Friday, March 27, 2015

LAWS FAMILY REGISTER Mar 2015 Number 467

Welcome to the Laws Family Register. 


A Child of the Twenties

A suburban childhood of the Twenties 

seen from the Ninteen Nineties

by John Robert Laws 1921-2008

Part 4.

As well as the coal store there was plenty of space in the cellar with a sort of second room into which a feeble light filtered bt a small window below the 'front room' bay. I remember it as a junk store but maybe it was just things one couldn't throw away. Perhaps the most valuable tning in the cellar was the cold tap which didn't freeze even in the coldest snap when everybodies pipes were frozen and standpipes had to be put up in the streets.

If the cellar was inelegant, the other rooms were much better. After the kitchen, the  most used room for living was the 'front room' often called the dining room. today it would be called the living room but room usage in middle class houses was different then, mainly due to the lack of central heating. In cold weather a fire would be lit in the front room in the late afternoon on weekdays or well before lunch on weekends. Its heat output could only be controlled  by stoking it up or letting it burn down with a little bit of draught control at the front and the alternatives of feeding it with lumps or slack.

The tiled fireplaces of the thirties and forties had not arrived, the fire was ornamented with tiled inserts on either side, enclosed by an iron surround. Above it the overmantle enclosed a big mirror and supported a heavy green onyx clock in a Palladium style  with a gilt dial and ormolu mounts. If this were not enough, it was flanked by a pair of blue-brown Doulton glazed vases which served as spill holders.

It all belonged to a rather earlier age, even at that time, the product of a rather late marriage before WWI of a couple raised in late Victorian times. Furniture was good and solid, even a dining chair took a bit of lifting, but there was no fear of it wearing out or falling apart and the room was big enough to hold a lot of it. As it was really a living room rather than a dining room, the fire had a large overstuffed armchair on either side and there was a matching sofa along the opposite wall. One recess beside the chimney breast was occupied by a tall glazed mahogany bookcase and the other held a dropfront coal scuttle which provided a little table top beside the chair. An enormous mahogany sideboard sat against the wall opposite the window, the back of its tall overmantle filled by a mirror. tapered square columns supported the tester style top on which stood a reproduction bronze statue of an athete. I suppose the original statue must be greek but although some thirty years or so later I spotted a full size replica in a public park in Liege, I remain in ignorance.

Ornaments abounded and on the sideboard were an epergne for fruit and flowers and a couple of silver plate and glass urns which never contained anything. More useful was the plated silver stand to hold the soda syphon  and the plated vegetable dishes sitting on the long lacey cloth. 'Cleaning the plate' was a regular chore and but one of many labour intensive housekeeping of those days. There was of course a heavy mahogany dining table and half a dozen chairs for the main purpose of the room. Apart from mealtimes, a dark crimson chenille tablecoth with a fancy fringe all round covered the table and in the middle stood another epergne, plated and just for flowers this time. Last but not least the obligatory aspidestra sat in a magnificent state of growth on an ornately carved ebony stand in the window bay, its pot enclosed by a handsome china jardinaire of deep blue and white. from this window at dusk the lamplighter could be seen on his rounds lighting the gas street lights one by one with a long pole he carried over his shoulder.  

To be continued tomorrow


Family Events from our database for today March 27

1739 - Marriage: John LAWS-34252 and Agnes ALEXANDER-34253,
1791 - Baptism: John LAWS-28974, Hevingham NFK UK
1797 - Burial: John LAWS-41596, Beckenham KEN UK
1823 - Marriage: John LAWS-4160 and Sarah COOKE-4164, Portsea HAM UK
                          Nelson's Flagship HMS 'Victory' preserved in Portsea Naval Dockyard

1831 - Christen: Samuel LAWS (Passengers Butcher on Ship) -7580, Chertsey SRY UK
                                                            Chertsey in Surrey

1832 - Marriage: Henry Rutter STURT (Bricklayer) -33780 and Harriett LAWS-33781, Brighton                  SSX UK
                                                     Brighton in Sunny Sussex by the sea

