This time last year I produced a Picture Gallery of the Selsey Carnival which included Male’s float for 1938, the Hogsnorton Fire Brigade.  Following comments that ‘Male’s always had spectacular floats’ I approached Brian Male who kindly scanned the following pictures for me to share with you.


In 1939, Male’s built ‘Rocket’ and the Bognor Regis Observer of 6 September 1939 reported ‘an extremely impressive replica of the ‘Rocket’ complete with smoke… A special prize was also presented to Messrs. Arnell and Male, proprietors of the ‘Rocket’.’

As you can imagine, the reporting of the carnival was somewhat overshadowed by the outbreak of WWII.  The headline ‘Success Despite Crisis Difficulties’ just about sums it up.  

The Carnival was organised by the Selsey branch of the British Legion to raise money for their Benevolent Fund.  The report continues as follows:

‘As was to be expected in these critical times, the number of entries was considerably smaller than last year, but that is the same everywhere.  A great many visitors have left Selsey but the number of entries was good.

The processions lined up near the Selsey Hotel and the judging took place.  The costumes were bright and ingenious and gave the judges a difficult task…First aid and ARP figured prominently throughout the procession, which made a tour of the town and returned to the Selsey Hotel, where the prizes were presented.

The Selsey Fire Brigade arrived with their engine and added greater pomp to the procession, while the Selsey band provided the music.  A certain number of competitors were on horseback and at first the music looked as if it might upset the horses, but a restraining hand works wonders, and the procession moved off amidst showers of paper streamers.’   

No doubt onlookers were remembering the carnival of 1935 when Miss B Wesley of Clayton Road was knocked off her horse by another horse which got momentarily out of control.  She fell heavily and  sustained a fracture of a thigh and  other injuries.  

Joan Florence was the carnival queen with attendants Nancy Prior, Peggy Boxall, Jessie Fidler and Rosie Butler.  I hope the weather was not too warm as Joan wore an ermine cloak.  The attendants were dressed in saffron.

Following the parade there was a dance at the Marine Hotel which ‘advanced into the early hours’.

The street collection made the princely sum of £7  9s.  8d while the overall profit was thought to be between £8 and £10.  The Chichester Observer of 9 September 1939 continued the rather sombre theme with the comment that ‘The Selsey British Legion members will be engaged in national defence work of great importance during these days, but it is to their credit that they decided to hold the carnival, and thus supply the benevolent fund and other charities with money which they so desperately need.’ 

Selsey Carnival appears to have been suspended during the War, as we might expect, but a newspaper report  of 1949 mentions that ‘the Selsey Horticultural Society is to launch another show this year, and hope to link with it a revival of Selsey’s pre-war carnival.’

Bearing that in mind, the following pictures must be from after that date.

The first offering is Turkish Delights!


Back Row, Left to Right: 

Fred Albery, Tom Male, George Male, Ron Arnell and Doug Male (from Somerset)

The lovelies in the front row, Left to Right: 

Len Lawrence, Ern Homer and Vicky Smart.

Here we have a Chinese Laundry. 

Facing the camera, with the moustache, we have George Male while Fred Albery lurks just behind him.

The poor soul being mangled is Vicky Smart. 

In the background are, Left to Right, Ern Homer, Ron Arnell, Len Lawrence and presiding over the cauldron is Tom Male. 


The last picture I have may be rather contentious, but this photograph is ‘of its time’ when different sensitivities prevailed.  Without this evidence, our descendants would have little or no idea of our beliefs and social attitudes and, for that reason, I think it is important we don’t airbrush things out of existence.     

I think they represent children’s literary characters and probably date from the 1950’s.  Tom the chimney sweep could well be Tom from ‘The Water Babies’ by Charles Kingsley but most of the others escape me.  Any suggestions would be welcomed.  

The children are, Left to Right, unknown but representing Pinocchio, Chris Honywood, Richard Horstead, Brian Male, Paul Smeaton and Don Lawrence.


©Ruth C Mariner

This article is the intellectual property of the author and may not be copied or used in any way without her written permission.   The photographs are the property of Brian Male and may not be copied or used in any way without his written permission.