Tag Archives: picture postcard

Postcard Album: Saddlescombe and Devil’s Dyke, Sussex

27 Jan

I have moved a couple of miles south-west along the South Downs (compared to last week) for this postcard. There is no publisher named on this card and rather bizarrely it was not posted in Sussex, but in Cambridge on the 5th September 1927 and sent to an address in Coventry.

Here we are on West Hill looking west towards Devil’s Dyke. The clump of trees on top of the hill hides the whereabouts of the Dyke Hotel and by this time most, if not all, of the amusements on the hill-top had long since closed down.

For me the real interest in this picture is not the Dyke, but the hamlet of Saddlescombe and its National Trust owned farm nestling between the hills.

What I really like about this image are the giant haystacks, as big as some of the farm buildings among which they were built. The buildings may have preserved but I think you would be lucky to find a haystack these days, let alone enough people with the skill and expertise to build one.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Postcard Album: Wolstonbury Hill, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex

21 Jan

The postcard below shows Wolstonbury Hill south of Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex. I believe this view is looking south toward the northern slope of the hill. Although it not particularly detailed I love the figures in the foreground, taking their dogs for a walk.

There is no publisher or photographer named on this postcard, although it was posted in May 1904 so it is quite an early card. The typeface of the caption and the style of the reverse of the card are reminiscent of those published by Mezzotint Co. of Brighton, Sussex.

Whilst this is a nice picture (which was the reason I bought it) the card has a more interesting back.

As you can see there is no message just an address, stamp and postmark (or cancellation). If you look closely you will see that the stamp is in fact upside down. You may have heard about something called the language of stamps (it was even mentioned on the Antiques Roadshow a couple of weeks ago).

Basically the orientation of the stamp was like a secret code, although of course it wasn’t actually a secret. There seem to have been several variations depending on where you came from, but one option for the upside-down stamp, and the one that I prefer is that it was shorthand for “I love you”.

In the 1911 census Beatrice Willis (36 years old and unmarried) was living at 119 Kings Road, Kingston on Thames, who must have been the recipient of this card, but I guess we will never know who the sender was?

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Postcard Album: Bolney Church, Sussex

6 Jan

I have shown you several postcards of Bolney church from my collection before, inside and out (and even the lych gate) but the postcard below is slightly different because it shows a side of the church which I don’t think I have seen on a postcard before.


This view is taken from the north-eastern end of the churchyard near the school and shows the less than interesting northern side of the church.

I am not sure who the photographer or publisher was, the caption is quite distinctive, and I have several similar ones in my collection. This postcard was posted from nearby Haywards Heath in June 1914.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Postcard Album: The Schools, Framfield, Sussex

28 Oct

Many months ago I showed you a postcard of the school in Framfield, Sussex which was really the school building rather than todays postcard which hardly shows anything of the building, but instead shows the school in terms of the children that made up the school.

This really is a delightful postcard, admittedly the quality is not brilliant but what I really like is that this doesn’t have the formality of normal school photos, with children lined up in rows. Here we find the children all over the place, some in the road, some peering through the hedge and some even climbing in the hedge by the look of it.

The majority are standing, but there are some kneeling, one little boy on his hands and knees and a couple of boys lying in the road. If you look really closely it looks like four of the boys have bottles in their hands, one boy in the middle looks like he might be saluting, but I think he is probably taking a swig from his bottle. And not a teacher to be seen anywhere.

The sad thing of course is that we don’t know who any of these children are, although I feel sure that there must be several HEMSLEY children among this lot and probably a few other relatives. Unfortunately I don’t have any other photos to compare this against, but I would guess this dates from around 1910.

Interestingly when you compare this with the other postcard it also looks like the photograph has been flipped, the school building should be on the left hand side of the postcard. I wonder whether this was an accident or whether the publisher (A.H. Homewood of Burgess Hill, Sussex) thought it looked better this way?

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Postcard Album: The River at Houghton

20 Oct

This delightful postcard found its way into my collection because it is such a lovely view. It is an area that I have walked in the past (up the river from Arundel) and it is within the boundaries of the South Downs National Park and at one time was on the route of the South Downs Way, but that was moved a bit further north away from the busy road.

As the caption says, this it “THE RIVER AT HOUGHTON”, the river itself is the River Arun in West Sussex and we are looking roughly south-west down river as it snakes its way towards Arundel and eventually to Littlehampton (about ten miles away) where it meets the sea.

Houghton is a small hamlet which is just up the little road on the right of the picture. I believe the photograph was actually taken near Houghton Bridge and more specifically from the tip of the little island on which the middle of the bridge rests.

The photographer responsible was Frederick Douglas Miller of Haywards Heath, whose name is embossed in the bottom right-hand corner, who produced some of the most outstanding picture postcards of Sussex.

This postcard was posted from Arundel on the 7th June 1920 (at least I think it is 1920). It was sent to a Miss Acford in London and has the rather puzzling message: Thanks very much for “Punch” and information. I am hoping there will be a little change left out of it when we come home. We are having lovely weather – cold winds night and morning but gloriously hot and sunny all day – hope it will last. Yrs A.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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