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Rudolf & George Louis Handwerck

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"The famous postcard shop", Queen's Road, Brighton (photographed in 1905)

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Postcard publisher, 7 Grand Junction Road and 18b Queens Road, Brighton. The name Handwerck, which without the "c" means trade or craft in German, is sometimes misspelled in British Directories as Hardwork!

Rudolf was born on April 27, 1879 in the town of Borna, about 25 kilometres south-east of Leipzig. His mother was Anna Emilie Poehler (1855-1913) and his father Louis Handwerck (1847-1916), who was a cloth merchant and wine merchant. Louis Handwerck married Anna in 1875 after his first wife had died of TB only a few months into her marriage. Anna gave birth to 16 children: nine boys and seven girls. Six of the children died in infancy or while they were still very young. Rudolf was the third child and eldest boy.

In 1898 Rudolf left Germany for Britain, seeking to improve his English, and he obtained a post in a London bank. He had had to promise to return to Germany when he was 21 to carry out his military service. In April 1900, having reached 21, he joined an infantry regiment in Leipzig. He had to serve only one year in the infantry and so in 1901 he was able to return to work for the London bank, who had promised to re-employ him. This was after the 1901 British census was taken. On November 24, 1903, at Fulham Registry Office, Rudolf married Henrietta Gertrude Sanderson, who was the daughter of Edwin Alfred Sanderson, deceased, a former vice-controller of the GPO. Henrietta was 19 years old, but claimed to be 21! She had been born in the West Hackney - Stoke Newington area of North London on July 24, 1884 and her mother was Gertrude Alice Sanderson. At the time of his marriage, Rudolf, who was 24 years old, was living at 29 Wood Lane in Hammersmith, and working as a book-keeper (quite possibly for the same bank that had employed him when he first arrived in Britain). No mention is made on the marriage certificate of his German nationality.

During 1904 Rudolf is believed to have opened a postcard shop in Brighton. The Leipzig area of Germany was the home of some of Europe's leading postcard printers and publishers, and Rudolf may have acted as a distributor and agent for one or more of these firms, ordering cards for his shop while persuading other shopkeepers in Britain to stock German made cards.

On September 28, 1904 Henrietta gave birth to her first child, George Handwerck, at 28 Holyrood Quadrant in the Kelvin District of Glasgow. The birth certificate confirms that Rudolf was a pictorial post card importer. Although based in Brighton, Rudolf was presumably busy exploring the possibility of extending his business operations to Scotland. In 1907 he opened a postcard and stamp shop in Edinburgh and asked his younger brother, George Louis Handwerck (1884-1953) to join him.

In 1905 Rudolf and Henrietta were living at 2 Lancaster Villas on the Old Shoreham Road in Shoreham. On November 6, Henrietta gave birth to a daughter, Nancy Handwerck. Rudolf, who registered her birth, described himself as a "dealer in artistic postcards". Kelly's 1905 Sussex Directory records that he was the proprietor of a shop selling postcards at 18b Queens Road in Brighton. Whether this was his original Brighton shop is unclear. Queens Road was a shrewd choice of location as it was passed in summer by hordes of holidaymakers making their way between the railway station and the beach. No doubt they bought large numbers of cards both as souvenirs and to send to friends.

By 1907 Handwerck converted a tearoom at 7 Grand Junction Road into a second shop. This occupied a prominent position on the seafront close to the Palace Pier, and was ideally situated to attract trade from passing holidaymakers. Its windows, like those of the Queens Road shop, were crowded with postcard displays.

Rudolf and his wife lived at Lancaster Villas until about 1907. Where they went to for the next few years is unknown, but by 1911 they had settled at 6 Caburn Road between Highdown Road and the Old Shoreham Road. As Rudolf was German, he had no voting rights and so does not appear in British Electoral Registers.

Rudolf published great numbers of cards of Brighton and Hove between 1907 and 1914, and also cards of nearby places such as Bramber, Rottingdean and Lewes. The best sellers were coloured halftones, but he also issued collotypes and real photographic cards. By 1914 he had established himself as one of the leading producers of cards in the Brighton area. The First World War, however, nearly destroyed his business. As a German living in England, Rudolf must have felt increasingly threatened as war approached. He would have known that as an alien he ran the risk of being interned. One imagines he passed many a sleepless night, worrying about how best to save his business and continue supporting his family. He would have had every reason for concern - it is a sad fact that soon after war was declared many German firms in Britain were forced to close down.

