Sunday, 23 October 2016

A Cavalcade of Cars : Sepia Saturday - Here to There 4

A second look at cars in this installment of Sepia Saturday's "Here to There" theme for October.   With thanks to my local history group Auld Earlston  for many of the photographs featured here.

A photograph from my cousin's collection on his Oldham Family  

 Prime Minister Asquith leaving Earlston Station in 1908 in the official car to take him to the political meeting in the village of Earlston.  

 Baker's Van in Earlston

From Baker to Butcher with a rather rickety looking vehicle  belonging to the family Donaldson's in Earlston - no relation!  

Driving down  the middle of the road  in the Scottish Borders on what is now the busy A68 road linking Edinburgh south into England. .

Andrew Taylor & Sons, Ironmonger & Grocer in Earlston,
  - listed in a Directory of 1931. 
Earlston Local Historian John Weatherly with his Pride and Joy

And what was likely to be the biggest danger facing motorists
 in the early 20th century ?   Children playing on the road. 

High Street, Earlston, Scottish Borders.   


Click HERE to see how other Sepia Saturday bloggers head  "Here to There"
 with this month's theme   

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Comic Railway Postcards: Sepia Saturday - Here to There 3

Two railway cartoons feature in my post this week - but the humorous content has a sad ending. The postcards are from  the collection of my local heritage group Auld Earlston in the Scottish Borders. 

 The caption reads:

Our Local Express -
The Good Old Berwickshire Railway Acceleration of Trains along
the Greenlaw  Corridor makes the journey from Greenlaw to Earlston  
and back in twenty four hours. 

To give you some background to the satirical caption  - just  10  miles separates the two villages of Earlston and Greenlaw.  The postcard was franked 1906.

The Last Train from Earlston 

These postcards, however,   are not, however original to Earlston,  but penned by a Fife born artist  Martin  Anderson - you will see his pseudonym signature of Cynicus  at the foot of each card. Many of his railway cartoons were overprinted with different captions and town names, as here.  So you will find the same illustration purporting to come a range of diverse locations.

Martin Anderson, (1854 –1932)  studied  at Glasgow School of Art, set up the St. Mungo's Art Club and exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh.    In 1880 he joined  the publisher of  The Dundee Advertiser, The Evening Telegraph, People's Journal, and People's Friend - the first  such staff artist to be employed by any daily newspaper in Britain, for until then daily newspapers were not illustrated.

He turned increasingly to satirical and political cartoons and comic postcard illustrations setting up the "Cynicus Publishing Company".   After initial success, the company was forced to close.  Martin Anderson returned to Edinburgh in 1915, leasing a basement shop.    Nine years later it  was destroyed by fire, everything inside it was lost, and he did not have the funds to repair and restock it. 

He retired to Fife to live in increasing poverty.  He died in 1932  and was buried in Tayport Old Churchyard, in an unmarked grave.  

A sad end for such a prolific artist who was a forerunner in  the  field of humorous postcards.  His work is still regularly available in auction houses and online

The Berwickshire Railway through Earlston  ran from 1863 until its closure in 1965.  

With thanks to Auld Earlston for permission to feature these items from their collection. 


Click HERE to see how other Sepia Saturday bloggers head  "Here to There"
 with this month's theme   

Thursday, 6 October 2016

A Trusty Horse: Sepia Saturday - Here to There 2

A trusty horse for work and pleasure

Horses at work in Earlston, in the Scottish Borders 

"Horses are absolutely necessary in this part of the country, for it is by them the farmers labour their farms and drive their corn to market.  They never work with oxen now as they did formerly" -
This is a quote from the chapter on Earlston, Berwickshire in  "The First Statistical Account of Scotland" written 1791-1799.    

Sixty years on,  the 1851 census for Earlston (population 1,819)  lists 9 men working as  blacksmiths, 7 carters/carriers, 3 saddlers, 2  stable boys, an ostler, a farrier, a groom and a coachman - plus of course all those who would be working  with horses on the many farms in the parish.  This meant the horse made a vital contribution to the local economy. 

  Earlston Smiddy - still  held by the same family down many generations. 

Anyone tracing their family history, may well have a "carter" or "carrier" in their ancestry - an essential occupation in transporting goods - as shown in these photographs   

My great grandfather Robert Rawcliffe of Hambleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire was described as a carter, but otherwise the only other "horse"! connection in my direct line is a recollection of my father who left school at the aged of 14. In his own words:

  "I went to work at the grocers.  I had been an errand boy there and also worked on Saturdays with time off for soccer.  I went out in a horse and trap  delivering orders (we sold bags of corn 80 plus pounds).  The pony, a Welsh cob named Tommy, was inclined to be lazy.   At night time I rode him bareback to a field!    
This was  a surprising memory as Dad never gave any indication later in life of having the slightest interest or affinity with horses!
A century on  -  Clydesdale Horses pulling the dray.  advertising Vaux Brewery    Fine Ales at the Border Union Agricultural Show in Kelso. . 

