70 Years Later, This Grandson Found A Rare Treasure And An Unexpected Look Into His Past

A set of incredible photographs taken by a honeymooning couple have come to light: photographs that perfectly capture the calm of a country teetering on the edge of a devastating world war. These honeymoon photos, thought to be lost for the last 75 years, were recently found by the couple's grandson, Barney Britton, while cleaning out their attic.  In the 1930's, color film was extremely expensive and not widely used, so these photographs are an extremely rare, valuable, and precious record of an important time in history.

The photographs were taken by Margaret and Denys Gardiner and Margaret's cousin Eldred.

Margaret and Denys were married in London, England in April 1939, but they waited until August before going on a very unconventional honeymoon. Instead of retiring to a secluded location to enjoy newlywed life, they took a road trip. How cool is that?

The clear images could have been taken yesterday. It's hard to believe that they're almost 75 years old.

Just before the trip began, they captured a shot of the couple rearranging supplies in their Morris Eight convertible. This photograph looks like a still from a movie.

Here's a much younger Margaret with two local children in the English countryside.

Margaret was 26 years old when she married Denys.  During the war she worked as a nurse and looked after wounded soldiers, whereas Denys worked for the local council.

The photographs were discovered by Denys and Margaret's grandson, Barney Britton.

This stunning photograph shows the Flamborough cliffs in Yorkshire. In a post on digital photography forum DPReview.com, Barney explained that he found the photographs in his grandmother's attic "inside a small wooden box." They had been in her attic for at least 20 years and only came to light after she passed away in February 2014 at the age of 100. 

This shot of flowers blooming in a Yorkshire field shows just how good a photographer Eldred was.

Mr. Britton still owns one of Eldred's hand made wooden tripods and uses it to take photographs, describing it as one of his most prized possessions. He says that the pictures "provide a glimpse into a time - and a place - long vanished."

As you can see, Denys and Margaret weren't interested in a luxury honeymoon. They were happy with a tent!

If you look really closely, you can actually see the couple's cat in this crystal clear image. According to Mr. Britton: 'Edgar the cat survived the war but only narrowly, thanks to a stray bomb that took away at least one of his nine lives during the London blitz.' 

Here, Denys brings back some ice cream for Margaret and their photographer cousin Eldred.

On the photography forum, Mr. Britton, remembers, "My mother remembered seeing color pictures of her parents' honeymoon trip when she was a child but after several decades and multiple house moves, she presumed they had been lost."

Most of the slides were glass-mounted, and apart from some slight fading, they're remarkably well preserved.

This image shows the couple picnicking under trees in Lincolnshire. The photos were shot in color using 35mm Agfacolor film, which was a novelty at the time. Color photography wouldn't become commonplace until the late 1970's.  

The group ran into some 'heavy traffic' on their trip!

Margaret, Denys, and Eldred (and the cat) travelled up Britain's east coast from London to rural Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Norfolk, where they encountered this group of farm laborers attempting to shift hay back onto a heavily laden wagon. I guess this is what a traffic jam used to be like!

This image of a village in Warwickshire is one of the couple's best preserved photographs.

One of the villages that the couple and their cousin visited was Shernborne in Norfolk. During the war, this pretty metal sign was melted down to aid the war effort, along with hundreds of thousands of tons of iron railings and other metal objects.

This image shows the sleepy English market town of Wolsingham in County Durham.

Here's a shot of the couple heading home in September, just days before war broke out.

Margaret, Denys and Eldred (and Edgar the cat) returned to London at the end of August 1939. On the 3rd of September, war began and turned their lives - and the lives of the people living in the peaceful villages they passed through on their honeymoon - upside down. These rediscovered images are an incredible record of a lost way of life.

Despite the horrors of war that came so shortly after this beautiful journey, these photographs prove that love stands the test of time through thick and thin. What an amazing trip to take just after getting married to the love of your life.

All images via Barney Britton.

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