Rudolf was still in charge of his two shops when Pike's 1914 Brighton Directory was compiled, but by 1915 he decided to leave the country. His brother, George, came to his rescue and took over the running of the Grand Junction Road shop, but the Queens Road shop closed (it was taken over by William Harrington, a clothier). George, who lived in Edinburgh and ran the shop there, had become a naturalised British subject, and so could not be interned. Presumably, George employed one or more Brightonians to look after the shop on occasions when he had to return to Edinburgh to attend to business matters.

Sigrid Kopperschmidt reports that as war broke out, Rudolf, Henrietta and their two children sailed on the last ship leaving England for Germany. As a reserve officer in the Kaiser's army Rudolf was under an obligation to defend the fatherland although like George he had become very anglophile. He hated every minute of the war, and had some terrible experiences, which in old age he was persuaded to write down for members of the family. Henrietta, although spared the horrors of battle, must have found living in Germany as a British national increasingly difficult. On 20 August 1916, she gave birth to her third child, Erika Handwerck, in Leipzig. As hostilities between Britain and Germany continued to intensify, tensions developed between Rudolf and Henrietta, putting intolerable strains on their marriage. In October 1919 they divorced in Leipzig, and Henrietta returned to England.

FROM 1920 TO 1939
After his divorce, Rudolf found work in Berlin as an interpreter for the military, and bought a large house at Grossstaedtein near Leipzig where he and two of his sisters could live. One of these sisters, Ilse Handwerck (born in 1894 at Borna) looked after baby Erika. On March 10, 1920, Rudolf married Margarete Martha Franziska Leitmann (formerly Hornke), who was the widow of Reinhold Leitmann, who had gone missing on active service in Rumania during the war. On 30 July 1922 Rudolf and Margarete celebrated the birth of their daughter, Northilt Handwerck.

The punitive economic sanctions imposed on Germany after the Great War created hyper-inflation and enormous hardship. Hoping for a better life, Rudolf emigrated to the USA arriving in New York on 15 December 1923 on the steamship Andonia with Margarete, Bernhard (Margarete's only child by Reinhold Leitmann), Erika and Northilt. They made their way to Milwaukee where an old school friend of Margarete lived, who was married to an American. Rudolf got a job in Milwaukee, but found the cold winter unbearable, and moved south with his family to Miami in Florida, where he bought a souvenir shop. His business prospered and he soon acquired a second shop. He became an important publisher of postcards of Miami and district, supplying Woolworths and other shops. On June 9, 1924, he and Margarete had another daughter, Florida Handwerck.

In 1926 Miami was devastated by a severe hurricane. The roof of Rudolf's bungalow was torn off, his garage, which had been converted into a flat, collapsed when a car tossed up by the winds fell on it, and one of his two shops was flooded up to the ceiling. There was no insurance, and Margareta suffered a nervous breakdown, which left her with an acute fear of storms. A doctor advised her to go back to Europe, and in June 1929 she and her family including Rudolf returned to Germany on the steamship Columbus. Rudolf and Margarete gave up the American citizenship that they had obtained and resumed German nationality.

During the early 1920s Nancy Handwerck and her brother George lived with their uncle, George Louis Handwerck, in Edinburgh. Uncle George continued to manage the Grand Junction shop in Brighton in Rudolf's absence. Electoral Registers record that between 1918 and 1922 George lived, when visiting Brighton, at 84 East Street, which seems to have been a very tiny bachelor flat. The Spring 1923 Register lists him as a voter at 7 Grand Junction Road, which suggests that during 1922 he moved from East Street to live either over his postcard shop or in rooms at the back. On December 12, 1923 at the age of 39 he married Martha Madge Smith at the Sheriff's Court House in Edinburgh. Martha had recently divorced from her first husband, Harry Plant, a provision merchant. Born in 1894 in Edinburgh, she was the daughter of Alexander Smith, a surgical instrument maker, and Martha Smith, née Butler. The marriage certificate notes that George Louis Handwerck lived at 39 Arden Street in Edinburgh, and that both his parents were already dead.

In 1925 George Louis Handwerck moved the Brighton postcard business from 7 Grand Junction Road to 26 Kings Road, renaming it the Brighton Picture Post Card Co. He succeeded in making it prosper even though he was doubtless away in Edinburgh for part of each year and dependent on others to run the business during his absences. In the Spring 1926 to Autumn 1929 Brighton Electoral Registers his Edinburgh address is given as 26 North Ridge Arcade. From Autumn 1927 onwards he and his wife lived at 14 Dean Street when they were in Brighton. Dean Street is off Western Road, and the house was only a short walk from the Kings Road shop.