Passengers,  who could afford it, had the chance to hire carriages, or gigs  to get around.
One of the carriages in the Oldham family business of coal men and carters
in Blackpool, Lancashire. 


Two signs in the Stable Yard at the Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham. 

A horse drawn charabanc in Krakow, Poland 

For journeys further afield, we often think of  the Images of stagecoaches on Christmas cards.  They  look colourful, dashing and rather romantic, but the reality for our ancestors travelling 170 years ago was often very different, with tales of bumpy journeys, freezing cold  conditions and  accidents. 
A wall mural on an inn  in Austria.

A pub sign in Greenwich, London 

We were on holiday in Warsaw, Poland,  when this stage-coach drove into a square  - we never found out what it was all about. 
Horses for Pleasure 
I live  in the Scottish Borders, a region often called "Scotland's Horse Country", where riding is in the blood.   In the summer the towns celebrate their history and heritage with the annual Common Ridings - with  cavalcades of riders re-enacting  the age old ritual of  "riding the marches", made in the past to safeguard burgh rights
Hawick Common Riding with he Cornet carrying "The Banner Blue" 
Photograph by Lesley Fraser,
Not surprisingly, riding is a popular activity locally  and one my daughter was keen to join at any early age.   

Moving on the real thing - a donkey ride on the beach at  Blackpool. 

 And granddaughter is following suit:

With thanks to Auld Earlston for the use of  photographs from their collection  and also
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Saturday, 1 October 2016

Family Fashions for a Car Drive - Sepia Saturday: Here To There 1

With  Travel and Transport this month's theme from Sepia Saturday, I take a look here at the fashions worn by my family when out in the car. 

No fashion with my first photograph, but it is such a good image and story. This is my cousin's first ever car - a 1932 Morris Minor. It was the only car he ever had where he made a profit when he sold it, He bought it in 1958 for £20 and sold it a year later for £30! The photograph is taken near Inverary in the west of Scotland on the Rest and Be Thankful road, - notorious for landslips, snow and road closed warnings!


My  Dad, John Weston (on the left) with his brother Charles. I was delighted to get this photograph from my cousin,  as it  is one of the few photographs I have of my father prior to his marriage in 1938  to my mother Kathleen Danson.   John and Charles were close as  brothers and often went on motoring trips together. Here looking very suave in a smart casual style of the day.  c.1936  Can anyone name the make of car? 

My elegant mother by a much more impressive looking car  -again can anyone name the makeI suspect this was taken around 1937, before my parents married. Take a look at Mum;s fashionable shoes and that pancake hat!   

My cousin's little son, learning to drive at an early age!  My brother had a very similar pedal car - but no photographs appear to have been taken.  Boys clothes seldom change - T-short and shorts  remain standard wear.  

You  can just make out the car here, behind my brother in a typical 1950's boy's outfit.   But why on earth was he photographed amongst all that litter (not created by our picnic, I am sure)  My father was a sales representative for the  firm which manufactured the popular drink Lucozade and I think  Chris was demonstrating it here for a mock advert.  

Another picnic with the car as the backcloth c.1957 - I have graduated from pigtails to ponytail for my hair style, and am wearing a dress with  the then popular style of peter pan collar.  My mother seems to be in  a formal light coloured coat which would seem odd now for a picnic.   

Fast forward to 1968 (this photograph was dated)  - I am surprised that my father allowed someone to sit on the ca.
Same car, same year and a happy photograph of my Dad.

Outside our home in Edinburgh and my mother smartly dressed for, I suspect)  a Sunday drive.

Mum with her sister, my Aunt Edith - same car and in the background the faint image of  Forth Rail Bridge (built 1882 and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and  in the foreground the Forth Road Bridge. Even  for a causal drive out, it was  hat, court shoes, gloves and large handbag.  My mother must have been around 60 years old at this time - what  a contrast to casual wear today, even for 60 years old's plus    
Sunday afternoon pften meant we drove out  to  see the building  of the Forth Road Bridge.    Before then,  you had to join the queue at South Quensferry to cross the River Forth on a ferry, first  established by Queen Margaret of Scotland in the 11th century to transport pilgrims to Dunfermline Abbey and St. Andrew's . The  opening  in 1964 by the Queen of the  1.6 mile Road Bridge  - at the time the longest suspension bridge outside the USA - was a major event in Scottish transport linking Edinburgh with the north east of the country.  

