Category Archives: 20th Century

One year

No words this week.

 

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Addison Place – an urban fantasy

I had just finished the Golborne Road from the week before last which had involved looking at details of a street full of shops, cars and people, and consulting a directory. I had selected some images, scanned others and worked out an order. This stuff doesn’t make itself you know. Although the pictures are the  main focus any any post I still have to put some work into the process and not  neglect the main business of Local Studies. Contrary to some opinion we don’t sit around all day studying pictures and identifying obscure features of the urban landscape. (Although there is some of that). I was a little tired and it was a Thursday afternoon and while looking for something else I came across some pictures in a folder which must have been intended for some future post on obscure streets or backwaters.

 

 

These pictures were all of Addison Place, W11, a narrow, almost mews-like street in North Kensington. What struck me was the contrast between the busy, familiar street I had been looking at for the post I had been writing, and the tranquil, enigmatic even, atmosphere of the almost empty street which I had never seen in actual walking around reality. I wasn’t sure if there was much to say about Addison Place but the pictures cast a kind of spell. At one stage in the history of the blog I might have tried to spin some sort of urban fantasy around the images. (I used to think that any reaction to a set of images was perfectly valid, even a fictional one. I only do that once a year now).

 

 

Nevertheless, these are pictures out of the past, in that strange place 1970, where ordinary things are slightly unfamiliar. It’s a little like watching a film or TV programme set in another country. The landscapes of a scandi-noir thriller or a Japanese horror film are recognizeably part of our world but at the same time exist in a parallel universe. Or it might be part of some 60s London black and white drama, a detective story with a hint of existential doubt. But don’t get me started..

 

 

The actual Addison Place runs between Addison Avenue and Queensdale Road just north of Holland Park Avenue.

It has a distinctly Mews-ish entrance.

 

 

A mark 1 Cortina (the distinctive tail light), possibly an MGB.

Another discreet entrance at the other end

 

 

And a comparatively spacious central section

 

 

A Triumph Spitfire? Definitely a Rover,and possibly a Mini.

There’s the Rover again.

 

 

A place where little cottages with gardens meet mew garages, those two story “modern” flats seen above and below.

 

 

Interesting shutters, if that’s what they are

This picture with tall trees behind the cottages is particularly rural (and yes a bit Steed and Mrs Peel – incidentally,try telling a young person that Olenna Tyrrel, the scheming old woman in Game of Thrones was once known for martial arts style fighting while wearing fashionably skin tight outfits.

 

 

A few doors down, a traditional, slightly run down distinctly urban mews

 

 

And a small business with a yard

 

 

Which is right next to the cottages.

 

 

And these.

 

 

Now have you seen any people?

Those two talking over the garden wall by the Rover (picture 6)

The woman behind the lamppost (picture 2)

And one more, right out in the open.

 

 

 

Perhaps she didn’t know John was there. It is a bit like an episode of the Avengers. Perhaps one where some village or street is inexplicably deserted.

My apologies if you live in Addison Place or nearby and do not find the place remotely obscure or enigmatic. But I’m sure most of us live near to some kind of interesting backwater.

Postscript

Another mystery was that I was sure that I had used a couple of these pictures before but couldn’t remember where. As it happened it was another post devoted to a quest. Searching for the Ford Capri back in 2013. I didn’t leave a wide enough space between the pictures and the text back then but it’s too hot to go back and do some revising today.

Another postscript

Another entry in my personal obituary column. Let’s remember John Julius Norwich, diplomat, broadcaster and historian who has just passed away. Like many people, I was enthralled by his trilogy about the Byzantine Empire which introduced me to a then unfamiliar part of history. Unlike many of the authors I’ve mentioned here, I actually met him once when he appeared in an event which was part of our London History Festival. He lived up to the impression I had from his books – erudite, friendly and charming. A great man.

 


Golborne shops part 2: Mr Rybolt and the shopkeepers

The pictures in the second part of this post on shops in Golborne Road were all taken by Brian Rybolt who as well as being a professional photographer also taught a photography course at the Kensington Institute in Wornington Road. This series of pictures is in the paper archive of Historytalk, the North Kensington Community Archive which was deposited at the Library in 2006. I had seen them before but only recently looked at them in detail. Like a good blogger I knew I wanted to use them here.

These pictures were all taken in 1997-1998 and were used for an exhibition, “Golborne Shops and portraits”. They show how Golborne Road was evolving into what it is today.

