Showing posts with label sepia saturday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sepia saturday. Show all posts

Friday, 7 March 2014

From China: Sepia Saturday 218

I was struggling to find a picture and a link to this weeks theme.

The picture shows " the areas in Sydney affected by the outbreak of Bubonic Plague in 1900" and the suggestions for a topic are " fences, back yards or bubonic plague." Well, I have no interesting pictures of backyards, or of fences and I didn't think I had anything I could connect to bubonic plague either. However, having always been interested in things medical, I started to research around the topic of bubonic plague, or 'The Black Death' .
According to research "The first outbreak of plague occurred in China more than 2,600 years ago before reaching Europe via Central Asia's "Silk Road" trade route" and then went on to kill around one third of the population of Europe in the middle ages.  It's a zoonotic disease, meaning it's caught from animals, and in this case rats and fleas. Without treatment, the bubonic plague kills about two thirds of infected humans within four days.
So here is my link to the old pictures of China, maybe with or without Bubonic Plague:
European Gardens Shanghai
I can't find any reference to these gardens in modern times and my guess is they were removed as part of the cultural revolution in China.
Hankow Road, Shanghai

However Hankow road still exists but looks rather different now!

Picture Wikki commons
A Chinese houseboat

And this Chinese houseboat may well have attracted the odd plague infected rat!
I learned about the Black death at school but thought it had died out, but apparently a case was reported as recently as 2012 in China, and also in parts of Africa and South America. I remember this nursery rhyme I learned at school
Ring a ring o' roses
A pocketful of posies
A tishoo A tishoo
We all fall down
We thought it was sweet but it is supposedly about the Black Death.
For more on this theme go to Sepia Saturday

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Sepia Saturday 216: Three men - a mystery

This weeks prompt for Sepia Saturday is of three men in hats.

I couldn't find three men in suits but I did find a picture of three men in hats.

The picture was amongst the collection recovered from the house of Ian's neighbour. It's in poor condition but you can definitely see three men and by the looks of it they are in some kind of costume. Perhaps they are in a play or a charade of some sort? I hope that's what it was because if you look closer....

... you can see that one of them is pointing a gun at the other man. They don't look too worried however...

Friday, 7 February 2014

Master Tom Welch, Comedian: Sepia Saturday 214


The prompt for Sepia Saturday this week is of a couple around a piano. It is an upright piano and similar to the one owned by my grandfather. One of my fondest memories of summer holidays as a child was listening to him playing the piano. He lived near the seaside and when we were younger the entire family descended on him and my grandmother for two weeks, staying with them in their small bungalow. The upright piano was in the sitting room; the sitting room that smelled slightly of pipe tobacco, mints, polished wood and musty music. In the evenings we could sometimes persuade Tom to open the piano, take out his songbook and tinkle on the keys. We were enchanted as we watched him loose himself in the songs.

My grandmother told us that Tom could play anything, that he learned most songs by ear, and that often he would just sit and play for the sheer pleasure of doing so, and maybe for the memories.

When they were younger my grandparents used to take part in music hall. I wouldn't imagine this was the music hall of the grand old type, but rather smaller, local events put on for and by communities across London. In the days before cinema and television live entertainment was more commonplace.

Tom started early. Amongst his memorabilia I found the remains of this programme dated April
1913, from the Hemmingford St John football club annual concert and dance

Add caption

On the first page  just before the presentation of the swimming awards, you can see that the 'act' is Master Tom Welch, who was billed as a Comedian and was performing 'Yiddle on your fiddle' maybe sounding something like  this and 'I don't care what becomes of me'.  Tom would have been around 13 years old at the time of this performance.

Fifteen years later, at the age of 28,  Tom was still performing but this time he had a more sedate roll as the pianist at the 'Grand Smoking Concert' held after the final and semi finals of the Domino Championship, hosted by the ECDO sorters (the post office sorting department). (He worked for The Royal Mail for most of his life).


This time he was the opening act for both parts of the evening and the accompanist.

Tom also played the piano accordion, and my grandmother sang with him as a soprano. She once told me that she deeply regretted not following her desire to become a professional singer and have her voice properly trained.

In his later years Tom would occasionally play the piano at the local old folks home and day centres. When he died none of us had room in our small houses and apartments for the piano and my grandmother couldn't bear to look at it so she gave it to the church.

