Donald Good (1918-2006) – Professional Photographer

 

Donald Good - professional photographer Tattenahll

Donald (Don) Good – aged 30

Donald (Don) Chadwick Good, though not native to Tattenhall, was an individual who spent most of his working life within the village. He was an accomplished photographer who touched the lives of many Tattenhall residents, his business being located at Olympus House on the High Street. The legacy of Don Good is remarkable, not least in recording the changing face of our village and its immediate surroundings. It is a privilege, therefore, to reproduce many of his images within this section of the Website.

Born in Chester during the final year of The Great War (23 January 1918), he was educated at the Grammar School in Handbridge where he excelled in Mathematics and Physics. At the age of just 17, however, Don Good developed Tuberculosis and he was to spend many months of his teenage years convalescing at a sanatorium near Wrenbury, Shropshire. Recovered, albeit with one lung, and his hopes of joining the RAF dashed because of his medical history, he became a member of the Observer Corps, charged with spotting enemy aircraft en route to the Port of Liverpool. So expert was Don Good at identifying the silhouettes of Heinkel and Dornier Bombers, that he then trained others with this vital and strategic skill. 

His early working life was far removed from photography, auditing some of the major accounts at the Treasurer’s Department of Cheshire County Council, then located at ‘The Castle’, Chester. It was at this time that he met his future wife, Jennie, who was also working at the Council Offices and whom he married in February 1942. His love of photography, however, was to mark a turning point in his life when he attended evening classes, equipping him with the necessary skills for a professional and successful career in photography. At that point Don Good left the relative safety of Cheshire County Council and started to practise his newly emerging skills whilst working with another photographer based in Crewe.

GoodchildrenIn 1951, at the age of just 33, he moved his young family to Olympus House on Tattenhall High Street. This imposing building was to become the Good family home and the headquarters of his thriving photographic business for the next thirty years.

By then, Don and Jennie had two young children, Ray (born in 1945) and Pam (born in 1947). Their third child, Rhoyda, was born in 1955 and at the time of writing this Webpage, she continues to live within the village of Tattenhall. Rhoyda recalls that ‘Olympus House’ was quite the most wonderful place in which to ‘grow up’ with lots of space for parties, hide and seek and the fun that children made for themselves in the 1950s/60s.

The personalized Christmas card shown to the left and which actually features Ray, Pam and Rhoyda, was to become a further aspect of Don Good’s work – presumably residents within Tattenhall ordered similar personalized greetings cards from his Studio.

The Studio being sufficiently large in size was also used for tea dances which were organized by Jennie Good. Apparently the villagers loved these events.

The photographic business was located on the ground floor of Olympus House, complete with Studio, Dark Room and Finishing Room whilst the upper floors were the perfect location to bring up a growing family. Don Good oversaw everything in the photographic and developing processes and he, together with his wife Jennie, also provided employment for 3 girls who assisted him in the finishing processes. Don Good completed all the processing of the black and white films and photographic papers. The films were processed in the Dark Room and photographs were ultimately generated under almost dark conditions using a variety of processes. The final process ‘fixed’ the picture. The wet photographs were then dried under controlled conditions in the Finishing Room on a large industrial-style dryer. Further work was required to complete the mounting of prints into albums depending on local requirements. The 3 girls who assisted over the years were Evelyn Phillips (from Clutton), Joan Houghton (nee Miles) from Tattenhall (who has memories of the guillotine used for cutting the photographs) and Pam Davies, also from Tattenhall.    

Olympus House, High Street, Tattenhall - the business of Donald Good was based here from 1951. The display cases which are shown on either side of the footpath at the front of the building would feature photographs of recent weddings, portraits etc. Apparently, local residents would flock around the display cases to see the new photographs (the delights of the affordable camera were yet to come). Interestingly, buildings can be seen to the rear of Olympus House, particularly the building that was 'The Tie Factory', long since demolished.

Olympus House, High Street, Tattenhall – the business of Don Good was based here from 1951. The display cases which are shown on either side of the footpath at the front of the building would feature photographs of recent weddings, portraits etc. Apparently, local residents would flock around the display cases to see the new photographs; the affordable camera not yet widely available. Interestingly, premises can be seen to the rear of Olympus House, particularly the building that was ‘The Tie Factory’, long since demolished.

