You get two for price of one with this blog post, two postcards with versions of the same Sussex scene. The first postcard is a printed card, showing a group of men (with a couple of children) gathered at the side of a road holding some sort of meeting.
There are no clues as to the exact location, except that it is somewhere in Sussex. There is also no indication of who the photographer or publisher was, although the bottom left of the picture does have the initials ETW. It was posted on the 21st October 1903 from Eastbourne, Sussex.
The second version of the card is a photographic version featuring the same scene, this time there is a caption just visible in the bottom right-hand corner which places the scene in Amberley, Sussex. This picture shows the tree trunk in all it’s gnarled glory, and it almost looks like the man with the stick is posed to mirror the shape of the tree.
Fortunately the photographic card also shows more of the house in the background which gives a chance of actually identifying the location. In fact it was pretty easy using Google Street View to locate the scene, as being at the eastern end of Hog Lane, Amberley, Sussex, opposite The Black Horse pub.
At first glance I thought these two postcards came from the same negative, one in portrait and one landscape orientation, but on closer inspection there are a few differences amongst the men. Most noticeable is the man sitting at the foot of the tree trunk (in the darker jacket), in the printed card he is holding a dog, but in the photographic one the dog has gone, it probably wouldn’t keep still long enough!
One question that this image does raise is what exactly was “The Village Parliament”? So far I have been unable to find an answer online or in books, despite find several references to this image. I am not sure whether this was just made up by the postcard publisher or whether the term refers to a meeting of the Parish Council, the vestry (a church committee) or some other group.