Wednesday, August 12, 2015

LFE 12 Aug Number 605

North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

Welcome to the Laws Family Register. 

A Child of the Twenties

A suburban childhood of the Twenties 

seen from the Ninteen Nineties

by my late father
John Robert Laws 1921-2008

Part 6.


There seemed to be a wider range of people then, than there are now. There was no question or concept of equality. To me Mum was all important but to everyone Dad was 'The Boss'  and this nickname was used all the time between mother and her helper Lottie the maid. Lottie was a sort of auntie to me, having been part of the family longer than I had. This help was much needed by my mother not only on account of the houswork but because catastrophe had struck my parents when my sister Mary had suffered brain damage as a complication of meningitus. This happened at about the age of three, after which there was no further mental progress although she grew up physically but dumb.

Standards of living then were much lower, but in this respect we were fortunate, though everyone worked hard. It is my belief that most people were as happy then as now, except where poverty and illness coincided. It is the presures of daily life that makes for unhappines, and these were just different.. In many ways it is the small comforts and conveniences that we would miss if we had to step back in time.

We did not have swarms of relations, the Victorian habit of enormous families had gone just in time. There were two maiden aunts, my fathers sisters, who lived together in the bottom part of a house off West Green Road (The A504 of today. They worked in garment manufacture and their smallish rooms were cramed with too large furniture inheritated from my grandparents of the true Victorian era who I never knew. Some of it would be museum pieces now. There was a bed with a half tester rail over it and time to time they would occasionally come to tea on Sunday or to Christmas lunch. I remember a Christmas present of a little purse with two half-crowns in it, the old age pension was then just four of these coins, and although they were still working at that time, this was soon to be their weekly income.

My mother had just one sister, Alice who lived in Manchester, where her husband Jack was a lecturer in zoology. I only met him once, he had a nastly limp as a result of RFC service in WWI and he did not make old bones. Mother went and visited Alice after he had died, and took me with her in her little car to help find thne way -172 miles according to the AA route which we followed. Alice had a nice house in a pleasant suburb but before long she returned to her roots in Devon and spent the rest of her years in Kingswear.

There was also my uncle Joe, really a cousin of my father, though I think he had been brought up as a brother and was part of a trio of sailing enthusiasts with my dad, and his younger brother Albert. The three of them used to go sailing in Devon and Cornwall and my father and Albert managed to aquire wives in the process. No doubt this put an end to the sailing but my father still liked to row and after he bought his first car in 1925, he would take me over to the river Lea on a Sunday morning and row from the boathouse at one lock up to the next lock and back. Being Sunday, the horse drawn barges were all at rest and the locks inactive. It was already partly industrial along the river, which was a canal really, but the marshes were open and flat, crossed by the long new concrete bridge of Lea Bridge Road which led on towards Epping Forest.  

Albert and his Cornish wife Louise were in Harbin, in the wilds of Manchuria  so we saw them very rarely, I only remember two occasions. A slow boat to China really was slow before the airlines and the Trans Siberian railway not a journey for the hurried or the timid, though they went that way at least once.

Joe and his wife May  lived in a 1920's new semi in Palmers Green, and were the relations we saw most. He was a keen gardener, which my father certainly wasn't, but they were pretty good friends and Joe and May had Christmas lunch with us some yerars. 

To a child, Christmas was important of course and the old time way of feasting in the greatest abundance that funds permitted was still strong. there were no supermarkets and no domestic refrigerators of course, but 'nouvelle cuisine' hadn't been heard of either. I do not think that there was as much obesity then as now, the ignorant did not have the means for it and most of the prosperous were working too hard to get fat. Beer was however proportionately cheaper and a few more men could be seen carrying the mark of it in their big bellies or red noses.

Untill school age, there was not a lot of contact with adults outside the family. One saw the neighbours in their gardens from time to time but it was not till a little later that a family came next door whith whom we became friendly. The Kembles had five offsprings, five daughters for starters the youngest in her late teens, and a son harry a bit older than myself with whom I became quite friendly. For some years we were regular cycling companions.

To be continued tomorrow


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Family Events from our database for today August 12th

If you are interested in anyone listed here, email us with the name, date and reference number, and we will happily do a look up, you might get a whole tree! 

