Saturday, January 24, 2009

Would you like to see my Etchings?

Michelle’s been trawling the local junk shops again in search of Victorian prints and other bits and pieces of antiquarian paraphernalia.
Oddly enough she ended up back at the Trinity Hospice Shop where she’d managed to find a couple of intriguing illustrations last year. Exactly why the Trinity Hospice excels at this sort of thing when other charity shops fail I couldn’t say. (Perhaps those with a penchant for all matters historical couldn’t give a stuff about people starving in Third World countries, or mistreated puppies or what have you, which is why these things don’t appear in Oxfam or the RSPCA shop. Who knows? The distribution of charitable artefacts is an area of scientific research as yet untapped.)
Whatever the case, we shouldn’t have been so honest about the low pricing of their antique prints on our last visit to Trinity, because the prices have now shot through the roof and it cost us an arm and a leg for this, unfortunately, rather grotty, water-damaged black-and-white print:


I mean, seriously…look at the state of it! I haven’t got a clue what that big stain is. I just hope that somebody suffering from incontinence didn’t previously use it as bedding, that’s all.
Regardless of the mottled motif, it’s an interesting etching. It shows the mouth of the River Wyre as viewed from Fleetwood, or Min End as the Norse used to call it.
On the right hand side you should be able to see the jetty at Knott End, and behind that Morecambe Bay and the mountains of Barrow.
On the left hand side you might be able to notice how steep the beach at Fleetwood was. Actually, it’s still like that nowadays, although there aren’t so many fishermen bagging up their catches on it now…and there isn’t a suspicious stain forking down from the sky like a bolt of unpleasant-smelling lightning in modern times either!
The illustration’s bigger in reality, of course, and even without my specs on I could read the words ‘W. G. Herdman’ in the bottom left hand corner.
Naturally we conducted a bit of research, just in case Herdman prints are worth a small fortune. (Cut to out-take from the Antiques’ Road Show: “Well, to be honest, it belonged to my great-great-great-great grandmother and has been in the family for centuries, so we’d never part with it.” “At a rough guess you should insure it for five thousand pounds.” “What’s the number for Sotheby’s?”)
Here’s what little information we managed to turn up. William Gawin Herdman was born in Liverpool in 1805 and kicked the bucket in 1882. He spent most of his life in Everton where he fathered a large family (there wasn’t much else to do in Everton before the invention of football hooliganism) most of whom were artists in their own right. He became the secretary of The Liverpool Academy in 1836, took umbrage at something or other in 1857 (possibly because his eyesight was failing and, as a consequence, his finances were suffering) and resigned dramatically, only to found his own rival group, The Liverpool Society of Fine Arts. Presumably it was a bit naff because it closed four years later in 1862.
Herdman painted a number of large watercolours in his lifetime as well as publishing a series of ‘Lithographic Views of the Continent & Fleetwood on Wyre’, together with three series of views of Liverpool.
So there you have it.
Probably worthless then…especially with a big stain all over it like ours has.
The other print, again black and white, that Michelle managed to procure can be seen below. This one didn’t have a big stain on it, but, as you can probably see, it’s a bit rubbish by comparison.


‘The Oxford Hotel, Blackpool, 1880.’
It’s good to see that some things haven’t changed much. Well, yes, the building’s almost invisible behind the thick blanket of car fumes that smothers the area nowadays, but there’s still something instantly recognisable about the place, I reckon.
Apart from the windmill, of course.
I don’t remember a ruddy great windmill stuck on the back of the pub before.
At first we thought that the windmill must have been erroneous; a fabrication of the artist designed to juxtapose the smoke-grimed grotty red brick structure with some rural idyll or other. The windmill, itself, has the words ‘Halfway House’ painted around it – a name that, nowadays, most people would associate with the pub down Starr Gate where the buses turn round.
But we did a bit more research, because that’s what we do, and after many long hours hunched over dusty old tomes in the flickering light of a guttering candle (we really ought to pay our electricity bill) we discovered this in a book entitled ‘Images of Blackpool’ produced by the Evening Gazette:


(Possible major copyright infringement suit to follow!)
Does that look familiar to you? If it doesn’t, then perhaps you should stop reading this board about now and go back to watching ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’.
Yes, it’s almost exactly but not quite the same view as the drawing further up the page.
Here’s what the caption beneath the photograph reads: “Preston New Road was only built after the demolition of Great Marton windmill in Mill Lane, Little Marton, which became the section of Preston New Road beyond Mythop Road.”
So now you know. Of course, what we should have done from the outset was consult the expert, Mr. Clarke, which, after several pints of Speckled Hen and a bit of brain fugue, we eventually did. Here’s what Windmill Land has to say on the matter (and if you’re having trouble reading it then, as always, just click on the image to make it larger):


On which historical note, my stomach’s rumbling, so I’m going to hang these two prints back up on the living room wall and conduct some research into the fridge instead.

20 comments:

reubenvb said...

I think those stains are coffee stains. When I go to Op-shops, most of their pictures have that. I tend to buy clothes rather than images at op-shops though...

John said...

How did you beat me here? I wanted to be the first to comment! And I was just here a while ago, as well.

