Friday, April 03, 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 11.


The school was less than a quarter of a mile away. Between parallel side roads of late nineteenth century houses an oblong block held the separate buildings of the infant school, the Elementary school and the Grammar school. It was a gentle sloping site with the New River flowing south along the upper western boundary bringing drinking water to London from Hertford. The infants’ school was between the other two and shared an asphalt playground with the girls of the Elementary school. The boys of the elementary school had their play ground facing the other road, firmly separated from the girls by a high brick wall on either side of which were built the children’s loos. The Grammar school was on the downhill side of the block, separated from the rest by a foot passage which ran parallel to the High Street through all the side roads. The iron railings round the school were set in strong brick piers and gated in the same style, a line of Plane trees were well established and were as un-climbable and as sturdy as the railings themselves.
The buildings were no-nonsense and built to last. Plenty of glazed brick and most lower walls of dark colour. Classrooms were built to hold about thirty and the desks and seats all-in-one in pairs.
The first day at school sticks in memory. It was the first real contact with kids in the mass and the first contact with any authority other than parental. At that time there were no nursery schools or crèches as mothers, nor indeed, didn’t married women in general, go out to work. I started school a month or two after I was five with the worst of the winter out of the way. Mother took me and the Head mistress saw us, having established her identity she passed me over to the class teacher to absorb into the mass. The teacher kept me with her during the morning assembly then brought me into the class, found me a desk, it cannot have been very traumatic as the rest has faded away.
Our lessons as infants were the three R’s punctuated with drawing and games. The alphabet and tables were chanted in unison. We wrote and made our drawings in chalk on pint-sized blackboards which slotted into the front of the desks. Some kids were bright and some kids were dim but everyone learned; there were no options on offer. Before long we graduated to pen and ink writing in exercise books with inky fingers, scratchy pens and ink blots. Ink was still king and ball point easy scribble still twenty years ahead.
School dinners were also twenty years in the future. All kids walked home for their dinners and back for the afternoon school. School milk started however in my first year or two at school. The little third of a pint bottles turned up in the morning break and there was much bubbling noise as the last drop was sucked up through the straws.
On the other side of the road from school was the Primitive Methodist church where I went, reluctantly and intermittently, to Sunday school. Mum and Dad did not go to church but Sunday school was the one thing in those days so I went for a while though they did not insist when I opted out. All that sticks in my mind is a Harvest Festival where I had been inveigled into read a poem about a windmill. It was the only time I saw my mother in church until I got married.
When we moved into junior section of the Elementary School, the horizons of our lessons broadened to include history geography & some science. There was now an objective in front of us, the entrance exam for the Grammar schools which were themselves the first step towards better paid jobs further ahead. Classes were now divided by ability into A, B and C and school reports began to arrive, largely designed I suspect simply to prod all and sundry to greater effort. I believe the teaching must have been good though it was a bit double edged for me. The first year in Grammar school had nearly all been  done before and the need to work faded.
At the elementary school there was no sports field but we managed to have a Sports Day at a ground near Muswell Hill. How everyone got there remains a mystery but the sun shone, there were sack races, egg and spoon races and mums races and a good time was had by all. Running was never a fovorite pastime for me it was only done when unavoidable. Swimming was another matter however and we were lucky in that there was a swimming pool in the basement of the grammar school next door. Here we were permitted a Saturday morning class for a dozen or so and I achieved the great heights of a certificate to say I could swim fifty yards.   

To be continued tomorrow


Family Events from our database for today April 3

1765 - Baptism: Ann LAWS-49558, Newton Flotman NFK UK
1795 - Birth: Joseph LAWES (Innkeeper) -54120, Allington, Chippenham WIL UK
1798 - Marriage: John RAYNER-2995 and Alice LAWS-7716, Frodsham NFK UK
1809 - Marriage: Robert LARWOOD-45275 and Mary LAWS-45274, Felthorpe NFK UK

1818 - Christened: Jane LAWES-392, Holborn MDX UK

1831 - Christen: Henry LAWS (Seaman Sailmaker)( Out Pensioner of Greenwich) -5062,                Alverstoke HAM UK
1845 - Birth: David C LAWS (Bookeeper) -48174, MI USA
1850 - Christen: Graham Nuttall LAWS-3014, Islington MDX UK
1852 - Marriage: Thomas LAWS (Coal Heap Keeper) -4247 and Margaret NICHOLSON-                Tanfield DUR UK
1858 - Marriage: William Frank LAWS (Foreman Shipbuilder) -9221 and Sarah Sophia                    GOODALL-9222, Alverstoke HAM UK
1859 - Birth: Jesse William LAWS-46157, Hainford NFK UK

