Thursday, 27 March 2008

Dad’s Personal Record Book


Dad’ kept a sort of diary for about fifty years. The majority of entries were related to deaths and funerals with other major items being family births, christenings, visits from GB and family from the Hebrides, the receipt of letters from Big Frank, the occasions on which Walter called in on holiday from Australia, and so on.

I have just gone though it in its entirety and put the more important entries into chronological order. Gradually I shall add my own entries from my diaries, together with Nana’s birthday book and so on. I don’t know what the ultimate purpose will be but it’s yet another project to keep me out of mishief.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The Ensign


More wheels from the past – GB’s first car, a Standard Ensign. It is parked outside the cottage of our first cousin once removed – Flora Scott (née Jarvis) on Anglesey. I wouldn’t mind having the cottage or the car nowadays!

Friday, 14 March 2008

Agnes Rothwell


Among the few items of family history interest that Dad possessed was this card. It was a not uncommon practice to provide memorial cards or silk bookmarks as mementos when someone died. But who was Agnes Rothwell?

Dad’s sister Agnes
Dad’s elder sister was baptised Agnes so it was obviously a family name. Often one would be named after a grandparent and Dad’s father’s mother was born Agnes Thompson before becoming Agnes Edwards when she married Edward Edwards, a fruit merchant. Dad’s dad was born in 1874 so his mother could easily have been born around 1847 which was when Agnes Rothwell was born. Did Edward die before her and did she then re-marry to become Agnes Rothwell?

Pension Claim

I haven’t quite reached pensionable age but I suspect that when I do the DHSS (or whatever it is called nowadays) will tell me. They will also be able to tell me where and when I was born and anything else that matters with the possible exception of my shoe size. The whole of our life is now computerised and cross-referenced.

In Nana and Grandpa’s day things were a bit different. As a result we are left with copies of a couple of interesting documents that they completed in 1948 when they were aged 70 / 71. The only reason that Uncle Eric managed to keep the forms seems to be that at the first attempt they accidentally signed the backs of the wrong ones (Nana’s signature was on the back of Grandpa’s claim and vice versa).

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Miss Smith’s


Miss Smith’s – as Priory High school, Broad Green was popularly known – was held in the building mentioned in the last but two blog posting – the Mission Room. This was Mum’s school report at the age of 9. It was the only report she kept – perhaps because it was the only time she got excellent for arithmetic, a subject she loathed.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Global Warming


In sorting all the papers, photos and slides in the loft I have come across this piece of schoolwork by Helen when she was aged 8. Now we know who to blame for global warming.

Ration books


Some ration books from the Second World War.

Mum’s grocery one named Mrs Judson as her supplier, of course.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Mrs Judson’s


All this has changed! It used to be where the Liverpool end of the M62 now meets Queens Drive. My colour photo looking towards the Rocket was taken at the end of the sixties. The former cottages, once known as Childwall View had been shops since my Mum was small and the far end one – Mrs Judson’s – was the local grocers. Not sure whether any of it survives or in what form.

The cottages on the left at the end would really have had a view of Childwall at the end of the Victorian era before the houses opposite were built and the trees planted.

When Mum and Dad moved into Renville Road the Judsons continued to be their grocers with Mum and I walking around there to shop. It was a real ‘corner shop’ and seemed to stock everything despite only being big enough for a three or four customers to stand in it at a time. Later, I would go on my own with a list and a large rucksack to do the shopping on a Saturday morning. That rucksack was heavy by the time it was filled but I would never admit it! Later still Mr Judson Mum used to phone the list in and Mr Judson would deliver the groceries in his Morris Minor Countryman.

On the right of this 1973 picture – looking towards The Fiveways, the opposite way to mine - is The Mission Room. This was Miss Smith’s Preparatory School when Mum was small and she and Uncle Eric went there. When GB and I were small it was the Sunday School room for St David’s Church and he and I went there though my stint was only brief. I recall falling backwards off the bench and banging my head. That was all the excuse I needed to convince Mum to let me stay at home.

At the end of the sixties the shop at the opposite end of the row was briefly a sales outlet for Ron Baker’s paintings. Ron’s painting name was Cazier and I shall show some of his pictures on a future blog when I can find the slides. When I was in the sixth form I would often call in on my way home from school and talk to his attractive wife while deciding how long it would take me to save up for a painting. I bought two and then had a commission painted from my own slide of Great Gable.

Monday, 10 March 2008

Mum and Dad and the Lake District


In the 1930s Mum (and later Mum and Dad) stayed at Mrs Ullock’s farm at the head of Wast Water. It was their youthful equivalent of Mrs Roscamps in Grange-in-Borrowdale where we were to stay throughout the 1960s and early 70s. This photo was taken outside Mrs Ullock’s in 1967 but it was assumed she had long since departed this life.

