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Sea Salts and Celluloid
11 March 2024

Tonight, the Bradford Movie Makers welcomed David Clover to the Club. Clover, a long-time friend of member Jeremy Norman, delivered a presentation ("Our Navy" 1897-1913) about the fascinating and colourful life of his great-great-grandfather, celebrated photographer and early cine-maker Alfred John (A.J.) West.

Clover regaled the sizeable audience about West's career that began by running a very popular family-run photography shop in London, to his award-winning career as a marine photographer and movie-maker, specifically of racing and naval ships. West memorably travelled on two occasions with the Royal Family on world tours and, subsequently, put together moving picture presentations which he showed to private audiences with the Family, including Queen Victoria, and which he later showed to the general public. His awards were plentiful and well-deserved. The audience was treated to many historical stills and several delightful minutes of early cinema, some scenes showing torpedoes being launched from military vessels and the resulting explosions. Some of the fantastic racing photos are housed in National and private galleries around the world and at home.

The evening may have had a chill in the air, but the talk, and the lively conversation and tea that followed in the kitchen area afterwards, provided a warm atmosphere that topped off a lovely evening of appreciation for Clover's presentation. It is obvious that Clover holds his great-grandfather in high esteem for his celebrated career as a master of his craft, as well as being a genius inventor of cinematic advancements.

The Bradford Movie Makers wish to extend their thanks to Clover for his enjoyable and fascinating glimpse into his ancestor's past, and to Jeremy Norman for making it possible.

David Clover very generously donated to the Bradford Movie Makers his father's beloved Paillard Bolex G3 Trifilm projector, which the club accepted with deep gratitude.

Written by Marianne Donovan