Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sepia Saturday 285 : 27 June 2015

The Floral Clock, Hove PT3194

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

The hotel in our theme image is never around the corner (or always around the corner) depending on how you look at things. It is an old postcard of the Chittenden Hotel in Columbus Ohio and put me in mind of postcards, hotels, buildings and - of course - corners. 

Today's image was the only postcard that I could find that vaguely fitted the theme.  The postcard was sent on Tuesday 28 September 1971 to my maternal grandfather when we were overseas.  Transcription is as follows:

Dear Dad
This is a rare commodity!  Masses of cards on Brighton but not on Hove.  Took two photos of the shop & bought some of their cakes for afternoon tea.  Leaving Hastings, where we're staying, on Sat., for two weeks in London.
Love Barb, Jim & Alex xxx
First of all I googled Floral clock Hove PT3194 and found a slightly different postcards to mine here.  Isn't it interesting how just a tiny shift in position makes a difference to understanding where things are. Or not as the case maybe.  I'm trying to work out whether this is facing south to the sea or north.

I've decided it's facing south and that we are looking at the east side of the square.  Here's a map.  I've marked the location of the square and 132 Church Road which is where George Forfar had his bakery and 75 Church Road where E Pannell had his photographic studio which I talk about in this post here.

Basically come down Church Road to the east and look for Palmeira Square - the clock is between Church Road and Western Road and is double sided or double faced.  My mother was trying to get a grip on her maternal ancestors the Forfars who were bakers in Hove.  I have blogged about them several times.  This postcard was great because it made me read about the area and find some more organisations that might be able to help me in my research e.g. The Keep which is Archives or Records Office for East Sussex.  I haven't explored the half of the site yet but it's well worth checking out if you have relatives living in this area.  Also this nice little site.

Anyway, back to the floral clock and Palmeira Square.  So, the floral clock, according to good old Wikipedia was installed in honour of the Queen's coronation in 1953.  I've been trying to read what the flowers say on the postcard.  Can you read it?  I think it says the ....Brigade.  What do you think?  There aren't terribly many floral clocks in the world apparently. The mechanism for the clock was installed by clockmakers James Richie and Son and the landscaping of it was designed by GA Hyland, the Hoave Council's Director of Parks and Cemeteries.  

Palmeira Square is famous for a few things too. Sir Isaac Goldsmid agreed to fund the infamous Anthaeum proposed by horticulturalist Henry Phillips and designed by architect Amon Henry Wilds.  It collapsed the day before it was to be opened in 1834.  The wreckage was not cleared until the 1850s when work on the Palmeira residential development began. You can get a sense of what it was meant to look like by looking at these panormas here.  Here's an article describing its collapse which appeared in the Sydney Gazette and NSW Advertiser 1 February 1834.

A barrow was found near here in 1857 and in it was a coffin with the famous Amber Cup (amongst other things). 

From searching the Keep website, I discovered the following:

  1. There was an inquest into Emily Forfar's death (suicide?) and that she died at her father's house at 68 Ceylon Place Eastbourne.  I renewed my subscription to British Newspapers for another month but could not for the life of me find the article referred to here. Very annoying.  Were there different editions of the paper I wonder.
  2. I would love to see the Brighton Herald digitised so that I could see this article as described here.
  3. A search of the catalogue under the name HOLLINGHAM (Emily's maiden name) produced 67 items which is very frustrating as I live on the other side of the world.  But, having said that, the administrative history of the archive alone makes for fascinating record as per here.
  4. I also found this reference on the National Archives to The Old Ballroom House in Eastbourne also known as Livingstone House.  I then found a photo of it here on Flickr.  I don't know if it still exists...I had no luck finding it on Google Maps.  I referred to it unwittingly in a blog post a couple of years ago here.  It seems to have been done up since this photo and is now called the Busy Bee Restaurant but I can't find it.
Last but not least in a serendipitous moment of synchronicity, a friend of mine posted a photo of me with a typewriter on Facebook earlier this week - can you believe it?  Just a bit too late for last week's theme but I'm still going to post it.

Alex at typewriter - photo courtesy of Bruce Redman

Anyway, that's enough from me.  Do you have any sites or resources you want to recommend that would help a Sussex researcher in Australia?  What buildings have been intriguing you lately?  For more stories of buildings or postcards or hotels, check out of here and into here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What's On ? - Friday 26th June - Thursday 2 July

Lawnton Cemetery gravestones and gum trees
Lawnton Cemetery Tour 2015
Here's what's happening around Brisbane local and family history wise over the next week....

