Friday, February 26, 2016

LFR 26th February - Number 797

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Family Events for today 26th February

1744 - Marriage: Jeremy GOOCH-2000 and Elizabeth LAWES-2001, Norwich NFK UK

                                                     The Cathedral, Norwich NFK UK

1803 - Birth: Mary LAWS-3587, East Dereham NFK UK
1803 - Birth: Mary LAWES-323, 
1824 - Birth: Sarah LAWS-116989, Ovingham NBL UK
1824 - Birth: Sarah LAWS (Spinster) -3200, Edinburgh MLN UK

                                                         The Castle Edinburgh NFK UK

1831 - Birth: Samuel LAWS (Passengers Butcher on Ship) -7580, Chertsey SRY UK
1832 - Burial: John LAWES-53336, Forton HAM UK
1837 - Death: James LAWS-29155, 
1837 - Baptism: Edward Robert LAWS-3150, Wareham DOR UK

                                                                 Wareham DOR UK

1838 - Birth: John LAWS-55392, Washbrook SFK UK
1841 - Marriage: James LAWS-42527 and Christiana SMITH-42528, 
1847 - Birth: Annie LAWS-41275, Tynemouth NBL UK
1848 - Will: Panter LAWES-30313, Somerset County, MD United States
1854 - Christen: Robert LAWS (Carman) -3091, Chatteris CAM UK

1868 - Birth: Jemima LAWS (Bead Worker /Trimming Maker) -5999, Mile End MDX UK
1872 - Birth: William A LAWS-125493, 
1873 - Death: Henry George LAWS (Silversmith) -6718, Stockwell SRY UK
1894 - Death: James Madison LAWS-124323, Jersey City Heights NJ USA
1898 - Birth: Ivy Katherine LAWS-118657, 
1898 - Will Proved: Mary LAWS (Widow)-7732, 
1901 - Birth: Dorethy Gladys LAWS-30145, Cowra NSW AUSTRALIA
1908 - Birth: Howard Sterling LAWS-29727, Gail, Borden TX USA
1912 - Birth: Alfred O LAWS (PVT, US Army) -146167, 
1912 - Birth: Albert Oran LAWS (PVT US Army)-37880, Loveland, Larimer, CO USA
1917 - Death: Henry James LAWES (ARMY Private 5130) -41366, 
1922 - Marriage: Victor George LAWS-42779 and Alice Annie COOK-42780, Kensington MDX                 UK
1924 - Burial: Edward Robert LAWS (Sawyer / Widower) -3888, Parkstone DOR UK
1926 - Burial: Phillip Edward LAWS-120021, Port Pirie, South Australia (Common Protestant                      140/13243)
1929 - Miscellaneous: Herbert Arthur LAWS-9215, Whitley Bay NBL UK
1930 - Will Proved: Mary Jane LAWES (Widow) S-2897, 
1933 - Burial: Robert LAWS (Nephew / Market Gardener) -3824, Kirby Bedon NFK
1934 - Miscellaneous: Edith Amelia Harriet LAWS (Spinster)-8867, 
1934 - Admon: Bernard 'Frederick' Treen LAWES (Cab Proprieter) -3392, 
1941 - Burial: Victor Lorraine LAWS (Lorry Driver)-42877, Cowes IOW UK
1942 - Death: William Walton LAWS (Harness Maker & Storekeeper) -13674, 
           Newcastle upon Tyne NBL UK
1951 - Burial: Doris Hilda LAWS-157289, Harrow Weald MDX UK
1951 - Residence: Doris Hilda LAWS-157289, Stanmore MDX UK
1952 - Miscellaneous: Gwendoline Ridley LAWS-121598, 
1952 - Miscellaneous: Anthony LAWS-4953, 
1955 - Marriage: Brian LAWES-50637 and Sylvia BINNS-50636, Keithley WRY
1959 - Miscellaneous: Jesse Charles LAWES (Catering Advisor) -118590, 
1959 - Miscellaneous: John Francis LAWES (Bakers Clerk -116473)
1959 - Estate to: Evelyn Louisa LAWES (Widow) -124281, 
1962 - Marriage: Bert Dean JACKSON-49413 and Sandra LAWS-49412, Blanding UT USA
1973 - Birth: Lydia L LAWS-40565, TX USA
1975 - Birth: Kelvin Frederick LAWS-40586, TX USA
1997 - Will Proved: Alexander Albert LAWS-119084, Ipswich SFK UK
2005 - Burial: William J LAWS (US Air Force) -42335, Morgan, Brsh C. CO USA
2010 - Death: Vanessa LAWES-115072, 

1801 - Christen: Elizabeth AGNEW-30613, Yarmouth, Norfolk England,
1850 - Birth: Sarah E HOLMES-48452, Syracuse NY USA
1860 - Death: William PEEL-43982, 
1865 - Death: Matthew M CRAWFORD-56448, 
1873 - Birth: John M HARRELL-167518, 
1900 - Birth: Charles McClelland CARMICHAEL-48726, IL
1903 - Birth: Janet HERIOT-118356, Norwich NFK UK
1904 - Birth: Elsie GREEN-123532, 
1904 - Birth: George Henry SCHOFIELD-34021, Middleton, Oldham LAN UK
1913 - Death: Mary MILLER-48191, St Louis MO United States
1929 - Will  Dated: Alice QUINN-65477, 
1950 - Death: William MURPHY-118269, Greenock RFW UK
1951 - Death: John Wilfred  LEROY (Raiway Carpenter)-42236, Camperdown NSW AUSTRALIA

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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