Tom and Dorothy


Saturday, 1 February 2014

China and other stories: Sepia Saturday 213

I'm afraid there is a bit of tenuous link to the theme this week of holidays and suitcases, but I feel that now the time is right to share my secret 'treasure trove' of sepia with my fellow Sepians, and I can't wait for a more relevant prompt.


 I have to start with a bit of background information... Ian's mother used to live next door to two elderly ladies in South East London. They were sisters and shared a large Victorian House until they were both too old and frail. They never married and Ian's mum used to help them our from time to time. When they died she helped to clear their house and acquired a large wooden chest of drawers. When they finally got to look inside, tucked at the back was a collection of old photos. Most of them are on the original glass plates, there are a few negatives and a small collection of prints. Most of them are in poor condition.

No one has ever known what to do with them. The women's father was a Captain A Edwards and I think at one time he had some kind of ambassadorial role in China and/or Japan. The photographs must be from around the early 1900s and as such must have some historical value. In our hurry to move to France we just packed them up and brought them with us and they have remained in the boxes until now, when we have finally managed to unpack a few.

Amongst other things, the photographs seem to be of life in China and the day to day life of these two sisters, who we think were the photographers. So, I suppose the link is to one great big voyage that needed more than one or two suitcases.

The writing on the back of this picture says it was taken in China but that's all I know.  We would like to be able to recover the images from the glass plates, so if any fellow Sepians have any ideas as to how that could be done we would be most grateful.  Until we can find a home for them where they will be appreciated we will continue to be their guardians and maybe share a few more along the way.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Sepia Saturday: Tom's war

 So, it's 100 years since the outbreak of the first world war. This is a picture of my grandfather Tom. I would guess from this he was around 13 years old. He was born in 1899, so this would perhaps have been taken in 1912 or 1913, just before the outbreak of the war.

Fortunately for us he would have been too young to be conscripted in the first or second wave but  he was not immune to the wave of jingoistic patriotism that made young boys feel they were cowardly if they did not do their bit. From what I remember of the story he was keen to join up as soon as he could but somehow chose or was guided in the direction of the Navy rather than the Army.. another stroke of good fortune as it turned out. Like a lot of young boys he lied on his application and at the age of 15 or 16 spent two years on board ship as a communications officer. I like to think that somehow it was realised that he was just a child dressed up in uniform and someone tried to make sure that he was assigned  to roles where he was less likely to get killed. That's what I would have done if I had been there.
I don't really know how much this experience affected him except that he always loved the sea and  eventually retired to live near Portsmouth. He came back from sea after the war, and although he had known my grandmother as a childhood friend they didn't marry for another 8 years.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Snapshots: Sepia Saturday 193

This little book was amongst the collection from my grandmother. It only measures about 4 inches by 2 inches and the pictures inside are half that size. Some are missing and some have handwritten notes from my grandmother on them. They were taken in 1924 in Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate, on the Kent coast and are of my grandmother, her sister, their husbands and my grandmother's niece and nephew.

There's something about tiny photos that completely draws you in.. you have to look so closely at them to see what they are and then they are just like looking at something a long way away.

Joan 1924

This is my mother's cousin, Joan, staring out to sea, looking at something way off in the distance! The rather unnerving thing is that, in the photos she looks just like me as a child!

Lovely 1963

Friday, 26 July 2013

Sepia Saturday 187: The family bible

This is a photograph of some members of my grandmother's family. At first I thought I didn't know who they were and then I found this handwritten note from my mother in the photograph album.
(It's a small picture and not in good condition, so you can only really make out the shapes of the people)

"from left to right:
Nan Welch's mother Charlotte Turner, nee Sayer
Nan Welch's mother's sister Gertie
Nan Welch's mother's mother, Helen Thackery (maiden name)
Nan Welch's mother's father, Luke Sayers , compositor"

'Nan Welch' was what we always called my mother's mother, Dorothy Welch, nee Turner. Interestingly those were my mother's exact words in the description, so she must have been writing this down for us, as she would have referred to her as 'mum'.

I'm veering from the point of this post now, which is about the family bible, but that is because I have just read something on the back of this slip of paper that just has to be included here!

"Sister Gertie 'got into trouble' with a Canadian in the First World War who 'passed on something to her". She was taken in by my mother's mother until treated and cured in spite of scandal and opposition from my mother's father!" (I would guess these to be the words of my grandmother.)

Anyway, a fascinating if rather sad insight into the times. Syphilis, which I would guess this was, was rife amongst the soldiers returning from the front and as this was in days before the invention of penicillin I would imagine treatment was as unpleasant as the disease.

