Saturday, April 04, 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 12.


Generally in the elementary school we did all our lessons in the same room but we did have a purpose built room for woodwork. This was well equipped with benches and hand tools and we got a useful grounding in using them. For me it was one of the most enjoyable lessons.
The other children at the elementary school were a very normal mix and a reasonable standard of behaviour was enforced anyway. In the playground our play was of course rowdy but there was little real fighting, there was more interest in playing ‘Flickhams’ with cigarette cards. These were in good supply as most men smoked and every packet of fags had a card in it. Later the interest changed to collecting the sets of cards and swapping them to make up sets which are now almost antiques.
Most of my classmates were friendly but although we visited each other’s houses to play, few friendships were long term, because of the need to change schools and move house. Just before I had to take the grammar school entrance exam we moved house from Harringay to Whinchmore Hill so I had to take the exam in the new area. Until my time at elementary school ran out a few months after we had moved, mother ferried me to and fro daily in her little car to carry on in the same school till the term was finished and the exam done.
The move to grammar school was a move to another world. After all we were in the thirties and 1929 and all that was slipping back behind us. The move to Southgate was a move into another world and meant that none of my friends moved on with me to the same school.
It was of course an elitist world and the grammar schools were reckoned next in line after the ‘Public’ schools though there was no guarantee that the boy who left the elementary school at the age of fourteen would not become a millionaire quicker than any of them. He would not become as bank clerk or a civil servant however he was saved from being a fighter pilot in the forties.
Within the schools, competition and achievement were what mattered and although the arts and manual skills were not ignored any more than games, there was never a thought that these had in any way the importance of the academic subjects.
The grammar school was based on a large house, or small mansion set in substantial grounds converted to playing fields. A purpose built extension doubled the number of rooms and included proper lab facilities. This also provided a large assembly hall with a good stage as well as a separate gymnasium and woodwork and domestic science rooms. The ‘old building’ as it was known would have been a wonderful home in its day. It dated from the early nineteenth century and sat in a high position looking out over the lower land of the Lea valley, a sea of houses by the thirties but a green and pleasant land in earlier days.

It was basically a two storey house but with a complete basement half sunk in the ground below it and an attic storey half in the roof above. The grand front door led into a circular foyer before giving access to the central hallway where the circular theme continued with a grand staircase to the first floor.  This did not go on up to the servants quarters above, which were served by a small spiral stone stairway which went from basement to attics. There were perhaps ten rooms large enough to serve as main classrooms with a number of others used as library, staff rooms, studies etc. The basement still contained a kitchen and its main area was used as a dining room for the twenty or thirty pupils who lived some miles away and were allowed the privilege of school dinners. This part of the basement also served as a music room if the main hall or stage were unavailable. A separate building near the main gate which had probably served as a stable block had been made into two physics labs with an art room above. There were no sign of the stables or coach house; their site may have been covered by the ample bike sheds, the school bus not having been invented. Alongside the bike sheds was a dovecot up on saddle stones, no longer the home of doves, it was probably used as a store by the two grounds men who kept the playing field as immaculate as the gardens, which no doubt kept by a team of gardeners before them. There was a walled large kitchen garden which had one wall removed and then had been desecrated with asphalt to provide a playground and tennis courts. Around its walls the beautifully trained espalier apple and pear trees had survived to bloom in the spring without the hope of ripening fruit in the autumn.

To be continued tomorrow

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Family Events from our database for today April 4

1731 - Baptism: Anthony LAWS-27502, Ponteland NBL

1742 - Christen: Peter LAWS-4213, Stoke Dameral DEV UK
1804 - Birth: Matthew LAWS-7766, South Shields DUR UK
1807 - Marriage: Thomas LAWS-38448 and Mary MOODY-17545, Harkstow LIN
1816 - Birth: William LAWS (Innkeeper) -33897, Ditchingham NFK
1828 - Birth: Hannah LAWS (2nd / Spr / Ag Lab) -3112, Welches Dam CAM

1834 - Death: Thomas LAWS 119723, 
1844 - Death: Thomas LAWS-119723, Peterborough, Hillsborough NH USA
1845 - Birth: James Samuel LAWS-31549, 
1851 - Birth: George Miller LAWS (Dock Labourer) -6244, Mulbarton NFK
1852 - Marriage: Jonathan SPALDING (Lab) -50712 and Elizabeth LAWS-50713,
           Beccles SFK UK

