Continuing on from last week’s postcard, the subject of this postcard is another stretch of the London to Brighton line, but a bit further north than last week’s one.
This is the northern entrance to Balcombe Tunnel, which is between Balcombe and Three Bridges stations in West Sussex. I was intrigued by the number of labourers at work on the railway, with apparent disregard for the train which appears to be emerging from the tunnel mouth (or is that just my imagination). I had a look at an aerial view of the area on Google Maps.
There is a bridge across the railway line just north of the tunnel, although it looks rather overgrown now, and looking at some old maps it looks like it pre-dates this postcard, but it is almost certainly where the photographer of this postcard was standing, but I still can’t quite work out what the labourers are doing. My guess is that they are working on stabilizing the embankment or on some form of drainage.
This is one of the delights of postcard collecting, some postcards were intended to capture events such as fun fairs or accidents, but this one has probably quite unintentionally captured something much more mundane, but just as important. It is most unlikely that the photographer set out to record men at work on the railway, but that is what he ended up capturing.
I like railways, the older the better (it is just a coincidence that today is the 240th birthday of Richard Trevithick). The postcard below is of one of the oldest railway lines in Sussex, the London to Brighton Railway.
I assume that this view is looking north from Rocky Lane Bridge towards Haywards Heath, there are some shapes in the distance that are probably meant to be the buildings of Haywards Heath. I particularly like the colouring of the trees, although I am not sure how realistic it was.
I also love the fact that despite their being a train steaming towards them there are two figures wandering across the railway lines, in fact it looks like one of them is bending over.
This is the stretch of line on which George MITCHELL (probably my 4x great-grandfather) was killed after being struck by a train. I am not sure if it was on this particular section of the line, or further south.
Either way it was several decades before this postcard was published. This card was sent to Mrs B. Wadey of Station Road, Horley, Surrey on the 10th August 1909.
I wouldn’t normally have bothered with a card like this when it turned up on eBay a couple of weeks ago. The view is nothing special and the condition is a little poor, but it was the message that had been written in the top-left corner that appealed to me.
I would have to agree with the writer’s comment, it is lovely at Beachy Head and in answer to the question, “Yes I would like to go walking there” and probably will very soon.
The condition of the back of the card is not very good, someone has removed the stamp taking with it most of the postmark, so these particular pieces of dating evidence are gone. The message on the card however almost makes up for the missing stamp, like the one earlier in the week it is on the subject of collecting postcards.
The sender says she is “now collecting Coat of Arms now, but please don’t send Poole & B-mouth as I have those”. I wonder how big her collection was and how many different themes she collected?
This postcard shows one of the main shopping streets in Horsham, Sussex and as such is not particularly unusual. The reason I bought it was to do with the message more than anything else.
West Street, Horsham, West Sussex is now pedestrianised and I pass along it almost every evening on my way home from work. Although the shop fronts have changed the upper floors and roofs of many of the buildings haven’t altered a great deal, on the outside at least.
The interest is in the subject of the message, postcard collecting. To save you standing on your head here is the message the right way up.
Mr D. Bryce of East Street, Horsham was sending this to a fellow collector of PPCs (Picture Postcards) with the hope of receiving similar cards in return. Note the request for views only, obviously he wasn’t interested in postcards of flowers or kittens or such like. The address side of the card adds further interest to the card.
Not only is the card being sent to Mademoiselle A. Trabuchet in France and the postmark reveals quite an early posting date of the 7th July 1903, but it also provides an excellent illustration of the postal regulations in force at the time.
For foreign countries only the front of the card could be used for the message and cost of postage was double the usual rate of half a penny. I am not sure whether this was the official rate for France or whether the sender was just being over-cautious. Either way Mr D. Bryce must have been a very keen collector, I wonder if he got any cards in return?
The postcard below is of St. Mary’s Church, Slaugham, Sussex. Despite being reasonably local to me it is a church I haven’t yet visited, partly because the connection to my family history is not particularly strong. One notable exception however was George Thomas GASSON ( my 2x great-grandfather and lunatic) who was baptised there on the 29th January 1854.
There is no mention of a publisher on this postcard, but it is very similar in style to those issued by A.H. Homewood of Burgess Hill, Sussex, but it doesn’t bear his tell-tale name and place identifier.
At the top left of the postcard you can see the corners of two stamps reaching around from the back of the card. The image below show the back in all its “glory”. Not a lot to look at and not much of a message, still I am sure Ma was pleased to hear that Ethel had arrived safely.
It seems quite surprising to me that a postcard of a rural church in Slaugham, Sussex was sent from Saxmundham, Suffolk to an address in Belvedere, Kent. I wonder what the story was behind this trio of places?
Perhaps more curious is the use of two half-penny stamps. The postmark clearly shows a date of the 24th September 1908 and the inland postage rate didn’t go up to one penny until 1918, before that the rate would have been half a penny. Strange? Am I missing something?
It has been a while since I showed you a postcard from West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex. The postcard below is of West Dean House, the centre of the West Dean Estate (maybe not physically, but metaphorically).
The postcard shows the front (the southern side) of West Dean House bathed in sunshine, you can tell because most of the windows are shaded by striped blinds. Unfortunately the sunshine also obscures much of the detail, so that you can’t see that the front of the building is faced with thousands of flints.
To the left of the entrance and above the top of the building you can see the top of the tower of St. Andrew’s Church peeking out above the roof, with its four distinctive mini-spires (I’m sure they have a proper name).
The card itself is unused, but the name in the bottom right-hand corner seems to give away the name of the photographer. However “Russell Chichester” suggests that George Henry Allen of Chichester, Sussex was the publisher and rather confusingly the photographer may have been either Thomas Russell or George Henry Allen. Without any further dating evidence it is going to hard for me to say which.
I can’t wait for some bright and warm days when I can head back to West Dean myself and walk some of the footpaths and explore the parish further.
I bought this postcard over a month ago now and I am so pleased with it that I don’t know why I have shown you it until now. It still makes me smile every time I look at it.
This postcard was printed and published by The Mezzotint Co. of Brighton, Sussex. It was posted on the 5th October 1906 from Framfield itself, destined for a Mrs. Brooker in Battle, Sussex. Technically speaking because the card is printed the detail is not quite so sharp as on a photographic card, but it is still an excellent card in my opinion.
Several generations of my ancestors probably passed through that school, although I have yet to find the school admission registers to prove it. I wonder why the children are standing outside and why so few? Were they late for class or perhaps early? Who are the two older figures? I love the bicycle leaning against the hedge, almost taller than the girl standing next to it.
What was most surprising to me is that the building is still in use as a school. Despite a few changes to the buildings they are still recognisable, but fortunately there were no children standing in the road when the Google Street View car went past.