Map showing location of
The Bird in Hand
35 Dartmouth Rd.
Forest Hill, London
Roger Bailey's Sundial Diagram
(We are awaiting further explanation).
projects. But if the date is important to determine, I am willing to invest appropriate
time and effort.

Consider a sundial on the face of the Birds Eye Pub and the lamps as gnomons. The
sun comes onto this wall in the afternoon, well after noon. It only shows afternoon
shadows. Attached is a quick sketch of with a few hour and datelines a sundial. The
red cross is a point like the bottom of the lamp. The hour lines start the bottom at 1 pm
and go up to 8 pm. The shadow in the picture going down to the left indicates a 3:21
time perhaps a 2 to 3 weeks before or after the summer solstice. Given appropriate
shadow measurements this could be resolved to a pair of possible dates.


Roger Bailey

Thanks for the reply.  This is a puzzle we are trying to solve - not a matter of national
security.  I didn't realize it would take a lot of effort to analyze the shadows in it.

If it helps to make it simpler, there is a really nice shadow on the front of the pub.
because of the angle of the camera and the tilt of the sidewalk.

I sent the picture to a couple of people I've corresponded with in the past who are
experts on sundials.  They helped me with the Sheboygan Dead Horse picture.  Let's
see what they say.

Colleen Fitzpatrick
Quizmaster General

It is tricky. I thought the lengthiest part of the shadow from the carriage is cast by the
man on the right, the one without the moustache. If so shouldn't the angle of that
shadow match the one cast on the back of the car and by the men's hats. It is a little
strange 'photographically' that the shadows on the ground are fuzzy but the ones on the
people's faces and the car are really hard. Could it be a montage?

Xavier Briche

Dear Roger,

We were in touch a while back regarding the well-known Sheboygan Dead Horse
picture.  You helped me narrow down the dates the picturwe could have been taken by
helping me analyze the shadows.

Would you help me with another photo?  See attached.  I'm also copying below an
email from Xavier Briche, the photos own, giving the GPS location of the scene.  The
pub on the right of the picture The Bird in Hand is still at 35 Dartmouth Rd., St. John,
Forest Hill, London.

[The] attached photo...was taken on a kind of overcast day, so there aren't many
distinct shadows.  The best one I can find is the shadow of the two men in the carriage
up the street.  I believe the right edge of the shadow is being cast by the elbow of the
man on the right in the carriage.

Any comments you have are greatly appreciated.

Colleen Fitzpatrick
Quizmaster General

Hi Colleen,

This is an interesting puzzle frustrated by the lack of good shadows. The location and
orientation of the street, specifically the Birds Eye Pub are easily available on Google
Earth. Lat N 51° 26.278, Long W 0° 3.263, wall declining 15° east of north. The
problem is the shadows are poorly defined, But the time is known from the clock in the
background, 3:21 pm. Given all these all we need is an azimuth or altitude to solve for
Hmmm.  I think the back of the car is curved, so that introduces a distortion to the
direction of the shadow.  I was looking at the lamp post on the right with the bicycyle

This fits with the automobile being an English-built Model T. The first Model Ts built at
Trafford Park were built in December 1911 or January 1912.  I'm convinced that the
car is an early Model T Touring Car because of the shapes of the rear fenders and the
differential which are clearly visible in the photo.

Daniel Jolley

I am truly amazed. Also, it looks like my theory of the added letter on the number plate
of the car is looking less and less likely.

In light of Margaret's info, I can now clearly see the sign on the front says "Empire
Picture Theatre".

Can i do anything 'locally' to help further?

Perhaps the shadows will give an indication of the day of the year as we know the time
of the day is 3.21pm from the station's clock?

According to this page the
coordinates for 41, Dartmouth Road (where the photographer stood) are


Xavier Briche

Looked again at the Dartmouth Road pub reviews and venue ads and found the current
exterior pictured on one website.  

I think a British 1910 Ford Model-T is much too late for the LA-4670 license number.  
All motor cars on the road in 1904 were required to be licensed, not just newly
purchased vehicles, so there was plenty of pent-up demand.  Websites say London’s
original allotment of 9,999 plates beginning A-1 through A-9999 was used up sometime
in 1905 and London went to a double alphabetic prefix beginning with LA-1 through LA-
9999, so the car in the photo falls mid-range in that series.

This website shows a 1912 Sunbeam with originally issued tag LF-4900, so perhaps
some 50,000 vehicles were registered in London North West between the car in the
quiz photograph and this 1912 Sunbeam.

1912 Sunbeam
16/20 4.0 Litre Tourer
Car number 2331
Engine Number 2433
Registration number LF-4900

Even if we safely assume that many more new cars were purchased in the period 1909-
1912 than were purchased in the period 1905-1908, I think it’s reasonable to argue that
the LA-series of tags was fully allocated well before the end of 1907 in this very
wealthy part of London.

