Tuesday, 15 April 2014

R. B. Southgate, Baker, Frimley, Surrey, c1911

This postcard shows the bakery of Richard Brown Southgate in Frimley, Surrey in about 1911. It seems likely that Mr Southgate is the man standing outside the shop. The shop is now part of the Frimley Childrens Centre and it looks set to be demolished soon as part of a big refurbishment. Photographer or publisher not credited on the postcard. Click the postcard to enlarge.



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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Worthing, Sussex, West Tarring High Street c1913

Worthing, Sussex, West Tarring High Street circa 1913. West Tarring is just north of Worthing. The half-timbered building on the right is now a restaurant called The Parsonage. On the right we can see the George and Dragon pub. Postcard by W. H. Applebee. Click the postcard to enlarge.



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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Ripley, Surrey, 1913 & The Strange Obliteration of Ruth Hill

Ripley, Surrey, 1913. These postcards, all photographed and published by W. H. Applebee of Ashford, Middlesex in 1913 show various views of Ripley, a village near Woking. If we study the first image, Ripley Court WHA 6, we can clearly see a young lady. She has been identified as Ruth Lydia Hill, born 1898, granddaughter of Alfred Hill, a 'bootmaker, clothing and draper'. A later version of the same postcard, Ripley Court WHA 3946 shows the same image, but poor Ruth has been crudely obliterated by the photographer, scratching her out of the negative.
The next image, Rose Lane Ripley WHA 4 shows Ruth on her bicycle next to a boy. Again, a later version of this postcard, Rose Lane Ripley WHA 3944 shows her to have been obliterated from the negative. The boy is still there.
Another image, Fire Station, Ripley, WHA 7 shows Ruth again. Though I do not possess it, there is surely a later version of this image in the 394x series showing the same view with Ruth having been obliterated.
Finally, an image of Rose Cottage (WHA3948) with a tell-tale obliterated person. I do not possess the original, but I am keeping an eye out for it, we all know who will be behind the scratchy lines.
It has long bothered me why Applebee, a fairly well known postcard publisher in Middlesex and Surrey would want to obliterate a 15 year old girl from a postcard. Initially I had visions of Mrs Applebee insisting her husband do this because of an insane jealously for this girl half her age. But there is no evidence at all to suggest this. Mrs Applebee was utterly devoted to her husband and when he died in 1915 she remained a widow, never remarrying. She died alone in 1972. Another, much more sensible scenario has recently occurred to me. I think the original postcards featuring Ruth were commissioned by her grandfather, Alfred Hill, to sell in his shop. Another establishment in Ripley asked for some postcards to sell so Applebee thought to sent them these. However he realised they might not want to feature the daughter of another local businessman so he simply just scratched Ruth off the negatives and renumbered them. Simple!
Click the postcards to enlarge. I've also included a couple of close-ups of Ruth.
For more old images have a look at the Sepia Saturday blog.




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