31 December 2016

Fred's family facts & photos, Part II: holidays

These photos are mainly credited to Fred's brother, Albert - certainly those other than the 'Bonegate',  - but that was ony a walk away from Largewood Avenue.

The 'Bonegate', Moor Lane, Chessington. Note the sign of the gate:
 'This gate hangs high and hinders none,  Refresh and pay and Travel on.'
That meant that, in theory, you could pass dryshod across a small ford of the
 Bonesgate. The pub was rebuilt and is now named William Bourne.

A smithey in Birchington, Kent, clearly an area where
Albert took holidays, spanning many years.

Punch 'n Judy on Margate sands

31st Dec 1947: reflections

31 Wed. Sharp white frost which gave in places by afternoon: dull and a very light layer of snow. The last day of 1947. Got the groceries also fish and sausage meat. Donald & Gwennie called in morning. Gwennie again in afternoon: amused her with tricks and catches of one sort or another and told her the true story of the baby who was found on Tolworth Recreation ground: who has now been adopted by Mrs Tilley and named Sandra Ann. She was at Anthony’s last birthday party and is now a happy little girl of 2½ years – about, as her real birthday is not known. Cousin Maud called.

And so, another year ends. A year of disappointment and hardship and disillusionment to many. Personally I have had a few happy times during the year as this book records. It closes on a note of sadness in the loss of dear Father but we have the Christian hope of immortality to cheer us on the way and although changes have occurred and the future is unknown, yet God is good and loves and encourages His own. To God be the Glory Great Things he has Done…………

30 December 2016

30th Dec 1947: seasonal snow

30 Tues. White morning frost, bitterly cold day, dull, snow in morning, freezing hard at night. Bought fish for myself and the cats locally. Took Xmas cake to Aunt Liza and Doris; saw the children’s presents. To station to buy a paper, returning via Common Hill Lane. Saw pale blue new Rudge-Whitworth bike at Bateman’s. Polished the 8½ ins balsa propeller: looks nice

29 December 2016

Fred's family facts & photos, Part I: a Christmas Day marriage

FIFTY or more family portraits exist, not one with a name attached, along with a very few official documents. A thorough search of birth, marriage and death records, along with census surveys, would surely reveal more. Meanwhile, here are a few facts gleaned from the documents. We'll work back in time from the very few positive identifications, relying on family likenesses and the locations of photographers' studios - so more posts, with photos, soon!

Fred - i.e. Frederick James French. Born: 18th Oct 1888 or'89.  Lived at 43 Gilbert Road, Lambeth in 1991. Then 66 Chestnut Road, Raynes Park for most of his life. 

66 Chestnut Road in the C21st
Fred's older sister: Theresa  (Ciss). Born 1886. In 1906 working at Hayward Brothers, 319 Kennington Road,  London - they introduced Hayward's Pickles - they owned a factory nearby, and 319 & 321 Kennington Road. (Photo/some history)

Fred's younger brother: Albert Henry French. Born in London on 20th Sept 1891. Attended Faunce Street School, East Lambeth in 1900Lived in Chestnut Rd in 1907. Married Lily Jones & moved to 98 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth. Worked for Messers E R Evans & Co (marine insurance brokers), 12 Lime St, London EC3 - certainly since 1931, until retirement. Business later traded as The British Marine Mutual Insurance Association Ltd.

Fred's father: also Frederick James French, born 14 Aug 1862 at 105 East Street, Lambeth. (Sub-district of Lambeth Church 2nd in the County of Surrey.) (Ref: Certified Copy of Birth Certificate.) Engine Driver & Stoker at time of 1891 census. Died 17th Dec 1947, aged 85.

Fred's mother: Theresa Mary. Died 2nd Jan 1920, aged 56.

Fred's paternal grandmother: Emma French, formerly Smith, of above address, who made her mark 'x'  on above Certificate. 

Fred's paternal grandfather: Daniel William French, Candle Packer.

Fred's grandparents (above) married on Christmas Day, 25th December 1858 at 
St John's, (photo below) Waterloo Road, Waterloo - a rather grand building opposite the station.

Daniel was also living in Waterloo Road, Lambeth. Named on his Marriage Certificate as a Candle Maker.

Fred's great grandfather, father to Emma: Thomas Smith, Plumber (at time of his son's marriage).

Fred's great grandfather, father to Daniel William: another William French, Labourer.

29th Dec 1947: Dad’s insurance money

29 Mon. Cold, clear, bright, sunny. Accurately fitted and matched a patch in the dining room lino. Bought fish, firewood, a writing pad, a paper at the station and took Ciss shoes for repair. Played beat your neighbour out of doors with Gwennie. Prudential agent called in evening about Dad’s insurance money. Fitted free-wheel pawl and metal bearing tube to 8½ ins propeller for the spar model. Put my bedroom clock into even beat; it had to be tilted to one side with a match but now it beats perfectly on the level.

28 December 2016

28th Dec 1947: wonderful musical experience

28 Sun. Becoming cold; dull day but wonderful, bright, full moon at night. Had to begin the day by making the clothes post firm in the ground as the sodden earth had made it loose and to fall forward. Ciss wanted to finish drying the washing to-day so I had to do it. The usual children called. Mrs Akroyd came to tea. Heard the Hammerklavier Sonata of Beethoven for the first time on the wireless. It was played immaculately by Fremy Coborn* and I followed it through from the score: a wonderful musical experience.

*Question: can any reader confirm or correct this name, Fremy/Frenny Coborn? We're not sure we've copied Fred's writing correctly, and can't find any record of the name.

27 December 2016

'The Amateur Photographer' replied...

The magazine's critique of brother Albert's 'Hoar frost' photo, 1919. (See previous post.)

Albert's photos

'Rickyard at Ruxley'. Our reader 'Greyfox' writes,
This seems to be at Ruxley Farm,  near the Ruxley splash
 on the Hogsmill River.  See the first picture on this link' 

'Hoar frost'
'Amateur Photographer' 1919-21
Let's reminisce, since we're hearing about Albert, Fred's brother. Here are two photos he sent to the 'Amateur Photographer' in June 1919. The farmyard photo has a coupon on the reverse showing it was entered for the magazine's 'Beginner's Prize Competition' and the other a coupon seeking, 'Print criticism'. It is just possible that the former was taken at Warren Farm,  farmed from the 1680s until 1988, now part of Nonsuch Park. This is subject to any information readers may offer. In 1919, Albert was still living with the family at 66 Chestnut Road, Raynes Park.

The “The “Rickyard at Ruxley” seems to be at Ruxley Farm, near the Ruxley splash on Hogsmill River. See first picture on link below. 
Rickyard at Ruxley” seems to be at Ruxley Farm, near the Ruxley splash on Hogsmill River. See first picture on link below. 

27th Dec 1947: brother Alb is 'laid up with bronchitis'

                             "we shall always call the front bedroom, Dad’s room."

27 Sat. Very mild for season, up to 57 degrees: very dull, cloudy with rain most of the day: very rough indeed. Bought several things at Smaldons in morning. Albert who is laid up with bronchitis is going on the club* so I took a doctor’s certificate to Mr Petts. Bought fish at Merton in afternoon. Hung in the front bedroom, which used to be Dad’s room, two beautiful landscape pictures which I gave him last August for a birthday present: we shall always call the front bedroom, Dad’s room. Beat and brushed the dining room hearth rug; polished to floors of the passage and dining room.

