March 11th 2019.

BBC cameraman and local historian John Lawson-Reay, has a connection to the sea, as his family owned and ran the Lawson Steam Tug Company on the Tyne from the 1850s. Coal was brought from the collieries on rail wagons, which came onto a staithe, a pier built out into the river, where the coal was transferred to the ships which had been towed into place by the tugs.

  In March, he began his talk with a look at North Wales shipping from the 19th and 20thcenturies. Before the main roads and railways were built, shipping was the best method of transporting people and goods, with small paddle boats running up and down the coast. John showed a selection of old prints and postcards to illustrate this part of the history.

The 'Albion' was the first paddle-boat to ply between Liverpool and Menai Bridge in 1822, and was advertised as sailing to 'all parts of North Wales'. 

'La Marguerite', was a famous, luxurious pleasure paddle-boat known as a 'Floating Palace'. She came to Llandudno in 1901 and was in service until 1925, when she ended her life in a local breaker's yard.  She had been on duty in WW1, ferrying soldiers across the Channel.

The 'Greyhound' also a paddle-steamer, 1895-1936, was first owned by the North Pier Steamship Co., Ltd., and ran between Blackpool and Llandudno. Between 1915 and 1919, it was a minesweeper.

Some of the other ships shown were the St. Tudno II, the Rhos, Colwyn, St Seiriol, St Trillo and the IOM steamer King Orry. Many of the pleasure boats were used in WW1 and WW2 in various roles.

To get the passengers on and off the boats safely, a pier-crew was employed, which was often made up of ex-naval men.

More recently, in 1962, the world's first passenger hovercraft arrived in Rhyl from Wallasey, Wirral.  It was a Vickers-Armstrong VA-3, operated by    British United Airways and fuelled by BP, whilst in Wallasey. It was to be serviced and maintained in Rhyl. It had a cruising speed of 60mph, had a 2-ton weight capacity and could carry a maximum of 24 passengers plus a traffic-officer. To mark the occasion, there was a special hand stamp on mail posted in a box in the Post Office on July 20th

The restored  ships,  MV Balmoral and PS Waverley often come during the summer to take passengers for cruises along the coast, and John was on hand to record their visits. The Balmoral, operated as a charity, had been refitted, but as the hull-plates were not thick enough, the work needs re-doing.

We also have visits by other ships, such as the 'Viking Sun', a gigantic liner which regularly comes in to Holyhead.  

John's focus then changed to local shipping disasters and mishaps. In 1831, PS Rothsay Castle, from Liverpool, ran aground on Dutchman Bank, near its destination, Beaumaris, and most of the 150 people aboard lost their lives. The Penmon lifeboat station was established as a result of the tragedy.

In 1890 the 'Turtle Dove' was stranded on rocks at the Great Orme and in 1896 the 'Lady Agnes' ran ashore. The 'Caterina', taking salt from Runcorn to Riga in 1869, was wrecked on Llandudno beach. The 'Rhosneigr', was sunk in 1908, and its remains are still to be seen at low tide off Rhos Point.

We had been teasing John about the perfect positioning of some 'trained' seagulls in his photographs, but during the talk he came back at us with a delightful close-up of 2 gulls standing on his own car-roof!   

In 2012, John's camera captured the scene when the 82m long German cargo boat 'Carrier' was driven onto shore in a gale and was stranded. The boat had just loaded limestone at the Raynes quarry pier in Llanddulas. 2 helicopters rescued the 7-man crew, but the boat was scrapped. The A55 was closed in the area, in both directions for 2 days, to enable the ship to be attended to.

These days, we don't have local photographers who produce postcards of such events, as we did in years gone by, so it was a rare treat for the Club to have John's superb photographs which capture some of the recent history of North Wales.

 

              Inline image

Photograph by John Lawson-Reay

 

Here's the report of the last meeting on August 12th…..

  In a busy session in August, we made our final arrangements for the fair, and then went on to vote for the Best Talk of the Year. The winner was Keith Hough, for his well-researched presentation on the lost buildings of the north-east corner of Wales, from last November. 

            The focus of the meeting then changed to the Annual Competition. This year we had 10 entries, all anonymous, and a secret ballot decided the winner of the Brass Post-box Trophy.

            The topics were:-

Oil, Cotton, Electric – scenes of our industrial heritage, showing how these things were produced.

Disaster at the Palace - the fire at Rhyl's Queen's Palace entertainment centre, 1907. –  one photo showing the building before the fire, and 3 of the dome falling onto the pavement below.

Yes, it is Wally' - varieties of the identical 'Curly Locks' set 8706 by Tuck artist WF - Wally Fialkowska. In one set, 949, there are German language backs, and another, as set 3128, has WW1 rationing captions.

