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Sunday, 24th May 2009
Holiday Snaps.

Bear with me for a moment I have to get this first paragraph of my chest before we get to the meat of the situation.

In the Uk things are old, there is no getting away from this fact. If you are a visitor from the US the entire place is ancient. But there is a home truth to be told here. If you visit 'Ye Olde Tea Shoppe' you can guarantee the wood-beams criss-crossing over your head are not going to see any woodworm. Not because of any luck or judgement but because they are plastic.

Now if it is called New it is older than the hills. For example New Place Stratford-upon-Avon had actually fallen into disrepair by 1609 and Shakespeare had to restore it(Players, Shakespearian Series, #16) And finally to hammer the point home consider, The New Inn, Windsor as shown in England historic & Picturesque, De Reszke [1928] This originally stood on the main London Road. Now it stands in the middle of Windsor as the town has grown since the early 17th Century when the building was erected.
To pronounce Ye as 'Yee' is wrong. Ye should simply be pronounced'the' (bit disappointing really). The Anglo-Saxons used a symbol known as the thorn to represent the sound 'th'. The thorn was later printed as 'y'.
There is some consolation though 'Ye' is indeed pronounced 'yee' when it is being used as the plural of 'thou.'
With this knowledge walk into these cups of twee shoppes and ask them the name of their shoppe. Then choose to either:
A. Shake your head in dispair of their ignorance
B. Share your knowledge loudly with all about
C. Roar with laughter and get down the road to the café. Pronouce it caf and nobody will care

What has brought this on? Well, I have just been to Dedham/Flatford Mill. Constable country and a very large slice of cream twee to boot. At least it is out of season and the locals have been left to themselves (ie the place was deserted.)

Finally a link the article title.

Since '76 I have lived in coastal towns (Ipswich was an exception but it is/was a major port.) Previously I lived in a Spa town. So twenty-years later, said quickly it's not so bad, I sit with a view of the sea. People would give their eye-teeth for this view and I barely look out of the window.

The seaside was invented by the Victorians, probably on a quiet afternoon, having just invented the railways and wondering what to do with them.

When cigarette cards were booming the world was a very different place. Foreign holidays were an unimaginable luxury (rather than today when they can be considered the cheap alternative) and the working environment tended to be the machinery of industry rather than the frivolity of added value.

Before I veer off into a rant about how the UK seems to have turned itself into a nation of people putting 'go-faster-stripes' on the rest-of-the-world's products I better get back to the bucket and spade.

Details from Card 19
Sunlight Sands
Making no attempt to attract large crowds, Frinton, pictured here, is essentially a place for those who desire a quiet holiday spent in comfort. Modern and fashionable, the development of Frinton dates from 1903 when the necessary land was purchased and laid out as a marine resort with tree lined avenues, houses and hotels. Frinton has a spendid beach, a golf course and some of the finest tennis courts in the east of Englands.
Coastwise, Senior Service [1939] #19

In the black and white world of the industrial heart of this nation a trip to the seaside was something to look forward too. Cigarette card manufactureres knew of this tendency and decided they could probably sell more cigarettes if they covered this subject. Senior Service were particularly strong in this area, although there were others.

Card 19 has a description of the my towns nearest neighbour, Frinton on Sea, famous for having very little but leafy roads and old people complaining about the modern world. Ye Olde Towne.

It is seperated from the outside world by 'The Gates' which are spoken about in such hushed terms you would scarcely believe they were a rotten pair of railway gates you'd replace if they cut off a field of cows.

The senior service card series are real photographs and as such have not captured the imagination of the card collectors which is sad really (but good for buying as nothing in this game gets any cheaper than it is today.) The very title of this set gives it the theme.

There are many cards which focus on the fishing industry and the trawler fleets. Of course 60 years on there is really no fishing industry left (we add value to the Spanish trawler-fleets now.) and Lowestoft harbour was all but closed when we left in '77.

