The Women of Peasenhall

The Women of Peasenhall
The Women of Peasenhall


“If, as people were saying, the new century was to be the century of the common people, the Peasenhall case was an appropriate overture. The victim was a servant girl, the accused was a workman, the witnesses were, almost without exception, villagers”
This novel is based on a famous real-life murder in Suffolk in 1902. Rose Harsent, a young housemaid, was found with her throat cut in the kitchen of Providence House, Peasenhall, early on a Sunday morning in June.
She was pregnant, and there had been some attempt to set fire to the body. All the evidence pointed clearly to the guilt of William Gardiner, a leading figure at the chapel where she worshipped. There had been strong rumours about Gardiner and Rose.
Gardiner’s little house, where he lived with his expectant wife, Georgina and six children, was only a stone’s throw away from Providence House, and a letter of assignation for the night of her death was found in Rose’s bedroom. Gardiner was put on trial for wilful murder.

To this strange story Mr. White brings the perception and wit that made his earlier novel, The Smartest Grave, so outstanding.
He conjures up the ‘Silly Suffolk’ of a bygone age, its characters and its oddities: such as the ‘pikers’, the ‘bible bangers’ and the ‘proxymater’ (a wife-substitute for a man during his real wife’s pregnancy). And he provides a new and plausible solution to the nagging mystery of who really killed Rose Harsent.

R. J. WHITE has been a Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge, for some twenty years. He has also served in his College as Dean and Librarian. Since the end of the Second World War he has been a University Lecturer in History.

This book came to my attention because of its Sixties cover plus the fact I spent some lovely holidays in a cottage in Peasenhall during the early to mid-Eighties. I have to admit we didn’t stay in the village itself much as Aldeburgh, Southwold and Dunwich called. When people talk of ‘sleepy’ Suffolk we totally agreed with this summary. It was wonderful driving at a lower speed limit and sitting on shingle beaches with an ice cream and frequenting secondhand bookshops, such as the one in Yoxford itself, just up the road from Peasenhall.

The cover design was by Bentley, Farrell and Burnett, a rather famous trio, it turns out. For years I have owned another cover by them, the Hunter Davies Beatles biography. Mike Dempsey’s article from Eye (no. 93 vol. 24, 2017) is available and will tell you more on the trio (Mike’s blog is a great read too).

The complete dustjacket

This novel – and it is a novel – recounts “the free reconstruction upon the facts of the Peasenhall crime of 1902”. It is based on William Henderson’s volume “Trial of William Gardiner” (1935) and John Rowland’s “The Peasenhall Mystery” which was published in 1962 and might be why White became interested in the story. Unsolved murders are always intriguing and this one is no exception. A quick search on the Internet for “Rose Harsent”, the victim, shows many hits all regurgitating the few facts. Forensic science was not very well developed at the start of the 20th century and Sherlock Holmes was fictional too, but many others have tried explaining the case – Wikipedia alone has a citation index containing 28 entries. White’s conclusion, put in the mouth of his policeman is interesting and chimes with some people’s view of village life.


Peasenhall is a village on the Yoxford road, 6 miles from Halesworth and 5 from Saxmundham. The night of 31 May saw a typical Suffolk storm arise, soaking all in the village. On the following morning of 1 June 1902 Rose Harsent’s body, a housemaid for the Crisps, was found by her father who always brought her clean linen on a Sunday. She was found at the foot of the stairs in the kitchen with her throat cut and her body partially burnt. A medicine bottle was found which belonged to Mrs Gardiner which had contained medicine until being filled with paraffin. Three letters were found in Rose’s bedroom, all of which were quite obscene. Frederick Davis, confessed he was the author of them, and had written them at Rose’s request as she liked the titillation.

More importantly an unsigned note found, read:
“Dear R, I will try to see you tonight at 12 o’clock at your place. If you put a light in your window at ten for about ten minutes, then you can put it out again. Do not have a light in your room at 12 as I will come round the back way.”

Rose’s character was well known and access to her upstairs room in the Crisps’ house was via a rear entrance which according to local knowledge was well used.

