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A while ago I purchased a huge old book, which looked a great deal like a ye olde bible (of which I have two); in fact, it was a Victorian photograph album named ‘The Seaside Album, published by J.C.M. Co Ltd, Berlin, Germany, 1894. The mechanism was made in France.

It’s in very bad shape, but I was called to give it a home and a home it has. However, this album has an unusual secret. I’ll show you it’s outer and innards.

It’s 9″ x 12″ and 3″ deep. Heavy too. Lovely embossing job.

From the side –  the clasp is very strong, often they break on older books, the spine is another story sadly. It holds together in parts, but not completely.

The first page. All the illustrations will have been hand-painted and the colours are surprisingly bright considering the age.

Boats and blooms tend to be the theme.

But where are the photographs?! Well, there aren’t many of them, and the pages are so fragile I’ve been unable to remove any to look and see if any clues are on the back of them as of yet. They may be a random few that the seller chucked in at the last moment, then again they may all be related. They are all someone’s son and someone’s daughter though, they may be related to . . . you.

None of them look like they’re on holiday mind you.

I like this one the best; she’s holding onto a sword, all ‘Joan of Arc’ in pose. It looks like someone has tried to take the photo out many times and ended up dragging their fingernails down it whilst failing, either that or someone did so before the photo went in, in a fit of grief or fury perhaps. I like the halo effect.

Now here’s something unusual, for this book has a keyhole in the back of it!

It was sold to me as having no key. I still wanted it, of course, smiles. However, only yesterday, I was looking at the book and it fell from my hands onto the table with a bit of a crash, at which point a key fell out. It had been trapped by a small piece of wood inside.

So I put the key into the keyhole.

And I turned it, hearing a click, click, click, click as it went. And then this happened . . .

Rosie was panting in the background, but I think the tune comes across well enough.