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29 April 2017

29th April 1948: Katie the lodger's day

29 Thur. Fairly mild after a night of rain. Mostly dull and cloudy. Took Katie’s photograph in the garden. Got her groceries at Eyles and her soap ration at Smaldons. Bought fish for myself and cats locally. Took Katie’s shoes for repair. Gwennie and Margaret called. Small amount of work in garden. Met Mrs. and Doris Bradley. Developed the photo of Katie: it was fully exposed and is a good negative.

28 April 2017

28th April 1948: gales... queues... food poisoning

28 Wed. Rather mild, cool at each end of day: some sunshine but rain setting in later. The wind of gale force died down with the rain. Stood in a very long cats’ meat queue at Morden and eventually got some. Got the groceries locally. A letter from Aunt Nellie saying Uncle Tom was laid up with food poisoning. Gwennie and Laurie called; gave them two photos of themselves: they were pleased.

27 April 2017

27th April 1948: heavenly day

27 Tues. Very mild; lovely warm sunshine, cloudless sky all day; only a little wind which dropped at evening, which was heavenly. Cut the lawn: looks very nice for so early in the season. Bought fish locally also M.Q. developer. Twin red & black flex wire and metal polish in Wimbledon. More work putting up bean rods in evening. Took prints of the children’s group I took on Sunday, also of Alb, Lily, Hilary and Philip.

26 April 2017

26th April 1948: half-day off school for royal anniversary!

26 Mon. Mild, fine bright sunny day but the wind is still keen. Planted ferns and hypericum in the front garden, after much labour trying to break up the soil. Sowed more poppy seeds in the back garden. The King and Queen’s Silver Wedding: the school children had a half-day holiday. Bought fish in Morden.

25 April 2017

25th April 1948: jaunty tortoise

25 Sun. Very cool, sunny morning, cloudy later; a cold NE wind of hurricane force. Gwennie, Laurie, Donald and Margaret came in afternoon for me to take their photograph which I developed along with the one I took at Tolworth on 18th inst. Alb, Lily and Anthony paid a surprise visit and had tea here – without Ciss as she had gone to Edie Hopkins at Stoneleigh. The tortoise which was in the garden last summer came this afternoon walking along the garden path with quite a jaunty gait and seemed quite happy to be here but I now know where it lives so took it back to Roy Eves in Bronson Road.

24 April 2017

24th April 1948: callers and manure

24 Sat. Mild, much sunshine, steady SW breeze but a pleasant day. Weeding in the garden. Planted carnation cuttings. Dug over and manured border for runner beans. Put up rods for same. Gwennie, Laurie and Margaret called. Laurie finished the birthday card. Aunt Liza called. Bought fish at Merton.

23 April 2017

23rd April 1948: buns, duck egg, chocolate... happy days

23 Fri. Mild, sunny afternoon; chilly E wind. To butchers, got rolled lamb for us and a tin of corned beef for Katie. Also to pay for the papers and get sweets. Got Katie’s groceries including 4 eggs and a duck’s egg. Bought buns for ourselves and a nice chocolate cake for Katie. Gwennie and little Margaret called: I was very happy. Aunt Liza gave me some carnation cuttings.

22 April 2017

22nd April 1948: gave piano lesson

22 Thur. Mild but the stiff E breeze made it seem cold, dull showery morning, sunny later. To Wimbledon, also to all the flower shops to buy a root of phlox but failed. To butchers. Started to dig the front garden and lay it out with a diamond pattern bed: very hard work, the ground is like concrete, it has been neglected since the bombing. Started to make a rockery at end of garden: plenty of large concrete blocks from the dismantled shelter. John Child brought the bag back I lent him. Connie Freeman came in for a piano lesson.


21 April 2017

21st April 1948: stewed figs

21 Wed. Becoming rather warm as the day wore on. Sunny morning, dull, showers later. Got the groceries and other things locally. Dug up, divided and planted out five ferns. Also the evergreen hedges in the front garden. Stewed some figs and made custard; gave some to Katie who liked it. Gwennie brought little Margaret who put a cross beside her name on the birthday card.

20 April 2017

20th April 1948: garden planting

20 Tues. Becoming rather warm, lovely sunny day like summer. A rather stiff breeze but it did not chill to-day. Bought and planted a doz. antirrhinums also some auriculas. Sowed marigold and poppy seeds. Dear Gwennie painted three more pansies on her card; this finishes her work, only a little more lettering remains to be done by Laurie.

19 April 2017

19th April 1948: death levy... and rotting church

19 Mon. Very mild, some soft hazy sunshine, not much wind, pleasant. Bought several packets of flower seeds and fish locally. Met dear Gladys, oh, she is nice. She told me Russell is in hospital. Sowed seeds of sweet peas, clarkia, and marigolds (two sorts.) Dear Gwennie called; Katie gave her an orange. Paid the Slate Club, there was a death levy for Mr. Adams. The timbers in the roof of the Church are seriously attacked with dry rot and parts of the roof are covered with tarpaulin.

18 April 2017

18th April 1948: plastic helicopter, anyone?

18 Sun. Mild, fine sunny day but a steady SW breeze kept it cool. Cycled to Tolworth. Took a plastic model helicopter to Anthony but he did not appreciate it. Took my camera to take a group of Alb, Lily and him, but he would not be taken. Hilary and her husband were there so included them in the picture.

17 April 2017

17th April 1948: veggie refuse for sweet peas

17 Sat. Rather mild, dull, showers, the E wind tends to veer S. Got Ciss’ shoes from the repairers, bought fish and a paper locally. Dug a deep trench in garden and buried a thick layer of vegetable refuse to make a bed for a row of sweet peas.

16 April 2017

16th April 1948: nice cats' meat... at last!

16 Fri. Very cool, but a bright sunny cloudless day with a rough cold E wind strong enough to blow a sheet of corrugated iron from the top of a shed next door and hurl it down the garden. The new growth on the roses is badly nipped; I have to keep cutting them back owing to the cold weather damage. However the cherry blossom is lovely and lilac is nearly out. Got the usual shopping locally also at last I got some nice cats' meat at Morden.


15 April 2017

15th April 1948: bought groceries for the lodger

15 Thur. Mild, bright sunshine – and cloudless sky all day but the E wind is cold. To butchers, also got groceries for Katie. Bought fish at Morden. Made a good hotbed and sowed ridge cucumber seeds. Gwennie, Donald and Margaret called. Margaret is getting loving and turns to me for comfort if she falls which she frequently does.