 

 

Two men and a monkfish outside the Golborne Fisheries at number 75. Mr Rybolt’s excellent idea was to have the owners or staff of the shops posing for him outside their establishments

More fish here.

 

 

Number 40, still a fish and chip shop as it was in 1969.

One or two of the shops are in the same line of business, some of them using the same name, run by the same family.

 

 

Number 53. Note that there is a 53A, and above the shopfront, one of my favourite features in a photograph – a person at an upstairs window. See a couple of other examples here (picture four) and here  (pictures eight and nine).

Some shops of course are quite different from 1969.

 

 

One of my colleagues remembers “the kimono shop” very well.

And of course:

 

 

An outpost of Rough Trade. the music shop. (I wanted to say record shop but even though vinyl is popular again, they’re not really record shops any more, are they?). The Rough Trade I remember best was the one in Kensington Park Road. I bought many obscure LPs there (Univers Zero, Swell Maps, possibly even Henry Cow to name but three)

By the late 1990s there were more “general” shops.

 

 

“Les Couilles du Chien.” What could that mean?

 

 

A home from home.

I promised you fruit, veg and meat last week, and here is another survivor.

 

 

Fruiterers (a good old fashioned term), E Price and Sons. the three people pictured outside were members of the Price family. The business continues to this day.

 

 

Other food staples included meat.

And pastries.

 

 

Another survivor from 1969.

 

 

Clarke, described as “corn dealers” in Kelly’s in 1969. I’ve zoomed in on this picture and you can see some very interesting objects on sale here but I wouldn’t want to commit to a general description. I’m sure one of you knows, so please leave a comment or memory, on this shop or any of the others.

We’re ending as in last week’s post on dentistry.

 

 

Postscript

My thanks to the board of the now closed Historytalk for depositing their collection with the Library, but mainly to Brian Rybolt himself who now lives in Hastings I believe. Although his photographs have been deposited with us, copyright remains with him so these images should not be reproduced without his permission. Thanks also to Maggie and  Sue for background information.

There are 36 pictures altogether, a genuinely valuable historical resource. We’ve featured a number of different photographers in the last year or so, professionals and gifted amateurs but what they all have in common is that they printed their pictures. With digital photography it is possible to take many more pictures than was ever possible, but too many of them languish on hard drives. Print out your best pictures!

Libraries like ours are always interested.

No extra material in the postscript this week so here’s a bonus picture:

 

 

Because I liked the dog.

And because of the dog, a child.

 

That’s all.


Golborne Road shops: part one 1969-1970

Take a walk down the modern Golborne Road, either in the flesh or as I did a few moments ago, on Google Street View, and you see a bright, pleasant road with plenty of food shops, cafes and specialty retailers, with stalls selling flowers and street food. The pavements are wide enough for the tables and chairs where people are enjoying a bit of al fresco cafe culture. This atmosphere has been created by residents and retailers with a bit of help from planners. In the North Kensington area it’s a destination in itself.  This short stretch of road hasn’t always looked as good as it does today, but forty odd years ago it was still a street of shops.

 

 

This week’s post is the first of two. Next week we’ll look at some pictures from the 1990s, but this week we’re picking up the trail near the end of Kensal Road which we took a walk along a few months ago, and returning to 1969 and 1970, when some of the shops in Golborne Road were quite different from today.

 

 

There’s the edge of the bridge over the railway. The Bridge Fish Bar, with its motif of fish below the sign is, according to Street View, now concerned with skateboards and related gear (retaining a tenuous connection with the sea?) . Next door the small building which looks like an appendage to the terrace is surprisingly still a halal butcher’s shop, but has dispensed with the name.

While the railway bridge is visible we should take a quick look in that direction. Normally you would expect to see something quite tall visible from this point.

 

 

 

But only  the crane gives you the clue that one of North Kensington’s iconic buildings was about to emerge just beyond the bridge. In 1969 all you would have seen was a view like this.

 

 

The scaffolding and the letters GLC on the hoarding indicate that Trellick Tower was about to rise from the gloomy surroundings.

 

 

Moving down the slight incline in the direction of Ladbroke Grove we pass a turf accountant, and ice cream parlour and a dairy (proprietor Kriton Eracleous)

On the corner of Wornington Road, the Mitre public house.

