Posts Tagged ‘Kent’

Beryl Ware

August 5, 2016

Beryl Grace Ware was my great aunt. I do not know if I ever met her. She was the second daughter of William Thomas Ware and Sarah Jane (nee) Kesby. She was born between October and December 1910

Her siblings were Will, Cis, Alfred, Reg, Ron and Marj. Reg was my grandfather.


The picture is ‘as found’ and de-scratched and features Beryl – the little girl. It was taken in about 1916. Seated are Sarah Jane (nee Kesby) and William Thomas Ware my great grandparents.

Clockwise round – the little lad is Ron Ware, then Reg Ware, William Ware, Cis Ware, Alfred Ware and  Beryl Ware.

Beryl married Roy Harris who worked at the ‘Crystalate’ (record factory) and later at the waterworks with his father in law.

Beryl had a son, Anthony, born during World War One.

Beryl as a young woman.



Beryl and Roy Harris are the left hand pair on this 1935 photo of her sister, Marge, marrying Les Clifton.

Roy was keen on painting. This is a piece of his early work


Beryl is on the left of this picture taken at her brother Ron’s golden wedding celebrations in 1983. Her niece, Vera Sparrowhawk is on the right.


Beryl died in 1995

My late uncle, Bill Ware wrote

Roy Harris worked for the record company in Tonbridge until it was sold then he worked at the water works.

Beryl worked for Marks and Spencer in Tunbridge Well until her marriage then only part time in shops around Tonbridge

Florence (or Cis) Ware

March 13, 2016

Florence ware was my Great Aunt. She is a good example of how little I know about this side of my family. I’m not sure I ever met Cis (she was always known as Cis) but I ought to have done. My one surviving aunt on that side of the family was brought up by Cis after her own mother (my Granny) died. My aunt still regards her biological cousins as her sisters and her biological brothers and sisters as cousins although, of course, she knows the truth.

I have a few photos of Cis but I’ll show this one which shows her in 1983 with her brother Ron – my great uncle.


Cis was born in 1895 and married Jesse Ollive in 1918. The couple had five children four of whom survived into adulthood. Florence died in 1984.

The little bit of personal information I have came from my uncle who wrote:

Jesse Olive worked for the Tonbridge Water Works Company until he lost his sight. He was then trained by St. Dunstans to make basket work. Cis for a short time had a sweet shop in Barden Road Tonbridge (after Jesse’s death in 1966) but for all her married life she was a housewife.

I really ought to know more.

Grandparents’ wedding

February 24, 2016

Granny and Grandad married at St Stephen’s Church in Tonbridge which must have been home parish for Grandad. It was 5th June 1920. Grandad, Reg Ware, had signed up for war service under age and had promptly been captured and became a prisoner of war. I do not know when he was repatriated. Granny was Jessie Jones and I know so little about her for she died in 1932 with four young children. Grandad remarried, perhaps too hastily, and there was an uneasy relationship between step mother and step children. First wi9fe, Jessie, became a taboo topic which was, no doubt, tough for the children.

What we do know is that Jessie was born in Ashton on Mersey in Cheshire and for some reason her gardener father brought his family south to the Tonbridge area. In 1911 the family lived in Hildenborough.

Unless lucky, one doesn’t know much about the earlier years of grandparents. I certainly don’t know how or when the two met. I don’t know if they had been childhood sweethearts or if they met after Grandad was returned home from the war. These days we’d call them childhood sweethearts anyway for they were both still teenagers when they got married. I almost feel it is a surprise that their first child came slightly over a year after the marriage.

We do have a couple of marriage photos and here is one of the bride and groom.


By this time Jessie lived in Leigh and this is thought to be at her family home.

It looks as though Reg has grown since he bought that suit!

This is by far the best photo I have of Jessie so let’s zoom in on the couple.


Shame they weren’t smiling but I still find this a charming and moving photo.

Harriet Selden

February 10, 2016

Sometimes, when you seek old family photos you end up with rather remote relatives or relatives by marriage only. This is one of them.

Harriet Selden married my cousin five times removed – George Mallion. In my early days doing family history I rather concentrated on Mallions, largely because nobody else had. I so enjoyed sharing data and ideas with distant cousin Mark in New Orleans. It was such fun to keep discovering more.

But I have never managed to find any photos of my closest Mallion relative, Caroline, who was my Great Great Grandmother and she lived from 1850 to 1926 marrying Fred Kesby. If anybody has a photo I really would love to see it.

Caroline’s father, John Mallion would have been the cousin of George so he almost certainly knew him and his wife Harriet for they all lived in an area close to Sandhurst in Kent, very close to the Sussex border.

And here is the photo I have of Harriet Selden, a Mallion by marriage.


Harriet was born in 1833 in Bodiam, Sussex. Her father, almost inevitably was a farm labourer and the whole family can be found on the 1841 census living at ‘New House’ in Bodiam. They were still there in 1851.

Towards the end of 1854 Harriet married George in the Cranbrook district. In 1861 the couple and four children were living at Fontridge Cottages in Burwash, Sussex. The oldest two children had been born at Sandhurst Kent.

In 1871 the couple, now with 8 children were living at Old Forge Cottages in Ticehurst. This was a fairly recent move as their youngest, one year old, had been born at Burwash.

Two further children were born in the 1870s, one at Ticehurst and the youngest at Goudhurst in Kent. A granddaughter, the same age as the youngest son completed the household at Hurst Green in the parish of Etchingham.