Contrasting Rose, was her alleged murderer, the main suspect throughout, William Gardiner, a father of 7 children and a member of the Primitive Methodists. He worked as a carpenter and foreman for Smyth & Sons in the village, producers of seed-drills and was known to be of good character. William Gardiner’s wife, knew of the allegations made about a sexual encounter between Gardiner and Rose which resulted in a recent inquiry in the chapel, but knew them to be rubbish.

On the night of the storm, at about 10pm, Gardiner was seen outside with neighbour Harry Burgess, discussing a thunderstorm heading their way and sure enough around 11.30pm, it began in force. The Gardiners visited their next-door neighbour, Rose Dickinson, and left her house around 1am to 2am after which Gardiner claimed he slept until about 8.30am Sunday morning. His wife claimed she had been feeling unwell and gone downstairs. A neighbour corroborated this as the walls between the cottages were thin. She returned to bed at 4am.

In terms of evidence, that morning brought firstly the testimony of James Morriss, a gamekeeper who claimed he saw footprints between Providence House and the Gardiners’ home in the rain on the road. This, of course was not able to be verified after the village awoke and the sun came out.
A neighbour backing onto the Gardiner’s property saw the fire roaring smoke early on the morning and the suspicion led to the police wondering if bloodied clothes had been disposed of.
The issue of the candle has been raised. A later voice made out that Gardiner could not see it from his nearby cottage because of the angle of the buildings to each other.
Handwriting experts disagreed about whether the important letter was written by Gardiner and Georgina agreed it looked somewhat like his hand, but no, it wasn’t.

A post-mortem examination showed Rose had been stabbed in the chest, had a bruise on her face and jaw, and had hand injuries that suggested she’d tried to fight off a knife attack and more importantly Rose was six months pregnant.

Gardiner had his knife on him and it had traces of blood – explained by Gardiner simply as obvious, he caught rabbits and skinned them with it. Why did he not dispose of such an incontrovertible clue when he did ‘burn his bloody clothes’? Inconsistency and circumstantial evidence appear to have been the order of the day in these trials. Some people changed their testimonies – maybe having had time to consider what they were doing.

Strangely, or maybe not, when one considers the investigating policeman had never handled a murder before, the police considered this a suicide and neglected to arrest their chief suspect until the 3 June – two days later. His trial began on 4 November that year in Ipswich and the jury returned a verdict of indecision – 11 guilty; one not guilty which led to the re-trial in which, ironically, the jury came back with the reverse: 11 not guilty; 1 guilty! It’s likely that by this time (21-24 January 1903) that poor Rose, being dead and buried, was not as in evidence as the poor man and his wife dragged before the courts once again. The judge decided to issue a “Nolle prosequi” – meaning, although not acquitted of murder, the judge did not feel inclined to further pursue the case against the defendant.

Gardiner and family disappeared afterwards to make a new life in London and Rose was buried in Peasenhall where her grave can still be seen – online too.

I have scanned the photographic postcard I found in the book which, after some investigation is of Providence House – which is not named after the religious concept but after the insurance company.

Providence House, Peasenhall
Providence House, Peasenhall looking East

Fifty [Stories] by Odhams



On my Raymond Sheppard blog, I’ve published two illustrations I have by Raymond Sheppard which were published in books by Odhams. Both start with the title “Fifty…”. I was intrigued and couldn’t find anywhere listing them all so here’s my attempt to bring together disparate sources in one place.

