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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

LFR 24th February No 795





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Family Events for today 24 Feb

1702 - Marriage: Anthony (Hortarius) LAWES-2966 and Jane BRUCE-2967, Woolaton NTT UK
1711 - Death: Anne LAWS-41616, Oare KEN but Burial:at Sheldwich KEN UK
1715 - Baptism: Mary LAWS-55789, Hawkinge KEN UK
1739 - Baptism: William LAWS-4212, Stoke Dameral DEV UK
1755 - Marriage: Stephen LAWS-53788 and Mary DREW-53789, Swaffam NFK UK
1770 - Marriage: Thomas FAGGE-8646 and Elizabeth LAWS-7861, Hawkinge KEN UK
1792 - Birth: Seth LAWES-119522, Hurstbourne HAM UK
1823 - Birth: Selina LAWS-34336, Radcliffe Square Stepney MDX UK
1839 - Burial: John LAWS-55392, Washbrook SFK
1844 - Birth: Sarah Elizabeth LAWS-115895, Johnson City, Washington Co TN United States
1850 - Marriage: Isaac LAWS (Coal Miner) -39891 and Elizabeth LOWTON-41968, Kelloe DUR
1851 - Miscellaneous: John LAWS (Master Mariner) -124511, Great Yarmouth NFK UK
1855 - Baptism: Charles LAWES-49554, Kirby Bedon NFK
1856 - Marriage: John STONIER Labourer & Widower) -57821 and Ann LAWS-57822, St Pancras              MDX UK
1861 - Burial: William LAWS (Agent & Farmer / 2200 Acres) -116910, Torquay DEV UK
1862 - Marriage: John James BISHOP-47490 and Harriett LAWS-47489, Portsea HAM UK
1874 - Miscellaneous: Matilda LAWES-2771,
1874 - Admon: Hannah LAWES Spinster) -2770,
1877 - Burial: Sarah LAWS-33634, Bowral, NSW AUSTRALIA
1878 - Marriage: James MANN-121535 and Sarah LAWS-121534, Walworth SRY UK
1885 - Baptism: Frederick Joseph LAWES-53869, Headley HAM UK
1887 - Birth: Albert Penn LAWS-29747,
1890 - Birth: Edgar Harold LAWS (Ag Lab) -9039, Feltwell NFK UK
1891 - Christen: Julianna Matilda LAWS-30651, Hingham NFK UK
1895 - Birth: Hilda Sophia LAWES-36945, Reading BRK UK
1901 - Baptism: Beatrice Annie LAWES-32063, Headley HAM UK
1909 - Birth: Alfred William Scott LAWS-30983, West Ham ESS UK
1910 - Birth: Robert Frank LAWS (Australian Army) -32367, Leichhardt, NSW AUSTRALIA
1911 - Birth: Helen LAWS-48180, Mercer Co MO USA
1912 - Birth: Elizabeth Jane LAWS-118762,
1912 - Birth: Herbert William LAWS-58391, Brentford MDX UK
1915 - Birth: Charles Cyril LAWS-119085,
1916 - Miscellaneous: Matthew Henry Bemard LAWES (ARMY Private 14132) -45009,
1916 - Death: Noah Madison LAWS (Farmer) -34242, Princeton, Mercer Co MO USA
1916 - Military: Mark LAWS (Bell boy?Canadian Army Private 273141) -31883,
1916 - Enlistment: Ernest Edward  LAWS- (ARMY Private 4387)5400,
1916 - Burial: Julia  LAWS (Spr & Neice)-3823, Kirby Bedon NFK
1918 - Birth: Paul O LAWS (PFC US Army)-38065,
1933 - Arrival: Albert Leslie LAWES (Shipping Agent) -51756, Halifax NS CANADA
1933 - Birth: Henry L LAWS (Surgeon)-39271, Columbus MS USA
1933 - Will  Dated: James Learmont  LAWS (Headmaster)-3286,
1933 - Miscellaneous: Walter LAWS (Druggist & Phoitographic Dealer) -3285,
1933 - Miscellaneous: Albert LAWS (Jeweller) -3284,
1934 - Birth: Francis Frederick LAWES-118739,
1934 - Death: William LAWS-8531, Camberwell SRY  Residence Stockwell SRY UK
1934 - Death: Cuthbert Turner LAWS (Railway Locomotive Driver) -4006, York County Hospital                NRY UK
1944 - Birth: Sandra LAWS-49412, Blanding UT USA
1949 - Birth: Karen Elizabeth LAWS-46941, Sheffield WRY UK
1951 - Burial: Hammond William LAWS (Insurance Agent) -35419, Dunedin NZ
1955 - Residence: Charles Sidney LAWS-123199, Lambeth SRY but death Southwark SRY UK
1957 - Birth: Julie Karen LAWS-167846,
1961 - Miscellaneous: Florence Emma LAWS (Widow) -123242,
1981 - Birth: David Peter LAWS-3545,
1985 - Death: Mabel Alice LAWS-3692, Horsford NFK UK
1990 - Death: Kambrella M LAWS-41421,
1997 - Cremation: Joan Anne LAWES-49326, Stourbridge WOR UK