Action shots of the Amlwch Football Team, Anglesey,, by local photographer, R. Lewis Williams, who was able to produce photos showing movement, at a time when photographs required a long exposure time, and subjects which were still.

Memories of Childhood Villages - 4 lovely views of Gronant,  taken at various times in this small village near Prestatyn,

3 Exquisite Flower-studies from the Smithsonian, Washington, in the delicate far-eastern style, and one showing a heron on a fallen tree-branch.

 

Village Post-Offices. including some animated scenes in Cemaes, and Llansannan, This display reminded us that, at one time, almost every village had a Post-Office.

Old Family Homes in Gwespyr, a hamlet near Prestatyn – a record of houses occupied by this person's relatives, and a good way of illustrating their family tree.

Early transportation – These cards show happy holiday-makers on packed Chars-a-banc in locations such as Rhyl and Dwygyfylchi.

The decision wasn't an easy one, but the winner was Marion Turner, for her remarkable set of cards from the Fron Goch German Prisoner-of-War Camp, near Bala. It was housed in a disused whisky distillery, and used in WW1, and after the Easter Rising 1916, when Irish prisoners, including Michael Collins, were kept there.

Last year's winner. Keith, presented her with the Trophy.

 

Club Bulletin, October 2019.

   The September meeting began with a welcome to a new member, Andrew.  We then had reports from the Fair Team-Leaders, which showed that the event had been very successful for the Club, and also that there were one or two things we could improve. 

We asked people for ideas for talks for next year's programme, and several members, including Andrew, offered to speak – thanks to everyone who came forward.

Our speaker for the evening was Club member Lawrence Corrieri, who is well-known for his many and varied collections. The subjects  of his talks are always a closely-guarded secret, until he delves into his bag and reveals the contents. This time, we were astonished to find that he had brought his collection of cards of hearses and coffin-carriers.

Before motorised transport was available,  the deceased person was carried on a pedestrian bier, in a coffin, or on horse-drawn carriages. Undertakers often had several other occupations in a community, and Lawrence showed a particularly nice card of a horse-drawn hearse outside an undertaker's shop.

  In the 19th Century, London was short of space for new cemeteries, so they were built in the outskirts of the city. As few people had their own transport, railway lines were specially designed to take the mourners and coffins from the city to the cemeteries. One of the companies was the London Necropolis Co, which, in 1854, began a train service, the London Necropolis Railway,  from Waterloo Station to the huge new cemetery in Brookwood, Surrey, a journey of some 23 miles.  The train operated almost every day, and the service ended in 1941.  Sydney, Australia, also had a Necropolis Station until the 1930s. The funerals of Queen Victoria, George VI and Sir Winston Churchill  had all used trains and the Bluebell Railway in Sussex had a special compartment for coffins.

In road transport, we saw cards of buses, motor-cycles with trailers or sidecars, and trams  adapted for this special purpose. One of these American tram carriages was later repurposed as a camping car for train-spotters. Another  in Buffalo had a drop-down side for the coffin to be housed, and a shelf above for the flowers.  In a Glasgow Museum, there are hearses by Rolls-Royce and Vauxhall.

Other vehicles which have been used are tandem-cycles, a military tank, a Reliant-Robin, and a Morris Traveller. When some of the motor-hearses had finished their work, they were used as camper-vans or converted for Banger-Racing.

 Also in the collection were views of Funeral Directors' premises and comic cards. There is a Museum of Funeral History in Houston, Texas, which produces postcards of the various kinds of transport used for this particular purpose

  We wonder how Lawrence can top this superb presentation in the future.

 For more about the fascinating story of  the London Necropolis Co., go to:-

www.bbc.com/autos/story/20161018-the-passenger-train-that-carried-the-dead

Club Bulletin, October 2019.

   The September meeting began with a welcome to a new member, Andrew.  We then had reports from the Fair Team-Leaders, which showed that the event had been very successful for the Club, and also that there were one or two things we could improve. 

We asked people for ideas for talks for next year's programme, and several members, including Andrew, offered to speak – thanks to everyone who came forward.

     Our speaker for the evening was Club member Lawrence Corrieri, who is well-known for his many and varied collections. The subjects  of his talks are always a closely-guarded secret, until he delves into his bag and reveals the contents. This time, we were astonished to find that he had brought his collection of cards of hearses and coffin-carriers.

  Before motorised transport was available,  the deceased person was carried on a pedestrian bier, in a coffin, or on horse-drawn carriages. Undertakers often had several other occupations in a community, and Lawrence showed a particularly nice card of a horse-drawn hearse outside an undertaker's shop.