14 April 2017

14th April 1948: Aunt Hannah referred on to another hospital

14 Wed. Mild, dull morning but some hazy sunshine later. All four children called; Gwennie and Laurie did some printing to the birthday card. Planted mint roots. John Child called to dig up a root of rhubarb I had promised, gave him flower roots as well. Aunt Liza called to say that Aunt Hannah who went to hospital to-day came back again: she is to wait a call to go to a London Hospital: probably Gower Street. Wrote all the news to Uncle Tom and Aunt Nellie.

13 April 2017

13th April 1948: Aunt to have operation at Nelson Hospital

13 Tues. Becoming very mild; fine sunny morning, cloudy later: pleasant. Renewed the wireless licence and posted a letter. Took Ciss’ shoes for repair. Bought fish at Merton. Turned over part of garden for a cucumber bed. Aunt Hannah called in morning to say she is going into Nelson Hospital tomorrow to have a growth removed from her breast. She is 79: I am a little disturbed.

12 April 2017

12th April 1948: plenty of veggie purchases for the garden

12 Mon. Cold night and morning but fine mild sunny afternoon; little wind. Bought a small plastic helicopter model* at the post-office for Anthony. Pruned Aunt Hannah’s roses. Bought hop manure, beetroot, cucumber and sweet pea seeds. Sowed beetroot seeds.

*Note: Anthony bought one for himself a few years back, as well! Radio controlled - well, uncontrollable in fact. He doesn't recall Fred's.

11 April 2017

11th April 1948: Sunday kids and I made music

11 Sun. Mild, fine bright sunny day; the wind is still chilly. A crowd of children called. Played some light music on the piano to-day. To Aunt Liza’s in evening otherwise did not go out.

10 April 2017

10th April 1048: poor, nipped roses

10 Sat. Mild but although the wind is S it is still chilly. A few sunny periods. The new growth on the roses is badly nipped by wind and frost; had to cut them back once again. To Merton to buy fish and to Boots: bought oranges locally. Met dear Laura. Divided the bright yellow flowered perennials and sent two roots to Mrs. Child by John. Gwennie and Margaret called. Ciss had a letter from Dear Connie who is in Eire for a holiday.

9 April 2017

9th April 1948: the rehoused friends after war damage

9 Fri. Rather mild, much less wind, some sunny periods. The usual Fri. morning shopping. To Merton in afternoon to buy fish. Saw the grave; the daffodils and narcissus are now at their best and the grave looks lovely. Gwennie finished the pansy picture on the front of her card. Played cards with her. Took some roots to Mrs. Hicks and some to Mrs. Child. So I saw Mrs. Hicks’ newly built flat and Mrs. Child’s new house.


8 April 2017

8th April 1948: to food office for Katie's coupons

8 Thur. Would have been rather mild but for the bitterly cold wind which was most violent. Alternate sunshine and heavy clouds with some hail. To the food office at Morden to get counterfoils for Katie’s ration book – got her rations at Eyles. Bought fish in Morden also something at Boots. Gwennie brought Margaret who is now showing unmistakeable signs that she is growing fond of me.

7 April 2017

7th April 1948: Uncles Tom, Dan and Ben in focus

7 Wed. Mild, fine sunny till late afternoon when it was dull and much cooler. Got the groceries also to the fish shop. Letter from Uncle Tom; he was pleased with the photos I sent him and would like me to photograph him and Aunt Nellie. Gwennie and Laurie did a very little work on the birthday card. Mrs Alderton called in evening to see how Katie was getting on. Uncle Ben sent me a telescope that used to belong to Uncle Dan. It will be useful to me.

6 April 2017

6th April 1948: Katie 'registers' with milkman, butcher & grocer

6 Tues. Rather mild, mostly heavy clouds, the bitter wind still blows. Gwennie and Laurie called. Bought fish in afternoon. Katie Shimps wants to be registered with our milkman, butcher and grocer and got their consent. Wrote letter to Uncle Tom and enclosed two different views of the grave.


5 April 2017

5th April 1948: gas ring fitted for Katie

5 Mon. Cold, fearful skies but some sunny periods nevertheless: the cold wind is dreadful and is nipping the new growths of vegetation. Gwennie called; she makes slow progress on her card. The gas man fitted a ring for Katie to boil a kettle on. To Morden to buy fish. Made a number of fine prints of the new negative of the grave.

4 April 2017

4th April 1948: Katie the lodger arrives

4 Sun. Cold; heavy rain till afternoon: very heavy clouds, but the wind dropped by night. Anne and Victor called quite early before going to Sunday School. Mrs Alderton** and her sister Mrs. Schimps came in afternoon with some luggage. Mrs Schimps (Katie) will occupy the front bedroom as a lodger: she cannot get fixed up comfortably elsewhere. She seemed very pleased; she will be away all day. Developed the plate I took of the grave yesterday, it is splendid in every way – fully exposed, needle sharp detail and gradation perfect.

**Note: Mrs Alderton lived a few miles away, at 94 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth. I believe she was from Austria originally.

3 April 2017

3rd April 1948: flesh-tinted spec frames

3 Sat. Cold, some bright sunny periods but mostly heavy clouds and violent wind. To Merton Churchyard to take another photo of the grave and was lucky with the sunshine. Then to Wimbledon to collect my spectacles from Wenban. They are for reading only and are in flesh tinted plastic frames with large Torex lenses: they cost £3.10.0. Then to Durbins to buy 100 sheets of Ridax gaslight paper by Gaevairt price 8/7d. Made a number of most excellent prints of both views of the grave.

2 April 2017

2nd April 1948: crumpets

2 Fri. Cold, very heavy clouds, bitter rough wind; rain most of the day: not nice. Did a lot of shopping in morning – all locally; met Arthur Swift**. Stayed in the rest of the day. Was toasting crumpets when Ciss came home with Cousin Maud, the latter accepted and enjoyed one.

**Note: on many occasions Fred has recorded meeting Arthur Swift (from 'Park Way' - or Parkway). He once met Arthur shortly after he came out of hospital, his having been run down by a car one night during a WWII blackout. Illustration: Google Earth with Arthur's home, 5 Parkway, marked by a cross.

Come to Margate!

To Miss French, at home, from Margate, 12 July, probably 1911. It is suggested to her as a change from W. (Weymouth). Margate has 'beautiful drives and motor boats'.

