Saturday, February 24, 2018

1909 failure of a publisher of Hertfordshire postcards

Chester Vaughan was a photographic printer based in Acton, Middlesex, which published many view postcards covering the South East of England, including a number of places in the south of Hertfordshire in 1903-5. Following a recent email  I decided to update a draft page of his views - and find out what happened to the firm.

The above advert, from 1909, suggests Chester Vaughan suffered the same fate as many other companies which were involved in what is often referred to as the "Golden Age"" of post cards. Unfortunately the advert does not quantify the "large quantity of picture postcards" but it is likely to be much larger than the number of view negatives and the problem may well be over-optimistic print runs ending up with unsold stock.

A Chester Vaughan Series view of Lululand, Bushey


Friday, February 23, 2018

Karaktus, the mysterious St Albans comic artist, has finally been identified

"Karaktus" was a St Albans based comic artist whose pseudomym was presumably based on the Caractacus who ruled in Hertfordshire when the Roman arrived nearly 2000 years ago.

The cards were published by the very short-lived Crown Publishing Co of St Albans in 1908/9, together with some other unsigned cards, believed to be by him, which I have identified as being by an artist who signed many of his cards "F. S.," 


These were published by another short-lived company - The London View Co. Ltd, which I already knew because they had published a number of view cards of Watford.


But who was
"F. S." ?  

In the post card literature some people were saying hewas an artist called Fred Stone, who published some cards around 1905 while others argued that he was Fred Spurgin, whose name stared to appear on cards in 1910 and produced many in the First World War and the 1920s.

Trying to sort things out involved looking as thousands of card images and I set up a draft catalogue to record them, and my research notes - and put them online so that others could comment. Several weeks ago, based in part on information from past auction sales, I have come to agree with one of the relevant post card collectors that all the cards were produced by Fred Spurgin who worked using a number of names, starting with Fred Stone.


The research has provided a lot of information of how the post card industry worked in the early days of the 20th century - with many short-lived companies going out of business despite the overall boom in the number of cards being posted. Further postings on this subject are planned.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Peace day at Rickmansworth

The Peace Day Parade, 19th July 1919, somewhere near Rickmansworth
Louise has kindly supplied a digital copy of this interesting postcard, which I have added to the Rickmansworth pages of the main web site. Can you identify any of the children in the foreground?

If you have similar old postcards or original photographs relating to Hertfordshire relating to the First World War or earlier it may be possible to share them on the Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

BATTEN and St Leonards Church, Shoreditch

In 2002 Valerie asked me why her Hertfordshire Batten relatives might have married at St Leonard's Church, Shoreditch - and and I described why many Hertfordshire people chose to be married in London Churches.

Now Beryl has contacted the site to supply a link to pictures of this interesting London Church.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Talk 15th February: The Spiritualism of Ebenezer Howard




Following my post last month about Edward Arthur (Evacustes) Phipson this talk could be interesting as the Evacustes and Ebenezer clearly were closely associated in the 1890s, and both were interested in setting up socialist communities. Did they share an interest in spiritualism?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Drunk in Charge in 1867

Drunken driving was a problem before the invention of the motor car, and the Victorian local papers often contain accounts such as the following, where Thomas Waldock apparently fell asleep while in charge of a donkey cart, leaving it blocking the road, to the annoyance of the Rev. John Johnson Tuck, of Wymondley. The resulting court case was reported in the Hertfordshire Express and General Advertiser of 11th May, 1867.

CORRECTION: Patricia has kindly drawn my attention to an error in my 2012 answer to a question about the Rev. John Johnson Tuck's school in Little Wymondley, where I incorrectly recorded the name of his mother. This has now been corrected.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Query about a trade union banner (dated 1 August 1920)


All good things eventually come to an end, and I am currently working on the Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site to get it into a form where it can safely and usefully be archived. There is a long backlog of Hertfordshire postcards waiting to be loaded onto the site - and there is an embargo on purchasing more (although I am always happy to receive digital images which augment existing pages).

Even if I am not buying I occasionally see interesting cards on ebay - and one has just caught my eye. It shows a procession, photographed by Albert Arthur Durrah (1890-1973) of Rickmansworth. A group of men are carrying the above banner. Can anyone suggest the full name of the trades union (which is unfortunately obscured)?

Changing Comic Post Cards when the First World War started

When the First World War broke out there was a rush of new post cards which showed our soldiers in a good light. 

But there was a problem in that in the years before the war there were "comic" post cards which painted a less favourable view of our armed forces. 

The answer was to redraw and reissue the cards to show things as they were now that our gallant men were fighting at the front.


Note - If you could only afford one domestic servant she did all the jobs around the house and was often referred to as "The General."

Upgrading Pictures of Little Gaddesden

The Rectory, Little Gaddesden
I have upgraded the Little Gaddesden pages so that now you get a larger image if you click on any of the early 20th century post card images.
I have also added new pictures of The Rectory

Saturday, December 30, 2017

My New Year Resolution: Don't Panic, Be Realistic, Keep Fit

See other 100 year old post cards by "F S"
I am currently making plans for 2018 as I clearly did not get as much done in 2017 as I had hoped. My Must do list is as follows:
  1. Don't Panic - I don't have time to put the world to rights - and if I get depressed about things I can't control I will achieve nothing.
  2. Be realistic - as I am almost 80 and old age has a limiting effect on what can be done.
  3. Keep fit - both mentally and physically so that I am in a position to do what needs to be done

That's it. There is no long list of specific tasks which are awaiting action - as such a list would be so long that I would panic at its size, I would fail by unrealistically trying to take on an impossible work load, and I would make myself too ill to achieve anything useful.

So I intend to relax, enjoy life, and do no more that I can comfortably do ....