Friday 26 June - 9:30-11:30am - Toowong Library

Toowong and District Historical Society's guest speaker will be Lisa Jones of the Queensland Police Museum. Lisa will speak about the Queensland Police Museum and the history of the Queensland Police Service. For more details click here.

Saturday 27 June  - 10:00am-11:30am at the Queensland Family History Society

At each meeting, we demonstrate the Family Tree Maker® program. If you wish, bring your personal computer, tablet or smart phone and follow us on the big screen.  For more info click here.

Monday 29 June - 9:00-11:00am - Toowong Library

Learn how to search the genealogical records and use family history tools available on, the world’s largest online family history resource. Presented by the Genealogical Society of Queensland. Bookings required. 

Tuesday 30 June - 1:00-2:00pm - Caboolture Library

Learn about the history of Australian servants from convict to free settlement, including life from a servant’s perspective and also complaints masters made about their servants. Bookings required.

Wednesday 1 July - 1:00-2:30pm Coopers Plains Library

Come and discuss the history of Coopers Plains and the surrounding suburbs. No bookings required.  For more info click here.

Thursday 2 July - 6:00-7:50pm Wynnum Library

Family historians are invited to bring their project to the library and search for their ancestors for a couple of hours in congenial company. Bookings required.

Thursday 2 July - 6:30-8:00pm Arana Hills Library

Interested in your family history or genealogy? Would you like to swap research tips with other enthusiasts? Could you use some advice or assistance in researching your family tree? Would you like to know more about the genealogy resources at your local library (including If you answered ‘yes’ to these questions, come and meet with your local Family History Group. Everyone is welcome to these regular meetings. 

Thursday 2 July - 7:00-9:00pm - Toowong State School Historical Library

The speaker for the Toowong History Group for July is Phil Manning from the Museum of Brisbane who will show Brisbane at the turn of the 20th Century through the 50 years of Photography captured by Alfred Elliot 1890 to 1940. Such a great exhibition - go and see it if you can...

Phew!  Plenty to satisfy the family or local history fiend :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Great news!

Image taken from page 9 of 'Charpentier's Illustrated Guide to Southsea, the Dockyard, Isle of Wight, etc'
Image taken from page 9 of 'Charpentier's Illustrated Guide to Southsea, the Dockyard, Isle of Wight, etc' dated 1892 courtesy of British Library on Flickr - No known copyright restrictions
Now, I just have to let those of you who read my blog here, that I did actually hear back from the lovely folk at Portsmouth History Centre this week.  How about that?  Aren't I lucky?  

They said:

I have found the record of your great grandfather, Edward Connor in the registers of St James's Hospital. I can confirm the date of his admission was 5th May 1897 & he was discharged on 3rd May 1899, as you have already discovered.

The details given, in vol. ref H8/4/4/5 are as follows:

Age : 69
Marital Status: Married
Employment: Fitter, HM Dockyard
Previous place of abode: Imbecile wards, Portsea Island Union (now known as St Mary's hospital - Alex's note)
Form of mental disorder: Dementia
Supposed cause of insanity: Senile dementia
Bodily condition : Feeble

There are columns headed Epileptics, number of attacks, etc. but there are just ticks against these.

The discharge column lists him as being recovered.

To add to this sad story, I have found an entry in the Portsea Island Workhouse register for Edward Connor, admitted 15th April 1903 &  discharged to the hospital 17th August 1903, where he died in the October. There are no further details, but I hope this is of help.

So a very big thank you to Gillian for responding so quickly and confirming my suspicions.

And as you can see, I have also found this great map on the British Library's album on Flickr which can help me track Edward and his movements in the later years of his life.  If you look at the map closely, you will see that the Portsea Island Union House is on the top right hand side of the map...not so very far from Kingston Cemetery where the infamous incident with the gun took place.

Let's look at a cropped version of the can see New Road at the top of the Cemetery where he went to his son's house after he shot himself.  

Let's revise Edward's timeline again:

c 1828 born (deduced from 1851 Census where he says he is 23 years old) - at Marylebone, Middlesex - his father is Edward.  This could mean that his father is Edward a printer as per baptismal register of St Clement Danes in 1829 - it seems odd because he said that his father was an engineer on his marriage certificate.  The Edward Senior in this instance is married to Maria - one of the frustrating things about English marriage certificates is that they only give the name of the father - not the mother.

