Realtor David Perkins was writing a book and wondering how to make it more appealing.
The answer came to him in a flash – notably the work of Oxford cartoonist Jim Needle.
Mr. Perkins is a member of the National Association of Estate Agents and his book was called Make No Mistake – An Estate Agent’s Guide to the Property Misdescriptions Act.
He guided his fellow real estate agents through the menagerie of laws governing home sales, pointing out the pitfalls and how to avoid costly mistakes.
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But even a captive audience might have struggled to navigate a 256-page, 18-chapter, and six-appendix tome.
Mr. Perkins commissioned Jim to create 60 cartoons to bring a wry smile to the reader as he absorbed the book’s serious points.
He recalls: “Jim was a very good local cartoonist – I had admired his work in the Oxford Mail – and thought a few strokes of the pen from him would help overcome the points I was raising.”
Mr Perkins, of Alvescot Road, Carterton, worked for Andrews and Partners in Carfax, Oxford, and had a distinguished career in estate agency, often engaging with government ministers.
In the foreword to the book published in 1993, Hugh Densmore Hardy, Chairman of the Parliamentary Liaison Sub-Committee, describes him as “a leading commentator on estate agency matters” and the book as outstanding.
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After outlining the rules set out by the new law, Mr Perkins warned that estate agents could face fines of up to £5,000 for each offense committed.
He told them, “Make no mistake, under the Property Misdescriptions Act, there is effectively no alternative but to get it right, the first time – every time!”
He wrote after seeing earlier Memory Lane articles featuring the work of Jim Needle.
Jim was a gifted graphic designer and draftsman who worked for the Oxford Mail and other publications for many years.
He lived in Canal Street, Jericho.
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His caricatures appeared in many buildings in Oxford, including pubs.
Bob Moore, who ran the Radcliffe Arms in Jericho, recalled seeing a cartoon in the Oxford Mail of a waitress saying to a drunken customer: “Yeah, you’re probably right, I’m not the perfect waitress, but to be fair, honey, you’re not the perfect client!
Mr Moore wrote: “I called Jim to ask if I could have his original drawing.
“It was duly delivered in exchange for a pint of Guinness. The drawing has been framed and hung in my pubs and bars for over 20 years.
After Jim’s death in 1997, his many friends paid their respects at a packed memorial service at St Barnabas’ Church in Jericho.
The Radcliffe Arms in Cranham Street was named after Dr John Radcliffe, the eminent physician.
He gave his name to the Radcliffe Camera, the Radcliffe Infirmary and the John Radcliffe Hospital. According to Derek Honey’s Encyclopedia of Pubs, Inns and Taverns in Oxford, the pub first opened in 1872. However, other records suggest it began trading in 1846.
It closed in 2010 and reopened a year later as The Rickety Press.
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