In September 1967 the large RAF fighter base at RAF Coltishall was one of the many RAF stations that opened their doors at the anniversary of The Battle-of-Britain and held an airshow. Anglia TV decided to televise it and I either ‘tagged along’ or was working on it…I can’t remember which, but being still being an aviation enthusiast, I took along my camera. It looks like I was still using the camera I had since my teenage days in Singapore, a cheapish Japanese rangefinder with a fixed 45mm lens, a Samoca MR.
Anglia must have had to put in lots of preparation to undertake this ‘OB’, as in the photo below you can see the Anglia OB Scanner, plus the support tender parked on the grass in front of the Coltishall Control Tower.
Positioned between the control tower and the runway, Anglia’s OB Scanner has been parked to make the most of the cable runs to the unit’s 4 Pye MkV cameras and the commentary position on the control tower balcony. A Whirlwind HAR10 Air-Sea Rescue helicopter is landing near the unit, beside a Tiger Moth glider tug. Coltishall’s resident Lightnings are scattered around in the distance.
I first came across this Ian MacDonald print at the Impressions Gallery In York, and on that occasion I got a postcard of this image. We were probably visiting my wife Jane’s sister Felicity, during her few years in the city. The Impressions Gallery was at the the time one of the few galleries where you could go to see great photography being properly treated as ‘art’. Alas we aren’t much better here in the UK 45 years on…there still aren’t many ‘photography galleries’!
Ian MacDonald is a photographer working in the Cleveland area of the North East and many of his photos illustrate the industrial nature of the area, as indeed does this one, showing Cote Hill Island at Greatham Creek in Teesmouth.
This looks like a landscape…but the overgrown island and the Tees industry in the distance certainly don’t conform to the ‘pastoral landscapes’ that still dominate landscape photography to this day. However, with the perfect framing of this image, I find myself wanting to walk into the picture and explore that place…that’s something that the most interesting photography…and painting is able to make you want to do.
I love the elevated viewpoint looking down onto the temporary looking huts on the island with it’s rickety wooden walkway and the ‘still’ but bright water, accentuated by those heavy clouds hanging over the scene. It was part of Ian’s work around Greatham Creek between 1974 and 75 and was indeed exhibited at the Impressions Gallery in the early 1980’s and this image is on the front cover of Ian’s book ‘Images of the Tees’
In the summer of 1967, Anglia took the OB Unit around East Anglia’s seaside towns and as the Anglia region was reaching well into Lincolnshire, off we went there as well. The sound crew usually travelled in the Sound Supervisor’s car, so on Friday August the 4th we were off in Sid Denneys Vauxhall Victor. He got the ‘travel expenses’ and we got an ‘out of pocket’ expense I believe. That was obviously an ACTT, the TV technician’s union, local agreement.
This set of photos comes from one of the series of 13 ‘Glamour ’67’ programmes done through the summer of that year and we’re in Cleethorpes, on the northern limit of Anglia’s coverage at that time. In fact all these images come from the Central Hall in Grimsby which was a few miles up from Cleethorpes, as I guess Cleethorpes didn’t have a hall Anglia thought was suitable.