1 April 2017

1st April 1948: plate photography

1 April. Thur. Rather cold, fitful skies, heavy showers, very rough & gusty but the sun came through for a few short periods. The children called; Gwennie painted another flower on the card. To butchers and fish shop. The grave looks very nice and I took another view of it to-day. To Aunt Liza in evening. Developed the plate and got a fine negative.

Photo: not Fred's, but the now fallen cross, located and photographed by readers of these diaries, Sean and Nora Galvin.

31 March 2017

31st March 1948: the gasman cometh

31 Wed. Cold, cloudy, threatening, rain, very boisterous SW wind. Got the groceries and fish. Paid the gasman to have a ring fitted in front bedroom. The three children called, Gwennie & Laurie are getting on with the birthday card. Put some comic pictures and rhymes in Laurie’s book.

Be careful, Miss French

Another card from Southwell SW London, to Miss T French (Cissie) c/0 Mrs Amor, 8 Newberry Gardens, Weymouth. 'Dear Miss French. Hope you are havig a grand timne, but don't copy this young lady's action too often.... Be good and do be careful. Kuind Regards etc, Ru !' (or Rub?)

30 March 2017

30th March 1948: Bang!

30 Tues. Rather mild, mostly cloudy; the wind is now SW. Donald wanted me to pump up his balloon with my bike pump – it burst! Gwennie came to paint her birthday card and made a start. Laurie also came. Out to fish shop and to buy a paper. Planted a row of aquilegia seedlings: gave some to Mrs. Akroyd who called: she had an accident but is getting better.

29 March 2017

1910 hat

'With love, from Molly,' postmarked Southend, Aug 9, 1910. To Miss Coching, 1a Clifton Park Ave, Raynes Park, Wimbledon.

29th March 1948: Easter Monday - "domestic duties"

29 Easter Monday. Rather cold, bitter E wind, very dull, but the wind veered late in day to SW which brought a few light showers. Did not go out. Mrs. Matson and Mrs. Brown came to tea. Not much of a day. There is no holiday for me as I have to do my domestic duties just the same. Wrote a three stanza poem to be written on a birthday card Gwennie and Laurie are going to paint for their mother

28 March 2017

28th March 1948: Easter Day - an afternoon sightseeing... in the churchyard!

28 Sun. Easter Day. Mild, fine, bright sunny day with much less wind, almost pleasant. Alb, Lily, Anthony and Kenneth came to dinner and tea. In afternoon we all went to see Dad’s and Mum’s grave which looks very fine: the daffodils are gorgeous and the narcissus are nearly out.

Note:
Alb=brother
Lily= sister-in-law
Kenneth=their lodger

27 March 2017

Eyles the grocers, and 'lights' for the cat

Our reader 'Greyfox' discovered this blog of Fred's diaries very recently, in March 2017, and has already read through the diaries to the present date. Greyfox has offered numerous snippets of information, which we've added to individual entries. Here are two more, on names and on cats' food, often mentioned by Fred. Greyfox writes...

There are several mentions of Eyles, the grocers. I have looked on the 1939 Register & found a George Eyles (grocer & provision dealer) living with his wife Alice (Post Office clerk & domestic duties) at 421 Kingston Road. This became Wimbedon Chase Post Office but has now closed.

Cat food: lights were lungs. I can well remember the disgusting smell when they were being boiled for the family cat in the 1950s & 60s. Once boiled they were grey & solid – like a very firm rubber. Fred paid 6d a pound for them, equivalent to about £1.05 now.

27th March 1948: two hours queuing at shops

27 Sat. Very cool; a devastating E wind made an outdoor occasion most uncomfortable, but the sky was blue and cloudless all day. Did much shopping including a long wait in the butchers queue also at the greengrocers and fish shop: it took me two hours to get meat, fish, oranges and pay for newspapers and buy sweets.
Another card to Ciss from A Thompson at the office. Postmarked Stockwell, 13 Aug 1909, to the same Weymouth address as last year, c/o Mrs Amor, 8 Newberry Gardens. She apologises for not writing before, she has been so driving busy she has had her bed moved to the office. She enquires if Tommie is treating Ciss to plenty of what is on the front of the card.

25 March 2017

26th March 1948: photographing the grave

26 Good Friday. White morning frost. Mild, fine day; the sun shining from a cloudless sky all day but the raging E wind completely spoilt it. To Merton Churchyard to photograph the grave. Developed it at night – a good result but I over-developed the negative making it too dense.

25th March 1948: hot cross buns

25 Thur. Sharp white morning frost. Rather mild day, sunny, blue skies but a nasty E wind. Gwennie called with her doll; she made a three cornered head scarf for the doll while she was here. To butchers & fish shop in morning. The baker brought some hot cross buns. To Merton in afternoon, also bought M.Q. developer and acid-hypo at Boots in Wimbledon.

25 Ju*1908

June or July? To Ciss at her holiday board, 8 Newberry Gardens, Dorset. From the office. She'd missed their annual outing, to Herne Bay. This was from Alice Thomson. And 'X Tommie' is marked on the front.

24 March 2017

24 Mar 1948: photo plates and safelight

24 Wed. White frost but becoming milder, fine sunny day. Got the groceries. Also some cotton and darning wools for Ciss. Also a camel-hair brush and eraser. To Wimbledon: bought 1 doz Kodak Panchromatic Plates 3¼ x 4¼ @ 6/10d. Made improvised green safelight. The children called.

23 March 2017

About 1908, again

'Dear Cissy, Wishing you a maney happy returnes of your Birthday/fame Ivy' (Typed as written.)

23 Mar 1948: start of a birthday card...

23 Tues. Sharp white frost, very cool day but much hazy sunshine; cold again at night. Donald called in morning. Gwennie & Margaret later. Bought fish in Morden; posted letter to Rev. Chas. Staden. Gwennie started painting a birthday card for her mother.


22 March 2017

22 Mar 1948: cut and prune

22 Mon. Becoming rather mild, fine sunny day but a nasty N wind. Donald called in morning Bought fish and a paper; Oh and a new cycle lamp battery. Gwennie and Margaret called. Cut old wood out of sweet briar Lady Penzance. Finished pruning the roses but I may have to cut them back harder subsequently. Aunt Liza called.

21 March 2017

About 1908

Unstanped and unaddressed card, so delivered by hand. Copied here as written: 'Dear Cissy, Wishing you a maney happy Returnes of your Birthday, From Harold'  The same spelling mistakes appear in the same handwriting, but with a different name at the foot, on another romantic card... see 23rd March. 

21 Mar 1948: blossoming

21 Sun. Very cool, dull, rough chilly wind. The plum blossoms are out. Forsythia, Cydonia are splendid. Short cycle ride in evening but it is not nice out of doors. Finished letter to Chas. Staden.

