I made a bad assumption right off the bat and never got off that track - that is why I never found the correct Bird in Hand Pub. When I zeroed in on the license plate and determined it was NW London, I also WRONGLY assumed (without even thinking it through) that the photo had been taken in NW London and I searched only those neighbourhoods for a Bird in Hand Pub. And there were lots, unfortunately!
2. I looked and looked on-line for directories of businesses in London and never found anything decent. In the emails you sent me from other friends, one of your other members mentioned Directories through amazon.com, which I subscribe to. DUH! That taught me a lesson too - I tend to compartmentalize too much i.e. "ancestry belongs to my genealogy research and not the Fitzpatrick quizzes"...... I have to train myself that it's a "common" tool chest.
So, this may seem trivial to you but I learned two valuable research lessons with this quiz, more to do with how my mind works (or doesn't!). Let's hope I remember this in the future!
There is a sign hanging in front of it - you can't read it, but it appears between the advertizement for Bass Barley Wine and the bilboard on the sidewalk advertising Frances Maison. It is a black rectangle hanging from a wire -it casts a shadow on one of the brick posts. The edge of the shadow falls on the front edge of the fifth post from the corner, with the rest wrapping around it.
We've determined from dating various items in the picture that the earliest date is April 6, 1911, and the latest date is sometime in 1914.
Does that help to make it easier to determine the date?
I think I understand the diagram you included in your message. The slanted lines are the altitude of the sun at 1:00 pm through 8:00 pm for that latitude? Are you saying that judging by the approximate angle of the not-so-distinct shadows, that the line representing 7 pm passes through a lamp and would fall on the facade of the pub at the angle observed in the photo? What does the horizonal red line stand for?
Colleen Fitzpatrick Quizmaster General
***** I agree that the shadows on the pub facade are useful. I was looking at the rectangular sign but it wraps around. Perspective is very important here as none of the line lengths and shadows are true. Along the facade of the pub, the lengths are very compressed. Mathematically correcting for this is difficult. It starts with knowing where the photographer was and the focal length of the camera, all now unknown. Vanishing point analysis may help. Draw all one any of the horizontals on the facade and see how they all go to the vanishing point.
The horizontal red line is the height of the gnomon, the perpendicular distance of the end of the gnomon point from the vertical wall.
More to follow.
Remark from the Quizmaster General
It is clear that most work must be done to determine the date of the photograph. For the moment, we have determined that the picture was taken sometime between November 1911, the date when the Ford plant at Trafford Park started their production of the Model T, and sometime after 1914, the latest date the car was manufactured, presuming cars were used for at least a couple of years after they were purchased. The time was 3:20 pm.
Updates will be published on the Identifinders blog at http://identifinders.wordpress.com.