Great Gable from Mrs Ullock's.

That same year – Dad’s 59th and Mum’s 58th – they climbed to the top of Scafell Pike, the highest spot in England at 3209 feet (978 metres). At the time I thought it marvellous that they should accomplish this. Though GB has followed in their footsteps by climbing Clisham (‘only’ 2622 feet but from a lower starting point) recently, I no longer think it marvellous, I think it bloody marvellous. I am so unfit, especially since giving up the caravan and its walks, that two flights of stairs knock me out!

Dad, Phil and Mum at the summit of Blencathra.

And on Haystacks – with Phil in his infamous red socks which were always the subject of much comment!.

Sunday, 9 March 2008



A reader of this blog recently asked for more pictures of GB from his schooldays – with the implication that the more embarrassing they were the better. How about this post-school one instead – a serious pose from 1962 at Renville Road.

And the same year on a Scottish hillside.

And with Phil, Dad, and me (now that is embarrassing!) at Killin in the heart of Scotland, also in 1962. (Killin has a wonderful website with thousands of old photos -

Friday, 7 March 2008



Sign of a mis-spent youth?

Tunnel Tickets


Sorting through some of Uncle Eric’s memorabilia I came across a couple of Mersey Tunnel tickets. The tunnel hasn’t issued tickets for years! In those days you paid per person not per vehicle – these are two 2d tickets for two adults. Children’s tickets were a different colour. Uncle Eric, Mum’s brother, was a man given to methodical and logical retention of documentation and objects. All his electrical goods were kept in their original boxes! But rarely does the sentimental side show through. Strange through it may seem, these tunnel tickets are one example of it – they are from the day in 1955 that he drove through the tunnel to Nana and Graqndpa’s house in Liverpool for his wedding.

On 3rd September 1955 Uncle Eric (Eric Spencer Body) married Doris at the Registry Office in Brougham Terrace. The reception was held at Nana and Grandpa's - 46 Queens Drive. Dad was the photographer and the photos were taken in the back garden at 46 Queens Drive.

Back Row:- A friend or relative of Doris's, Nana (largely hidden by GB), Eric, Doris, Grandpa, Mum, Aunty Ella, Uncle Wardie; Front Row:- GB, CJ, Roger.

I recall being nervous beforehand because someone had told me that the wedding would involve the happy couple and witnesses signing their names. As I was to witness (my perception of that word) the wedding I imagined I would have to sign my name and the prospect of doing that was a bit daunting as I didn't have a standard signature. It just goes to show how children can misinterpret the explanations of things that adults so blithely give.

Note GB's brand new school uniform - he had just started at Quarry Bank. Roger, although the same age was repeating his top year at Ryebank, to get better results. School uniforms came from Wearings or Wareings just off Smithdown Road and going there was always a major event in the calendar of the school year.

Further down The Lanes

Further to my earlier Blog posting which showed a post card from Arthur Lane to Nana I have since found out when he died. I got some information about the Lane family from a cousin (Geoffrey Lane – the son of Thomas Warden Lane) a few years ago and upon checking that I find that Henry Arthur Lane was born 1895 and died whilst serving with the 5th Gloucestershire Regiment on The Somme. Ronald Edward Lane was born in 1899 and died in 1917 whilst in the merchant navy in the Med.

This is a photo of Cyril Lane with Mum on one of the occasions we visited him in the early 1970s. Even then his eyesight was not good and he was pleased to be taken around the Cotswolds for the day - I think the spot is Lower Slaughter.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Competition Winning Photo


Another memento of that walking tour in the Lakes in 1930 (see Rambles from my Chair blog). A ‘snapshot’ of Mum, Doris and Joyce taken by Marie and submitted to the Liverpool Echo. It won the princely sum of two guineas.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

More Telegrams


One day I am determined to ‘publish’ Uncle Eric’s diaries. I have transcribed a number of them to date but have now reached the stage where his minute and horrendous writing have temporarily defeated me. In the meantime I have a folder of all sorts of mementoes of his. It seems a shame that he had no children or grandchildren to leave his memorabilia to. (Yes, I know that paragraph ended in a preposition!) But then if he had been a parent he wouldn’t have been the Uncle Eric that GB and I knew. (And another yes, I know I began the sentence with a ‘but’.) This was a congratulations telegram to him and Doris upon their wedding in 1955.

The telegram was from Nana’s sisters Auntie Edie and Auntie Maud. Note how downmarket the envelope had gone compared to the bright golden one of the pre-war days!