1848 - Burial: May LAWES-56112, Hellington NFK UK
1853 - Birth: Jonah  LAWS (Bers'n Finnisher (Brass)-6908, Gateshead DUR UK
1863 - Occupation: Thomas Francis Cresswell LAWS (Ships Steward) -57936, Melbourne
1865 - Birth: Eliza LAWS-41886, Newington SRY UK
1869 - Birth: Guy Featherstone LAWS (Boarder & Scholar) -3207, Tynemouth NBL UK
1872 - Death: William Arundel LAWES (Mechanic) -2401, Swindon WIL UK
1875 - Marriage: Robert LAWES (Mechanical Engineer) -104 and Mary Anne ARNOLD-105,                    Tongham SRY UK
1883 - Marriage: Arthur James LAWS (Retired Engineer) -33532 and Martha ALLPRESS-1361,                  Chatteris CAM UK
1886 - Birth: Frank BRADY-55274, Wylam NBL UK
1887 - Marriage: James KESLERS-38254 and Emily Jane LAWES-33920, Booton NFK UK
1897 - Birth: Harriett May LAWS-115301,
1897 - Birth: Charles Bailey LAWS-41195,
1901 - Birth: William LAWS-45659, Morgan Valley, IA  USA
1906 - Birth: Cyril Francis LAWS-3988, Cowper, NSW, Australia
1908 - Birth: Austen McOlvin LAWS-125351,
1909 - Birth: Wilfred LAWS-118545,
1913 - Birth: Wanda HURST-49408, Ogden, Weber Co. UT USA
1913 - Death: Robert William LAWS (Innkeeper) -3851, Hunstanton NFK UK
1917 - Burial: Mary LAWES-115489, Freshwater IOW (All Saints)
1918 - Death: Alfred LAWES (ARMY Private 32345) -44900,
1918 - Miscellaneous: Aurelie Emilie S BONARME-9179,
1918 - Admon: Mathias Robert Seppings LAWS (Army Officer) -8841,
1919 - Birth: Robert W LAWS-52519,
1919 - Death: Elizabeth Ann LAWS (Spinster) 8509 Crafnant Mount, Adon Park, East Dulwich SRY
1925 - Arrival: Albert Leslie LAWES (Shipping Agent) -51756, New York NY USA
1927 - Death: Ida Sarah LAWS-123288, Charleston MS USA
1929 - Marriage: Donald Ernest LAWS-38762 and Lillian Jean BROWN-38763, Vancover BC                    CANADA
1933 - Birth: David LAWS-30118,
1940 - Miscellaneous: Frederick William LAWES (Steel Erector) -122886,
1940 - Admon: Frederick Joseph LAWES-53869,
1944 - Birth: John LAWS-43531, Kimberworth DUR
1944 - Burial: John William JENNINGS (Pit Labourer Underground)-43517, Stanley WRY UK
1945 - Birth: Gillian Kathryn LAWS-43810, Atherton Queensland Australia
1952 - Residence: Alfred Edwin LAWES (Engineer - Well Fitter) -120413, Littlehampton SSX UK
           DeathGodalming SRY UK
1959 - Death: Cynthia LAWS-48507, St John, Lake IN USA
1960 - Marriage: Peter George LAWS (RAAF) -32358 and Ann DONALDSON-30113,
1969 - Birth: Samantha Jane LAWS-118577,
1971 - Marriage: Barrie Charles LAWS-3447 and Janice Patricia DIXON-3456,
1973 - Birth: Brett Cameron LAWS-3457,
1978 - Birth: Charles William Levi LAWS-40631, TX USA
1982 - Marriage: Robert SMITH-46062 and Elizabeth Ann LAWS-46061, Maffra, VIC Australia
           (St Mary's RC)
1984 - Birth: Bryan O'Neil LAWS-40726, TX USA
1985 - Death: Freida HOLMFRIDUR-125536, Winnipeg MB CANADA
2003 - Burial: Doris Lydia GARDNER-3500, Shepparton VIC (Pine Lodge Cemetery (Banksia Lea              Site no 187 )
2004 - Death: Mary Ida LAWS-35283, Islington NSW AUSTRAKIA
2006 - Death: Cecil Harold LAWES (RAAF) -90282, Guildford NSW AUSTRALIA

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