I  have only ever seen one of these books with a dustjacket – that had only text – no illustrations on the front. However most of those I have seen have embossed images on them either on the spine and/or on the front. The majority appeared around 1936-1938 as far as I can see but the hook “Fifty” was used by Odhams before these dates and in the 50s and 60s. They appear to form a series which I’ve attempted to list below. The illustrators are interesting as they feature work by Ronald Lampitt, E. S. Annison, Dudley Cowes, J. Harris, Cyril Holloway, T. Grainger Jeffrey, H. Charles Paine, Eric Parker, Pisani, Tony Royle, James Short, A. Sindall, E. B. Thurstan, S. Tresilian, Gilbert Wilkinson, S. van Abbe, Norman Howard, Clive Uptton, Dudley S. Cowes, De Mornay,  and Yates Wilson. If anyone wants me to show them these, let me know

  • Fifty Adventures into the Unknown 1938 [Starts: The Mystery of the Matto Grosso – Denis Clark. Includes: He Gave Britain a Continent – Owen Rutter. Flowers from the Roof of the World – Hugh Broadbridge. The Yukon Trail – W.G.C. Shebbeare. The Crankiest Expedition in History – Charles J. Seymour. Ends: Alone on a Pacific Island – Anon].
  • Fifty Amazing Escapes
  • Fifty Amazing Hairbreadth Escapes 1937 [The windjammer film / A.J. Villiers — When Al Capone was ambushed / J. Bilbo — The fever ship / Anonymous — Shipwreck and a stabbing / Dare Dubois-Phillips — An Afghan raid / Achmed Abdullah — Escape / Francesco Nitti — The crash in the mountains / Lowell Thomas — Called out to be shot / Prince Tuganoff — Cannibal gymnastics / F.H. Law — Gales in the hurricane zone / Alain Gerbault — Escape from the Foreign Legion / M. Donovan — Journey to the Forbidden City / M. Huc — Escape from the Soviets / T. Tchernavin — The madman in the desert / Ex-Legionnaire 1384 — Adrift in an open boat / Sir J. Barrow — The flight to Varennes / Madam Campan]
  • Fifty Amazing Secret Service Dramas [Authors include: Sir Basil Thomson, Marthe McKenna, Dr A K Graves, Lord Baden-Powell, S T Falsted, E T Woodhall, Bernard Newman, Charles Lucieto] 
  • Fifty Amazing Stories Of The Great War 1936
  • Fifty enthralling stories of the mysterious east – see contents here
  • Fifty Events that Amazed the World
  • Fifty Famous Detectives of Fiction 1948 – see Goodreads for contents
  • Fifty Famous Detective Stories 1948
  • Fifty Famous Fights in Fact and Fiction Hardback 1932
  • Fifty Great Adventures that Thrilled the World 1937
  • Fifty Great Sea Stories 1937
  • Fifty Greatest Rogues, Tyrants and Criminals
  • Fifty Great Disasters and Tragedies that shocked the world
  • Fifty Masterpieces of Mystery
  • Fifty Mutinies, Rebellions and Revolutions
  • Fifty Strangest Stories Ever Told
  • Fifty Thrilling Wild West Stories [Why the Wild West Was Wild by F E Sutton. The Borrowed Brand by Paul Evan Lehman. The Long Arm of the Mounted by Harry Sinclair Drago. Bully of The Town by Tom Roan. Blue Eyes and Blue Steel by Charles H Snow. Bill Latimers Tree by W D Hoffman. In the Mexican Quarter by Tom Gill. Without Fear or Favour by William MacLeod Raine. Battle,s End by Max Brand. Grub Delayed by Archie Joscelyn. Horseshoe Law in Misty Sink by William A Todd. Thief! by Will Jenkins. The Treasure of Iron Dome, by Charles H Snow. The Sheriff Was a Runt by Will Jenkins. Broken Courage by Charles Wesley Sanders. Reward for an Outlaw by Herbert Sullivan. The Reverend Chawles by George Goodchild. The Sheriff of Crevasse County by George Brydges Rodney. Ghosts of the Cimarron by Harry Sinclair Drago. The Killers by George Brydges Rodney. He Belonged West by Christopher Culley. The School Maam of Selwood Flats by Paul Evan Lehman. Fighting Fool by Tom Roan. A Reason for Wrath by Johnston Ma C ulley. Three Little Calves by Frank C Robertson. Change of Name by George S Surrey. Death badge by Lee Bond. The Cave of Death by James Denson Sayers. Singing Lead by Eugene Cunningham Texas Ranger by Lester Gregory. Rustled Herd by Lester Gregory. The Whip Hand by George Brydges Rodney. The Marquis and Miss Sally by O Henry. Kid Cyclone by Leo Grex. This Worm Has Fangs by James Denson Sayers. Six Gun Justice by Louis Gray. Million-dollar Burros by H C Wire. A Mounties Code by Canon Risdon. Man of Ice by Claude Rister. When the Coach Was Held up by George Thorne. El Roded by R B Cunninghame Graham. Warrior Woman by Frank Roland Conklin. A Vengeance by Proxy by G S Wallington. A Doubtful Experiment by Gerald Sussex. Vigilante Vengeance by Joseph F Hook. Two Snakes and a Man by Lloyd Eric Reeve. Maverick Water by David Lavender. Riding With the Mail by Clarence E Mulford. The Phantom of the Rio Grande by Jay Allen Dunn. Gunsmoke in Raimondo by Denver Bardwell] – For Illustrators see below
  • Fifty True Love Stories [Horace Theaker, Mrs Magdalene Roff, Mona Scanlon, Arthur Jones, Douglas Howarth, RF Gosney, Mrs Alice Ford, Mrs Mary Charles, Mary Brady, Irene Ballington]
  • Fifty True Stories: Stranger Than Fiction 1936 [Authors include P.C. Wren, Rt. Hon Winston Churchill, H. Rider Haggard, Mrs Belloc Lowndes, Lord George Sanger Twenty Four Hours in the Foreign Legion – P.C.Wren. Includes: The Circus People Take Revenge – ‘Lord’ George Sanger. The Luck of an Earthquake – Fred Walker. The Forest of Illusion – Roger Courtney. Ends: The Man Who Snatched a Throne – Amir Habibullah].
  • Fifty world famous heroic deeds see contents here
  • The Fifty Most Amazing Crimes Of The Last 100 Years 1936
Fifty Amazing Hairbreadth Escapes
Fifty Amazing Stories Of The Great War
Fifty Amazing Secret Service Dramas
Fifty Great Sea Stories
Fifty Thrilling Wild West Stories – illustrators list

