A Recycled Mucky Postcard To Lady Luppell

I came across this old postcard whilst sorting through the junk/priceless archives in my room. I decided to do a Google search for the “Lady Luppell” the card is addressed to. The only reference to the lady I could find was a blog post I wrote eight years ago, the last time I found the postcard! Recycling is very popular at the moment; so why not recycle a blog post …..

I bought a mucky postcard on Sunday. It was dog-eared, and torn, and stained and cracked, but it was only 50p and that isn’t much to pay for a bit of one hundred year old history. The picture is of the Stray in Harrogate which is an area of open parkland much traversed by generations of gentlefolk who had visited the Yorkshire Spa town to take the sulphurous waters. It will be a machine tinted illustration, but whoever mixed the colours seems to have captured the greyish-yellowish-bluish skies that so often are a feature of Yorkshire. Flipping the card over we can make out some of the message:

“The weather is perfectly delightful place very full and amusements still going on. We return Friday week boys go school – – How long are you staying —-“

It was sent to what looks like Lady Luppell who was staying at the Valley of Rocks Hotel in Lynton, Devon, a rather grand establishment which still exists. I have been able to find no trace of Lady Luppell : she seems to have passed through the world and left little record of her passing other than a mucky old 50 pence postcard.

The original postcard, recycled and patched up – good for another 100 years

A Tram To The Dutchman

An old picture postcard of Boothtown Road in Halifax lands in my collection: a typical scene from the first decade of the twentieth century with tramlines and empty streets. If you look carefully at the photograph, you can make out part of the Akroydon model village on the left of the road and, in the distance, the Flying Dutchman pub on the right. A similar view today would be more colourful, but otherwise surprisingly similar … but without the trams.

The postcard was unused, so we have to do without that nugget of social history that is the brief message on the reverse. Perhaps we need to add a story to it, and send it on its way.

The story is quite an appropriate one, as it relates to the Flying Dutchman Beerhouse. The pub dates from around the same time as the construction of Akroydon village – the 1860s – and it would appear that the dreadful incident described in this report from the Bradford Observer of the 8th February 1866, involved workers employed on local building work. The report is as follows:-

HALIFAX : Dreadful Death and Alleged Violence : Monday, at the Infirmary, a bricklayer’s labourer named Moses Atkinson, aged fifty years, died it is supposed from violence at the hands of his master, Mr. Abraham Garforth, brickmaker, Akroydon. Halifax. Garforth has been taken into custody. Garforth was accustomed to pay his men’s wages on Saturday afternoons, at the Flying Dutchman beerhouse, Boothtown. On Saturday, the men assembled as usual. During the time they were together some words of unpleasantness passed between Garforth and Atkinson. It is affirmed that they retired into the back yard to fight, and it is further asserted that suddenly Garforth seized Atkinson by the shoulders and pushed him violently backward, Atkinson falling upon the back of his head on the pavement. He lay in state of insensibility for some time, then asked for some beer, which the landlady refused to supply him, and he managed to walk to another beer house in the same neighbourhood, where he remained in a state of stupor until closing time, and as he appeared unable to help himself, he was thoughtlessly removed to a damp brick shed, where he remained until noon of Sunday. Mr. Johnson, clerk of the works at Akroydon, hearing of the case, immediately went to the shed, and found the man shivering and in an insensible state. He was at once removed in a cab to the Infirmary, where he died, not having recovered consciousness.

And so I append the story to the card and send it to myself to remind me that the very streets and houses, pubs and yards of this home of mine resonate to the sound of human history.

A Postcard From The Conservatory

This immensely colourful postcard of the conservatory at Akroyd Park in Halifax must date from the first decade of the twentieth century, although it is difficult to date it precisely as it was never posted. Bankfield House, the home of Edward Akroyd, and its grounds, were sold to Halifax Corporation in the 1880s and converted into a park, library and museum. In Victorian times, no grand garden was complete without a cast-iron conservatory, sheltering the delicate flowers from, not only the cruel English climate, but also the choking English smog.

Postcard From Eliza – 2lbs Of Averlenture

My great uncle, Fowler Beanland, was a collector of postcards during the great postcard collection craze of the first decade of the twentieth century. He saved all the postcards he received and, on his death, these were passed on to first my mother and later to me. This particular card from the collection features a view of Druid’s Altar, a rock formation between Keighley and Bingley.

Turn the card over and you discover a bit of a puzzle. The card comes from my Great Aunt Eliza and informs poor Fowler that it will cost 1/4 for 2lbs of something or other to be sent to him by post. But what is to be sent? To me, the word looks like “Averlenture”, but what on earth is that? If you Google the word, the only reference to it you will find is a link to something I wrote about this postcard back in 2014. As usual, we are left with endless questions : did the Averlenture arrive on time, was it worth the 1/4d postage, and what exactly did Fowler do with it? Answers on a postcard to Fowler Beanland, 48, Swan Street, Longtown.

