Sunday, August 09, 2015

LFR 9 Aug Number 602


North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

Welcome to the Laws Family Register. 

Part 3.

A Child of the Twenties

A suburban childhood of the Twenties 

seen from the Ninteen Nineties


my late fatherJohn Robert Laws 1921-2008


The cat which had used the table leg as a scratching post was known by the unlikely name of Ma. It appears that I christened it with the only word in my vocabulary at a very early age. It was an undistingushed tabby which would catch the occasional unwary mouse but would spend more time snoozing in front of the fire. It seemed that every house had mice at that time. Food was more acccessible before fridges and freezers.

The kitchen was decorated in the deco of the period. The matchboarding of the lower part of the walls was painted a light brown like the dresser, and the upper walls were done in a strong cream gloss. I'm pretty sure there were lace curtains the same as the rest of the house. Just a touch of an earlier period was the fringe to the mantle piece where the tea caddy (an ornamental tin), the candlesticks and the spill jar stood. 

The fire guard had a nice brass rim at the top, well polished by the constant touching of hands and glistened from the fire and the gaslight. Behind it was the black kitchen range, a solid fuel stove with two ovens and a back boiler for hot water. 

Much of the cooking was done on it in the winter, using heavy old iron cooking pots which must have been heirlooms. It the only heating in the house till late afternoon unless the bedroom gas fires were used to dress by. The kitchen stove was lit at six in the morning  normally by Lottie, though I remember my dad doing it on one occasion  with me looking on. Everyone else must have been out of action I reckon.

The scullery next to the kitchen saved the yellowish shallow sink and the black iron gas cooker with its brass taps from spoiling the kitchen. It was definately a workplace. the built-in copper had a fire below it to boil the wash. the mangle was enormous with big wooden rollers to get the water out  before and after rinsing. the corrugated washboard had not yet been passed on to the skiffle group. 

Clothing must have been tough to withstand the battering. It all had to be ironed of course which was done on the kitchen table on the ironing cloth conveniently kept in its end drawer. Two heavy flat-irons were used one in use while the other was reheated on the gas cooker. No thermostats on these, a drop of spit on the finger applied to the hot iron would tell whether the sizzle was about right.

The one convenience, so to speak, about the scullery was the downstairs loo was entered from it. At that time they were normally out in the garden waiting for the first hard frost to put them out of action. Indeed so were most of those of the houses built in the later building boom of the early thirties.

There was one other work area, the coal cellar, prohibited to the infant population. This too was better than the thirties houses which had coal bunkers in the garden from which the fuel must be fetched come rain snow or shine. The descent to the  cellar through a door in the hall passage was steep to go down and perhaps steeper to climb up laden with a bucket of coal, so some may dispute my feeling that it was better than going out in the rain.

The coal came into the cellar through the coal hole in the top front step which was recessed into the house to give a small porch with the iron cover of the coal hole in the centre. Four of five sandstone steps led up from street level and the coalman would carry his enormous sack up  and upend it over the hole. Needless to say, this spouiled the pristine cleanliness of the whitened step and was not a popular event. 

Personally I liked to see the patient carthorse observing the proceedings while digging into his nosebag and enjoying the enforced rest. Having delivered his orders, the coalman would patrol the streets calling 'Coal' at intervals in the hope of casual customers. Much the same perhaps  as the 'butanero' deliovering gas in today's Spain, though he needs no call, the clatter of his lorry enough to rouse the customers.

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 thing 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.

To be continued tomorrow


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Family Events from our database for today August 9th

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
1692 - Marriage: William LAWS-34220 and Mary HODGES-34221,
1820 - Burial: Mary LAWS-119605, Wareham DOR UK

                                                                 Wareham DOR UK

1822 - Christen: Richard Lee LAWS-167852, Chatham KEN UK
1843 - Baptism: Hubert LAWS-117026, Tynemouth NBL UK

                                                       Tynemouth NBL UK

1843 - Baptism: Catherine Florentia LAWS-40146, Tynemouth NBL UK
1848 - Birth: Edward Bowen LAWES (Solicitor) -846, Sydenham KEN UK
1856 - Marriage: Thomas LAWS (Baker) -5969 and Margaret STABLER-37125,
           Darlington DUR UK
1857 - Marriage: Thomas LAWS (Labourer) -45676 and Sarah GILES (Spinster) -45677,
           Emneth NFK UK (St Edmund)
1867 - Birth: Alice LAWS (Servant) -4052, Tivetshall St Mary NFK UK
                                                                  Tivetshall St Mary NFK

1870 - Birth: William Franklin LAWS-52864,
1872 - Birth: Luella LAWS-32004,
1873 - Burial: Ann LAWS-51833,
1884 - Birth: Alfred Victor LAWS-4547, Gateshead DUR UK
1892 - Birth: Frederick LAWES (RN K16307) -47689, Slough BKM UK
1894 - Birth: Josephine Ruth LAWS-119554,
1894 - Death: John LAWES (Innkeeper & Wine Mcht) -54122, Gloucester Villa, London Road,                    Reigate SRY UK
1895 - Christen: Marjorie LAWS-32817, Great Yarmouth NFK UK