Now to the bible. None of my family have ever been particularly religious. That's not to say they were atheists, but they were not regular church goers. We had a bible when we were at school but it was not a regular feature of our lives. My mother grew up with her parents in a house in the suburbs of London. My grandparents bought it when it was first built. When my parents got married they bought the house from my grandparents and I grew up there as well.  Families stayed put in those times and so my mother knew the parents of my friends and some of their parents as well.

I can't remember the exact details as to how this came about, but my mother met the family of someone who lived round the corner from us. They were moving house that week. Somehow the conversation turned to families and names and addresses, and the woman my mother was talking to stopped dead in her tracks and said "We have your family bible". One of my grandmother's relatives had lived round the corner for many years. (I can't remember what one, maybe her mother?). When she died the house was sold  to this family and somehow the bible got left in it.  By the time the new owners moved in and found it they had no contact details for the seller. As it was a bible, no one wanted to throw it out, so the family held on to it for about 50 years, never knowing who the bible now belonged to or anything about the names of all the people in it. Had she not met my mother that week the bible would have probably been lost to the family forever.

My mother held onto the bible until she died last year. I couldn't bring it on the plane with me as it is enormous and so my brother has it at his house.  Writing this has made me think that I should do some investigating into the surviving relatives of other branches of my grandmother's family, as we have no children on our side to pass on the family bible. It was obviously meant to stay in the family.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Old school: Sepia Saturday 176

This is my grandmother's old school photograph. She was born at the turn of the century and I would guess this photo was taken between 1902-1904.

The board that the boy in the front row is holding say "Medburn St Infants- group 4" The school was in the London Borough of Camden, Somerstown area and was built between 1873 and 1877 and from 1877-1904 took children up until the age of 11.

I'm pretty sure that this is my grandmother as I remember that expression! It lasted a lifetime!

Dorothy Turner
Some of the others don't look that happy either!
This little girl looks quite frail
And this boy looks so serious

I guess he didn't want his photo taken!

A picture tells a thousand tales.. for other stories pop over to Sepia Saturday.

Friday, 3 May 2013

A smoking break: Sepia Saturday 175

We were brought up in a non-smoking household and warned against the dangers of smoking. My father smoked as a young man, as did everyone when he was younger. In fact it used to be part of the treatment for Tuberculosis as it made you cough! He stopped as soon as it became clear that smoking was bad for you.

My grandfather smoked a pipe (and the occasional cigar, and maybe even  smoked cigarettes in his youth.) My mother never smoked and as far as I knew neither did my grandmother; until I saw this photo!

It's not a brilliant photo but clearly shows my grandfather drinking a cup of tea and my grandmother lighting up a fag. They were on their way to the South Coast from London and taking a break. It was taken around 1952, and my mother was most likely the photographer. The car was their Ford Popular, which I remember. My grandfather treated it like a treasure; taking it out weekly to polish it, and never driving it more than 28 mph. It must have taken them a long time to get to Sussex!

The other thing I noticed is how smartly dressed they are. Nowadays it would be comfortable casual clothes for a journey!

Friday, 12 April 2013

A jolly hiking holiday-Sepia Saturday 172

These photographs were knocking around in my mother's wardrobe for years. They bear the scars as both are rather damaged. When I was a child I used to sneak into my parent's room and go through all the photographs in the wardrobe. They contained pictures of my parents before they met each other and before I was born, and were full of fascination.

This group of walkers looked relaxed and happy. The man on the left is my father but the woman next to him is not my mother! She never knew who she was .."just someone he knew before he met me!" (Apparently in his younger days there were plenty of women that were interested in him!)

Thus is the same group, looking very fit and healthy. They could almost be in an advertisement for a health cure!

I'm not sure where they are but my guess would be either the Isle of Wight or Jersey.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Arundel Castle 1955 -Sepia Saturday 171

1955... Looking at the photos in my mother's old album I think it was the year she met my father as he appears for the first time. However, there were also pictures of family outings and holidays. These photos of Arundel Castle and High Street were taken as part of a trip to West Sussex, with my mother and her parents. She would have been 25 at the time and I assume she was the photographer.

