Posts Tagged ‘1910’

The Scottish Flyer

September 2, 2016

It was wild and windy and cold at Ettrick Bay. We went in the café and had a hot chocolate. We could admire the place and have some warmth. I became aware of a plaque. It was a memorial to a pioneer Scottish flyer – Andrew Blain Baird.


The wide flat beach was, no doubt, ideal.


We were looking across to the bottom end of the Kames Peninsula with Kintyre beyond.

This Wikipedia photo shows Baird in his plane in 1910.


Apparently the anniversary of his flight is now celebrated by a Baird of Bute day with lots of flyers and spectators on or over the beach.

I had never heard of this flight pioneer. I’m pleased to know more.



A favourite record

December 16, 2015

Regular readers will know of my taste for 1920s and 30s dance band music, along with jazz. I have a large collection of records on 78rpm shellac discs. OK, the sound quality is not perfect, even on one in good order, but I say it sounds authentic. My favourite records – I couldn’t pick just one, would be from the mid 1920s and would be a jazzy sounding dance band record. Maybe something played by the Savoy Havana Band would come near the top of the list.

This record isn’t strictly an absolute favourite, although I enjoy it. Rather it is a Favorite.

Here it is.


You can see Favorite is the record label.

I find it a fascinating record, of its era. And I believe its era is handily given on the label as 16.12.10 or 16th December 1910. That’s 105 years ago today.

Back in that era electricity was not used in the recording of music. Sound from instruments travelled through the air to a horn which concentrated the sound on a needle which cut a groove in a disc. Some instruments really had a sound which was a bit thin for this process and didn’t record well – notably the violin. Brass instruments were much better. Their sound blasted out of a horn and could be gathered up by the recording horn. But another instrument which seemed to record well was the xylophone and here we have a xylophone leading a brass dominated orchestra in a rendition of a tune called Pinkie’s Revels. Mr R White is on the xylophone.

The recording was made in London but the records were pressed in Linden. That’s in Germany.

You can hear the record by clicking here.

A footballer in the family

November 16, 2015

I suspect many of us make similar mistakes when we start genealogy. We all seem to like to collect names. Sites like genes reunited seem to make play of having a big family tree and I know, from asking questions of people, that many have people on trees that are relatives of in laws – so not really related to them at all.

Well Joseph Frost is related to me but maybe he’s more distant than I’d bother too much about these days. He is a fourth cousin once removed. This means that we share less than 2% of our ancestry and we are therefore 98% not related. But here we’ll just hang on to that not quite 2% for I have a photo which I think is Joseph. It came from a book about Heathfield.


Young Frost is sitting on the right hand end of the middle row of three players. He was a member of the Heathfield United Football Club for the 1909-10 season. Heathfield is in East Sussex.

Joseph was born in about 1885 in Burwash. In 1911 he was living in Heathfield with his parents and a brother. Joseph was a house painter by trade.

However distant, it is lovely to find an image of a relative in a local history book.

A Ditchling card

November 23, 2014

Ditchling is a village in Sussex.


This is a scene I remember well from my own childhood although this card was sent nearly forty years before I was born. It shopws the V shaped plantation of trees on Ditchling Beacon. They were planted in 1887 to mark the Golden Jubilee of the queen. Hence the V for Victoria.

This mark was something we looked out for on our journeys to and from camp. I daresay we sometimes saw corn stooks in the fields below the V as well.

The card was sent to a Miss Frost, just over the downs in Brighton.


I have no doubt that Miss Frost was a relative of mine – this card was in the possession of my grandmother. But I haven’t identified just which Miss Frost this was. Her initial appears to be ‘A’.


Miss A Frost  was obviously at 58 Warleigh Road in 1910. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there in 1911 for the census. Her identity remains a mystery to me. So, too, does HGH who sent the card.

A birdcage

September 23, 2014

Now actually, I’m of the opinion that birds should be free. I really can’t approve of them being shut up in cages.

But no worries – for this is not about a cage for birds. Some might say this is sad, but it is about a railway carriage – this one.


This carriage is called a birdcage and was once part of a three carriage set.

What makes this a birdcage is the raised roof over the guard’s van.


This raised section allowed the guard to look over the roof of the train and make sure all was well with all parts of the train he was guarding.

The carriage dates from 1910, but coaches like this, albeit not so handsomely painted, were still around when I was a train-spotter in about 1960. I remember them with some affection. It’s possible my grandfather may have had the odd turn in one of those carriages, although he always preferred to be a guard on  goods trains.

This carriage was built at Ashford for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway.


I have very little doubt that there is a real family connection with this coach. At the time of the 1911 census my relative Norton Ware (he’d have been my grandad’s great uncle) worked in the carriage department at the railway works in Ashford. He was a timber converter and he had the same job in 1901. As far as I know timber conversion meant turning a tree into usable timber – so quite an early job in the production of a wooden bodied railway carriage. But I feel sure that the timber in this carriage must have passed through Norton’s hands.

