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Category Archives: family history

Special Discovery

For some time I’ve been thinking I need to clean up the frame of a sweet, hand coloured photo of me at three or  four years old, in a smocked dress made by my Mum. It’s a favourite and last week I took the photo out of the frame. 

Behind the photo of me, I found two more very special photos of my Mum and Dad in their twenties I am guessing.  I had no idea they were there! Aren’t they just the most beautiful couple?

My Mum, Cicely H M Wiseman nee Richards

My Dad. David Wiseman

 

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Treasures Found while Sorting

First in my discoveries  was a wonderful photo, caught up with some modern ones, of my Grandparents in 1919. Here is my Grandfather, the Reverend Richards, on his beloved motorbike and with my Mum on his lap and my very lovely Granny in the sidecar with my Uncle.

Next I found a little book which turned out to be the Manchester University Student Union Handbook the year my Dad was President of the Union..

I love his address to the students where his principles are clearly on show.

Lastly, for today, going through my sewing projects box, I found an unmade Clothkit for dungarees for a 2-4 year old. I never got around to making them but have a lovely young friend with a two year old. I asked her if she might like to make these for her little boy and she was delighted, saying she had grown up wearing Clothkit clothing herself. I am equally delighted to be helping her to carry on the family tradition.

I look forward to seeing A in his smiley lion dungarees……..

 

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Singing, A Toothbrush and A Cartoon

In 2013 some of our choir walked from Lands End to St Just, inspired by the March of the Women, 100 years before, who walked from Land’s End to London demanding Votes for Women. Tonight, in the atrium of the Eco Park we sang March of the Women, conducted by our leader, Claire, using a toothbrush.

Ethel Smyth’s rousing March of the Women was composed in 1910 to words by Cicely Hamilton, with a tune adapted from a traditional Italian melody. Emmeline Pankhurst (1858–1928) introduced it as the official anthem of the Women’s Social and Political Union and it became associated with the suffrage movement more generally. Info from the British Library

In 1911 it was sung on Pall Mall in celebration of the release from prison of a number of activists. The following year, the conductor Thomas Beecham (1879–1961) apparently heard it sung in Holloway Prison, where Smyth and Pankhurst were imprisoned and it is said that Ethel Smyth conducted the imprisoned women singing at their windows, using her toothbrush as a baton.  Some of you know that my Great Granny was a Suffragette imprisoned and force fed in Holloway. I like to think she may have known and sung this song.

Two of our lovely choir members with whom I sing in the tenor section. I have permission to use their photos in my blog post.

There was a rueful smile when I saw this cartoon.

Covid rules in England say choirs can only sing outdoors in groups of no more than 30, all socially distanced. Have you seen/heard any football matches recently? 🙂

 

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My Mum, Gardening and Baking

It’s 28 years since my Mum died on this day and I still want to tell her stuff that excites me or that I need her wisdom on. It doesn’t go away.
Today I want to celebrate her life by recognising some of the gifts that came from her – my love of gardening and of cooking.
She would have been delighted with us having an allotment so here are a couple of the flowers from there today.

After she retired, she used to fill in forms that asked for her profession not as ‘Retired Teacher of the Deaf’ but as Head Gardener.
She was a brilliant cook too so here is a coffee cake I have made today for the cake stall at the Redruth Butter Market stall tomorrow.

 

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Seed Head, Posy and International Women’s Day

I love these seed heads, delicate and fragile.

We left this little posy on next-door’s  doorstep as a Wedding Anniversary gift and in memory of a dear friend.

It is International Women’s Day today and in The Guardian last week, a letter writer suggested that the sports pages on this day  should be devoted to sportswomen for a change. The next day, someone suggested that the letters page should be devoted to letters by women. Well, today they did that and I had a letter published!