Family Events

1779 - Burial: William LAWS-34950, Mealrigg CUL UK
1782 - Birth: Edmund Edward LAWS (Widwr, Labourer) -37157, Feltwell NFK UK

                                                                  Feltwell NFK UK

1782 - Baptism: Edmund Jasper LAWS-34164, Feltwell NFK UK
1812 - Birth: Washington LAWS-29630, 
1815 - Marriage: Benjamin HOWARD-7526 and Anne LAWS-7527, Coslany NFK (St Mary)

1821 - Baptism: William LAWES (Lab) -2858, Felthorpe NFK UK

                                                             Feltthorpe NFK UK

1828 - Birth: Alexander LAWS-42337, 
1862 - Marriage: William Henry DONALDSON (Cab Man) -55846 and Mary Ann LAWS-55844,                Eaton Square MDX (St Peters)
1867 - Death: Henry Fairbanks LAWS-38520, Hackney MDX UK
1870 - Marriage: John MOORE (Met Policeman) -5451 and Charlotte LAWS (Pupil Teacher)                    - 5447, Shoreditch MDX UK
1872 - Birth: Mary A LAWS-7140, 
1873 - Birth: Gaines Augusta LAWS-42357, Apopka, Orange Co, FL USA
1876 - Birth: Jessie Louisa LAWS-117812, Balmain NSW AUSTRALIA
1876 - Death: Aaron LAWS-52867, 
1887 - Birth: Elsie Louisa LAWES-47864, Goulburn NSW AUSTRALIA
1900 - Marriage: Ephraim Parker HOGAN (Labourer/Porter) -117176 and Almina Elizabeth LAWS-            117175, St John's Carleton, Newfoundland
1903 - Birth: Walter Richard LAWS-116076, Plumstead KEN UK
1907 - Birth: John Joseph LAWS-119211, 
1910 - Birth: Mary Emily LAWS-118676, 
1912 - Birth: Vera Mary LAWS-124467, 
1915 - Birth: Basil Billington LAWS-101495, Great Yarmouth NFK UK

                                                        Great yarmouth NFK UK

1918 - Birth: Dorethy May LAWS-3490, 
1919 - Miscellaneous: Francis W LAWS (4th Officer on RMS Olympic) -45813, 

RMS "Olympic

1921 - Birth: Peter Daniel LAWS (Australian Army)-32357, Melbourne, VIC AUSTRALIA
1926 - Birth: Michael Lutener LAWS (Cricketer) LAWS-34315, Finchley MDX
1929 - Burial: John Edward LAWS-167598, Wichita KS USA
1930 - Burial: Phoebe Ann LAWS-120960, Baradine Cemetery Dubbo NSW Australia
1939 - Marriage: Wilbur Francis LAWS-45658 and Wanda HURST-49408, Blanding, San Juan Co              UT USA
1939 - Death: Christopher James LAWS (Master Mariner 09697) -56337, Kings Lynn NFK UK

                                              Kings Llynn NFK UK on the river Great Ouse
1940 - Military: Albert Ernest LAWS (Aust Army) -32300, ARMY during WWII Private N54743
1944 - Birth: Lorraine Doris LAWS-3504, Shepparton VIC AUSTRALIA
1953 - Burial: Julian Asa LAWS-34176, Blanding, San Juan Co UT USA
1971 - Birth: Cassandra LAWS-43930, 
1971 - Birth: Kellie-Marie LAWS-42114, Sydney NSW AUSTRALIA
1982 - Birth: Emma LAWS-43898, 
1986 - Death: Albert Francis LAWS (Royal Australian Navy 20095) -31819, Peakhurst NSW                        AUSTRALIA
1999 - Death: Myrtle Eileen LAWS-30906, AUSTRALIA
2002 - Death: Dean Barry LAWS-52121, 
2003 - Death: Fern LAWS-54831, 
2004 - Death: Mabel Winifred LAWS-42788, Carseldine, QLD Australia
2006 - Death: Julie Ann LAWS-124676, 

1749 - Birth: Elizabeth PEARSON-34167, Feltwell NFK UK

                                                          Feltwell St Nicholas NFK UK
1783 - Marriage: Joseph CHARTERS-34584 and Grace TYNDALL-34585, Torpenhow CUL UK
1807 - Christen: Lydia Milligen SEPPINGS-122568, Chatham KEN UK
1855 - Birth: Emma IRONSIDE-2886, Montacute, Yeovil SOM UK
1861 - Birth: James Davies TILLEY-125495, Orange Co NC United States
1883 - Birth: Siddie Emma BRANDON-56185, Carroll Co TN United States
1885 - Death: polly CHILD-119722,
1886 - Birth: Augusta Florence BAIRD-54507, 
1899 - Birth: Margaret Elsie BEALE-121000, West Ham ESS UK
1913 - Birth: Jo Martin DINGES-29733, Dale, Cauldwell TX USA
1925 - Burial: Ethel DACRE-46584, Stanley WRY UK
1938 - Marriage: Cecil Owen MARTIN-34748 and Gladys May SAVILLE-34747, Hayes MDX
1943 - Birth: Carole BURDON  (Taxi Base Operator)-115551, 
1956 - Death: Caroline SEXTON-47016, Wandsworth SRY UK
1989 - Birth: Susanna Michell W LEES-9902, Margate KEN UK

                                                             Margate KEN UK

1995 - Death: John HESKETT (Miner) -37591, Sunderland DUR UK

                                                             Sunderland DUR UK

1976 - Death: Hannah KING-3295, 
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