OVER his lifetime Alf Jefferies took thousands of photographs, capturing a generation of memories.

As she marks what would have been his birthday this month, his daughter Lynn Ballard is still busy cataloguing the vast collection which takes in a whole host of events and themes.

Lynn explains Alf was born in Mill Street, Brightlingsea, the town where he would capture many of the images he collected.

Both he and his brother were seventh generation Brightlingsea born boys and from a long line of sea farers, says Lynn, and their mother was from Southampton where they also spent a lot of time.

In February 1947 Alf was apprenticed in Brightlingsea to Ethelbert Drake as a mariner and dredgerman.

“It was for seven years and he was on his last year when the storms in 1953 destroyed the oyster beds.

“He had worked as a boy with Mr Kirk the Baker in Nelson Street so already knew how to drive. He went on to be a baker’s rounds man for several years, delivering to among other places Butlin’s in Clacton,” she adds.

Lynn says Alf was a keen photographer as a teenager and could usually be found helping out John Dalziel, a professional photographer who had a studio in the High Street in the late 40s and 50s.

She adds: “His other love was aircraft and he was a member of the Brightlingsea Aero Club.

He joined the Royal Observer Corps (ROC) in 1951, which he served with for 36 years, going on to be awarded by the Lieutenancy of Essex for his meritorious service in 1981.

“He was keen to share his images and often put on aircraft slide shows for his ROC group which they all really enjoyed.

Alf married Sheila in 1958 and the couple moved to Colchester.

Sheila had contacts in Europe which Lynn says gave him the chance to explore with his camera.

Lynn, their only child, was born after the couple had been married for four years in 1962.

“He photographed me from from the day of my birth and didn’t stop throughout my childhood and teenage years.

“He always carried a camera and photographed everything, people, vehicles, aircraft, flowers, animals, me and Mum,” she says.

Alf went on to work in the gravel industry and was supplying cement to the new A12 which reached all the way to London.

“This why there were lots of lorry photos and road and bridge building images in the photographs he took.

“A particular favourite group of images is the building of the Willis Building in Ipswich in the 1970s these are iconic shots with no Health and Safety rules.”

He also captured major events in the history of Brightlingsea, including visits by famous people such as Joan Collins in the 1950s and more recently Samantha Fox.

Joan Collins came to Brightlingsea with her first husband Maxwell Reed on their honeymoon and many still remember seeing her and her entourage.

This image from his collection features her sister Jackie though and was more than likely from when she visited on another occasion and attended the Regatta, says Lynn.

“The Samantha Fox one was a business calendar shoot at Peartree Road where my dad worked for Collier and Catchpole for many years,” she adds.

As with many major events - Alf was there with his camera.

He lived long enough to see and spend time with his granddaughter Samantha, who was born in 1986, but not his grandson who arrived three years after he died aged just 64 following a series of debilitating strokes.

He left his collection of images to Lynn, more than 10,000 as well as 50 films which he had not even got around to developing.

She continues to work through them, determined to collate them as a legacy to her father two decades on.

“This is a massive task but one that I need to complete and as Alf’s daughter it is down to me.

"For a long while I was not able to even start but over the past few years I have got going with it and I have had a fantastic response from everyone, particularly online, to them” she explains.

  • You can view the collection on Flickr by clicking here.