If you have read my last two Ancestral Profile posts (if not, why not?) about John FAIRS and Eliza WORSFOLD you will remember that the church at West Grinstead, Sussex was an important part of their lives. Both John and Eliza were baptised at the church, they were married there and both were buried in the churchyard.
This is the first of two postcards I have of the interior of West Grinstead Church. It was either published by Archibald and Frederick Baker or their partner Cecil Travers, it is not clear which one it was, or whether it was a joint effort. The date is probably between 1905 and 1910, or at least the original photo was probably from that date, as it was probably reprinted at least once.
Postcards from Brighton, Sussex are not particularly rare, having been a tourist destination for many years there must have been millions of cards produced. This one probably doesn’t actually show Brighton beach and I am sure if I looked I could find examples with the names of many different seaside resorts on them.
The reason this appealed to me was the colour and design, it is such a bright and cheerful card. That is why I have featured it today, after last week’s snow scenes and the generally grey weather we have had, I decided that things needed brightening up!
I have no idea who published this card, it was posted on the 23rd August 1907 to an address in Camberwell, but the handwriting is a bit dodgy so I can’t be sure, or actually make sense of the message. Hopefully it will brighten up your day to!
To celebrate the fact that this morning I woke up to the first snowfall of the winter (it was only a light dusting, but snow nevertheless), here is a postcard from my collection which consists of twenty-one different views of a snow-covered Brighton, Sussex.
What is most interesting about this postcard is that it is made up of lots of individual postcards. If you click on the image and look closely at the enlarged image you will see each picture has a caption just like a postcard. The postcard on far-right of the second row is of Preston Park and I have a full size version of the postcard in my collection.
I have similar multi-view postcards in my collection where you can actually see the pins that were used to hold the cards in place while the photographer took another photo of the montage of postcards.
I don’t know who the photographer/publisher was, but the postcard of Preston Park gives a clue to the date, it has an extra caption giving the date of the 24th April 1908. I don’t know whether this relates to the date of the snowfall or when the photo was taken, the snow could have lingered for some time. I will have to check the local newspapers to see exactly when the snowfall took place and what the effect of the snowfall was on the residents of Brighton.
I did say last week that I didn’t have any more postcards of West Dean (near Chichester), Sussex, well it was true at the time but I acquired three more at the weekend, so here goes with another one.
This is a wonderful view of School Lane, West Dean but I have to be honest and say I am not certain where exactly School Lane is. I think it is the road that runs down past the burial ground, which would be up the top of the road in the picture on the left-hand side. I think I have located the cottages on an old map, but it looks like they are no longer there now so I probably won’t be able to verify if I have the right place. Nevertheless I will check next time I pay a visit, just in case some element of the scene remains, perhaps the railings on the right-hand side of the road.
The card itself is a little battered around the edges, but then it is over 100 years old, being posted on the 1st August 1907 at Chichester. There are no clues as to the publisher or photographer of the card. As you can see below there is quite an intriguing message on the back.
I wonder what was in the parcel and why it was so urgent? Was the sender at the races at nearby Goodwood (there was racing that week at Goodwood) and then off to Cowes on the Isle of Wight for a spot of yachting? In the 1911 census we find Ernest Albert and Ada Harriet Smoker living at 34 Birkhall Road, Catford, London, so it looks like Ernest was writing home to his wife for something, but what? I guess we shall probably never know.
This is probably going to be last of my West Dean postcards for the time being, I think I have exhausted my West Dean collection, but don’t worry I still have plenty of other cards to write about.
As the caption says this is West Dean Church (near Chichester, Sussex) seen from the west looking through the church gate to the ivy clad tower. There are no clues on the back of the card to suggest the date or publisher/photographer. I am guessing that it is probably before the fire in 1934.
According to the church guide book the tower “was built by the Woods family of Chilgrove (not Chilgrove Manor) in 1726, this date being on the sundial on the south side. It holds three bells, one of 1601, one of 1651 and one of uncertain date, all recast 1936. The Woods family would appear to have been very proud of this tower. The last Mr. John Woods, aided by some of his workmen, would be let over the top in a bosun’s chair in order that he might cut the ivy and point the stonework, a task that he always made his own.”
I don’t know who is responsible for the maintainance of the church tower now, but as you can see from the photo below (taken by me on the 16th June 2010) it looks in splendid ivy free condition.