MISC
1863 - Birth: Elizabeth Anne (Woollen Weaver) CLEGG-7567, Kirkcudbright KCD UK
1898 - Death: Hariet Maria STRATFORD-263, 
1908 - Birth: Alfa Riddell BARTON-54828, Emery, Emery Co UT USA
1912 - Birth: Alma Edith BLACKWELL-29730, Brownsborough, Caldwell TX USA
1938 - Death: Henry Hill FLAMANK (Railwayman) -43739, Salisbury VIC AUSTRALIA
1940 - Birth: Isabel KNIGHTS-48254, Martham NFK UK
1958 - Birth: Adrian M DRAPER (Computer Analyst) -50763, Dunstable BDF UK
2003 - Death: Mary Blanch REED-31086, Santa Fe Care Center in Santa Fe, NM

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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


INNOVATIONS 

Besides cars, the other result of the internal combustion engine was the increasing number of aircraft in the sky. With development forced ahead of WWI they had now become a practicable though expensive form of transport. Small air shows with two or three small aeroplanes would tour the summer holiday resorts seeking out a suitable field to set up their circus. They would offer a quick circuit of the town at five bob a go and give a little show of aerobatics. With a small charge for admission to the field they struggles on for a few years before going broke or in a very few cases managed to get an airline or charter business going.

As well as these little efforts, the RAF put up an annual show at Hendon which was very impressive at the time though very small beer by today’s standards. In my late schooldays I went there on my bike and found a hillside field overlooking the aerodrome where one could see it all for free. The highlight of the show was a low wing monoplane, probably a prototype Hurricane which came through a shallow dive at over three hundred miles an hour. There were still ten years to wait for the first jet engines.

Another lusty industry of my early years was the cinema. The silent screen with its overworked pianist trying to provide theme music was just beginning to give way to the ‘talkies’. Charlie Chaplin carried on without a word eating his boots in ‘The Gold rush’ but the soundtrack was with us and although it all continued to be black and white the musical was on its way and the cinema was moving into its few decades of boom years. One of the more treasured toys of my under ten years was a movie projector and its few cans of film. It had no motor and had to be cranked by hand, like the early movie cameras, but it was well made and worked well. The was no eight millimetre then and it used the full size 35mm so the films were short and ran perhaps five or ten minutes. I knew them all off by heart before long but this did not detract from the fascination of something that actually worked.   

Although the early thirties were just crawling out of depression there were more large houses being built than cheap semis. The extension to the Piccadilly Line of the Underground railway to Enfield West now called Oakwood, and then to Cockfosters which influenced our move to Southgate was an important event. Free tickets to try it out were given out to all households in the catchment area. A building project which interested me more was however was the new ice rink at Harringay. It was after we had moved to Southgate when I was able to get there, but Harry and I became regulars. 

Being already able to roller skate made it much easier to get going on ice though not without a few tumbles. At one of our first visits we were offered free admission to the evening ice hockey if we would take part in a farcical match with brooms and a football in the interval of the ice hockey. We accepted of course and I seem to remember it brought the house down. Next Monday a school I found that I had been observed was asked why I had been acting the clown.

