|Mason's Croft - a 1910 postcard.
|For more information about
Marie Corelli, click here.
|The inscription underneath the side window of Tudor House reads
"The Old Tudor House. Built in the XVI Century and restored by Miss
|Mason Croft, probably in the mid-fifties (clue is TV aerial on the house
on the left). Note that the words "British Council" have been inked out
at the bottom left.
|"Miss Marie Corelli in her gondola 'The Dream' on the Avon.
|A lovely old real photo postcard of Marie Corelli presenting the prizes
at the 1912 Regatta.
|See below for more about this postcard.
|Postcards of the Past
|Marie Corelli was born Mary Mackay, the daughter of Charles Mackay, a Scottish poet and
song-writer. She became a talented pianist in her early years and adopted the pseudonym of
Marie Corelli. Later she turned to writing romantic fiction. She moved to Stratford in 1901 and
bought Mason's Croft where she lived for many years. She became a local legend in the town
with her colourful life-style. My grandparents often told me about her and her gondola in which
she could regularly be seen on the river. The postcards of her on this website have come down
to me from my grandparents - like the old theatre fire postcards, many Stratford people seem to
have collected them. One more point - old Stratford people will know that her name was always
pronounced "Marry", not "Maree" !
|Follow this link to read about Marie
Corelli, Fred Winter and the row about the
Public Library in Henley Street
|Below are two photographs, sent to us by Richard Le Gallais, of Marie Corelli's pony being attended to by a
blacksmith. Richard is trying to identify the blacksmith, as his father-in-law's father, Harold Furby, (incidentally the
father of an old school-friend of mine at KES), used to work for the blacksmith. As far as I can ascertain, the nearest
forge to Marie's house would have been on Sheep Street, which is where my grandfather, Fred Jones, had his
business. This would have been the logical place for Marie to send her pony to be shod and thus the blacksmith in the
photos may well have been my grandfather's predecessor at the Sheep Street premises, which I used to frequent as a
child in the 1940s. My grandfather died in 1947.
If you can identify the blacksmith, please contact us !!
|Marie Corelli Fined for Hoarding Sugar.
The New York Times for 3 January 1918 reported a trial at Stratford-upon-Avon Police Court the previous day at which Marie Corelli was
fined for unlawfully hoarding sugar, then an offence because of food shortages during World War 1. Counsel for the Ministry of Food said that
on the basis of half a pound of sugar per head per week, her household was entitled to have purchased 32 lbs of sugar during the months in
question, whereas it actually obtained 179 lbs, plus 50 lbs of preserving sugar. Miss Corelli's defence was that the sugar was used for jam
making and that the current regulations did not apply to this. Her counsel contended that she acted patriotically in preserving fruit for future
use. When the police called at her house, she is reported to have said "You are upsetting the country altogether with your food orders. Lloyd
George will be resigning tomorrow and there will be a revolution in less than a week." She was fined £50 with £21 costs.
|In April 2010, we were contacted by Monica Cure from the USA about three of our postcards of Marie Corelli. Monica was writing a doctoral
dissertation on turn-of-the-century literature, and came across a report in the New York Times for 13 May 1906 about another court case
involving Marie Corelli in which the novelist applied for in injunction to restrain A and E Wall of Stratford-upon-Avon from publishing picture
postcards purporting to depict scenes in her private life.
|Miss Corelli's counsel stated that the defendants produced sets of
postcards called "The Distinguished Authors Series". Objection to the
cards was at once taken by Miss Corelli and the judge was asked to
compare them with a recent photo of Miss Corelli from which he
would see what a gross libel had been perpetrated on her features.
One card was styled "Shakespeare and his Contemporaries", from
which it was inferred that the defendants were suggesting that
Shakespeare and Miss Corelli were contemporaries.
|Considerable annoyance had been occasioned to Miss Corelli by the publication of the cards, and the offence was aggravated by the fact that
after the stationers and W H Smith and Son at Stratford-upon-Avon had stopped selling the cards, the defendants employed a large body of
sandwich men to parade the place, including the front of Miss Corelli's house, with notices that the cards could be obtained at the defendants'
place of business or private house. This had made the private life of Miss Corelli intolerable. The judge granted the injunction.
Counsel read the affidavit of Miss Corelli in which she stated that she went to Stratford-upon-Avon for the purpose of obtaining privacy, and had
never consented to the publication of the cards, which were calculated to expose her to unjust contempt in relation to her private life and
prejudice her in her profession as an authoress.
The affidavit of Miss Edith Wall, in reply, declared that, so far from seeking privacy at Stratford-upon-Avon, Miss Corelli had courted publicity in
every way. If the portraits of Miss Corelli had been flattering, nothing would have been heard of the action. Very few ladies would admit that a
photo did them justice, and it was assumed that Miss Corelli was no exception to the rule. If that was a libel, every exhibition at the Royal
Academy would result in a collection of libels.
The case was adjourned.
Monica is continuing her research to try to discover what happened. Three of the postcards are reproduced above. The signature on them is
clearly A Wall. There must be others too, so if anyone can help with more information about this case, or more images, we would be most
grateful. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|We've been sent this image of a postcard
from 1905 !
|In conjunction with Zazzle, we have produced an extensive range of gifts, using images from these
old postcards. The items available include many reproduction postcards, coffee mugs, greetings
cards, key chains, fridge magnets, watches etc. Some images on this page have a direct link to a
reproduction postcard - just click on the image to see and buy it ! (They are only about £1 each !)
Or, to see more gifts based on our postcards of Stratford-upon-Avon, follow this link.
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