Sunday, February 28, 2016

LFR 28th February - Number 799

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Family Events for today 28 February

1718 - Birth: William LAWS-167376, Bristol Parish, VA British America
1747 - Marriage: Robert ADAMS-6511 and Mary (Mrs) LAWS-8035, Mayfair MDX UK
1759 - Marriage: Cuthbert LAWES-30688 and Isabel RICHARDSON-30689, Ryton DUR UK
1833 - Christen: Thomas LAWS (Servant) -41285,
1842 - Marriage: Henry SEDGWICK-34337 and Selina LAWS-34336, Shoreditch MDX UK
1845 - Baptism: Elizabeth Master LAWS-31590, Great Yarmouth NFK UK

                                                    Great Yarmouth Norfolk UK

1846 - Death: Elizabeth LAWS-30028, Sutton Scotney HAM
1852 - Marriage: Henry ROGERS-27543 and Dinah Eleanor LAWS-27542, Ovington NBL UK
1854 - Marriage: William WALTON-47110 and Elizabeth LAWS-47109,
1861 - Birth: James Milton LAWS (Farmer) -41184, Jewett, Cumberland Co IL USA
1866 - Marriage: Ebin Taylor LAWS-31996 and Emma Dallas MARK-31997, Fauquier VA USA
1871 - Marriage: Charles Vincent LAWS-43742 and Mary ANN MCGARREY-43743, Liverpool,              NSW AUSTRALIA
1876 - Baptism: Matthew LAWS (Scholar) -3812, Bedlington NBL UK
1882 - Death: Thomas LAWES (Farmer 66 acres) 1389, Tilshead WIL UK
1884 - Marriage: Geoffrey Cecil Twisleton Wykeham FIENNES-58762 and Marion Ruperta K                      Murray LAWES-58758, St Mark, North Aud;ey Street, St GHS MDX (RD)
1884 - Will Proved: Robert LAWES (Servant) -1260,
1896 - Marriage: Thomas Henry LAWS-37665 and Rosa Ella HEWETT-37666, Mt Vernon,                        Franklin Co TX USA
1896 - Death: Luella LAWS-32004, Warrenton VA USA
1896 - Death: Louisa  LAWES (Imbecile at birth)-1614, Homington WIL (St Michaels) UK
1899 - Birth: Pamela LAWS-119467, Derby DBY UK
1907 - Birth: Ernest Arthur LAWS-116071, Onehouse SFK UK
1908 - Birth: Robert Curtis LAWS-54508, Ashington NBL UK
1908 - Birth: Reginald Frederick Earle LAWS-50634,
1916 - Birth: Sidney Miller LAWS (Dock Worker) -50485, Kingston Upon Hull ERY UK

                                        Kingston Upon Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire UK

1917 - Birth: Alice LAWS-119202, Westminster MDX UK
1917 - Birth: Bertie Windsor LAWS-114988,
1918 - Death: Barrington Thomas LAWES (ARMY Private G/22441) -1060, Treviso, Veneto,                       ITALY
1920 - Death: John Simms LAWS-56184, Clarksburg Carroll TN UK
1926 - Burial: Mary Ann Rowell ELL (Drapers Assistant) -7698, Efford DEV UK
           (My Grt Grandmother)
1931 - Death: William James LAWES-2459, Brislington GLS UK
1934 - Admon: Herbert LAWS-117265,
1938 - Death: Annie LAWES-45398, Brooke Twp., Lambton County, ONT CANADA
1941 - Will Proved: George William LAWS (Electrical Apprentice) -39126,
1941 - Miscellaneous: Evelyn Mary LAWS-39121,
1943 - Marriage: John Robert LAWS -7648 and Margaret Dorethy MOONEY-                    7650,                  Whinchmore Hill MDX UK
           (My Parents)
1944 - Residence: Alfred Harry LAWS-57507, Fulham MDX UK
1944 - Death: Jacqueline J  LAWS (Civilian War Dead)-45096, Fulham MDX UK
1945 - Miscellaneous: Edward James LAWS (ARMY L/Cpl 2061525 REME) -121046,
1953 - Marriage: Duane Marvin LAWS (Cert. marriage counselor Mich/ Educator) -39231 and
           Jo Ann MITCHELL-39232,
1955 - Birth: Michael James LAWS-118605,
1957 - Burial: Charles O LAWS (PFC US Army) -37913, Beverley NJ USA
1964 - Birth: Matthew Thurlow LAWS-124489,
1971 - Birth: Tanya Marie LAWS-44056, Kings Lynn NFK UK

                                           Kings Lynn on the river Great Ouse, Norfolk UK

1976 - Burial: Jean LAWS-35230, Sydney NSW UK
1987 - Birth: Heather Maree LAWS-54310, Sydney NSW AUSTRALIA
1993 - Death: Rose Myrtle LAWS-48729,
1996 - Death: Evelyn LAWS-125113,
1997 - Death: Sylvia Sadler LAWS-167734, Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK
1997 - Death: Norman Ian LAWS-125123, Gateshead DUR UK
1998 - Burial: Victor LAWS-110667, Stockton-On-Tees DUR UK
2006 - Death: Tobie LAWS-34080, St Clair IL USA

1806 - Death: Elizabeth PEARSON-34167, Feltwell NFK UK
1814 - Baptism: John Summers WOODFORD-24419, Iwerne Courtney DOR
1846 - Birth: Jane A MARQUESS-5815, Hamsterley DUR UK
1849 - Birth: Charles Winthrop BLISS-55333, Northampton MS USA

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A Child of the Twenties

A suburban childhood of the Twenties 

seen from the Ninteen Nineties

by John Robert Laws 1921-2008
Part 2.

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 ptretty 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 handsand 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 winterusing 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 larer 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 coal man would patrol the streets calling 'Coal' at intervals in the hope of casual customers. Much the same perhaps  as the 'butanero' delivering 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 bt 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.

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 bt 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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