Saturday, August 22, 2015

LFR 22 Aug Number 615

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 16

Holidays 1,

Holidays at that time meant the seaside, and the seaside meant the East Coast, Sunshine, East winds sand, and an icy grey sea.

June was the preferred month, until school became important enough to interfere. My mother packed vast quantities of clothing in a big cabin trunk, which must have gone on ahead; it certainly didn’t come in the car with us. It took a good three hours to cover seventy odd miles to the coast. 

Bypass was an almost unknown word and certainly wasn’t applicable to even the Essex county town of Colchester, the first time of two, that we went that way. One was built in the next couple of years but now some sixty odd years later has been virtually absorbed into the town to be replace by the (now hardly adequate) A12.

We went to Clacton on the first holiday I remember, and the sand and the seafront were the attractions. The next year it was Little Holland (Now Holland on Sea) where there was more sand, and no seafront and I spent the whole holiday on the beach. After that it was always Walton on the Naze. 

Here we would have some rooms, or latterly a house, and we would stay for a month, though my father had only a fortnight of holiday, and was only with us at weekends the rest of the time. We used to have a beach hut near the pier and would swim in the icy North Sea in blazing sunshine. It must have been here that I learnt to swim, taught by my mother, tuition later reinforced and widened by lessons at school. 

There was a stone-built breakwater in front of the beach huts and with the run of the tide along the coast there was deep water on one side and sand at the water’s edge on the other.  Facing the deep side was a platform diving board and a springboard where one could display a considerable lack of skill combined with great enjoyment.

The deep water was only there at high tide of course and so the tides controlled the way the day was spent. In the youngest bucket and spade days low water was in demand but once I could swim strongly it had to be high tide. Not far from the diving boards, rafts were anchored to give a point to swim to and even sit on, The young cannot sit still however and so it was climb out and dive back in again and swim back to base to start again.

It was never crowded at Walton. Holidaymakers were squeezed off most of the beaches at high tide but there were soon big stretches of smooth virgin sand again and on one of these a beach artist would claim a large pitch well overlooked from the promenade.    He would draw his pictures on the hard damp sand and set his hat to catch the pennies thrown from the prom. Perhaps he doubled as a pavement artist in the winter. 

The un-crowded beaches were ideal for flying kites and even permitted the continuous swinging of a tethered tennis ball hung on long elastic between a pair of poles. On one holiday I remember a less space consuming toy was rampant, the yoyo, and these spinning discs on strings were in every hand rising and falling, spinning and circling to show off the skill of the owner.

South of the pier was the sunniest part of the cliffs and here and there, were tiers of beach huts rising behind the prom from which one could watch the world go by or change for a swim. The beach hut was not only for swimming from but also for sitting in the sun sheltered from the east coast wind, very rarely for sheltering from rain, and for making tea and eating snacks and ice cream. 

I was much better at eating than the sitting but would sometimes stay and watch the sailing barges gliding serenely along the coast, their big red sails filled with the east wind. It was not so funny for them when it really blew hard. Distress flares would go up with a noisy boom and the lifeboat went out from its anchorage by the end of the pier. Even in the summer of holiday time this was not all that unusual.

                                          Thames Sailing Barge - Canthusus

                                              Clacton Queen 1890-1937

As well as sailing barges there were paddle steamers which called at the end of the pier. These came from Tower Bridge by way of Southend on Sea, and then sailed away into the far distance north to unknown Yarmouth perhaps. These were best watched from the end of the pier itself where the bump could be felt as ropes were thrown and contact made with the big paddle wheels churning in reverse. On the pier too there was entertainment. The man who rode a bike off the high diving board was always worth watching, but the children’s concerts were pretty corny, even for kids.

To be continued tomorrow


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Family Events from our database for today August 22nd

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
1845 - Death: John LAWES (Ag Lab) -43249, Coombe Bissett WIL UK

                                         St Michael all Angels at Coombe Bissett, WIL UK

1856 - Birth: Rufus LAWS (Labourer) -48209,
1856 - Birth: William LAWS-12596,
1859 - Marriage: Thomas LAWS-58434 and Elizabeth RUSTON-58435, Stratton Strawless NFK                  UK

                                         St. Michaels Church, Stratton Strawless NFK UK

1859 - Birth: Nancy LAWS-42301, Arkansas
1862 - Birth: Emma LAWS (Servant / Spinster) -7945, West Row, Mildenhall SFK
1880 - Birth: Arthur LAWS (Wire Netting Maker) -121102, Poplar MDX UK
1890 - Birth: Violet LAWS-36348, Rougham NFK UK
1891 - Birth: Bolitha James LAWS (Lawyer / Judge) -29244, Washington DC United States
1901 - Birth: Albert George LAWES (RN SS125228/ J65861) -105056, Droxford HAM UK
1902 - Baptism: Ruth Lillian LAWS-117164, Islington MDX UK

                                                             Islington MDX UK

1902 - Death: Eleanor LAWS-46628, Cambridge Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NBL UK

