I said I’d get onto the antics of Dreadnought Hospital porter Gerald Dodd’s mate Harry Glassborro (or ‘Glassblower’ as they used to call him), one of those guys that are created to brighten up the world, and today seems like the day to do it.
Harry and Gerald used to do night shifts together and Gerald says “you never knew what he got up to, mainly when I took out my camera. Being a young boy from the sticks in Wales I didn’t know very much about city life. ” Harry took Gerald under his wing. “Every shift we worked together was good, I looked forward to it. ”
As you’ll see from these pictures, Harry was a ‘prop-man’ – couldn’t take a photo without one. He is, of course, the chap with the sink plunger in the top photo – but you’ll never see him without some object (often involving beer, I note…)
Here he is as one of the tutors at Hogwarts, an amazing feat since the place wouldn’t be invented for another thirty-odd years.
I’m not entirely sure what he’s hoping to find in the gate porter’s cabinets, but hey…
Thing is, the guy just has a face for comedy – even just holding an apple he looks like he’s stepped straight out of a sit-com. Click on the image below and check out those cheeky eyebrows to see what I mean. I honestly have no idea what the hell he’s doing in most pictures – but that’s not the point.
Of course, just because ‘everybody liked Harry and Harry liked everybody’ didn’t mean he wasn’t above scaring the bejeesus out of the young, naive Gerald, who tells me of the time his mentor spent a nice long while talking about the gruecities of post-mortems over tea in the lodge then contrived ‘a job’ across the way that involved his young companion having to go to one of the labs in the Cooper Building just as one was starting. “Quite a shock to my system,” admits Gerald.
I don’t want to know what the bucket’s for here, but I’m rather taken with the winklepickers in the shot below. Harry was clearly a natty dresser too (and I’m guessing a bit of a hit with the ladies – cool shoes and making ‘em laugh…)
I guess all it is is making fun out of nothing – but I think there should be more of that sort of thing in life. Gerald admits “he made the long night shift go fast.” I can’t think of a better acolade for a co-worker. And now, forty-odd years later, he’s making us smile all over again. Hurrah for Harry Glassblower and his night-shift nuttiness.
Gerald lost touch with Harry – but would love to know if he’s still around or if anyone knows him. He thinks he was married, possibly with children, and lived in Peckham, but admits, ‘we rarely talked about things like that, we were too busy getting up to things…’
If you know (or even are) Harry, do drop me a line and I’ll pass you on to Gerald.
Actually, I’ve just realised that last photo was missing one of Harry’s signature props. Quick, I’d better supply him with one.
Ahhh. That’s better. So – tonight – may I propose a good old fashioned Friday Night Toast:
To Harry Glassblower – and his photographer pal, Gerald…