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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, Sussex

13 Jan

Last week I showed you a postcard  of the Parish Church in Bolney, Sussex, well that same church features on the postcard below or at least the church tower does, poking up above the trees and houses.

This is another postcard by one of my favourite photographers F. Douglas Miller (if you look closely you can see his name embossed in the bottom-right corner). This postcard has not been used, but probably dates from around 1910.

Although my ancestors lived in Bolney and would have known this road (known as The Street) they didn’t actually live in any of the houses featured. No doubt they would have attended the church and probably also the pub (The Eight Bells) at the far end of the road on the right. They probably would have visited the post office as well (the building with the canopy or the one next door).

Although there is not a lot going on in the picture there is something particularly appealing about this card, I can’t quite put my finger on it. What I can say is that to me it captures perfectly a moment in time, what life was like most of the time in a rural Sussex village.

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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Happy New Year 2012

1 Jan

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