For all communications with David Hodgson, please leave a comment on one of the posts on this site (or below). All comments are moderated, so I will see your details before they appear publicly.

23 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Hi David, Just a quick note to say that I stumbled across your blog looking for history of Swifts of Scarborough. Swifts was purchased by Wiremold, then by Legrand,then by Schneider, then back to Legrand. Something to do with monopolies and mergers. Your bungalow was demolished in 2008 as it was unused and starting to become a risk. I could never imagine someone living there, let alone working in there. We are still going strong but functions only as a manufacturing site now, employing about 100 people. All ancillary functions have been centralised in Birmingham. The Richmond site no longers features in our portfolio. I have a lot of historical photos relating back to the days of Swifts as well as catalogues and medals which I dug out of a skip when the marketing director left the business. He clearly didn’t value the history of the place. This message was more to get in touch rather than it be reproduced on your blog, but you have my email address now if you want further information.


    1. Thanks for the information, Neil. When I photographed the “Bungalow” in 2007, there were already holes in the roof, so I guessed that it wouldn’t be standing much longer! If you post any of your Swifts-related photos anywhere on the web, please send me a link so I can add it to my page on this blog. Regards, Dave


    1. Hi Richard: Thanks for your interest. While I’d be happy for you to use my photo in your book, with appropriate credit, I’m not sure that I can supply a higher quality version of it. The photo in the article was scanned from an old print, and I’m not sure whether I still have the negative. I will check this weekend and let you know. Dave
      Update 11/12/18: I checked my negative archive at the weekend, and unfortunately cannot locate this film. The negative may still exist elsewhere but it may take some time to find it.


      1. Hi David, Thanks for the permission, if you could still keep looking that would be great – I’m not in a rush at the moment – I’m planning to put the first cut together June 2019.


  2. Hello David,

    I came across your web site while searching for photographs of Eastgate Crossing signal box on the Forge Valley Line. I am the author and am currently in the process of re-working that web site, which hasn’t really had an update for over 10 years. I would be very grateful if you would be willing to grant permission to use some of your photos on my web site – full photo credit would be included of course.

    kind regards


    1. Hi Ian:
      Thank you for contacting me. You are welcome to make use of my photos on your web site with credit, as you suggested. You probably saw that I linked to your web site on one of my pages. Regards, David


  3. Hi David
    Fascinating to read about your varied interests and talents. I can’t remember if you attended Newby County Primary, I can of course remember elements of the sixth form years. I do remember you painting the old railway stations.


    1. Hi Paul:
      Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I was at Newby Primary School from 1965-70, until my parents moved to the South Cliff. We were both in Mr. Appleyard’s form at the Sixth Form College. What are you doing these days?
      Regards, Dave


    1. Hi Keith:
      Many thanks for contacting me, and for your courtesy in asking about the image. You are more than welcome to use the Fred Binns image that your father painted, in any display or collection of his work. That web site was vital in helping me establish the source of the artwork. I’m very grateful that your father produced such an emotive painting, in such horrific circumstances, gave it to Fred, and that my mother kept it and passed it down to me. Please continue your good work in curating your father’s art! Regards, David


  4. Hi David,
    Thanks for the speedy reply & permission to use the image. Can I also use the description as penned by yourself with you as the SOURCE? Something like:
    SOURCE – used with kind permission from David Hodgson – step son,

    Also found Fred’s name in one theatre program dad painted & bought home: ‘Solo Items – swing kitchen’ in Aladdin

    I’m so thrilled, my email is below should you want to discuss in private.

    Cheers from South Australia & stay safe with all those wild fires.



