Thursday, August 27, 2015

LFR 27 Aug Number 620

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 22

Further Afield 2

The school journeys abroad were more of a revelation than the camps. Package holidays had not yet been dreamed up and although the wealthy might holiday in the South of France or, you could ‘Join the Army and see the world’, the general urge to travel was only just beginning. 

I recall a book called  ‘France on ten pounds’ but only a few had the inclination, the time and the ten pounds,to follow its inviting advice. Trips by school parties must have whetted the appetite of many in the later part of the years between the wars.

We went to Paris in 1937, the year of the big Paris Exhibition. It was immediately evident that our French was not their French, understanding some of the written signs seemed to be our limit. As well as the historic buildings of the city which are compulsory viewing for all visitors we were able to visit  the exhibition, grandiosely laid out with a long vista of lakes and fountains down a slope towards the Eiffel Tower. The contents of the impressive pavilions seemed insignificant  compared to the buildings particularly the Soviet building surmounted by enormous figures of a man and a woman holding aloft a hammer and a sickle.  

What we really enjoyed however was the roller coaster ride which must have made tame all previous efforts in this direction. This and the ascent of the Eiffel Tower, which laid out a map of Paris below us were the highlights of the day of sunshine and unnoticed footslogging.

Of the conventional sights of Paris, the stained glass impressed me most and then the white mass of Sacre’ Coeur on its hill looking down on the city, where the ever present taxis hurtled round corners blaring on their horns. The traffic must have been light or they could not have done it.   

Our few days of cultural duty in Paris done, we had a day or two at Wimereau  on the channel coast, lazing, swimming and sitting on the beach. The beach was vast and flat with a good stiff breeze for the sand yachts which trundled along and across at a fair pace. A new sight for me then and one which I have never seen since. 

Even now there seems to be an air of the past, over the French channel coast resorts, even those destroyed in the war and have been since rebuilt, it would have been impossible to have imagined one to be on the English side of the channel.  


In 1938 the school trip was to Italy, this was much more adventurous even apart from the political troubles which led to the war a year later.  We left Southgate tube station in the late afternoon to get the train from London, and crossed the channel over night to get to another train  to trundle across France and through the fantastic alpine scenery to Milan in Northern Italy. 

Milan was just hot. We duly admired the thousand or so little spires of the enormous cathedral but saw very little or the ornate interior because we were shooed out on account of our short sleeves, 

Florence and Verona were different, they still are, despite the ravages of the motor car, and even as teenagers I think we appreciated their beauty and agelessness despite our considerable interest in ice cream and fizzy bottled orangeade which we had discovered. You see little in a couple of days but these visits like the Italian ice cream awakened a  taste for more.

No loitering however, on to Venice which was busy being itself, more quietly than it does now. We duly traversed the Grand Canal by vaporetta, under the Rialto Bridge and on to St Marks Square and the pigeons. It was memorable and it all matched the guide books so we went on to the Lido for a swim in the Med. This was a real revelation. 

The water was WARM not like the sea we knew at home. You could stay in without getting cold. The discovery of the journey.

More trains, wooden seats, all tracks lead to Rome, a quick glimpse really, a full week spent wandering round Rome in later life only scratched the surface.

More trains, more wooden seats down south to Napoli. This was before the motor car engulfed Italy and I have photos to prove it showing the Naples seafront with nothing more than a couple of policemen and a tricycle ice cream vender. 

We did not see the slums of Naples, but we did visit a home , hutted camp that is, for orphans who were at least fed and clothed while they learned to shout for 'Il Duce’. 

We were treated to a glass of sweet wine and a speech in Italian pledging friendship from a uniformed gent who presumably ran the place. Back at the hotel that evening we ate at tables set in the open air under a lemon tree from which I had to pick a small souvenir.   