*Note: 'on the club' was British slang meaning away from work due to sickness, especially when receiving sickness benefit

26 December 2016

26th Dec 1947: dominoes and imaginary tea

26 Fri. Boxing Day. Rather cold, much sunshine, windy but rain at night. Repaired the scrubbing board, morticing in a new piece of wood. Gwennie called to show me her doll’s tea service with cups, saucers, plates, knives, forks, spoons, milk-jug, teapot and tray – all made in plastic. Of course I had to have biscuits and imaginary tea: the biscuits were real however. She also brought some of her mother’s Christmas pudding and cake – very nice. Played some more Beethoven Sonatas. Played dominoes with Ciss and lost badly.

Old companies - Albert's office

12 Lime Street, in the City of London, where Albert French (Fred's brother) worked, commuting from Tolworth Station to Waterloo, followed by a walk across London Bridge. Above the shop, a small business named Evans, marine insurance brokers. Albert would visit Lloyd's underwriters in nearby Lloyd's of London every day, placing insurance orders for the broker's clients.
Lloyd's of London began in Edward Lloyd's coffee house in 1688.
 Note the milk churns outside the door of ABC; the Aerated Bread Company,
founded in 1862 established, a chain of self-service tea shops.
(Photo: Tony French - taken on a quiet weekend in the 1950s) 

An ABC cafe in the early 1900s
Illustration via Wikipedia from a book by Mrs E T Cook with illustrations by Hugh Thomson and
 F L Griggs, 'Highways and Byways in London'. First Edition 1902. Reprinted, 1903, 1907, 1911, 1920.

25 December 2016

25th Dec 1947: thunder - roast beef - Xmas pudding... "I feel a great gap in my life..."

Listening to the Christmas Day broadcast by the King was a traditional part
 of the family's Christmas. This wireless and foldable artificial Christmas tree
- both of which survived many years  - was at 98 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth,
 the home of Fred's brother Albert and his wife, Lily.

25 Thur. Mild, 53 degrees, dull, rain on and off all day: several loud peals of thunder in early evening. I cannot remember having heard thunder on Christmas Day before. We had roast beef and Xmas pudding for dinner which was good. With Ciss to the Churchyard to see the flowers on dear Father’s grave. It does not seem true that he is gone and I feel a great gap in my life which cannot be filled. I played some Beethoven Sonatas which comforted me. Ciss said Dad would not wish for us to be sad so we played a game of dominoes.

24 December 2016

23rd-24th Dec 1947: Brother Albert collapsed

23 Tues. Cold, clear; the sun nearly came through once. I took a large sheaf of flowers given by Mrs Kingham as a tribute to Dad, to lay on his grave at Merton. The grave has been filled in and the many flowers are laid upon the ground and look very beautiful. I took a notice of Dad’s death to the Wimbledon Boro News office to have it printed in next week’s issue. It is a strange Christmas and the post brings a mixture of Christmas Greetings cards and letters of condolence. To Merton to buy fish , to Wimbledon to buy a rubber-band driven model-racing car for Donald. Met Mrs Spooner and Alan; they had already heard the sad news.

24 Wed. Christmas Eve. Mild for season 48 degrees: clear but not very bright. To butchers, got a nice large piece of beef. Bought saccharin. Three sorts of sweets including some chocolates. Some smoked haddock, cocoa, some fish for cats at Merton, bought a model racing car for Dennis Veale. Got the accumulator, a cycle lamp battery for myself, a battery for Ciss bedroom lamp and a packet of envelopes. Also got some groceries including flour, a tin of green peas, matches, a tin of sardines, a jar of fish paste, also a bottle of ginger wine essence. Gwennie brought us a box of mint creams. Took Uncle Joe a jar of home-made pickled onions. Took Doris a jar of home-made piccalilli. Took the children’s presents to Doris to put in their stockings – a doll’s dressing chest with swinging mirror for Gwennie, a packet of Snap cards for Laurie and a model rubber driven racing car for Donald: Margaret has a plastic duck hanging on the Christmas tree for her. Albert is ill so I phoned Lily tonight. He collapsed and could not go to work yesterday. He appears to have got a touch of pleuro-pneumonia with bronchitis and the doctor has put him on M and B. Lily said he had had a fair amount of light nourishment to-day and he was not too bad; unless he gets worse the doctor will come Saturday.

23 December 2016

20th-22nd Dec 1947: Frederick J French 1863-1947

20 Sat. Rather mild for the season, dull misty. To the florist in Coombe Lane to confirm the orders for wreaths phoned to them and to pay for a total of 5 floral tributes. Met Geoffrey Trory in Coombe Lane, he has agreed to play the organ at the service at the Church on Monday. In afternoon to Wimbledon bought two cakes, a dish cloth and some fish. Met Arthur and Kitty in Wimbledon they were wanting to buy a train set for Malcolm. Arthur told me Uncle Ben & family were sending a wreath. Cousin Maud called in evening. To Mr Akhurst in Amity Grove to tell him the news, also to Mr and Mrs Figg who had not heard Dad was ill.

21 Sun. Very mild for this time of the year, 48 degrees. Less dull; indeed the sun nearly came through midday. Gwennie, Laurie and Donald called in morning; they were going or a walk to Mostyn Gardens. We asked that the other children should not call this afternoon.

'Frederick James French, husband of
Theresa Mary, entered into rest 17th December 1947.
- the shared grave in later years.
Our diarist's mother, Theresa, had
died 2 Jan 1920, aged 56.
(Photo: Nora & Sean Galvin)
22 Mon. Rather mild, clear; very pleasant for the time of year. Floral tributes were brought during the morning, one by dear Joan McAppin who I had not seen since she went to Australia at the beginning of the war. I went with Leonard and Victor Conley to fetch the five wreaths and sheafs of flowers ordered from “August” the florists. At 1.15 p.m. The hearse bearing dear Father’s remains and three coaches came here, and Ciss & I, Albert and Lily and many members of the family went to Cottenham Park Methodist Church for the service. The service was conducted by Rev L. C. Craig our minister. The service was very beautiful and two hymns were sung: Jesu Lover of my Soul and I’ll Praise my Maker. Geoffrey Trory played the organ most beautifully. As a postlude he played Walford Davies, “Solemn Melody”. Cousin Ruby came to the service which was most kind as she has barely got over pneumonia herself: she sent a lovely chaplet. Mr Paul Judge, Mr Pulford and Mr Peartree of Judge’s, Dad’s old firm were present. The interment was at Merton Churchyard. Dad’s remains were laid with dear Mother’s but their souls are together in bliss everlasting.  And so closes another chapter of the book of life. Dad’s age was 85 and he always led a vigorous and active life never sparing himself: he accomplished a tremendous amount of work at the two factories, the home and garden, the Sunday School and the Church. I thank God upon every remembrance of dear Father and Mother. I have a most poignant regret, I shall never be the man my father was.

22 December 2016

17th-19th Dec 1947: bought black hat & tie and pink plastic duck

17 Wed. Rather cold, dull, slight drizzle most of the day.
Dear Father died at 5.10pm to-day. Ciss stayed up with him all night but left in the afternoon. Lily phoned through to tell us the news and Ciss went back to Tolworth at once. I am glad I made the effort to see him on Saturday. He was 85 last August and worked till he was 74. Always a hard and conscientious worker who never spared himself. I owe it to him and Dear Mother that I was brought up in a Christian home and taught by example to love God and do the right. And what a blessed heritage that is I acknowledge here and shall realise more and more as long as I live. God will reward him richly and I weep for sheer joy that to-day he enters into the fulfilment of the Christian Hope and at last he is re-united with Mother the One he loved the best and will dwell with dear ones gone before to live in Joy and Peace for Ever with the Lord. Amen.

