Sunday, April 27, 2008

A picture of Lewes

A couple of years ago my sister gave me a picture book for Christmas - one of the enormous number put together from the photographs of Francis Frith who, if the blurb is to be believed, was a Victorian photographic pioneer. His collection would certainly seem to be a reliable moneyspinner in the twenty first century, and his empire has clearly outlived him, as he died in 1898. This particular edition was Canals and Waterways, and it has a voucher in the back whereby you could send off for a free print of one of the pictures in the book (presumably in the hope that you would then be unable to resist ordering many more at forty four pounds a pop. I resisted).

Anyway, even though the voucher was out of date (my sister at the time worked in a remainder shop....) I sent off for, and got, this picture (albeit rendered in artificial sepia) of a sailing barge at Lewes c. 1960. The book tells me that the boat is called Federation, but nothing about what she might have been carrying. This wharf is in Lewes itself, and today there is a lone narrowboat moored at about this spot (I would love to know how it got there), which is handy for the Snowdrop pub. The pub, incidentally, is not named after a flower, but an avalanche which killed eight people in 1836 (or 1829, 0r 1830, depending on what source you believe. I'll go for the Argus's December 27th 1836, which seems to be the most popular).

We found a nice oak frame for the picture in our jumble sale collection, and have really only been waiting (ages) for me to get around to getting a nice mount cut for it. I've now ordered one from a shop in Lewes - it's nearly a tenner, so it's as well the picture was free and the frame was 20p - and it should be ready on Friday, so hopefully we will be putting it up in Warrior this weekend.

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