Monday, September 11, 2006

Rolfe's Childhood Playground!

At an antiques and collectables fair I recently found this postcard of Cheapside in London. Cheapside was where in 1860 Frederick Rolfe was born and where his father and grandfather ran a piano manufacturers and retailer. The business was in decline even when Rolfe was born and continued to struggle until Rolfe's father died and his mother and sister ended up running a small school. Rolfe tried for a while, whilst living in Boadhurst Gardens - see below - to do what he could to salavge some income from the business for his mother after his father's death but Rolfe was never great at money-matters and was desparately poor himself. It seems likely that it was precisely because Rolfe was trying to sell pianos to help his mother that The Royal Literary Fund became suspicious of Rolfe's financial status and refused him continued support (someone came across a flier for the pianos and assumed that Rolfe himself was benefitting from the sales). This postcard shows Cheapside in 1906, a little late for Rolfe but I don't imagine it had changed all that much.

PS. Will, I do know of Corvines in NY but I'm afraid one has to guard the privacy of one's customers. Seeing as New York has quite a collection of Corvine material, including manuscripts and letters, in various libraries and universities I'd hope that Rolfe might not be without admirers there... thanks for dropping by :-)

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