At the latest meeting of the Forncett History Group an item noted on Ebay generated a great deal of discussion. The postcard – acquired in the end by another party unknown to us – showed a young man with a pony and cart/trap.
Closer analysis of the image showed the name ‘J. HUMPHREYS’ to be on the side of the trap. The Chairman then explained how Dennis Ludkin had been quite challenged by this and set about comparing older larger scale maps to see if a similar range of buildings to that on the photo could be found. Dennis had pinpointed a small group near Chestnut Farm as being comparable. Discussion then turned on the shape of the buildings and established that the building in the foreground might well be separate from the main range, which would correspond with the representation on one of the maps (see detail of map of 1906). One would have to bear in mind that the angle and direction of the photo would mean that Chestnut Cottage was obscured by the other buildings.
Thanks to the detective work of Dennis L. and useful discussion at the FHG it would seem that the location has been reasonably established. We still do not know for certain who the young man is and why he was photographed at this place. James (‘Jimmy’) HUMPHREYS was the baker at Forncett End at Harley House. With evidence from copied documents referred to by the Chairman it was shown that J.H. had fallen on hard times and by 1924 was declared bankrupt. It was pointed out that his fate reflected the social problems of the times. His assets included various fixtures and fittings and ‘pony, cart and harness’, valued at £25.
Secretary Mike Merrick is looking for volunteers to transcribe the Forncett entries of the 1939 Registration Document which was published last year; if you would like to assist by typing in an A4 sheet or two please get in touch.
The next meeting will include the AGM on 18 May. All are welcome.
My report to the Annual Meeting of the Parish Council repeats my appeal to enlist the help of Forncettians in cataloguing historic details of land and property. I do hope that any ‘snippets’ of information will be forthcoming and any documents will be made available for digitizing (this means in effect – photographing) them for the Forncett Archive. Ongoing tasks include recording field names throughout the parishes and making a photographic record of buildings and locations for posterity.