George Louis and his wife moved from Dean Street between 1935 and 1937-8 to an as yet unidentified address, but George continued to run the Kings Road shop after 1937, trading under the name of G. L. & R. Handwerck. The changed name reflects the fact that the long absent Rudolf had returned to Sussex! He had been working in Berlin running an import-export shop for a Turkish carpet merchant of Jewish origin, but when the Nazis came to power, the Turk shut the shop, Rudolf lost his job and decided to join his brother in Sussex. He refused to have anything to do with the Nazi party. Directories record that Rudolf lived at 29 Addison Road in Hove from 1935 until the Second World War. The Electoral Registers, however, continue to make no mention of him because he was not a British citizen.

There is no evidence that Henrietta played any part in running the Brighton shop following her divorce. In the early 1920s she worked as a stewardess on a series of Atlantic liners, most notably the Mauretania of the Cunard White Star Line, at one time the largest ship afloat. Other Cunarders included the sister ships Andania and Antonia. She also served as a stewardess on the SS Lapland of the Red Star Line. The earliest recorded voyage was in August 1923 on the Mauretania and the last, in June 1926, on the Lapland.

On March 4, 1933, Henrietta married George Henry Roberts at the Registry Office in Wandsworth. Roberts was nine years older than Henrietta and a widower. The marriage certificate describes him as a post office sorter, who lived in Nevill Road in Stoke Newington and was the son of a wholesale newsagent. Henrietta was living in Putney. She died at home, at 32 Nevill Road in N16, on January 4, 1934, less than a year into her second marriage, while she was still in her forties. She had contracted pulmonary tuberculosis.

In 1924 Henrietta's two children, George and Nancy, sailed from Southampton to New York on the liner Olympic. They travelled unaccompanied, arriving on July 29. The ship's papers record that George was a shop assistant (presumably working for his uncle whose address is given as 39 Arden Street in Edinburgh). Surprisingly, there is no mention of Rudolf, though he had invited them to come and stay with him and his new family in Miami.

Nancy and George decided to settle in Florida, and Nancy obtained American citizenship, but George decided to retain his British nationality. George worked for his father, helping to run the postcard and souvenir business. He lived in Rudolf's former garage, which had been converted into a flat, but then the hurricane struck and he had to move elsewhere. He is recorded as a passenger on a ship called the Miami that sailed from Havana, Cuba, to Key West in Florida in May 1926. The ship's papers describe him as a clerk and a British subject. He made a similar voyage on the Governor Cobb in April 1931, when his nationality was described as "Scotch". Under "Occupation" someone has stamped "Retail Novelties Merch Interior".

After his return to Germany, Rudolf made at least one further visit to the USA. In October 1929 he is listed as a passenger on the liner Republic travelling from Bremen to New York. The ship's papers record that he was travelling alone (Margarete had presumably elected to stay in Germany) and surprisingly his last place of permanent residence in the USA is stated to have been Milwaukee. The United States Federal Census of April 1930 lists him and his son George as boarders with a family in Miami. Rudolf is confirmed as the proprietor of a souvenir shop while George is described as a salesman of general merchandise. Both men are stated to have become US citizens in 1924. Rudolf's temporary citizenship is not in doubt, but George is believed to have retained his British nationality throughout his life.

Sigrid Kopperschmidt suggests that Rudolf returned to Miami in order to settle his affairs. He gave Nancy the family bungalow, which had been repaired, and offered his former shop to George, who decided not to keep it so it was sold.

In May 1930 George Handwerck travelled back to Britain on the liner Europa of the North German Lloyd Steamship Line, arriving in Southampton on his way to 26 Kings Road. He is listed in the ship's papers as a merchant of British nationality. However, by 1936 he had become a seaman, and for the next 21 years or more he helped to crew the Santa Rosa, Santa Paula and other boats plying between the U.S. and northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the West Indies, South America and even Pakistan. The ship's papers record that he was 5 feet 4 or 5 inches high, the same height as his mother. On at least three occasions he is listed as an American citizen, but mostly he is described as a Scot (and once even as a German), which is odd since he retained his British nationality. He seems to have lived in New York between voyages.

THE SECOND WORLD WAR AND LATER
Having experienced the trauma of the Great War, Rudolf would have had no appetite for a repeat. It would have been logical for him to have returned to the United States in 1939, but in fact he stayed in Britain trying unsuccessfully to secure citizenship. During the war he and some other members of his family were interned for four and a half years on the Isle of Man. The indignity and unfairness of the situation must have rankled with Rudolf, but he escaped the worst of the bombing and some of the severe food shortages experienced on the mainland.