   In the 19th Century, London was short of space for new cemeteries, so they were built in the outskirts of the city. As few people had their own transport, railway lines were specially designed to take the mourners and coffins from the city to the cemeteries. One of the companies was the London Necropolis Co, which, in 1854, began a train service, the London Necropolis Railway,  from Waterloo Station to the huge new cemetery in Brookwood, Surrey, a journey of some 23 miles.  The train operated almost every day, and the service ended in 1941.  Sydney, Australia, also had a Necropolis Station until the 1930s. The funerals of Queen Victoria, George VI and Sir Winston Churchill  had all used trains and the Bluebell Railway in Sussex had a special compartment for coffins.

In road transport, we saw cards of buses, motor-cycles with trailers or sidecars, and trams  adapted for this special purpose. One of these American tram carriages was later repurposed as a camping car for train-spotters. Another  in Buffalo had a drop-down side for the coffin to be housed, and a shelf above for the flowers.  In a Glasgow Museum, there are hearses by Rolls-Royce and Vauxhall.

   Other vehicles which have been used are tandem-cycles, a military tank, a Reliant-Robin, and a Morris Traveller. When some of the motor-hearses had finished their work, they were used as camper-vans or converted for Banger-Racing.

 Also in the collection were views of Funeral Directors' premises and comic cards.

 

Club Bulletin November 2019.

                In October there was a change to the programme, following the sad loss of our good friend, Wirral Club Chairman, Bill Johnstone, who was to have been our speaker. Instead,  we had a 'Show and Tell' session with some of our recent  'finds' :-

- Lawrence had found a modern b/w photo-card of an 'Easy-Rider' style motor-bike with a coffin on its trailer, in-keeping with his recent talk on funeral transport.

- Railway enthusiast, Walter, brought  a set of 7 cards issued by Virgin Trains. They were designed by Barry Redfern and were brightly coloured, in collage-style, featuring various towns and cities including Edinburgh, Carlisle, Penrith and Wigan. The Edinburgh card showed the train with the Castle, Greyfriars Bobby, Burke and Hare and a skull-and-crossbones. George Formby appeared on the Wigan card.  

- Trebor trawled his collection of Tuck Oilettes and came up with two unusual cards – one was from a 1938 set by Wambach, for a pretty house in Deauville, France, now called 'Villa Strassburger'. It was originally built in 1907 for Henri de Rothschild as a holiday home for his wife, to take advantage of the local horse-racing and the glamorous seaside society. Its name was 'La Ferme du Coteau'. [The Hillside Farm]. It later passed to Henri's son and in 1924, was bought by the President of Singer Sewing machines, Ralph B. Strassburger. In 1980, the building was given to the town by his son, and is now available as a beautiful location for weddings and other events.
Trebor's other card, with the heading "The Growth of Our Empire beyond the Seas", showed a scene of Scottish soldiers supervising the departure of Ottoman troops from Cyprus in 1878

 - Andrew's beautifully presented sheet of cards from his Anglesey collection showed 2 lovely real photos of an incident which happened on 11th January, 1920 at a farmhouse called "Penslates" in Llanelian. The gable-end chimney was  struck by lightning and fell down while the people were asleep in the room below. Fortunately, no-one in the house was injured, but two cows in the garden were killed.  The house is still there today.

- A superb view of a policeman directing traffic at Queensferry crossroads was Keith's choice. The card came from a local auction of the belongings of the late postmaster.  In the background is the Elite Café, which had been made into an American diner in 1938. It had an authentic interior, which had been sent over from the States.  Unfortunately, the army took over the building during the war, and the café was destroyed.

- Lynne had brought a series of beautiful hand-painted cards of Japanese scenes, some painted on very thin slivers of bamboo. Also on the display board were some coloured photographic views of the country. Lynne said that the cards were a tribute to the Welsh Rugby team who were competing in the Rugby World Cup in Japan at the time. [at the time of writing, they are about to play against New Zealand in the bronze medal match, having reached the semi-finals.]

- A card from a grandfather 'On Active Service' in 1917, and a memory of a trip in the 1940s with his father to Puffin Island were John's very personal selection from recently viewed family archives. The grandfather's card, dated 3/11/17, was sent to John's mother from East Africa, where he was a communications engineer. The card of Puffin Island showed the ruined and abandoned signal station where they found a pot-egg. The building was later used as a marine laboratory for the University and retreat house

- My choices were a lovely real-photo card of The Ship Inn at Wincle, Cheshire, which was a stop on one of the routes of the mobile library on which I worked for 4 years in the 1970s. These very rural routes around Wildboarclough and Forest Chapel, south-east of Macclesfield, were my favourites. My other card was view of the magnificent art-deco Winter Gardens in Llandudno, now sadly disappeared.