(I always like adding a bit of trivia history to a post!) 

I have shown this photograph before on my blog, but it fits my theme of cars and fashion  so well.  This was my husband's first car - a silver grey Ford Escort, bought just a few weeks before we first met in 1970. He was always proud of his cars and looked after them well.   This brings back memories of our engagement. It must have been love, that he actually suggested I sat on top of the car for this photograph - not something he has allowed since!  But note  the thoughtful touch of the tartan rug.  I am in fashion with my miniskirt, peter pan collar, and 1970's striped  coat!  


By 1972 we had graduated to a bronze Ford Cortina and this reminds me of the time when we were planning for the birth of our daughter - so a larger car was called for with room for the pram and all the baby paraphernalia etc.   This photograph was taken  near  Smailholm Tower in the Scottish Borders. I am wearing a pinafore dress that was all the rage then. 

I know  - showing off in my mini skirt!  c.1970.   Those large dark framed specs are back in fashion now.

HERE to see how other Sepia Saturday bloggers head  Here and There
 with this month's theme   

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Heirlooms from my Great Grandfather - Treasure Chest Thursday

I am over the moon! Thanks to my blog, I have just been given  personal items - a presentation silver trowel, a silver crested baton and the family bible  - belonging to my paternal great grandfather, John Matthews of Wolverhampton, Staffordshire.

John Matthews (1843-1918)

 The inscription reads:   
Ladymore Wesleyan Chapel 
Stonelaying Ceremony
Presented to Mr. J, Matthews
April 7th 1903. 

How did all this come about? 
My father's side of the family (Weston and Matthews) has always remained rather shadowy.  They lived some distance away and we only met them one or two times a year, plus the fact that so few photographs have survived of the family.   They have not featured much in my research beyond the basic facts of names and dates, and an occasional article on my blog. 

So I was amazed to receive an e-mail from a Matthews connection through marriage;  moreover with  the wish to give family treasures to a direct descendantWe corresponded, met last week and spent a happy afternoon chatting about our family history research.  

I always knew from my father that his maternal grandfather John Matthews was a prominent member of the Methodist Church,  but had not delved into research to find out more.  Featured  here is a silver trowel and baton presented to John in recognition of his service to the church

On the 8th April 1903, "The Wolverhampton Express & Star"  reported on  "A New Wesleyan Chapel for Ladymoor".
"Fourteen memorial stones were laid  of a new chapel at Ladymoor, to take the place of the present one which has been wrecked by mining operations.  There was a large attendance  at the site  which occupies a very central position.  .......The stone layers were.......Mr. J. Matthews (on behalf of the choir).....Each was presented with a silver trowel...on behalf of the trustees.

The new erection, which is estimated to cost £1000, will be of a nondescript style to accommodate 200 persons with the necessary classroom, and a vestibule.  It will be heated throughout with hot water pipes."
Following the ceremony, a public meeting and service  was held in the Bilston Wesleyan Chapel. at which the musical portion was contributed by the Ladymore Wesleyan Choir, conductor  by John Matthews.    
Below is the silver crested baton also presented to John Matthews in his role as conductor of the choir.

The tiny inscription reads: 
Presented to John Matthews
By the Choir and Congregation

of Wesleyan Chapel, Ladymoor


 To hold the baton used by my great grandfather was a delight to me, as the love of choral music  has continued down through the family.  My uncle Fred Weston was a choir boy  at Warwick Parish Church.  At the age of seven, my father joined the parish church choir at Broseley, near Ironbridge, Shropshire and continued singing until late in life,  wherever he was living.  From the days of my being in a school choir, choral music has remained  one of my main interests. 


The gift of the family bible listing John's marriage to Matilda and the birth of their ten children, will form the subject of a later post.

John,  "dearly beloved husband of Matilda"  died aged  75 on the 17th September 1918.  The loss of three children preceded him - Fanny Elizabeth  aged 33 in 1909;  John Percy aged 36  in 1910, and Arthur William. aged 35  killed in action in 1915 at Gallipoli - remembered on the Helles Memorial  in Turkey. 

My great grandmother,  Matilda Matthew, nee Such/Simpson, born in 1849 lived to the  age of 81, with her death  on 9th July 1929 recorded in the "Wolverhampton Express & Star". Mystery surrounds her background  - to be explored in a future post.  

My grandmother Mary Barbara Matthews (1876-1958) the third child of John and Matilda. 


With special thanks to Nick and Jennifer.  

"Treasure Chest Thursday"  is one of many daily prompts from Geneabloggers encouraging  bloggers to record their family history.  

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