Saturday, April 11, 2015

LAWS FAMILY REGISDTER Apr 11 Number 482 pt 17

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 17
There was time to wander while parents were busy, mother shopping and father at work, and every corner of that little town stays clear in my mind. The crumbling cliffs were ideal for climbing and sliding down the dusty gullies if a piece of wood or tin could be found to sit on. Not so good for my white shorts which would acquire ochre coloured seat. Resulting in the admonition “You be careful now”. These cliffs were gradually being eroded by the North Sea and from time to time a part of a garden or even a house would go sliding down. The sea defences were made stronger by extension of the hefty concrete promenade towards the south which is still holding up well. A walk along the beach beyond its end soon brought one to the more exclusive resort of Frinton, with its wide green lawns along the cliff tops which was usually visited once or twice during a holiday.
                                             Walton on the Naze Essex

The northern part of Walton was lower without cliffs. The end of the High Street came along to the Front and the road and sea wall went on past a sometimes marshy patch of land beyond which the road went into a scattered little residential area and then dying out. Here the cliffs had risen again at the golf course where an old brick tower stands at the highest point. This provided a pleasant evening stroll which my father and I often took as far as the Naze. Felixstowe could be seen across the water as the land on our side ran back to the muddy tidal backwaters behind the coast.

These back waters ran right up behind the town and about twenty five acres of them were cut off from the tides with a dyke and made into a large lake with boats. This was a main attraction of the town to my father and virtually every morning that was fit, he and I would have a sailing dinghy out and sail the seven seas. His father had been a Sea Captain and I am told that only his mother’s insistence had prevented my father going to sea as a young man. As I grew older I was allowed a dinghy to myself and although I was never to become an addict I can understand how others do so. Being regulars and known to the boatman. We were allowed to sail on days when the wind was too strong to risk his dinghies in the hands of strangers and these were the days when it became quite fun.

                                Walton Mere

The attraction of boats also ruled one of our regular outings during the holiday. We always went at least once to Brightlingsea, a slightly scruffy town famous only for boat yards and shrimp teas. It has always been an ocean racing centre but was not particularly prosperous in those days, there were wonderful boats on offer, at giveaway prices. We didn’t buy one. 

We just walked in the sun and looked, ate our shrimp tea and perhaps an ice cream, then trundled back to Walton. At Dedham however, another regular outing we could get a rowing boat on the Stour and glide through Constable’s countryside between the pollarded willows in the soft June sunshine. This was I fear, my father’s holiday, again just he and I went boating but then we were off in the car to Flatford for a strawberry tea amongst the wasps beside the bridge. It is all still there but somehow the rural peace is not the same since everyone spouted wheels.

All the countryside was more rural as a much smaller number of townsfolk invaded it every weekend. All the corn was cut with a binder of course and stood up in stooks in the field. Until it was cut East Anglia was a mass of red poppies, more beloved by the holidaymaker than the farmer. Farming had been depressed for some years and old cottages were being condemned as unfit for human habitation. It is sad to think it is only the war which brought back a sort of prosperity or at least a brief understanding of the need to grow our own food which now seems to be fading away again.

The thought of the corn takes me back to another little holiday I spent in the countryside. In truth mum and dad wanted a holiday on their own and Lottie took Mary and me for a week to her parents’ cottage in Bocking which really was rural. The water came from a long handled pump outside the back door and the loo was by the wash house in the garden. 

It was late summer but any need for light was met by oil lamps and candles. Little did I know that these were the normal facilities for most of rural England, and that for many places they would stay unchanged for another thirty years. It was harvest time  and the horse drawn binder went round and round the field throwing out sheaves and driving the ever present rabbits into the centre until they made a run for it  and someone got rabbit pie for dinner. 

Wages were meagre. Food was important, there was rhubarb under the apple tree and more cabbages than roses in the garden. There were plums in the garden too and home-made wine in the kitchen cupboard set into the wall alongside the black kitchen range.
There were no pavements through the village. There was after all virtually no traffic A few yards along the road on the other side from the cottage a path led down to the lazy river with its carpet of water lilies raising their bright yellow flowers above the dark green leaves, A few cows grazed the meadow beside the river avoiding the buttercups and leaving their squelchy traps for the unwary walker behind them. I didn’t wonder then, what it was like there in the winter time.

Another little holiday that was different turned up when my Uncle Albert and Aunt Louise were home on leave, and was going to spend a little while in a cottage in Cornwall. Their son Frank was a little younger than me, and I was invited to come along so that we could spend some time together. 

It was the only long train journey I had taken as a small boy, about ten years old I think, although the steam trains were always rushing past the bottom of our garden at home, I was unimpressed by the train journey. Once it had chugged out of Paddington the countryside rushed by, very different  from travelling in the car. Leaving our smoke and smuts behind us we dashed on through green fields until we came to the red soil of Devon,  with its sheep  smeared with the colour, then into the less lush Cornwall. 