                                                 Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK

1910 - Birth: Barbara May Muriel LAWES-45879, Quebec CANADA
1914 - Birth: Edward Robert LAWS-58504, East Ham ESS UK
1916 - Death: G H  LAWS (ARMY Private  G/17755)-45072,
1917 - Birth: William Henry LAWS-43369, Townsville QLD AUSTRALIA
1918 - Death: George LAWS (ARMY Private 29033) -30851,
1918 - Residence: Robert LAWS-8797, Outwell CAM UK
1922 - Birth: Clifford LAWS-55980,
1922 - Birth: Robert LAWS (Australian Army (2) )-32364, Rockhampton QLD AUSTRALIA
1933 - Marriage: Thomas William LAWS-2832 and Ira PELKONEN-2854, Manila UT USA
1934 - Birth: Robin LAWS-30096, Toowoomba, Warwick QLD AUSTRALIA
1934 - Marriage: David Neville LAWS (Apprentice Ships 3rd Engineer) -37595 and Effie Elizabeth              PAYZANT-37596, Liverpool, Queens County, Nova Scotia CANADA
1934 - Death: Daniel LAWES (Ag Lab) -1617, Burbage WIL UK (117 East Sands)
1935 - Death: William Henry LAWS (Plumber & Decorator) -8563, Chelsea MDX UK
1939 - Probate: Frederick George LAWES (Biscuit Factory Labourer) -121027,
1939 - Miscellaneous: Laura Adelaide LAWES (Mantle Maker / Spinster)-21157,
1939 - Birth: Michael Edwin LAWS-121835, Downham NFK UK
1940 - Admon: George Hamilton LAWES (Brass Moulder)-679,
1948 - Death: Victor Edward LAWS-56263, Ipswich SFK UK

                                      Old Houses, St Nicholas Street, Norweich SFK UK

1951 - Burial: Isabella LAWS-53505, Stockton Upon Tees DUR UK
1959 - Death: John C LAWS-51547,
1960 - Death: Cecelia May LAWES-39090, Portsmouth HAM UK
1961 - Death: Leonard M LAWS-167730,
1964 - Birth: Antony John LAWS (Company Director) -46478,
1965 - Residence: Ernest William Thomas LAWES (Mechanical Engineer) -124045, Great Bookham            SRY UK
1970 - Marriage: David LAWS-30683 and Joan STAPLES-30684, Arnold NTT USA
1972 - Death: Anna Rosalind LAWS-41190,
1979 - Birth: Amanda M LAWS-50661,
1980 - Burial: Thomas B  LAWS (TSGT US AIR FORCE)-37878, Riverside National Cemetery CA            Plot: 2, 0, 41
1981 - Marriage: Martin Peter LAWS (HGV Driver) -53121 and Joanne Carol OSLEN-53122,                      Romford ESS UK
1982 - Death: Walter George LAWES-37110,
1989 - Death: Christine Ann LAWS-31823, Airds, NSW AUSTRALIA
1994 - Death: Gladys LAWS-4083, Kingston Upon Hull ERY UK

                                                     Kingston upon Hull ERY UK

1997 - Birth: Franceska Vivyan LAWS-120707, Harris Co TX USA
1999 - Marriage: Richard A LAWS-37407 and Jennifer A JORDAN-37408, Spittalfields MDX UK
2002 - Death: Willard LAWS-27596, West Sacromento CA United States
2003 - Burial: Johnnie Seldon LAWS (PVT US Army) -38017, Riverside National Cemetery CA
2006 - Cremation: Donald LAWS-50459, Chelmesford ESS UK
2010 - Death: Marion Cruikshank LAWS-125403, Banchory KCD UK
2010 - Death: Francis Rogers LAWS-125402, Banchory KCD UK

1807 - Death: Maria WALPOLE-45428, Brompton MDX UK
1849 - Marriage: Joseph CLEGG (Watchmaker & Photographer) -35602 and Maria MCMINN-                    7562, Coppenhall Crewe CHS (St Michael)
1874 - Birth: Zeno Parmenas KERLEY-41154, Alexander Co. NC United States
1890 - Birth: Agnes Helen MOONEY-66050, Stoke Newington MDX UK
1890 - Birth: Leah TEALE-34595, Kingston Upon Hull ERY UK
           (My wifes grandmother)

                                                      Kingston upon Hull ERY UK

1892 - Death: Joseph FITCHES-56493, Icklingham  SFK UK
1894 - Marriage: Ezra HAMPSHIRE (Miner) -125202 and Jane BRAMHAM-38793, Stanley WRY            UK
1902 - Birth: Olive Vida JOLLY-43485, 
1928 - Birth: Stanley Walter DORMER-43391, Canning Town ESS UK
1940 - Miscellaneous: Clara HILLYARD-54107, 
1941 - Death: Mary Ann JOHNSON (Schoolmistress) -38963, Nottingham NTT UK
1952 - Death: Edith Louisa HARVEY-3680, Horsford NFK UK
1965 - Residence: Doris May COOK-124046, Great Bookham SRY UK
1965 - Death: Doris May COOK-124046, Wimbledon SRY UK
1981 - Death: Vivian May PACK-119196, 

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