Talented photographer’s treasure trove of Bermuda
Mostly during the 1960s, Roger Gosling shot hundreds of photographs of Bermuda life: royal visits and weddings, scenes at bars and beaches; the fashion of the day.
He died in 2013, age 71, with no one to leave them to.
“Lusher Auctions called me to say they were tearing his house down on Ferrars Lane in Pembroke,” said the photographer, Scott Stallard. “A lot of things would go to the dump.
“He hoarded some fantastic things. There was a 9ft by 15ft shelf filled with albums, records and vinyl.”
There were in fact so many, the wooden floor had buckled under the weight. They sat alongside boxes and boxes of photography; a beloved Hasselblad camera had been state-of-the-art in Mr Gosling's day.
“Unfortunately, it was not in good condition,” said Mr Stallard, who took the photographs home. “The dampness had gotten to it.
“His work was really good. In a place like New York City they would be worth quite a lot at auction. He would become famous posthumously.”
Mr Gosling, the son of banker Bernard T. Gosling, did photo spreads for magazines and newspapers as well as album covers for musicians such as Hubert Smith.
“But I think he mainly took photographs for his own pleasure,” said Mr Stallard, who has passed on the photographs of people he could identify to family members.
“I gave one of Billy Boyle from Boyle’s shoe store to his kids. I gave a photo of William Frith to his son.
“There was even one of John Swan when he was young. I have given a copy of that to his kids who keep an archive on him.”
For a long time he was unable to identify a set of photos of staff and patients taken at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
After he read an article in this newspaper several weeks ago about retired nurse Beryl Bartlett, Mr Stallard reached out thinking she might be able to identify some of them.
As it turned out she could not however The Royal Gazette was able to track down Meredith McIntosh with help from Facebook and retired nurses Liz Boden, Lorraine Beasley, Ms Bartlett and Flo Hall.
Now 80 and living in Warren, Pennsylvania, she said the photos were taken while she worked at the hospital between 1965 and 1967.
“He was a patient at the hospital,” she said of Mr Gosling, who often wandered the halls to get pictures of staff and patients. “I remember he always had all this camera gear and equipment on his bed. He was interested in people.”
She arrived on the island in August of 1965 from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario after her first husband, Bob Seiden, got a job with ZBM.
“He was working for a radio station while I was working in a hospital. It was such a depressing town. It really felt like the end of the railroad,” she said.
They lived in Between The Walls, a neighbourhood off Pitts Bay Road, Pembroke.
Back then, King Edward was very “basic” with “no electronics or gismos”.
“Being a nurse there was almost like being a glorified aide. We did occasional intravenous therapy.”
Many of her patients were visitors who had had accidents on their mopeds, or foreign staff from the hotels.
One of Mr Gosling’s photographs is of nurses working in the hospital dispensary. In another, two nurses stand behind a man smoking a cigarette. Dressed in pyjamas, the man appears to be a patient at the hospital.
Ms McIntosh laughed and said it was a different time.
"Back then, the doctors probably smoked in the operating theatre," she joked.
In the photographs she was able to identify her good friend Carlene Currie, a former co-worker who The Royal Gazette understands still lives on the island.
“She was from Moncton, New Brunswick,” said the retired nurse who married Allen McIntosh in 2003. “She was a gentle, wonderful person. The patients loved her and she was very easy to work with.”
Ms McIntosh lost touch with her friend when she and Mr Seiden left Bermuda for Pennsylvania. Mr Seiden died in British Columbia a few years ago.
If you spot a familiar face in our photograph line-up, leave a comment or contact Jessie Moniz Hardy: firstname.lastname@example.org; 278-0150
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