20 March 2017

Cats, dogs and working animals in WWII

A reader who has just discovered Uncle Fred's diaries has contributed this interesting information  about pets and working animals during the war. Thank you 'Greyfox'.
I've found this re cat registration. 

"...pet cats could be issued with a NARPAC collar and registration disc that ensured their return if they were found straying during, or after, a blitz or blackout. The disc read: "Finder Please Report This Number To Nearest National Animal Guard". The National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee was established to ensure the well-being of domestic and working animal under war conditions, a national register was set up and registered animals were issued with a NARPAC numbered disc attached to a collar as identification. The NARPAC Animal Service were responsible for working animals (e.g. horses) while the NARPAC Animal Guard were predominantly women who were responsible for the welfare and registration of domestic pets covering a few streets in their local area."

From http://messybeast.com/retro-wartime.htm . There is also an image of the registration card.

20 Mar 1948

20 Sat. Mild, dull, but a chilly wind. Gwennie called in morning. To Merton in afternoon; bought fish, a tonic at Boots for Ciss and two roots of blue primrose. Planted the latter on the rockery with doubtful aid from Gwennie. Made up the remaining garden path with ashes: Played Sebastopol with Gwennie & Laurie: I won. Mrs Alderton and her sister called, gave them some tea. The sister Katie will rent the upstairs bedroom after Easter.

19 March 2017

1090 comic card to Ciss

Sent from Hastings, posymarked 5.45pm Aug 28, 1909. To Fred's sister, Miss French, 66 Chestnut Road, Raynes Park, Surrey. '...am glad I have not been sea sick yet. Is this what you did at Weymouth, when you was looking for Tommie. From A Howsa' (Shawsa?)

19 Mar 1948

19 Fri. Rather cold, dull, windy, Ciss birthday. Got the usual shopping also a cake for Ciss birthday. Finished the long line of polyanthus and had some over to give to Mrs. Child: took them. To see Mr. Conley who is ill and will go into hospital tomorrow. To see Dad’s and Mum’s grave. Some of the daffodils are out, the crocuses are and in a week it will be at its best when the Croesus narcissus are in bloom. Played dominoes with Ciss; she won.

18 March 2017

18 Mar 1948

18 Thur. Chilly, dull morning becoming mild and sunny by afternoon. To butchers and fish shop. Dug up some perennials, divided and replanted, taking some to Mrs. Child: she was not at home but left them at her doorstep. Planted out a long row of polyanthus but shall have to finish the job tomorrow.

17 March 2017

1927 comic card to Fred's brother, Alb

"Don't forget the cane and bow - From an admirer," wrote the sender in pencil in 1927
to Mr A French, c/oT E Peake Esq, 44 Crag Path, Aldburgh.

17 Mar 1948

17 Wed. Rather mild, dull. Got the groceries etc. locally. Lightly pruned the roses. Cut the lawn for the first time this year. The scillas and mauve crocuses on the rockery look nice. Gwennie, Donald and little Margaret called. Bought a sheet of thin white card as Gwennie wants to paint a birthday card for her mother.

16 March 2017

16th March 1948: Webb's Wonderful lettuce

16 Tues. Rather chilly, heavy clouds, boisterous SW wind. Bought Bath buns, liver sausage and fish locally in morning. Sowed cress seed in a box. Sowed more onion seed in the garden also Webb’s Wonderful lettuce. Rain at night.

15 March 2017

15th March 1948: pay the undertaker for grave cleaning

15 Mon. Rather chilly, dull except for some hazy sunshine mid-day; nasty cold wind. Went to Mr. Knox the undertaker to pay for cleaning the kerbs, bases and cross and the new inscription on Dad’s and Mum’s grave. Bought cats meat at Merton and fish locally. To pay Slate Club in evening.

1909, to Fred's sister...

...at 11, Newbury Gardens, Weymouth, where she was on holiday on 14-15 August 1909. 'Dear Tree. How's this, I hope you are not quite so shy as this at any rate I hope you are never in such a predicament as this. Glad you are having fine weather, cheer up you only have another week to go. Grace.'

14 March 2017

14th March 1948: daffodils are... nearly out, around grave

14 Sun. The day started with a slight frost but by noon it became very mild, while the sun shone from a cloudless sky all day. The usual children called. To Merton Churchyard to see Dad’s & Mum’s grave. It has been re-placed, cleaned and the new inscription for Dad engraved. The mauve crocuses are full out and the daffodils are nearly so and look very nice: the stone looks quite new again.

13 March 2017

13th March 1948: Summer Time begins

13 Sat. Rather mild, some hazy sunshine but dull, misty, chilly later. With Laurie, Donald, Leonard Conley and Clifford Gover to Wimbledon Common to fly the small spar and the large model with the new 41½ ins span wing. The spar performed admirably but there was rather too much wind for the large one as it has a much longer range and would soon have drifted right away. Must try again under more favourable conditions but the new wing has a great deal of lift and would fly at a great height if fully wound: it is too good for the Common. Summer time begins.

Another 2nd birthday card to nephew Anthony...


12 March 2017

12th March 1948: new houses replacing those bombed

12 Fri. Fine, mild, sunny day. There was a fresh breeze, but a lovely day. Got all the usual Fri. morning shopping locally. Paid a visit and took some Methodist Recorders to Mrs Child who has now left Chatsworth Avenue and is living in a brand new house in Carlton Park Avenue. It is one of a row built on the site of a number of houses destroyed by a doodle-bug. I liked the house very much and is of course up-to-date. Bought cats meat and aeroplane elastic at Merton in afternoon. Dug over a bit of the garden and weeded a side-path. Made up a skin of 3/16 rubber – five strands for a motor for the spar model

11 March 2017

11th March 1948: stewed figs and custard – scrumptious

11 Thur. Mild, fine sunny day but not as warm as yesterday. Made up further end of centre path. Bought liver at butchers, took Donald with me. Met Mrs. Hicks she has just moved into a new flat in Bushey Road. She showed me the garden she has just planted and wants me to prune the roses when they make a start. Doped the new wing and covered the central bay with emerald tissue – looks marvellous and expect it to fly grandly. Stewed figs and made custard for tea – scrumptious.

To the nephew on his 2nd birthday


10 March 2017

10th March 1948: would you believe it – date, figs and currants!