Diane Burkett

The link [] reports that the earliest LA- through LD

Found Campion’s at 27 Dartmouth, just a few doors down
from one of the current Bird in Hand locations. Campion’s
opened a larger store on Sydenham Road in 1906-1907 and
both locations were listed in the 1907 directory. Only the
Sydenham Road location was listed in 1908 and later.
Note that in some cities, the directory was compiles during the last few months of the
previous year.  So we have to include late 1910 in the answer.

Colleen Fitzpatrick
Quizmaster General

Your point is well taken.  The directory is dated December 1910. Doubtlessly the
information was compiled earlier in the year.  So the photo was taken between April
and December 1910 on a windy day (man in the road with the bicycle is holding his cap
and his apron is billowing out) at 3:20 pm (clock tower of the Forest Hill train station).
I'd be interested to know when the Johnnie Walker advertisement was first brought out.

Margaret Paxton

N.B.  Margaret means "the earliest date the photo was taken was between April and
December 1910".  The photo could have been taken any time after Miss Maison
moved to her location. - Q. Gen.

I immediately knew it was England based on the license plate and found confirmation
that the LA-prefix was assigned to NW London.  

Googled “Bird in Hand” and found several pubs and restaurants still using that name –
one is an Italian restaurant in Kensington and another was the location on Dartmouth
Road (but I didn’t originally see any of those links that showed a picture of the building

Googled “Bass barley wine” and Gilbey’s. Then moved to to search for
London city directories and Sir Walter Gilbey and Gilbey’s Wine and Spirits. Started
mapping the Gilbey’s locations and there were several in North and Northwest London  
(none listed on Dartmouth, but Gilbey’s “franchised” their beverage departments to
local grocery stores so few were stand-alone locations). Main Gilbey’s store seemed to
be in Camden Town, also where Soda-Stream offices were located..

Searched for “Bird in Hand” in city directories, but none were found.  

This is a new angle.  Dan Jolley has been researching the cars
which give a date of abt 1911 when the first Model T was
manufactured in England, Xavier has come up with
information on the use of two-letter-prefix license plates
(April 1910), Diane Burkett has come up with various dates
for the liquor ads. Your 1911 directory entries fit perfectly
with this.
The Bird in Hand
Barley Wine
I enjoyed my mini-tour of London.

1. Earliest date -- Late 1904 or 1905.  UK numbered license plates were first issued
under the terms of the Motor Car Act of 1903 starting Jan. 1, 1904.  The London
district was initially assigned A and the numbers 1 through 9999.  When this allotment
of plates was used up a new allotment of plates with a 2-letter prefix beginning with L
was used.  LA was one of 19 L-prefixes assigned to London North West, and I would
presume that LA was the first in this series, so probably in the second allotment of
London plates ever issued. Later allotments dropped the hyphen.


the opposite side of the road.  The Wikipedia writeup for the
Model T indicated that the Model T was also built in at Trafford
Park in Manchester, England and Walkerville, Canada.  When I
searched on "Trafford Park Model T," I found a lot of YouTube
videos from 2011, the 100th anniversary of the production start of
the Model T at Trafford Park.  Those videos showed many Model
T variations which were very similar in appearance to the
automobile in your quiz photo.  The videos showed both US- and
English-built Model Ts and showed that the tail lights
corresponded with the location of the steering wheel.

One other thing that finally made me believe this is an English-built
Model T is something barely visible in the photo.  Initially, I
thought the car was parked since it is very close to the curb, but I
now believe the car was in motion and had moved as far away
from the horse-drawn carriages as possible to avoid spooking
them.  What makes me believe this is what appears to be the top
of someone's head just below the top edge of the windshield on
the right side of the vehicle.  I know there is a lot of supposition
here, but that is my answer and I sticking to it (LOL).

Luv these kind of quizzes!!

Dan Jolley
started producing them. I don't believe this Model T is US built because of the position
of the 'tail light' on the right side of the vehicle (the light is on the left side on a US-built
Model T). I believe this Model T is one that was built at Trafford Park in Manchester,
England, which produced the Model T starting in 1911.

Daniel Jolley

Great info. As a beginner it gives me an insight in the depth of knowledge needed.
Thanks very much Dan.

When I looked again at the number plate lettering it seems possible the L was added
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!-- Start Quantcast tag -->
Finally, a photo of the original clock tower
on the railway station in Forest Hill. When
you told me the pub location, we did a
street view on Google maps and decided
the tower may have been on the train
station. Voila!

Marcelle Comeau


The [Forest Hill train] station was
destroyed in 1944 by a V1 flying bomb. The
picture [see second pic above] is probably
late 30s but dating it would be another the
start of another research in its own right.