After the war was over, Rudolf returned with Margarete to Berlin where he worked briefly as an interpreter. He and Margarete sailed for New York on a ship called the Marine Tiger in May 1949 and settled in Florida. He took particular delight in retirement keeping fit by walking, swimming and playing ring tennis on the beach. He died in Miami on January 1, 1971. Margarete remained in Miami until her death on June 10, 1990.

George Louis Handwerck predeceased his elder brother and died in Edinburgh in 1953, aged 69. His wife, Martha Madge Smith outlived him by 16 years and died in 1969 at Morningside in Edinburgh.

Rudolf's son, George, married twice but had no children. He retired with his second wife, Herta, to Hollywood Beach in Florida. He died on August 1, 1994, just short of his 90th birthday. Like her brother, Nancy Handwerck married twice, on both occasions in Miami. She and her first husband, August Johann Heps (a German), divorced in 1941. Her second husband was Jackson Lenigan. Neither marriage produced children. Nancy lived to be over a hundred and died in Florida on June 20, 2006.

Erika died on May 27, 1975 in Hamburg. She had married Curt Helmuth Kopperschmidt (1907-1983) in August 1939 in Hamburg and had had two children: Christa Louise Kopperschmidt and Klaus Kopperschmidt, who is now dead, but is survived by his widow, Sigrid Kopperschmidt.

Florida and Northilt Handwerck never married. Norhilt now 89 still lives in Florida, but her sister died in Florida of cancer in 1995.

THE POSTCARDS
Rudolf Handwerck published a coloured halftone of his Queens Road shop for publicity purposes, entitled "The famous post card shop Queens Road, Brighton". The card was first issued sometime between 1907 and 1910. The shop window is filled with cards, but unfortunately none are identifiable. A neat, dapper man with a boater standing outside the door appears to be his brother, George Louis. The name board over the shop proclaims "18B Pictorial Centre", and the card is labelled on the back "11137. Published by Pictorial Centre, 18b Queens Road, Brighton".

Over a period of about seven years, Handwerck published many different types of card including:

1) Taber bas-relief cards of well known Brighton landmarks (e.g. the Pavilion and West Pier). Handwerck commissioned these embossed black and white real photographic cards from a London firm, who used a special process, which had been patented by its American inventor, Freeman Taber (see Anthony Byatt, Picture postcards and their publishers, 1978, Golden Age Postcard Brooks, Malvern). The cards have Taber's name on the front and back, but are also labelled "Pictorial Centre, Brighton. They first appeared in 1907.

2) Sepia-toned (more rarely bluish or black and white) collotype cards of Brighton and neighbouring places. Handwerck had these cards printed for him by several different suppliers and consequently they vary in style:
A) Mezzotint supplied some of the earliest cards anonymously.
B) Valentines of Dundee also obliged; their cards are initialled JV and are labelled "Valentines Series" as well as "Published by Pictorial Centre, 7 Grand Junction Road, Brighton". Some cards (e.g. a view of the Ship Hotel and the London coach "Comet") exist in separate Valentines and Pictorial Centre versions.
C) Of rather later date are some sepia-toned collotypes printed in Saxony, which lack borders round the pictures and are labelled on the back "Published by Pictorial Centre Brighton Series 42" (or some other number) or "The Brighton Palace Series 37" (or other number) or "The Brighton Palace Series No. 48" (or other number). Copyright". Variants exist that were "Printed in England", for example, "The Brighton Palace Series. No. 252. Copyright".
D) Also lacking borders are some black and white collotypes "Printed in Great Britain" or "Printed in Germany" with "Published by Pictorial Centre, 7 Grand Junction Rd, Brighton" or "Brighton Palace Series" labels on the back.
E) Very different in design are some cards (several showing rough seas at Brighton) that have white borders, bluish, black and white or sepia pictures and "Brighton Palace Series" labels on the back. No space is marked out for the stamp. Some examples have crinkle-cut edges. It is not known where these cards were printed.
F) Yet other cards, supplied by an unidentified British printer, have sepia views in oval frames and captions printed in italics.
G) A few black and white collotypes with greyish pictures and no borders were "Made in France". They are labelled "The Brighton Palace Series No. - Copyright" and have captions in italic capitals.

