Former book publisher hopes to locate missing cartoons that brought Norfolk dialect to life
PUBLISHED: 13:43 08 December 2018
A former book publisher is turning to the public for help to track down four missing illustrations from a book celebrating the Norfolk dialect.
Once a popular book in its heyday, Broad Norfolk was unique in that it was made up of contributions by readers of the Eastern Daily Press.
Published by Norwich-based publisher Wensum Books in 1973, it included phrases, stories and a glossary of the Norfolk dialect, put together by former EDP journalist Eric Fowler under the pseudonym Jonathan Mardle.
It explained Norfolk phrases to those not familiar with the language - such as when ‘suffins bad’ even when ‘ya hent got a bloomin’ clew woss gorn on’.
But what really brought the humorous book to life were the charming caricatures and illustrations drawn by London cartoonist Joe Lee, who later moved to Norwich following retirement.
Alan Dean, 76, who ran Wensum Books for 10 years until it closed in 1982, kept the 20 original cartoons from the book and took them with him in the many places he has lived since then.
Mr Dean, who has no children, had decided to preserve the treasured cartoons by donating them to the Millennium Library in Norwich, but after dusting off the box he kept them in at his home in Christopher Close, he discovered four were missing.
“It was a great disappointment,” he said. “I felt very embarrassed with myself, they were treasured drawings.
“I hope they are still in existence, I have no idea at all where they could be.
“If someone has got them I would pay money to get them back so I can donate them, it would be lovely to donate the whole set.”
Mr Dean said the book was a best seller - he printed tens of thousands of them at his publishing company in Orford Place.
Mr Lee had drawn political cartoons for the London Evening News, the Daily Mail and later for the EDP. He lived in Leopold Road until his death in 1975.
“Cartooning is a rare art, very few people are able to do it, but Joe Lee was an artist of great skill,” said Mr Dean.