Thursday 25 December 2014

Merry Christmas from

Merry Christmas from
Here's a view along the riverside in Twickenham by Young & Co, circa 1908.
I hope to post more in the new year.

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Ashford, Middlesex, National Schools 1908

Ashford, Middlesex, National Schools 1908. It is interesting that an idyllic scene such as this can sometimes conceal a nasty secret. The postcard below (post dated 1908 on the back) shows the National Schools in Ashford, Middlesex (Ashford is now in the county of Surrey). The school was erected in 1868 and as you can see from the Google Street View, it still survives today as the Ashford Church of England Primary School. It has been enlarged but the original buildings survive. The postcard shows a group of girls on the left and boys on the right. On the left of the girls is a woman, probably a teacher. Behind the girls is a man. He may well be the schoolmaster, Cyril Neaves. Neaves was convicted in September 1909 of a vicious beating of a pupil at the school and was fined five pounds - quite a lot of money back then. The story was reported nationally and was even discussed in the Houses of Parliament (NB, the Hansard website OCR has got Neaves' name wrong). The Sheffield Evening Telegraph for 7th September 1909 reported the case as follows:

Heavy Penalty on Charge of Assault.
A Boy's Punishment.
For an alleged assault on Albert Darling, aged 10, one of his pupils, Cyril Neaves, the headmaster of Ashford (Middlesex) National Schools was fined £5 yesterday.
According to the evidence the headmaster, on August 30th, placed the boy over a desk, where he was held by an assistant master, and thrashed him with a cane until it broke in two.
The boy, who lives at Park Road, Ashford, told the Bench that the headmaster asked him to bring his drawing, and, after looking at it, said: "Stand aside and I will deal with you in a minute." He was flogged for about five minutes. He cried from the pain, and when he sat down the headmaster said, "I'll give you some more if you don't sit still."
Mrs Darling said that her son was covered with bruises, and his flesh was red and inflamed, "almost like jelly". She counted thirteen marks on his body. She had complained to the headmaster before about thrashing the boy, and he then said that he would serve him the same tomorrow if he would not do his work.
The defendant denied, in his evidence, that he struck the boy more than four times. When he called him out he loitered, shuffled his feet, and muttered under his breath. The witness gave him two strokes of the cane, and as he muttered again he gave him two more.
The bench unanimously decided to impose the maximum penalty.

It is possible that Neaves is the man in the photo and that poor Albert Darling may be one of the boys. A sorry tale.
Postcard by Young & Co of Teddington. Click the postcard to enlarge.

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Sunday 28 September 2014

Cheam, Surrey, The High Street c1908

Cheam, Surrey, the High Street, circa 1908. In the old postcard you can see in the middle distance on the left the Harrow Inn. It looks 17th century to me. The High Street looked very rustic. Cheam's High Street was redeveloped in the 20th century. There is still a Harrow Inn, it is in the middle of the Google Street View. It has the 'Mock Tudor' style that used to be very popular.
Click the postcard to enlarge. Postcard by Young & Co of Teddington.

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Here is a higher-res view of the old Harrow Inn (click to enlarge):


Saturday 12 July 2014

Aldgate Pump, City of London c1912

Aldgate Pump, City of London circa 1912. This old postcard by an uncredited publisher shows the famous Aldgate Pump at the corner of Fenchurch Street (on the left) and Leadenhall Street (on the right). The postcard view shows St. Katherine Cree church, built c1638, one of the few City churches to survive the Great Fire in 1666. The church is still there but is difficult to see in the Street View image. If you move the Google Street View one step to the left you get a better likeness to the postcard, but the pump is completely obscured by a street sign. Leadenhall Street also contains the London Metal Exchange, Europe's last remaining open outcry financial exchange. Click the postcard to enlarge.

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Saturday 31 May 2014

Hampton Hill, Middlesex, The High Street 1907

Hampton Hill, Middlesex, The High Street 1907. The Crown and Anchor pub on the left is now a restaurant called La Familia. The building to the left of that has been demolished. The buildings on the right remain largely intact though. This card was published by Young & Co of Teddington and was posted in April 1907. Judging by the lack of leaves on the tree in the distance the photograph would have been taken a month or two before. Young has incorrectly captioned the postcard as Hampton High Street, but that street is half a mile away, this is clearly Hampton Hill High Street. Young should have known that as he lived nearby. Click the postcard to enlarge.

