Saturday, 8 April 2017

Raymond Sheppard and Pony Club Annuals

Pony Club Annual Number 3 p78
"The Fox Cubs" by Raymond Sheppard
The Pony Club started in 1929 and its website states:

The Pony Club is an international voluntary youth organisation for young people interested in ponies and riding. Founded in England in 1929, and granted independent charitable status on 1st January 1997, there are around 345 Branches and 480 Centres in the UK alone. The Pony Club has been the starting point for a large majority of equestrian team members and medal winners.
The Pony Club is represented in no less than 27 countries with a worldwide membership exceeding 110,000 making it the largest association of young riders in the world.
It had 8,350 members in 103 UK branches in 1934 and reached a height of 43,817 members in 365 UK branches in 1982 then fell to its not insignificant current level of 30,674 in 345 branches in 2012.

Jane Badger Books has a full history of the Annual and I can't add anything here but to say Jane Badger Books also has a lovely listing of the annuals and books which is interesting in itself. many thanks to Jane for allowing me to use materials from her site.

Pony Club Annual Number 3 (1952)

The illustration at the top of this article comes from Pony Club Annual, number 3 (1952) and accompanied Frances Pitt's story "The Fox Cubs". The following year Sheppard illustrated another piece by Pitt, "Summer Ride" but this time the reader had to guess the animals and birds. Have a go and I'll reveal the answers at the bottom of this article. I think this Frances Pitt must be the author mentioned in the Wikipedia article. She appears to have written many academic papers as well as some Brooke Bond tea cards album which was ironically illustrated by Sheppard's contemporary Tunnicliffe. A list of her books are on Amazon.

Pony Club Annual Number 4 (1953)

Pony Club Annual Number 4 p111

Pony Club Annual Number 4 p112

Pony Club Annual Number 4 p113

Pony Club Annual Number 4 p114

Pony Club Annual Number 4 p115

Pony Club Annual Number 4 p116

Pony Club Annual Number 4 p119

Now I hope you are playing along!

The next annual Sheppard's work appeared in was Number 6 (1955). "Sure Magic" was written by Monica Edwards (8 November 1912 – 18 January 1998). The story is about a boy called Paul who is desperate to buy a pony but realises that it's near impossible with his pocket money. But a horse called Calluna and Paul's fates are intertwined. The story has been reprinted many times and a quick search of the Internet shows me that John Allsup's fascinating Monica Edwards site lists these as does Clare Noble's site PonyMadBookLovers which I enjoyed browsing for the visuals of covers!

"Staring past him at the snow" - Paul holds horse while snow falls
Pony Club Annual Number 6 p23

"..on long stilty legs" Young foal takes first steps
Pony Club Annual Number 6 p27

"She trotted along willingly enough" - Paul walks goat
Pony Club Annual Number 6 p34

The next was the renamed Pony Club Book, according to Jane Badger as "people might think the articles and stories had appeared elsewhere, when they were all specially a feeling that 'annual'". Sheppard's contribution is printed both on the cover (which I do not own so thank you to Jane Badger for allowing me to use her cover)
Pony Club Book Number 7 (1956)
The image comes from the "Do-this-yourself" feature. This sets a competition to write a story around a Sheppard illustration. Ironically - for me - the editor, I presume, mentions losing the cover or dustjacket, which is what's happened with a lot of copies as I've never seen one before until I nabbed this from Jane Badger's website.

Pony Club Book Number 7 p.50

"She trotted along willingly enough" - Paul walks goat
Pony Club Book Number 7 p51

Pony Club Book Number 8 (1957)
Pony Club Book Number 8 p10
The illustration accompanying "Holiday Ploughboy"

"Holiday Ploughboy", sub-titled "Team-work with the horses on a New Zealand farm" appears uncredited in Pony Club Book number 8 and according to the acknowledgements at the front of this book, appeared in The Times. Because I know you'd want me to track it down, it actually appeared The Times, Saturday, Dec 17, 1955 p.8 and the author is "From a correspondent"!

In addition the picture from the previous book appears again (on p.72) in this volume, where Wendy Ward (of Littlehampton) - 10 to 12 age group- and Selena Fisher (of Ashton, Northampton) - in the 14 and over category- had their stories printed.

I wondered about Naldrett Press, who first published these books and found the Open Library shows a graph with publications predominantly between 1949-1956, but the British Library shows 1948 as the likely start date with books on football, including How to be a referee, cars, cricket, brewing topics, which extend from brewing to the wonderfully named Inn-signia which I guess is a pub signs book. They ventured into autobiography with Fabian of the Yard and the last two books in 1960 are on football. Anyone know anything about them? The Pony Club Annuals/Books, from numbers 6-11 (when publishing moved to Heinemann), were co-published with "The World’s Work (1913) Ltd" with Naldrett.

Well here's the moment you've been waiting for,  the solutions to the questions raised earlier:

Pony Club Annual number 4 p158

p. 110 onwards: Moorhen, Heron, Water-vole, Redstart, Grey Squirrel, Fox
p.119: Rooks, Carrion Crow, Yellow Hammer, Pipit, Great Spotted Woodpecker