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David Livingstone 1813 - 1873. . . on the life and times of the Victorian missionary, David Livingstone; so much so that he had a set of lantern slides, well two identical sets actually, depicting his life in Africa and these would be pressed into action on any excuse to inform his audience of the history of this intrepid missionary explorer, the first slide in the collection is reproduced here.

From a very early age I attended the Sunday School of the Baptist Church at which my grandfather was the organist. I first went there when I was about four or five until I was about fifteen when I was promoted to a teacher of six and seven year-olds in the Primary department. The Sunday School was the largest in Bridgend with (in the 1950s and 60s) an attendance each week of around one hundred and twenty children of all ages in four departments; Beginners, Primary, Upper Primary and finally the Seniors which you graduated into at nine years of age.

Stanley James Simmonds 1888 - 1977I recollect my grandfather had many roles within the Sunday School during my years there, as teacher, head of Upper Primary and of course, Superintendent over the whole school, a role he held for many years during my lifetime and previously in my Mother’s lifetime. During his periods in command I would occasionally be bored rigid on a Sunday afternoon with his slides of David Livingstone; I’m sure that if I had been seeing them for the first time I might have had some modicum of interest, but having access to them I had viewed them on many an occasion.

After his days, I inherited many of my grandfather’s artefacts including his collection of glass slides in six boxes. I was hoping when I acquired them that they’d contain a lot of local views as well, but sadly there are very few in that category. I do have though the two sets of Livingstone slides, one of them incomplete, and a number of other sets of informatory lectures which to our modern taste may seem to be a little bizarre.

One of these sets was produced by the Temperance Society of Great Britain and, unlike the transfer drawings of the Livingstone set, are real photographs set-up with “life models”. Produced in the very early part of the 20th century they provide an interesting glimpse into the lengths the Temperance Society went to put the message across about the evils of drink. I have reproduced just a small selection from the set, entitled In Chains of Steel, for your perusal.

In Chains of Steel - Slide No 1In Chains of Steel - Slide No 9In Chains of Steel - Slide No 27In Chains of Steel - Slide No 30In Chains of Steel - Slide No 32In Chains of Steel - Slide No 34In Chains of Steel - Slide No 38In Chains of Steel - Slide No 39