- Marion cards told the amazing story of William Walker who saved Winchester Cathedral. In the early years of the 20th Century, cracks appeared in the stonework of the building.On examining the problem, it was discovered that the foundations were waterlogged and that a collapse of part of the Cathedral was possible. It was decided to build new foundations, but the area underground continued to fill with water, so a deep-sea diver, William Walker, was called in. From 1906, he worked for 6 hours a day with no lights to take concrete beneath the building to shore it up so that it could then be made safe with new foundations and external buttresses. The task was completed in 1911.  Sadly,  William died in the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918 aged just 49. There is now a statue of him in his diving gear in the Cathedral. There is also a pub nearby, named in his honour.                          
 for more on this story, see William Walker: The diver who saved Winchester Cathedral on the Cathedral website.
 
 
 

It was a very entertaining evening, and showed that we all have a wide variety of collecting themes.

Thanks to everyone who took part.

Club Bulletin December 2019.

            Our November meeting fell on the 100the anniversary of the first Armistice Day, and our speaker, Trebor Roberts, commemorated it by starting his talk with a Tuck Oilette card showing a Bugler of The Royal Welsh Fusiliers (set 9162) It was a perfect image to remind us of what the day stands for.

                The theme of the presentation was "Fairies and Brownies", illustrated with cards from Trebor's extensive 'Oilette' collection. Cards by artists including Agnes Richardson, Florence Hardy, Mabel Lucie Attwell, A.L. Bowley, as well as some having German backs were shown. Biographical information about the artists was in part, taken from Peter and Dawn Cope’s exceptional book, Postcards from the Nursery. It was noted, for instance, how large families were in the Victorian age. Trebor also drew attention to the rising generation of female artists who had undertaken formal training and had become commercial artists. Some cards by Phyllis Cooper who was renowned for her Art Deco style, feature striking dark blue or black backgrounds, a device also used by Alice Marshall, who produced two sets of cards for Tuck. Thomas Maybank and Fred Spurgin were two of the male artists in the mix. Thomas  was a surveyor from Kent who became an artist for 'Punch' and the 'Daily Sketch'.  Fred was born in Latvia, and moved to London with his family.
The cards shown included some fairies, brownies, elves, imps, gnomes and pine-cone people.  Santa’s helper with a pine-cone body (unsigned Wally Fialkowska set C1883) is seen painting children's toys for Christmas.

Trebor produced some beautiful Fairy Cakes, made by Catrin, which was a lovely way for us to round off the evening.

Thank you Catrin!

Club Bulletin, January 2020.

At our December meeting, members were invited to bring an album to show to the group.  The idea produced a good variety of locations and themes, and a most enjoyable evening.  

We had two foreign albums – Sue's lovely collection of early Japanese views and costume, and cards by Karlyn's favourite Russian artist, Ivan Bilibin ,1876-1942, who painted landscapes of his homeland, and also designed sets and costumes for the theatre.

Children's cards included Marion's album of everything to do with babies - multi-babies, comics, and storks, and Trebor's album of charming studies by T. Parlett, in the Tuck Oilette series.

Three albums showed cards of North Wales – Lynne's was of Broughton, Bretton and Penyffordd, villages a few miles south of Chester, with some of the lovely "Perfection" series cards;  Andrew's featured the superb real-photo cards by Bootle photographer William Wright, W&Co.,who regularly holidayed on Anglesey and produced many cards of the area, in addition to his cards of Merseyside;  Alaw brought a selection of recently acquired cards of the north-west, including a fine view of Cerrig-y-Druidion with the local bus in the high street.

The others were:-

- Roger's impressive collection of comic cards, including well-known artists and popular themes.

- Olivia's family album of  photos and messages, and a treasured postcard-photo of her father as a small child.

- Keith's display of a distinctive real-photo series of Cheshire views,  the publisher of which has not yet been identified.

-  Lindsay's album containing a selection of beautiful, most interesting and informative  letterheads and invoices from Welsh businesses.

Thanks to everyone who took part.

We were sorry to have news of two of our friends who have passed away recently:-

Robert [Bobi] Owen, aged 88, a well-respected former member and celebrated local historian from Denbigh, and Alan Roberts, 72, an enthusiastic collector of cards and postal history, from Llangefni, Anglesey, who, although not a member, contributed to our research into the North Wales postcard publishers, and always attended our fairs.

 

Our Next Meeting is on Monday, January 13th.

It will be a social evening  and AGM. If there are any issues you would like us to discuss, please let us know in advance, or tell us on the night. 

AGM AGENDA.                      ELECTION OF OFFICERS.

Chairman's Report                              Chairman.

Treasurer's Report                              Assistant Chairman.

Secretary's Report                              Treasurer.

Fair Manager's Report.                       Assistant Treasurer.

                                                            Secretary.

                                                            Assistant Secretary.

                                                            Fair Manager.       

Any other business.

 

Criccieth Club.

February 4th                 Marion Turner

                                                Island Hopping                 

We meet on the First Tuesday every month.

WINTER MEETINGS BEGIN AT 2PM

The Bishops Room, St Catherines Church, Criccieth.

Secretary -  Marion Turner -  01766 590203

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