  5. David, here’s the text:
    Fred Binns, in Changi Gaol, 1943
    The painting above depicts David Hodgson’s mother’s first husband, Fred Binns, as a Japanese Prisoner-Of-War (POW) in Changi Prison, Singapore, in April 1943.
    It’s quite astonishing that this painting not only survived Fred’s imprisonment and subsequent liberation, but also that it was inherited from Fred by my mother, and then passed down to David from her.
    If the painting could speak, it would surely tell a harrowing tale, of how it was perhaps painted using strips of bamboo and human hair, using tints mixed from different soils, then hidden from confiscation by being placed under the corpses of cholera victims. Despite all that horror, it depicts a joyous scene, showing Fred enthusiastically playing the double bass. If the proportions of the bass seem odd, that’s not due to any lack of skill on the part of the artist. That was in fact the appearance of the real instrument, because Fred had built it himself from scrap wood.
    Changi Prison seems to have housed an astonishing concentration of creative talent. As shown above, Fred was himself a keen amateur musician, but there were also many artists in the prison.
    Sadly, despite having survived all the horrors of imprisonment in Singapore for 4 years, Fred died prematurely of tuberculosis in 1949. He had contracted what was then usually a fatal disease during his internment, but was not aware of it at the time. By the time he died, he had married and his wife caught the disease from him. She was admitted to the ominously-named Killingbeck Sanatorium, and it was only thanks to the development of new “wonder drugs” that she survived at all. Her curative treatment was long and unpleasant, involving the complete collapse of each lung in turn, to rid it of the disease. Nonetheless, she survived the hideous disease that had killed her husband, and was able to resume a healthy life, which eventually included marrying David’s father and giving birth to David!
    Ronald Searle, Des Bettany & Fred Binns
    Perhaps the most famous of Fred’s bunkmates in Changi was the artist Ronald Searle. David’s mother knew that this painting of Fred was not by Searle, but family were not able to identify the actual artist. There is a signature in the corner, but it was too smudged to be readable.
    Recently, while researching for this article, David viewed images of artwork by other Changi prisoners via the internet, and was able to match the style, and the color palette, to a man called Des Bettany. Now that he’s seen Bettany’s signature, it matches that on the painting, so David finally established the identity of the artist who painted Fred.
    Des Bettany went on to have a successful career as a cartoonist, and eventually migrated to Australia, where he taught art, eventually rising to become Acting Principal at the South Australian School of Art in Adelaide.
    SOURCE: The Bettany family are thankful to David Hodgson who wrote the above text (with minor changes) & gave permission to use the artwork from his blog

    Ok with you?


    1. Hi Keith:
      Yes, you are welcome to use my description, as you indicated, and link to my site/article. Thank you for the link to the program listing Fred as one of the panto “acts”! It’s amazing how sophisticated their productions were in such an environment. My mother would have been fascinated too, if she were still around.
      Regards, David


  6. Dear David,

    I was wondering if I would be able to make a hoodie or a t-shirt out of your Queens Tower Missile Sketch?

    I am a current Imperial student and I’m absolutely in love with it as a design however I do see that it is copyright protected so I wouldn’t want to use the design without your permission.


  7. Hello David,

    I was wondering if you are aware of the MAVIS (Microprocessor Audio Visual Information System) project. Ferranti built at least three MAVIS Mk II computers aimed at disabled people.

    Currently I’m searching for a MAVIS computer (the dream), any technical documentation (some mini-cassettes have been tracked down:…. and any film footage (a Department of Industry / NPL film was made in 1982 which I’m currently trying to find).

    I’m documenting some of it here:

    Wondered if you might be able to give me any pointers in finding this information.

    All the best,



    1. Hi Barrie:
      Thanks for contacting me about this. Although I vaguely remember something about a “MAVIS” computer at Ferranti, I was never involved with that project, and have no information about it. Sorry I cannot help you with this, but good luck with your searches, and I’ll be interested to see the final documentation.


  8. Hello David,
    I was interested in your Ferranti recollections. I was at Ferranti Moston in 1975, fresh out of university. It was a fantastic site with hundreds of people with fabulous diverse skills.
    I recall a wonderful spirit of inventiveness among the many engineers. Such a loss as they sort-of evapourated in its downfall.
    One of my wierdest episodes there was to pot electronics in a recess in a 12-inch aluminium disc and spin it (to produce a high G-force) at 35,000 rpm. The disc, at full speed and not quite balanced, burst out of its protective brick housing, and proceeded to move across the floor of the room like a child’s spinning top. Except that at 35000 rpm, it also behaved like an escaped chainsaw, destroying things in its path. I was perched on a chair, whereupon, after chewing through an oscilloscope, the disc started to nibble at my chair legs. Luckily it moved on to attack a table instead. It took fully 25 terrifying minutes to come to rest.


  9. David
    Re the pre-decimal currency blog
    My memory, as a 20 year old in 1971, differs from yours slightly.
    Sixpences were able to be used singly as they were worth an exact amount in the new currency – 2 1/2p. So you could pay for something worth 8 1/2 p with, say, 3 new 2p coins and an old tanner.
    Threepenny bits and pennies could still be used to pay for goods, but only in multiples of six old pence as that was the minimum amount where there was an exact correspondence.
    I should get out more!


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