December’s Curiosity has been chosen by volunteer Ian Gregory:
There is, in our collection of photographs, an image of four men. They are hard at work, shaping planks of timber with mallets and chisels. None are looking at the camera; all are concentrating on their jobs. They are helping to rebuild St. Anne’s Church, Buxton in the 1950s.
They appear to be hard at it but they all have jackets on and none has rolled up their sleeves. Was it a cold day, a much more formal age or are they a little smarter than usual because they know the photographer is coming?
Back then, Britain enjoyed full employment, at least for able-bodied males. Who could have foreseen that twenty years later, British industry would be in crisis, with many jobs that were once the backbone of our economy disappearing or becoming scarce? These four men may well have seen the recession of the 1980s. Theirs was a trade that survived but did they find it worrying? Perhaps some of them knew hard times. Maybe it is better to remember them from this photograph, when the future looked secure.