Steve Grindlay who published this picture
also published the one I submitted on his
Flickr pages. I have emailed him to see if
he has more info.


Xavier Briche
Quiz #385 Results
Bookmark and Share
Lots of Clues in the Photograph!
Our Quizmasters Weigh In
Answers to Quiz #385 - February 3, 2013
1. What is the earliest year this photo could have been taken?
2.  What city was it taken in?
3. What is the current address of the pub on the right
with the barrell-shaped sign?
Contributed by Xavier Biche.
1.  After 1903 when vehicle registration began in the UK.
Probably after Dec 1911, but definitely after April 6, 2011.  See below.
2.  Forest Hill, London, England
3.  The Bird in Hand
35 Dartmouth Road
St. John, Forest Hill, London
Congratulations to Our Winners!

Daniel Jolley                Margaret Paxton
Marcelle Comeau                Diane Burkett
Rebecca Bare                Arthur Hartwell
Tim Bailey                Collier Smith
Talea Jurrens
The Car and the License Plate
I originally thought the earliest date for the
photo was related to the telephone sign in
the distance which would lead one to
think that the earliest date for the photo
would be 1879 when public telephone
service started in the UK. I quickly
dismissed this and now think that the
earliest date is related to the automobile on
the left side of the road. The car appears
to me to be a Ford Model T Touring Car.

If it is a Model T built in the US, the
earliest date the photo could have been
taken is 1908 which is when Henry Ford
later. The fonts for the A and L seem
different. The registration numbers for
London before the change of April 1910
could perhaps have been A-4670 and the
L was added after.

Does this make sense and are you sure
this is not an imported model or a model similar to the Ford T?

There is only one surviving record of registration numbers for 1917-1919 at the
London Metropolitan Archive (LMA). If i can find half a day to spare in February i may
have a look to see if the car was still registered 5/6 years later. Perhaps there will be
more information about the original registration.

Xavier Briche

I don't have a specific link I can give you concerning English-built Model Ts.  After
looking at numerous photos of US-built Model Ts which all had the tail light on the left
side of the vehicle, the light bulb went off.  I figured that, since we were in England,
the tail light might have been moved to the right side of the vehicle since they drive on
Driver's head is
just visible below
top edge of wind-
shield. Note also
that the tail light
is on the right.
Bass & Co. Brewery coined the term "barley wine" in 1903,
although one source claims a date of about 1870.

T. Campion Clothier and Hosier was located at 27
Dartmouth Rd., Forest Hill, London.  This location was no
longer listed in the 1908 London phone directory.

Gilbey’s Wine and Spirits

One of the Gilbey brothers invented the SodaStream
carbonated beverage maker technology in 1903.

2.  Forest Hill, Borough of Lewisham, Greater London, UK
3.  The Bird in Hand is still in the same building at 35 Dartmouth Rd., Forest Hill,
Lewisham  and,_London

Diane Burkett
Photo of Bird in Hand pub and neighboring
buildings on Darthmouth Rd compared to
buildings in photo.  Note the chimneys are
the same in the two pictures.  Also note the
brick buildings with A-frame roofs are still
Google Street View of building further up
street from Bird in Hand pub.  Hancock's
pub is now D. Wines, and off-license
I started work on this picture by enlarging the photo and looking
for business names.  I noticed "James Verey" on the front of the
pub with the barrell-shaped sign.  A quick search for James
Verey in England (the people ARE driving on the left) yielding an
obituary for a James Verey, owner of the Bird-in-Hand public
house in Lewisham.

There is also a record in England & Wales, National Probate
Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
Record in Ancestry.  It says  “ Verey James of The Bird in Hand
beerhouse , 35 Dartmouth road, Forest Hill, Kent, died 19 July
1921; Probate London 21 October to Sarah Emily Verey,
widow.  Effects 13149 pounds 17 shillings 6 pence.

As to the earliest year, I first thought it might be 1903, since that
was when vehicle registration was first required in the UK.
-prefix registration numbers were not released in alphabetic order,  
although later ones were.  The LF release date of May 1912 fits perfectly
with the 1912 Sunbeam I'd sent earlier.

Notice that the car is parked or passing in front of a store that sells tyres -
accidental or by intent.

I am puzzled that the Campion sign is still hanging on the same storefront,
at least 3 years after it moved to Sydenham Road and that there are no
other motorized vehicles on the road at a relatively late date of 1910 and
slightly later.

Intrigued by the child in the pram barely visible on the left.  Sure wish I
could see Mummy or the nanny pushing it.

Diane Burkett
Ford Model T Touring Cars with the fender style of the car in the photo were built up
to 1914. The fender design changed to a more hemispherical shape on the 1915 model.

