Monday, October 13, 2014

A PHOTO A DAY.....number NINE (and some family history).

I found another delightful old photograph (emailed to us once again by Leslie McDonald).  Phil is quite sure it was taken a couple of years before he was born which would make it ca 1927. It is Phil's paternal grandparents Charles and Mary.  It is not in very good condition but considering when it was taken and the type of camera available then I think it amazing it is still as good as it is.

The photo was taken outside the the front door of the approximately 200 year old cottage in which they lived.   Charles was born in 1858 in Coventry and Mary in 1867 in Meriden (the village where this cottage is situated and where Phil and his parents eventually lived with his grandparents).

Charles had been widowed in the latter part of 1888 when his wife Elizabeth had died at the tender age of 23.  I do not have a copy of her death certificate but tend to think she may have died in child birth as a son was born at that time.  He (Robert Walter) appears to have only lived for about 6 months or less.  Charles was left with two sons Francis (aged 5) and Clarence (aged 2).

Charles married Mary in Coventry in 1894 and they had three sons and a daughter.  One son (Harold) died when he was one year of age.  The other sons were Charles (father of Mollie) and Cyril (Phil's dad) and the daughter who was named Elsie.

Charles' father, George, had died in 1881 when he was only 35 and left his widow, Esther, with five young children to bring up.  We know that George had been in the 10th Royal Hussars as in 1861 he was living in the Army Barracks in Ipswich, Suffolk while his wife and son Charles were living in private accommodation in Ipswich.

When aged 13, Charles was one of 609 people at the Royal Military Asylum for Children of Soldiers of the Regular Army (this would be because of the death of his father).   The Afghan War took place between 1878 and 1882 and Charles was stationed there with his regiment (the 10th Hussars).  He was wounded (a spear wound to his groin).  After being hospitalised in India Charles returned home and was discharged as "wounded".    When young he had been a trumpeter in the army.  In later years he was employed by the post office until he had to retire on medical grounds suffering with 'writer's cramp' (what we today would possible recognize as RSI).  You will have seen later photos of Phil's grandparents having tea on VE day in 1945.


  1. A 200 year old cottage! Oh how I would love to wander through that. I couldn't live in one though, not without the modern conveniences I'm used to. at the very least electricity and an indoor flushing toilet.
    It's nice that you know so much of yours and Phil's family histories and have photos to back it up. Future generations will look back on this and thank you.

    1. In Phil's youth they had neither electricity nor running water. I think after his two years in the Army (national service we call it here) most of which time he spent in Germany, he used some of his deferred pay to have electricity installed and later water to the house as well.
      I've spent hours and hours tracing family trees and found out so much. I love genealogy but unfortunately I've just about come to the end of the trail as there is little else to be found with incurring great expense.
      Incidentally, that cottage was sold for about thirty thousand pounds after Phil's mum passed away. As it is a 'green belt' it cannot be demolished but eventually it old again and the new owners spend a small fortunate on extending it. The last time I saw it for sale I think the asking price was about a million pounds. Unbelieveable, but true.

  2. Hari OM
    Oh my word but this is reminiscent of AMERICAN GOTHIC. (Don't worry, my head goes different drifts at times...)

    Brilliant shot! As to property values? Tsk. YAM xx

    (ps - this is third attempt to comment - should they all turn up feel free to 'prune'!!!)

    1. No only one comment here so no pruning necessary. Just another of those little glitches that come to try us.
      I think this was a very English type of cottage but then they of course thought of the design first didn't they?

  3. What a sweet happy looking couple in front of their fairy tale cottage.

    1. Phil hadn't seen that photograph of his grandparents until Leslie emailed it to us and so it is very precious to both of us.