Posts Tagged ‘1952’

Great Granny lived here

May 6, 2016

My wife was lucky enough to have truly known her great granny. Great Granny had been born in 1857 which made her a venerable old lady as remembered by my wife. She may have been born in Gloucestershire, but she was a long term resident in Cornwall, mostly in Redruth where she raised her family and then living with a daughter in St Austell.

Back in 1989 we took a look at the house on Poltair Road in St Austell.


That was it, with my wife standing in front. The

photo, pre digital of course, is stuck in an album and my wife wrote a note underneath it.


Great Granny, apparently, said that had she known she was going to live so long she’d have changed out of the long black dresses. She was just short of 101 when she died.

And here we see a group outside the same house in about 1952.

image006Great Granny is at the back left with Great Aunty Dolly holding the little girl who is now my wife. The man in the photo was my wife’s father and we do not know who the other lady is.


The Spinney

April 20, 2015

A few days ago my very much younger than me sister sent me some photos of the Spinney with her children playing there. Sister still lives in the village in which I grew up and I rather thought her children might like to see their uncle in the same area more than 60 years ago. These are photos by my dad and perhaps not his best.


The spinney is a long thin wood between streams. Look carefully and you can just make out three children perched on the bank on the right.

They are my sister, me and my brother. They were both older than me so not the same sister with young children now,

Here’s a general view of the spinney back in 1952.


It still looks just the same today! This is one of young sister’s photos.


A family gathering

February 28, 2015

In my family, we do enjoy our gatherings. Most of us have always got on well together. I still find them enjoyable, good fun occasions. But this one took place more than 60 years ago. Just two of the people on the photo are still with us.


The oldest person there is the lady on the left, my Granny Ware. Actually, she was a step grandmother and had proved herself not to be very capable of looking after her step children. But for me that was ancient history. As a kid she seemed OK to me. I’m the little lad at front left. Next to me is my cousin Anne. She’s the other current survivor. Next to her is my brother, Robin. He was but 18months older than me but died back in 1980. Behind him is my mum who died in 1967 – the first of these people to go. Next to her is her sister, my Aunty Vera – mother of cousin Anne and in front of Vera is my sister, Paula.

This would have been a rare get together in 1952. My family were just coming out of total financial hardship back then. My father’s life, like many a man of his age, had been seriously disrupted by World War II. When demobbed from his role in the army, he decided he’d get fully educated and became a university student. It was in 1952 that he graduated and started to earn a bit of money. We didn’t travel much for travel meant rail fares. They were to be avoided.

I can’t identify the location for this photo but I’m guessing this was a rare visit to Tonbridge for us. But wherever it was, it is a nice record to have.

Paddling my own canoe

December 6, 2014

Back in the 1950s (and onwards) my family used to visit the loveliest of men. He was called Dick Wood and he lived at Leigh (formerly Lyghe) near Tonbridge in Kent. Back then Dick and his first Wife, Edie, lived peacefully in a council house in the village. Dick was a council worker. He made sure all was well at the village sewage works. It may sound like a job for someone of more limited academic ability but Dick was broadly read and had a huge fund of knowledge. He was a lovely chap. I hardly remember Edie who died when I was young but Dick remains a man I often think about. He really was a super human being.

Not only that, he had a canoe and here’s a picture by my dad of me paddling it. It was 1952 so I’d have been aged 3.


But this, I have to say is a work of fiction, created by my dad in pre photoshop days. Here is the reality.


Yes the canoe is on stands in Dick’s garden.

Sadly Dick and Edie never had children of their own although they always maintained an interest in the evacuee who had stayed with them. I think they quite enjoyed our family.

Shoreham – 1952 and 2001

October 16, 2014

Once again, I’m looking at a photo from 2001. This one shows Shoreham Harbour.


Well, it looks quite pleasing, with assorted pleasure craft idling away during the summer months. From time to time I ponder on just how much money is spent on pleasure craft which are rarely used.