18 Thur. Cold, dismal, drizzle all day. Only Aunt Hannah called to-day. Ciss went to Tolworth to help Lily with the arrangements. The funeral will be on Monday, the service at Cottenham Park Church and the burial at Merton. To Wimbledon in afternoon to buy a black Anthony Eden hat and a black tie. Bought a pink plastic duck for Margaret. To tell Aunt Liza the times of the funeral also to Alf’s where I met Joyce Booth and her young man.

19 Fri. Rather cold, less dull than of late. Did my shopping in the afternoon this Friday, all locally. Also took letters to Mr Petts, Edna Road and Mr Trory, Taunton Avenue. Wrote letters to Mr Conrade and Rev. Chas Staden. Mrs Child called.

21 December 2016

13th-16th Dec 1947: cycled to see and feed Dad - mumps & pneumonia

13 Sat. Rather mild for season: very dull, wind getting up later. Washed front tiled path, polished brass step and knocker; washed and polished passage floor, beat mats; brushed the carpet. Polished dining room floor, black leaded stove-front. Cleaned tiles behind sink, thoroughly cleaned scullery sink etc. Cooked a good dinner. Got the greengroceries. To fish shop. Bought two large jars of Invalid Bovril at Boots: took them to Tolworth as they are for Dad. Sat with him and helped him to have a small tea. He is still very bad and breathes with difficulty. He is much better but has a long way to go yet. Cycled back from Tolworth in the dark.

14 Sun. Rather cold, extremely dull, wind settles. Stayed in as the weather was so miserable. Usual children called. John Child called in evening: mended a string of electric fairy lights for him. Ciss went to Tolworth. Dad’s chest is easier but his neck and face are swollen up badly: the doctor says it is mumps but the nurse says no. Anyway, he is extremely ill. Cousin Maud called to say that her mother is home from hospital to-day.

15 Mon. Cold, very dull. Mrs Child called to say Dad was about the same; she sat up all night with him. To Merton to buy fish, thence to Morden where I bought a doll’s dressing chest with swivelling mirror; it is a Christmas present for Gwennie. To see Aunt Liza who came out of hospital yesterday: she is not too bad but still weak of course. To Slate Club to get the share-out £1 and to pay four weeks subscriptions. Ciss saw Dad tonight he has got mumps as well as pneumonia but Ciss thought there was a slight improvement.

"Lily phoned in evening to say that the doctor did not think he would last the night"

16 Tues. Cold; not quite so dull. All three children called; Gwennie borrowed my box of paints to take to school. Bought a few things locally. Dad had a serious relapse to-day. Lily phoned in evening to say that the doctor did not think he would last the night. So it seems the end is near. Mrs Collis called to hear the news. Then Alf called. Ciss went at once to Tolworth.

20 December 2016

The 'Olde Leather Bottel' public house

'Ye Olde Leather Bottel' - a postcard reproduced here with grateful acknowledgement to
Merton Memories Photographic Archive, part of the Merton Library & Heritage Service
 - (Prints are available)
'That pub where Fred purchased brandy for his ailing Dad . . . his spelling is spot on,' write diary readers Seán and Nora Galvin, who have personal memories of the venue. 

'The Olde Leather Bottel, its full name at the time, is indeed one and the same as The Leather Bottle which can still be found on Kingston Road in Merton Park. Recorded in the 1911 Census, it's just a short walk from the churchyard where Fred's 'Dear Mother' rests.

'That unimpeachable authority on these matters, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), recorded the change of name to its current form in 1985. During the 1970s and '80s it was a well-established venue for jazz and blues musicians.

'According to Merton Council's historic archive, "The original pub on this site is believed to date back to 1700... In 1897 an application was made for a new pub to be built in a slightly different position.

'Although the 'modern' building falls well short of 300 years, it surely qualifies as being old(e). This isn't the worst example of arbitrarily changing the name of a pub, of course, but surely something should be done to protect the history of these institutions which, whatever one's opinion of alcohol might be, are part of our rich cultural heritage and continue to play a valuable role in the lives of our communities...'

9th-12th Dec 1947: To the Leather Bottel to buy more brandy

9 Tues. Cold, dull, E wind. Dad had a very restless night and his condition is grave. After a dose of morphia he had some sleep. Wrote Uncle Tom the latest bulletin. To fish shop & chemists only in morning. Donald called.

10 Wed. Cold, very dull, fog at night. To Eyles to get the groceries. Donald came morning and afternoon. Started carving an 8½ ins. balsa propeller for the small spar model. Ciss went to Tolworth to see Dad. He has got through a bad phase of delirium and is now calm and has had a long sleep. Cousin Maud called to hear the news.

The Leather Bottle
11 Thur. Sharp white frost, very cold, dull day. To the Leather Bottel* to buy more bandy for Dad. To butchers, and they had liver to-day. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish. To station to buy a paper. Donald called morning and afternoon. Ciss went to Tolworth to see dad; there is an improvement in his condition.

12 Fri. Mild for Dec, 50 degs: very dull, drizzle all day. Did all the usual shopping locally. I took Donald with me on the afternoon shopping quest so as to relieve Doris of him for a short while. Received 4 cwt of coal price 18/8. Gwennie called. Ciss went to Tolworth; Dad is maintaining the improvement.

*Note. We suspect this is Fred's deliberate mis-spelling - unless the name has changed - of the 'Leather Bottle', advertised as a '300-year-old pub' (which Fred the Methodist would not normally have frequented) some 600m away from Chestnut Road at 277 Kingston Road.

19 December 2016

5th-8th Dec 1947: Doris's washing on fire! Dad very ill

5 Fri. Rather mild, but wind of hurricane force made it seem very cold; very dull, rain most of the day. Did all the usual shopping locally; got veal at the butchers this week. To Merton to buy cats meat in afternoon. The three children called: cut some more paper stencils for Gwennie. Cousin Doris was drying her washing in front of the fire when it caught fire and most of it was destroyed. Dad at Tolworth fell when going to bed to-night. The doctor was sent for who diagnosed pneumonia. Albert who is now on the phone rang up Mrs Crawford opposite and Ciss went over and spoke to Alb who told her the news.

6 Sat. Rather cold, dismal, rain most of the day. Ciss went to Tolworth in morning: she saw dad. He is very bad with pneumonia and the doctor has put him on M&B*. Gwennie called; we had no sooner began to play dominoes when her father called to take her to the library much to her chagrin: she cried. Small amount of shopping locally.

7 Sun. Rather cold, very dismal thick fog at night. Ciss to Tolworth again. Dad’s temperature is now down to normal but his heart causes some anxiety. Alb phones for us to get some more brandy so I went once again to the Leather Bottel and bought three ozs. in a medicine bottle which cost 10/-.

8 Mon. Cold, dull, raw cold wind. To Uncle Ben at Malden to tell him about dad. Uncle Ben himself is very unwell. Dad is still very bad and his heart is causing grave anxiety. Ciss went to see him in evening. Bought more Xmas cards at Woolworth’s in Malden also a present for Anthony. Cleaned the dining room window inside and out and put up blue winter’s curtain

Note: "Albert who is now on the phone rang up Mrs Crawford opposite..." Ah! Technology enters the lifetime of your blog editor. The telephone number was Elmbridge 8414. One of those numbers I remember better than my PIN... and no, I don't use that!

