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. 

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