Seeing Double

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Winter 2009

Hugh Potter

A set of stereoscopic photographs shows some interesting canal scenes

Whilst I was visiting Backcabin Antiques’ stand at the National Waterways Festival at Redhill in August, Michal Porter asked if NarrowBoat might be interested in some stereoscopic images that he had recently acquired. These are ‘double’ photographs taken by a special camera with two lenses; when seen through a binocular-like viewer the image appears in ‘3D’. Of varying quality, they show equally varied scenes. The oldest and most interesting of the diverse collection shows John Corbett’s boat Emma in the late 19th century. I am indebted to Christopher M. Jones for the following detailed information about Emma and her relation to the salt trade, discussed at length by Alan Faulkner in Seddons of Middlewich (Autumn 2009 NB).Emma This is the only known photograph of a John Corbett boat, and this image is something of a contradiction to the written records. John Corbett is reputed to be the son of a canal carrier, and through a long history eventually…

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