Tuesday, April 14, 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 21

Further Afield

We spent all the family holidays on that little bit of east coast and going further afield did not arise until I could go off on my bike alone or with a friend. I had already been to scout camps, all on a shoestring. About the same time school journeys were started, only in the holidays of course not in term time like today.  The camps were for boys only. I doubt whether our devoted school staff thought they could cope with the tribulations of a mixed camp. The journeys to foreign parts  however were co-ed without any problems.
I recall one school camp at St.Audries Bay, near Watchet in of course wonderful summer weather. Our site was in a field between the coast road and low cliffs above the beach. 

We must have gone to Somerset by coach, an uneventful journey of which I remember nothing except that our kit was moved by horse and cart from the road down a narrow track to the field beside the farm where a line of bell tents had already been erected for us. We had the luxury of palliases which we filled with straw from the tumbledown buildings near the farmhouse and the cooking was done by the school caretaker with a small amount of help from us on a rota basis. A few cows were kept by the farmer and we were able to see the milk he supplied to us hand milked into the pail.

Behind and above our camp on the other side of the road, rose the warm late summer colours of the Quantock hills, an almost impenetrable terrain of bracken and bilberries guaranteed to stain ones fingers and lips and scratch ones knees to ribbons. We had time to wander on our own and there were organised trips when we visited Dunster and walked to the top of Dunkery Beacon. 

The timeless stone cottages and ancient butter market of Dunster were already an attraction to visitors but as boys we were too keen on looking forward to really appreciate the glimpse back into the past that such places are able to give us later in life. Exmoor’s wide vistas and stony ground thatched with heather and berries were pure joy, the purples and crimsons of the foliage stretching out through the sunshine to a distant hazy horizon and the world at ones feet.
In our free time we wandered into the little town of Watchet  lying somnolent in the sunshine, seemingly untouched by tourism. There was a corner shop selling sweets and buns, and Cydrax to refuel the inner man for a walk into the hills.  Watchet was minding its own business  around its tiny harbour where cargoes seemed to be black coal in and white china clay out. There must have been a few holidaymakers about however because one day we went by paddle steamer along the coast to Lynmouth where  we disembarked in small boats  and had a day to explore and wade up the river to Watersmeet. This was decades before the catastrophic flood  destroyed the town which had previously stood secure for centuries. 

Nearly everyone who holidayed around Somerset visited Lynmouth but the numbers were small and it was not crowded.

Back at St Audries Bay the beach is stony with grey rocks and flat stones ideal for skimming the waves. The most interesting find was that it abounded in fossils of spiral creatures up to a foot across, ammonites I believe, which had been preserved when their nice grey slimy mud was pressed into rock a few million years back.

Another boys only school trip took us youth hostelling to the hostel at Millersdale in Derbyshire. There were about fifteen in the group with two of three school stall including ‘Sammy’ Stewart one of the most popular masters. He taught geography and seemed to be a member of nearly all the journeys. We walked the hills and dales and went by train to Edale where the station name board said ‘HOPE for Castleton’ though we never saw Castleton as we walked away from Hope over the hills. A visit to the Blue John Mine where blue fluorspar is mined showed us something new in this glowing rock and in an underground trip by boat through a low tunnel which led us to a cave where there is a hefty waterfall from above which went down below us into the depths of that the guide told us was a bottomless pit. At least it never filled up with water.

