As the Society's Archivist, I received an email from Gallery Oldham a few weeks ago, asking if I knew anything about a Fullalove Shield, which had turned up in their stores without any paperwork. I quickly realised what had happened...the Fullalove Shield is an old trophy which had been lodged in our archives, when they were stored at the Greater Manchester County Records Office, in Manchester. Due to some changes there, the archive had to be moved into the care of the Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council in 2015 and it was at that time that I was appointed Archivist.
Our collection is now housed at Oldham Local Studies and Archives (OLSA) and is being moved yet again to their new storage facility in Chadderton. At some point, OLSA decided it could not store large items, so somebody walked across with it to Gallery Oldham and they took it into their stores, only to lose track of it over the next few years.
The next question was what to do with it? Gallery Oldham had decided that they would only be able to continue to store the shield if they actually owned it, so would we like to claim it back and store it ourselves? Nobody on the council really wished to be responsible long-term for the shield and we have nowhere to store it at the club, so we made the decision to donate it to Gallery Oldham. Yesterday, I signed the paperwork and took some record (documentary) photographs of it, which I will lodge in the archive to record its whereabouts.
Although not now in our possession, the shield will be taken care of as an important artefact from the town's history and we can borrow it back to show at any event that we have in the future. We still do have a Fullalove Shield, a smaller continuation version, which was endowed after the original shield was filled.
Below are images of the original Fullalove Shield:
How it was photographed:
The shield had to be photographed in a meeting room, which had a fairly high, though white, ceiling and a lot of clutter (sorry Gallery Oldham). I had taken a background cloth, but the gallery had some white card, so I was able to use that.
The first test shot showed horrible bright reflections on the shiny chrome-plated shields, from the overhead fluorescent strip-lighting, so I had the lights turned off. Using my camera settings on Manual (1/80th sec at f/8), I bounced the flash from a camera-mounted flashgun off the ceiling, with the flashgun set on ETTL. A large collapsible reflector, placed just in front of the shield, popped a bit of light back onto the shield.
About John Fullalove
John Fullalove, a machine fitter, was born in Canada in 1849. His widowed mother Isabella, a cotton weaver, returned to her native Lancashire with her three boys, William, John and Aaron, and in 1861 the four Fullaloves were boarding with the family of George and Betty Platt at Leesfield, Oldham. Isabella remarried in Oldham in 1868 to a John Whitehead, when she was 44 and he 46.
John Fullalove and his Oldham born wife Sarah had a large family of ten children. We have addresses for him at 71, Roscoe Street (1885); 39, Woodstock St (1890, 1892) and 11, Gower Street (1893-1901).
He joined Oldham Photographic Society in 1881. John served on the committee and as Librarian. He was President in 1914 and 1915. John was conservative in his views and led the opposition to a proposal to admit women members, in the early 1900s (women were eventually admitted in 1923) and opposed joining the L&CPU. Most Lancashire and Cheshire clubs that were in existence at that time became founder members of our parent organisation, the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union (L&CPU). It is, today, a matter of regret that Oldham PS cannot be counted among the founder members of that organisation. The decision not to join seemed to be based on the prohibitive cost of sending a delegate to meetings!
After 48 years of faithful service, John was awarded the first Life Membership of the Society, which he said “made him the happiest of men”. Shortly before his death, he endowed two of the first three trophies for the Society’s competitions, the Fullalove Challenge Shield and the Jubilee Sovereign. He died in 1929
Christine Widdall March 2019