1864 - Marriage: Henry LAWS (Ag Lab) -5611 & Elizabeth TAYLOR-9538,Littleport CAM 

1867 - Military: Mathias Robert Seppings LAWS (Army Officer) -8841, 
1868 - Death: Amelia LAWS-117316, Newport IOW UK
1872 - Will Proved: John LAWS (Shoemaker employing 4 men) -4055, 
1886 - Will Proved: Alfred LAWS (House Owner & Agent) -3347, 
1889 - Death: Robert LAWS (Navy Storekeeper) -3029, Brighton SSX UK

1889 - Birth: Gertrude Alice LAWES-2891, Battersea SRY UK
1892 - Birth: George Edward LAWES-124935, Birmingham WAR UK
1895 - Marriage: Arthur OWEN-31456 and Mary Esther LAWS-31457, Buffalo NY USA
1895 - Birth: Charles Henry LAWS (RN M31905) -104995, Great Abington CAM UK
1901 - Death: Henry LAWS-117342, Camberwell, QLD AUSTRALIA
1904 - Christen: Frank Goodall LAWS-30084, Gladstone QLD AUSTRALIA
1907 - Death: Sarah Elizabeth LAWS (Widow) -5954, Oulton Broad SFK UK
1909 - Burial: William LAWES (Shepherd) -578, Hinton Martel DOR UK
1915 - Death: Herbert Henry M LAWS (ARMY Serjeant 12934) -45082, FRANCE
1915 - Death: Alice Amelia LAWS-42778, Hamersmith MDX UK
1917 - Birth: Henry James S LAWES-121007, West Ham ESS UK
1920 - Marriage: Ernest Charles LAWES (Baker) -124402 and Nellie Winifred FRAMPTON-            124403, Colehill DOR UK
1925 - Birth: Cecil Harold LAWES (RAAF) -90282, Granville NSW AUSTRALIA
1926 - Birth: David LAWS-115448, 
1929 - Death: Arthur Barnard LAWS (Railway Clerk)The Pleasurance, Heworth, York NRY 
1933 - Arrival: Geoffrey LAWS (Lt Colonel) -29209, Southampton HAM UK
1938 - Birth: Robert E LAWS-52522, 
1944 - Miscellaneous: Angus Graeme LAWS (Accountant) -120230, 
1945 - Death: Jack Ernest LAWES (ARMY Private 2064310) -45006, 
1948 - Marriage: Peter Malcolm LAWS (Army Lieutenant) -38715 and Lorna MACCRORY-
1950 - Miscellaneous: Clifford LAWS (Fruiterer) LAWES-54117
1950 - Admon: Arthur LAWES (Fancy Brick Maker) -678
1961 - Residence: Horace Christian LAWS (Ag Lab) -54455, Chatteris CAM UK

1961 - Death: Horace Christian (Ag Lab) LAWS-54455, Doddington CAM UK
1961 - Marriage: Raymond John CAPEWELL-55190 and Christine Vivian LAWS-55189,                  Firvale, Sheffield WRY (St Cuthberts Church) UK

1966 - Death: Richard Lee LAWS (United States Navy Lt) -27820, Xuan Du , Thanh Hoi                  province.North Vietnam (Finally buried Annapollis  MD USA (10 May 2013)  

1969 - Birth: Stephen LAWS-39280, 
1970 - Birth: Victor Lynn LAWS-40532, TX USA
1982 - Birth: Bret Wayne LAWS-40694, TX USA
1987 - Death: Learm LAWS-99878, Little Rock, Palaski Co. AR USA
2013 - Death: Geoffrey Roy LAWS-125064, Sydney NSW AUSTRALIA


To see
 our full database, which now contains 
42,003 People   
12,806 Families
104,215 Events 
in 20,199 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,  

20,423 pageviews since we started in June 2014

The Top 10 Viewers include

USA 7551
  Germany 4607 - UK 2330 
 France 1334 Russia 884 - Ukraine 637
 Turkey 340 - Australia 328 - Ireland 266 - Canada 214

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


Member of The Guild of One-Name Studies

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