To be continued tomorrow

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Family Events from our database for today April 14

1599 - Christen: John LAWES (Mustian) -32026, Bristol GLS UK
1766 - Birth: Sarah LAWS-55555, Necton NFK UK
1782 - Baptism: Anthony LAWS-27507, Cramlington NBL UK
1804 - Marriage: Henry WILD-27491 and Anne LAWS-27492, Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK
                                                    Newcastle upon Tyne Northumberland

1816 - Christen: Sarah Ann LAWS-6999, Woking SRY UK
1832 - Birth: Hannah Maria LAWS-7816,
1839 - Christen: James LAWS (Innkeeper) -6604, Stratton Strawless NFK UK
                                                         Stratton Strawless Norfolk

1863 - Marriage: James CHEESEMAN (Watchouse Keeper) -33104 and Martha Bush LAWS-                    33105, Stepney MDX UK
                                                         St Dunstans Stepney Middlesex

1868 - Birth: Thomas  LAWS (Dog Catcher)-41560, Gurneyville, West Auckland DUR UK
           (St Andrews)
1872 - Birth: Larry Wilson LAWS-38497, Yancy Co NC United States
1873 - Marriage: William Samuel LAWS (Bookseller's Shopman) -35539 and Martha Amelia                        GOLDSMITH-41028, Horsham West SSX
1880 - Death: Timothy Bush LAWS (Soda Water Manufacturer) -41775, Clapton MDX UK
1882 - Birth: Herbert George LAWES-107940, Bristol GLS UK
1885 - Birth: Alfred George LAWS (Bricklayer) -3360, Folkestone KEN UK
                                                                  Folkestone Kent

1888 - Death: Anna Margaret LAWS (Spinster) -7163, Moreland House, Seaforth LAN
1891 - Burial: Frances Letitia LAWES (Spinster) -214, Twickenham MDX UK
1892 - Marriage: Herbert LAWES (Warehouseman & ASC Pensioner) -54089 and Emily Alice                    HIBBIT-54097, Greenwich KEN UK
                                                               Greenwich Kent

1904 - Birth: Frederick Leonard LAWS-26415, NZ
1907 - Marriage: Francis Frederick LAWS (Master Clerk at Gressenhall Workhouse) -29122 and                  Dorethy Elizabeth FANTHORPE-29123, East Dereham NFK UK
                                                             East Dereham Norfolk

1909 - Birth: Laurabella Ruby Frances LAWS-3974, Grafton, NSW AUSTRALIA
1910 - Birth: Rose Myrtle LAWS-48729, Madison Co KY United States
1916 - Discharged: George LAWS (ARMY Private ) -54343, Clacton ESS
1916 - Burial: Robert LAWS 0, Sandston VA United States
1921 - Residence: John LAWS (Farmer) -36314,
1928 - Marriage: George Dewey LAWS-38123 and Thelma Ann WOOLS-38124,
1931 - Marriage: Ronald Edgar Coggan SHUTTER-124401 and Helena Emily Sarah LAWES-                    116686, Witchampton DOR UK
1936 - Birth: Ike Allen LAWS (Attorney) -123347, Russelville AK United States
1940 - Birth: Howard Playford LAWS-124651, Connellsville, Layette PA USA
1943 - Birth: Norman Dennis LAWS-117759, Edmonton MDX UK
1945 - Birth: Anthony LAWS-119031, IoW
1948 - Birth: Karen Sue LAWS-40256, Angelina Co TX
1949 - Death: Margaret Elizabeth LAWES (Spinster) -125443, Devizes WIL UK
1963 - Death: Aldon Charles LAWS-120511,
1964 - Birth: Helen LAWS-37132,
1965 - Residence: Benjamin Charles LAWS-124143, Bognor Regis died Chichester SSX UK
1967 - Death: William Frederick LAWES (Ag Lab) -2805, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach FL and                Burial: Pine Grove Cemetery, Manchester, Hillsborough NH USA
1979 - Death: Laurabella Ruby Frances LAWS-3974, Manley NSW AUSTRALIA
1981 - Marriage: Linton Harmer LAWS (Farmer) -3432 and Noela Dawn PELL-3444,
1991 - Death: Jesse Raymond LAWS-34509, Granite City, Madison County IL USA
2003 - Cremation: Charles Sydney LAWS-42823, Darlington NRY UK
2003 - Death: Willie Maynard LAWS-31111, Hillsborough NC USA

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