1931 Austin Seven Swallow

National Motor Museum
Beaulieu, Hampshire

I don’t have a story about this one, I just love photographing Vintage cars… you can see me paying homage, reflected in the chrome detailing. The sad irony about the automobile is that something so aesthetically pleasing and genuinely ‘liberating’ has created so many problems for our planet.

In 1927, William Lyons, co-founder of the Swallow Sidecar Company, saw the commercial potential of producing a re-bodied Austin 7. Buying a chassis from dealer Parkers of Bolton Lyons commissioned Swallow’s talented employee, coachbuilder Cyril Holland, to produce a distinctive open tourer: the Austin Seven Swallow. Holland (1895- ) who joined Swallow in late 1926 had served his apprenticeship with Lanchester and would become chief body engineer. The height of saloon car fashion of the day was to have the back of the body fully rounded, this was called “dome” shaped.

With its bright two-tone colour scheme and a style befitting more expensive cars of the time, together with its low cost (£175), the Swallow proved popular and was followed in 1928 by a saloon version: the Austin Seven Swallow Saloon.

Approximately 3,500 bodies of various styles were produced up until 1932.


1938 Hillman Minx Magnificent at Beaulieu motor museum
1938 Hillman Minx Magnificent at Beaulieu motor museum

A pastel blue Hillman Minx 66 Deluxe was my first car, and I remember I spent a couple of days painting the headlight surround -and other perforated areas – with bright red anti-rust paint. It cost £100, but the engine had problems; a pall of thick black smoke coming from the exhaust shrouded any cars following us. I later discovered that the lovely individual who sold it to me had poured a well-known additive into the engine to hide the existence of a cracked block. I replaced the engine with a reconditioned unit and the car was off the road for 3 weeks. But I loved that car. It had a very smooth ride, tan leather seats, and I removed the rotor arm each night to stop short sighted opportunists from stealing it. In retrospect, I had absolutely nothing to worry about.

The Minx was one of the most popular saloon cars of the 1930s and the most famous Hillman model. It was first introduced in 1932 and underwent several updates before the larger, more modern ‘Minx Magnificent’ was launched in August 1935. 10,000 of the new model were sold before the end of that year. This car features the new style of grille and opening boot lid first seen in mid-1937.

Lisbon is a city full of beautiful ornate buildings displaying rich architectural details and often with highly decorative tiled surfaces. This large scale photograph is a montage of a selection of images taken earlier this year in and includes buildings located on the main avenues leading down to the Alfama district.

I think we are all fascinated by graveyards and the stone memorials, particularly those attached to churches dating back hundreds of years. According to local records, the cemetery at the Holy Trinity church in Haddenham, Cambridgeshire has existed since the early 13th Century. Just to reassure you, this isn’t a morbid preoccupation of mine, I just like the sculptural qualities of the headstones and the often delicate engravings and relief carvings that accompany them. In the older graveyards the stone surfaces are extremely weathered and often exhibit a rich and elaborate patina of lichen and moss. This transformative process enlivens the colours and texture of the stone.

When I took these photographs around midday, the sun was very bright and i decided to focus on a monochrome interpretation and the extremes of light and shade.