William Timym

Puma by Timym

A puma drawn by William Tymym

What do the statue of Guy the Gorilla, Blue Peter and Woman magazine have in common? I expect you’ve guessed the name which connects these three things!

I used to have in my possession the TV Times Rolf Harris Safari Album from 1972 from when it was first published. I can’t remember whether it was free inside the TV Times or I sent off for it but I loved the wildlife drawings and artwork. It was a while into collecting the series of pictures, which were free in the TV Times, that I found the artist’s  name – which does not appear in the whole 30 page album! One would think Harris had done all the work  but some initials and finally a signature told me something amazing.

William Timym was that artist. While searching around I found he also illustrated something else I liked as a kid: “Bleep and Booster” on Blue Peter. But little did I know the very statue that my son climbed in London Zoo, was created by none other than William Timym in 1982! (Side note: I was sure, until I checked the date, that I saw the Guy the Gorilla statue in 1969? And I’m not thinking of the Crystal Palace Park one either as I was there for the first time only a few years ago!)

BIOGRAPHY of William Timym: Born Vienna October 5 1902; Died London May 31 1990

‘Tim’, as he signed himself was actually William Timym, born in 1902 in Austria, he moved from Vienna to England in 1938, escaping Nazi occupation and became a naturalised British citizen in April 1949. A search of the National Archives show he was a renowned portrait painter during the war, and painted royalty, Prime Ministers and military people amongst many.  His comic strip “The Boss” was seen all over Europe and Britain whilst he was still living on the continent and he was soon syndicated in the UK in the Sunday Dispatch, where he drew Caesar“, an Afghan hound who gets into all sorts of mischief. His “Humphrey” strip of black and white panels appeared in Woman magazine. Because I couldn’t find many online, for your pleasure, I looked through the four Woman magazines I own!