 

 

The Mitre can also be seen in this picture.

It’s unfortunately a bit light, but you can make out EG Hopwood, another butcher,  J. Sugarman, (ladies outfitter), Clarke & Co (corn dealers?), Ryan Electronics and O’Mahoney Brothers (domestic stores).

 

 

Following the brothers, at number 74 another butcher, E F Cullingford, Pearks Dairies (see the name on the awning, and the milk float parked in front), the Help Yourself Stores (provisions) and on the far left Hamperl, yet another butcher.

 

 

Below, the shop on the right is another ladies outfitters, next to a branch of the Aerated Bread Company, a familiar London institution, more provisions, a draper named Fogel….

 

 

 

And the Economic Grocers ( I hate those uneconomic grocers).

 

 

The building which looks like a church is in fact a church, the prosaically named Golborne Road Church.

Behind the stalls at number 96, Price and Sons, fruiterers, a name to remember because the slightly expanded Price’s survives to this day.

This last picture from the north side of the street shows another butcher, a dairy (with another milk float), a newsagent and, not obscured by an awning, W.E.T. Williams, a chemist.

 

 

This is the point where Portobello Road crosses Golborne.

We also have a few pictures of the south side of the road.

On the corner of Wornington Road, Bowen and Williams, a drug store.

 

 

My copy of Kelly’s does not list the shop called Nancy but it’s in the place where Doris (gowns) is listed. Perhaps they changed the name. You can just about see Sipp’s, a hairdresser on the far left.

This picture shows Holm’s, a baker and confectioner, at number 79 on the corner of Swinbrook Road.

 

 

Possibly to cause confusion, Holm’s also had an establishment at number 65.

The one I like in the next picture is at number 93.

 

 

Pramland, dealers in perambulators. Next to them, the Venus Restaurant. The cryptically named laundry Peter was actually suffering from sign damage. The word Pan is missing. You can barely make it out but at number 103 was D Howse & Co, surgical equipment manufacturers. For such a specialised business, I imagine it didn’t matter where they were located.

You can see them from the other angle in the picture below.

 

 

 

In the foreground, on the corner of Bevington Road, W. Rewer, dental laboratory (any connection with their neighbours?) They boast a “same day denture repair service”. If your dentures needed a hurried repair, that was clearly the place to go, although I must say that the shopfront doesn’t inspire confidence.

The man dressed in white could possibly be one of the many butchers out for a stroll to clear his head.

I have avoided bringing cars into this post as I was concentrating on shops, but car enthusiasts are nevertheless invited to identify any intriguing vehicles. These pictures always contain a few interesting examples.

I have made extensive use this week of Kelly’s Post Office London Directory for 1969, an invaluable tool for the local historian.

Next week’s pictures come from the HistoryTalk collection and they take the story of Golborne Road retailing into another era.

 

 

Postscript

When a famous author dies I always ask myself how many of his or her books have I read? When Ursula K LeGuin died this year I could congratulate myself. I’ve read most of her books. When John Updike passed away I could say I read quite a few of his. And I’ve started if not necessarily finished many of William Burroughs’s works. (Finishing is not always essential with Burroughs). When it comes to other great names of modern American literature my record is not so good: a few by Gore Vidal, a couple by Norman Mailer (not the best ones), one by Joseph Heller (but it was Catch-22) and nothing at all by Saul Bellow (what did he ever do to me?). I didn’t strike out though with Philip Roth, who died this week aged 85. I read the Plot against America a few years ago and enjoyed it, and I’ve been dipping into a couple of his others. Enough to know for myself that he was a great writer with a sense of history and a sense of humour to go with it. So I had some idea what those people on the radio this morning were going on about as his death was reported and his life’s work considered. My favourite quote – talking about Roth’s political books of the 1990s someone on the radio said “he wrote the books Tom Wolfe wanted to write.” Nothing like putting the knife in to another recently deceased author. (For Wolfe my score was two books. I expect you can guess which ones.)

I began to wonder if there were other American authors I should make more of an effort with. I’ve got Thomas Pynchon covered. I’ve read a couple by Don Delillo. Maybe I should make more of an effort with Joyce Carol Oates, serious novelist and cat enthusiast. I admit it though: my favourite American novelist is William Gibson, and I never miss new books by Michael Connelly and Jonathan Kellerman.

