Monday, April 13, 2015


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 20


Food was important. For some it was in short supply; for all it was seasonal and generally less wide ranging than it is now. Until the coming of the fridge, for us in the early thirties, keeping food fresh in summer was a problem and a variety of methods were used, The larder was mandatory in all houses built from the nineteenth century until quite recently, in large houses it became a small walk in room. Meat was often given special accommodation in a small ‘meat safe’ with perforated zinc sides to keep out the flies. This stood outside the house in the shade often near the back door. In hot weather milk would be boiled as soon as it was delivered and in summer generally it was stood in a shallow tray of water with a cover of muslin or terra cotta to soak up the water and keep it cool. These methods must still be in use in a few households but they are bygones for most of us.

It was not always summer however and in winter it was normal to eat more as well as to wear more cloths to keep out the cold of poorly heated houses and workplaces. Quantity was of more importance than quality, not that wives and mothers were less interested in quality, simply that standards were lower asnd money went further if you only cut away the inedible rather than all though rough bits. It was widely recognized that if bread was a bit hard it would be ‘harder where there’s none’.

Our household was fortunate that ‘pater familias’ was ‘a good provider’ in the language of the day. Moreover, my mother was a good cook though she would have turned her nose up at squid or octopus and olives or wine vinegar were never seen in our larder. Even the slightly exotic like sweetbreads of whitebait were reserved for father on his evening return from work, probably being reckoned ‘not good for children’ quite apart from the cost. The roast joint was the important mainstay of diet, more often than not, a sirloin of beef which turned up for Sunday lunch with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, greens and a nice rich gravy. The joint would sometimes be mutton , it was not called lamb till much later. Pork was much less frequent, being reckoned to be  somewhat hazardous, though with how much reason I don’t know. It seems an oddity that on the other hand pork sausages were esteemed above beef which were considered in today’s parlance a bit down market.

Sunday’s joint turned up as cold meat on Monday and would be used as hash or mince the next day or two depending on how much was left. Cold meat would be served up with hot vegetables. I do not remember any salad in my diet as a child. Season controlled the selection of vegetables, fresh from the greengrocer not frozen from the supermarket, Cabbage was the standby; peas, runner beans, carrots sprouts and spinach came in their turn though I didn’t learn to like spinach till many years later. There were also unidentified greens or the like, Very occasionally asparagus appeared on the Sunday table pandering to father’s fancy taste. I do not think it really belonged the Devon cuisine that was my mother’s mainstay. Later in the week, when the joint was gone, there might be stew or sausages and occasionally fish until  Saturday when it was invariably steak and kidney pudding, a good winter warmer if ever there was one.

‘Afters’ too were often good sustaining stuff, stewed fruit and custard were  or popular in season and sometimes dried apricots or prunes at other times The real favourites however were the apple puddings or blackcurrant puddings closely followed in popularity by Apple Charlotte or bread and butter pudding with a good leavening of raisins. Suet puddings with dried fruit such as plum duff or roly-poly of the standby syrup  pudding came along from time to time but were not quite a regular feature. Pastry was popular and fruit would more often be served in a pie than on its own. There was of course no ice cream at home as there were no domestic freezers. Tinned fruit was a special but was readily available. Cream was brought round by the milkman once the changeover to bottled milk had taken place and sometimes took the place of custard to everyone’s delight.  Even father, who was a good trencherman, did not feel the need of cheese and biscuits at the end of Sunday lunch.

To be continued tomorrow

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Family Events from our database for today April 13

1635 - Marriage: Robert HUGHES-8659 and Ellen LAWSE-7867, Canterbury KEN UK
                                                       Canterbury Cathedral KENT

1770 - Death: George LAWS-8031,
1817 - Baptism: Elizabeth Ann LAWS-34002, LONDON
1821 - Will Proved: Isabella LAWS (Spinster) -29827, Bishop Auckland DUR UK
1828 - Baptism: Robert Henry LAWS (Master Mariner ) -7639, Stepney MDX UK
           (My great grandfather)
                                                       St Dunstans Stepney Middlesex

1840 - Birth: Sarah LAWS-52197, Norwich NFK UK
1850 - Death: Frederick William LAWS-55588, Shottisham SFK
1853 - Marriage: James Kerridge HART (A Widower) -3738 and Hannah LAWS-3737, Ipswich                  SFK UK
                                                    Ipswich St Nicholas Street, Suffolk

