Whitby photographer John Tindale's family and friends celebrate what would have been his 100th birthday

Whitby photographer John Tindale is currently the subject of a year-long centenary retrospective at the Whitby Museum, with an exhibition and film show which has now reached its halfway point.

By Duncan Atkins
Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 5:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 5:24 pm
Exhibition designer Colin Pyrah and John Tindale's son David Tindale celebrating what would have been John's 100th birthday. picture: Matthew Storm Cooper
Exhibition designer Colin Pyrah and John Tindale's son David Tindale celebrating what would have been John's 100th birthday. picture: Matthew Storm Cooper

John was born on December 4, 1921 and on Saturday, his family and staff at Whitby Museum gathered on the front steps of the museum to toast what would have been his 100th birthday with champagne.

John spent all his life in Whitby, apart from a brief spell in the RAF, and although apprenticed by his own father to be a pharmacist, always intended to be a photographer instead.

Based in the attics of 14 Skinner Street above his own chemist shop he built darkrooms and recording studios and worked on weddings, commercial contracts and large amounts of news photography for the Whitby Gazette.

The cake to mark 100 years since John Tindale was born. picture: Matthew Storm Cooper

Driving a distinctive green Land Rover with a photographer’s eye painted on the side, John roamed the Whitby countryside for 40 years, capturing the wonderful local characters and stories, both for news purposes when their photos appeared in the Gazette, but also recording their voices and lives directly onto reel-to-reel audio tapes which form the core of the John Tindale Archive.

In later years, John played a big part in sticking up for the town, helping with the birth of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and attempting to have a replica of Cook’s ship Endeavour built in the shipyards at Whitby.

He also helped successfully in multiple campaigns to slow down and stop the shrinking of Whitby Hospital.

John’s photography and film exhibition at the Whitby Museum has attracted national attention during the last six months and visitors are at record levels including large numbers of local people but also many visitors who have enjoyed seeing his work.

Juliet and John Tindale with the champagne at what would have been John Tindale's centenary. picture: Matthew Storm Cooper

The exhibition is now closed for the winter, but re-opens with new material on Tuesday February 1, 2022.