A Postcard From Randal Cremer

There are few better ways of spending an evening than undertaking a pointless journey of discovery. I am not using the word “pointless” in a negative sense – I’m a great believer in pointlessness – but in the sense of an exercise that is an end in itself rather than a means to some other end. It is following a path, not to see where it leads, but to see where it goes. My journey started with a postcard from Sir William Randal Cremer MP. I should explain, the card wasn’t really from him – he’s been dead and buried for getting on for 115 years so the postcard would have been seriously delayed if it was from him! – but featured his portrait. The card must have been published early in the twentieth century, when politicians as well as musical hall stars and pictures of seaside piers were seen as suitable subjects for picture postcards (oh! how the world has changed). Never having heard of Randal Cremer, I went in search of his story – and what a fascinating story it was.

He was born in 1828 in Fareham in Hampshire into poverty and a working class single parent family. He found work in the shipyards and became a carpenter and one of the early leaders of the carpenters’ trade union. He became active in politics, he was a friend of Karl Marx, and in 1865 he was elected as the Secretary of the International Workingman’s Association (also known as the First International). His radicalism didn’t extend to a belief in equality for women, however, and he left the IWA in 1867 when women were allowed participation within the organisation. His attentions switched to a belief in the concept of arbitration for the settlement of disputes, in particular international disputes, and he was a co-founder of both the International Arbitration League and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. From 1885 to 1895 and 1900 to 1908, he was a Liberal Member Of Parliament for the Haggerston constituency in East London.

His efforts in pursuit of international peace and arbitration were rewarded in 1903 when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – the first ever individual recipient of the award. His work in the field of international relations also brought honours from several other European governments. He died in 1908, and perhaps it was a blessing that he didn’t live to see so much of the work he had been involved in destroyed by the Great War. His name lives on in a Primary School in the part of London where he used to be the Member of Parliament. His name also lives on in an old picture postcard that has gathered dust in the unclassified corners of my old postcard collection.

From Bookseller To Bookmaker In Two Generations

Whiteley’s Corner was the name given to the corner of Bethel Street and Huddersfield Road in Brighouse, so called because that was the location of Whiteley’s newsagents and tobacconists and their famous clock. The Whiteley family ran the shop for much of the twentieth century and it became such an established part of the town, and under the clock became such a well known meeting point, that the family name became part of the local geographical nomenclature. The stock in trade of the shop were books, tobacco and newspapers and therefore it is no surprise that it didn’t make it into the twenty-first century. The site has now been taken over by a betting shop, thus completing the cultural descent – from bookseller the bookmaker.

Change has had its effects on many of the neighbouring buildings as well. The Albert Cinema is now a bar and the Pentecostal Hall is no longer open to receive the holy spirit. Time doesn’t stand still, however: changes in culture, fashions, and beliefs are marked by the constant movement of the hands of Whiteley’s clock.

It Wouldn’t Do For Mrs Read

Vintage picture postcards sent during the great postcard craze of the first decade of the twentieth century not only provide us with a picture of the physical landscape of our towns and villages at this transformative moment in time, but they also provide us with an insight into the everyday lives of the ordinary people who sent and received them. Such cards are an exercise in historical voyeurism, and all the more fascinating for that: they are instagram messages from a bygone era. 

This particular postcard shows City Square in Leeds and provides a prospect which will be familiar to those who know Leeds in the twenty-first century. The post office building, thankfully, remains largely unchanged – although you are more likely to get your lunch there these days than to post a letter. The Black Prince still trots motionless in the centre of the square and, no doubt, still wonders what on earth he is doing in Leeds.  These days there are some additional concrete sore thumbs and a good deal more traffic, but the picture side of the card doesn’t raise any unanswerable questions.

Turn the card over and you are immediately reminded that the idea that in these good old days children were taught to write neatly, spell correctly, and punctuate properly is just another of those urban myths. The card comes from Mabel to her friend Miss M Baines, who lives in Altofts on the outskirts of Leeds. The message reads – as far as I can tell – as follows:-

3rd May 1906 : Dear M just a line hoping you are all well as it leaves me quite well how are they all getting on I heare you are all very busy I have not much time had the old —— for dinner won’t do for Mrs Read love to all Mabel.

The missing word is indecipherable and could be anything from damselle to Devon hen, and probably a lot in-between. Whatever they had for dinner probably didn’t do for Mrs Read, but there again, whatever will?

Kathleen Courtney

Kathleen Courtney was an Edwardian actress who starred in a variety of shows and pantomimes during the first decade of the twentieth century. If she had been alive now, she would have had a large Twitter and Facebook following, but given her time of popularity,  her photograph graced an endless series of Edwardian picture postcards.

Grass Is Green, Sky Is Blue

To prove a point I made yesterday, here is a hand-coloured postcard view the Lock-keepers cottage at Salterhebble from around 1905. The artificial intelligence behind this bit of colouring would have been a studio artist, but they would have worked on the same basis as their modern AI equivalent: grass is green, sky is blue, and flowers are normally pink. I passed this scene only this morning and I am pleased to say that not all that much has changed: the cottage still guards the lock, the railway line still directs the hill and All Saints Church still looks down on the world below. And the grass is still green, but, this morning, the sky wasn’t blue.