A couple of weekends ago, my Mum and Dad brought a big underbed storage box filled with photos up to me, and I have been steadily working my way through its contents, scanning them into the computer (which is almost groaning under the strain!), then sorting them into categories, ready to put on CDs for distributing around the family.
The photos in the box range from the late 1970s or early 1980s way back to the early 1900s, or even slightly earlier - snapshots from the lives of my parents', grand-parents', great-grandparents' and great-great-grandparents' generations.
Probably the earliest one is this...
Seated at the front, holding his knees is my great-grandfather, Frederick. He was born in 1886 and raised in Oxford, one of eleven children born to Harry and Sarah. Harry was a tailor - maybe the love of sewing comes in the genes!
Frederick married my great-grandmother Nellie in 1908. She had moved from her north Wales home to become companion to a Miss Groves, owner of an antique shop in Oxford, so maybe that's another love passed down to me! But when my grandmother and her older sister were very small, Frederick became seriously ill with neuritis and was advised to move to a warmer climate.
Because of his health problems, Australia wouldn't have him, so Argentina beckoned instead. I think my grandmother was about four when she set sail with her mother and older sister, almost exactly a year after her father had left to find health and employment on (nearly) the other side of the world. My great-grandfather's health was indeed restored by the better climate - he lived to be ninety-seven!
Frederick worked on the railways, which meant the family living way out in the 'camp'. They had one of their houses destroyed by a tornado - Granny could remember the little wooden house half upended so that she and her sister could hunt beneath it for snakes!
|The original Railway Children? My Granny and her siblings|
The family grew in South America, so that by 1920, Granny was one of five. At that point the family came back to the United Kingdom. I think this was because Arthur (one of Granny's brothers) had been left disabled by meningitis. Great-grandad stayed for a short while in north Wales whilst the family settled into life with his wife's family, and then went back to Argentina. Granny did not see him again for two years. But she wrote him letters, two of which survived, to give just a hint of what life was like.
After two years, my great-grandmother and the five children rejoined Frederick in Argentina. The family was completed a year later with another son!
|Frederick and Nellie, with their six children and first grandchild c 1935|
My great-aunt married a famous Argentine artist, so amongst the photos was this portrait of my Granny...
With the wonders of photo-editing, I have managed to get rid of the smudge marks that were spoiling it, and I'm going to print it on some good quality paper and frame it.