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Years of history caught on camera

PUBLISHED: 09:08 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:59 05 July 2010

A UNIQUE collection of photographs, which tell a tale of daily life in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft in bygone years, will go under the hammer tomorrow.

A UNIQUE collection of photographs, which tell a tale of daily life in Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft in bygone years, will go under the hammer tomorrow.

The impressive Ollington collection, which boasts pictures dating back to the Victorian era up to the 1950s, is being sold off as an entirety at an auction house in Beccles.

The estimated 500 photos were snapped in the two coastal towns and their surrounding villages, depicting everyday life, including busy summer days on the beaches, life in factories, and the harsh realities of working in the fishing industry.

One particular photo which may jog the memory of long-standing Great Yarmouth residents is of a tower with a revolving restaurant which dominated the skyline of the town's golden mile before it was torn down to be used for scrap metal during the war.

The photographs, many of which were used in postcards, also recorded important natural hazards and one-off events, such as fires and floods.

The collection was bought from Yallops photograph shop, which closed down 40 years ago, by photographer Brian Ollington, who had a shop in Gorleston High Street for many years. He went through each photo in the stock, printing, categorising and putting them in albums so that prints could be made and sold to the public.

This week the brothers who took over Ollington's Photography retired and closed the shop, putting the entire collection up for sale at auction.

Each of the photos is sold along with its respective glass photo slide or negative, and along with it, the right to copy and sell the prints.

Auction rooms manager at Durrants, Miles Lamdin, said the collection was an archive in its own right.

“To have a collection of this size is very unusual,” he said. “These things don't come up - we have never sold a collection like this.”

He said that because of this the estimated price of £2-3,000 for the collection could be way off the mark.

He added: “It's going to appeal to two types of people - academics or museums, and commercially-minded people who want to make a living out of it. Potentially they've got a huge value- the sky's the limit.”

The auction will take place on Friday at Durrants in Beccles.

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