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Miscellaneous

Christmas trees and memories

Among the many boxes of other people’s memories stored in my attic are a few that hold my own. At Christmas, when we bring down the boxes of decorations, some of these take the spotlight for a few days. Every year one particular small, faded Christmas tree sits on my dining room mantelpiece; it belonged … Continue reading »

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Anniversaries, ashes, endings

What we call the beginning is often the end And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from. T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) from Four Quarters IV 1942 September has been my favourite month for as long as I can remember. It still comes with the frisson of excitement, … Continue reading »

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The lives we Forgot to Remember

In relation to the centenary of the Great War we were, as the Chairman reminded us, half way through the period of thirty seven days between the gunshot that killed Archduke Franz Josef and the outbreak of full scale hostilities. We were at the British Library for an evening panel discussion on The Forgotten Soldiers. … Continue reading »

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Great- grandpa learns “when to say no”

Browsing the Huddersfield Chronicle archives I came across an article that may reveal how my great-grandparents met. In the newspaper of 3rd January 1874 is a report of the annual meeting of the Brunswick Street Sunday School which took place on New Year’s Day when “considerably over 300 persons sat down to an excellent tea”.   … Continue reading »

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Letters from my grandparents

I have written before on the subject of letters from my grandparents and what they meant to me when I received them and what they mean to me now.  I took one out of my writing box – a blue leather case I got for my 13th birthday (how I had longed for it and … Continue reading »

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The end of summer

Looking at the sad, decayed state of Totland Pier today brings back memories of it in its heyday, 50 years ago and more. In the 50s, paddle steamers from Bournemouth used to dock there delivering day-trippers who were met by coaches ready to take them on tours of the Isle of Wight. The 450 feet, … Continue reading »

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A war widow on the Isle of Wight

After her husband was killed in North Africa in May 1943, my mother, Peggy, returned to her parents’ house at Sandown on the Isle of Wight and tried to make a life for herself and her infant son. It was not easy. The family was always short of money. Her father, Arthur, suffered from neurasthenia … Continue reading »

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Esther’s sad romance

There are three Esther Cassons in my family history – four, if you count my cousin’s little daughter in Australia.  The first Esther is one of the two main characters in my story; she who was happily married to a slate-getter in North Lancashire, moved to Wales and had three surviving sons and two daughters.  … Continue reading »

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Lively songs I shall never hear

Tramping round Liverpool last week, I was struck by the thought that there are aspects of family history that I can never uncover. Most importantly – SOUND and SMELL. I cannot hear their voices, I cannot hear the voices that surrounded them. When my great great grandfather’s tar and turpentine distillery works caught fire, I … Continue reading »

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