The large playing field had room for several football and hockey pitches or for cricket in summer as well as grass tennis courts. Sport was encouraged and every Saturday morning there were a big turnout of teams to compete with other schools. I was no good at football and played in the fifth eleven which regularly lost by astronomical scores. Cricket was a little better and I reached the second eleven without any great success.
The one sport that interested me was swimming. Having learnt to swim at elementary school, I continued to enjoy it and as the years went by more and more public pools opened up. The first one I used was the old indoor pool at Wood Green. (me too)

I do not know when this one was opened but my mum & dad had used it before my time. I first used it before I could swim properly and I was so small that the water in the shallow end came up to my chin. Being an indoor pool it was heated. The only other indoor heated pool I came across was somewhere in Tottenham, where I went and swam in a inter school gala, the details of which escape me. The first of the ‘new’ open air pools was the Hornsey pool situated between Crouch End, and ‘Ally Pally’. It was fine in the summer sunshine and Harry and I used it a few times, before we moved away from Wightman Road. After that we cycled out at weekends to the new pool at Enfield which was more spacious, after swimming we cycled back more slowly with protesting muscles.

Having moved to Southgate, most of my swimming was done in the open air pool at Barrowell Green. This was an old pool and a little cramped but I spent many happy hours there (instead of doing my homework). The pool was supposed to get a bit of heat from the dust destructor furnace next door but this must have been minimal as the temperature in the early part of the season was often 60-61F, All our school swimming was at this pool and we could get cheap tickets at school (one old penny) for use out of school hours. 

Unless it was raining, when you could have the pool almost to yourself, there was always a crowd of school friends there, sunning, swimming, fooling and flirting. It was a sign of the changing times in the thirties that while this old pool had no car park, just a cramped bicycle area, the new pool at Enfield had a large car park. The latest pool completed in my schooldays was at New Southgate in Durnsford Road. This was the only one I knew with full height high diving boards. This kept the pool noticeably colder than the others and it did not become popular except in very hot weather.  


There was little opportunity to wander until going to school opened up new horizons. Once the short walk to school was permitted unaccompanied and a few friends were known the range of life extended. The familiar places were visited first, the lake in Finsbury Park with its ducks, swans and boats was known already, but now more time was spent with the slides and swings than feeding the ducks. 

It cannot always have been summer though because the lake froze and the ducks sat back on their tails as they landed. Once or twice there were even skaters on the ice skating serenely round the island that normally gave the ducks refuge from human intruders. These short periods of snow and ice and frozen lead pipes which burst are all that early memory holds of winter. Toys and books must have pushed the cold and wet into the background. Even pea soup fogs belong to later childhood.

It seems not long till we found there were other open spaces besides Finsbury Park. Another half mile towards London was Clissold Park. Its sole claim to fame was having a smaller boating pond with canoes which children could take out on those rare occasions when enough pocket money had been saved.

The opposite direction was more rewarding. Ally Pally (Alexandra Palace) stands on its hill looking south out over London through the haze of a coal burning suburbia. Surrounded by its few acres of green it still had its four chateauesque corners intact before Satan unleashed the telly against humanity. 

We could wander its empty halls and eat our sandwiches beside the pond while the sun shone. (I learnt to row on that pond) Not far from there were the woods, Queens Wood, and Highgate Woods, shady but not thicketed, a small wanderer’s delight. Apart from the occasional dog taking itself for a walk, the animals were only squirrels. The fox had not discovered the joys of urban life and the smaller rodents were not obvious.

 The acquision of roller skates which extended the range of wandering on foot from three or four miles distance, to twice that range. I was able to go off for the day with one or two other roller skating fanatics and a supply of sandwiches and lemonade and could get to such fascinating places as the River Lea and Epping Forrest. 

Watching the lock gates working as barges were pulled through by enormous horses on the towpath filled idle summer hours in those times when the days and the weeks were longer. What we called the River Lea was the canal of course, the remains of the river we called the Old Lea but except in times of flood it was a rather trifling stream. The canal carried the fuel for the power station at Enfield and also a lot of timber for the various timber yards along its banks. This was all brought from the then very active docks in London and the canal ran north as far as Hertford in territory I could not explore until I got a bike. 

The numerous miles covered on our roller skates on the abrasive stone paving wore their steel wheels smaller and smaller till at last the ball bearings escaped and hard saved pennies had to be spent inlays Street market where anything could be bought including skate wheels. (Me too)

I already knew the forest from visits with my father, sometimes with the rest of the family. He knew the area well and no doubt also wandered there as a boy having lived at Tottenham. It sometimes seems that, despite memories, one was less observant as a small child. Despite natural curiosity there is a much smaller base of knowledge with which to compare things. Trees are mostly just trees and only very noticeable birds stand out from the mass, there were squawking Jays flashing away in the trees and newts and tadpoles in the ponds. There were snakes and deer there too but I never saw any deer and only once an adder. The squirrels seemed to have had it to themselves, even the rabbits that overran the countryside kept to the edge of the woodland. For wandering boys the wandering was an end, a joy in itself.

Later wandering became more organised. This started with Scout camps. First came, the Cubs one Whitsun, no further afield than Hatfield Park, then others including Gilwell, the Scout Mecca of which the most memorable item was the rather primitive swimming pool where we were allowed to swim naked, and a joy rarely available to a town dweller. 

We travelled to these camps in the back of a lorry and scarcely noticed the discomfort as it was different and cheap. Everything had to be cheap. The sun did not always shine and when we went to Downe in Kent our lorry got us there after dark in a pelting rainstorm in which we set up our tents on a site we could not see. After that I think I slept soundly, perhaps the ground was softer for the rain. 

That camp our swimming was in the river Test, it was icy, small boys must be quite mad. Swimming seems to have been the main attraction of these camps. At Hayling Island, then little built up, we swam in a sandy inlet where the temperature of the English Channel was moderated by the warm sand as the tide came in.

To be continued tomorrow
Part 16

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