Anyway, I have to agree with a certain que jumper that coffee stains prevail on old artworks and other paper products for some strange reason.

Maybe you should do a post about the Fylde & Wyre before coasters were invented?

Nice etchings, though.

JOHN :0)

Andrew said...

Time and location for another dig Brian. Would it be a flour mill?

Jayne said...

Those fishermen must have had well-developed calf muscles walking on that beach!
Coffee stains... or the roof needed repairs...or the rotten toddler from across the street threw its sago pudding at the print...

Brian Hughes said...

Reuben, John and Jayne, my own suspicions are that the drawing was either kept in a damp cellar or a damp attic...or somewhere else that was damp. Coffee tends to create brown stains whereas this one just looks a bit like a tideline.

Andrew,

The ruins of Marton Mill have probably been built on by now, I suspect. However, Little Marton Mill (which is just down the road) is still there and we've actually been invited down to investigate and excavate a tunnel believed to connect the mill itself to the old Kiln House. The trouble is finding enough times and dates in our over-packed schedule to fit all this stuff in. We could do with an extra three or four months tagging onto the year...

shirley said...

hi what a lovely thing to do!!! Have been out of circulation had clogged drains (him indoors says it is my fault) A burst pipe clean up in kitchen, all after the horrendous bug (but I have now a craving for hot toddies). Been painting and husband comes in points to ceiling with stick indicating missed spot a rude dialogue ensued. Thanks for your digging got the whole history of great marton mill but not seen that first divvilish picture of yours. Bye 'eck where dust thou find 'em I am copying it and it will be added to display with your names on it. Prepare to be meet with hourdings at the entrance to Preston New Rd with red hearts welcoming you all to Little Marton Mill just look for the mill Lady dressed in pink wearing tulip wellies offering a gradely welcome. If I had my way there would be gingham curtains in the windows but my heritage side prevents it. Thanks for your support my windmillian chums bring cameras (The sail will be back on in a few months) Back to check the paint is drying and the remaining paper has adhered as well as getting a paper prepared for uni with a printer with issues. Shirley

Brian Hughes said...

Bah gum, Shirley. That 'as t' be one o' t' longest comments Arv iver read. 'Tis longer than t' actool postin' Arh reckon.

"Bye 'eck where dust thou find 'em?"

The Trinity Hospice shop, according to Michelle. There's a new one opned in Fleetwood, which is quite convenient for us.

"Prepare to be meet with hourdings at the entrance to Preston New Rd with red hearts welcoming you all to Little Marton Mill..."

We might have a problem there, Shirley. We haven't secured ourselves a lift yet. We both desperately want to come, but, with it being Valentine's Day, nobody else is being allowed out to play it seems. Still asking around though...

Jayne said...

I'd lend you my broomstick, Brian, but it's geared for Southern Hemisphere oddities only :P
WV = foost ...Ahhh, the Blogger worker made a pact with the Devil!

Jayne said...

Just found this article on a decent history show, can you review it, please?
It'll be another century before we get it in Oz.

Brian Hughes said...

Jayne,

Michelle was watching the Victorian Farm last night. Hold on a moment and I'll ask her what she reckoned to it.

Right...she says it's worth watching if you don't already know about the old farming methods (i.e. if you haven't wasted the greater part of your life hanging around the Fylde Country Life Museum).

Jayne said...

Ahhh, ta muchly Michelle and Brian :)

Brian Hughes said...

Jayne,

Not much a review I know, but she was on her way out of the door to the shops at the time.

Jayne said...

Just realised last night it's the sequel to Tales from the Green Valley that we watched a few months back, really damn good show so Victorian Farm should be just as excellent.

Brian Hughes said...

Jayne,

Don't know that one. I've read Tales from Moomin Valley...and I saw Beyond the Valley of the Dolls once...not much similarity between the two really, except for the valleys, of course.

Jayne said...

The farm one didn't involve nudity of any sort...unless you count a bare ankle or 3 :P

What's this HERE about your drunken druids getting pickled and punchy over 4,000 yr old skeletons unearthed at Stonehenge ?

WV =unsucksm
They're watching us type, aren't they?

Brian Hughes said...

Jayne,

"The farm one didn't involve nudity of any sort..."

I'm glad I didn't watch it then.

As for the argument between the druids...well, they've got to have something to do at weekend, I suppose...

John said...

Jayne, Nice article, but... well... y'know?

I wonder if these 'druids' would be more convincing in their arguments if they weren't all acting like total nutters? They give all of us interested in old stones a bad name...

Speaking of which, Brian, aren't there any old etchings of Bleasedale Circle, or any old mounds from around the Fylde?

JOHN :0)

Brian Hughes said...

John,

There's a Wainwright sketch of Bleasdale Circle. I'll have to post it at some point or other.

Anonymous said...

you have showed a picture of the great marton windmill with a high wall in front of it.in the late 1950s/early 1960s,i used to sit on the top of the wall waiting for the tram to take me back to devonshire square.the height of the wall had at one time been reduced to around five feet and i rather think that i would have climbed onto it from a bench.col macleod.

Brian Hughes said...

Col,

Was the windmill still there at that point?