Businessman Dipender Manocha and his sons Shaun and Shiva Manocha present a collection of photographs of San Fernando in the early days to Mayor Junia Regrello. (Image: IVAN TOOLSIE)
RADHICA DE SILVA
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An historical treasure trove of iconic photographs of San Fernando in the 18th and 19th centuries have been found by Indian-born businessman Dipender Manocha.

The 18 photographs, which were carefully restored, have been presented to San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello for the San Fernando Museum.

The photographs depict San Fernando in the 1800s, San Fernando in 1956, Mucurapo Street in the 1800s, Cross Crossing Roundabout, High Street and Kings Wharf Jetty in the 1900s, as well as Cipero Street in the 1930s.

Speaking to CNC3’s cameraman Ivan Toolsie, Manocha said he obtained the photos from an old friend.

“These are not original photos. I had a friend, an older gentleman, and I went to visit him at his home and he was trying to express that he was going to die and he asked me to throw away some papers and in those papers, there was an envelope and when I looked at it, there were these pictures, all tattered some of them were torn into pieces,” Manocha said.

He added, “It took a lot of doing to restore them. It’s years of work but he has been able to put the photos on a material, water repellent and ultraviolet light. These will last a fairly long time.”

Manocha who has been living in Trinidad for the past 44 years, said many people today do not know the history of the city.

“These photos show how San Fernando has come a long way. It is amazing to see the growth and progress the city has made. There are still some old buildings which have been well kept. City Hall is almost identical,” he noted.

Meanwhile, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said the photographs will form part of the museum of San Fernando.

“They have presented 18 iconic pictures of San Fernando as it evolves over the years. We are seeing San Fernando in the 1800s and early 1900s and it gives an understanding of how San Fernando evolved and where we are today,” Regrello said.

He added, “I want to thank Mr Manocha for this. We are looking at putting together this collection for our museum. I will do a display of the photos for City Week to show San Fernando in the days gone by.”

Regrello marvelled at the tracks which existed before the streets were paved. In several photos, the magnificence of San Fernando Hill could be seen, as well as horse-drawn carts and immaculately dressed shoppers.