In 1891 the widow, Harriet was in Etchingham with an adult single son and the youngest child.

I haven’t located the end of Harriet’s life.

She looks quite a formidable lady in the photo. I suppose back in that Victorian era, with ten children, you had to be.


February 9, 2016

Chilham is a village in Kent.

I first visited it (as an adult) back in 1998. I was collecting my son from University in Kent – he having completed his course. We took lunch at a pub in Chilham.

I had just acquired a digital camera and between me and my son we had a whale of a time being snap happy, taking photos at a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels.

So here was Chilham as we saw it that day.




image008I didn’t know it at the time, but Chilham has tenuous family connections. A great great aunt, born Elizabeth Wright may have married a chap from Chilham. It’s certainly in the right area for that branch of my family.


Where Bleriot landed

June 22, 2015

Amongst many things I have never done, flying in a powered aircraft is one of them. My flying experience has been limited to a glider – an enjoyable experience but for all sorts of reasons – none related to fear – I have not been known to go anywhere by jet plane, not to mention turboprop or piston engine flying machines.

But back in 1909 Frenchman Louis Bleriot took a truly giant leap for mankind when he managed to get his plane from France, across the channel to England.

Back in 1998 I visited the spot where he landed which is marked with the shape and size of his plane. Here it is.


That’s my then teenaged daughter standing (and shivering) on the plane. It is to be hoped that the surrounding bushes and trees had grown since Louis’ flight!

1998 was a mere 89 years after that maiden channel crossing by air.  At that time there would still have been people alive for whom seeing the flight would have been personal experience. It was certainly well into the era of photography and this picture (from Wikipedia) shows Bleriot and his plane back on July 25th 1909.


It was a close call for this site is more or less at the top of the famed white cliffs.

Some of those bystanders will have lived into the jet liner age. What changes they saw.

The Allman family

February 18, 2015

One of my great grandmothers was born Ada Louise Allman. I never knew her and neither did my mother who was her granddaughter. For Ada, by then Ada Jones and the mother of eight children died back in 1915.

At that time she lived in Hildenborough close by Tonbridge in Kent. But when she was born, in 1869, it had been in Hale in Cheshire. Indeed, when her daughter who was my grandmother was born in 1900 the Jones family still lived in Cheshire, at Ashton on Mersey.

Ada Louise was the daughter of John Allman and Mary Bateman who were both Cheshire born. So, too, was John’s father, William Allman who was born back in 1805.

I have but one small photograph of any member of the family. This is, I suppose, an appeal for any more. My one photo is of a young man called Arthur Allman. He was a cousin of Ada’s born in 1881 in Bowden in Cheshire which, by one of those quirks of fate was where my wife was born as well. My little head shot of Arthur dates from about 1900 and was taken in Hale.


As far as I know Arthur married Annie Hinkingbottom in 1905 and I believe they had a daughter called Jessie.

I’d dearly love a photo of Ada. In fact I’d like to know more about the Allman family generally.

Percy Kesby

January 29, 2015

Really I know so little about my Kesby relatives. One of my great grandmothers was born Sarah Jane Kesby. Percy was her youngest brother. Sarah Jane was born in 1874 whereas Percy was born in 1893 which pretty well makes him a generation younger in age. In fact Sarah Jane’s eldest child was born in 1892 – before her baby brother arrived.

Percy was born at Tonbridge in Kent which had become the centre of things for what became my mother’s side of the family.  He was the youngest of nine children born to Fred kesby and his wife Caroline who had been Caroline Mallion.

Percy married Cecelia Barton in 1913. As far as I know the couple had four children of which two (both boys) died in infancy.

I believe he had grandchildren born in the 1930s with the surname McIver. And there were more in the 1940s with the surname Norris.

The story in the family was that the marriage was not a huge success and that while Percy continued to support and see his wife he actually lived with a lady called Grace. My one picture shows Percy with Grace.


Percy died in 1962. His money (£308) was left to his widow Cecelia. What became of Grace? I have no idea.

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.

Harold (Bob) Jones

October 21, 2014

Harold was the fifth child of my great grandparents, Robert Jones and Ada (nee) Allman). He was born 27 5 1905 in Sale, Cheshire and moved to 5 Gresham Villas, Hildenborough Kent, with his family before 1908. His siblings were Mabel, Harry, Ernest, Jessie (who was my grandmother), Stan and Lily. His half brother was Frederick Jones

Bob, as he was always known (perhaps there was too much confusion with his brother, Harry) married Rose Peacock who came from East Peckham, Kent. The marriage took place on 18th December 1937 at East Peckham Church.

Harold was a member of the Home Farm Cricket Team. he is seen here, standing 2nd from right.



Harold (Bob) and Rose Peacock on their wedding day – 18th December 1937. The couple lived at Forge Square, Leigh. Bob was a forester or gardener. Harold and Rose had a daughter, called Mary. Mary was buried on 25th September 1940. She had lived for just three hours.


The 1939 /1945 Leigh Special Constabulary. Harold is standing at the back 2nd from the left. Below is Harold’s Special Constable Duty Card.


Harold at 5 Forge Square, Leigh where he and Rose lived during their married life.


Harold’s death, was on 26 6 1983.  Rose lived until after 1987.

It saddens me that I never actually knew Harold and Rose.