Posts Tagged ‘1905’

Millers Dale

December 5, 2015

Travel in 1905 and 2008

We’ll start with one of those railway carriage prints and it depicts, as the name implies, travel back in 1905.

What we see here is a Midland compound loco on a Manchester express near Millers Dale in Derbyshire. The loco was said to be new back then. It still exists for it became a part of the nationally preserved collection of locos.

The print does not date from 1905. It was issued in 1951 by the London Midland region of British Railways. The original art work was by Hamilton Ellis and was part of a series of ‘travel in’ prints used.

I reckon this particular copy has suffered fading. The loco and carriages ought to be in a crimson colour. If you search for this item on the web you’ll see what it would have looked like when new. But I rather like the more subdued colours here.

Sadly, the old Midland Railway route to Manchester was closed in 1968. Parts of it have been restored as heritage lines and much of the area in Derbyshire is now a footpath – the Monsal Trail.

Back in 2008 we walked some of this including a stretch at Millers Dale.


That scene, taken from the track, could be very close to where Hamilton Ellis set his scene.

This is Millers Dale station with a platform edge, the remains of buildings some being used by builders, but no tracks and no trains.


Gold for Wilfred Welch Piper

November 5, 2015

Wilfred Welch Piper – known to people in younger generations as Uncle Fred – was born in Kilkhampton in Cornwall in 1873. One suspects that he was destined from birth to become a tailor and, indeed he did. It seems he was a successful one as well for in 1905 he was awarded this.


This was sometime before he became a member of my wife’s family. Fred had married his first wife, Susie Irons in 1899 but she died in 1916. And then in 1918 Fred married Beatrice Paul (known as Dolly) and as a result he became my wife’s great uncle by marriage.

Fred and Dolly lived in St Austell, Cornwall. Fred actually died in 1945 so my wife never knew him, except by repute. She knew Dolly quite well. She lived until 1963.

It is a branch of family that has almost petered out. Fred and Dolly had one son and he and his wife had one daughter. The daughter has lived in a care home since the death of her parents.

And as a result the Piper family are kind of honorary members of our family tree.

A message from father to daughter

October 13, 2015

A few days ago we saw an album that my great aunt Ruth gave to her sister, my great aunt Naomi.

The first message in the album comes from the father of those two young ladies, my great grandfather. Here is his message.


This is undated, but let’s assume it was 1905 for that was when Naomi received the album. It is, of course, biblical. I say of course because my ancestors were strict Baptists and great grandfather had a reputation as a fiery lay preacher. By 1905, though, he was racked with totally debilitating and excruciatingly painful arthritis. In 1901 he had been in Bath at the time of the census, trying bathing in the spring there in a fruitless attempt to alleviate symptoms. No doubt he couldn’t hold a pen and the message written at an angle says, ’copied for father’. I think the bulk of the writing is in the hand of my Great Granny.

The first line reads, O lord my pilot’s part perform and this is clearly based on a poem by William Cowper. The remaining lines, though, I can’t trace. Here’s the whole piece.

O lord my pilot’s part perform; (prayer)
In every dark and trying storm;  (trial)
And when the river I shall see,   (faith)
I then shall sing aloud of thee.   (triumph)

The meaning intended is, I think clear. In the eyes of my ancestors this life was merely preparation for eternal life in the hereafter. I believe this implies that death and entering the Kingdom of God is something much to be desired.

Personally, I’m not a subscriber to that point of view but I’ll respect those folks who are.

A birthday present for Naomi

October 9, 2015

We have met my Great Aunt Naomi from time to time on this blog. She died aged 32, in 1911, from that scourge of the time, tuberculosis. Maybe her young death resulted in more of her items being kept but this one turned up in my sister’s house after her death last year. I’ll class it as something my sister forgot she had or failed to interpret. Surely she’d have told me about it otherwise.

The item is a book – an album of blank pages.


This measures some 21 by 13 cms and the pages are of reasonable quality different coloured paper. In later years it might have been called an autograph album. The album was a birthday present to Naomi on her 26th birthday which was on 23rd November 1905. It was given by her sister Ruth who had celebrated her 21st birthday earlier that year.

Ruth has written a greeting on the front page.


It was only a couple of years ago that I worked out that Naomi was known as Omy. Maybe my sister was lost as to who Omy was and stashed this away in a box in the loft. And there it stayed until house clearance began. Now of course, the circumstances are sad, but I am delighted to have this memento of a Great Aunt I never knew and who, by all accounts, was regarded as a very sweet person.

Actually, I didn’t know my Great Aunt Ruth either for she emigrated to Australia but I used to enjoy air mail letters that arrived from her.

We’ll have a look at some of the messages on future occasions. They all, as you’d expect from the family at that time, seem to feature biblical quotes.

Little Horsted

October 6, 2015

Back in 1892 my granny was born in a tiny little Sussex village called Little Horsted and here I have a postcard of the place.


This photo was in my grandmother’s collection but it wasn’t sent to her. However, it was sent to a place where she worked.


I picture a scene in which Granny, then just a lass of 13, was away from her home and feeling a bit lost and lonely. Perhaps a fellow servant, older and wiser, received this card and as the message was business like rather than personal, she gave it to Granny as a reminder of home. Actually, Granny and her parents moved home regularly. Her dad was a woodsman and they lived in cottages near the current job. But Granny did attend Little Horsted School and so non doubt she knew this scene well.

I can’t fathom out who Miss House was. Unlike my Granny, she was not at Saxon Court at the time of the 1911 census. But whoever she was, I thank her for I feel sure she was trying to make Granny smile.

A Card from Eliza

March 18, 2013

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.

Aunt Nellie’s hymn book

March 1, 2013

I keep mentioning Aunt Nellie and once again I’ll say I will make her the subject of a blog one day. Today, though, we are looking at her copy of ‘Hymns Ancient and Modern’. It’s a very ordinary looking book.


When you put it against her brother-in-law’s ruler, you realise it is very tiny.


It is just two by two and a half inches (5 by 6 cm).


Its title page proclaims it is a complete edition. There are 862 numbered pages crammed into this little book, as well as title pages and a fly leaf. This has been signed by Nellie.


E L Stevens – May 1905.

This was Nellie’s maiden name – Ellen Louisa Stevens. She married Frank Toms soon after, in the summer of 1905.

When I opened the book to see if I had good enough eyesight to read the hymns (just was the answer) it fell open at this page which I have to say amused me, the train nerd. Did you know Jesus had a train?


Not a railway train, of course – a train of followers.

On a different, but related theme, back in the 1940s the Southern Railway introduced some big suburban trains to operate in the London area. Railwaymen nicknamed these trains ‘Shebas’, because according to 2 Chronicles 9:1, And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great train…

In my train spotting days, I knew these trains, rather more prosaically as ‘Subs’.