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Town’s beloved Ernie has book published after death

PUBLISHED: 07:04 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:22 05 March 2020

Owner Ernie Childs at work at the Great Yarmouth Pottery. Inset: Ernie Childs' book. Picture: Denise Bradley/

Owner Ernie Childs at work at the Great Yarmouth Pottery. Inset: Ernie Childs' book. Picture: Denise Bradley/

Archant

One of Great Yarmouth’s best-loved characters lives on in his paintings, his pots - and now in his book.

Ernie Childs' book. Picture: Liz CoatesErnie Childs' book. Picture: Liz Coates

Ernie Childs' sudden death last September sent his home town into mourning, with hundreds gathering at his funeral to say a fond farewell and share stories about his colourful life.

In the days before he died he saw a first version of his book, mingling personal memories with insights into the painting process, which he hoped to publish in the next few weeks.
As things turned out it was his wife Karen Childs who had to make it happen and put the finishing touches to his words.

She said the book, My Thoughts on Canvas, grew out of exhibition notes handed out at gallery shows.

With so many people asking for a smaller version they could take away Ernie decided he might like to say a bit about his works, where the ideas sprang from and what made them special to him.

A painting of the Lydia Eva is among those to feature in a book by Ernie Childs. It is one that he painted specifically to photograph and turn into transfers for his ceramics Photo: Ernie ChildsA painting of the Lydia Eva is among those to feature in a book by Ernie Childs. It is one that he painted specifically to photograph and turn into transfers for his ceramics Photo: Ernie Childs

Ernie grew up in Great Yarmouth's historic Rows - the slums of their day, but looked back on with the rosy tint of nostalgia.

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And despite the poverty he loved living by the busy quayside, getting into scrapes with his mates, and listening to the seafaring tales of the sailors and fishermen that peopled his life and inspired his art.

The 90-page book sees some of his most popular paintings faced by explainer pages revealing the stories behind them.

'Barrels Stacked High' painting by Ernie Childs. Inset: Ernie Childs' book. Picture: Ernie Childs/Liz Coates'Barrels Stacked High' painting by Ernie Childs. Inset: Ernie Childs' book. Picture: Ernie Childs/Liz Coates

Mrs Childs hailed the response of those who had dipped in so far, some of his close friends struggling to get past the first few pages.

Meanwhile his family have also had to deal with the experience of seeing him beamed into the nation's living rooms in the Norfolk episode of the BBC's Escape to the Country.

In the episode a couple are looking to relocate to Norfolk and are shown houses in Belton, Bacton, and Poringland.

The search for a new home takes them to Great Yarmouth where Ernie tells them all about the historic port's maritime history and encourages them to throw a pot on his wheel. It was filmed last spring and is available on the iPlayer. Mrs Childs said it was hard to put into words what she felt watching it for the first time but added it was lovely to hear his voice.

Owners Karen and Ernie Childs at work at the Great Yarmouth Pottery which they are closing as they retire.  Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOwners Karen and Ernie Childs at work at the Great Yarmouth Pottery which they are closing as they retire. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The book Ernie Childs - My Thoughts on Canvas, is priced £15 via ebay or from Mrs Childs by calling 01493 858862.

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