AFTER half a century, the old scrapbook is battered and torn, but between its frail pages is a collection of photographic snaps that shine a fascinating light on Southampton during the 1950s.

The images all look as if they were taken by a local, amateur photographer who was keen to record the rebirth of Southampton from the bomb sites that marked communities all those years ago.

Sent anonymously to Hampshire Heritage, the scrapbook, with its distinctive, colourful cover showing different sporting activities, contain dozens of scenes of dayto- day life at a time when Southampton was still officially recognised as a town.

Many of the photographs show areas, which have undergone great changes over the decades and, today, bear no relation to the view captured by the unknown cameraman.

There are photographs of the changing face of Above Bar with the former Daily Echo offices, at number 45, still to be completed, while next door was an advertising hoarding for the tailors, Weaver to Wearer, where a suit could be bought for six guineas (£6.30).

Another photograph highlights the northern end of Above Bar, where, for some years after the war, temporary shops with names such as Van Allan, Lennards and Hudson Verity stood alongside the newly-built premises of the former store, C&A.

Another famous Southampton name, Edwin Jones, the departmental store, was also emerging from the deep scars created by enemy bombs in the Blitz of 1940.

When this photograph was taken the shop’s construction was still at an early stage, with just a web of steel girders marking the development in Queensway.