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Monday 12 May 2014

Norton, Gloucestershire, Norton Cash Stores in 1911

Norton, Gloucestershire, Norton Cash Stores in 1911. Norton is a hamlet north of the city of Gloucester. The village shop was run by Esther Hughes. That is probably her on the right, holding the baby. To the left of her may be her assistant in the shop, Elizabeth Whiting. According to the 1911 census the pair lived in the building, with the baby, Norah Mary Perry. I don't know why they lived with a baby with a different surname, perhaps an orphaned niece? A notice in the shop advertises a 'rummage sale' on Wednesday the 7th of June which helps me date the photograph accurately to 1911.
I am indebted to Mike Dill, Steve Maidment and the Village of Norton Website for the following information about the shop and 'The Elms' shown below. The building - Tess Hughes's shop, "was a cottage at right angles to the road opposite the top of Wainlodes Lane".  It was destroyed by fire early in the morning of November 2nd 1935.  "Tess herself was not much harmed.  She had a distrust of banks and kept most of her money in buckets that hung from the beams.  The place after the fire was littered with coins."  ('How it All happened' by Canon Evans-Prosser, Vicar of Norton).
The modern bungalow you can see in the modern Google Street View now stands just behind the approximate site of the shop.
Also notable is the horse bus operated by George Symonds of Gloucester. It appears to be a very primitive bus, even by the standards of 1911. It had a very short run between the nearby villages of Lonford, Twigworth and Norton. One has to wonder how often the bus ran and how successful the service was. I think the young man standing to the right of the horses was the bus conductor. This postcard was published by Young & Co of Teddington. Click the postcard and blow-ups to enlarge.

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This is another postcard by Young & Co of Teddington showing a large farmhouse in Norton, called 'The Elms'. Prior to 1897 it was called 'Norton Farm' and reverted back to that name in 1923 (source: Steve Maidment - 'Norton Farm'). The farmhouse has not changed much in the last century, but one of the chimneys appears to have slid down the roof. Click the postcard to enlarge.

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Sunday 27 April 2014

Cam Pitch, Cam, Gloucestershire, 1910

Cam Pitch, Cam, Gloucestershire, 1910. Cam is a village in Gloucestershire close to the town of Dursley. The bucolic view on the postcard has changed in the last century. The image shown below the postcard, from the Dursley and Cam Society's website shows the building on the right of the postcard shortly before demolition.
Postcard by Young & Co of Teddington, Middlesex. Click the postcard to enlarge.

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Tuesday 15 April 2014

R. B. Southgate, Baker, Frimley, Surrey, c1911

This postcard shows the bakery of Richard Brown Southgate in Frimley, Surrey in about 1911. It seems likely that Mr Southgate is the man standing outside the shop. The shop is now part of the Frimley Childrens Centre and it looks set to be demolished soon as part of a big refurbishment. Photographer or publisher not credited on the postcard. Click the postcard to enlarge.

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Sunday 30 March 2014

Worthing, Sussex, West Tarring High Street c1913

Worthing, Sussex, West Tarring High Street circa 1913. West Tarring is just north of Worthing. The half-timbered building on the right is now a restaurant called The Parsonage. On the right we can see the George and Dragon pub. Postcard by W. H. Applebee. Click the postcard to enlarge.

