Wednesday, April 15, 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 22

Further Afield 2

The school journeys abroad were more of a revelation than the camps. Package holidays had not yet been dreamed up and although the wealthy might holiday in the South of France or you could ‘Join the Army and see the world’, the general urge to travel was only just beginning. 

I recall a book called  ‘France on ten pounds’ but only a few had the inclination, the time and the ten pounds  to follow  its inviting advice. Trips by school parties must have whetted the appetite of many in the later part of the years between the wars.

We went to Paris in 1937, the year of the big Paris Exhibition. It was immediately evident that our French was not their French, understanding some of the written signs seemed to be out limit. As well as the historic buildings of the city which are compulsory viewing for all visitors we were able to visit  the exhibition, grandiosely laid out with a long vista of lakes and fountains down a slope towards the Eiffel Tower. The contents of the impressive pavilions seemed insignificant  compared to the buildings particularly the Soviet building surmounted by enormous figures of a man and a woman holding aloft a hammer and a sickle.  

What we really enjoyed however was the roller coaster ride which must have made tame all previous efforts in this direction. This and the ascent of the Eiffel Tower, which laid out a map of Paris below us were the highlights of the day of sunshine and unnoticed footslogging.

Of the conventional sights of Paris, the stained glass impressed me most and then the white mass of Sacre’ Coeur on its hill looking down on the city where the ever present taxis hurtled round corners blaring on their horns. The traffic must have been light or they could not have done it.   

Our few days of cultural duty in Paris done, we had a day or two at Wimereau  on the channel coast, lazing, swimming and sitting on the beach. The beach was vast and flat with a good stiff breeze for the sand yachts which trundled along and across at a fair pace. A new sight for me then and one which I have never seen since. 

Even now there seems to be an air of the past, over the French channel coast resorts, even those destroyed in the war and have been since rebuilt, it would have been impossible to have imagined one to be on the English side of the channel.  


In 1938 the school trip was to Italy, this was much more adventurous even apart from the political troubles which led to the war a year later.  We left Southgate tube station in the late afternoon to get the train from London, and crossed the channel over night to get to another train  to trundle across France and through the fantastic alpine scenery to Milan in Northern Italy. 

Milan was just hot. We duly admired the thousand or so little spires of the enormous cathedral but saw very little or the ornate interior because we were shooed out on account of our short sleeves, 

Florence and Verona were different, they still are, despite the ravages of the motor car, and even as teenagers I think we appreciated their beauty and agelessness despite our considerable interest in ice cream and fizzy bottled orangeade which we had discovered. You see little in a couple of days but these visits like the Italian ice cream awakened a  taste for more.

No loitering however, on to Venice which was busy being itself, more quietly than it does now. We duly traversed the Grand Canal by vaporetta, under the Rialto Bridge and on to St Marks Square and the pigeons. It was memorable and it all matched the guide books so we went on to the Lido for a swim in the Med. This was a real revelation. 

The water was WARM not like the sea we knew at home. You could stay in without getting cold. The discovery of the journey.

More trains, wooden seats, all tracks lead to Rome, a quick glimpse really, a full week spent wandering round Rome in later life only scratched the surface.

More trains, more wooden seats down south to Napoli. This was before the motor car engulfed Italy and I have photos to prove it showing the Naples seafront with nothing more than a couple of policemen and a tricycle ice cream vender. 

We did not see the slums of Naples, but we did visit a home , hutted camp that is, for orphans who were at least fed and clothed while they learned to shout for Il Duce’, 

We were treated to a glass of sweet wine and a speech in Italian pledging friendship from a uniformed gent who presumably ran the place. Back at the hotel that evening we ate at tables set in the open air under a lemon tree from which I had to pick a small souvenir.   

To be continued tomorrow

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Family Events from our database for today April 15

1669 - Birth: Mary LAWES-1581, Quethiock CON UK
                                                          Modern Quethiock Cornwall

1728 - Birth: Ann LAWES-55448, Milston WIL UK
1729 - Will Proved: Blanch LAWS (Widow)-29800, Westminster MDX UK
1748 - Baptism: Ann LAWS-56895, Fordingbridge HAM UK
1780 - Birth: Sally LAWS-41253, Billerica, Middlesex Co. MA USA
1816 - Marriage: James LAWS-6462 and Mary WILSON-6463, Norwich NFK UK
                                                     St Peter, Mancroft Norwich Norfolk

