Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."
Friday, 3 August 2012
A Bolt From The Blue
The above scene comes from a postcard belonging to my brother-in-law, who lives in Bangor, North Wales, and is a postcard collector. Aren't I lucky? I was stuck for this week's Sepia Saturday post in response to the picture of policemen running in a race. I could have used a picture of my son, who was no mean sprinter, and who grew up to be a policeman, but even thirty year old school sports day shots are not as interesting to other people as they are to doting parents. It would have been stretching the point a little too, so instead we have just one policeman running.
My B-I-L is something of an authority on old postcards (as well as being a philatelist of repute) and he tells me he will be using the above 'pc' (sorry I couldn't resist the pun*) for talks he is currently doing around North Wales on comic Welsh postcards.
It would appear that the gentleman (Mr Walker of London) being urged to "Look Sharp!" by the train guard, is trying to escape the clutches of his pursuers: a landlady, waving an old bill (sorry, there I go again) and a butcher, who has not been paid for his "1/4 lb of sossage." The rather portly policeman, in blue, is also in pursuit as the miscreant makes a bolt for it.
I asked my B-I-L for the more information and a scan of the message.
"I am in Bangor today in all the rain in the Sasiwn. From Nell"
The word 'sasiwn' translates as session or association, and in that period (1907) usually referred to a gathering of people for a religious meeting, perhaps over a day or days, as opposed to a church/chapel service of an hour or so. Many people from the area had moved to Liverpool in the late 1800s - early 1900s. Nell may have been one of those and was now returning to her old place of worship for some big event.
For earlier policeman runners you would need to go back to Bow Street in London, around 1749, when the author Henry Fielding, who was also Chief Magistrate at Bow Street Magistrates Offices, founded what is thought of as the first modern police force. There were just six officers to begin with, paid by central government. The 'Bow Street Runners' was a public nickname for the officers, who did not use the term themselves, considering it derogatory. They were well-known at the time of Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist' and George Cruikshank's illustration for the book shows a group of them waiting by Oliver's bedside.**
In Lionel Bart's musical 'Oliver', based on the book, Fagin's gang of boy-thieves sing the song, 'Be Back Soon', where they boast that they can fool the Bow Street Runners as they don't know their tune!
Make a dash for more Sepia Saturday stories, where you can see how other contributors have interpreted the sporting prompt below.
* pc is postcard abbreviated, but PC is Police Constable
**Public domain through Wikimedia Commons