Question: What was M&B? A brew by Mitchells & Butlers, the brewing business? See this Wiki page.   Answer: nope - see the comment below!

18 December 2016

1st-4th Dec 1947: wote a letter to the B.B.C.

1 Dec. Monday. Very severe hoar frost; one of the thickest frosts I have seen. Several degrees below freezing all day: very dull, foggy at times. To fish shop in afternoon, also bought firewood and tapers at oil shop. Laurie brought his scale model aero for me to mend.

 "My bedroom clock has been sopping"

2 Tues. Frost was less severe, slight thaw in afternoon; misty, dull. Posted letters in afternoon after writing to Uncle Tom & the B.B.C. To station to buy a paper. Bought torch bulbs at Whitbourn’s. My bedroom clock has been sopping since the cold weather, so I took it down, cleaned, oiled and adjusted it and now it goes all right.

3 Wed. Only a slight frost which completely thawed by the afternoon. Very dismal, misty day with drizzle. Got the groceries. Took Gwennie with me to buy some fish. Showed her how to make paper stencils and she used them to make coloured patterns which pleased her very much.

 "We had a soused herring each for tea – a luxury."

4 Thur. The frosty spell has ended, the day was cold, very dismal and drizzle most of the day. To butchers and fish shop in morning. Bought darning materials and a paper in afternoon. We had a soused herring each for tea – a luxury.

17 December 2016

28th-30th Nov 1947: date pudding in a tin.

28 Fri. Severe white frost, very cold, dull day. To butchers, got a nice piece of brisket. Bought a date pudding in a tin. Bought sweets; paid for newspapers. Bought smoked haddock fillet. Met Arthur Swift. To Merton in afternoon to buy liver for cats.

29 Sat. Frost less severe but a raw cold, dismal day with a threat of rain. Made a superb rich, thick pea soup for dinner. To buy fish locally in afternoon, also to chemists and to buy a paper at the station. Gwennie called in afternoon; we played dominoes, threes and fives and she won easily. Ciss took her and Laurie to the bazaar at our South Wimbledon Church.

30 Sun. Severe frost but for a slight thaw in afternoon. Very dismal with fog at night. Gwennie brought a book to show me which she bought at the bazaar for 3d. Laurie brought two solid scale model aircraft he had bought. One belonged to Donald which he soon broke but I repaired it. John Child called in evening: Mrs Akroyd came to supper.

16 December 2016

25th-27th Nov 1947: I have cycled 10,000 miles

Mrs Edward Laxton, strawberry pink rose. (Photo: Pongracz)
25 Tues. Very cold, very clear, brilliant, sunny day, but biting N wind. To Merton in afternoon to buy cats meat and something at Boots. Bought flour and  flavouring essence locally. Planted permanently the new Dame Edith Helen rose. Also I planted rose Duchess of Athol in morning.

26 Wed. Severe white frost which lasted most of the day. Brilliant morning but dull later: bitter E wind. Got the groceries as usual and posted a calendar to Edie Bennett in South Africa. Also to Merton to buy two more roses, Crimson Glory and Mrs. Edward Laxton: strawberry pink. Planted them in afternoon. Cycling back from Merton my cyclometer registered 9,999.9 miles. Got the Conley boys to turn by hand the cyclometer to 10,000 which then went to a row of noughts and I shall have to start all over again. Cooked the Xmas puddings.

27 Thur. Very severe white frost, 7 degs. below freezing, thawed slightly in afternoon, very dull: E wind, slight snow shower. To butchers in morning, also bought fish. Was walking along rail path to Wimbledon when I met Dorothy, and had a little chat with her. To Woolworth’s where I bought 16 Xmas cards and a very pretty coloured paper garland for Xmas decoration. Made two aluminium fittings to hold a mahogany bracket to the lavatory wall.

15 December 2016

21st-24th Nov 1947: very mild - Aunt Liza still ill - bought rose bushes

21 Fri. Very mild for Nov. 62 degs. very dull and humid. The damp air makes condensation run down the walls and is loosening the wall-paper. Did the usual shopping: met Laurie & Donald looking at the toys in a shop window. Bought a date pudding in a tin. Doped the wing and tail of aero.

22 Sat. Very mild for Nov. 62 degs, very dull, very rough S wind; some rain. Ann and Victor Conley called in morning; gave them a piano lesson. Wrote them out the gamut also note values. Gwennie & Laurie called, they brought a ration book so that I could have 3 lbs of potatoes from the greengrocer: they are rationed now. Gwennie said Donald and baby Margaret are now down with chicken pox. Bought fish locally in afternoon also a birthday card. Had a new wrist-band fitted to Ciss’ wrist-watch at Elles. Saw a gorgeous new Rudge-Whitworth aero road racer bike at Batemans. Finished in transparent crimson lacquer, with dynamo hub and four-speed gear and two brakes; price £24.8.5. More levelling of the ground where the shelter previously stood.

23 Sun. Very mild, very dull, rather rough. Went to see Aunt Liza who is in Copse Hill hospital. She is very ill and it is not known what is upsetting her stomach. Met Uncle Joe, cousin Maud and Doris who were just coming from the hospital. Met cousin Len & little Joey at the hospital; his wife Doris was at Aunt Liza’s bedside when I went in. Aunt Liza wanted some toilet soap from home so I cycled back, got some and went to the hospital a second time with it. John Child called in evening.

24 Mon. Very cold, brilliant, clear, sunny day; bitter wind. Walked to Wimbledon and back along rail path to buy fish & three pictorial calendars, the latter at Woolworths. Cycled to Wimbledon again in afternoon to buy three rose bushes at Faulkner’s @ 5/- ea.. Dane Edith Helen, pink, Duchess of Athol, orange and Scarlet Queen. Planted the latter and heeled in the two others temporarily. Cycled to Copse Hill Hospital in afternoon to take Aunt Liza’s clothing coupon book. Made a little card speed boat to see if it will move through the water with a piece of camphor at the stern: should amuse the children.

14 December 2016

17th-20th Nov 1947: bitterly cold... saw a decorated wedding train!

17 Mon. Severe white frost, very cold clear day with some sunshine in morning. To Wimbledon along rail path in morning to buy fish also to Boots the chemists. Also tried to buy an enamelled hearth plate at Kennards but failed. Listened with interest to “Velma” a clairvoyant (?) at Kennards.  Dear Gwennie called; bought another child photograph from her in aid of N.C.H.O. Did some more covering of wing of small spar aero.

18 Tues. Bitterly cold: E wind. Slight fall of snow which thawed during morning; very dull. To Merton to buy fish. Gwennie called, we played noughts and crosses which she won of course. Finished covering the wing of spar aero with white tissue.

19 Wed. Bitterly cold, very dismal, misty, E wind. To grocers as usual on Wed. Also to fish shop. Also bought a gallon oil can. Dear Gwennie called. Covered the tail of spar aero.