Not content with just his Tattenhall Studio, Don Good appears to have been a pioneer in establishing a mobile dark room which he created in the rear of an American ‘Studebaker’ estate car – from where he obtained this vehicle is a complete unknown! He would photograph local weddings and then rush back to his darkened estate car where he would personally develop and print off the photographs ready to be viewed at the wedding reception. Clearly he was particularly savvy in business since presumably the guests were able to view and order their photographic selections almost immediately.  

Whilst many of Don Good’s photographic commissions in the locality involved weddings, annual ‘Rose Queen’ ceremonies, portraits, ‘Sports Day’ events, photography of private houses for use in Estate Agent particulars and in local newspapers and animals/livestock for the local farmers and Landowners (Lord Chomondeley), he was also employed on a commercial basis and was the official photographer for the ICI Salt Mines based at Winsford. His photographs of the subterranean world of salt were extraordinary, using his skills with flash photography to full effect. Many of the official photographs relating to this chapter of his life are archived at the Salt Museum.

Example of Donald Good's commercial photography as official photographer of ICI Salt Mines, Northwich.

An example of Don Good’s commercial photography as official photographer for ICI at the Meadow Bank Mine, Winsford. Meadow Bank Mine, the only working salt mine in Great Britain, employed Don Good to photograph the complexities in salt extraction. Shown here is a mobile hydraulic rotary drill at the working face. Shotholes were drilled to a fixed pattern, in which the shot-firer would place explosives. Once the rounds of shot were fired, the rock salt was brought down and picked up from the rock face, being loaded into diesel dumpers.

Don Good also excelled in the construction of model aircraft. Starting out with Balsa wood gliders, he progressed to control line powered aircraft and finally radio controlled aircraft. Many Tattenhall youngsters were encouraged to build their own model aircraft. Ironically, the cricket square at the Flacca Field was an ideal location for a smooth take off and/or landing! His love of both photography and model aircraft combined to provide a further business opportunity and he was pioneering in his accomplishments of aerial photography using his model radio controlled aircraft. This venture proved a great success with businesses such as those that were to locate at the Wrexham Industrial Estate and for which he provided extensive aerial photographs.

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Don Good with a ‘Tiger Moth’ on the Flacca Field, Tattenhall.

 

Donald Good with ‘Glider’ at Moel Famau. He was Treasurer of the ‘Clwyd Soaring Association’ for 27 years.

Don Good with ‘Glider’ at Moel Famau. He was Treasurer of the ‘Clwyd Soaring Association’ for 27 years.

The family left Olympus House in the early 1980s and moved to Hope House (Cottage) on Burwardsley Road and Don Good was to later settle in Llay, North Wales where he continued to indulge his twin passions, namely photography and in building/flying model gliders. He died in October 2006 aged 88. ‘Cloudbase’, the Newsletter of the Clwyd Soaring Association, published an extensive obituary to Don Good, having served the Club for 27 years and having been appointed first Honorary member of the Club.

Don Good was an accomplished individual who was instrumental in charting the lives and events of Tattenhall and its locality. He was an individual who found himself placed at the end of the ‘black and white’ photographic era and immediately before the introduction of mass produced, affordable cameras. His favourite cameras which he carried with him at all times were his ‘Leica’ and ‘Hasselblad’ – the transition to the digital age was not for him.

His surviving children, Ray and Rhoyda, have been invaluable in assisting with the production of this section of the Website and in selecting the photographic collection which accompanies it. Many Tattenhall residents that read this story will have a Don Good photograph tucked away in a drawer, of that we are absolutely sure! As testimony to the accomplishments of Don Good we include a gallery of some of his photographs below. Many of them log particular chapters in his life and they are arranged accordingly. We hope you enjoy looking through the lens of this valued and quite remarkable individual. 

(the photographic gallery is currently under construction – I will advise everyone through ‘Latest News’ on the Home Page when this is complete …. Terri Hull)

 

 

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