Innovations in materials was less noticeable than other major changes but nonetheless on the way with enormous potential. Plywood soon replaced solid panels in all but the most expensive furniture. A brief reign of a few decades  before chipboard came, bring back the use of veneering which had existed a couple of hundred years earlier. In our old fashioned furniture the wood was solid and in our kitchen the knives were sharp, made before the new stainless steel became de rigour for cutlery. They had to be cleaned of course and the knife cleaner, a wooden machine with rotary brushes turned with a cast iron handle stood in the kitchen with its tin of abrasive powder nearby. There was no plastic except celluloid which was highly inflammable and used for little except toys, and ebonite which was used for a while in electrical goods. Even the plug tops for our new electric points were ceramic. Cooking pots and saucepans were iron, vitreous enamel or copper, aluminium on the way for a few years later and stainless steel way in the future. Plastic bags were a blessing yet to come. This means that few groceries were pre-packed, the grocer weighed out your biscuits from a large tin into a paper bag and the broken ones were sold off cheap.


SCHOOL 


The school was less than a quarter of a mile away. Between parallel side roads of late nineteenth century houses an oblong block held the separate buildings of the infant school, the Elementary school and the Grammar school. It was a gentle sloping site with the New River flowing south along the upper western boundary bringing drinking water to London from Hertford. The infants’ school was between the other two and shared an asphalt playground with the girls of the Elementary school. The boys of the elementary school had their play ground facing the other road, firmly separated from the girls by a high brick wall on either side of which were built the children’s loos. The Grammar school was on the downhill side of the block, separated from the rest by a foot passage which ran parallel to the High Street through all the side roads. The iron railings round the school were set in strong brick piers and gated in the same style, a line of Plane trees were well established and were as un-climbable and as sturdy as the railings themselves.

The buildings were no-nonsense and built to last. Plenty of glazed brick and most lower walls of dark colour. Classrooms were built to hold about thirty and the desks and seats all-in-one in pairs.
The first day at school sticks in memory. It was the first real contact with kids in the mass and the first contact with any authority other than parental. At that time there were no nursery schools or crèches as mothers, nor indeed, didn’t married women in general, go out to work. I started school a month or two after I was five with the worst of the winter out of the way. Mother took me and the Head mistress saw us, having established her identity she passed me over to the class teacher to absorb into the mass. The teacher kept me with her during the morning assembly then brought me into the class, found me a desk, it cannot have been very traumatic as the rest has faded away.
Our lessons as infants were the three R’s punctuated with drawing and games. The alphabet and tables were chanted in unison. We wrote and made our drawings in chalk on pint-sized blackboards which slotted into the front of the desks. Some kids were bright and some kids were dim but everyone learned; there were no options on offer. Before long we graduated to pen and ink writing in exercise books with inky fingers, scratchy pens and ink blots. Ink was still king and ball point easy scribble still twenty years ahead.

School dinners were also twenty years in the future. All kids walked home for their dinners and back for the afternoon school. School milk started however in my first year or two at school. The little third of a pint bottles turned up in the morning break and there was much bubbling noise as the last drop was sucked up through the straws.
On the other side of the road from school was the Primitive Methodist church where I went, reluctantly and intermittently, to Sunday school. Mum and Dad did not go to church but Sunday school was the one thing in those days so I went for a while though they did not insist when I opted out. All that sticks in my mind is a Harvest Festival where I had been inveigled into read a poem about a windmill. It was the only time I saw my mother in church until I got married.

When we moved into junior section of the Elementary School, the horizons of our lessons broadened to include history geography & some science. There was now an objective in front of us, the entrance exam for the Grammar schools which were themselves the first step towards better paid jobs further ahead. Classes were now divided by ability into A, B and C and school reports began to arrive, largely designed I suspect simply to prod all and sundry to greater effort. I believe the teaching must have been good though it was a bit double edged for me. The first year in Grammar school had nearly all been  done before and the need to work faded.


At the elementary school there was no sports field but we managed to have a Sports Day at a ground near Muswell Hill. How everyone got there remains a mystery but the sun shone, there were sack races, egg and spoon races and mums races and a good time was had by all. Running was never a fovorite pastime for me it was only done when unavoidable. Swimming was another matter however and we were lucky in that there was a swimming pool in the basement of the grammar school next door. Here we were permitted a Saturday morning class for a dozen or so and I achieved the great heights of a certificate to say I could swim fifty yards.   

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With grateful thanks to Simon Knott for permission to reproduce his photographs on this site see :-http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/
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