The cottage was at Crantock on the North coast but not the bleak and barren part. It was tiny and ancient, just a few stone and thatch cottages and a church, but the memory of it is of the peace of the village and the emptiness of the beach where we were able to swipe a golf ball along without fear of hitting someone. My uncle was reputed to be keen on photography and certainly had an enormous quarter plate camera which no doubt was capable of taking excellent photographs must have need a pantechnicon to carry it around. He was the up-market brother , whereas my dad was the up-to-date brother and had a little folding roll film camera just for holiday snaps.         

To be continued tomorrow

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Family Events from our database for today April 11

1708 - Baptism: Elizabeth LAWS-9252, Stepney MDX UK
                                     St.Dunstans Parish Church, Stepney Middlesex

1737 - Marriage: John JOCE-6833 and Elizabeth LAWS-6834, Swimbridge DEV UK
1807 - Baptism: Margaret Atkinson LAWS-3633, Great Yarmouth NFK UK
                                                     Great Yarmouth Norfolk

1828 - Baptism: William LAWS (Packer / Labourer in Factory) -9699, Bungay SFK UK
                                                             Bungay Suffolk

1832 - Marriage: Edward WOLF-30475 and Ann LAWS-30476, Norwich NFK UK
                                                   Norwich Cathedral in Norfolk

1847 - Burial: James Murrell LAWS-51821, 
1853 - Birth: Charlotte LAWS (Assistant / Spinster) -21142, Clerkenwell MDX UK
1873 - Birth: Henry Samuel LAWES (Tram Driver) -29987, City Road. Holborn, City of                      London (Lying-In Hospital)
1873 - Residence: John LAWS (Railway Porter) -6914, Kings Cross MDX UK
1874 - Miscellaneous: John LAWS (Manager of Cement Works) -7787, 
1874 - Will  Proved: Thomas LAWS (Cattle Dealer) -7768, 
1885 - Birth: Beatrice Maud LAWS (Housekeeper) -41316, Battersea SRY UK
1893 - Death: Ellen LAWES (Widow) -2036, Bath SOM UK
1898 - Marriage: Frederick James LAWES (Bootmaker)  of Freemantle HAM -118732 and              Florence Sarah BERTRAM-118733, Rochford ESS UK
1898 - Birth: Norman LAWS-30655, Gateshead DUR UK
1900 - Birth: Herbert LAWS-45 475, Sheffield WRY UK
1906 - Birth: Sidney Herbert LAWES-118597, 
1911 - Will  Proved: Sarah Jane LAWS (Widow) -7731, 
1917 - Death: Frederick William LAWS (ARMY Private 40736) -45067, 
1918 - Death: Edward Harrison LAWS (ARMY Lance Serjeant 13498) -50175, 
1919 - Military: William Walter LAWS (Ag Lab) / -4647, Army Discharge
1925 - Marriage: Frank Wesley LAWS (Australian Army Sapper) -42479 and Mavis A                      CLAYTON-35384, Sydney NSW AUSTRALIA
1925 - Marriage: Bernard Henry KAY-45459 and Esther LAWS (Milliner) -45458, Ecclesall              Bierlow WRY UK
1926 - Death: Julius K LAWS-29643, 
1931 - Marriage: Herbert Charles WOOD-30155 and Olive Emily LAWS-30147, 
1936 - Marriage: William Turnbull JOHNSON-56597 and Catherine Stoker LAWS-56596, 
           St Pancras MDX UK
1936 - Marriage: Cyril GODFREY (Storekeeper) -42785 and Phoebe Gertrude LAWS-                    42784, Hamersmith MDX UK
1945 - Admon: Edward Joseph LAWES (ARMY Trooper 410896)-44982, 
1946 - Miscellaneous: Arthur William LAWS (Australian Army) -32308, 
1957 - Birth: Peter Bryan LAWS-55425, Allora QLD Australia
1964 - Birth: Eric LAWES (Company Director) -46359, 
1974 - Birth: Michael Chad LAWS-40576, TX USA
1984 - Death: Alma Winifred LAWS/ES -35208, Allawah, formerly of Glebe NSW Australia
1984 - Birth: Carol Lynn LAWS-3543, 
1985 - Burial: Albert E LAWS-167462, Artemus, Knox KY USA
1988 - Birth: Brian Douglas LAWS-40788, TX USA
1990 - Death: Chester Hart LAWS-45622, Murray, Si Co UT USA
1994 - Death: Jeanette J LAWS-41431, AR (Newspaper - Arizona Republic - Daily News -              Sun)
1994 - Death: Mason FAYE-LAWS-39791, 
1996 - Death: Winifred LAWS-125116, 
2001 - Miscellaneous: Julie Ann (LFR) LAWS-58119, 
2014 - Burial: A Jay LAWS-33601, Burnsville, Yancy Co, NC United States

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