Edwardian postcard – The Lovers Seat, Hastings, Sussex
I recently bought this postcard to add to my ever growing Edwardian postcard collection because of the amusing message on the back and the intriguing picture on the front. All those prim and proper ladies!
When it arrived I felt drawn to investigate the writer and subject matter further.
The writer, Harold describes the ladies sitting on the ‘lovers seat’ as being ‘Giddy Old Kippers’ which made me laugh. I immediately liked Harold’s sense of humour so had to know more about him.
But first, the ‘lovers seat’ mentioned was on a cliffside in Hastings, Sussex UK. I found two websites with lots of information about it.
My postcard was posted in 1905 but in 1910 there was a landslide and the sloping rock and a lot of ground disappeared down to the sea below.
A fence was then erected for safety but over the years that too fell down and later photos show it without any protection once again.
Its interesting to see it from a different perspective and appreciate the view and why they liked to sit there.
I’m borrowing this from a post on the 1066online forum for Hastings.
1851 – Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt painted his greatest landscape, Our English Coasts, later known as Strayed Sheep, looking west across Fairlight Glen from ‘Lovers Seat’.
1910 – A land slip took away a large section of cliff including the large reclining rock shown in many images. After this the edge was mostly fenced off.
1932 February – Lovers Seat (wooden) was heavily vandalised and had to be replaced.
18 December 1960 – A landslip carried away the terrace on which the Lovers Seat (wooden) stood.
1961 February – The actual seat finally also slipped over the edge.
1961 Feb – The Lovers Seat ‘stone’ fell down the cliff in a landslide. A crane pulled it back up.
1980/81 – A major landslide completely destroyed the famous sandstone Crag at ‘Lovers Seat’.
Anyway, back to the writer and recipient. It was sent to a Miss Fricker in Hornsey, Middlesex by someone called Harold.
After some digging I discovered that Miss Fricker was Lucy Fricker, born 1885 in Brentford, Middlesex to Arthur Fricker and Annie Baggallay. Harold was Harold Burnett Smith born 1885 in Crouch End.
He begins the postcard Dear Sis, which led to me to think that he was Lucy’s brother but I found that Lucy brothers were both younger than her and called William and Arthur. It may have been a nickname of sorts i’m guessing.
The address on the card is 97 Turnpike Lane, Hornsey. Lucy and her family are listed as living there in 1901 & 1911 census.
I then searched for Lucy in the BMD records and found a marriage record in 1911 alongside a Harold B Smith. Could this be our Harold?
After some searching for Harold I found his occupation (stationers assistant) and parents details.
I later found a Church of England Marriages and Banns record which showed that Harold’s middle name was Burnett. The parents details matched up with what i’d found for them. They did indeed get married on 24th April 1911 in Hornsey.
They went on to have two children, at least thats all I could find.
Joan Kathleen Smith in March 1912 and Joe W.A Smith in 1914
Harold joined up during World War 1 and served as a rifleman in the Queens Westminster rifles. Sadly the story does not end well as Harold was killed in action on 30th November 1916. He is buried at Cambrai in France and is listed on Panel 12 of the Cambrai memorial
I haven’t been able to find any service papers for him but i’ll keep looking.
Its amazing what you can find from just a short note on the back of a postcard written over 100 years ago.