Daniel Jolley

I checked the opposite side of the street and found a business not listed in the 1911
directory -- The Empire Picture Theatre.  According to
Lewisham's Lost Cinemas,it was originally called the Picture
Playhouse and opened in 1910.  The Centre for British Film and
Television Studies's London Project says it opened on 10
September 1910 and was renamed the Forest Hill Picture
Playhouse by 6 April 1911 (Harry John Coles,
Still later it was renamed the Empire Picture Theatre. The theatre
was closed in 1914.In light of this data, the date of the photograph
has to be pushed forward to after 6 April 1911.

Margaret Paxton

I'm not sure whether it's usable, but what about the
shadow created by the folded down top on the back of
the car?

Daniel Jolley

leaning against it.  The basket on the front casts a sharp
chadow against the pole, but the distance is short between
the edge of the basket and the edge of the shadow, so it
might be toohard to measure accurately.  Any error in the
measurement is likely to be greater than the distance itself.  
The lamp post is interesting - but doesn't cast a noticeable
shadow. It probably has a shadow, it just can't be seen
Then I checked city directories, first to establish when the Bird-in-Hand was in
business, then to check out the neighbors.  Miss Maison did not appear till the 1911

Margaret Paxton

I had a look at the picture, but there aren't any distinct shadows
to use for analysis.  The only one that might be usable is the
shadow in the street of the two men in the buggy.  I think the
right edge of the shadow corresponds to the elbow of the man
on the right in the carriage.  I used to be in touch with some
people who worked with sundials.  I'll see if I can contact
them.  They may be able to do some analysis for us.

Colleen Fitzpatrick
Quizmaster General
the date. If the clock is wrong the shadows can show
attitude and azimuth to calculate date and time. The lamps
on the pub show reasonable shadows, perhaps correctable
for perspective to find altitude and azimuth. Before
investing time and energy I need to know if this
determination of date is important or just a curiosity. It is a
solvable puzzle but the solution requires resources, time
and effort. These resources I would rather spend on bigger
Comments from Marcelle
I learned two very good lessons from this quiz (in addition to everything I
learned about London from the photo itself).

1. I made a bad assumption right off the bat and never got off that track - that
is why I never found the correct Bird in Hand Pub. When I zeroed in on the
license plate and determined it was NW London, I also WRONGLY assumed
(without even thinking it through) that the photo had been taken in NW
London and I searched only those neighbourhoods for a Bird in Hand Pub.
And there were lots, unfortunately!

2. I looked and looked on-line for directories of businesses in London and
never found anything decent. In the emails you sent me from other friends,
one of your other members mentioned Directories through,
which I subscribe to. DUH! That taught me a lesson too - I tend to
compartmentalize too much i.e. "ancestry belongs to my genealogy research
and not the Fitzpatrick quizzes"...... I have to train myself that it's a "common"
tool chest.

So, this may seem trivial to you but I learned two valuable research lessons
with this quiz, more to do with how my mind works (or doesn't!). Let's hope
I remember this in the future!

Marcelle Comeau
There is a sign hanging in front of it - you can't read it, but
it appears between the advertizement for Bass Barley Wine
and the bilboard on the sidewalk advertising Frances
Maison. It is a black rectangle hanging from a wire -it casts
a shadow on one of the brick posts.  The edge of the
shadow falls on the front edge of the fifth post from the
corner, with the rest wrapping around it.
We've determined from dating various items in the picture that the earliest date is April
6, 1911, and the latest date is sometime in 1914.

Does that help to make it easier to determine the date?

I think I understand the diagram you included in your message.  The slanted lines are
the altitude of the sun at 1:00 pm through 8:00 pm for that latitude?  Are you saying that
judging by the approximate angle of the not-so-distinct shadows, that the line
representing 7 pm passes through a lamp and would fall on the facade of the pub at the
angle observed in the photo?  What does the horizonal red line stand for?

Colleen Fitzpatrick
Quizmaster General

I agree that the shadows on the pub facade are useful. I was looking at the rectangular
sign but it wraps around. Perspective is very important here as none of the line lengths
and shadows are true. Along the facade of the pub, the lengths are very compressed.
Mathematically correcting for this is difficult. It starts with knowing where the
photographer was and the focal length of the camera, all now unknown. Vanishing
point analysis may help. Draw all one any of the horizontals on the facade and see how
they all go to the vanishing point.

The horizontal red line is the height of the gnomon, the perpendicular distance of the
end of the gnomon point from the vertical wall.

More to follow.

Roger Bailey
Remark from the Quizmaster General
It is clear that most work must be done to determine the date of the photograph.  For
the moment, we have determined that the picture was taken sometime between
November 1911, the date when the Ford plant at Trafford Park started their production
of the Model T, and sometime after 1914, the latest date the car was manufactured,
presuming cars were used for at least a couple of years after they were purchased. The
time was 3:20 pm.

Updates will be published on the Identifinders blog at

Colleen Fitzpatrick
Quizmaster General