Mystery of photos found on old second-hand camera

When Sarah Evans bought a vintage camera from her local charity shop, she had no idea what mystery was about to develop.

Taking it home she discovered a roll of film still inside and set about trying to find out if there was anything on it.

Sending it off a specialist firm, she saw a handful of grainy black-and-white family photos return.

Taken some 70 years ago, Sarah is now hoping to track down some of the people in the long lost images.

"I picked up an old box camera about 10 years ago in a second hand shop and have always been on the look out for another," said the 49-year-old landscape artist and illustrator from Penderyn, Rhondda Cynon Taf.

"So when I saw one in Aberdare town centre the other week for £8 I just had to have it," she said.

"It didn't look like it would still work but I only really wanted it for decorative purposes anyway.

"It never occurred to me that there'd actually be something inside."

Called a Conway Camera, it was made by Birmingham-based company Standard Cameras Ltd, which traded between 1931 and 1955.

And the advanced age of the model meant getting any film looked at would not be as simple as popping it into her local high street chemist.

Old photo found on vintage camera
It is thought the photos date back to the 1950s [Sarah Evans]

"I looked on YouTube for any tutorials on how to get the film out of it," said Sarah, adding the camera's body is made of card and mounted on a Bakelite frame.

"Then I asked various people online for their advice and a couple of specialist photographic firms were recommended to me.

"But most of those I'd spoken to said any images would probably have long since corrupted," she added.

Carefully removing the roll of film she sent it off anyway, not expecting anything to come from it.

However, what had survived fired her imagination.

A vintage camera
Due to the age of the camera Sarah doubted any images would be salvagable [Sarah Evans ]

"There were about four photos on it, probably taken in the late '50s, which seemed to document how life was in south Wales back then," said Sarah.

"There were two women, possibly a mum and a gran, both holding a baby, along with two young children sitting surrounded by ferns.

"Behind them is a row of brick-built terraced houses that have a very 'Valleys' look about them."

She now hopes to track down anyone who might know something about the images - or even recognise themselves therein.

"I'm guessing that whoever donated the camera to charity is probably local to this area," said Sarah, whose post about her discovery on X (formerly known as Twitter) has so far been viewed more than 400,000 times.

"Those children, if they're still alive, must be in their late 70s by now.

"I've been thinking a lot about what it must have been like for them growing up back in those days.

"I'd love to get these photos to them, or to one of their relatives - they're a real glimpse into a time long since vanished."