Sunday, April 05, 2015


Wishing all our readers a very Happy Easter

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 13.

In those days one paid fees for attendance at grammar schools though these could be waived if a family income was a bit tight. At fifteen guineas a term, or was it a year, it seems chicken feed now but for many the amount was a big lump to find. School uniform was obligatory of course and included caps for boys and hats for girls – to hide their pretty curls.
Minchenden was, like the elementary school, one of the schools which were co-educational probably about half and half, and one soon found out that boys and girls were pretty equal at academic subjects and that some of the girls tended to work harder, There was a theory that boys worked harder in separate schools without the girls to distract them, but I doubt the truth of it, indeed it seems possible that the boys in the boys only schools had to put more time and effort into finding and meeting girls instead of working.
We were in general, fortunate with the school staff, a mix of types and personalities like any group, but as competent as any and better than a lot. They too must have been influenced by the pleasant working conditions and relaxed but disciplined mood of the unit. It was small by present day standards, some four hundred pupils, quite enough to my mind even if it can be done more cheaply with twice as many. G.B.S’s comments about doing and teaching are very true so often, but we had both, Art and Music teachers about whom the reverse was true. - They could do but not teach. It must have been frustrating in the extreme for them. The rest of the staff must have had their frustrations too with the need to produce exam results from pupils with their normal share of laziness and only interested in only a few subjects. However produce results they did, by dint of much note scribbling and even the unorthodox use of a French text of the New Testament for religious instruction.
Not all the education was in the classroom, there were occasional outside visits, two very contrasting ones spring to mind. The first to the Roman remains of Verulanium at St.Albans and the other to the Ford Car factory a Dagenham. I think I was more impressed with the factory where it seemed to me that they made everything except the tyres, perhaps there was not a lot of sub-contracting then. The molten metal being poured into sand moulds for the cylinder blocks was a wonderful bit of knowhow even if its roots went back as far as Verulanium.
Although education was fairly broad it became exam orientated as the time went by. The General Schools Certificate with Matriculation exemption was the objective for most of us and there was plenty of homework to be done in the evenings and holidays. I fear we skimped on a lot of it. Only a few went to University in those days but the Matric served as an exemption from the preliminary exams of a number of professional bodies as well as being needed before doing the Inter for University entrance.
There were other activities outside school hours and one of my interests was the Astronomical Society. Under the guidance apparently of the woodwork master a good observatory with a revolving dome was built by the boys and was equipped with an excellent five inch refracting telescope which had at one time belonged to King George V. How it came to us I have no idea, there must have been some sort of tie up between one of the science masters and the powers that be who arranged it well in advance as the observatory was built to fit it. Apart from the idle curiosity of looking at the moon and planets, a good deal of useful work was keeping records of sunspots movements and timings of occultation of stars by the moon. We visited the Greenwich Observatory which was still one of the great observatories of the world although beginning to be out-classed by the hundred inch reflector at Mount Wilson in the United States. The big two hundred reflectors and the radio telescopes were not even on the drawing board.
There was at that time, already speculation about the possibility of space travel and my friend Stan Law and I gave a lecture to our group about it, all carefully mugged up from a book of course. I doubt whether at that time we believed a word of it. We were kindred spirits with common interests in mathematics and woodwork. The maths did not get that far as the ‘mathematics’ – more advanced, which a few of us did as an extra subject for Matric, was only on the fringes. The woodwork turned out more useful and the final exams we spent all our time in the woodwork room making equipment for the physics lab.

To be continued tomorrow

============================================================. =======

Family Events from our database for today April 5

1584 - Christen: Cycelye LAWS-8156, North Elmham NFK UK
1777 - Marriage: Edmund LAWS-51512 and Jane DOWNS-51513, Lympne KEN UK

1804 - Birth: Frances RIGDEN-52214, Capel Le Ferne KEN UK
1808 - Birth: Clarence Darrow LAWS-29576, 
1825 - Marriage: Roger LAWS (Ag Lab & Widower) -35894 and Elizabeth STANNARD-                  38569, Copdock SFK UK
1827 - Marriage: Henry HENDERSON-3907 and Sally LAWS-3901, Rush IN USA
1828 - Burial: William LAWS (Infant) -3110, Chatteris CAM UK

1847 - Death: Phillip LAWS-53411, Old Shoreham SSX UK (St Nicholas)
1851 - Birth: Eliza LAWS-41873, Shoreditch MDX UK
1851 - Birth: Elizabeth Susannah LAWS-4873, Norwich NFK UK

