Charmouth Street by Claude Muncaster
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This wonderfully evocative painting of a Charmouth scene long since gone formed part of a poster distributed by the National Savings Bank to Post Offices around England. Claude Muncaster depicted a number of attractive scenes of village post offices. Very few posters have survived and this may well be the only one in existence as no record of it appears of it in the Post Office Archives.
It was painted in 1954 according to records kept at the Public Record Office at Kew.The view  is at the top of The Street in Charmouth looking down towards "Charmouth House", the large thatched , ivy clad building in the distance. It was then run as a Hotel by Mr and Mrs Johnstone, though shortly afterwards Mr and Mrs Earl took over. Directly opposite at the time was a shop named "Mediterranea" which sold goods from the Continent bought back from their travels by Mr and Mrs Asquith. A little higher up with its board above the doorway was Hutchins, a long established Shoe shop. Adjoining this property had been the village Blacksmiths, but by then "The Charmouth  Pottery" run by Mike Hendricks and  his wife was established. It is difficult to identify the two black cars. But the one nearest could well be the Rover 90 owned by the Earls.
The shop with "Charmouth Post Office" emblazoned above it was Longs, a general store, which had long stood on the site.It was one of two post offices in the village, the other being "Charmouth Stores", run by the Dampiers.  Immediately up from the shop was the impressive Askew House set back from the road, which for a long time was the Charmouth Surgery run by Dr. Chamberlain. The building with the Sold sign was once a Fish shop  run by James Gear. As well as a number of businesses there was the "New Inn" a little further up if you felt like a drink, now sadly gone.
On the opposite side was "Melbourne House" and next to it "The Well Head", where lived the famous Charmouth Historian, Reginald Pavey. "Badgers" was then a bookshop run by David and Margaret Courage, who now live at Melbury Osmond in Dorset.
These were wonderful times before the curse of traffic killed off the trade these small businesses depended on to exist.

Neil Mattingly