Tag Archives: hurstpierpoint

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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Personal Research Update: Sunday 11th December 2011

11 Dec

My already limited research time has been even further reduced over the last couple of weeks, as a result of which I have again done very little research over the last few weeks.

I did get the opportunity to scan some more of my postcards (and to buy some more) but strictly speaking that is not really family history, although a few were of ancestral locations (mainly churches).

What little family history I did do was centred around maps. I spent some time on the A Vision of Britain through Time website studying the First Series Ordnance Survey map from 1813 for the western part of Sussex. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but I ended up finding where my 4x great-grandparents Thomas and Mary WELLER lived in Twineham, Sussex.

That discovery was particularly satisfying because I had struggled to find their home for a while, but I will write more about that at a future date.

My other research centred around Henry and Dorothy Isabella BATEMAN (my 2x great-grandparents) and the whereabouts of their home in Hurst Wickham, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. Encouraged by the comments of a local resident on one of my blog posts I decided to re-visit this particular problem again.

Using the 1911 census I was able to find out the names of adjacent properties to their house (2 Shenley Villas) and by studying the maps on oldmaps.co.uk I was able pin down the probable location of their house.

The key thing here was that the map contemporary with the 1911 census didn’t show house names, but one from fifty years later did have house names on it, and enough of those names hadn’t changed to enable me to find Shenley Villas, now known as The Double House, at least that is my belief.

Now I know where to look I should be able to confirm this with a visit to The National Archives to view the records of the Valuation Office Survey. This will not only confirm that I have the right property but it should also give me a description of the house itself, so well worth doing next time I am up at Kew.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Why did grandmother move to West Grinstead?

7 Feb

When I looked back on what I achieved last week it seemed like I hadn’t really done much family history, but this is because I still need to get away from the idea that I need to be adding names and dates to my family tree to be doing family history.

Last week I spent a lot of time, perhaps a bit too much, looking at Hatterells, West Grinstead, Sussex and it’s connection to my family history. This hasn’t added anything new to my family tree yet, ultimately the only thing that I am going to be adding to my family tree in relation to Hatterells are some address details for my grandmother and some of her children.

Whilst there are few hard facts to add to my family tree there is more background material that needs to be recorded, like the details from the rent book and there are a few more records that need checking, which might give me more information, but nothing that is going to fit neatly into my family tree.

So along with very little to add to my family tree I have also brought to the surface again a question which had been pushed to the back of my mind, every so often it comes to the front only to get pushed back again. I wonder if now is the time to tackle that question?

The question is why did my grandmother with her three children move from Hurstpierpoint, Sussex to West Grinstead, Sussex in 1943? There seems no clear reason why a mother with three young children and a husband serving overseas should move to an unfamiliar place, albeit not that far away, but still it would seem unnecessary upheaval unless there was a good reason.

Of course the reason it keeps getting pushed to the back of my mind is because it is probably an unanswerable question. Neither of my grandparents are alive to ask, and the three children were probably too young to remember the reason behind their move, if they were ever told in the first place.

For now I will just push that question back a little way in my mind, not right to the back, but just far enough not to fully occupy my thoughts, but not far enough to stop it being forgotten/ignored again.

Treasures from the attic: Certificate of Merit Awarded to Dorothy TROWER

5 Oct

This is one of the treasures I discovered in my parent’s attic last weekend, it is a Certificate of Merit awarded to my grandmother Dorothy TROWER for “Good Conduct and Regular Attendance at Hurstpierpoint Sunday School”.

Certificate of Merit Awarded to Dorothy TROWER

Unfortunately the certificate, which is printed on card, has been badly damaged by being folded at some time, and the handwriting is beginning to fade, so it is not easy to read the date in the bottom left which is Advent 1924. The actual size of the certificate is 10 inches by 8 inches.

In 1924 Dorothy Annie TROWER would have been aged 12 years old and was probably living at 5 Hazeldene Terrace in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex with her younger sister Eleanor May and their father (Henry John TROWER). Their mother had died eight years earlier in 1916, and their father had not yet remarried.

Happy St. George’s Day 2010

23 Apr

Happy St. George’s Day to all my readers, and that is about the limit as far as my celebrations of St. George’s Day will stretch. As I said last year, there is not really any great outpouring of patriotism surrounding the Patron Saint of England.

Perhaps it is because of this that I have struggled to find any historic postcards that celebrate St. George’s Day. I am sure there must be some with depictions of St. George but I haven’t found any. Instead I present you with a postcard of a church dedicated to him.

St. George's Church, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex

This is St. George’s Church in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. I am not aware of any direct family link with this church, although there were several of my ancestors living nearby. This postcard was published by A.H. Homewood from nearby Burgess Hill, probably around 1905.

Personally, this card reminds me of my Sussex Day (16th June) walk last year when I visited Hurstpierpoint and passed by St. George’s Church.

St Georges Church, Hurstpierpoint

Sadly the church is not in use any more, or at least it wasn’t last year and I don’t expect the situation has changed since. I am sure that in the future a new use for it will emerge, at least it is now a Grade II listed building so it should receive some protection in the future.

Picture Postcard Parade: The Lake, Chinese Gardens, Hurstpierpoint

8 Apr

This slightly battered postcard is of the Chinese Gardens, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. I’m afraid I don’t know  much about this place, expect that it was near where my great-grandfather lived in Hurstpierpoint and that the gardens have long since gone.

The Lake, Chinese Gardens, Hurstpierpoint

Apart from the fact that it is a delightful picture, probably a group of Victorian day-trippers enjoying a leisurely trip in a boat. Now I come to think about it, the boat looks rather crowded and there doesn’t appear to any visible means of propulsion, so perhaps they have been cast adrift from a sinking ship.

No, the real reason I chose this postcard is because it makes me feel incredibly optimistic about future. The weather here is starting to feel like spring is in full swing, just the sort of weather for messing about in boats, or more importantly for me, suitable for doing some serious walking again.

How not to identify your family photos

4 Mar

Everyone knows that they should put names and dates on photos, and whilst we may curse our ancestors for not doing so, I am sure most of us are guilty of the same crime.

So when this possible family photo turned up today, from another of my father’s boxes, I had to smile, not just because it is such a nice photo.

Photo in envelope

It had been kept in an envelope addressed to my grandmother, then Miss D TROWER of 5 Hazeldene Terrace,  Hurstpierpoint, Sussex. The envelope is postmarked 21st July 1936, but the actual location it was posted from is not clear, but it may be nearby Burgess Hill.

Although someone had written on the back of the photo, as you can see it wasn’t particularly helpful.

Photo in envelope (back)

I couldn’t help smiling, perhaps one of my ancestors had a warped sense of humour, but more than likely it made perfect sense to whoever wrote it at the time.

So I have no idea if this is Dorothy Annie TROWER, I have nothing to compare this against, but it could just as easily have been her sister, cousin or a friend, or the envelope could be a complete red herring.

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