 


CC’s King’s Road in the 80s: people and places

We’ve had a few visits to the King’s Road in recent months. No sooner had I introduced you to the work of Bill Figg than my old friend CC came along with some equally interesting (and technically superior) pictures. I initially divided CC’s pictures into people and shopfronts, but the photos she has recently allowed me to scan are a mixture of the two, and best of all, there are several posts’ worth, so you can expect to see more of them over the coming weeks. To anyone who asks the question: Dave, aren’t you tired of the King’s Road? My answer is always: No, you can never have too many pictures of that ever changing thoroughfare, and those of us who live nearby will probably never tire of it.

As I’ve been examining then, I’ve seen pictures of individuals, and locations. This post has some of both, and this one which combines the two.

 

 

The lightly clad gentleman and his snake (it is a snake isn’t it?) are standing in the old Sainsburys / Boots area (with its now identified sculpture, thanks to a knowledgeable reader ) which at one time I had no pictures of, but now there are several.

Here it sneaks into another picture.

 

 

You can just see the edge of the sculpture.

At the other end of the street, a view of the former police station on the corner of Milmans Street.

 

 

One the left, obscured by scaffolding a shop called 20th Century Box.

 

 

After the Police had moved on the building ended its days as a community centre, and finally a boarded up shell, replaced in the 1990s by a new building. (Some pictures in this post)

We’ve passed this spot before.

 

 

Now, of course, a survivor at the edge of a new development.

Some buildings survive though the shops in them change.

 

 

Lord John, at number 72.

Then closing down.

 

 

Some people are there for a short while

 

 

And then move on.

Some messages are more long lasting, and the same point is still being made.

 

 

I don’t remember this shop, but thanks to failing light bulbs I won’t forget ot.

 

 

Continuing the night time theme, a view of one of CC’s regular stops.

 

 

One more theme to come is looking above the shopfronts at what can be seen above, something I’ve always wanted to do in other Kensington and Chelsea streets.

Here you see a now obliterated ghost sign.

 

 

Close up. The wall above Sweaty Betty is now a uniform white.

 

 

Finally, a couple hanging around by the entrance to Boy.

 

 

Nice shorts, sir.

More of the same in a future post.

 

Postscript

I should perhaps have anticipated this series with a more coherent title from the start, but we’ll see how we go.

All this week’s images are copyright by CC who for the moment prefers to remain anonymous, although some of you may know her. Lavish thanks to her once again.


Peter Dixon’s Paddington

This week’s post is written by my colleague and friend Isabel Hernandez. It’s a day later than usual, but that’s my fault, not hers,  as I was off for a few days after a minor medical procedure.

 

It has been a little while since my last contribution to The Library Time Machine, and I am long overdue on this blog that, really, should have been written several months ago. It was during this time that I was fortunate to have met local photographer, Peter Dixon, during an exhibition that was held in the Central Library and organised by the Gloucester Court Reminiscence Group. On display were some fantastic photographs he took in the 1950’s and 1960’s, mainly of the North Kensington and Paddington areas, which had never been seen before. So, it’s with great pleasure that I am able to share with you some photographs that Peter Dixon was kind enough to give us as part of the Local Studies collection.

Later on in the postscript I will add a link to the website that shows more of Peter’s work and also how the project came about. I think you will find it of great interest, and is well worth a visit.

First, some photographs to pique your interest.

 

 

Above is one of my favourite images of the Harrow Road showing the New Red Lion pub. It has that magnificent lion on the top which I imagine must have been red. I’m probably stating the obvious, but it was before my time and I never saw it before the pub was demolished. To the right is a billboard advertising lager, just in case you fancied something other than your usual brew.

The New Red Lion was one of many pubs in the area, but it is listed in the directories (at least) since 1902. It survived many decades and probably served a good number of those employed by the Great Western Railway. As well as the station there were several wharves, Goods yards, and the Grand Junction Canal. Enough to keep the pub busy with workers enjoying some respite.

If alcohol wasn’t to your taste, there might have been the possibility of some milk. To the right of the Westbourne Bridge, practically next door, there used to exist a number of cattle pens, evidently serving a dairy that must have supplied the local area.

Beyond the Westbourne Bridge was Bishop’s Bridge Road. Some of you may remember the Bridge Café. But here I digress.

