Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Sepia Saturday - Three's Company

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history and memories through photographs.

My theme this week is very obvious - Threesomes.


Florence Annie (born 1894),  Lily (born 1886)  and William (born 1891)  - 
children of Henry Bailey and Annie McAffray of Blackpool, Lancashire 

This charming photograph is  one of the oldest  in my family collection and comes from my third cousin, Stuart.  Elizabeth Danson, the  mother of Henry Bailey above,  was Stuart's great grandmother and  the eldest sister  of my great grandfather James Danson.   Henry, a stone mason, died at the age of 41 in 1903, leaving his young family fatherless. 


 My great grandmother Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe (1859-1919)
with her daughter Jennie (my great aunt)  and little granddaughter Annie - c. 1909. 

Jennie was the only daughter and last child of James and Maria Danson, born on Christmas Eve, December 24th 1897, with her eight (surviving)  brothers,  George then aged 3, Frank 5, Albert 7, Tom 9, William 12, Robert 16, John 18 and Harry 20 – quite a household in what looked like  a cramped terraced house.  Their father James died in 1906. 

Jennie's photograph collection forms the basis of much of my family history and even better she had identified the names on the back of most of the photos.   

Little Annie,  the daughter of second son John Danson and Sarah Haydon Lounds, was born 1905, but sadly Sarah died a year later and the infant Annie made her home with her grandmother, her many uncles and  her aunt Jennie, who was only eight years her senior. Further tragedy struck when Annie's  father John died in army camp in 1917. leaving Annie an orphan. 


Tom, Janie and Jack Riley, the grandchildren of Maria's sister Jane Riley, nee Rawcliffe, c.1913  


Jack Riley (above)  is identified in the centre  of this group,  
wearing sailor’s uniform  and a cap HMS Chester.

Jack was 5 months old in the 1901 census, but so far I have been unable to find him ten years on in 1911, with his surname a popular one in the Fylde region of Lancashire. 

I did a search for HMS Chester and was surprised to find it was the ship on which a young sailor John Travers Cornwell fought at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and  was warded the Victoria  Cross for a conspicuous act of bravery.  The citation reads  "Mortally wounded early in the action, Boy, First Class, John Travers Cornwell remained standing alone at a most exposed post, continuing to service his gun, until the end of the action, with the gun's crew dead and wounded all round him. His age was under sixteen".

Was Jack Riley another young sailor  on board HMS Chester at this time?  I have  a postcard sent by his mother to my great grandmother Maria to say " Jack went out to sea today.  He went in good spirits".  The postmark is difficult to make out but could be 7.?? 16  or 18. 

John Cornwell was a keen scout in his home town and in his honour the Boy Scout Association instituted  the Cornwell Scout Badge, awarded for outstanding acts of  courage and endurance in the face of adversity.  There is an additional  personal dimension to this story, for my husband received the Cornwell badge in 1948 following three years serious illness  in hospital.

It is amazing the direction family history can take you!

Another photograph from Jennie's collection, identified as 
Amy,  Edna and Lavinia Dodd, Todmorden.

Jennie's youngest brother George had enlisted  January 1916 at Todmorden, West Yorkshire.  His army service record gave his   address at the time as  17 Harker Street, Harley Bank,  Todmorden, with occupation station bookstall manager. 

I turned to the 1911 census online  and found the Dodd family at  17 Harker Street, Harley Bank,  Todmorden, with head of household Elizabeth Dodd (occupation choring) and three daughters Amy aged 15 (a cotton weaver) , Edna 12 (a fustian sewer)  and Lavinia  aged 9.  They never George again, as he was killed on the Somme in 1916.

THREE MEN IN A PUB - or a club? 

Admittedly there is no sign of any drink, but here is my grandfather Willian Danson, in the centre with his brother Robert  (he had 7 brothers), and  a friend.  

My parents, though I suspect this was taken prior to their marriage in 1938, with Mum (Kathleen Danson) on the left and Dad (John Weston) on the right  - plus an unidentified friend.

 My father in RAF uniform, with my mother on the right and her sister, my Aunt Edith on Dad's left - taken in the garden of my grandfather's house, c.1940.


Dad on the left  and his older brother Fred - whilst I am the little girl, not looking too happy

 My brother Chris and I,  with our father on a busy promenade in Bournemouth, c.1952  


Dad, Chris and I

Click HERE to read posts  from other Sepia Saturday bloggers.
Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Sepia Saturday - Powerful Pillars

Each  week Sepia Saturday encourages bloggers to record their family history through photographs.

For a change  I have gone for the less obvious feature  in the photo prompt, as in the past year I have depicted both  little girls and pet dogs.

So picking up on  that  background image on the right of the picture,   my theme this week is :  Powerful Pillars - think of Pillar of Support, Pillar of the Community, Pillar of Wisdom.  

Pillars on buildings  are  most usually to be seen on state edifices or the imposing entrances to  houses of the landed gentry   - all out to impress, and copied from  classical  Greek architecture. 

The Greeks adopted three types of columns to support their buildings, each with their own distinctive feature.   Doric was the plainest, Ionic identified by its scrolls and Corinthian more elaborate still. 

Back even earlier than the Greeks are the pillars of the pre-historic world at Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

One of the most famous sites in the world Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks, believed to be built  anywhere from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.