QEII on another train
20 Thur. Rather mild but dull and very humid. Heard the wonderful broadcast from Westminster Abbey of the marriage of H.R.H. the Princess Elizabeth to Lieu. P. Mountbatten now to be known as the Duke of Edinburgh. Gwennie called in afternoon. Took her with me to buy paraffin also to Shorts to buy a nice green enamelled hearth plate. Fitted it to the hearth in my room and put the previously bought pink and red one in the front bedroom: they both match the floorcloth perfectly. Thence with Gwennie & Donald to take bones for Laura Ashenden’s dog and on to Approach Road to see the Royal Honeymoon train bound for Southampton. Drawn by a Pacific locomotive the luxury train beautifully decorated was resplendent with colour and brilliant lights.

13 December 2016

13th-16th Nov 1947: fragment of flying bomb... & around the World radio

13 Thur. Rather cold, dull, a little less wind. To the butchers. Met Arthur Swift; to Donaldsons with him. To fish shop of course. To Doris to inquire after Aunt Liza. She is a little better but the doctors have found something that needs an operation but she is too weak yet. Still clearing the further end of garden where the shelter stood; found a twisted fragment of flying bomb.

14 Fri. Rather cold, dismal, rain almost all day. Did the usual Fri. morning shopping. Also further shopping in afternoon: all locally. Donald called: he said he had got some spots coming, so it seems he is or soon will be a victim of chicken pox. Bought a nice picture of two kiddies playing in the sand from Ann Conley; the proceeds go to the National Children’s Home and Orphanage.

15 Sat. Very cold, frost at night, very dull day bitter wind. Gwennie called. Took her shopping with me. She went to the laundry and to the public library; borrowing the nature book “Out with Romany”. I bought fish and a coloured mat at Robins. Met Laura and walked home part of the way with her. Started covering wing of small spar model. Ciss went to Anthony’s birthday party.

16 Sun. Sharp frost, very cold day; very dull. Ciss went to see Aunt Liza who was a little better. Len Garrad called; was glad to see him and walked part of the way home with him. John Child called in evening. Tried the short waves for him and received Colombo, Canada, U.S.A. Russia, France, an Eastern station and Australia.

12 December 2016

9th-12th Nov 1947: piano - aircraft model - poorly Aunt - home improvements

9 Sun. Mild for season 61 degs. very dull after slight rain. Little to report, did not go out. Gwennie called in morning to show me her new shoes.

10 Mon. Mild; remarkably fine sunny day. The sunshine was so warm I walked along with my hat in my hand. Along rail path to Wimbledon to buy an enamelled hearth plate at Kennard’s, price 8/11. Fitted same to the hearth in my bedroom. Bought fish locally. Gwennie called: I bought a picture of a little boy from her, she was selling them in aid of the N.C.H.O.** To Slate Club in evening; payed up to the end of the year.

11 Tues. Mild, 62 degs., but the boisterous SW wind, almost gale force made it seem quite cold; very cloudy and dull. To butchers in morning. To Merton cats meat shop in afternoon. Bought tape locally. Gwennie brought the Tuesday loaf as usual. Aunt Liza, in hospital is in a very bad way and grave fears are held as to her recovery.

12 Wed. Very mild, but very rough; cloudy, dull, heavy showers. Anthony is six to-day. Finished tuning the piano. It was very flat but I have tuned it right up to Philharmonic pitch so that it can be played with the organ without transposing the music. I look forward to hearing both instruments being played together. To get the groceries in morning. Also got fish locally. A dear girl served me: she is so naturally charming and reminds me of Gladys. Did some delicate work fitting tissue mounting strips to tail of spar aero.

**Note: NCHO was the National Children's Home & Orphanage. The first National Children's Home was founded in 1868 by Methodist minister Thomas Bowman Stephenson who had been moved by the fate of street children in London. The first home was a renovated stable in Church Street, Waterloo. The first two boys were admitted in 9 July 1869. In 1871 the home was moved to Bonner Road, Lambeth, and girls were admitted. The home was approved by the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in the same year. A year later, in 1872, a second home was opened in Edgworth, Lancashire. An emigration scheme was set up in 1873 and a branch in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada opened - Robert Wade at

11 December 2016

5th-8th Nov 1947: brother Alb in a train crash, coach overturned, 4 killed, 101 injured - fog signalman to blame, gave a green at Motspur Park junction

5 Wed. Rather mild for season, very dull, foggy at night. Took Donald with me to get the groceries. Also took him when I went to the fish shop.  Bought Donald a rolled up paper tube which blows out long with a feather at the tip – and it squeaks. Weeded a side path in garden, dug over a bed ready for planting with bulbs.

6 Thur. Cold, thick morning fog which never really cleared, dismal, very thick fog later – visibility practically nil. To fish shop in morning; bought paraffin in afternoon. Got Ciss’ shoes from the repairer. Gwennie, Laurie and Donald called. Aunt Liza was taken into Wimbledon Hospital with internal pain and sickness. More work on tail of spar model. Was listening to the 9 p.m. news when it was announced that the 5.16 p.m. train from Waterloo to Chessington was in collision with an up train from Holmwood during a fog of extreme density and that 4 people had been killed and many injured. Ciss and I immediately remembered that that is the train that Albert goes home in and we had great misgivings.

7 Fri. Fog quickly cleared and a mild fine sunny day ensued. Did all the usual Fri. morning shopping locally. Aunt Liza was a little easier. Met Mrs. Conrade and she’s a little better. Laurie has chicken pox. Am stll concerned about Alb. Ciss will phone his office as soon as she gets to work. I went to Tolworth in afternoon to get the news. Dad told me that Alb was on the train and that he was in one of the crashed overturned coaches but that he was unhurt save for getting a knock on the side of the head. When the coach came to a standstill he found himself lying on the ceiling with the door above him and in total darkness. The occupants were unable to get out until the rescue party came with a ladder. He had to walk home from Motspur Park to Tolworth in a fog with visibility almost nil but he arrived at 8.30 p.m. He went to the office to-day so I did not see him at Tolworth. I took over the model milk cart for Anthony also the “bottle” imp.

8 Sat. Rather mild for season, quite a fine sunny day with a nice blue, green and gold sunset. Ciss had the morning off so did the washing in morning and went shopping in afternoon and thence to Mrs. Jordan’s for tea. Bought fish locally also a birthday card for Anthony and one for Helen Feihn. Also bought scouring powder and a cycle lamp battery. Planted crocus bulbs in a border on Mother’s grave. Made fin and rudder for new spar aero. Cleaned some windows. Cousin Maud called.

Explanation of train accident
On the evening of 6 November, 1947, Motspur Park was covered in thick fog, reducing visibility to the extent that drivers on the line between Raynes Park and Epsom couldn't see the semaphore signals guarding the junction with the branch line towards Chessington. Not sure whether to continue along the main line past the junction, the driver of a northbound Holmwood to Waterloo service was forced to rely on the fogman, who showed the driver a green light indicating that he should keep going. In doing so, the driver ploughed straight into a southbound train, which was crossing the junction to head onto the Chessington branch, killing four and wounding 34 in the process. The fogman had in fact given the wrong signal after having heard a noise similar to that of a semaphore signal moving into the 'off' position, but fortunately the collision occurred near to a new metal coach on the southbound train, thus saving the lives of other passengers on the Chessington train. Colour light signalling and the British Rail Automatic Warning System4 were later added to the junction in 1978. (Copied from )

10 December 2016

A special note to readers

We are planning to get in step with the calendar again by Christmas Day - so Fred's Christmas Eve, Christmas and Boxing Day will appear here 69 years to the day after his entry.

Fred continued his diaries for 21 more years - until 1 January 1969, when he wrote his final entry. For now, at least, we'll continue posting one entry each day, once we are in step.