10 Wed. Mild, fine bright, sunny day but the E wind was a little chill. Got the groceries including – would you believe it – date, figs and currants. To Morton to buy a red currant and a black currant bush, both for Aunt Liza. Planted them in Aunt Liza’s garden on a good bed of hop manure; they should do well. Dug over my own gooseberry bed, digging up mint & bellbine which clogged the roots and dug in hop manure. Finished covering new wing also water-tightened it – looks promising.

9 March 2017

9th March 1948: a bloody nose... and that darn phone

9 Tues. Becoming rather warm, lovely general sunshine all day. To Mutual Stores to get cups, saucers & plates for Lily but they had sold out. Tried to get her on the phone but you can never get through to their number. Cycled to Ruxley and Chessington to see if I could buy gooseberry bushes but failed; I enjoyed the ride however as the sunshine was lovely and flowering trees have commenced the spring display. Donald called; he slipped on the shiny lino flat on his nose which spurted blood. Had to carry him home yelling. He came later with Gwennie and Laurie and was all right again. Did more covering of the new wing with white tissue.

Jones was a maiden name...

Sent to Fred's bother & sister-in-law 19.5.1964. Jones was Lily's maiden name...

8 March 2017

8th March 1948: skipping record... Fred prefers playing with planes

8 Mon. Rather mild, dull; little wind, but getting cooler. Donald called twice in morning. To Wimbledon along rail-path in afternoon. Had my sight tested at Wenban’s for a pair of reading glasses: was very interested in the optical process. Bought a writing pad and a packet of envelopes at the post office, cost 1-9d. Gwennie came to tell me she had broken her skipping record which now stands at 67: I suppose she thinks I am interested. Started covering the 41½ ins. wing.

7 March 2017

Sent for a first birthday

Sent to your editor, Fred's nephew, on my 1st birthday! Well, I still like toast!

7th March 1946: cycling on Sunday... in windy Wimbledon

7 Sun. Rather mild, fine sunny morning, dull afternoon with a stiff chilly breeze springing up. Cycled round Wimbledon Common in afternoon, but glad to get back on account of the cold wind. The prunus and almond trees are in bloom also forsythia is nearly out. The crocuses and scillas in the garden are coming into bloom also the polyanthus.

6 March 2017

6th March 1948: to Wenban's for sight testing

6 Sat. Very cold, dull, becoming rather mild & sunny by afternoon but a thick, smoky fog soon blotted out the sun. Gwennie called with the ration book and later with Margaret in her pram. To Wimbledon along rail-path which is being concreted; saw Pacific loco. “Yeovil”. Went to make an appointment at Wenban’s* to get my sight tested. Cousin Maud called: she had to get home to Streatham in the fog.

*Note: Mr A T Wenban, a retired optician living in Eastbourne, died on 9th Feb 1948. ('London Gazette'.) He had previously lived and/or practised at 36, The Broadway, Wimbledon. The Museum of Wimbledon has sports medals donated by the same person.





5 March 2017

5th March 1948: what did Katie do?

5 Fri. Very cold, only 4 degrees above freezing, very dull – a good thing the E wind was of only moderate strength. Did a lot of shopping locally, also bought three cups and saucers as a birthday present to Lily: the cost 2/3 for a cup and saucer. Mrs Alderton and her sister Katie came to see the front bedroom with a view to taking it for Katie. They live near Alb & Lily at Tolworth and it is hard to find a lodging these days. We do not want a lodger but she cannot get a place elsewhere. Laurie brought some cardboard models he made at school.

Note: Mrs Alderton probably lived at 94 Largewood Avenue, Tolworth, Surbiton, Surrey. (Pre-dating postcodes.) She was possibly Austrian originally, from Vienna. 

It's that pug again... sent from St Ives... 1949


4 March 2017

4th March 1948: the plant doctor

4 Thur. Cold, dull, E wind a little stronger again. Bought sausage meat and pepper at Johnsons. Fawn darning wool at Jenefer’s. Bought fish at shop where Mrs Philpot serves. Ask her about Winifred Ewens, her sister. She was taken in an ambulance to hospital yesterday for an operation. Met Dear Gladys; it is a delight to meet someone with a lovely disposition who does not grouse or run down other people. Sowed “All the Year Round” lettuce seed, and “James Keeping” onion. Dug up the “Juliet” rose I planted in 1916, cut off the tap roots which had gone deep into cold sour clay. Re-planted on a nice bed of hop manure and a sprinkling of ‘Clamp’ (?) fertilizer near the top. This bush grows a lot of straggly shoots and has not produced a good bloom for many years: it has not bloomed for two years. I suspected what had happened and remedied it to-day. And now we shall see what difference it has made. I increased torque cancellation on the small spar aero.

3 March 2017

3rd March 1948: mattresses returned - much thicker now

3 Wed. Cold, dull, becoming less cold; foggy at night. Got the groceries also fish also sundries at the oil shop. Met Arthur Swift – the third day running. Two mattresses returned from Surrey Bedding Co. after re-making – much thicker now. Dug over a rose bed also prepared a border for sowing onion and lettuce. Fitted new ball to lavatory cistern.

A kiss

To Fred's nephew on his fifth birthday from next-door-but-three,
from the elderly and formidable, in the child's eyes, Brewer sisters of 104 Largewood Ave, Tolworth

'Bonzo' published by Valentine & Sons Ltd. - 4245.

2 March 2017

2nd March 1948: Carters mixed “Gleam” nasturtiums

2 Tues. Rather cold, dull, a little more wind. Bought fish, hop manure, sulphate of potash and lentils also U2 torch batteries and a packet of Carters mixed “Gleam” nasturtiums: glad to see these on the market again. The three children called; when they went home Donald shut the front door while I was outside and shut me out. I had to go through Norris’ and get on their coal bunker and drop over the fence. Wrote letter to Uncle Tom & Aunt Nellie.

Note: many excellent photos posted by the son of pgotographer at 'Carters Tested Seeds' with its grand and glorious headquarters building, looking like an echo of Empire, in Raynes Park. This is a link.

And the catalogue, left, is from The University of Reading's The Museum of English Rural Life. See this link for a short history of the company.

1 March 2017

1899 school attendance


June 1899. The card awarded to Fred's younger brother for good school attendance.

1st Mar 1948: re-making matresses

March 1948

1 Mon. Rather mild, dull and cloudy, not much wind. Bought fish and ‘Marchon’ firelighters locally. Met Arthur Swift. The landlord brought a replacement part for the lavatory cistern which I fitted. The Water Board inspector had complained about the overflow leaking. The Surrey Bedding Co. took away three mattresses for re-making. Divided up and planted out four more rhubarb roots. Gwennie and Margaret called. Aunt Nellie sent me a cake and a sausage roll.