But this time I’m also looking back another 49 years to 1952. My earliest memories come from that year and some of them certainly took place in the Shoreham area. My dad, who was a student at the time, had agreed to help with a scout camp which gave us a free holiday. And here’s the photo he took of Shoreham Harbour.


It is a totally different world, except that it was summer back then and the boats still seem to be idle. But apart from that all has changed. We can note that most of the boats today are much smaller and almost universally they are not made of wood. Most of these boats probably, originally, had some commercial purpose.

Another photo my dad took in 1952 was this one.


You might just notice the footbridge on the left of this photo. I remembered that bridge with a mixture of fear and love. I must have liked bridges even as a three year old! In 2001 I sought it out for a special photo. I didn’t actually have my dad’s photos then so I was not attempting to match it.


Good to see the old bridge still performing its task.

The Firle Calendar – 2001

October 2, 2014

I didn’t visit Firle, in the 21st century, until 2003. I think (memory does fail at times) that I bought the 2001 calendar very cheaply at the village shop. It contains twelve pictures of old Firle and one, in particular meant something to me.

But let’s start with the front cover.


Firle Beacon is the high point in this part of the world. It’s a nice image, but it was one of people that particularly interested me.


This is the Firle School football team of about 1952. I am related to one person in the photo and I knew another. Here’s the caption with the photo.

A Firle school football team c 1952.
Standing, 1 to r: Roy Quick, Ron Jordan, John Backshell, Mr Sheather, Roger Clayton, Cyril Toms, Dave Jones.
Front Row: Brian Ness, Ron Crouch, Ray Gravett, Mick Botting, Maurice Boxall, Emie Kemp, Julian Freeman.

I am related to Cyril Toms. He was the grandson of my Great Aunt Nellie


Cyril lived with his mum, dad and a couple of brothers at Crossways in Firle  but his mum died in the early 50s and his gran moved from her Wick Street house to help raise the family. I can’t say I knew Cyril well. He was ten years older than me and a 6 year old me had little in common with a 16 year old youth. His interests were normal for a person of his age but they meant little or nothing to much younger me.

The other person I knew was Julian Freeman. In fact he has featured before on this blog (click here).


Julian was the son of George Freeman, farmer of Glynde. He was part of the dynasty that had both Station Farm and The Furlongs – as tenant farmers.

Julian was always a rather quiet and shy youngster and although he must have been a similar age to Cyril, I felt more at home with this sensitive person who seemed to live for farming. Like his dad and his uncles, Dick and Harry, Julian has now died. He was very much part of the scene when we had our annual family camp at Furlongs.

As an aside, we can notice how much printing has improved in the 21st century!

Mud Pies

April 16, 2014

Back in my early childhood money was pretty tight and post war austerity was in full swing. Enjoying life meant making use of whatever was available. We lived in a place where the subsoil was thick, oolery gloopery clay. Now that clay was a perfect plaything for a small boy. With that clay you could be a bit of a potter. My parents always said I was making mud pies. And here I am, back in 1952, mixing some clay with water in an old jam jar.


No doubt I had plans to mould a little dish out of the clay – not unlike early pots that were moulded into shape by hand. But as a mere child of pre-school age I had no access to adequate firing techniques. All I could do was leave my items in the sun to dry out a bit. And at that point they crumbled away, returning to the clay from which they had been made.

But I persisted, enjoying the process of producing that smooth slippery clay – and no doubt getting filthy in the process.

And that would have meant more clothes for mum to hand-wash, for luxuries like washing machines were well in the future back then.

Woodsgate Park Bexhill – then and even longer ago!

November 1, 2013

I can’t say I know Woodsgate Park in Bexhill, but a photo shows me, aged three, at this park. That, I regret to say was more than 60 years ago for it dates from 1952.


In fact my dad took several photos and in all of them I am holding a stick with one hands and the wire fence with the other.

Somebody took a photo of my dad as well on this occasion – someone who didn’t quite hold the camera steady or get the focus right.


It was only when I inherited older family photos and negatives that I learned why my dad had been clearly keen to get these photos taken.

