Nottingham High School on ebay (7)

Last time I showed you the strange writing on a postcard I bought from somebody on ebay. At the same time, it was a magnificent coloured picture of the High School:

Just look at the chimneys, the pinnacles, Dr Dixon’s house on the left, Brincliffe School on the right, the gas light and the beautiful, light and complex metal fence. And just look at that Shrubbery:

I actually think that if you watch this second scene right to the very end, when the knights actually get their shrubbery, that the High School arguably received a much better one:

My researches have revealed that if you want to view the peculiar writing on the postcard of the High School, it is as legible as it is ever going to be on an ordinary tower computer.

In actual fact, the beginning of the letter begins on the reverse of the postcard as the writer begins with “Mon cher André” because (did you realise it?) the correspondence is conducted in French. Here’s the first bit:

This second section ends with “une lettre”:

The third bit starts with “soit une carte” which goes with the end of the last line of the second section, which ends with “soit une lettre”.

This last bit then links up with the front of the card with the view of the School. Hopefully, somebody out there will be expert enough to read this French missive. I found it rather difficult, because I was never able to decipher a sufficiently long run of words to extract much in the way of meaning.

The card was addressed  to Monsieur André Mallieu. The next line is “Caporal avec le 4 ème Génie 14/2” which means “Corporal with the Fourth Engineers”. The Little Corporal is based at Grenoble in Isère in France. Tne date is difficult, if not impossible to read. It was probably not written in wartime though, because the stamp shows Edward VII who died  (“qui s’est poppé les clogues”) in 1910.

I’m always amazed at how different the past is. Just look at this amazing photograph of Nottingham I found on the Internet. Notice the Watson Fothergill pub called the “Yorker” or the “Rose of England”, on the right edge of the photograph. There’s Shakespeare Street and at the far end, the Victoria Station. To its left is the vast hole containing what was then a working station. And don’t miss the road suspended over the abyss. Just try to pick out any other landmarks you can identify:



Filed under France, History, Humour, Nottingham, Personal, The High School

23 responses to “Nottingham High School on ebay (7)

  1. A wonderful dose of pure silliness.

  2. Great picture. Better then or now?

    • I think that it’s better now, if only for the fact that you are just 20 minutes away from one of the finest hospitals in the country, pollution is diminishing, and perhaps crime is going down. Even so, that doesn’t mean that the city is more interesting with all the shops the same as everywhere else and so much glass and concrete everywhere. I would love to spend a couple of hours wandering around inside that photograph, especially if I was allowed to walk down to the Black Boy Hotel, demolished in the early 1970s. It’s worth a look here :
      or failing that, google some images of it.

  3. I’m curious to know what the card says.

    • Well, at least one person has had a very gallant go at translating it (below, the comment by John Hodgson). It may be my age or my glasses, but I can’t even read the majority of it. The other side of the postcard, in Part 6, was translated by Pierre Lagacé but I think the handwriting and the faded ink defeated even him in the end.
      He wrote: “In the first part, he writes that indeed he finds it better to send postcards. It’s better than letters that are rare and costly. It describes much more (what he could be writing in a letter about a place). The postcard is the Lycée of Nothingham which one of your readers wrote about.
      Definitely French. The address at the bottom, 3 Willoughby Crescent West Bridgford, is that of the sender, Henri M. It looks as though the text continues from the other side. The first section is saying that it is better to send the recipient open missives on a post card rather than rare, and costly, (sealed) letters. Then it identifies the scene as the ‘lycee de Nottingham’. After that it has defeated my 70 yo eyes”.

  4. John Hodgson

    The first part is an apology that the recipient had to pay a surcharge for a previous card because the writer had put the stamp on the picture side ‘which is officially prohibited (formellement defendu). He then says he has written cards to ‘Millet’ and ‘Moulet’ (which I think are pet or nicknames) and suggests Mallieu asks to see the one addressed to Moulet. Then he says you can’t complain I don’t write often, you will be getting an avalanche of cards. I will write a letter or a card every day.I am writing a letter to nana. I got a letter from mother today and I threw it on the fire for the envelope. I could however still read it in white on the black paper. (Strange but true and a faithful literal translation). The wind is blowing like never before.

    Odd fish these frogs.

    • Thank you very much for that. Just above is the comment from Pierre Lagacé with his translation of the other side, but he too found the fading and the handwriting very difficult to deal with. Anyway, thank you for your efforts, you have done very well with Nottingham’s answer to Enigma.

  5. Jan

    Clinton Arms Public House at the junction of North Sherwood and Shakepeare Streets (just where the van is turning right). Nottinghamians of a certain age (not necessarily Old Nottinghamians) will know its significance 😉

    • Indeed they will. Upstairs at the Clinton Arms Hotel was the room where the members of the local Shinney Club, in 1865, held a meeting, convened by JS Scrimshaw, when it was proposed that “Forest Foot Ball Club” be formed. On the fledgling club’s founding committee were Old Nottinghamians, Thomas George Howitt and WH Revis, the scorer of the first ever Forest goal.

  6. Monty Python is just classic comedy isn’t it?

    • It certainly is, and has filled a significant part of my brain I am sad to say. When all of Monty Python comes true. I believe that the world will end. And a lot of it has, especially the reality motorway police shops which must be uncannily like the films of the Leicester by-pass mentioned in the hotel where Mr Bimmler was staying. My favourite is “the bally Jerry who pranged his kite right in the how’s-your-father ” and ended up by catching his cam in the bertie. Happy days !

  7. Jan

    The YMCA, at the corner of Mansfield Road and Shakepeare Street, was the work of the architect T.C.Howitt (ON). Amongst other buildings he was responsible for Nottingham’s iconic Council House, The Newton Building and The Portland Building at Nottingham University.

    Definitely worth a post.

    • He was in the High School from September 17th 1901 to April 1904. His father was James Cullin Howitt who lived at “Brooklyn” in Hucknall Torkard. He was the Secretary of the Hucknall Torkard Cooperative Society. But weren’t you the person who asked for “Brincliffe” ?

  8. Jan

    No, I remember the last couple of years of Brincliffe being open. It was a bit of an oddity really: single-form-entry and open only to county pupils (like its counterpart Henry Mellish) despite being within the city limits.

    Howitt’s greatest achievement (IMHO) was his work for the City Corporation laying out the new council estates to the west of Nottingham in the 1920s. The generosity of the plots makes modern “executive” developments look pretty miserable.

    • I can remember Brincliffe being there in the first few years that I was at the High School. I may even have taught the odd few Sixth Form lessons in there. It would have been at some point in the 1980s that it was demolished to make the staff car park.

      • Jan

        It was freezing in the winter! A spot by a working radiator was much prized.

        When they converted the place into what passed for a VIth Form Centre in those days they blew the budget on two secondhand, quarter-size snooker tables and a table football game.

        We could never have envisaged the sheer opulence of the modern facilities.

Leave a Reply to Andrew Petcher Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.