                                                     Southend on Sea ESSEX UK

1897 - Birth: Lily LAWS-54183, Woodhorn NBL UK
1897 - Birth: Arthur Edward LAWS (RN M5611) -47620, Durham DUR UK
1903 - Marriage: John LAWS-49235 and Mary BAILEY-49236,
1914 - Birth: Edwin Thomas Charles LAWS (RAAF)-32322, Binnaway NSW AUSTRALIA
1915 - Birth: Wilfred Hay LAWS-52322, Saltwater Creek
1916 - Marriage: Daniel Shelvie LAWS-41199 and Grace Agnes THOMAS-41200,
1916 - Birth: John J LAWS-54805,
1916 - Death: W C LAWES (ARMY Private 10876) -45027,
1917 - Birth: Montague Frederick LAWES (Australian Army) -32403, Scottsdale TASMANIA
1920 - Marriage: William Walter LAWES (Cinema Operator) -124305 and Daisey Ivy WARD                     (Spinster) -124306, Clapton MDX UK
1923 - Birth: Stanley Roy LAWS-43857,
1930 - Departure: Betty LAWES (Stenographer)-124452, Southampton HAM UK
1930 - Marriage: Frederick Cossar LAWS (Commercial Traveller) -37118 and Annie Evelyn                        TUNSTALL-122839, Urmston LAN UK
1930 - Burial: Herbert LAWS-115487, Bembridge IOW (Holy Trinity) UK
1938 - Birth: F H LAWS (Stenographer) -117464,
1940 - Residence: Herbert George LAWES-107940, Streatham SRY Death:  Battersea SRY UK
1941 - Marriage: Leonard Owen Maxwell LAWS-35304 and Joan Irene KERR-43741, Barradine,                NSW AUSTRALIA (Presbyterian)
1943 - Birth: Elizabeth Deborah Jennie LAWS-37604,
1944 - Death: Keith LAWES (ARMY Private K/92130) -44910,
1946 - Confirmation: David Charles Allan LAWES-35188, Sydney NSW AUSTRALIA
1947 - Will  Proved: Alfred John LAWS-91407,
1950 - Birth: Alexandra LAWS-167483, Glasgow LNK UK
1950 - Miscellaneous: Adeline LAWS (Dairy work) -38836,
1950 - Miscellaneous: William LAWS (Farmer) -8076,
1950 - Miscellaneous: Albert LAWES-122989,
1955 - Death: John Elvin LAWS (Innkeeper) -123009, New Costessey NFK UK

                                                          Costessey NFK UK

1956 - Death: Jesse Martin LAWS (Farmer) -30234, Little Rock AR United States
1963 - Residence: Eleanor Jane LAWES-123603, Durley HAM Death: Winchester HAM UK
1963 - Death: Robert Howard LAWS (ARMY Driver 23672474 RASC) -50829,
1963 - Death: Edward Martin LAWS-37936,
1963 - Birth: Peter Kenneth LAWES-30586, East Croydon SRY
1966 - Birth: Karen Kay LAWS-40484, TX USA
1973 - Birth: David Gerald LAWS-53894, Atherton Queensland Australia
1999 - Death: Ronald Earl LAWS-38404,
2000 - Death: Herman M LAWS (PVT US Army) -37993,
2003 - Marriage: Stephen John NORMAN-48065 and Emily Elizabeth LAWES (Student) -48066,                Portsmouth HAM UK
2005 - Death: Sybil LAWS-43319, Rutherfordton NC United States
2006 - Birth: Julie Ann LAWS-124676,
2011 - Death: Donald LAWS-9307,

1816 - Burial: Elizabeth HARRIS-3156, Wareham DOR UK
1859 - Death: Mary WHITE-41338, Wigton CUL UK
1867 - Birth: Andrew BROOK (Farmer) -52524, Waitpinga, Yankalilla, SA AUSTRALIA
1893 - Birth: May BEST-31605, 
1896 - Birth: Eldon Arthur PURSELL-42713, Richland Center WI USA
1901 - Birth: Anna Bell HOLDEN-125483, Cauldwell Co NC USA
1910 - Birth: Violet Maud SHUTLER-43027, Ringwood HAM UK
1910 - Birth: Jessie WEAVERS-118538, Kirkley SFK UK
1922 - Birth: Walter WARD-4584, Netherfield NTT UK
1944 - Birth: Linda SISTEK-42655,
1960 - Burial: Stephen George Lawes MARTIN-57931, Worthing SSX UK
1961 - Death: Lillian WRIGHT-115437, Shepparton VIC (Una Hospital)
2007 - Birth: Elicia Florence MARK-50381, Cambridge CAM UK
2009 - Death: Florence Gale LAWSON-118718, Eureka, Humboldt CA USA

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