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Monday, August 10, 2015

LFR 10 AUG Number 603

 Aug

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 4.

As well as the coal store there was plenty of space in the cellar with a sort of second room into which a feeble light filtered from a small window below the 'front room' bay. I remember it as a junk store but maybe it was just things one couldn't throw away. Perhaps the most valuable tning in the cellar was the cold tap which didn't freeze even in the coldest snap when everybodies pipes were frozen and standpipes had to be put up in the streets.

If the cellar was inelegant, the other rooms were much better. After the kitchen, the  most used room for living was the 'front room' often called the dining room. today it would be called the living room but room usage in middle class houses was different then, mainly due to the lack of central heating. 

In cold weather a fire would be lit in the front room in the late afternoon on weekdays or well before lunch on weekends. Its heat output could only be controlled  by stoking it up or letting it burn down with a little bit of draught control at the front and the alternatives of feeding it with lumps or slack.

The tiled fireplaces of the thirties and forties had not arrived, the fire was ornamented with tiled inserts on either side, enclosed by an iron surround. Above it the overmantle enclosed a big mirror and supported a heavy green onyx clock in a Palladium style  with a gilt dial and ormolu mounts. If this were not enough, it was flanked by a pair of blue-brown Doulton glazed vases which served as spill holders.

It all belonged to a rather earlier age, even at that time, the product of a rather late marriage before WWI of a couple raised in late Victorian times. Furniture was good and solid, even a dining chair took a bit of lifting, but there was no fear of it wearing out or falling apart and the room was big enough to hold a lot of it. As it was really a living room rather than a dining room, the fire had a large overstuffed armchair on either side and there was a matching sofa along the opposite wall. 

One recess beside the chimney breast was occupied by a tall glazed mahogany bookcase and the other held a dropfront coal scuttle which provided a little table top beside the chair. An enormous mahogany sideboard sat against the wall opposite the window, the back of its tall overmantle filled by a mirror. tapered square columns supported the tester style top on which stood a reproduction bronze statue of an athete. I suppose the original statue must be greek but although some thirty years or so later I spotted a full size replica in a public park in Liege, I remain in ignorance.

Ornaments abounded and on the sideboard were an epergne for fruit and flowers and a couple of silver plate and glass urns which never contained anything. More useful was the plated silver stand to hold the soda syphon  and the plated vegetable dishes sitting on the long lacey cloth. 'Cleaning the plate' was a regular chore and but one of many labour intensive housekeeping of those days. 

There was of course a heavy mahogany dining table and half a dozen chairs for the main purpose of the room. Apart from mealtimes, a dark crimson chenille tablecoth with a fancy fringe all round covered the table and in the middle stood another epergne, plated and just for flowers this time. Last but not least the obligatory aspidestra sat in a magnificent state of growth on an ornately carved ebony stand in the window bay, its pot enclosed by a handsome china jardinaire of deep blue and white. from this window at dusk the lamplighter could be seen on his rounds lighting the gas street lights one by one with a long pole he carried over his shoulder.   

To be continued tomorrow

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Family Events from our database for today August 10th

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
1646 - Baptism: Mary LAWS-33088, Ormesby St Michael NFK UK

                                                    Ormesby St Michael NFK UK

1805 - Death: John LAWES-1585,
1845 - Christen: Wightman LAWES (Ag Lab) -2869, Felthorpe NFK UK

                                                                Felthorpe NFK UK

1861 - Occupation: Thomas LAWS (Steerage Steward)-51774,
1865 - Marriage: Robert TRADER-41238 and Matilda LAWS-41237, Greenup, Cumberland Co, IL
1878 - Marriage: Thomas Samuel LAWS (Fish Dealer) -39677 and Isabella THOMAS-42232,                      Sydney NSW AUSTRALIA
1881 - Birth: John Grossmith LAWS (Bookeeper) -56515, Gaspe, Quebec CANADA
1883 - Birth: Elma Abia LAWS-34226, Johnson, Kane Co. UT United States

                                                         Johnson, Kane Co. UT USA

1884 - Birth: Charles Edgar LAWES (RN K40022) -47681, Stradsett NFK UK


                                                               Stradsett NFK UK

1886 - Burial: Ada Maud LAWS-123784, Islington MDX UK

                                                             Islington MDX UK

1886 - Birth: Amelia Nyasa LAWS (Osteopath) -9304,
1888 - Baptism: Frederick LAWS-3213, Ovingham NBL UK
1888 - Birth: Edna L LAWS-40982, MO USA
1899 - Birth: Henry William LAWES-121896, Southwark SRY UK
1902 - Birth: Arthur William LAWS-40986, CA USA
1904 - Marriage: John CHESSELLS-3554 and Emily Susan LAWS-3419,
1911 - Birth: George William LAWS-124545,
1912 - Death: Bessie LAWS-105534, Fulton, Calloway Co MO USA
1916 - discharged: Victor George LAWS-42779, As under age
1916 - Death: William LAWS-8884, Sheerness KEN UK
1921 - Marriage: William James LONGSTAFF-124400 and Beatrice May LAWES-37109,                            Winterbourne Whitchurch DOR UK
1927 - Birth: James Lawrence LAWS-120823, VIC AUSTRALIA
1930 - Birth: Albert LAWS-119387,
1934 - Birth: Barbara LAWS-120485, San Francisco CA USA
1936 - Death: Ruby Irene LAWS-41392, Boone WV USA
1936 - Death: Ruth LAWS (Spinster) -3808,
1943 - Death: Russell LAWS (RNZAF Sergeant 421515) -45132, Crash of Ventura GRV FN973 into              Bay of Fundy


1944 - Marriage: Albert LAWS-39350 and Phe ELDON-39351,
1947 - Birth: Martha Ann LAWS-40237, Harris Co TX USA
1950 - Will  Proved: Alfred LAWES-122991,
1951 - Miscellaneous: Thomas Cresswell LAWS-57935,
1951 - Miscellaneous: Muriel LAWS-57933,
1953 - Death: Julian Asa LAWS-34176, Blanding, San Juan Co UT USA
1956 - Birth: James McGregor LAWS-44262, Musselburgh ELN UK
1971 - Marriage: Milton W PATTISON-114965 and Elaine LAWS-114964, Elco NV USA
1976 - Birth: Clare Theresa LAWS-39412,
1985 - Marriage: Stuart John LAWS-54901 and Margaret KELLY-54902, Sydenham KEN UK
1998 - Burial: Noel Joseph Patrick LAWS (Shoe Repairer retired)-49574, Christchurch NZ
1998 - Death: George LAWS (RAF Driver) -43538, Bushey HRT UK
2004 - Burial: Jo Augusta LAWS-38198, Cedar Hill Memorial Park TX USA

MISC
1880 - Death: Elizabeth Bricknell GROSSMITH-50963, Gaspe, Quebec CANADA
1911 - Birth: Henry Arthur WARWICK-125337, St Pancras MDX UK
1923 - Birth: Collen UDY-124605, Fielding UT USA
1928 - Birth: Eric WEBB-53683, Staleybridge CHS UK
1943 - Birth: Terence Leonard MILLS (Tool Setter) -46081, Islington MDX UK

                                                          Islington MDX UK

1951 - Miscellaneous: Muriel WOOD-123038, 
1962 - Birth: Ronald  Allen ZIEGENBEIN-49524, Eureka, Humboldt CA USA
1986 - Birth: Nicholas Georges JONES-120883, 


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