 

 

Above Is the junction between Lord Hill’s Road and possibly Westbourne Park Crescent. Familiar territory for those of you following the Paddington blog posts. What’s great about the following images is how Peter captured the local people. He was able to snap images of people going about their business or posing. Children, particularly, were often seen playing on the streets. In those days we didn’t have the technology or the means to amuse ourselves with the current plethora of indoor entertainment we have now. We spent more time outdoors, making up our own games.

 

 

A young lad on his bicycle possibly looking at the strange, if not cheeky, graffiti on the pillar of the house in front of him. Most of the houses in the area at this point were condemned for demolition to make way for the new Warwick Estate.

 

A bonfire burning fiercely to the left of the image. The gentleman in the foreground could be one of the workers in the area burning flammable items (wood perhaps) that might have resulted from the obvious destruction of the old houses once the bulldozers moved in. Safety helmets and formal attire were not compulsory at the time so it’s difficult to say if this was a construction worker, or a local resident. In the background you can just make out the eerie shadows of the new blocks that were going up almost as quickly as the terraces were being demolished. The past and the future, as I have probably mentioned in previous posts, was very marked during this period of redevelopment. It’s not unlike those glass behemoths being built all over London today giving everything a futuristic flavour.

 

 

St Mary Magdalene to the right, next to what I think was Woodchester Street. All the existing streets at the time were later demolished, rerouted or renamed. In the background is a tobacconist with the title: The Boar’s Head Tobacco, and a grocery shop: I &S Jones, advertising what looks like, Benedict peas. It would appear the premises were already vacant and no longer serving the local community at this point. There is a large ‘Sold’ sign between the two stores.

 

 

A young lad squints into the sun as Peter takes the photograph. His shadow visible on the right of the image.

 

 

Two chaps smiling at the camera. Peter did say that people were generally very friendly and obliging when asked if they could have their photo taken. It was considered something of a novelty.

 

 

A really nice candid shot of a group of gentlemen clearly enjoying a joke.

 

 

And here’s another wonderful image of some children being candidly themselves sitting outside a convenience store. Confectionery of any kind was always considered a real treat and the young lad in the middle is clearly enjoying a lollipop as he poses for the camera.

 

 

Two boys crossing the footbridge that links Formosa Street with Lord Hill’s Road, separated by the canal.

The footbridge no longer exists as you see it here. It was originally built by the canal company, taken over by the Metropolitan Board of works, and later conveyed to the vestries. I used to call it the dodgy bridge. It always seemed so destitute and neglected. Every time it was newly painted, it wasn’t long before the graffiti would leave its mark and time would strip away its freshness.

I used this footbridge frequently whenever I walked towards, Warwick Avenue, Maida Vale or to the library in Sutherland Avenue. It was replaced in the 1980’s, perhaps early 1990’s (if I remember correctly) by a far nicer, more open footbridge that has a better view of the canal and the surrounding area. The Paddington Stop pub as I remember it (now a gastro pub called The Waterway) was on the corner, and all the wharves that existed opposite Clarendon Street over the canal were all eventually pulled down and the area became residential with the Amberley Estate built as part of the redevelopment of the area.

 

 

The bridge with the canal and Delamere Terrace in view. The terraces you see were subsequently demolished and replaced by the flats you still see today as part of the Warwick Estate. The lady in the image appears to have, what looks like, a wash bag with her. Not an uncommon sight at the time. The luxury of having a washing machine is a relatively modern concept. I distinctly remember in my early years my mum taking our laundry, with us in tow, to the local launderette on the Harrow Road. It was next door to the off-licence, just before Cirencester Street. The interminable waiting for the washing cycle to end rendered me bored most of the time, so I would often have a library book with me to ease my impatience.

 

 

The same side of the bridge. Only here we see Blomfield Road where the difference in housing was evident. The villas that still exist along this side of the canal were a marked contrast to the terraces opposite. We always remarked on this distinction. ‘Posh people’ lived here! Perhaps these gentlemen were moving in?

 

 

A fantastic photograph taken from Delamere Terrace showing the wall that divided the street from the canal. The footbridge was flanked by a house, and at the foot of the stairs you can see a slightly leaning telephone box that seems, in my fanciful mind, like it doesn’t want to be there. The leaning phone box of Paddington was not there when I moved in, but neither was most of what you see in this image. Railings had replaced the wall. The roads were resurfaced and newly paved. Even the trees and lampposts were replaced. It wasn’t just the buildings that went, but much of what furnished the rest of the streets too.

