Pocket Notebook…

The Gainsborough Studios in Islington London produced many fine productions prior to the 2nd World War and later in further acquired premises after war broke out. At Islington they had used an abandoned power station with a very high chimney and the worry became, that this may fall if hit in an air raid, so production was moved to safer shared studios.

Gainsborough was owned by the French Company ‘Gaumont’ therefore productions were mostly shown in their Cinema’s throughout Britain.

My friend Robin Anne, daughter of British Actress Enid Stamp Taylor, told me, her mother had worked at the Islington studios on ‘OK for Sound’ with ‘The Crazy Gang’ and that it had been a wonderful small team to work with. No less than forty staff behind the cameras!

The Gainsborough Lady who gracefully bowed her head at the beginning of each production was Glennis Lorimer, an actress in her own right who appeared as Albert’s girlfriend in ‘Ask a Policeman’

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 93… A revival of thoughts…

For some days now Charles had pondered over Barney’s telephone call days earlier, and Barney’s words, or rather those of Rebecca. “We must all look to the north wind” it was very puzzling, what did she mean? Should some disaster over take them? Things seem to be going well and everyone around him were happy. But perhaps, that was the time to be wary. Things change in this world, he told himself, and nothing lasts forever. If only she she could tell us?

There was time for reflection and there was time when things have to have, a common sense approach, so for the present, these thoughts were put aside to the day to day running of life.

Esme in her way reflected and sat within the small scullery back room at the back of the shop, the small coal fire had been lit, and her thoughts ran to those recent events held across the road in The Kings Head. She sat within the glow of the coals, their red heat penetrated the pores of her skin and warmed the white of her bones. She stared long and hard into the glass of whisky as if it were full of a thousand nettles and finding no reason to swallow the liquid her mind moved over matters best with the gradient carefulness of an undertaker’s assistant…  What was Charles, she knew he was was all the world to her, but where was she, what was her direction, she knew she would want to be with him, but what did the future hold, and was her future really with him… Thoughts crossed her mind in many fashion, for this time in her life, she was happy and at one with herself. Then the dark thoughts of her mother stead through her mind…

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Pocket Notebook…

Arguably, one of the best of comedy movies in 1937 was ‘Oh Mr. Porter’ Directed by Marcel Varnel and featured the classic trio of Will Hay, Moore Marriott and Graham Moffett. It’s full of funny and witty lines and ranks as highly entertaining from the studios of Gainsborough. We visited ‘Buggleskelly’ just a few years ago, following a branch line from Basingstoke. To our dismay, it was neglected and overgrown, however, we could make out where the station booking office had once stood by looking at a line of shrubs and now hefty trees. Never-the-less, it was a worthwhile day out…

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Pocket Notebook…

Batford Springs Nature Reserve (A beautiful picture by Debra Moore)

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 92… A New Life for Herbert and Linda…

It was the wedding of the year. It was Herbert and Linda’s time. Caxton Hall presented the perfect place for the ceremony and of course, the reception later was held in somewhat style with sumptuous foods from both London and Paris served to the 40 and more attenders at The Kings Head. Photography was very much on Charles mind and everyone was pictured at least a dozen times. Celebrations went on into the early hours. Linda having been given special permission from the Police.

The following days witnessed a bevy of wedding pictures hung from the interior walls of The Kings Head and much to the pleasure of Charles and Gabby’s skills. Having Herby’ and Linda more or less, on the doorstep, was something exciting for everyone, although, Herbert never neglected his role as an agent for The Peoples Palace and subsequently, enjoyed his participation in the running of The Kings Head.

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A deleted scene from ‘The Shriving…’

Posted on 17/12/2008 by Patrick

Esme sat within the glow of the coals, their red heat penetrated the pores of her skin and warmed the white of her bones. She stared long and hard into the glass of whisky as if it were full of a thousand nettles, and finding no reason to swallow the liquid her mind moved over matters best with the gradient carefulness of an undertaker’s assistant… A deleted scene from ‘The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp’ from 2008

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Pocket Notebook…

I think we all remember with great affection those warm summer days and evenings, when we would sit and talk and laugh with dear friends and loved ones… And we can perhaps look forward to those days once more…

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Pocket Notebook… A Little Rest Time… For Adrian Callaghan…

It’s Adrian’s dedicated hard work that keeps my website up and running…. Thanks Aige (SEE IMAGE)

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 91… A Gathered Reunion…

From a distance things seemed ok to Charles, but his mind was concerned for his dear friend ‘Herby’ His rather singular lifestyle worried Charles somewhat and he noticed at times his friend would become quite middling in his thoughts, and although he was surrounded by much activity at The Peoples Palace, nevertheless, he seemed unhappy within himself.

