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'A crossover between now and then' - Town historian brings past to life in stunning photo project

PUBLISHED: 12:23 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:31 16 December 2019

Celebrations for the Coronation of King George V. Head of procession of 800 children marching to the Market Place, June 22nd 1911 / 2019. One of the Bungay Ghost exhibits from the Fisher Theatre. Photo: Karen Leah / Bungay Ghosts

Celebrations for the Coronation of King George V. Head of procession of 800 children marching to the Market Place, June 22nd 1911 / 2019. One of the Bungay Ghost exhibits from the Fisher Theatre. Photo: Karen Leah / Bungay Ghosts

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An avid historian and self-taught photo editor is bringing Bungay's history to life with a stunning project that helps us easily picture the past.

First World 1916 WW1 fundraising and 201. One of the Bungay Ghost exhibits from the Fisher TheatreFirst World 1916 WW1 fundraising and 201. One of the Bungay Ghost exhibits from the Fisher Theatre

Karen Leah, 62, is the creator of 'Bungay Ghosts', a Facebook page which shows images of Bungay from the past overlaid on top of modern photos, creating an impression of the past coming through to the present.

"I'm kind of obsessed with the past really, I love it," said Mrs Leah, who is also a watercolour artist.

The photos are posted regularly on the Facebook page, and have been exhibited at the Fisher Theatre.

They show the town's historic Market Place, Falcon Meadow, and Butter Cross in the present day, overlaid with some of the most important event from Bungay's past.

Suffolk Stonehouse/W H Sturgess. St. Mary's Street, Bungay. Photo: Karen Leah / Bungay GhostsSuffolk Stonehouse/W H Sturgess. St. Mary's Street, Bungay. Photo: Karen Leah / Bungay Ghosts

"I think of a photo as something a bit magical, it captures a fragment of time," Mrs Leah said.

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"I wanted to try and convey a sense of generations of people walking the same streets and using the same shops as their grandparents - it's a crossover between now and then."

From celebrations for the coronation of King George V in 1911, to fundraising events for the First World War in 1916 and simply children playing at the turn of the 20th century - the photos bring to life a history often too easily forgotten.

Flixton Road 1900/2019. Another of the Bungay Ghost exhibits in the 'Familiar' exhibition on at the Fisher Theatre. Photo: Karen Leah / Bungay GhostsFlixton Road 1900/2019. Another of the Bungay Ghost exhibits in the 'Familiar' exhibition on at the Fisher Theatre. Photo: Karen Leah / Bungay Ghosts

Mrs Leah said: "Bungay hasn't changed very much, only subtly over the years. The basic architecture has outlasted everything. Businesses, transport, clothing and fashion has changed, but that's all. Horse and carts have turned into cars."

Mrs Leah started the project four years ago, teaching herself how to use photoshop. Since then the Facebook page she created has received more than 500 likes and her work has been exhibited.

"I get the pictures from Bungay museum, Chris Reeves the historian lets me use them, and I scan them into photoshop, print them out and go to the location to take a photo of that spot. Sometimes it's quite difficult.

"The past is a very important thing, you have to learn from the past, it's an illustration that places where you are and where you might be going."

Children play at Falcon Meadow in 1960/2016. Photo: Karen Leah / Bungay GhostsChildren play at Falcon Meadow in 1960/2016. Photo: Karen Leah / Bungay Ghosts

You can follow the Facebook page here and find Karen Leah's other art here.

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