Friday 9 February 2024

Friday Photo #59

My maternal grandmother remarried late in life and thus Uncle Ted became the only male grandparent figure I'd ever have. He worked at the Leyton Orient football ground (in those days known simply as Orient) in the 1960s and frequently took me with him to home matches. Uncle Ted served in both wars, though, like so many, never discussed the horrors he undoubtedly witnessed - a fuller picture only emerging after his death with the discovery of his photos, papers and medals. Sadly he suffered a debilitating stroke in 1970 and passed away in 1972. Here we are in 1965.

Friday 2 February 2024

Friday Photo #58

Half-time in the back garden, circa 1969

As I've mentioned a number of times on these pages, my cousin and I grew up as virtual brother and sister throughout the 1960s and early 1970s - me with my Mum and Dad downstairs, she with her parents upstairs. These days she lives in New York, but we'll be catching up this weekend when she makes a flying visit to see her Mum in London. We're probably a bit too long in the tooth for a kickabout though. 

Friday 26 January 2024

Friday Photo #57

Burgoyne Burbidges & Co chemical works in East Ham looms large in my family's history. The company began trading in the Hackney area in 1714, before moving to the East Ham location in 1892. Several aunts and uncles, not to mention both my parents, worked there at one time or other before it closed for good in 1952. The land has been completely redeveloped over the ensuing 70 years, though the original entrance facade on High Street South still remains and I nod to it every time I pass by. Here's Dad aged 22 (looking straight at the camera in the open neck shirt) with some of his colleagues at Burgoynes, shortly before the company closed down. The chap with the tie and Harry Hill collar to Dad's right looks a bit of a character. 

Friday 12 January 2024

Friday Photo #56


Butlins holiday camp in the mid 1940s. Mum in her teens is second from left at the back. To her right is a family friend, to her left is her cousin Emily with future husband Matt. To Matt's left is Emily's brother Cyril with my maternal grandfather at the end. My maternal grandmother and her sister Carrie (Emily and Cyril's mother) sit smiling broadly at the front of the group. My grandfather and the family friend are the only two people in the photo that I didn't eventually get to know.

Friday 5 January 2024

Friday Photo #55


Skiers Street, West Ham, circa 1909. The young boy is my maternal grandfather, Sid (Sydney, 1896-1956). In the doorway stands his mother Elizabeth (1866-1946) with her eldest daughter Ada (born 1886). Next to Sid is his younger sister Marie (1902-1971), who I would come to know as Aunt Marie over 50 years later. I'm lucky enough to have a number of family photos taken early in the 20th century, though the majority are stiff studio poses. I don't know the circumstances behind this informal outdoor shot, but it's a real treasure - the framing and detail are remarkable. Skiers Street still exists in the Borough of Newham, though it would be unrecognisable to these ancient relatives, having sustained heavy damage in the Second World War and subsequently been completely rebuilt. 

Friday 22 December 2023

Compliments of the Season

Apologies for my prolonged absence round these parts. I've missed you all and will try to be more visible next year. Wishing you health and happiness in 2024. 

Friday 27 October 2023

Friday Photo #54


With Mum's side of the family, I'm fortunate to have a well documented photographic trail to follow back through time, as far as the early years of the 20th century - Dad's much less so. Dad was one of seven children, but there are no photos of any of them in the family archive prior to their respective marriages in the 1950s. In my whole life I've only ever seen one photo of my paternal Grandfather, a man who was born in 1889 and passed away three months after I was born in 1960. From what I can gather he didn't attend the wedding ceremonies of any of his offspring, or if he did, he excused himself from the group photos, most of which I have copies of. There are precious few surviving images of my paternal Grandmother, Alice (1890-1967) and all of those were taken by my Dad in her later years. This is Alice in 1964. I have faint memories of her formidable presence at family gatherings, which was in stark contrast to the frailty of my maternal Grandmother.

Greatest Hits