Eventually, the diaries will be lodged with Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre.

1st-4th Nov 1947: bulbs and ribbons

1 Sat. Rather mild, dull, calm. In afternoon to Wimbledon where I bought scilla bulbs. Tried to buy a pudding basin and failed. After leaving a shop empty handed a woman customer followed me out and told me a shop in Haydon’s Road had some, so I went and bought three, two for Mrs. Conley who I met in the Broadway who was also looking for some. Saw Mr & Mrs Spooner also met and spoke to Alan Spooner and his fiancée Doreen. Planted the scillas and some crocuses on the rockery. Cousin Maud called; she was on her way home by cycle to Streatham: she is very nice. Oh, I polished the dining room floor. Also turned over part of the garden where the shelter stood.

2 Sun. Very cool, dismal. Rain in afternoon. The clocks were put back to G.M.T. to-day. The usual crowd of children called; Connie Freeman came an hour too soon; apparently her clocks were not put back. Mrs Akroyd came to supper.

3 Mon. Mild, brilliant sunny day but a few very slight showers and a lovely rainbow in the afternoon. Dug over part of garden. Bought garden lime. Bought fish and cycle mudguards in Morden.

4 Tues. Rather mild, very dull, light rain most of the day. Wrote a letter each to Uncle Tom and Aunt Nellie: posted. Donald called twice; gave him a penny for taking some seed beans out of the pods. Laurie also called; had not a job for him to do but gave him a penny all the same. Lent some cream hair ribbon to Gwennie for her doll. To Merton to buy cats meat. Designed a tail for small spar model and started to build.

8 December 2016

21st-24th Oct 1947: 31 dead in South Croydon rail disaster; Gwennie has shingles

21 Tues. Frosty, cold, foggy but clearing later. Cold day with a little weak sun in afternoon. Stood in a fish queue for half an hour. Fitted new front mudguard with front extension to cycle; a rather hard and difficult job but a great improvement in appearance and a distinct modernisation. Letter from Fred Fraine in which he offers me a job.

22 Wed. Less cold than yesterday, cloudy but a little weak sun in afternoon; windy. Got the groceries but there was no bacon ration this week. Also bought fish. Bought a secondhand brake stirrup at Whitbourn’s. Re-made same for use on my cycle. Gwennie has shingles so Laurie says, I must inquire tomorrow.

23 Thur. Becoming mild in afternoon with some warm sunshine. To butchers in morning. Hunted around on my bike to buy fish for cats; there is little in the shops as the fishing boats cannot go out as the result of fog. Wet to see Gwennie. She was sitting by the fire looking at picture books. The doctor said she was to go to bed but she thinks otherwise. She has shingles which are painful at times.

The Croydon rail disaster. (Photo:
24 Fri. Very cool, misty, a few feeble gleams of sunshine. To butchers, bakers, post office, news-shop and sweets. Donald came with me part of the time and collected a sweet and a bun: artful little bounder. To Merton to buy cats meat. Also to Morden to look at the bike shops. News of a terrible railway disaster** at South Croydon incurring the death of 31 people and 150 injured.

7 December 2016

17th-20th Oct 1947: my 59th birthday... flew my model aircraft on Wimbledon Common

17 Fri. Rather cold, becoming mild; dull. Did all the usual Fri. morning shopping locally. Short ride in afternoon, met Miss Dixon and Fred. Cox. Sowed cress seed. To Aunt Liza’s and Aunt Hannah’s. Birthday card and letter from Uncle Tom and Aunt Nellie.

18 Sat. Cool becoming mild; very dull, calm. I am 59 to-day. Gwennie & Laurie called and wished me ‘Happy Returns”. Small amount of shopping locally. Celebrated my birthday by taking my aero. accompanied by Leonard and Victor Conley to Wimbledon Common. Being calm I was able to stretch-wind the elastic motor and put many more turns on without the risk of it flying off the Common. Made the machine turn in circles and got the best results ever with this model. Great height was reached and a very long glide down. Fixed Victor’s small balsa glider to the tail of my machine which took it up, eventually it came adrift and glided down on its own. A grand and enjoyable afternoon’s flying.

19 Sun. Rather cold, dull. To Wimbledon Common. Saw a few boys throwing their gliders about, also two young men with models in their hands but no flying. Called on Mrs Jordan and found the clock going: she wanted me to undertake to do another clock but I declined. Glad to light the fire this evening.

20 Mon. Rather cold, dull, small amount of weak sunshine in afternoon, foggy later. To Merton to by fish. To Morden where I bought a new pair of mudguards for cycle: started fitting same. Gwennie brought Margaret but she did not seem so tractable this time and did not want to come in. Planted dear Mother’s grave with Golden Harvest daffodils and Croessus double narcissus. Cleaned the upstairs windows. Bought balsa cement and two pairs of celluloid wheels for the two projected small spar models.

6 December 2016

13th-16th Oct 1947: smooth bike... exquisite Gwennie

13 Mon. Very mild, dull, calm. Did quite a lot of work on 22 ins. wing for new small spar model. Donald called. To Merton to the cats meat shop. Dear Gwennie called; she trimmed up the jasmine with the secateurs so I gave her a penny: oh, she is exquisite. To pay the Slate Club in evening.

14 Tues. Slight frost morning, also foggy morning and night; mild, dull day. Repaired a broken bedroom chair. Out to fish shop. Visited Mr. Conrade, Mrs. was ill in bed unfortunately. Donald called; he said he was going to take his pedal car to Rudge-Whitworth’s to have a new tyre put on – he meant of course Mr Whitbourne’s shop. Small amount of work on small spar model.

15 Wed. Morning frost, mild day with a small amount of hazy sunshine. Got the groceries in morning also bought vinegar and fish. To Tolworth in afternoon. Found Dad a little better than when I last saw him. The longest cycle ride since I fitted the new chain and sprockets. I felt the benefit, and my bike is so silent smooth and easy running as to be miles an hour faster. Dad came out to see my bike and was surprised how the chromium plated chain wheel brightened up its appearance.

16 Thur. Mild, dull, little wind. To Merton to buy a few things at Boots the Chemists: met Arthur Swift: other shopping locally. Gwennie brought baby Margaret and she came in and did not cry this time; indeed she had a morsel of cake: sweetheart! Finished writing a letter to Fred Fraine. Shaping up the ribs of new spar model.

5 December 2016

9th-12th Oct 1947: buy brandy for your Dad says doctor... while our Fred longs for Annie Chapman

9 Thur. Mild, very dull; little wind. Took 3 speed hub down, cleaned, adjusted and re-fitted. Took cycle to have a new chain fitted. To station to buy a paper, returning along the little rail path.

Brandy for Dad... just what the doctor ordered!
10 Fri. Becoming rather warm in afternoon – just over 70 degs, some pleasant sun. To butcher’s, fish shop, newspaper & sweet shop. Bought a nice cake. To the Leather Bottel to buy some brandy for Dad as the doctor has ordered it. To cycle shop to get cycle, it has been fitted with a new chain. Three short rides to give it a trial: shall have to find a way to keep the new chain-wheel tight. The running is so silent, smooth and easy it is a pleasure to ride.

11 Sat. Very mild, but only a small amount of sunshine: pleasant. To post office where I bought a birthday card for Laurie and a plastic model of a Green Line bus for him: he is 7 tomorrow. Also bought fish. To Wimbledon Common in afternoon with Chas., Gwennie, Laurie, Donald and Leonard Conley to fly model aero. Made very many excellent flights without mishap. The last light was a take-off from the ground and was best of all. Mrs Jordan to tea, she gave me a shilling and a nice tie for repairing her clock.

