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Sydney Roberts Collection
This collection is of particular interest and historical value as the pictures were taken at a time when very few photographers were active, during or just after WW2. Some original prints are dated July 1943 but the majority of the photographs were probably taken in 1946 or 1947. Syd Roberts (he was known to all except his mother as "Syd") was born on 10th December 1924 and, like many city children, he was evacuated from Liverpool to North Wales on the outbreak of WW2 but returned after a few months to complete his studies, initially at school and later at Liverpool University. During his evacuation time in Wales, he explored the Penrhyn Quarry Railway and other lines by bicycle, using a 35 mm camera which he borrowed from his older brother. During this time, he made friends with some of the staff and talked of riding on the footplate of a train of empties up to the quarry on a Saturday morning, returning on the workmen's train at lunchtime. The driver’s name is thought to be John Roberts. Fortunately, a good proportion of his photographs show scenes not recorded by other photographers, even in later years, and at a time when amateur photography was difficult.
After the war, Syd obtained a second hand Novaflex SLR with a Meyer Trioplan lens and Compur shutter, the latter with nominal speeds down to 1/1000th of a second although subject to the usual limitations of the focal plane shutter blinds. He modified the camera to take 120 roll film, initially using ex-
About 1965, Syd and his son Richard produced many sets of prints of some of his photographs as a fund-
We are indebted to Richard Roberts for placing his late father’s negatives with The Transport Treasury and for assisting Robin Willis of the Penryhn Quarry Railway Society for his assistance in compiling these notes.
To view the lists available simply click on the links below, or download the complete list from the collections page.
Syd on footplate of 25NC 3514 at De Aar on 10 January 1990
Syd with one of his models taken in October 2000