Card 28 speaks of a fleet of 900 vessels which operate from the East Coast which pull in more than 700,000,000 herrings. Card 7 explains that the industry had being going for over 1,000 years. This set was produced at the end of the period when sail dominated the seas and huge oil-skins kept the cold out.

Details from Card 27: Senior Service: Holiday Haunts by the Sea
A quiet little town of fifty years ago is now one of the most popular resorts in the kingdom. Possessing an enviable record for sunshine and a dry bracing climate, visitors return again and again, attracted by firm sands the facilities for sport and first class accomodation. Cromer is surrounded by lovely wooded hills and the lofty scenery is inspiring. The Royal Cromer Golf Links attract golfers from all over the country while tennis players have at Newhaven Court some of the finest covered courts in the Empire.

The previous year Senior Service had issued a set which was more focused on the holiday business. Called, Holiday Haunts by the Sea [1938] 48 this was once again a black and white real photo set. Very much traditional holiday destinations the 48 cards are as valid today as they were then, although some of the descriptions are a little creaky.

The compiler was rather keen on telling everyone how many golf-courses each town had. Of interest is the fact that many of the photographs used in the set were supplied by the regional railways. At the time there was a very big push to get people out to the coast as this meant better business for the railways.

The fact that Railway Posters of the period were produced by some cutting edge artists have made this a very popular (and expensive) area of collecting. Senior Service was there long before anyone else, Railway Posters by Famous Artists [1930] The East Coast has all but been forgotten in this set which is a shame.

Senior Service continued the theme with Britian from the Air [1939]. This took the familiar aproach of Black and White photography but this time from an aerial viewpoint. There is a sense of pride in some rather bizarre items. One of the cards show the Watford by-pass. Another shows the recently opened theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon. Opened 23 April 1932 it looks more like a power station than a theatre.

Card 11 shows Cambridge University, specifically Kings College. (I have to admit I prefer Oxford which appears to cards before Cambridge.) No sign of New College though <g>.

Details from Card
Southend on Sea
Being but a short distance from London, Southend has become one of Britian's most popular seaside resorts. Its name is rather a misnomer since the sea is really the estuary of the Thames where, at low tide, the water receds for about a mile....
Extract from Britian from the Air, Senior Service [1939] #21

The final card of this set deals with the Norfolk Broads, that's better.

My final set was issued by Churchmans, Holidays in Britian [1937] This set came in a variety of formats but I rather like the set which has a map as well as a photographed view.

It also has its fair share of East Coast cards.

Many a scientist is struggling to create anti-matter in a commerically viable manner and yet by so many scales matter and anti-matter exist within 8 miles of one another here on the East Coast of England. Fortunately the gulf between Frinton and Clacton could never be breached and so there is little chance of the sort of explosion which would undoubtedly occur if these two places met.

Details from Card
Breezy and charming, Clacton is a garden town, with roses blooming even in December. Well laid out, it has a seafron of 2 miles and an upper and lower promenade. There are splendid form sands, safe bathing, a pier and a swimming pool. The amusement parlour provides abundant mirth and their are boating, fishing, tennis, bowls and golf in plenty. Theatres and cinemas provide generous indoor amusement; there are two great ballrooms and the Winter Garden and Band Pavillion seats over 3000 people. Nor must the wonderful air that blows in fresh and bracing from the North Sea be forgotten.

Churchmans: Holidays in Britain [1937] #14

Cromer gets a card but tennis is only mentioned briefly this time. The card focusing on the 'many bridlepaths' in the area.

Before I leave this whirlwind tour of Holidays in East Anglia I should stop to mention card 16 of the series, Great Yarmouth (a few miles from Lowestoft). The card quotes from Dickens, 'the finest place in the Universe.' Well Dickens obviously lived a very long time ago and the universe was a lot smaller back then, either that or the card is expressing the sort of irony that is so outrageous it has flown clear over my head.