Arundel Castle 1955

Arundel High Street 1955

Views from Arundel Castle

When I used to go on mountain bike rides we went all over the South Downs and ended up in or near Arundel on several occasions. From what I remember it hasn't really changed much in 50 years.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Women's work:Sepia Saturday 166

This is a photo from my mother's collection and is of her and her colleagues from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. It was sometime in the late 1950s and the Ministry was based in prefabricated buildings in Stanmore, Middlesex. My mother was a shorthand typist.
Work Colleagues Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries 1956-7

Lovely's mum
This is her on the front row, bottom right. My mother worked there until I was born. I think she worked in the typing pool, but then from time to time she worked specifically for some of the Chief Executives. She told us one story, almost as a warning of the apparent dangers for women in the workplace. Apparently one of the CEOs had a bit of a reputation and when his regular secretary was away the temps would last a day or so and then run out of the office in tears. One day mum was assigned to his office. All was going well but after a couple of days he asked her to go over to the low table across the room and look up a phone number for him. As she lent over he jumped on her back and asked her to carry him across the room! She was shocked but kept her cool, stood up quickly, dislodging him and turned to face him. From that moment on she never turned her back on him. She told us he was extremely high up in the Civil Service but she would never reveal his name, even years later. How times change! Women then were expected to just put up with this type of behaviour and manage it as best they could. I have to say her tips stood me in good stead in my working life, as I certainly came across my share of slimeballs!

My mother worked in various secretarial posts. For a long time she worked for an accountant who did the accounts for the cake factory next door. She got me a summer job in the factory one year and my job was making cardboard boxes! I got very fast at it and was then told I was too fast and if I didn't slow down they would make the rest of the production line work faster. I slowed myself down by readiing the paper at the same time as making the boxes.

Mum's last job was at the Commonwealth Development Corporation.  While she was there she met Prince Charles!

Lovely's mum meets Prince Charles

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The old boy: Sepia Saturday 165

This photograph was in my mother's collection. All the other photos were carefully named but this one had a question mark by it. "Who's he?" I said. "I don't know who the old boy is", she replied, "nan couldn't remember either, some relative of Tom's (my grandather)".

I know my grandfather's family were originally from Merthyr Tydfil, in South Wales and the family names were Price and Welch. That's all I know.

The photograph was taken at The Penton Studio in Pentonville Road and I have been able to locate some in a similar style here. They would suggest a date of between 1895 and 1903 and a photographer called Wilhlem Goebellhof.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Tom and the bird: Sepia Saturday 164

The prompt for this week shows an Australian soldier looking intently at his tortoise. It reminded me instantly of this picture of my grandfather.

I absolutely love this photo, and I present it to you as it was found; faded, wonky, tattered and blurred.  It shows him in just his vest, hair uncombed, staring intently at his budgerigar. He is standing by the back window, looking out into the garden as the sun streams in.

I can't remember the name of the budgie, in fact I think he had a few over the years and at least one of them could speak and sing. My grandfather loved music so I think he enjoyed teaching the budgie to sing along with him! On one occasion my father looked after it for a week or so while my grandparents were on holiday and it came back with a slightly fruiter vocabulary, much to the annoyance of my grandmother!

Although it was interesting to discover more about my grandfather's life as a younger man, this is the grandfather that I remember; the sensitive, quiet, slightly nervous budgerigar loving, gardening, pipe smoking man, who spent his whole life with my grandmother. I think she must have taken this photo and that's probably why she kept it all those years. They were completely devoted to each other and had been together all their lives, starting as childhood friends, marrying in their twenties and staying together until he died. Tom never did know how many sugars he took in his tea! A true love story of the time, as I don't know whether those types of relationships are so common now.

The relationships between humans and their animals are fundamental. They help to keep us sane, in touch with nature and the world, and by their very non-humaness keep us in touch with our own humanity.

Here is my more modern contribution to Valentine's day!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Snow is snow: Sepia Saturday 163

This picture is taken from the begining (or end) of the South Downs overlooking Eastbourne. It was a Sunday afternoon and it shows kids and their parents playing in the snow.

It isn't that old! (You can see the original here). I have just been playing around with it to make it look old, because the truth is, I am not sure that the scene would have been that different 50 years ago. Maybe the town wouldn't have looked quite so big in the background; maybe the jackets and clothes would have looked a bit different, but essentially when the snow comes to Eastbourne everyone goes out to play. They grab whatever they have to hand to use as a sledge and get out there! There's a footpath that goes from the golf course to the base of the downs and after a few people have been down on their sleds it becomes like the cresta run! Walking is more dangerous than sliding!

It doesn't snow very often on the South coast and when it does it makes the news. This was an old postcard I found here. It shows Eastbourne after 'the Great Blizzard of 1908'. The seafront looked much the same after the snow of 2010!