Posts Tagged ‘1906’

Hadlow Down School on a postcard

January 7, 2016

I have no idea if any of my family ever went to Hadlow Down School. My great grandparents often lived in the area, but the knowledge I have is that my grandfather went to Blackboys School. However, the school was the picture shown on a card to Grandad’s sister, Ruth.

image002 Maybe I’d have relatives in that photo which is said to date from 1906 (according to the wonderful weald site at ).

There isn’t much of a message on the back.


The card was sent to my Great Aunt Ruth in 1907. The message sender has only given us initials.


No. That doesn’t convey much to me.

But, if nothing else, I know where Aunt Ruth lived in 1907.

Another card to Naomi

July 23, 2015

It was back in 2012 that I wrote a blog post called ‘Sweet Naomi’ Naomi was my great aunt, not that I ever knew her. She was, apparently, regarded by one and all as a very sweet young lady. This is the photo I have of her.

image001 Naomi was born in 1879, grew to adulthood and then contracted TB.

After a long illness she finally succumbed in 1911.

Perhaps because of her illness, she received a goodly quantity of postcards and they were kept. This is one from her brother, Jim.



We can see here that backin 1906 this was the equivalent of the text message of today. We can also see that brother Jim has used the affectionate name of ‘Omy’ for his sister. He posted the card in Uckfield in Sussex and it was franked at 9.30pm on June or July 30th 1906. And that was deemed soon enough for Jim to tell his sister he’d call and see her the next day.

Jim, by the way, became a policeman in Brighton where he lived until 1958.

Ifield Church

May 4, 2015

For virtually all of my childhood I lived in Ifield in Sussex. I was there to see it grow from a village into a neighbourhood of Crawley New Town. I am glad not to be there for all sorts of reasons now, one of which is the threat to the place from a possible second runway at Gatwick Airport.

Throughout the 65 years in which I knew Ifield (and I still have close relatives living there) much has actually remained unchanged but today, because I have a postcard, let’s look at St Margaret’s Church.


This card of the old building dates from 1906 but is still instantly recognisable.

I have to say the church was not important in my childhood. We also had a Quaker meeting house in the village and I was sent off there for Sunday school. It was actually nearer to home than the church and could be reached without any need to cross a road. And my parents were fully in favour of the pacifism and egalitarian side of that movement.

However, Dad had a good bass voice and used to sing and I recall him taking a leading role in ‘The Messiah’ when it was put on in the church.

My sister actually got married in Ifield Church as well.

And recently I discovered my dad had a baby cousin buried in the churchyard as well. Dad’s cousin Mary joined, amongst many others, Mark Lemon who was the founder of the Punch magazine.

This is not a family card. I think my sister gave it to me having purchased it but I’ll show the message anyway.


It was posted in Chichester on 14th April 1906 to a Miss Ayling in Haywards heath from her sister ‘Nance’. I have no idea who these people were but it reads as though they were having a good get together for Easter. Easter day 1906 was the 15th April in 1906. How lovely for them.

Firle Place

May 2, 2015

Firle Place would have been known to quite a lot of my relatives who happened to live in Firle. The big house was home to the Gage family and members of my family were in their employment as maids, engineers or shepherds. The house, of course, still exists but here we see it in a 1906 card sent to my grandmother.


As we can see it is a big place set in its broad acres of parkland.

Here we see the back of the card.


Miss E Stevens was my grandmother. She was aged just 14 at the time and was in service at Saxon Court in Buxted. The sender clearly wanted to make life a little harder for nosey message reading postmen by writing that upside down.


The unknown Lily surely needn’t have worried about this message being read. I have no idea who she was, nor who the Ted was who gets mentioned. Lily could have been a school friend of Gran’s.

Let’s finish with a somewhat distant view of the Place taken on my most recent visit to Firle – September last year.


An enamel sign

March 3, 2014

This sign once hung in my home village but it was in somebody’s garden so I suspect it belonged to an enthusiast. When they moved, the sign went to. Not surprisingly, as you’ll discover, I thought it was great too.


Well there we are. It was a sign produced for the Great Western Railway – the GWR. Some always said that GWR stood for God’s Wonderful Railway. Others, mindful of the rather wandering routes the line took beyond Bristol, decided it meant Great Way Round. I belonged to that group for I was raised in the area which had belonged to the GWR’s rival, the Southern Railway. I was always pro Southern and anti GWR. But hey, we mellow with age and the old GWR had plenty of plus points – not least, attractive enamel signs.

Fishguard Harbour was opened by the GWR in 1906. The sign, presumably, dates from about then. My photo dates from about 1977. The sign was not in tip top condition then. Here’s hoping it still survives somewhere.

The Autograph Book

August 6, 2013

I scan Ebay for Redruth items because my wife’s family lived in Redruth. A few years back I was doing this and there was an autograph book with a familiar name. The seller was showing lots of pictures of this item and included the name of the owner.


Gwen M Davey! ‘Surely’’, I thought, that’s Great Aunty Gwen. The one who married blood relative, Cyril Paul. And she was the one who had no direct descendants and who left money to us and her other great nephews and nieces when she died’.

I just made 100% sure and I was right. We had to have that album, which, of course, looked very ordinary from the outside.


There was fierce bidding and we went way over what we hoped to pay and in the end we were outbid. But there was a real act of kindness and the high bidder withdrew – with a condition that we high quality scanned one of the pages for him. The album was ours.

Great Aunty Gwen’s album is not full of childhood friends who scribbled trite messages. It contains works of art.


This one was created by a school teacher who lived locally in Redruth.


I haven’t identified W B Adams but what a great sketch and limerick.


Gladys Jarvis also has an oriental theme. She was probably a friend of Gwen’s. Both were born in 1892 in Redruth.

What a delightful family item – and we still feel lucky and privileged to have it. The seller thought it had been in his dad’s drawer for fifty years. If he happens to read this – thanks again for what you did for us.

Meet the Relative – Frank Toms

July 26, 2013

Frank was my dad’s cousin – the older son of my great aunt who was always known as Aunt Nellie. His father was also called Frank Toms. Frank was aged 13 when dad was born but they always seemed to get on well.

Frank was born on 12th August 1906. He was born and raised in Firle in Sussex and essentially lived there all his life. He died back in 1971.

We saw pictures of a very young Frank on the page about Aunt Nellie.

So let’s start with Frank in 1918 – a photo ‘celebrating’ World War One.


Soon after, Frank would have started work. He worked on the estate at Firle, becoming some kind of mechanic or engineer. He was always keen on motorbikes.


That’s my dad and his little sister on their cousin Frank’s Royal Ruby motorbike. That would have been about 1924.

Frank married May Packham in 1934.


That’s them looking very debonair.

Frank and May had three sons but May died in the very early 1950s so Aunt Nellie had to step in as a surrogate mother.

In my memory, in the 50s and 60s, Frank had a wonderful early 1930s Morris 8 car. I really coveted that. Frank also still had old motorbikes in the shed. Of course, I don’t have photos, which is a real shame.

When Frank died, my family connection with Firle came to an end.