3) Monochrome halftone cards are of two types:
A) Black and white glossy halftones with oval, impressed pictures and white borders, set in facsimile wooden frames. Printed in Germany and labelled "Unikum-Series", these cards were on sale by 1910. The backs are printed in green and labelled "Published by "Pictorial Centre, 7 Grand Junction Road, Brighton". None of the cards is numbered.
B) Sepia halftones without borders and with reddish brown backs labelled "The Brighton Palace Series 41 No. - Copyright". The significance of the 41 is unknown.

4) Coloured halftones with captions printed in red, more rarely black or white. The earliest were on sale by 1907:
A) Some, printed in Saxony, have captions in plain, red, very small capitals and on the back a 5 digit reference number followed by the words "Published by Pictorial Centre, 7 Grand Junction Road, Brighton" or "Published by Pictorial Centre, Queens Road, Brighton". Others have captions in white italic capitals and two-digit numbers.
B) By 1908 similar cards, "Printed in Germany" were being issued with more complex reference numbers, such as a720/978. These were labelled on the back "Published by the Pictorial Centre, 18B Queens Road, Brighton". One example that has been found is rubber stamped on the back "D. Laycock, photographer, 3 St. Michael's Place, Brighton, telephone Brighton 21603." Possibly, Lacock helped to sell the cards when the Pictorial Centre closed.
C) A series of at least 7 cards, printed in Saxony, show cases of stuffed birds at the Booth Museum in Dyke Road. They have black or white captions and green printed backs with the label: "Published by Pictorial Centre, 18b, Queens Road, Brighton".
D) Other cards, also "Printed in Germany", with white captions and similar reference numbers (e.g. D 308/923 and D 308/928) may have been issued about the same date.
E) By 1909, however, many if not all the coloured halftones were being printed in Britain. A few are numberless and have captions printed in black, employing capitals only at the start of words. The backs, printed in brown, are labelled "Published by Pictorial Centre, 7 Grand Junction Road, Brighton". Much more common are cards with 2 or 3 digit numbers and red or black captions, written in a semi-italic font, again using capitals only at the start of words. They have green backs labelled "Published by Pictorial Centre, 7 Grand Junction Road, Brighton. No.- (Copyright)". Still later are red captioned, green backed cards labelled "The Brighton Palace Series. Published by Pictorial Centre etc.". After a year or so the label was simplified to "The Brighton Palace Series, No. -. Copyright" or "The Brighton Palace Series, 41, No. -. Copyright" and no mention was made of the Pictorial Centre. Some of these late stage cards have brown or black backs and in certain cases the captions are black, not red.

The dot pattern on the coloured halftones is sometimes evident even to the naked eye, and the colouring is often quite crude. Nevertheless, the cards seem to have sold well, which no doubt indicates that they were very competitively priced. The series consisted of at least 347 cards, which covered not only Brighton and Hove but also places as far west as Henfield, Steyning, Shoreham and Lancing. There were also views of Lewes, for example Number 289 showing School Hill.

5) Handwerck's output of printed cards was considerable, yet he also found time to publish a large number of good quality real photographics. Some of these used the same pictures as the sepia halftones. The real photographic cards went through a broadly similar sequence of labelling changes to the halftones, starting as "Published by the Pictorial Centre, 7 Grand Junction Road, Brighton", then progressing to "Palace Series" (by 1910) and "The Brighton Palace Series" (by 1912), before finally emerging (by 1913) as the "Brighton Palace Series No. XVIII, No. -. Copyright". The significance of the XVIII is unknown.


A few real photographic cards issued by the summer of 1907 have very wide white borders and impressed black and white photographs. The majority of real photographics, however, have non-impressed black and white photographs with narrow borders. Some sepia-toned cards with handwritten captions and no borders (e.g. "At Black Rock Brighton. 244") were also issued. The Rotary Photo Co. of London produced very similar cards to the black and white Handwercks, and almost certainly did some of Handwerck's printing for him. A unnumbered version of Card No. 84 has even been found that is labelled "Rotary Photo E.C.", but a few real photographic cards (e.g. Card No. 282) are marked "Printed in France", so evidently Handwerck enlisted the help of at least two suppliers.

Many of Handwerck's cards are numbered. At the beginning, the allocation of numbers seems to have been rather muddled, with some duplication of numbers for different views. Very soon, however, Handwerck appears to have decided to give each negative a unique number and to allocate the same number to all cards made from the negative regardless of the type of printing. The numbers tend to cluster geographically, each cluster apparently representing a particular photographic occasion. Numbers 174-181, for example, show the Black Rock area and can be assumed to have been taken if not all on the same day at least during the same week. Because Handwerck often revisited sites to take new photographs, many are represented by two or more clusters of numbers.

