Clowns in Firle

My Firle relatives – Great Auntie Nellie and family, liked their bit of fun and seemed ready to take part in village events. I never saw Firle at bonfire night but that was clearly a big event. There was also a summer fete. Or maybe this was a bit of sisterly fun.

Here we see a clown at Firle.


This is one of those photos, probably taken by my grandfather, for which I only have a negative. It has no caption but I’m pretty well certain this is Nellie’s sister, my Great Aunt Sue who lived in Ringmer. My guess is that this dates from the 1920s. Sue was born in 1882 and stayed a spinster until 1932. Rumour always had it that she had lost a boyfriend in what we now call the First World War. Sue died before I was born so I never had an opportunity to ask her. Not that I would have done. Youngsters just don’t ask.

I don’t think the photo has anything to do with bonfire night. The sun appears to be quite overhead, casting the short shadows of the summer season. Sue is dressed as a clown and seems to have a very clownish bicycle – devoid of an awful lot of items which might be deemed useful or even essential.


It seems to be without tyres and inner tubes, brakes and even pedals. Oh well! At least it has a bell!

Sue looks very much like a lady in charge.


What a lovely photo of a past age – but there’s more.

It’s the same costume so probably the same occasion but this time we see another sister of Nellie. This time it is my Granny – Ethel who was ten years younger than Sue.


It certainly looks like happy times.


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