28 February 2017

28th & 29th February 1948: no offers of marriage

28 Sat. Rather mild, very little wind, the sunshine had some pleasant warmth in it; the snow should be all gone by tomorrow. Ciss had the morning at home. Gwennie,Laurie & Donald came in morning. To Merton in afternoon; bought liver at the cats meat shop. Ted Green called in evening; he has taken a new job at Air Pumps Ltd and he thought Ciss could give him some advice about his work.

29 Sun. Leap Year Day. No offers of marriage to-day. I am a bachelor of nearly 60 years but never a letter of that sort have I received. I wonder if other men have had such a proposal: I have never heard of one. Mild, dull, dead calm. Oh, what a relief after the wicked weather we have had recently. Flew the new little spar model on the Common with very good results. It flew from the very first attempt but needs very slight adjustments to make it a splendid flyer.

Sunday School

Two more Sunday School cards to point a 7 to 10-year-old on the path to righteousness. 1900 and 1902.

27 February 2017

27th Feb 1948: boy knocked down by car

27 Fri. Less cold, dull, less wind. The cruel E wind has subsided at last, and oh, what a relief it is. Did a lot of shopping, all locally. Little Kennie Norriss was knocked down by a car when going to school this morning and sustained a fractured thigh bone, he will be in hospital for four months. Polished the dining room floor. Dear Gwennie called.

26 February 2017

Extra posts...

Hi there, regular followers of Uncle Fred's diaries,

Sorry about the advance copies of a couple of recent entries. We type about a week ahead and schedule for the day itself. I recently pressed the wrong button. You'll get 5th and 8th March again, on the day!

Meanwhile, here's some ancient stuff from the rather thin family archives. This says PRIMITIVE METHODIST CONNEXION - in case that top line isn't clear. On the reverse is written in a very small hand 'Albert French', i.e. Fred's younger brother, who would have been 8 or 9 years old in 1901. And a rubber or metal stamped inscription inside an oval saying: Primitive Methodist Sunday School - WARHAM STREET.

I'll post further early cards of various sorts in the coming days. - Tony French, 26.2.2017 


26th Feb 1948: meet the wow-wows

26 Thur. Hard black frost, but the bright sunshine later continued the thaw: the bitter E wind is as sharp as ever; the gusts last such a long time. Snow covers only half the garden now. Bought sausage meat in morning. Bought fish pieces at the Chase Fisheries; saw Mrs. Philpot and Monica there: Mrs. Philpot serves there. All four Thompson’s called; little Marget starts woo-woo-ing as soon as she gets near here: she thinks the cats are wow-wows.

25 February 2017

25th Feb 1948: explosion shook windows

25 Wed. Very cold after night frost but it thawed quite rapidly in the sunshine: there is still much snow about and most of the garden is still covered. Heard an explosion which shook the windows in the morning; it was an acetylene explosion at Leatherhead. Donald called. The Surrey Bedding Co. returned a mattress re-made as new: a splendid job. To see Aunt Liza, she gave me an “All Dry” combined H.T. and L.T. battery that Uncle Joe had given him.

24 February 2017

24th Feb 1948: slip, sliding away

24 Tues. Maximum of 39 degs, but the bright sunshine midday caused a quick thaw where it shone but it was freezing again at night: there is still a lot of snow about and it is sliding off roofs of houses. Donald called in morning. Played noughts & crosses with Gwennie in afternoon. To Merton to buy fish. Also bought sheet balsa, white tissue & clear dope at Norman’s: saw his bonny little boy Brian. Covered in the centre bay of new wing with sheet balsa.

23 February 2017

23rd Feb 1948: hot ginger

23 Mon. Just a little above freezing point; dull, windy; no further snow. The footways are very slippery. Laurie called; gave him a cup of hot ginger cordial. Gwennie and Donald called in afternoon. Played table tennis with Gwennie, she beat me two games to one – she thinks she did.

22 February 2017

22nd Feb 1948: DEEP snow - cat's won't go out

22 Sun. Freezing to begin the day but slightly thawing later. Very dull, very windy and rough. From 6 to 8 inches of snow fell during the night; I have rarely seen it so deep; in the drifts it was much deeper. The cats just refuse to go out: and so do I. The usual children called, they don’t seem to mind. Ciss went to Tolworth. I think this wintry spell will be short.

21 February 2017

21st Feb 1948: four inches of snow

21 Sat. Four degrees of frost, four inches of snow greeted us this morning. There is a little less wind. It snowed all day fast at times and at night it looked a foot deep but I must look again in the morning. After a very mild winter when we thought we should escape severe weather we have a fall of snow as heavy as I have seen. Saw Chas pulling Gwennie and Donald on a sledge. My bedroom clock stopped in the night. I found the spring had slipped off the ratchet and one wire had come out of a lantern pinion and another wire was bent and loose. I did the required repairs and it is going well again: it is 60 years old.

20 February 2017

20th Feb 1948: six degrees below (below 32°F)

"Spent the best part of a pound note"

20 Fri. Six degrees below freezing; a small amount of sunshine, snowing all day but not very heavy so only an inch fell. The E wind is even worse and it requires courage to go out to-day. Did all the usual shopping but did not go far afield. Spent the best part of a pound note. Dear Gwennie called; she was so lovable and happy. She has a school holiday till Tuesday. Children in the street had their sledges out. Small amount of work on aero. Had to see to my bedroom clock as it keeps stopping: it does this in the very cold weather although it seems in good working order.

19 February 2017

19th Feb 1948: burnt flock... too cold for gardening

19 Thur. Black frost with a sprinkling of snow; cloudy and the E wind is of hurricane force. To butchers in morning to fish shop and to get a paper in afternoon. No callers to-day. Burnt some old flock out of some pillows – this at the end of the garden: too cold to continue with the new rhubarb bed.

18 February 2017

18th Feb 1948: dreadful east wind... fine music

18 Wed. Hard black frost; the ground is hard & dry: the driving E wind is dreadful. Donald called just as I was going shopping, so he came with me: he carried the fish home, I carried the groceries. More work on the new wing. Heard Rachmaninoff’s 3rd Symphony and the Delius piano concerto; very fine.