 

DNA, Some Family History and Daffodils

My birthday present from the lovely Mr S was  a DNA test and the results came back today. Most of it was unsurprising – 44% England and Northern Europe with Manchester, Lancashire featuring heavily.  My maternal Grandfather was of Welsh heritage so 33% Welsh wasn’t a surprise either. Neither was the 8% Irish as my paternal Grandmother had Irish in her. The biggest surprises, though tiny amounts, were the 3% Norway and the 2% Sweden. Perhaps that’s all down to historic invasions!
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/dna/origins/share/ca02ee57-0a92-47bc-9dad-018617b9e10d

Coincidentally, as I was looking for something else in my family history folder, I came across the following message from my SIL who had taken notes from one of my Father’s story telling sessions, this one about his Father-in-law, our Welsh Grandfather.

“William Richards was, in addition to being the Vicar of Cockerham, the Abbot of Cockersand, which entitled him to the right to the fish from the baulk  on occasion (full moon or new moon or some such.)  Mum used to be sent fish at college in Ripon.  Dad went with him one evening to get the fish.  Whitebait, but also salmon.”
So much  to unravel here! I know my cousins in Australia read this blog and wonder if they can add to/expand this story.
I have only a few photos of my Grandfather, the Vicar. Here he is with one of his Grandchildren. I think this is my older brother but it could be me or my cousin.  The second photo shows what a handsome couple  my Granny and Grandpa were.
I was of the understanding that Granny had Spanish in her genes but, sadly,  Spanish hasn’t shown up for me.

I bought three bunches of Cornish Daffodils yesterday and am going to take a photo each day as they open.

 
 

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School Days, Bryon and Creative Reframes

A filthy weather day so a sorting day and among the treasures unearthed was this school photograph from 1957, first year at Truro County Grammar School. We all look delighted to be there and I do remember being very happy at that school.

1957

This from Lord Byron came my way so I thought I would share it.

I love Nature more…

and this……

 

 

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My Dad

On this day in 2004 my lovely Dad died after seventeen days in the hospice, very special days that I was able to spend with him.  I’ve posted about him before but never about the days before I was on the scene. The following photos are some of those he sent home to my Mum.

They had been on their way to South Africa but because of U-boat activity, were re-routed to Nova Scotia.  By January 1942 they had arrived in South Africa.

Makoalis, Basutoland January 1942

The last one is of Dad with one of his beloved Burmese cats, a favourite of mine.

Dad with Shoshone

 
 

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A Wedding, A Dedication and A Celebration

On this day in 1939, my Mum and Dad were married.They were to have honeymooned in Paris but given that WWII broke out on September 3rd they had a weekend in Blackpool instead before my Dad went off to the army for five years.

My Mum at her wedding in 1939

My Mum at her wedding in 1939

My Dad retired early to write and dedicated his first novel to my Mum ( using a nom de plume as advised by the publishers as it was thought that women read more historical romantic fiction and that they like to read books written by women!) The novel is set in Cornwall in the late 1800’s and its background is the tin mining industry that was so important to the Cornish.

Dad's first novel, published in the US and the UK by Weidenfeld and Nicholson, in paperback by Sphere

Dad’s first novel, published in the US and the UK by Weidenfeld and Nicholson, in paperback by Sphere

The dedication

The dedication

Their Golden wedding in 1989 was a great big family reunion in Cornwall as by then my older brother and his wife and two children were living in Munich, Germany, my younger brother and his wife were in Atlanta, Georgia and my sister and her growing family were in Phoenix, Arizona and I was in Yorkshire with my family. The advance for Ellen Bray paid for everyone to come to the two week long party!

 

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Nurses’ Day, Sewing and My Mum

It’s International Nurses’ Day so let’s hear it for Nurses all over the world who do such a remarkable job day after day in ordinary times as well as in extraordinary times. 

Last night I sewed the buttons onto my last four scrub caps which will be collected by Cornwall Scrubs for distribution soon. A friend posted two caps for me the other day and yesterday  I received a message of thanks from a Nurse on ICU in Doncaster whose Mum has been a very dear friend of mine for many, many years.

Yesterday I posted a photograph of my lovely Mum and one of my cousins who lives in Australia wrote a comment about how alike our Mum and her Dad were at similar ages. I think they looked alike from being very young as the following old photo, taken in about 1920, shows.

 

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