From pillars of stone to pillars of rock at Fingal's Cave on the uninhabited Isle of Staffa just off the islands of Mull and Iona on the west coast of Scotland. A visit by composer Mendelssohn in 1829 inspired him to write his evocative "Hebrides Overture".

Below - Pillars of the ruined Jedburgh Abbey, in the Scottish Borders.  The 12th century Augustinian  Abbey was founded by King  David in 1138.  I worked for five years in Jedburgh Tourist Informality Centre and we could be asked such questions as "Was the abbey bombed during the war?"  Or "When are they going to rebuild it?

The truth was the abbey was repeatedly attacked by English armies throughout the middle ages.  In the 1540's it suffered particularly at the hands of the Earl of Hertford's military campaign known as the "Rough Wooing" when Henry VIIII sought  to enforce a marriage between his son Edward and the young Mary,  Queen of Scots.   Mary was, instead, sent to France into the care of her mother's relations.  Scotland turned to    Presbyterianism with the Reformation, and the abbey, almost intact except for its roof, was used for services until the building of a new parish church in 1875.  
This elegant monument  in the  classical style  is to be found in Warsaw, Poland in the 18th century Saxon Gardens.  But its beauty  masks a more utilitarian purpose -  modelled on the Temple of Vesta,  it is a Water Tower and a relic of Warsaw's first water supply system. 

Equally elegant is this monument to the composer Mozart in the Kur Garten (Spa Park) in the small town of Baden near Vienna. 

From the old world to the New World - where pillars again represent civic pride in the legislature, the nation's history,  the church, and academia.  

The State House in Boston, Massachusetts was completed in 1798.  The dome was first painted gray and then light yellow before being gilded with gold leaf in 1874

The Harry Elkins Widener Memorial Library is Harvard University's flagship library. Built in 1915, it was a gift from Eleanor Elkins Widener, as  a memorial to her son, Harry, of the Class of 1907, who perished aboard the Titanic.  

This stately landmark at Edgartown on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, was  built by whaling captains in 1843,  and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in New England.

Plymouth Rock is the traditional site of the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers from their ship "the Mayflower" in 1620.  Four hundred years later,  this  portico with Doric pillars was built as a canopy above the iconic symbol of America.  

And I end  on a more mundane note with  a British symbol -  a vintage red  pillar box in  Jedburgh, in the Scottish Borders.

                        Copyright © 2015 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

Click HERE to discover more stories from Sepia Saturday Bloggers. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Travel Tuesday - Early Days on the Road

What was driving like for our ancestors in the early days of motoring?  Take a look  at these quiet roads in times past for both leisure and business travel.  around the village of Earlston in the Scottish Borders 

For Leisure 

Driving down  the middle of the road,  which is now the busy main central Borders  route  linking Newcastle and Edinburgh .
The Quiet Market Square
Local Historian John Weatherley with his Pride and Joy

Letting the Bus Take the Strain

For Business

Prime Minister Asquith  in 1908 leaving  in the official car from Earlston Station
 to take him to a large political gathering in the village. 

Andrew Taylor & Sons, Ironmonger & Grocer  - listed in a Directory of 1931. 

 The~Co-op Van -  A Travelling Shop that went around 
farms and more isolated communities.

Two Lorries of the  Brownlie family who have been in the Saw Mill business 
since the mid 1850s and purchased the Earlston yard in 1920. 
 in July 1988 it became part of BSW Timber Group 

Two Lorries from  Rodger (Builders) Ltd, established in Earlston in 1847 
and still operating from the village

(No connection!)

And what was likely to be the biggest danger facing motorists?  Children playing on the road. 

High Street 

With thanks for my local heritage group Auld Earlston 
for the use of these images from their photographic collection 

Travel Tuesday is just one of many daily prompts from Geneabloggers to encourage writers to record their family history.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Sepia Saturday - A Convivial Drink

Each week Sepia Saturday encourages bloggers to record their family history through photographs.  

This week's prompt features a wine label, but  I must admit my family are an abstemious lot, and I was only able  to unearth one vintage photographs to match the theme.  

So - Raise your glasses this week for a convivial drink! 

The only photograph I have of my great grandfather James Danson,. sitting merrily in  the stocks at Poulton-le-Fylde. By all accounts of his family, he was a bit of a ne'er do well, but clearly having fun in what could be a staged photograph.
Or this case raise your German  Beer Stein!  This ornate one, with a pewter lid  is decorated in the  Bavarian colours of blue and white.   And yes - it was bought as a holiday souvenir. 

Enjoying the Good Life
In a Munich Biergarten 

On an Austrian Mountainside

I must admit I took this photograph rather surreptitiously in a cafe bar in Munch Square, in Bavaria, Germany.  The two men looked so genial sitting there with their huge beer tankards.  Combined with the sign,  this seemed such a good photograph to take to typify the Bavarian scene.  Meanwhile we were indulging in a drink and "kuche" -(cakes). 

A Bavarian  sign celebrating the grape. 

An old whisky sign taken at Beamish Open Air Museum in north east England 

A sign painted by my father-in-law (left)  who was a painter & sign-writer in Edinburgh . 

The Pot Still at Glenkinchie Distillery

Clydesdale Horses pulling the dray advertising Vaux Brewery Fine Ales.

A typically English pub sign at Greenwich,in London

A Final Toast  - Cheers!

Sign at the Beacon Hill pub in Boston  
that inspired the TV programme  launched in 1982.

To find out how more Sepia Saturdays are enjoying a drink, click HERE