The castle, the model and the squirrel...


In the very early 1970s I first photographed a young would-be model called Jo Karslake from South Benfleet. She lived with her parents and siblings in the Old Vicarage there, when I took her out to photogenic places in the area. We were at one of my favourite locations, Hadleigh Castle ruins, trying to add to her portfolio, when a grey squirrel tried to steal the act. It was certainly not shy, as for a moment it actually turned side-on to look like a squirrel should. There was no time to arrange Jo’s outfit, which clung to her in the breeze and as a fashion shot it was a flop, but I liked the momentary and very human reaction of the young girl. Later the model made a much-publicised marriage and the Stones of her acquaintance were Rolling rather than static as at the castle. You may even have seen her on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’.

Jo Wood, née Karslake, Hadleigh Castle, c.1971/2
© Robert Hallmann
We had an audience of young lads at the time, probably brothers, so I photographed them as well. Perhaps someone will recognise them?
© Robert Hallmann

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  • Hello, Lizzie. Nice to hear from you. Splashing in the Holy Family pool? Your brothers tinkering with old cars? Paul with his Shell sign, or climbing trees with a friend? Your dad and his scooters? You and his rusting tractors, by the well and dressing up in some old-fashioned fashions? Would you want me to put some on here? Or on the South Benfleet Archive? Or send me an e-mail?

    By Robert Hallmann (28/11/2011)
  • What a lovely picture of my sister! Hope you are well. Would love to see some of the photographs of my family. Much love.

    By Elizabeth McCarron née Karslake (25/11/2011)

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