To be continued tomorrow


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Family Events from our database for today August 27th

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
1655 - Marriage: Thomas HARPER-1934 and Elizabeth LAWES-1933, Norwich NFK UK

                                                      The Cathedral, Norwich NFK UK

1805 - Marriage: Jerimiah LAWS-56444 and Susannah BAILEY-45977, Mercer Co KY USA
1810 - Birth: Edward LAWS-47418, Whickham DUR UK
1830 - Birth: Thomas Brignell LAWS (Secretary Copper Mining Co) -8528, Pimlico MDX UK
1843 - Marriage: William AKHURST-53443 and Kate LAWS-53444, Faversham KEN UK
1851 - Marriage: Charles William LAWS (Merchants Clerk/Ship Agent) -61758 and Caroline                        Elizabeth Kett PUNCHER-61759, Stepney MDX UK

                                     St Dunstans, Stepney Parish Church, Stepney MDX UK

1865 - Baptism: Alice Louisa LAWS (Barmaid) -3670, Horstead NFK UK
1876 - Birth: Edward Lucian LAWS (Army Officer) -3047, Tenby PEM UK

                                                                 Tenby PEM UK

1883 - Birth: James William LAWS (ARMY Private 6266) -36074, Isleham CAM UK
1887 - Admon: Annie Margaret LAWES (Spinster) -1375,
1891 - Birth: Holman LAWS-45356,
1900 - Death: John Joseph LAWS (Head Teacher Of Elementary School)-6916, Portsea HAM UK

                            HMS 'Victory' Nelsons flagship preserved at Portsea Naval Dockyard

1906 - Marriage: Charles Henry James LAWES (Motor Engineer) -121008 and Harriett Sarah                      STEPHENS-121009, West Ham ESS UK
1906 - Birth: Herbert Ernest LAWS-116068, Willesden Green MDX UK
1910 - Death: Martha L LAWS-167768, Clark Co. IL USA
1923 - Miscellaneous: Alfred LAWES (Steward & Cook on Ship) -45869,
1923 - Residence: Rose LAWS (African Servant) -45865, Cincinnati OH United States
1923 - Birth: Earl L LAWS (Sgt US Army) -37933,
1929 - Death: Margaret Jane LAWS (Spinster) -7795, Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK

                                                       Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK

1936 - Marriage: Lyle Jackson LAWS-50612 and Loretta Edith BRIGHT-50613,
1940 - Miscellaneous: William Francis LAWS (Saloon Boy on Ship) -168158,
1940 - Residence: Treen LAWES (Dealer) -47271, Margate KEN UK

                                                                 Margate KEN UK

1940 - Death: Treen LAWES (Dealer) -47271, Isleworth MDX UK

                                       Isleworth MDX UK (Overlooking 'Old father Thames'.)

1945 - Birth: Murray Charles LAWES-45410, Petrolia, Enniskillen Twp., Lambton County, Ontario
1948 - Burial: Mary LAWS-30914, Falkner Green Memorial Park, VIC AUSTRALIA
1949 - Birth: Allan John LAWS (Junior Storeman in Royal Australian Navy R66232) -115982,                      Southall MDX UK
1953 - Burial: James Horace LAWS-30912, Falkner Green Memorial Park, VIC AUSTRALIA
1955 - Miscellaneous: Cecil John William LAWS-121814,
1963 - Death: Harold Nugent LAWS (Retired Advertising Rep) -167841, Portsmouth HAM UK
1963 - Birth: Aubrey Anthony LAWS-38202, TX USA
1970 - Birth: Dean Barry LAWS-52121,
1974 - Death: Arthur James Thomas LAWS-96878, Broxbourne HRT UK
1975 - Marriage: Forest D LAWS-123403 and Joyce M JONES-123404, Los Angeles CA USA
1982 - Burial: Catherine V LAWS-37866, Long Island NY USA
1985 - Death: Kevin Lee LAWS-38391,
1996 - Death: Ellen LAWES-35194,
2013 - Death: Robert William LAWES-506, Tauranga NZ

1805 - Birth: Sallie Chapman GORDON  Confererate Hosp 22016, Wilks Co NC United States,                    (Mother of the Confereracy,)
1837 - Baptism: Louisa SEXTON-3665, Horstead NFK UK
1882 - Burial: Honor or Anna or Hannah ANDREWS (Farm Servant) -7602, Waverley NSW                        AUSTRALIA
1886 - Birth: Walter BLANCHARD-50937, Immingham LIN UK
1887 - Miscellaneous: Isabella ROWE-1374,
1898 - Birth: Jeanette COOPER-45476, Chesterfield DBY UK
1907 - Birth: William WEBBER (Railway Clerk) -34687, Leeds WRY UK
1908 - Birth: Queenie May MATTHEWS-122753, 
1925 - Birth: James Earl EVANS-122260, Springfield  OH United States
1955 - Miscellaneous: Matilda Florence MARTIN-121815, 
1963 - Birth: Sharon Ann BERRY (Accountant) -6304, Chelmesford ESS UK
2008 - Death: Hilda CLEGG-118947, 

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