I regard this carriage as almost a family piece!

Another Postcard from Great Granny

July 2, 2014

Do you know what? I feel very fortunate that I descend from a line of hoarders. I couldn’t feel more pleased that my granny kept postcards and her children kept them too. And now her grandchildren keep them and with luck they’ll survive into another generation in the future. Today I have a postcard which was written by Great Granny – Sarah Ann Stevens – to Granny – Ethel Kate (née) Stevens. Great Granny was born in Butley in Suffolk in 1850 but moved to the Isfield area of Sussex. Granny was born in that area in 1892 and when the card was written she was a maid, a few miles away at Buxted.


I’d better say that I don’t think the lucky black cat worked for Granny. She went through the trauma of having a child before she married and having to give the babe away. A First World War obviously made life hard and prosperity never came her way. But her health was good until she had a stroke in old age.

As ever, it is the other side which is more interesting.


So this was Granny, in service at Saxon Court. The card was posted on Feb 28th 1910. Gran would have been 18 then. The message is round a right angle, just to make it a bit harder for the postman to read.


I’m not sure why Great Granny felt a need to try to make it harder for the postman to read. I’d have thought her handwriting and lack of punctuation did that quite well.

Here’s what I make of it.

dear Chicks (a regular affectionate name for Granny)

I hope you will like puss hope you will look after her well give her plenty of milk

What lovely weather we having hope you not blowd away with love from Dad & ????? Pom Pom and all that’s with love from Mater


Messages like this, with all is flaws and imperfections, turn great granny who died more than twenty years before I was born into a much more real person. My granny was her youngest child and it seems as though Great Granny still thought of Ethel or Chicks as her baby.

Yes, I feel very lucky.

By the way, Granny’s child, born before marriage, (but my grandfather was the father) was a well-kept family secret which only came to light with the power of the internet and various people doing genealogy. I’m pleased to say I was able to meet my unknown aunt and what a lovely lady she was,

A Mystery Post Card

August 5, 2013

I do love the fact that we have so many post cards from the Edwardian era that link to the family. Some give little bits of family information. Others cry out for more so that we can know who they were from. This is one of the mystery cards – from an unknown sender.

The picture is cute.


The card was sent to my grandmother, whilst she was in service in Saxon Court in Buxted in Sussex.


As is often the case, a stamp collector has been at work so we can’t get an actual posting date, but we know that Gran was in service at Saxon Court from about 1906 to 1912. The card was posted in Steyning which may have been Hove, actually. Many girls from Sussex ended up in service in Brighton and Hove.

Our sender has written most of the message at right angles to the address.


My Dear E

Many thanks for your nice letter, I will try and write one to you in a day or so. What lovely showers of rain we have had. Have you started haymaking around Buxted yet.

And then we have to turn the card again.


Kind love to you from all at home. May XXXXX.

So, we can judge that the card was sent in May/June time for the start of haymaking and that having asked that question, we can guess that May was a country girl. But we are not certain at all as to who she was.

A possible card sender was Mary Elizabeth Allen who was Granny’s cousin. Like Granny, Mary was born an Isfield girl and she was in the environs of Brighton for the 1911 census – actually registered in the Steyning district. I never met her, and do not know if she called herself May but the ‘from all at home’ part of the message implies to me that she meant the Isfield area. Maybe she had recently visited her mum who was a widow by that time.

I suspect it will remain a mystery and I’ll never be certain who sent the card

Family history in an Airmail from Australia.

March 10, 2013

A couple of my dad’s aunts emigrated to Australia. One went with husband and young son in the early 1920s. The other followed, as a spinster, in the 1930s.

I never met either of them. In my childhood the idea of going to Oz was just out of the question. But both aunts, from time to time sent back letters. The one I am looking at today came from Ruth who went out in the 30s.

The letter was sent to my dad and arrived in 1950. In 1949 we had left the remote cottage where I was born and had settled in a village called Ifield. Great Aunt Ruth comments on Ifield in her letter. She is also writing about her sister, Mercy, who actually lived quite near us in my childhood at a place called County Oak.


This extract reads:

…Mercy so glad you are able to see her some times. The last time I was at Ifield was when her baby Mary was buried in the old church yard there.

I lived in Ifield for most of my childhood and never knew my dad had a baby cousin buried in the churchyard. But I presume my dad did. For he had received and presumably read this letter.

Now Aunt Mercy was Mercy Edwards. I knew when she married and when other children were born so it didn’t take long to find that Edith Mary Edwards was born in the last quarter of 1909 and died in the first quarter of 1910. There are no others that fit so I can salute the little baby who was a relative for a short while. I am pleased that I can tell the tale and I wonder if other members of the family got to the burial in Ifield. I still have relatives in Ifield so sometime I’d better look in the church yard, but I doubt there’ll be a stone.