 

 

This is another favourite of Peter Dixon’s Paddington photographs that I think summarises this particular area nicely. One to end this post on. He took this in 1964 – a few years after he first started photographing the area. By this time a lot of the new flats had been built and the tower blocks were going up. The Warwick Estate, with the elegant St Mary Magdalene as its centre piece, was nearing completion. A few new blocks were still to be insinuated into the fabric of the LCC plan, but it was almost done. The area was opened up and became less crowded. The wall by the canal was taken down and eventually replaced with railings. The canal sidewalk would be paved and made more accessible to the general public. And yet…in the foggy distance to the right, the buildings of old were still awaiting their fate. As with all the photographs I have talked about in the Paddington blogs, the juxtaposition between the old and the new is stark.

Interestingly, to the right of the image you can see a canal boat. Nothing unusual. The canal was always a working waterway, used to transport goods and sometimes passengers. But with the decline of the canal transport industry and the deteriorating condition of the waterways beginning to show, it was the leisure industry that helped to revive interest in the canals. Although the pool at Little Venice was always intended for pleasure boats, there was no obvious leisure service. Summer excursions from Little Venice to Camden Town, was really only just started in 1951 by John James. That’s his boat in the background. The company still exists to this day. I remember a number of trips to London Zoo in Regents Park from here and the echoing tunnels as we passed through. Fond memories of a long ago childhood.

 

Postscript:

Firstly, I would like to thank Peter Dixon for allowing me to use these images for the library blog (all copyright is his). Thanks also go to Maggie Tyler and the Gloucester Court Reminiscence Group for their contribution in bringing these marvellous photographs to light and the exhibition that ensued. For more on this please visit:

http://outandaboutandplay.weebly.com/about.html

I hope you have enjoyed revisiting this part of Paddington again. I have been reading all your comments and reminiscences from previous posts with interest, and realise just how many stories there are to tell. With this in mind I would like to tell you about the St Mary Magdalene’s website which references an oral history project that is collecting stories about north Paddington from anyone who wishes to contribute.

https://st-mary-magdalene.co.uk/2017/07/20/community-projects-st-mary-mags/

George Kambouroglou is the heritage officer working on this oral history project as part of the St Mary Mags church development. The oral history project looks at historic north Paddington and the surrounding area. So if anyone is interested in contributing their memories, please contact him directly at George@pdt.org.uk .

Thanks for reading!

 


Eveline, Elsie, Agnes and Joan – May Queens through time

We are all time travellers. Our dilemma is that we can only go in one direction. Sometime time goes slowly, like one of the endless summers of childhood. Sometimes hours or even days get eaten up like minutes. But we can only get off the flow of time by stopping, something you don’t usually want to do. And you can’t go back. But you can fake it sometimes. History, like memory, is one of the ways of hanging onto the past, and one of the best methods is photography.

Another feature of time travel is the regular appointment and my time machine visits this subject every year, the May Queen Festival of Whitelands College. This year’s post is about going back, and we start in 1937. This happens to be the last group photograph in the third volume of the May Queens scrapbooks which are in the College archives. The archivist generously let me have a set of digital images of the pictures in the scrapbooks some years ago, and I have been using them every year since.

In 1937 the College was in Putney. The original Chelsea building couldn’t contain the numbers of students and staff. But the traditions continued and every year there was a new May Queen who was joined on the day of her coronation by former holders of the same office.

 

 

[For reasons of clarity I have not compressed all of this week’s pictures so if you click on a picture to see a bigger version, you should be able to join in the game by studying faces.]

Queen Betty, in the centre of the group,sits on the wooden throne, has some child attendants, holds a bouquet but she is not the main focus of our attention. Look at a few of the other faces.

 

 

The Queen in the red circle is Queen Eveline, who would probably have been in her late 50s, We’re going to follow her back in time to the day she was crowned. I picked her because her dress is quite distinctive, but we won’t follow her on her own. We’re also going to look at Queen Agnes II who was a particularly faithful annual returnee, and Queen Elsie III. I’ve also circled a more recent queen, Queen Joan, but she won’t be with us for long.