‘Ever considered marriage?’ Charles ventured on one occasion, a partner and friend would be a good thing, as we are all getting older it may be a good choice.’

‘Look what happened before Charley. I’m just not cut out for that sort of business.’ He looked rather sheepish with his answer.

‘Come on, it doesn’t have to be like that Herby. Mrs Plum, well that was not for you, a complete misunderstanding that you were not responsible for. Look, she just wanted a replacement husband. It was not true love, and it was not for you, you are, after all, my dearest friend, and believe me, I speak the truth.’

Herbert’s faith in Charles was unshakeable, his friend made sense to him.

With a reluctant smile he said: ‘Yes you are right, and yes you are right! he added with a gathered enthusiasm.

‘What we all need Herby, is a slap up meal at The Kings Head. We could all do with that! I’ll invite the girls and Gabby. Now you choose an evening when you’re free and I will book a table.’

It was the following Tuesday evening which suited everyone. A table for five had been acquired with drinks laid out and set up for a fine carvery.

A toast was first made to Herby in recognition of his fine management of The Peoples Palace to which he sat rather shyly, but found courage to thank all those present for their undying friendship and loyalty. Then it was time for the finest roast Beef with crackling, roast potatoes and a huge choice of steamed buttered vegetables, washed down at first with honeyed Mead and then some of the best French wine.

Francoise, or Linda, as she was known to the gathered group, was of French and English parentage and she was the proud proprietor of The Kings Head. She knew Charles well for he was a regular in her establishment and she knew his friends too. Her real secret was that she could offer the very best French wine and could cook the best roast beef in London.

During the meal she sat with them, enjoying their company, and much of the chit-chat and offering her input that all enjoyed. Charles had photographed her many times surrounded by her profession in order to promote the well being of The Kings Head. In her early thirties with soft light olive skin and a chatty rounded face, she was the perfect host.

It was clear as the evening progressed that she was taking a deal of interest in the beloved Herby’ finding his likeable gentle manner to her taste. She smiled at his way of telling little stories across the dinner table of his exploits in the world of show business. ‘Being an Agent ain’t all roses.’ he added. There was clearly a coming together for the two of them.


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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 90… A Close Encounter…

Charles continued to wonder at the remarkable colour images that Gabby began to produce, colour chemicals worked well with the new American Ansco film and print paper, costs were high, and as yet Eastman had only pioneered the use of colour slide film known as Kodachrome which had to be sent to a selected laboratory for special treatment. However, and much to everyone’s surprise and delight, public interest was high, and it began to pay off.

That particular Saturday morning had began with the feeling that Celia would cope in the weekend absence of Esme. She was capable and trusted and a valued school friend. It was during the morning that Charles began to see images of others that were foreign to him. The leader of Walthamstow Council had been duly pictured in his official robes, and then the strangeness began as he drove to his next appointment in Wimbledon.

It seemed to be faces and outlines of people he thought he knew, but really did not. Could they be real or just in his mind. He felt threatened when the car took him down a long and winding country road that he had no recollection of. What was happening, had his mind gone completely. He forced his thoughts back to where he must be. But the same menace prevailed in momentary fragments. “I’m in some sort of trance” he told himself. Suddenly,  the car faced a large tree that brought him to a thundering full stop, his head reasted for a few moments on the sterring wheel. Something seemed to cross his right eyes, like a large black blob and beyond this small flashing lights appeared. He staggered from the car, seeing only half images, and made way to a petrol station some half mile down the road. He fell into the arms of a confused attendant, saying ‘Get me an Ambulance, please get me to a Hospital’

‘You have a detached Retina Mr. Hepworth, you will lose your eyesight, if we do not operate right away.’

Charles sat back from the examining eye of the Doctor. ‘Is this life threatening doctor.’ he asked curiously.

‘No,’ replied the specialist firmly. ‘But it is… Eye threatening.’

In those next two days. Celia had found Charles within the confines of the Moorefield’s Eye Hospital and that Monday morning, both Celia and Esme were by his bedside as he opened his eyes.

‘Hi girls,’ he said, with a dried voice. ‘What are you guy’s doing here?’ he chuckled. You are never around when I need you.’

‘You never need us when we’re around.’ Replied Esme with a smile.

Celia looked on and said: ‘ We all need you, very much. We really do. We want you back very soon. After all,’ she added: ‘Who could run such a successful and tight ship.’

Charles felt a gentle sleep was creeping over him.

It was around three or more weeks before his eyesight was proper to him. Esme diligently looked after him along with the recommended mediations given by the Hospital and slowly his eyesight began to improve.

One certain Monday morning arrived and with all the confidence of a fresh new world for Charles.

‘You will be taking your pictures once again.’ Esme said with a determined reassurance. You are here for all of us and that is something that will never change.’

‘You are completely right Esme, and I love you very much for it.’

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