1827 - Birth: Mary LAWS (Baker) -3603, Wearmouth Shore DUR UK
1830 - Birth: Henry LAWS-42847, Edmondsham DOR UK
1840 - Birth: Elizabeth Ann LAWS (Widow) -48236, KY USA
1847 - Death: Thomas LAWES (Lieutenant / Master Mariner HEICS) -394, At sea
1849 - Christen: Fanny LAWES-41, Basingstoke HAM UK
1857 - Birth: WilliamLAWS (Ag Lab) -3949, Cecil Hills, Combsly Farm, Liverpool, NSW Australia
1858 - Death: William LAWS (Ag Lab) -30604, Cawston NFK UK
                                                                Cawston Norfolk

1865 - Burial: Henry N LAWS (PVT US Army) -37990, Nicholasville KY USA
1871 - Marriage: Robert LAWES (Gas Fitter/shopkeeper) -1301 and Mary Ann Elizabeth WATSON            (Machinist) -1302, Camberwell, QLD AUSTRALIA
1883 - Birth: Maitland LAWS- (RAN 24657 Apprentice Engine Fitter) -56197, Newcastle upon Tyne            NBL UK
                                                           Newcastle upon Tyne NBL

1885 - Birth: Robert Turner LAWS (Chauffeur) -38602, Wisbech CAM UK
1893 - Birth: Albert George Gregory LAWS (Ironmonger snd WWI Veteran) -39197, Bendigo VIC              AUSTRALIA
1895 - Death: John Edward LAWS (Tailor) -9170, 9 Eldon Row, Chapelfield Road, Norwich NFK
1900 - Death: Robert LAWS- (Railway Clerk)7780, South Shields DUR UK
1904 - Birth: Pearl H LAWS-38755,
1918 - Residence: Ethel LAWS (Spinster) -40138, Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK
1918 - Death: Harry LAWES (ARMY Private 104688) -16785, FRANCE & FLANDERS
1918 - Admon: Stephen LAWS (Accountant's Clerk) -3204,
1920 - Birth: Cyril Arthur LAWS-117815, Ipswich SFK UK
1921 - Birth: Herbert Victor J LAWES-122314,
1921 - Birth: William Charles LAWES (Australian Army) -32411, Horsham VIC AUSTRALIA
1922 - Birth: John Robert LAWS-122050,
1923 - Birth: Joyce Willoughby LAWS-118668,
1928 - Death: Jack LAWS-38386,
1930 - Marriage: Clarence M LAWS-41526 and Eurine MORTENSEN-41527, Malad City,                    Oneidia Co Idaho USA
1933 - Birth: Maitland Percy LAWS (RN 271653 /Royal Australian Navy) -90148, Whitley Bay                    NBL UK
1939 - Marriage: George Cruse LAWS (Burser of Lincoln Coll OXFD since 1953) -96281 and                      Cynthia LLEWELLYN-96324, Hungerford BRK (St Mary's)
1943 - Military: Arthur William LAWS(Australian Army Private NX161148) 32308, Aust ARMY
1949 - Birth: Graham LAWS-119098,
1949 - Birth: Barry Lawrence LAWS-49552,
1951 - Marriage: Alan LAWS(Prison Officer Chief Eng) -6298 and Dorethy Edith RICE-6300,
           Woolwich KEN UK
1958 - Miscellaneous: Ivy LAWES (Spinster) -124304,
1958 - Miscellaneous: Lillian Margaret LAWES (Spinster) -124303,
1958 - Admon: Ernest LAWES-124302,
1961 - Death: Charles Edgar LAWES (RN K40022) -47681, Norwich NFK UK
1965 - Residence: Elizabeth Jane LAWS (Railway Ticket Checker) -57696, Newcastle upon Tyne                Death: Ponteland NBL UK
1966 - Miscellaneous: Lewis Reginald LAWES (Carpenter) -123594,
1966 - Miscellaneous: William Michael LAWES-123593,
1966 - Death: Kate LAWES-33137, C7 Lot 6 Brooke Twp., Lambton County, Ontario CANADA
1972 - Birth: Patrina Faye LAWS-40551, TX USA
1972 - Birth: Charles Perry LAWS-40550, TX USA
1978 - Death: Charles Bruce LAWS-29574, Coleman, Coleman Co TX USA
1979 - Death: Anderson L LAWS (PVT US Army) -37890,
1981 - Death: Sydney Gale LAWS-115562, Kenya
1994 - Death: Darlene Kethryn LAWS-124622, Pleasant Grove UT USA
1999 - Death: Karl J LAWS-42383,
2003 - Burial: Jes Willard LAWS (U.S. Army WWll veteran) -31217, Nazareth Advent Christian                  Church, Lenoir NC USA
2008 - Death: Edwin Kingsley LAWS (Reverend) -38606, Bath SOM UK

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