1950 Born in Stafford.
We lived near to town at 20 Wolverhamton Road until I was about 8 or 9 years old.
St. Pauls C of E Primary School being just around the corner.
And a dentist next door, mixed blessings in those days!
Fond memories of Colourful Pageants going by, the heavy rumble of steamrollers, a burst water main that caused a sink-hole across the road, cricket on the lawn, making a trolley out of wood and old pram wheels and hot summers.
Kingston Hill Secondary School, Stafford.
I wasn’t much of a scholar, preferring woodwork, metalwork and technical drawing that I could easily relate to something practical and useful.
Some of the teachers were bullies and enjoyed beating more than teaching if you didn’t get on.
So while still alive I quit early.
Deepmoor Lock Cottage.
In 1960 at 10 years old, following Mum and Dads divorce, and when funds were very tight, Dad (always looking for a challenge) bought a derelict Canal Lock Keepers Cottage called Deepmoor Lock Cottage from the then British Waterways, now the Canal and River Trust, 1.5 miles down the Staffs and Worcester Canal toward Penkridge from Radford Bank in Stafford.
No road to it, no water, no gas, no electricity, nothing, totally isolated, bonkers! But it was cheap, only £150.00!
But this was real boys stuff, a boat to get to school, no other kids did that!
All this gave me to opportunity to mess with engines, boats, the lock, you name it.
Dad, plus as much help as we youngsters could give, gradually made it a home.
Please read more about Deepmoor here, Canal and Narrowboat heritage.
BSA Bantam D150
Still at Deepmoor. At the age of 12 I bought a BSA Bantam for a fiver and rode it up and down the towpath and in the farmers fields with no silencer or mud guards etc.
To ride a motor bike on slippery ground and not fall off or end up in the canal took perhaps more luck than courage.
At that age you don’t think about the dangers. But it was exciting stuff, to be in control, well mostly, of a machine.
When I was old enough to ride on the roads I refitted all the lights etc.
It was a love hate relationship with the bantam as it would never start easily, until I fitted a 6 volt ignition coil off an old Ford Pop, this gave it a much better spark.
Interest in Photography
Still in the 60s
Dad has to take the blame for my interest in photography, engineering, DIY and most things practical.
In the 1960s he tried to explain the effects of various camera settings, such as ‘f’ stops, shutter speeds, film speeds etc. It didn’t sink into the brain at the time, at 9 or 10 years old it wouldn’t.
But came through later on, I think. Make your own judgement if you would.
He was a pilot in WWII, and post-war he studied Aeronautical Engineering in Loughborough before getting married and moving to Stafford.
He continued to fly into the 70s, and when I was learing to drive I’d drive him to Pendeford Airfield Nr. Wolverhampton. Sometimes practising the phonetic code on the way.
Sadly, and mostly due to Prkinson’s disease, he is no longer here, and greatly missed, but thanks Dad.
Box Camera and more
Before moving to Deepmoor, we lived temporarily in a flat on a farm where my first camera, in about 1959-60, was a Box Brownie, on the farm it seemed like a good idea to take photos of wildlife. The results were, what wildlife? But nice scenery!
Not much scope for his teaching on a box camera! Except it’s limitations.
Via a 35mm Yashika 35ES which gave some very good results, and a chance to put into practice some of what he had told me.
Later, much later, Dad let me have his Petri FT SLR 35mm which I used extensively until 2008.
Now his teaching made sense.
School wasn’t a happy time and I left early and started work at Lloyds Garage, main Ford dealers in 1965.
Please see my page, Motorsport, LLoyds of Stafford
Jill and I were married in 1972, just when I was in the closing stages of an apprenticeship at Lloyds of Stafford.
In 1977 I started my own garage business Rob Pendleton Motors which we sold in 1984 before moving to Devon.
We had 2 children by then, Jennifer and Elizabeth.
Move to Devon.
1984 and we bought a large house on Dartmoor which was on it’s knees and gradually over 12 years made something of it worth being proud of.
Lots of hard work and none of it could have been done without Jill solidly behind me, or the confidence Dad had given me with all things DIY.
We sold this house in 1996 and bought a large granite barn for conversion.
18 months in a Caravan on site, our 2 girls, at Okehampton School then, Tilly our Lurcher dog and Fin the cat before we could move in, but it’s a great place now.
Once more Jill was as keen as I was and I couldn’t have done it without her enthusiasm and support.
Nor could I have contemplated it without Graham Loram agreeing to be my guiding light. His extensive local building and carpentry skills were invaluable. We worked well together throughout the project, every day, 5 days a week for 18 months. Even through a harsh 1996-97 winter when mortar froze in the mixer!
Jill started Photography in about 1988 with a Canon EOS SLR and it wasn’t long before she had a request to do a wedding.
We both went along and armed with everything I could think of, and made a respectable attempt at capturing their day.
Jill is brilliant with people and has ‘the eye’ for a photograph and doesn’t worry too much about the camera settings.
To be a “people person” at a wedding is a must, otherwise there is no control. More enquiries followed and we were soon out every weekend in the wedding season.
We stopped Wedding Photography in 2005. We both had Canon EOS cameras now but the Petri was never far away, and it captured indoor church shots brilliantly.
Switch to Digital
The switch to digital was making an impact, and along came a Canon Powershot G2 Digital camera which although is a compact camera is possibly one of the best “Bridge” compacts around.
And then (2008/9) we splashed out on a Canon 40D each and a couple of nice f2.8L lenses and look forward to achieving some good shots.
Jill and I did Wedding photography for over 7 years which was great at the time, but wanting to stay with film made the process difficult.
Anyway after over 100 weddings we had been there and done that.
Jill would like to do more weddings but I’m not sure where she would get the energy from.
Jill had started dartmooraccommodation in 1997 (sold in 2014), with an independent Tourist Information shop in Chagford. The shop had to go in 2000 to concentrate on weddings, but the website lived on for the benefit of the local B&Bs, Hotels, businesses etc. And is a thriving, growing wealth of information today.
The business was sold in 2014 and Lisa is making a fine job of it now.
With Jill taking all the photos for the website, and getting into commercial photography, meant the old film cameras were well out of date. And thanks to eBay they have all gone now.
I still had my own darkroom gear up to late 2010 and, given the time, achieved some good results from ‘old stock’ if needed.
This has gone the same way now as did the EOS1000s, on eBay.
Our children are both away from home now, and we are proud Grandparents to both Nancy and Elsie.
Jennifer, Ben and children are in Exeter, Elizabeth is in Norfolk running her own web design business called Lingo Design.
This is me, captured by Jill, getting ready to photograph one of the many weddings we worked on together.