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Saturday 15 March 2014

Ripley, Surrey, 1913 & The Strange Obliteration of Ruth Hill

Ripley, Surrey, 1913. These postcards, all photographed and published by W. H. Applebee of Ashford, Middlesex in 1913 show various views of Ripley, a village near Woking. If we study the first image, Ripley Court WHA 6, we can clearly see a young lady. She has been identified as Ruth Lydia Hill, born 1898, granddaughter of Alfred Hill, a 'bootmaker, clothing and draper'. A later version of the same postcard, Ripley Court WHA 3946 shows the same image, but poor Ruth has been crudely obliterated by the photographer, scratching her out of the negative.
The next image, Rose Lane Ripley WHA 4 shows Ruth on her bicycle next to a boy. Again, a later version of this postcard, Rose Lane Ripley WHA 3944 shows her to have been obliterated from the negative. The boy is still there.
Another image, Fire Station, Ripley, WHA 7 shows Ruth again. Though I do not possess it, there is surely a later version of this image in the 394x series showing the same view with Ruth having been obliterated.
Finally, an image of Rose Cottage (WHA3948) with a tell-tale obliterated person. I do not possess the original, but I am keeping an eye out for it, we all know who will be behind the scratchy lines.
It has long bothered me why Applebee, a fairly well known postcard publisher in Middlesex and Surrey would want to obliterate a 15 year old girl from a postcard. Initially I had visions of Mrs Applebee insisting her husband do this because of an insane jealously for this girl half her age. But there is no evidence at all to suggest this. Mrs Applebee was utterly devoted to her husband and when he died in 1915 she remained a widow, never remarrying. She died alone in 1972. Another, much more sensible scenario has recently occurred to me. I think the original postcards featuring Ruth were commissioned by her grandfather, Alfred Hill, to sell in his shop. Another establishment in Ripley asked for some postcards to sell so Applebee thought to sent them these. However he realised they might not want to feature the daughter of another local businessman so he simply just scratched Ruth off the negatives and renumbered them. Simple!
Click the postcards to enlarge. I've also included a couple of close-ups of Ruth.
For more old images have a look at the Sepia Saturday blog.

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Thursday 27 February 2014

Holt, Wiltshire, The Street, 1910

Holt, Wiltshire, The Street, 1910. Holt is a village in Wiltshire, not far from Bradford on Avon. Postcard by Young & Co of Teddington. Click the postcard to enlarge.

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Friday 14 February 2014

Ilford, The Broadway, c1912

Ilford, The Broadway, circa 1912. Ilford is a suburb of east London. In this postcard, we can see on the left, the White Horse pub and on the right, the Black Horse pub, with the Ilford Hippodrome (presumably a theatre) to the right of that. In between is a magnificent municipal clock and a tram. Looking at the modern Google Street View of the scene, the White Horse building is still there on the left, but it is now a branch of Barclays Bank. The Black Horse on the other side of the road is still a pub, but the building is now modern and characterless. Much more of a pity is the disappearance of the clock. Do any readers know what happened to it? The tram of course has long since gone, and with it some of the soul of old Ilford. Click the postcard to enlarge.
For more old photos have a look at Sepia Saturday.

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Friday 31 January 2014

Godalming Station, Surrey, c1913

Godalming Station, Surrey, c1913. Godalming Station seems relatively unchanged in the last hundred years. Postcard by W. H. Applebee. Click the postcard to enlarge.
For more old images have a look at the Sepia Saturday blog.

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Wednesday 22 January 2014

Old Kent Road, London, 1911

Old Kent Road, London, 1911. This lovely postcard shows the premises of Meta Dowden's shop at 652 Old Kent Road, London, dealing in confectionery, toys and fancy goods. Meta Whitting Dowden was born in 1886 in North Nibley, Gloucestershire. It is very likely that the lady posing in front of the shop is Meta herself. The message on the back is interesting, Meta has sent the postcard to a recently married acquaintance who is in Paris but she has forgotten her friend's married name. She has addressed the postcard to "Mrs F S-----, formerly Miss Corderoy. A Florence Corderoy from Croydon married either Wilfred Blumberg or Reginald Gates in 1911 so it is possible that it is her and Meta has mistaken the B of Blumberg or the G of Gates for an 'S'.

I've included a scan of the back, here is a transcript:
"Dear Flo, I thought I would call and see you to find out how you were getting on. You remember Miss Streeter, a dark young lady in the millinery showroom, rather short and stout. She gets married tomorrow (Wed May 24th) and thinks of calling on you if she has time. She will be in Paris for a few days. Sorry I can't think of your name. Best love from yours, Meta".

The building on the front of the postcard still exists, on the Google Street View image (dated May 2012) 652 Old Kent Road is the premises of Zenith Training. Click the postcard images to enlarge (then right-click and 'save as' to download high resolution copies).

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