My Great Aunt Eliza was someone I met in my youth but I have very few memories of her.
She was born in 1883 and in the early years of the 20th century she ‘got into trouble’. The result was her son, Ernest who was born in 1903. It’s hard for us to imagine the difficulties this caused then with no welfare system of any kind. Certainly Eliza had to keep working – she was in service in Firle in Sussex and arrangements had to be made for baby.
As far as I am able to work out the arrangement was that her little sister, my grandmother, looked after baby Ernest. I’m not sure what family dissent there may have been but my gran, aged 12, lived with her gran at this time.
Postcards were, in those Edwardian days, the equivalent of today’s text messages. Eliza got ‘home’ as often as possible sending a card in advance to announce her intentions. Here we have such a card. Let’s start with the picture.
Although this is from a part of Sussex quite outside the experience of my family, it may well have looked familiar. George Stevens, father of Eliza and my Gran, spent his working life working in woodland but even when this was sent, in 1905, this would have been a historic curiosity.
Now to the message.
It says, Dear E just a few lines to you to say I shall be home tomorrow evening by 5 oclock train. Hope all are well as it leaves us both the same from your loving sister Eliza XXXXXXX.
The Lime Tree Cottage address was that of Helen Stevens. She was granny of card sender and recipient which makes her my great great grandmother.
The following year, 1906, Eliza married (we don’t think her hubby was Ernest’s father) but she could be a housewife and her boy could live with her.