River Thames at Wallingford, 24 August 1971

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To: Sue Westcott, “Casa Bella”, Forest Lane, Upper Chute, Nr Andover, Hants


Dear Sue.

Thought I’d drop you a card to let you know what a bore this place is. I’ve never been so fed up for ages. We’re coming home Friday so I’ll phone you then. Bye.

All my Love



Promenade & Nell’s Point, Barry Island, 13 June 1939


To: Mrs Muzzlewhite, 13 Heavitree Rd, Exeter, Devon

Barry 13/6/39

We have arrived here after a very interesting journey, we went across the Aust Ferry over the Severn & through Newport & Cardiff also many other places. Bill has left us here for a couple of hours, we are having tea in a Café which seats 400 & we are the only two in here it seems such a large place. Hope you & Dad are OK.

With love from us all Joyce.

[I remember as a child crossing by the Aust Ferry, sitting in a queue of cars in blazing heat on the way back from the West Country, and finding a ten bob note on the ground (hurrah!). The ferry closed the day before the first Severn Bridge opened on 9 September 1966. Bizarrely, the cover of the soundtrack album to Martin Scorsese’s film No Direction Home shows Bob Dylan standing at the Aust terminal with the bridge in the background, presumably soon before it opened.]

Cardiff, 22 June 1908


To: Miss N Holman, C/o Samuel Hall, High St, Local

Business to morrow very possible there to night

Snider [?]

[Gabrielle Ray, born Gabrielle Elizabeth Clifford Cook, was an Edwardian actress, dancer and singer from Cheadle in Cheshire. She starred in West End musicals such as The Orchid (singing The Pink Pyjama Girl whilst dancing in pink pyjamas, apparently), Lady Madcap, The Little Cherub, The Merry Widow, The Dollar Princess and Peggy. She was the supermodel of her day, hugely photographed, with admirers such as Alfred Vanderbilt and King Manuel of Portugal. Following a short marriage and a fading career, she went through a period of depression and alcohol abuse ending in mental breakdown. Gabrielle Ray was institutionalised in 1936, dying in Holloway Sanatorium in Egham in 1973, aged 90. There’s a biographic website dedicated to Ray (www.gabrielleray.com) and another which has an amazing collection of around 700 Gabrielle Ray postcards (www.gabrielleray.co.uk).

Samuel Hall (1841-1921) is also interesting.  From a (presumably well-to-do) Pembrokeshire family, he was related to Benjamin Hall (1802-1867), Lord Llanover of Llanover and Abercarn, after whom Big Ben in the Palace of Westminster may be named. Samuel was the eponymous proprietor of a drapery store in High Street, Cardiff, owning houses at Tynewydd, St Bride’s-super-Ely in the Vale of Glamorgan, and Ivy Tower, St Florence, near Tenby. He is buried in Carew Cheriton church in Pembrokeshire. The shop is mentioned in an article in Wales Online in 2012 “Beryl Tobin, nee Corbin, worked at Samuel Hall in High Street, Cardiff, between 1945-1949 and writes: “It was a high class shop in those days and my wages were four shillings and 11½d a week. There was a door in our work room that you could go out of and walk the glass domes in the arcade roof, and being the youngest I was sent all over the place, mainly for matching cottons. My favourite shop was in Paradise Place off Queen Street by the Taff Vale pub.”” The shop was at 8-10 High Street, adjacent to High Street Arcade.]


Maesteg, 11 November 1907


To: Mr J. D. Jones, 130 St. James Terrace, Harrow Road, London. W.

My dear Uncle

We have been expecting to hear from you daily we hope you are well. I am not walking yet but I hope to be able to go myself now very soon We went for the day to Swansea last Thursday. Eluned as [sic] been very ill but so much better. Hope to hear from you soon. With love from John M Jones

Sophia Gardens, Cardiff, 24 August 1907


To: Miss B Weddell, 27 Almington Street, Thorpedale Road, Holloway, London

1 Paget Street, Cardiff

Dear Beaty

I was very pleased to hear from you, you will be very busy won’t you! but I shall be very pleased to see you both at class again, come as soon as you come home won’t you. My little boy is keeping fairly well just now my lol holiday is drawing to a close so with best love to you I remain your affectionate [?] F.R.