James Arthur North


Post Office, South Plumpton

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Sub-postmaster and grocer, South Plumpton. The initials "J.A.N." appear on a series of black and white real photographic cards that show Plumpton village thawing out after a light fall of snow. The publisher of the "J. A. N." cards can be assumed to have been James Arthur North, who took over the post office and grocery shop at South Plumpton from Ernest Morley between 1930 and 1934. He was still in business when he died at Plumpton on March 28, 1950 of lung cancer and bronchitis. According to the death certificate he was aged 56, which suggests that he was born in about 1894 though there is no entry for him around this date in the index of births for England and Wales. Perhaps he was born abroad. His wife, Mrs C. M. North, survived him.

One of North's Plumpton cards is numbered 14, but whether he actually produced as many different cards as this is uncertain. No postmarks have been reported, but the cards have pre-printed backs of a standard design used by many publishers in the interwar period. A card of Plumpton issued by the Worthing photographer Charles Edward Bex in the late 1920s or early 1930s depicts almost the same scene as the card shown above, but lacks the snow. The trees are slightly smaller and there is no telephone kiosk outside the Post Office in the Bex photograph, but in other respects the two cards are very similar. This suggests that North took his photograph only a few years after Bex, in the mid or late 1930s.

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