17 February 2017

17th Feb 1948: cold gardening

17 Tues. Very cold, clear sunny afternoon, cruel E wind. Dear Connie Bradley’s birthday; she is 48. To Morden to buy fish. Bought a paper & ham & beef paste locally. Planted four more rhubarb roots. Dug another trench and am still digging up huge blocks of concrete. Fitted wooden tubes to aero wing – part of the plug & socket attachment.

16 February 2017

16th Feb 1948: undertaker's job... and more digging out shelter

16 Mon. Cold, fairly bright, bitter E wind. To Merton to tell Mr Knox the undertaker that we agree to his estimate to clean the cross and kerbs on the grave, also put on the new inscription. Bought fish and something at Boots while I was in Merton. Donald called. Planted 4 rhubarb roots which I dug up and divided. I am moving the rhubarb bed from the south side of the garden to the north where it used to be before the Anderson shelter was installed. Now that the shelter is gone I am putting it back. I had to dig up some huge chunks of concrete, part of the foundations, when I dug the trenches.

15 February 2017

15th Feb 1948: organ and piano - in tune

15 Sun. Rather mild, lovely springlike sunny morning, dull later. The usual children called. Walked as far as Wimbledon Common in afternoon. Was playing the piano in evening when Alf & Lily called. Alf played the organ and I played the piano. The first time they have been played together since I tuned the piano up to the same pitch as the organ.

14 February 2017

14th Feb 1948: engraving gravestone... diggout out bomb shelter

14 Sat. Rather mild, dull, drizzly day. Went to the Vicar of Merton to get his approval of the new inscription to be engraved on the grave at Merton. Then took it to Mr Knox at Merton High Street and he submitted a price for cleaning the cross, base and kerbs of the grave and for the new inscription. Dear Gwennie called about dinner time. Oh, she was delighted; I do love her beyond words. To Morden to buy fish. Dug trench for subsequent planting of rhubarb roots. Had to dig up a huge piece of concrete, part of the foundations of the Anderson shelter. Hard work!

13 February 2017

13th Feb 1948: butcher - music with girl - vicar - aero modelling...

13 Fri. Rather mild for season 57 degrees, dull, less wind. To the butchers etc. bought sweets, a ginger cake and fish. To see the vicar in afternoon but he was out. Gwennie sung There is a Happy Land to W.H. Jude’s setting while I accompanied her on the piano: if she was happy I am sure I was. Made two balsa tubes for the plug in divided wing attachment for new aero wing.

12 February 2017

12th Feb 1948: butcher has heart

12 Thus. Cool, but feeling comparatively mild as there is less wind; dull. Got more heart at butchers. Bought soap and oil locally: fish at Merton. Letter from Harold Conrade. Planted the shallots at last. Only Donald called to-day.

11 February 2017

11th Feb 1948: How's your £.s.d maths?

"H.C. Fruin Ltd supplied 5 cwts coal @ 4.9d per cwt £1.3.9."

11 Wed. Rather cold but less wind made it seem milder; very dull. Got the groceries as is usual on Wednesday: also fish. All four children called: Donald many times. Started re-making the centre garden path and digging over a border therein to plan shallots. H.C. Fruin Ltd supplied 5 cwts coal @ 4.9d per cwt £1.3.9.

10 February 2017

9th & 10th Feb 1948: chocolate and golden-brown sideboard; musical doubts

9 Mon. Rather cold by virtue of the strong NW wind but a very clear sunny day with blue sky and fleecy clouds. Finished painting the new sideboard doors which looked very nice in chocolate & golden brown. To buy fish. Gwennie, Laurie, Donald and Margaret all came; Margaret is getting used to coming now. Leonard Conley showed me a very good little camera which takes pictures on roll film the size of a postage stamp: they are made in Southend.


10 Tues. Rather cold, dull, NW wind blowing hard. The Metropolitan Water Board Inspector came to look at the water fittings and declared the lavatory cistern and the ball valve defective: the landlord must renew in seven days. To Morden in afternoon to buy fish. Had a look in the cycle shops; there are some interesting innovations. Listened to Mahler’s 8th Symphony on the wireless. I reserve my judgement. There are some thrilling and inspiring moments from the orchestra, organ, eight vocalists and many choirs, but I thought some of the orchestration and musical invention surprisingly medieval: there are a thousand performers and eight conductors! A colossal work, but is it a masterpiece?

8 February 2017

8th Feb 1948: good samaritan

8 Sun. Very mild for season, dull, not so much wind. The usual children called. Walked to Mostyn Gardens. While there saw two girls trying to get a pram with a baby in it up the steps but got stuck half-way. I went to their help as it looked as if they might have an accident. The pram contained a very bonny baby boy; the girls said his name was Stewart. Saw saxifrage peltata in bloom in front gardens in Mostyn Road. Borrowed a 3 ins. twist drill from Uncle Joe to drill holes in the new doors to take the spring ball catches which I fitted.

7 February 2017

7th Feb 1948: golden paint

7 Sat. Rather mild for Feb: very dull, rain in the air. Gwennie & Donald called all merry and bright. Bought fish locally also cream enamel and two ball spring catches for the new doors which I fixed in position on their hinges. I also painted the entire panels golden brown: the job is nearly finished. Cousin Maud called.

6 February 2017

6th Feb 1948: This Happy Breed

6 Fri. Cold; a day of bright sunshine, heavy skies, thunder and lightning, wind, rain and hail storms. Got the usual week-end provisions, also to Merton to buy fish and cats meat. Gwennie, Laurie and baby Margaret called. The baby is getting to know me and is a little more at home. Dear Dorothy Longhurst came to tea, she brought some large grapefruit. She always enjoys herself here. Ciss took her to see a play at Wimbledon, by amateur actors “This Happy Breed”: Ron Duncton took part. Saw Sheila Crawford to-day: she smiled and said “good afternoon” to me. She is a very tall elegant young lady with very fair hair and a lovely face. I remember when she used to call here as a tiny girl on Sunday afternoons. She came here once wearing a straw bonnet which she herself had trimmed with a wreath of real buttercups & daisies: I think I never saw anything so simple and pretty.



Press for a six-minute clip of this beautifully dated domestic scene - 1944, from the film This Happy Breed



5 February 2017

5th Feb 1948: chocolate cake and fertiliser

5 Thur. Cold, dull, rain commencing in afternoon. As Dorothy is coming to tea tomorrow I bought a chocolate cake. Also bought fish locally and cats meat at Merton. Bought Clay’s fertilizer 2/6. Put together the second door of sideboard. Aunt Hannah called.

