Family Album

14 April 2013
Ben Pentreath

One of the nicest things about settling down with my family last week was that Mum & Dad brought along a bunch of old photo albums. They make one realise that the pictures I take on this blog are all very well—but in 30 years time the only ones which will be of any interest at all are the ones with people in them.

Anyway, I know there’s a bit of a Captain Pentreath fan club out there, so I thought it would not be unreasonable to share one or two of the Pentreath family photographs. Okay okay my brothers are going to kill me (you will see why) but I think that’s a risk worth taking. Luckily neither of them read my blog (although their wives Lisa and Laura do, but they are very good at keeping a secret).

I love the look on my parents’ faces as they left after their wedding. My dad wearing sea boots – they were about to leave from Cowes, Isle of Wight.

Mum and Dad with my eldest brother Tim. Check out Mum’s sweater… on trend or what?

Captain Pentreath fans are now officially allowed to swoon.

My brothers Tim and Jon.

I need say no more.

Tim and Jon spent most of their time (it appears) playing cowboys:

Or Indians. Classic:

Or playing with puppies. Jon’s sweater is pretty bang on trend too, I would say:

In 1971 something highly controversial arrived on the scene. Me.

Now I know why I like Tiffany blue so much. An early visit to an as yet unidentified Georgian Orangery (in the background… any thoughts?). I look a bit happier than my cousin John, I think.

Summers in the Pentreath Family tended to involve the sea.

And bikes.

Some things never change. I am still happiest pottering around with a wheelbarrow.

That crazy yellow pram again.  Move over mamas & papas, bugaboos, you name its. No class at all.

You know, I begin to wonder if growing up in the early 70s was a bit simpler all round.

17 comments on this post

You are to die for funny. I’m from Texas and you played Cowboy in cha-cha-cha hats & T-strap shoes. Pissing myself, I think is how you would say it. Bless you for sharing this !

Goudie Freemansays:

I randomly ended up following you on Instagram as your photos came up on my feed and I was enchanted by your photos..hope you enjoyed Patmos! I went there 20 years ago (I’m not that old – must be about your age – how totally out there was I, discovering something before it became cool ;-))Anyhow, I couldn’t help but think Pentreath was an unusual name…my sister’s first boyfriend was called Jon Pentreath and was in the Navy…can only think it must have been your bro?!? Ask him if he had a yorkshire girlfriend called Annabelle! Meanwhile totally loving your photos…I see our parents put us in suitably amusing kit to be ribbed about many years later.
Your shop is on my place to visit when I am next in Congestion Zone area!

Tim Pycocksays:

Dear Ben, it’s a parallel ‘blast from the past’ for me as there is a similar photo in my family where I’m wielding a yard brush on the lawn as well as being the same age and our mothers each having three sons. Even the felt cowboy hats ring a bell from my brothers!

I laughed out loud at the caption for your dreamy Dad!

As for the early 1970s simplicity, I look forward to a family friend asking exactly that in each year’s Christmas card – which is always read out aloud, bitterweet!



Ben, thank you for sharing your pictures with us. I was born in the 80s and I would agree with you that childhood back then was much easier than now. I shudder when I see children on the school run clutching iphones! Also, your father looks very smart in his RN ones. I wished I looked as good in mine.

Lucy Claytonsays:

I need to get a puppy.


And to think that Captain PenTREATh will be sporting a new scar on his brow….be still, my beating heart!

deby, in Canadasays:

Great collection of real photos- thank you so much for sharing them. Things all look more simple and happy…
The jumpers are all on trend… but what about the red smocked, puff sleeve shirt- will you be seeking a revival?


Dear Ben Pentreath,

Thank you for keeping such a wonderful weblog and sharing some records and recollections of your family life and history. Your parents are evidently handsome, but what strikes me most about these photographs is the confidence and easiness that they suggest –traits that I can also easily detect in my family’s photographs of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
This motivates me two observations. First, those traits of confidence and easiness are evident in your approach to living spaces (they are neither opposed to nor contradictory with formal rigour). Second, they are also related to your final comment on the comparative simplicity of growing up at that time: In its apparent innocence, it is a rather subtle remark, but I will add no further comments on the possible explanations for that lost simplicity; better leave people to do their own thinking. I will only note that things like the Poundbury project, on which I believe you are also involved, or the considered comments you made a few entries ago on the present and future of the High Street give clues to what has gone –and is still going– wrong while suggesting viable ways to recover part of what was lost.


You in your big pram, in the foreground. Behind you, brother signals “He’s not much–look at my rabbit.”


and that photo of your mum sitting by the river/lake is stunning. what a beautiful woman.


these photos are the best!!! you’ve inspired me to go snoop around my old family pics.
captain pentreath – what a hottie!
thanks for sharing.

These images are so sweet and precious! What a wonderful Family. Mother and Father look terrific. You are lucky. Daddy in sunglasses is way cool!!! And of course the puppies, gardens and happy smiles. Thanks for sharing!

Digital cameras make me sad in so many ways, the main one being that we all have thousands of images but most of us tend not to do anything physically real with them. We never have that magic that comes from only certain moments being recorded and years from now when our computers are all old or crashed, what will be left? Sorry to be having such a luddite moment, but there is nothing like a slightly faded and tattered photograph in the hand!

What a happy smiley baby you were and from what I can see, the spitting image of your father. Family photos take you back don’t they – you certainly look like you had a very happy childhood. Ahhh happy days.


Lovely family photos! Thanks for sharing! I too am a child of the seventies & agree…much simpler times then!

Mary Andrewssays:

These are some of the most wonderful family photos. They embody my image of a British family. The sandals and pram are perfect.

Your mother’s smile reveals the unguarded hope and excitement for her life ahead many of us felt as brides in that time.
I love your exceptional ability to choose the most memorable photos. I read your posts as soon as they arrive and they always provide me with inspiration.
This is one of my favorites. Thank you.

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