1858 - Marriage: Matthew LAWS-45593 and Sarah HARRISON-45592, Newcastle upon                  Tyne NBL UK
1858 - Marriage: Matthew LAWS (Glassmakers Labourer) -35764 and Sarah HARRISON-              35765, Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK

1871 - Birth: James Henry LAWS (Railway Clerk) -5504, Islington MDX UK

1885 - Marriage: Arthur BRAGG (Waiter) -120910 and Eliza Ellen LAWS-50217, West Ham            ESS UK
1887 - Will  Proved: Elizabeth LAWS (Widow)-8272, 
1890 - Birth: Edward LAWS (Engine Fitter) -45460, Sheffield WRY UK
1895 - Birth: Lillian May LAWES-29273, Ventnor IOW UK
1900 - Will Proved: Mary Ann LAWES (Widow) -2775, 
1902 - Marriage: George Emanuel LAWS-55193 and Hannah Coe CURLE-55194,                          Sunderland DUR UK
 1903 - Baptism: Lucy Rosaline Downing LAWS -8487, Costessey NFK UK

1908 - Birth: Clarence Debs LAWS-45952, Burkett, Coleman Co TX USA
1908 - Burial: Arthur George LAWS (Ag Lab) -9279, Stradsett NFK UK
1914 - Birth: Arthur Ernest LAWS-123626, 
1918 - Death: James Percy LAWES (ARMY Corporal G/20254) -45007, KIA
1918 - Death: J M LAWES (ARMY Corporal 233033) -45005, 
1918 - Will  Proved: William LAWS (Farmer) -7490, 
1920 - Birth: Cornelius Frederick LAWS-55209, Sunderland DUR UK

1920 - Marriage: Allie Baxter LAWS-45338 and Rosa Mae CRAWFORD-45339, OK USA
1920 - Birth: Stuart Edwin LAWS (Commercial artist) -44307, NZ
1921 - Marriage: Frederick George LAWS (Quarryman) -5354 and Dorethy Beatrice Kate                BIRCH-5355, Pluckley KEN UK
1925 - Birth: Phyllis Bertha M LAWS-119149, 
1925 - Birth: Maurice Hugh LAWS-58289, Islington MDX UK
1928 - Death: John Milligan LAWS (Navy Officer) -3035, Holloway Sanitoriam, 
           St. Anns Heath, Virginia Water SRY UK
1928 - Will Proved: Arthur LAWES-1571, Liverpool LAN UK
1929 - Death: George Herbert LAWES-47793, Norwich NFK UK
1932 - Death: Valentine LAWES-2564, Cleethorpes LIN UK
1944 - Birth: Phyllis Joan LAWS-167544, Pineville, Bell Co. KY USA
1944 - Admon: Walter George Arnold LAWES-2738, 
1952 - Birth: Gary A LAWS-123363, 
1953 - Birth: Daphne Ann LAWS-118568, 
1963 - Birth: Deborah Patricia LAWES-115534, Bishops Stortford HRT UK
1966 - Death: Elizabeth LAWS-123179, Blyth NBL UK
1967 - Burial: Annie L LAWS-49191, Green Mountain, Yancey Co, NC USA
1968 - Birth: Mira Rene LAWS-40503, TX UK
1971 - Marriage: Tony Michael LAWS-119184 and Jan Ellen GOBLE-114979, Las Vegas                NV USA
1978 - Birth: Lindsay Erin LAWS-40632, TX USA
1982 - Birth: Benjamin James LAWES (Cricketter) -30330, Weymouth DOR UK<
1998 - Death: Louis Harvey LAWS (Jnr) -41435, AR USA (Newspaper - Republic)
1999 - Death: L Brown LAWS-39788, 
2002 - Birth: Taylor LAWS-43934, Penrith - Nepean Hospital, Western Sydney NSW
2005 - Death: Trevor Francis LAWS-50621, 
2014 - Death: A Jay LAWS-33601, Morrow GA USA

To see
 our full database, which now contains 
42,011 People   
12,810 Families
104,266 Events 
in 20,145 Places

You should join us today

To Apply for an account
 Just send an email to 

Let me send Fraternal Greetings to all our subscribers across the world,  

20,566 pageviews since we started in June 2014

The Top 10 Viewers include

USA 7583 - Germany 4641 - UK 2356 - France 1338
Russia 905 - Ukraine 648 - Turkey 340 - Australia 335 - Ireland 266 - Canada 198

To move up into the top 10, please forward this blog!


The content provided on this site is not guaranteed to be error free - It is always advised that you consult original records.

Member of The Guild of One-Name Studies

With grateful thanks to Simon Knott for permission to reproduce his photographs on this site see :-