Humphrey strip

Humphrey by Timym (Woman 25 May 1957 p.61)


Humphrey by Timym (Woman 5 October 1957 p.57)

“Wuff, Snuff and Tuff”, can easily be found on the Internet – especially at the National Library of Australia’s Trove database, follow the link. The three puppies’ adventures were very popular and saw publication in books and annuals as well as weekly. Then Timym also illustrated “Oh Johnny!” the adventures of a down-beaten husband and his wise wife, in John Bull in the Fifties. Another children’s strip apparently appeared in the Daily Express, “Bengo the Boxer”. I say apparently because I can’t find a single reproduction of one from the Daily Express although there were books published.  Susan Brewer’s article on Bengo collectables is exhaustive. The idea was actually developed for a BBC Children’s TV programme and began on Monday 22 June 1953 as “Bengo the adventures of a boxer puppy”. In 1962 it became part of Blue Peter (according to the Guardian obituary and BBC Genome). In the Sixties I remember the “Bleep and Booster” cartoons for “Blue Peter” the children’s programme on the BBC.  Jeremy Briggs has listed all Timym’s characters’ appearances in Blue Peter books via Steve Holland’s Bear Alley blog This is also where you’ll find Briggs’ article on “Bleep and Booster”.

I made passing reference to Timym’s sculpture and he designed such famous pieces as the “TV Times Top Ten award”, Guy the Gorilla, as mentioned and Petra, the Blue Peter dog, whose statue is now at Salford Quays.

As my addition to Timym on the Internet I have transcribed some of the Chicago Sunday Tribune article on Tim which appears on the Classic comics section of a manga website of all things in Spain! Hopefully this will show up on Google and help others researching his life.

At 11 he competed with 150 other boys and girls to enter the Academy of Arts in Vienna. Most came loaded down with paintings and busts they had done. Tim brought nothing. Professor Cizek [?] asked them all to return the next day and bring nothing. They did. With a wave of his arm the Professor told them to take their choice of the great diversity of materials he had there for them and to do something out of their imagination.

“Fifty percent of them were helpless” Tim recalled. “They were bound to the model. For me it was a walkover, I sketched a trotting horse and driver in full movement and the Professor took me on”.

In 1929, Tim won a Vienna poster contest with his drawing of a group of animals. The Viennese public fell for the poster. The evening newspaper Der Abend asked Tim to do its sketches  – for theatrical stories, political cartoons, and short stories. In 1934 Tim started his first comic strip, called “The Boss.” There were some small animals in it. Vienna hailed it as a novelty, because it was a pantomime comic strip – with no balloon conversations, nor even captions, all silent. At first , the editors worried about the silence.

“But if I draw them so that people understand them, they will look at them.” Tim told them. They needn’t have worried. Within three months, people were calling at the paper’s office to buy back numbers.

 *   *  *

Another newspaper asked Tim to do a strip. By this time he owned a dog himself – a boxer. Tim created a Dalmatian hound that he called Sniff, and did the strip about him.

Sniff was a success. By 1937, both “Sniff” and “The Boss” were appearing not only in Vienna, but also in other continental newspapers and in Britain. Tim was established. In 1938, Hitler came to Vienna. Tim left.

Tim went to England, where “The Boss” was appearing in the Sunday Graphic and “Sniff” in several out-of-London papers. Tim brought with him to Britain, his boxer dog, Cito.

The continental newspapers ceased carrying his strips. Tim began living  where he does now in a house not far from Hampstead Heath. The war started. Tim was interned, as all others classified because of their nationality as enemy aliens. But he was in camp for only three months.

Upon his release Tim found himself professionally as unoccupied as he was when he, at two, was scratching the brown paper [supplied by his mother and father] spread out on the floor. The paper shortage ended both “The Boss” and “Sniff”. Tim started out all over again.

He did portraits. He went into commercial advertising and in 1943 he joined the Cooper syndicate. He did political cartoons for the weekly John Bull.

Then, in 1944, the Sunday Graphic editor asked Tim to start another comic strip. He did and called it “Uncle George.”

“I don’t like Uncle George but I do like his dog,” Tim was told. “Do a strip about the dog.”