 

 

Queen Joan is seated with Agnes at her left shoulder. I did wonder if the the other queen in a blue circle was our old friend from the 2016 post, Queen Mildred but as I looked further I  realised she was Queen Marjorie. By looking carefully and comparing pictures it should be possible to identify them all. But frankly there is a point where careful examination shades into time-consuming obsession so I’m limiting myself to a few names and if there are any other experts I’m happy to hear from you. But this isn’t like spotting vintage cars.

We’re not going back year by year but here is the 1936 group photo which has a good view of the new college building designed by Giles Gilbert Scott.

 

 

Queen Kathleen was the new queen then. You can see her in the first picture, sitting next to Queen Betty. Last year’s queen has to come back to pass on the title. Conveniently, Queen Eveline is just behind her, standing next to Queen Agnes. Queen Joan is there and behind her stands Queen Elsie, who hadn’t made it the following year.

 

 

Now  we move back to 1933.

 

 

Our group of three have clustered together again, with Joan still in the front row.

 

 

In 1932, Elsie was absent.

 

 

Eveline is behind Joan, while Agnes is on the far left, her robes billowing in a breeze. Keep you eye on the white or grey haired queen next to Eveline.

The previous year, 1931, was Joan’s year as Queen.

 

That’s the last time we see her, and the first ceremony in the new College, so to mark her special day, here she is planting a tree to celebrate the occasion, with some hand maidens in attendance.

 

 

In 1929 the College was still in Chelsea.

Queen Eveline wasn’t there that year, but Queens Elsie and Agnes were.

 

 

Elsie is quite plain to see on the right of the group.

 

 

Can you see Queen Agnes?

 

In 1923 there was a smaller gathering.

 

 

Fourteen years younger than the in 1937 picture, Eveline stands at the left next to one of the teenage girls (or younger children) who were were also a feature of the group photos.

This was Queen Marjorie’s year as Queen.

Eveline is also in the 1919 group.

 

 

The Queen that year was Janet, standing next to the Mother Queen, Ellen I.  Janet eventually appeared at the centenary of the festival in 1981.

 

There are Eveline, Elsie and Agnes. The Queen next to  Eveline is Mildred, the 1904 Queen, I think, who doesn’t seem to have attended many ceremonies.

 

 

Next to her is an older queen who might be the one we saw earlier. I’m leaning towards this being Queen Minnie, the 1884 queen. Something about her hairline. But I’m not certain.

 

The 1914 picture is crammed with children, but our trio is all here.

 

 

 

1911 was Elsie’s year. Here she is in the throne room being crowned by Queen Ellen I, the first queen (1881) also know as the Mother Queen, a title passed on to the oldest living queen.

 

 

Note the bust of Ruskin (?) on the far right.

Queen Eveline stands at the back. It’s not a good quality photo but you are beginning to see her as a young woman.

 

 

We mark Elsie’s leaving in this counter clock world with this view of her and her predessor Queen Louise.

 

 

Agnes’s day is coming. Here she is in 1909.

 

 

Mildred and Florence are there with more of the pre-1900 queens.

We’ve seen pictures of Agnes in previous posts but as a farewell, here is a studio  portrait against a painted backdrop.

 

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Our next step in to go back to Eveline’s own year, 1900. This was the year that Ruskin died, and his influence over the festival was fading. Queen Eveline sits between Queen Annie and Queen Agnes I.

 

 

The three queens behind her who seem to be in civilian dress are from the period when the robes were passed on from year to year. They adopted a variety of dresses over the year.

On the right is Queen Elizabeth II with another distinctive dress. Behind her is Queen Minnie, and next to her Elizabeth I.

The little woman sitting on the floor is Queen Jessie, and she is wearing the second of the two shared robes.

Eveline looks very young in the pictures from this year, like this one with her predecessor, the first Queen Agnes.

 

 

And in this portrait.

 

 

Miss Eveline Head’s part in this story is now finished but in the regular world of time moving forward, her life, like the new century, was just beginning. (Later she married and became Mrs Grey.)

Postscript

This was a tricky post to do, looking back and forth between pictures trying to spot faces from year to year. And, as you’ve noticed, a bit of a marathon in terms of pictures. So one final picture won’t matter.

Queen Minnie, possibly the oldest queen in the 1930s pictures. (Or possibly not. At one point I wondered if she was Ellen II, but more of that another day.

 

 

My thanks as always to Gilly King, the Archivist at Whitelands when I first became fascinated by the subject, and to the College itself. My best wishes to this year’s May Monarch, who will be crowned on May 13th.


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