4 February 2017

4th Feb 1948: door furniture... and those wings

4 Wed. Very cold, clear, sunny, windy day. Got 9/10½ worth of groceries at Eyles the usual grocers. Also other household requisites. Bought hinges, screws and door knobs for the new sideboard doors at Smaldons. Started building the second door. Made the centre bay for port side aero. wing; set the dihedral for same.

Note: blog reader Fred Brewer, back on 31 March 2011, included this information about Smaldons in his wealth of information about places and events mentioned by Fred.

Smaldons and other shops
Fred mentions Smaldons a number of times. This was a moderately-sized hardware shop in the Kingston Road, number 520, I think, and sold practically everything that would be required for jobs in the home, plus sundries such as mousetraps and paraffin. Kingston Road was the road at which Chestnut, and the other eleven roads turned off from. The other end of the twelve roads was "The Arterial" or Bushey Road (Kingston-by-pass at  that time).

Fred's family XXII - daguerreotype & tinplates from mid-1800s

The first photo, top left, is a negative image on thin metal, backed by black paint, seen through glass. I'd guess this was around the 1840-'50s. Other are on a thin tin (see below), backed by black. These are probably the 1860s or '70s. The first photo always hung in a gold-tinted wooden frame at 98 Largewood Avenue, the home of Fred's brother, Albert.   This is a daguerreotype - the very first photographic process, used for two decades after 1939. To quote Wikipedia, "it is is unlike looking at any other type of photograph. The image does not sit on the surface of the metal but appears to be floating in space, and the illusion of reality, especially with examples that are sharp and well exposed, is unique to the process." It is viewed through glass. The illusion with the above is exactly as described here. There are no words to guide their identification - except, the bottom left photo is held against its oval cut-out card frame by a paper with 'Queen's LOWRIE Corner' printed repeatedly. A rapid search shows this would have been the photographer James Frederick Lowrie (also traded as Valery) possibly when at 184 Fleet St, 1877-84, or in Birmingham in 1882. He specialised in tintypes - the popular name for ferrotypes, made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion.

3 February 2017

Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents' Association


Reader's of this diary may well be interested in this current Association - which has been going since 1928, so before even Fred started his diaries.

See all about Raynes Park and West Barnes Residents' Association online - click their name. They have a monthly magazine, a website and a Chairman's blog.



3rd Feb 1948: made a door... worked on aero wing

3 Tues. Rather mild, very dull, rain all day; the wind has dropped. Made a panelled door for the built-in sideboard. Laurie and Donald brought the Tuesday loaf of bread. Bought fish locally. More work on the new wing.

2 February 2017

2nd Feb 1948: soot for onions!

2 Mon. Mild, dull, very rough. Removed soot from lower part of chimney as I needed it for making up a bed for onions. Fitted a frame under the dresser drawers and painted same, I shall make and fit a pair of doors soon, I hope: there are two shelves and it will make a built-in sideboard. Donald & Laurie called. To Merton & Morden but could get no cats meat, only fish. More work on port side of new 41 ins. wing.

Fred's family XXI: Ward's photographic studio, West Croydon

Then and now. The Wards' carte de visite, on reverse of yesterday's C19th photo, and a  snip from Google Street View.




Clearly the same building, 'Opposite railway station', West Croydon

1 February 2017

1st Feb 1948: chuffed

1 Feb. Sunday. Mild but very rough: dull and cloudy. Some children called. Laurie came in morning; his first visit since having his tonsils out. He brought a picture book of locomotives and two comic papers.

Fred's family photos XX


We are nearing the end of the collection. There are few if any clues as to the subjects here. In case any researchers read this, well, here's what we have, photo by photo.

1. Studio of R R Wilson. At one time, here at  48 Penrose St, off Walworth Rd, London. Also at 63 Wellington St, Woolwich. Now the residence centre left in this photo. But our photo below, with a 116 Walworth Rd address must date from that studio's 1883-94 - Wilson himself died in 1891, but the studio continued. dates. (Details researched by 'Greyfox'.)





2. The cutout, from a postcard print format on the reverse (not unusual in early photos) has 8017 and 10x7 Sepia, written in pencil. The ivy, house and clothing give us a rural feel.

3. The bearded gentleman has 1876 in the reverse - a date or a negative number? The date does fit - so we're pretty safe on this date. From Gwyn Collier, 223 Fulham Rd, SW - 'Nearly opposite consumption hospital' - Copies can be obtained at any time and enlarged up to the size of life'. Well, some rapid research shows that the Hospital for Consumption and Diseases of the Chest existed for just four years, 1842-1846. Could this date our photo? Ironically, as far as we can make out, the area occupied by 223 Fulham Road is now occupied by The Royal Marsden Hospital, neighbouring The Institute of Cancer Research.

Our reader 'Greyfox' adds: Collier had a studio at 223 Fulham Road from 1864 to 1878. (Also operated from many other addresses in that period!) .... The “Consumption Hospital” (properly “The Hospital for Consumption & Diseases of the Chest” but generally “The Brompton Hospital”) was on the opposite (north) side of Fulham Road from 1846. (I think the reference you found was to its precursor, which had been at The Manor House, Chelsea from 1842 to 1846.) The Hospital acquired houses on the South side of the road from 1868 onwards and the South Wing was completed in 1882. The Brompton was extended further in the 1970s & the original (1846) building is now a very exclusive set of apartments.  The Royal Marsden building is adjacent to the South Wing of the Brompton & was opened in 1862. It was originally called “The Cancer Hospital” but was renamed in 1954 in honour of Dr Marsden, its founder.'

4. The child was photographed by Mr & Mrs Ward of  West Croydon, 'Opposite the railway station - Artists & Copyists - Paris, London, Rome, Florence and Venice - Estd 1851. Above their opulent array of city names, they have a small drawing of a positively palatial building. This and the present building deserves a post on its own - so, tomorrow!

5. The unlikely couple with the hats was taken by A Simmons, 258 Westminster Bridge Road, 'Opposite Astley's theatre, five doors from Belvedere Road'. Also at 191 Newington Butts. His reference number for the photo was 3625. The photo must date from July 1888 – September 1891 (credit to research by 'Greyfox'). 

6. The final, full-skirted lady, resting her arm on a chair (it helped subjects keep still) was C J Hopkins of Epsom.


31 January 2017

31st Jan 1948: lever-lifting fountain pen

31 Sat. Would have been mild but for the high wind; bright sunny morning; dull, rain in afternoon. Gave Gwennie an old lever-filling fountain pen: it works all right. To Merton in afternoon but no cats meat, so had to buy fish. Started building the port side of new 41 ins wing.