1852 - Christen: John LAWS (Painter or Printer &  former Mariner) -7232, Dymchurch KEN
1858 - Baptism: Francis William LAWES (Carpenter & Joiner) -32763, South Cerney GLS
1858 - Birth: Harry LAWES (Wheelwright) -399, Bishopstone by Salisbury WIL

1871 - Census: Elizabeth LAWS-3380, Folkestone KEN UK

1873 - Marriage: John Donald MCLAREN-3950 and Eliza Jane LAWS-3948, Cowra NSW              (Baroola) AUSTRALIA
1874 - Birth: Charles Frederick LAWES-252, Camberwell, QLD AUSTRALIA
1882 - Death: Joseph LAWS (Master Baker) -28615, South Street, Great Yarmouth NFK

1883 - Birth: Leonard Miller LAWS (ARMY Private) -30650, Hingham NFK
1888 - Marriage: James Thompson LAWS (Architect & Surveyor) -6153 and Alice Annie                  DALGLEISH-36202, Hampstead MDX UK
1888 - Birth: Esther (Milliner) LAWS-45458, Byker NBL UK
1891 - Marriage: William BINLEY-47081 and Mary Ann LAWS-4531, Willington DUR
1891 - Death: George LAWS (Farmer 58 acres) -5531, Bishop Waltham HAM
1892 - Marriage: William Robert ALLEN (Stevedore) -45538 and Jane Jennifer LAWS-                    9528, Middlesborough NRY UK
1896 - Death: Anthony LAWS (Railway Booking Clerk) -4639, Darlington NRY UK
1901 - Marriage: Henry Walton LAWS (Clerk to Gas Company) -4343 and Alice Maud Mary            MORRIS-39033, Great Yarmouth NFK UK

1904 - Marriage: George Henry MILLER (Blacksmith) -115018 and Thirza Peninnah                        Arabella LAWS-4515, Hampton Wick MDX (St John the Baptist)
1909 - Birth: Edith Evelyn LAWS-4090, Anlaby ERY
1916 - Death: John LAWS-9293, Chatteris CAM UK

1928 - Birth: Audrey M LAWS-123480, Sidney OH USA
1928 - Christen: Thomas LAWS (Engineer) -9310, Nottingham NTT UK
1929 - Marriage: Edward Francis HARKCOM-45478 and Edith LAWS-45477, Sheffield                    WRY UK
1931 - Marriage: John JESSOP-33671 and Elsie Esther LAWS-5143, Tilbury ESS UK
           (St John the Baptist)
1931 - Birth: George Thomas A LAWS-118573, 
1931 - Death: Otis LAWS-42454, 
1935 - Death: Madison J LAWS-45960, Mt Vernon, Franklin Co TX USA
1939 - Miscellaneous: Charles Cecil LAWES (Farm Manager) -24406, 
1939 - Miscellaneous: Frederick John LAWES (Commercial Traveller) -24338, 
1939 - Birth: Daphne LAWS-38622, Tanganyika EAST AFRICA
1944 - Miscellaneous: Arthur Cecil LAWS-122028, 
1944 - Will  Proved: John Morris LAWS (Turner Ship Engineering) -6586, 
1944 - Marriage: Harold Stanley LAWES-269 and Ruby Georgina COBBETT-270,                          Naples ITALY
1945 - Will  Proved: Frank Herbert LAWES-122949, 
1945 - Death: Marshall Noah LAWES (ARMY Private C/612664) -44911, 
1951 - Death: Wilford Derby LAWS-34174, Monticello, San Juan UT USA
1953 - Death: Elizabeth LAWS-48677, Calumet City IL USA
1970 - Marriage: Barbara Gene LAWS-114940 and Charles A GUARD-114941, 
           Las Vegas NV USA
1970 - Birth: Deanna Eileen LAWS-43923, Wentworthville NSW Australia
1974 - Birth: James Irvin LAWS (Jnr) -40575, TX USA
1977 - Death: Thomas Samuel LAWES-35279, Matcham NSW AUSTRALIA
1996 - Death: David LAWS-120175, Stepney MDX UK

2003 - Death: Albert Edward LAWS (Australian Army) -32298, Melbourne AUSTRALIA

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