The dog? he was something like Sniff, but different. Tim had added a few points of an English setter.

“I liked Sniff’s muzzle and his spots,” Tim explained, “but I added a setter’s long hair and big flappy ears to make a contrast to Sniff.”

Faced with making Uncle George’s dog the star of the strip and doing away with Uncle George, Tim immediately decided the dog had to be more imposing. To help, Tim sketched him larger, gave him more glorious ruffles and christened the dog “Caesar”

Ceasar now had earned his full fledged personality. In 1949 Tim became a naturalized Briton. One woman yearly buys Caesar a dog license and pays his dues at the Tailwagger’s club, the London club of British dogdom.

Citation: Gwen Morgan, (1952), “Growing up with Caesar”, Chicago Sunday Tribune, 7 December 1952, p.8

There does seem to be discrepancies about his birth date. On Stripper’s Guide Allan Holtz shows  a transcription from an article that appeared in November 1951 in which it states ” Timyn, who is 52, has been a professional cartoonist more than 27 years” which means he is likely to have been born in 1899 and began his “professional cartooning” at the age of 25.

His death is not in doubt as his family placed an announcement in the Death Notices of the Times (Friday, June 1, 1990, p.15) in which they state “On May 31st, peacefully at home in London. William Timym M.B.E., affectionately known as Tim, Artist and Sculpter [sic], in his 88th year”.  So it would appear he was born in the 20th Century not the 19th. Monday 11 June’s Guardian has a long obituary in which it states: “[…] has died at the age of 87” – and “Born Vienna October 5; died May 31 1990” so I’d say that makes his birthday 1902

I have scanned a copy I owned of the Safari Album and show here the pages that contain Timym’s line work as well as colour work.

Cover illo














Terence Cuneo

In my research for Frank Bellamy and Raymond Sheppard artwork I kept coming across Cuneo’s work . This is one piece I felt deserved highlighting as his story is so interesting. Wikipedia has a biography and also a listing of his works , which includes Wide World Magazine. His daughter states (on a website set up dedicated to her dad’s work):

My Father, Terence Cuneo, left no records of his work, either written or oral. I therefore took it upon myself to trace and record for posterity his brilliance, in order to keep alive his name and image.

The article appearing here was published in a TV Times special called Christmas with the Stars [1969], pp.38-41





“A brush with royalty” from TV Times Christmas with the Stars [1969]


ICI Magazine and illustrators

September 1947 ICI Magazine – Unknown artist

In browsing through issues of ICI Magazine online for Raymond Sheppard artwork, thanks to the generosity of the Catalyst Science Discovery Centre (Mersey Road,  Widnes, Cheshire WA8 0DF Telephone 0151 420 1121), I came across some lovely artwork and some well known illustrators which surprised me. I must say thank you specifically to Paul Meara who not only told me of the re-vamp to the webpages which broke a link to the online ICI magazines, but did some photos for me of various editions

I suspect there’s so much to be seen here that I’ll stretch this out over a few articles with little commentary. For a bit of background to the in-house magazine for ICI see the Sheppard blog. The magazine took in reports from various parts of the organisation and included Reports from the Alkali Division, Dyestuffs Division, General Chemicals Division, the Nobel Division, Metals, Paints, Plastics, and Salt Divisions. They also wrote about the overseas divisions such as Egypt and New Zealand amongst others

But what pleasantly surprised me and occupied a few of my evenings  was the artwork that was sourced from employees and also commercial artists (such as Raymond Sheppard) – some well-known and others now forgotten.I have to confess that I’ve selected according to my curiosity and taste and should you want to check these out, the link is above. Also it’s worth saying here, credits for artists are rare and some signatures are hard to read, but I’ll have a go!

Advice to Amateur Artists by “Spike” February 1929



“Pielou” is the signature in this design from January 1947 ICI Magazine. is this Florence Pielou (1884 – 1959)?


Frontispiece from March 1947 is by H Emmett F.R.P.S – a relation of the famous Rowland Emett?


