Obituary – Geoffrey Holmes, filmmaker

Geoffrey Holmes, who has died at 88, was a railwayman in Yorkshire and Africa, whose visualisations of the industry in award-winning presentations earned him the Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

Geoffrey Holmes

For three decades, his shows were among the highlights of the Colour and Music spectacles presented annually by the Leeds Audio Visual group in Headingley. One of a group of devotees who had broken away from the Leeds Camera Club to take their productions to the big screen, his work garnered an international gold medal in New Zealand, amongst other honours.

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A railway engineer at the time of the unpopular Beeching cuts of the 1960s, he used his library of monochrome images, taken over many years, to bring to life the Flanders and Swann lament, Slow Train. Another work, Millstone Grit, bleakly documented the origins and decline of the mills of the Calder Valley, while a third piece chronicled the life and music of Tchaikovsky.

Born in Bradford, he spent his working life in Leeds, but upon retirement was commissioned by the Botswana government to manage a railway project, and he and his wife, Mary, lived there for a year before going to Sydney for a similar job.

He and Mary – whom he met on a school bus – had two daughters, a son and seven grandchildren.