Here’s one for Ron


Goalies are mad. I tried to find a photo of this particular goalkeeper picking the ball out of the back of the net - just to embarrass him - but instead the only one I could find was a spectacular save.

I’ve only ever known two people daft enough to voluntarily play ‘goalie’. One was Dad who played in goal for a Birkenhead team in the 1920s and 30s and the other is the person pictured here, Ron Arbuckle. I think the game was the in the Liverpool Zingari League. Ron was GB’s ‘best friend’ at school; person who only really appreciated that he was ‘getting on in years’ when GB’s little brother brought a girlfriend into a pub; and, so far as I know, the only reader of this Blog who lives in Minorca !

Both Dad and Ron kept goal in the days when referees were somewhat less soft than today and being touched by a forward didn’t result in a foul being awarded – it resulted in a bloody big bruise. Yes, goalies were even more mad in those days.

Wedding telegrams


Among the few mementoes Mum kept were letters and telegrams sent to her and Dad on the occasion of their wedding in August 1938. I don’t know when telegrams stopped being provided by the Post Office / BT but the whole idea of a telegram became so associated with bad news during the war that their use for happy occasions had declined long before they stopped. Ironically, one of Mum’s jobs at the War Office was to send the telegrams notifying people that their husbands or sons were missing in action or dead. (N.B. They are now available again from

The fact that the telegram was a greetings one could be determined by the outer envelope.

This telegram was from Jack Wildman ( a second cousin who many folk in the family had thought Mum should marry but who she didn’t like) and his wife who went by the wonderful name of Fuffles!

I don’t know who this one was from – possibly Uncle JPD and Aunty Muriel

For Anne Francoise.


This was a poem I wrote at the age of 20 when the first girl I fell in love with went off and got engaged to someone else!

is buying coffee for one...
               without you;
is choosing new clothes
               without you;
is playing patience, not strip poker
               with you;
is wrapping Christmas presents for everyone
               but you
is buying my brand of cigarettes
               not yours;
is answering the phone knowing it’s
               not you
is crying on a shoulder that’s
               not yours;
is sitting at a table
               without you;
is chatting to friends but thinking
               about you;
is drinking and talking and eating and walking and praying and laying...
               without you;
is Christmas, New Year, Easter,
                              Autumn and
                without you;
loneliness is...                without you.

I recognise a degree of ‘poetic’ licence in the above (apart from anything else Anne didn’t smoke) but reading it again after all these years makes me wonder how she is. There is always a special place in a person’s heart for their first love.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Seven Guineas a Term


One of the sacrifices that Mum and Dad made for GB and I was to use their very limited resources to send us to a Prep School.

Looked at by today’s standards the fees are laughable – seven guineas a term when I first started at Ryebank. (A combined total of 21 guineas a term for GB, Roger and I). For those not old enough to remember the Great Recoinage of George III the guinea was the major unit of currency until in 1816 it was replaced by the sovereign, a coin with the value of a pound. Even after the coin ceased to circulate, the name guinea was long used to indicate the amount of 21 shillings - £1.05 in decimal currency. The guinea had an aristocratic overtone; professional fees and payment for land, horses and art were often quoted in guineas right up until decimalisation in 1971.

The fees went up to 8 Guineas in 1956 and were 10 Guineas by the time I left.

Note that the receipt for 1958 has no stamp – presumably it was around the end of the 1950s that the requirement to fix a stamp upon receipts disappeared. In the United Kingdom, stamp duty was a form of tax charged on instruments (that is, written documents), and required a physical stamp to be attached to or impressed upon the instrument in question. Like Income Tax, Stamp Duty was supposed to be a temporary tax. It was introduced in 1694, during the reign of William and Mary under "An act for granting to Their Majesties several duties on Vellum, Parchment and Paper for 4 years, towards carrying on the war against France". During the 18th and early 19th centuries, stamp duties were extended to cover newspapers, pamphlets, lottery tickets, apprentices' indentures, advertisements, playing cards, dice, hats, gloves, patent medicines, perfumes, insurance policies, gold and silver plate, hair powder and armorial bearings. Stamp duty was so successful that it continues to this day through a series of Stamp Acts though the only real surviving signs of it are on house sales and shares.



I was baptised at St David's Church, Childwall, on Boxing Day, 26th December 1949.

My Godparents were Jim Farrell, a workmate of Dad's (pictured above left in 1938); Dad’s sister, Aunty Denny (pictured above middle when somewhat older); and Mum’s brother Uncle Eric (above right).

This is Dad holding me in my Christening shawl. Funnily enough - although this is supposed to be mostly about my memories - I don't recall this event at all!