"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Clacton remembered for different reasons

I follow a blog, Ernest Blair Experiment, presented by Bob Maher – with a wide range of subjects, including a special focus on geography and the idea of place. In a recent post, which you can see by clicking here, Bob shared a photo of Clacton on the east coast of England, taken in 1938. It was quite a bustling resort community and this photo shows some of the attractions that drew people there in gret numbers. Bob was born and raised in England, but lives now in Nova Scotia. I am always interested in what Bob offers, but this post intrigued me because Elizabeth Bishop’s great-uncle, the painter George Wylie Hutchinson lived in Clacton. George was born in 1852 and died in 1942. During the last couple decades of his life, Clacton (I have also seen Clacton-on-sea and Greater Clacton, which is where George is buried, in the Bulmer family archive, housed at Acadia University) was his home.

In any case, I was delighted to see the image below of this community, where I have never been, at that time, a time when George was very much alive. He was still painting, but also had become a photographer. He and his second wife, Lily Yerbury, lived in a snug bungalow that they had named “Thelma,” and George also grew roses. Indeed, roses were a passion for him. You can see a photo of George, circa 1921, standing in the yard of Thelma, by clicking here. I know it is well over a decade before the photo Bob shared, but George was a stalwart of Clacton in his day, long retired from the active illustrating career he had at the turn of the twentieth century. I asked Bob if I could post his photo and he kindly gave me permission. 

(Clacton, England, 1938)

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