All three of the above by “Rix” are from March 1947 ICI Magazine


ICI magazine January 1947 with art credited to “Neave”


H. C. Geelan (of the Central Publicity Department of ICI) in ICI Magazine November 1947


Miss B. K. Reeve’s work for ICI Magazine January 1948 (she also was in the Central Publicity Department).


R. Pink (Paper Goods Manufacturing Company Limited) in July 1948


September 1948 – W. Bowen (Central Publicity Department). Stop and look at this and you’ll see a face!


January 1949 – R. J. Beeching (Kynoch Press Studio, London). The printer/publisher of the ICI Magazine


Supermoose chocolate bar and Peter Ford

Countdown 006_1971_Mar_27 Pg 24

Countdown  #6 27 March 1971, p.24

A recent email prompted me to look into Supermoose, as I was investigating whether Frank Bellamy produced some advertising for the chocolate bar.  I remember the milky chocolate bar (from Cadbury Limited) which I thought more substantial than Milky Way (Mars Limited). It appeared in 1970, as far as I can ascertain, and was “a chocolate covered nougatine whip”, perhaps explaining why I liked it better than Milky Way!

It appears that the cartoons are by Peter Ford, who has an interesting, but brief history on the Internet.

Steve Holland points out his realistic artwork in Commando comics and John Freeman’s DowntheTubes lists a few of the reprinted stories he did. Peter Gray’s comic and art blog mentions his work on “Dad’s Army” in Countdown‘s later incarnation as TV Action and ComicsUK Forum shows he also illustrated “Motormouse and Autocat” strips too. He has also illustrated some “Bewitched” strips which appeared in Lady Penelope in the second half of the 1960s.

Matthew Emery (on the above mentioned forum) says:

Mick Anglo described him in his book on the fifties as, ‘a stocky Maori who used to draw adventure strips in which Aeroplanes often featured.’

Gerry Embleton shared the following, “Peter Ford was a very dear friend of mine when I was in my very early twenties. He was a wonderful character, he sang in amateur opera, played the guitar, was a talented cartoonist and comic strip artist, a paratroop instructor, a judo third Dan and ran a school, and was a school teacher. These separate worlds rarely had contact with each other and when he died representatives of his different interests gathered at his funeral and were amazed to discover how wide his interests were. He was quite a formidable character having a Polynesian anatomy, very big and powerful, a fierce warrior look when angry and a huge white toothed smile.”

From what I’ve researched he very likely grew up in Poplar.

Shaqui on the above Forum mentions that: “[Regarding] “Perils of Parker”, [i]n fact Gerry Embleton did the first 20 or so, then there was a ‘crossing over’ period as Embleton and Ford shared a studio, before Ford took over the strip entirely.”

and later states

“…[H]aving corresponded with his close friend Gerry Embleton, Peter Ford sadly died of a heart attack in the 1970s.”

If you follow Matthew emery’s pursuit of information at you’ll see, he was an expert in Judo as well as an artist!

Anyway back to the Supermoose series. It surprised me when I researched a bit further as it started in issue 6 (27 March 1971) of Countdown and continued until issue 31 (18 September 1971) without a break. Most appeared on the back page, but sometimes moved inside in order a special feature appear in its stead.

If anyone can add anything, let me know

Countdown 007 Pg 15

Countdown 008 Pg 24
Countdown 009 Pg 24 - SupermousseCountdown 010 Pg 24Countdown 011 Pg 15Countdown 012 Pg 24Countdown 013 Pg 24Countdown 014 Pg 10Countdown 015 Pg 24Countdown 016 Pg 22Countdown 017 Pg 24Countdown 018 Pg 24Countdown 019 Pg 10Countdown 020 Pg 18Countdown 021 Pg 24Countdown 022 Pg 10Countdown 023 Pg 24Countdown 024 Pg 24Countdown 025 Pg 15Countdown 026 Pg 18Countdown 027 Pg 15Countdown 028 Pg 10Countdown 029 Pg 10Countdown 030 Pg 10

And the last strip that I have found was published in Countdown issue 31 (18 September 1971)

Countdown 031 Pg 22_1971_Sep_18

Norman Thelwell

My wife and I visited Hampshire recently in order to see the Norman Thelwell exhibition (16 January to 10 April 2016, 11am – 5pm)at the National Trust property, Mottisfont House. I was really pleased to see that the captions, which were excellent, stated that all the artwork on display was “On loan from the Thelwell Family Archive”. I hope they won’t mind me sharing these crude photographs all taken by me, and thus including reflections!

