Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Where's That Then? No 12

The English Counties Illustrated is an Odhams book. Once so ubiquitous, these were cheaply produced volumes and usually printed in their hundreds of thousands on huge presses at the side of a by-pass in Watford. Except this one, because I see it's printed in Norwich. The jacket blurb says "This is not a guide book but rather an armchair companion, presenting an interesting and readable picture of each of the English counties". And what companions they are. Amongst many others are S.P.B. Mais, James Wentworth Day, Jack Simmons and John Betjeman. Here he is on the county he once lived in: "Berkshire is like a tattered old shoe, kicking out eastwards from Gloucestershire". For so long ignored, and perhaps a little sniffily, I think these books are now certainly worth seeking out again. Does that help with this morning's location? Probably not, but isn't that typography a treat?

28 comments:

Alistair Fitchett said...

Is this Lynmouth in North Devon?

expat said...

I was just thinking of the same area. The situation looks very like Watermouth Castle but the wrong buildings I think.

Bucks Retronaut said...

How about Porlock and/or Countisbury Hill,personally remembered as being the hill where my old Dad thought our Ford 10 might not make the grade,and said we`d have to be prepared to go up backwards!Oh,the shame,that was felt by a 6 year old !
Believe also that this was the scene of a hell of a feat by early lifeboatmen who unable to launch from one bay ,hauled their boat over the summit with a team of horses in terrible conditions.to another more sheltered launching site .Bet they would have appreciated a Ford 10 .
I also remember watching the Odhams Press building in course of construction with its lovely spirelet.Lost some of its glamour for me when it passed into the ownership of Robert Maxwell`s Pergamon Press.

Peter Ashley said...

Alastair you're quite right. This is indeed Lynmouth, a photograph taken from the Lynton side of the precipitous gorge. That's Countisbury Head in the background.

Peter Ashley said...

Or even Alistair, sorry.

Alistair Fitchett said...

Would the photo have been from before or after the 1952 flood disaster?

Philip Wilkinson said...

I'm too late this morning, but anyway I have this book and so, to preserve fairness, that would have ruled me out of the running. I agree that Odhams books have been underrated - there were some good ones, although the quality of the reproduction of the photographs ranged from the crisp and detailed to the decidedly murky.

Peter Ashley said...

The photograph was definitely taken before the devastating 1952 flood disaster, and may have been from stock pictures taken in the late 1930s.

DC said...

Grrr. I looked at this before anyone had commented this morning and thought: I wonder if that's Lynmouth. But I didn't know as I've only ever been there in darkness (!) so didn't post. Moral: don't let ignorance prevent you from posting!

Peter Ashley said...

That'll teach you DC. And to travel in the light whenever you can.

Diplomate said...

Darkness - a much under-rated environment in which to take in one's surroundings. In a similar way to which most of my fondest memories present themselves in black&white, some of the more detailed moments deffinitely appear to be in darkness. I'm paricularly fond of those tunnel vision memories, completely void of any perripheral view - these can be best experienced in a dark corner of a Herefordshire (or in Lynmouth perhaps)drinking house whilst staring in fixed disbelief at the swirling dots on your hand of dominoes.......

Lord Carrot said...

I've been that pissed too Diplo.

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