12 Sun. Very mild, much sunshine which became very bright and warm in afternoon: a really lovely day almost like summer. It is Laurie’s birthday and he is seven, the three of them came morning and evening bringing some birthday cake: Laurie was wearing his bus conductor’s set – a present. In afternoon cycled round Wimbledon Common hoping to see some modellists but only a man with a toy one was there and that would not go. Met Laura Ashenden and walked a little way with her. Saw dear Annie Chapman; she does not seem to recognise me now, I have aged such a lot since we were in the choir and went on the church outings. I once gave her a ride on the step of my bike: I long to speak to her again.

4 December 2016

5th-8th Oct 1947: "I was in heaven..."

5 Sun. Morning frost & thick white fog, clearing by afternoon when the sun came through: fine calm afternoon. The usual crowd of children called. To Wimbledon Common in afternoon. Flew model aero. under good conditions. Every one of the very many flights made was good, some almost perfect. Being calm I was able to judge, for the first time, the performance of this model and various slight modifications would make it a really first rate flyer. Mrs Akroyd came to supper.

6 Mon. Cold, dull morning becoming mild, sunny and calm in afternoon. Did shopping locally in morning. Got accumulator from Whitbourn’s, also took the driving part of my three-speed gear to have a new sprocket fitted. Gave Donald 4 lbs of green tomatoes for his mother to make into chutney. Ciss went to see Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie who sent me a sausage roll. I wrote him a letter. Played pin-board with Ciss at night.

7 Tues. Less cold morning, lovely warm sunny afternoon, calm and rather close but I like it like that. Donald called many times. Walked to Merton in afternoon to buy cats meat. Dear Gwennie called in afternoon and she was lovely; she sang Sunday School hymns to my piano accompaniment and I was very happy. I stripped the fuselage of aero. and re-covered with emerald green tissue.

8 Wed. Still very mild, 69 degs. in afternoon, very dull and calm. Water-tightened and doped the aero. fuselage: good. Got the groceries locally. To Whitbourn’s to get my 3 speed hub centre sprocket with new 19 tooth ½ ins pitch sprocket attached. Fitted it into back wheel and replaced into cycle: needs only a new chain to complete the job. Donald called: he was intrigued with the discarded old sprocket. Gwennie called in afternoon and sang to my accompaniment: I was in heaven: precious! Short walk in evening.

3 December 2016

1st-4th Oct 1947: tortoise goes home... for the winter

1 Wed. Very cold dull morning, fine, mild, sunny, calm afternoon. Got the groceries and other requisites locally. Cycled to Worcester Park and N Cheam in afternoon. Plenty of Donald to-day. Posted letter to Uncle Tom. Drew out a plan for a 23 ins span wing for the small spar aeroplane.

2 Thur. Slight morning frost but becoming mild by afternoon; less sun: windy later. The tortoise is still about and the nights are cold. I put him in a box of earth and leaves but found it could climb out, so I made a temporary pen on the lawn to put it in until I could find its owner. I enquired in Bronson Rd. and found it belonged at 81 but no one was at home. However, the lady next door at 79 said she would tell them to ask at 66 Chestnut. A young man Roy Eves called in evening and was glad to retrieve his pet. We knew the Eves family and he knew my name. Roy said he had three tortoises and this one was eight years old. He has a little house for them in the garden but he takes them indoors during the winter. To butchers in morning also other shopping locally. Bought liver for cats, fluxite and solder at Merton in afternoon. Spent hours during the day and evening repairing the ball valve, plunger and rubber of the lavatory cistern. Dear Gwennie called and was lovely.

3 Fri. Cold, becoming mild, a few periods of sunshine. To the butchers, bakers, fish shop, sweets and news shops, chemists and to buy paraffin oil. The children called. Laid a nice tea as I was expecting Mrs. Jordan but she did not come. More fitting of new chain wheel to bike: quite a lot of filing to do.

4 Sat. Cold, becoming mild by afternoon when the sunshine was pleasant: little wind. Managed to finish the shopping in morning so had the afternoon free. Took the geraniums off Mother’s grave, potted them and brought them indoors as we are getting night frosts now. A short ride round Wimbledon Common in afternoon: it was very pleasant there. Aunt Liza called.

2 December 2016

27th-30th Sept 1947: attacked by boys; little Gwennie unwell

27 Sat. Cold dull morning, fine mild sunny afternoon, calm. To Wimbledon to buy fish in afternoon, Gwennie & Laurie called. Coming home from Cannon Hill Common with some acorns on a little truck they were attacked by boys who took some away. They called here as Gwennie was very upset and unwell; I thought she would faint. A cup of water, a rest, a piece of cake, pear and some sweets and a biscuit with jam on it eventually put her right again. I love her a million times better than anyone else in the world. Ciss took the clock I repaired for Mrs. Jordan back to her.

28 Sun. Rather cool, dull. The childish scrawl letter I received yesterday was addressed by Doreen and written by little Kenny Noriss: I thanked him for it; I regard it as an honour. Went to the Harvest Festival in the evening and was greatly cheered: met Harold Rogers. Wrote letter to Dad who is at Herne Bay.

29 Mon. Becoming mild, nice fine, sunny afternoon. Laurie & Donald most of the day. Gwennie called later with Valerie and Janet, dear little girls from Bushey Road. Bought fish and black enamel locally; also bought a postal order. Polished the fork crown of my bike, it had become rusty – looks nice now.

30 Tues. Rather cold, but some nice sunshine in afternoon, calm. Did some local shopping. Trued up and tightened the spokes of back wheel of cycle – much better. Took accumulator and bought a file to be used in fitting the new chain wheel to cycle. Laurie & Donald helped me pick the remaining tomato crop – 34 lbs. I then pulled up the plants as ground frosts threaten.

1 December 2016

23rd-26th Sept 1947: clcocksmith... I love Gwennie... Ciss in Herne Bay

The left-hand semi-detached bungalow... 3, Cobbler's Bridge Road, Herne Bay.
This is where Ciss stayed with the family, opposite the railway yard,
 and backing on the railway, to nthe delight of young 'Anthony'
23 Tues. Rather cold, some weak sunshine, nasty wind. Bought Golden Harvest daffodil bulbs in Wimbledon in morning also fish. Ciss went to Herne Bay this morning; Dad, Alb, Lily and Anthony are already there. Laurie & Donald played pin-board. Gwennie came later; I read to her. She did not want to go home and she cried; I think there was some sort of trouble: I expect she had been a bit naughty. I love her a lot. Finished assembling Mrs. Jordan’s clock and got it going very well. (I hope.)

24 Wed. Rather cold, some sunshine; cold N wind. Got the groceries and fish locally. Mrs Jordan’s clock is going perfectly. Laurie & Donald was here almost all day. Gwennie came later with some leaves to make a winter bed for the tortoise. It came out this afternoon but soon went back to bed: the children are very interested. Gwennie sang hymns to me and I was charmed: bless the dear love. Started adapting a standard Rudge-Whitworth chain wheel to fit my bike: I hope to fit a new standard chain if I can get a new back sprocket to fit.

