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Mr Atkinson’s Rum Contract – A review

  From 2006 to 2018, Richard Atkinson worked as an editor at Bloomsbury publishers, rising to senior commissioning editor and responsible for some of the most successful illustrated cookbooks of the last two decades, including Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage series. From 2010, he was increasingly occupied with researching and writing his own first book, a … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, 20th Century, Books we've read, Legacies | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Another family bible, another distraction

When I visit my uncle I usually bring back something intended to help me with my family history; sometimes an old document or a 1920s guide book to London but recently an old, very large, family bible. Whether this is our family bible is a moot point, certainly it’s someone’s family bible. It records births … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, How we write, Legacies, Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: | 1 Comment

My Grandfathers’ Chests [part 2]

It seems a long time since I wrote about William Slaughter’s small leather trunk in the December blog post, with Christmas and New Year falling in between. Now it’s 2015, and the anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign falls this year, reminding us that there were many other theatres of war than the Western Front, during … Continue reading »

Categories: Legacies, World War One | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Will Christmas really be Christmas?

I wonder what books and films and plays you most associate with Christmas. Not to mention Christmas songs and carols. I think many of us have traditions that go back years and are as important a part of the festivities as the crackers and mince pies.  And each generation establishes new ones. When I was … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Legacies | 2 Comments

Grandfathers’ chests

Two leather chests,side by side in the sitting room, reminded me of my two grandfathers – their  original owners.And then I realised that the smaller one, with the initials W.C.S. on the lid, must have belonged originally to my great-grandfather, William Capel Slaughter, a city lawyer, and been passed on by him to his son, … Continue reading »

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What next, when it’s finished?

We are each taking stock of where we have got to over the past three years of working on our family history and I think now have realistic goals and a lot more confidence about the next stages.  I have finished my writing, bar filling a few holes in research, and am receiving feedback on … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Wealth gained and lost in two generations

My grandmother, Mabel Harrison, was brought up in a large villa, Parkhill, in West Hartlepool, County Durham.  It had been built for her solicitor father, Matthew Harrison, in 1890.  I do not know how many bedrooms the new house had, but there were seven children and a live-in cook/domestic.  It looks imposing with a croquet … Continue reading »

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An old legal document

Further finds unearthed while clearing the house include an impressive legal document, handwritten on parchment. Measuring 60cm x 75 cm approx it is an indenture dated 11th March 1859 between Sarah Newnham Hall of Paddington Green [a widow] and Thomas Tidy of Titchbourne St, a builder.It is an 80 year lease which refers to a … Continue reading »

Categories: 19th Century, How we write, Legacies | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Patches and patch boxes

Clearing the house after 37 years has meant the rediscovery of all kinds of interesting and half-forgotten items.Among them are two small patch boxes. One is oblong,probably ivory, about 4.5 cm. in length with a hinged lid.The top is decorated with a small glass cartouche, which may once have held a tiny lock of hair.Inside … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Legacies | 1 Comment

Ammonites and Leaping Fish, by Penelope Lively

Published by Penguin/Fig Tree in 2013, this memoir is sub-titled ‘A life in Time’ by its distinguished author. She describes it as not exactly a memoir, ‘Rather, it is the view from old age.’ As well as being a fascinating read for anyone who is familiar with the writer’s work, it would also be helpful … Continue reading »

Categories: Books we've read, How we write, Legacies, Strong Women | Tags: , | 2 Comments