This photo of dad dates from about 1922 – some thirty years earlier.

image006I was clearly set up for a ‘then and now’ photo.

Typical of my dad to have such a memory.

But what a lovely set of photos for now as well.

By the way, Woodsgate Park is in the north, Sidley area, of Bexhill. I don’t think there is much parkland left now.

Meet the Relative – Asher Gad Clarke

August 19, 2013

Let’s go back a generation first. Asher Clarke (without the Gad) was the brother of my Great Grandmother. I never knew him and neither did my dad for Asher died before dad was born. The information passed to dad suggests that my grandfather probably didn’t really know his Uncle Asher for all my dad had from Grandad was, ‘Asher kept a grocer’s shop in Framfield Road, Uckfield’.

Here we’ll just say that Asher married Mercy Duplock in 1872 and Asher Gad was their first born, arriving in 1873.

We know from censuses that Grandad was right and that Asher had a grocer’s shop actually at 46 Framfield Road in Uckfield. When Asher died, soon after the 1911 census he left £247 – 17 – 3 which was quite a bit in those days. I’m not sure what Asher Gad received from the will. By then he was in business on his own account in Sussex.

Asher Gad Clarke married Ann Chilton who came from Knockolt in Kent. They tied the knot in 1895 and in 1901 they were at Dicker Stores, Hellingly in Sussex where Asher was a Grocer and employer.

By 1911 he had moved to Haywards Heath, probably a more prosperous area with a good railway service. He called himself a Draper and Grocer and by then he and Ann had six children. The third and the eldest boy carried the family name of Asher – Asher Ernest Clarke to give a full name.


Our photo shows Asher Gad Clarke outside a shop with young Asher Ernest who was born in 1900. His wife is at the house gate with daughter Emma Maud Clarke who was born in 1901. We do not know the person with the pony cart. From the dates we believe this is the Hellingly shop.

I can still find it hard to comprehend the idea that someone I didn’t even know of until the 21st century could be as close a relation as a cousin – to my grandfather.

Asher Gad died in the Camberwell district of London in 1952.

There was a strong thread of being strict Baptists in the Clarke family.  Asher Gad followed this branch of religion, as an obituary I was sent by a known fellow researcher shows.


And a word to any fellow Clarke family hunters. Don’t worry about that final ‘e’. Clark and Clarke seem to be entirely interchangeable in my family. I have standardised on using the ‘e’.

Finally, a portrait photo of Asher Gad Clarke.


I’m sorry to say I have lost my records of who sent me these pictures but I thank them very much.

My Father went to Paris

June 7, 2013

As kids we used to play a memory game which we called ‘My Grandmother went to Paris’. The idea was that each player in turn added one thing to the list of items grandmother bought in Paris. At your turn you had to give the whole list of items, so far in the correct order. If you failed you were out of the game.

My grandmother never did go to Paris but my father did and it still causes me enormous bafflement for he went in 1952. He had a wife, three young children and a mortgage. Oh! He had no income either so how on earth did he afford a trip to Paris. Later on that year my dad had earned his University degree and got a paid job. But the trip to Paris still defies my understanding more than 60 years on.

He brought me back a present – a model gendarme on point duty. Of course, I still have him.


This fellow has suffered the slings and arrows of my childhood. I’ll be polite and say his paint has worn a little thin in places.

I took a look through my dad’s Paris photio album and found he had taken a picture of the items he brought home.


Good grief! There’s enough there for the game. My father went to Paris and he bought two model gendarmes, a packet of fags, a hair brush, a couple of pens, a bottle of eau de cologne in the shape of the Eiffel  Tower, a coffee filter, a loaf of pain d’épice. Various bottles, a baguette, a bar of chocolate etc.

Now for the nerd bit. My dad went to Paris by plane and he was able to take a picture of the plane he travelled home on. It was a Vickers Viking – a sort of British copy of the American Dakota. It was operated by British European Airways and carried the name of Sir John Duckworth.


The photo was taken after the plane landed at Northolt. Northolt had 50 000 aircraft movements in 1952 which made it the busiest airport in Europe.