1853 - Miscellaneous: Samuel LAWS-31507, Ipswich SFK UK
1856 - Marriage: Henry Booth HOHLER (Merchant) -58765 and Henrietta Wilheimina LAWES-                58764, Kensington MDX UK
1859 - Birth: Christopher Columbus LAWS (School Teacher) -48212, Fayetteville AK USA
1862 - Birth: Elisabeth Jemima LAWES (Living oOn own means) -32213, Crampmoor, Romsey                  HAM UK
1863 - Death: Letitia LAWES (Spinster) -2072, Poole DOR UK
1875 - Birth: Percy J LAWS-103235, Ottaumunda IA USA
1876 - Marriage: William H MITCHELL-49166 and Amanda LAWS-49165, Yancy Co NC USA
1879 - Baptism: Harriett Elizabeth LAWS-6235, Great Yarmouth NFK UK
                                                           Great Yarmouth Norfolk

1882 - Death: Washington LAWS-29630, Orange co.NC USA
1884 - Marriage: Edwin Little LAWS (Engine Tuner) -8250 and Rose Hannah SILVEY (Former                  Widow) -39021, Willesden MDX UK
1890 - Birth: Emily Frances` LAWS-122038,
1891 - Birth: Harriett P LAWS-49192,
1891 - Birth: Ethel Eveline LAWS-28695, Brighton SSX UK
                                                                   Brighton Sussex

1896 - Death: Ann LAWS-41036,
1896 - Death: William LAWS (Colliery Stoneman) -4978,
1900 - Birth: Ernest Joseph L LAWS-58097,
1904 - Birth: Dorethy E LAWS-119165,
1909 - Marriage: Albert Edward MOORE (Newsagent) -54029 and Alice Louise LAWES-54028,                 Lambeth SRY UK
1909 - Burial: William Cuthbert T LAWS (Retired Engine Fitter) -110694, Stockton Upon Tees                     DUR UK
1909 - Birth: Margaret Huntley LAWS-54509, Ashington NBL UK
1911 - Marriage: Arthur LAWS (Railway Clerk, Scuptor & Painter) -30022 and Lilian WATT-                    30023,
1913 - Marriage: Frank BYRT-116988 and Hilda LAWS-117007, Lloydminster SK CANADA
1916 - Birth: Gladys LAWS-42446,
1918 - Death: Harry LAWES (ARMY Private 104688) -16785,
1919 - Death: Thomas Norbert Eugene LAWES (RN Yeoman of Signals 222699) -45023,
           HMS "Vivid" taken ill
1923 - Birth: Margaret Joan Burton LAWS-4583, Thrapston NTH
1925 - Marriage: Henry Alfred Lloyd LAWES (Insurance Clerk) -43009 and Gladys Lilian ROLFE-            46189, Dover KEN UK 8 Worthington Street, Dover KENT
                                                          Dover Castle KENT

1925 - Burial: Robert LAWS-53499, Stockton Upon Tees DUR UK
1925 - Miscellaneous: Archibald Cyril LAWES (Newsagent) -46190, Dover KEN UK
1935 - Birth: David Joseph LAWS-37597, Liverpool, Queens County, Nova Scotia CANADA
1937 - Marriage: John LAWS-54896 and Sheila WEBB-54897, Chiselhurst KEN UK
1943 - Birth: Thomas LAWS-47584, Sunderland DUR UK
1957 - Death: Edna Susan LAWS-7852, Eastbourne SSX UK
1958 - Birth: Colin Bernard LAWES-30585, East Croydon SRY
1959 - Birth: Martin John Hallam LAWS (Consultant) -47409, Leamington WAR
1967 - Birth: Tiphany Kate LAWS-118325, Tonbridge KEN
1969 - Birth: Randall Jay LAWS-123961, Statesville,  Iredell County NC USA
1979 - Death: Patrick Francis Joseph LAWS (Labourer)-49576,
1989 - Birth: Lottie Renita Chadawn LAWS-40804, TX USA
1990 - Burial: Chester Hart LAWS-45622, Provo UT United States
2007 - Death: Rosina Mabel LAWES-54372,
2008 - Baptism: Max William LAWS-115554, Scarborough NRY UK

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