1930s and 1940s - Gibb photograph archive, Volume 2, Photographs

Keith Gibb

The volume from which these photographs comes, exists as a book which contains a large number of photographs, of various sizes. It seems to span the period when Keith Gibb was a staff member at the Catehdral School. The photographs on the last few pages seem to go beyond this period; they are not cathedral in subject matter, but are family and holiday photographs, some of which are in Germany, so presumably post-date 1945. The volume includes what may well be unique photographs of the bomb damage to the school in April 1942.

Keith Gibb provides some information about himself on the cover of the volume. He says he was a chorister at the cathedral in the early 1930s; and the album includes a photograph of him as a chorister (number 15). He states that he was assistant to RWB Langhorne (the school's Headmaster). Gibb seems to add at a later point that he was also assistant to Howard Treneer (Langhorne's successor). Gibb gives his dates of being assistant as "1940/1(?) to 1945/6(?)", so it seems he was a little uncertain of the exact dates.

The photographs cover Exeter Cathedral, the School and a wide range of other topics, such as Gibb's family, landscape scenes and holiday photographs. Only those relating to Exeter Cathedral and the School are included here. Surprsingly, there are very few photographs of the choir inside the cathedral, or robed.

The photographs are not numbered in the volume. A numbering system is created here, based on a page number, and then using letters for each photograph where there are several per page, starting with A at the top, and then working round clockwise.

There is no contents page listing the photographs. Most pages do not have captions for each photograph. The volume is divided into named sections. The section names are shown in the web paqes of each photograph.

Much of the information and commentary was kindly provided by Eric Dare, a chorister at the time; he also appears in a number of the photographs.

Exeter Cathedral Choristers and Meccano model, 1942 The discovery of the volume

The volume was found, very curiously, as 'lost property' in a park in the Midlands in about 2015. It is not known how it came to be there. It was handed in to the Police by the finder. The information about Exeter in the volume led to BBC Spotlight South-West being contacted, to find an owner or at least gain more information about the volume. One of the photogaphs, showing two choristers with a Meccano Eifel Tower (20e), was shown on BBC Spotlight. The programme item led to Eric Dare being contacted, as he was working for Radio Cornwall at the time, and was known to have been connected with Exeter Cathedral as a chorister. After he received the volume, he was able to trace and contact Keith Gibb's daughter, living in Topsham, near Exeter. I (Mike Dobson, cathedral choir 1976-) was also told about the volume by Eric. After scanning in the images, I returned it to the daughter.