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Georgeham and the surrounding area in the 1920s and '30s


Georgeham characters


Photographs of Henry and Loetitia's honeymoon on Exmoor, May 1925





Georgeham and the surrounding area in the 1920s and '30s:


This map of the area was drawn by HW in 1932, and used as the endpapers for The Labouring Life, published the same year:


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Part of the above map was adapted, with an identifying key to various buildings and features in the village, to accompany David Stokes's 'Living in Georgeham' (HWSJ 12, September 1985):


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A further, more detailed, map of the central part of Georgeham was prepared by Peter Lewis, for his article 'Ham: Henry Williamson's Village in the 1920s' (HWSJ 31, September 1995):


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vb church

St George's Church, in Church Road, Georgeham

(Courtesy R. L. Knight Collection)



vb artys

Captioned on the back: 'Arty's, before it became a shop'. This is at the bottom of Rock Hill, and became a village shop, butchers and Post Office, run by Arty Thomas (or Arty Brooking, as HW called him in his writings). It has now been converted back to a private house. It was Arty who, with his pony and jingle (or trap), first brought HW to Georgeham from Braunton railway station in May 1914. It was from Arty, too, that HW bought the field at Ox's Cross, where he built his Writing Hut.



vb millies

Looking up Chapel Street. Now a private residence known as 'Millie's Cottage',

in previous times this building has been variously Church House (the church is

just behind it), where beer was brewed and sold, the profit going to the church;

the Victoria Inn, one of several village pubs; and in the 1960s and '70s Millie's

Tea Rooms. Artie's house is just up the road on the right.


vb shippen

Loetitia captioned this: '? The cattle shippen mentioned in [HW's story] "Life of

the Stream"'.


vb georgeham

A view of the village

(Courtesy R. L. Knight Collection)


vb vale house c.1938

Vale House/Crowberry Cottage, where Tarka the Otter was written, on the left,

with Billy Goldsworthy's barn adjoining, centre. Photo dated c. 1938.


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Vale House, centre right; Hole Farm is on the left, while Billy Goldsworthy's

barn is on the right. c. 1960s?


vb vale house2

A later view of Crowberry Cottage, replastered and with new roof, windows

and porch. c. 1980s?


vb forda
Forda, in between Georgeham and Croyde


vb cryde

Croyde, or 'Cryde' as HW called it in his writings

(Courtesy R. L. Knight Collection)




Georgeham characters:


vb blacksmith gammon

Captioned on the back: 'Blacksmith Gammon

at Forge, G'Ham, 1927'


vb charlie ovey

Charlie and Mrs Ovey, outside

the Lower House


vb mrs ovey
Mrs Ovey in her element, behind the bar of the Lower House


vb clibbet thomas

Clibbet Thomas, 50 years the village sexton

and part-time postman

(Courtesy of Peter Lewis)


vb clubfoot

Captioned: '"Clubfoot", G'Ham, 1927'. This is William 'Thunderbolt' Gammon

(HW gives him the name of 'Carter'), who lived next door to his cousin Bill

Gammon ('Revvy Carter') in the terrace of three thatched cottages below the

church. Thunderbolt was a derivation of 'Vanderbilt' as he was reputed to be

rich; according to Cecil Parsons (grandson of Grannie Parsons), he was also

known as 'Pumplefoot'.


From HW's photograph album – enlargements of the three photographs are shown below:


vb characters


vb tom gammon
'Tom Gammon'


vb muggy smith2
'Muggy' Smith


vb tiger gammon
'Tiger' Gammon & wife


vb sailor

Percy Ireland – almost certainly the model for

'Sailor' Zeale. He served in the Royal Navy in the

First World War, and was recalled during the

Second World War.

                         (Courtesy of Tony Evans)


vb granny parsons1   vb granny parsons2

These two photographs of Granny Parsons were taken by Margaret Kemp Welch. HW writes of her in The

Village Book as 'peeping out of the door of her cottage like a jenny wren out of its nest'.

                                                                                     (Courtesy of Tony Evans)


vb jim gammon  

Jim Gammon, Revvy Gammon's father

(Courtesy of Alan Willey)



vb revvy and family

Elsie and Bill ('Revvy') Gammon stand outside Skirr Cottage in the aftermath

of the flood in June 1931. Their three children are (left to right) Madge, Megan

and Ernie, all of whom appear in the 'Village' books.

                                                        (Courtesy of Alan Willey)


vb hw brown
HW with Arthur Brown and his sister, c. 1921-22


vb hw rock inn  mid-1950s

HW in the Rock Inn (Higher House), in the mid 1950s, talking to Willy

Gammon, nicknamed 'Brownie'. Brownie's portrait, showing him sitting in this

same corner, hung in the Rock Inn for many years, and may still do so.




Photographs of Henry and Loetitia's honeymoon on Exmoor, May 1925


Henry Williamson and Ida Loetitia Hibbert (Bill and Gipsy) were married on 6 May 1925 at the tiny church at Landcross. The first part of their honeymoon was spent at Higher House Farm at Wheddon Cross, near Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor. These are some of the photographs that they took, with selected enlargements.


vb wedding


vb honeymoon1


vb honeymoon2


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vb honeymoon10



And finally, here is the postcard that Gipsy sent to her new mother-in-law, Gertrude Williamson:


vb gipsy pc1


vb gipsy pc2






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