It was wonderful to walk round a few rooms and find older people than me laughing out loud. The cartoons still work so well and as one caption stated:

“In some ways Thelwell was out of step with conventions for cartoons in post-war Britain – these were often political and urban in outlook and acerbic in tone. […] Thelwell’s approach was completely different. His style was always naturalistic  and he included a great deal of descriptive detail. […] Although he said that politics bored him, Thelwell did produce cartoons that used humour to protest against environmental issues.”


The following are borrowed from the Mottisfont website (All Thelwell material is © The Estate of Norman Thelwell, and the official website has great stuff that I have no need to reproduce here!):



Romsey Abbey

Romsey Abbey by Norman Thelwell


Ron Embleton in The Crackerjack Western Book published by The Children’s Press

I found these on the web recently and thought them worth posting. I believe the given date of 1959 as the British Library’s copy (if the same book) states [1960], but these things are hard to date. They are by Ron Embleton, an artist I saw a lot when growing up in the late fifties, sixties and seventies. His work appeared in many of the comics of my youth such as ‘Stingray’ in TV21, and many illustrations of historical subjects in Look & Learn. Even my Mother and Father-in-Law had one of his “Victorian sellers” pictures, or was is “Victorian children’s games”? You can buy lots of his original artwork from the nice people at Illustration Art Gallery.

The Crackerjack Western Book [1959] (The Children's Press)_IMG_0001

Roger Hall’s cover to the 1959(?) Crackerjack Western Book

"Express Delivery" illustrated by Ron Embleton

“Express Delivery” illustrated by Ron Embleton, p130


Ron Embleton p.132

Ron Embleton p.128

Ron Embleton p.134

Ron Embleton p.130

Ron Embleton p.136

Ron Embleton p.131

Ron Embleton p.137

Ron Embleton p.140

Ron Embleton p.140

Ron Embleton p.142

Ron Embleton p.142

Ron Embleton p.143

Ron Embleton p.143

Das Herz der Julia Köster- The Heart of Juliet Jones

I’ve been clearing out my Mother’s house and found  a lot of very tatty love stories in German. They’ve all been put in recyling as they are too tatty to do anything with, but by accident I spotted one I’d thrown for recycling which opened up at a very familiar page.

Just so nothing is wasted and in case someone is researching Stan Drake’s creation, here are the three pages of Stella-Roman Bd. 377 (‘Band’ meaning ‘issue’) which I guess appeared in the 1970s as that’s when my Mum was likely to have got these! But it’s a guess! Stella Roman means ‘Stella Novel’ but I discovered there was a person called that too – who’d have known!

According to the Grand Comics Database the story Das Herz der Julia Köster was published in German in 1953 by Walter Lehning Verlag. And if you want the English version see Classical Comics website for some fantastic stories and artwork.


Stella Roman Band 377

Stella Roman Band 377

Das Herz der Julia Köster

Das Herz der Julia Köster

Das Herz der Julia Köster

Das Herz der Julia Köster

Das Herz der Julia Köster

Das Herz der Julia Köster


The other thing that piqued my interest was the following novel “Die Zeit mit Leon” by Willo Davis Roberts, “a novel of love and secrets”  and published by Erich PabelVerlag  in Germany in June 1973. The bit cropped off the top says “Der Spannungsroman für Frauen” (mystery fiction for women). The original American title was “The Devil Boy”. Why did I notice this particularly, the cover. It so looks like a DC comic cover from the seventies but which one?


Gaslichtroman #51

Gaslichtroman #51