Many of Handwerck's cards are unadventurous, both photographically and in their choice of location. However, he was a very competent photographer, and a minority of cards are anything but mundane. No. 84, for example, is a very attractive real photographic showing a fleet of fishing smacks lying becalmed in a glassy sea, with their sails silhouetted against the sunset and also mirrored in the water. According to the caption, the boats were "near Brighton", but the Isle of Wight is plainly visible, and almost certainly the picture was taken in the Chichester Harbour area. No. 171 (a real photographic and a halftone) showing the "Landing of a shoal of mackerel at Brighton" is another noteworthy card. No. 107 (which exists as a real photographic and a sepia collotype) of "Queen's Gardens, Hove, showing the late King Edward's favourite seat" is saved from being yet another tedious seafront view by a man in the foreground pulling an old lady in a pram-like bath chair past the photographer. No. 25 is historically interesting because it shows the aerial cableway across the Devil's Dyke, which ceased operating in about 1909.

The great and the good in Edwardian Hove delighted in strolling in their finest clothes on Hove Lawns and Esplanade after Sunday morning church service. It was an opportunity to be seen and to take note of the latest fashions. Many photographers published cards of what became known as "Church Parade", but Handwerck produced much the most irreverent. His collotype and real photographic card No. 48, show a scruffy dog ambling towards the photographer, while a short distance behind a smartly dressed family has come to an embarrassed halt, with a young mother, who has a child in a push-chair, attempting to remove dog mess from her shoe.

Handwerck persuaded his two children, Nancy and George, to pose for several of his pictures. A coloured halftone, No. 199, playfully entitled "On the sands, Brighton. This is a very nice pla(i)ce", shows Nancy, dressed in boldly striped bloomers, standing on the beach with her bucket and spade, holding a fish. She is giving the cameraman a very broad smile. She also appears in another halftone (Card 200), this time in a white dress, walking with her brother, George, on the seafront. The caption declares "I have just made friends on the Parade at Brighton". Card 196 shows her, wrapped in a striped towel, standing at the door of a bathing cabin, with the caption "Hello Boys. I am coming"! The two children are also seen in real photographic cards playing on the beach and riding in a goat cart on Madeira Road (Card 23). A halftone and real photographic (Card 197) near the Palace Pier shows George pretending to push a dinghy carrying Nancy into the sea, with Nancy exclaiming "Push her off Georgie"!

Handwerck's halftone card number 35, laboriously entitled "Brighton donkeys, Lower Esplanade, Kings Road, Brighton, is a coloured version of a photograph taken by Arthur Corder, who included it as "The Donkeys" in his own series of sepia-tinted real photographics. On Corder's card the caption is at the bottom of the picture and on Handwerck's at the top. The upper tips of the letters of Corder's caption can just be seen at the base of Handwerck's card, which has less foreground. The implication is that Corder wrote his captions directly on his negatives so that they could not be erased. Rather than copy the caption Handwerck cropped the picture to remove as much as possible of the caption. It would be interesting to know whether he made use of other Corder pictures, and whether he agreed to stock Corder's cards as recompense.

Real photographic card No. 39A showing a "Biplane flying over Palace Pier, Brighton" is an obvious fake. None of the bystanders is looking at the plane, which could hardly have flown over without attracting a lot of attention. Undoubtedly, Handwerck superimposed the plane on an existing photograph of the Pier. Several other cards in the series show so-called "aeroplane views" of Brighton that were actually taken from the top of tall buildings such as St Peter's Church tower.

Handwerck also cheated by making small "improvements" to some of his coloured cards. Card 137, for example, in its original version has a large expanse of grass in the foreground, which in later versions is made less monotonous by the addition of fake red poppy flowers.

Postmarks suggest that the coloured halftone cards remained on sale throughout the 1920s and may still have been available in the late 1930s. An example of Card 20 has been found that is annotated on the back "Bought 26/10/29".


Acknowledgements: Grateful thanks are extended to Derek Plante of New South Wales and Allan Armstrong of Edinburgh, who have kindly supplied the photographs of George Louis Handwerck and Martha Madge Smith as well as much useful information. Adrian Vieler has spent many hours researching the archival records and has uncovered some important but previously overlooked details of Rudolph and Henrietta's lives. More recently, Sigrid Kopperschmidt (Hamburg) has been an invaluable correspondent, supplying many extra facts about the Handwerck family as well as additional photographs.

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