25 Thur. Cold morning, milder later with some sun, little wind. Small amount of shopping locally and to Merton to buy cats meat. To see dear Mother’s grave it looks quite nice. There were some self-sown aster seedlings in early summer so I planted them out and they are in full bloom now. Dorothy Longhurst called bringing a table cloth for Ciss.

26 Fri. Cold morning to very mild afternoon; some lovely sunshine in afternoon: very rough indeed. Laurie & Donald in full evidence. Gwennie came and invited me to baby Margaret’s first birthday tea. I went. Cousin Maud was there. I sat beside dear Gwennie and had a happy time. Did all the usual Friday shopping. Did quite a lot of house cleaning. Cousin Alf called in evening. A letter delivered by hand came through the letter box for me. It was addressed in childish printing and the letter inside was just scrawl – a love letter I hope: I do not know the sender but I hope to find out and thank them. Ciss came home at 10.30 p.m. from Herne Bay where she has been staying with Dad, Alb, Lily and Anthony.

30 November 2016

18th-22nd Sept 1947: cricket, a marriage and a glider

18 Thur. Mild, very dull day after a night of deluge and some thunder. Only a small amount of shopping locally. Had an easy day after the exertions of yesterday. Walk along rail path in evening.

19 Fri. rather mild, dull, some rain and thunder at night. Got the usual provisions in morning. Ciss came home from Bedford.

20 Sat. Very mild, very dull and cloudy, showery humid. Did a lot of shopping locally also to Wimbledon; finished the shopping before dinner. Took Gwennie, Laurie and Donald to the cricket match on Merton’s ground between a Wimbledon and District side and Fishlock’s County side: the county men were all famous players including some Test Match men. The local side were all out for 133 and the County team were 167 for 4 wickets, Fishlock being 103 not out. Second cousin Alan was married to Vera at Skegness to-day: sent them a telegram of congratulations and best wishes: Skegness is the bride’s home but they will live with Cousin Alf and Lily at Raynes Park.

21 Sun. Mild, dull, windy. The usual children called. Short walk in evening; met John Child. Laurie brought a small model racing car for me to fix a wheel which will not stay on.

22 Mon. Mild, dull, windy; a small amount of weak sunshine. The tortoise which has been missing for some weeks turned up to-day looking very sleepy. He did not eat much but yawned – so very tired. I dug a hole and put him in it. He burrowed into the soil and seemed to have decided to turn in for the winter. I shall fill the hole with leaves and cover it with carpet. Laurie brought a new balsa glider for me to see he later brought it for me to repair. Gwennie & Donald also called. Started cleaning a cuckoo clock movement which Mrs. Jordan had lubricated with cod-liver oil and malt extract – very tasty but not good for a clock. Cleaned all the windows inside also overmantels and looking glasses. 

29 November 2016

15th-17th Sept 1947: Cheam, Banstead, Belmont, Burgh, Heath, Walton on Hill... Box Hill

15 Mon. Rather warm, some pleasant sunshine – a nice day for so late in the season. Did some shopping locally. To see Uncle Ben at Malden in afternoon: admired his aquarium with many fish in it and some graceful water plants. Gwennie & Laurie called. Did some work on the propeller gear of new spar type aeroplane.

16 Tues. rather warm, nice sunny morning but dull later; very boisterous. Did shopping locally of course. Did more work on propeller gear of spar model. Gwennie sang to my piano accompaniment. Short walk in evening.

17 Wed. Very mild: some nice sunshine, calm: a lovely day for the time of year. Got the groceries etc locally in morning. Had an early dinner so as to make an early start on a bike ride to Box hill. This time I went via Cheam, Banstead, Belmont, Burgh, Heath, Walton on Hill, which leads right out to the top of Box Hill. The day was very clear and the view was wonderful. Chanctonbury Ring in Sussex 20 miles away was clearly visible. It is possible to see the sea through Shoreham Gap but that is a rare occurrence. A nice ride which whetted my appetite for further exploration. A letter from Rev. Chas. Staden.

28 November 2016

10th-14th Sept 1947: young scientists?

10 Wed. Rather warm, some pleasant sunshine: a nice day. Got the groceries locally. The
children called. Gwennie brought a little glass bulb with a jet, the whole being mounted on a
copper wire frame. Water in the bulb is boiled over a candle and a jet of steam issuing from a
thin glass tube causes it to rotate at a good speed. Her father made it – a clever little
appliance. A short walk in the evening. Oh, in the morning I put up a rustic arch in the garden
for the loganberries to climb over.

11 Thur. Rather warm, glorious sunny day with a blue sky and only the slightest of white
clouds. Did shopping locally morning and afternoon; got some liver at the butchers. Had
Gwennie and Donald almost all day except when Gwennie went to the clinic to have two
teeth removed. She was soon back again although she had gas. Put the carpet back on the
stairs – looks better. Short cycle ride in evening.

12 Fri. Very mild, very dull, some very fine rain in morning. Did the usual Fri. morning
shopping. The sweet ration was double to-day: one pound. Donald was here all day and
Laurie came later. Made them a compressed air turbine – on a miniature scale of course,
made out of a cocoa tin which is pumped up be a bike pump and turns a small rotary fan.
Small amount of work on new spar model. A parcel of dried fruits and some sweets arrived
from Edie Bennett who is in Johannesburg.

13 Sat. Very mild, dull, cloudy, slight rain. Ciss had the morning off from work. Did
shopping locally in afternoon also to Wimbledon. Gwennie and Donald called. Gwennie was
especially charming and lovable. Laurie brought the compressed air engine I made him and
worked it. Mrs Matson and Mrs Brown came to tea.

14 Sun. Very mild, very dull. The usual crowd of children called. Went to church in evening,
the Rev L Hooper took the service. Called in at 34 as cousin Len, Doris and little Joseph was

27 November 2016

5th-9th Sept 1947: model boats and planes... excited children

5 Fri. becoming rather warm by afternoon. Mostly overcast but very pleasant and calm. Did the usual shopping in morning also buying a new high-tension battery at Whitbourn’s. The wireless is giving fine quality reproduction and I enjoyed the Beethoven Emperor Piano Concerto played by Dame Myra Hess. Picked seven pounds of ripe tomatoes. They are very successful this year and there is a glut.

6 Sat. Rather warm, fine with soft sunshine, calm. Posted two letters in afternoon also a small amount of shopping. Made up a new elastic motor for my aeroplane. Took Gwennie, Laurie and Donald to Wimbledon Common. Made a few short flights at this end of the Common. They paddled in the Rushmere and were very excited at the model speed boats – hydroplanes that were roved round a stake driven in the bed of the pond and attached to it by a line. Also saw Jeanette McAinsh and her Uncle up there. Am sure they enjoyed themselves – I did very much!

7 Sun. Rather warm, some sunshine early but dull and cloudy later; still calm. A crowd of
children called and were disappointed that the tortoise has gone elsewhere. Aunt Hannah and
Mrs Akroyd came to tea. To Church in evening and heard an inspiring sermon by Rev John
Vivian: a helpful service altogether.

8 Mon. Very mild, some pleasant sunny periods. Did more repairs to the tiled front path:
looks quite respectable now. To Merton to buy fish in afternoon. Also bought some balsa and
other model aero supplies at Normans. Saw his baby son Brian – 12 months old and just like
his father. The three children called. “Harvested” the onion crop 4½ lbs not a large amount
but useful.

9 Tues. Very mild, cloudy but a little hazy sunshine, rather rough. Shopping locally also
bought fish at Merton. The children called.