1851 Sunday 19 January - Edward marries Rebecca Foyne at the Parish Church Deptford.  He describes himself as an engineer.  They are on the 1851 census as living at 1 Ann's Place Greenwich.

1851 Sunday 14 December - baptism Edward James at St Paul's Deptford - the Connors are living at Hatcham Road.  Edward describes himself as an Engineer.

1853 - Sunday 16 October christening of Rebecca Mary Connor at St Paul's Deptford.  They are still living at Hatcham Road

1861 - Census - Edward and Rebecca are living at 4 Kilminston Street (writing is very faded and difficult to read) in Portsea....they have Edward G aged 5 who was born in Malta, Clara aged 3 who was born in Portsea and Walter aged 9 months who was born in Portsea.  Edward is described as an engine fitter. 

What happened to Edward James and Rebecca Mary I wonder?

1871 Census - Edward and Rebecca are living at 46 Albert Street Portsea with Edward aged 15, Clara aged 13, Harriet aged 5 and Edwin aged 2.

1877 - Clara Connor has Daisy Clara Conner to Henry James Fulljames out of wedlock - Daisy is subsequently fostered and then adopted by the Sutherland family.  Clara is living at Fareham.

1881 Census - 3 April - Edward G is on an armour-plated first class ship in the Navy called the "Temeraire" in the Grand Harbour, Malta.  He is an engine artificer or REA

1884 - daughter Clara marries William Henry Smith and they emigrate the following year to Australia with sister Harriet

1887 - about this time I imagine that Edward G is married to or thinking of marrying Matilda because Elsie is born about this year.

1891 Census - Edward and Rebecca are living at 31 Regent Street Portsea with sons Edward aged 34 and Edwin aged 22.  Where are Matilda and Elsie?

You can see Regent Street on the map below....just to the right of St Luke's

1892 - son Edwin marries Eleanor Eliza Cook

1893 - 7 June Edward posts notice in Portsmouth Evening News saying he won't be responsible for any debts incurred by Rebecca

1897 - circa January Edward moves into lodgings in 63 Ivy Street (Ivy Street is just to the South East of Regent Street between Somers Road and Marys Road - almost opposite Montgomery Road.  I think it might be where Blackfriars Close is today.

1897 - 24 April Edward is admitted to Portsmouth Hospital after shooting.

         -  5 May Edward is then admitted to St James Hospital with dementia (said to have been previously at Portsea Island Union Imbecile ward)

1899 - 3 May Edward is discharged as recovered

1901 - Edward G and his wife Matilda and their daughter Elsie aged 14, a Drapter's Assistant, are living at 64 West Street Chatham.  I lose them after this.  Where did they go?

1903 - 15 April Edward Snr is admitted Portsea Island Union workhouse

         - 17 August Edward Snr discharged to hospital

         -  3 October Edward Snr died

1910 - Edward Senr's wife Rebecca dies - I really must try and get her death certificate, not that it will tell me much.

1912 - son Edwin and his family emigrate to Australia

I've tried to highlight on a modern map about where I think they might have lived or where things happened.  So much has changed of course, it is hard to be sure where anything is....

Still so many unanswered questions but we are making progress!

Image taken from page 500 of 'Le Monde pittoresque et monumental. L'Angleterre, l'Écosse et l'Irlande ... Cartes en couleur et ... gravures'
Image taken from page 500 of 'Le Monde pittoresque et monumental. L'Angleterre, l'Écosse et l'Irlande ... Cartes en couleur et ... gravures' date 1885 from British Library collection on Flickr - no known copyright restrictions

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sepia Saturday 284: 20th June 2015

Alan Burnett of Sepia Saturday says:

Our prompt this week couldn't be more self-explanatory if you were to type it out in capital letters. If you have any old pictures that relates to the theme image, just post your posts on or around Saturday 20th June 2015.

I cannot see a typewriter without thinking of my mother.  She adored her Olivetti which you see here on her desk.  Many of her letters were typed on this although she had beautiful writing as well.

I can't remember what happened to the Olivetti.  It certainly did a lot of work.  My mother was a prolific letter writer and she typed my father's thesis or theses over the years as well as her own University essays and assignments and I probably typed a few of mine on it as well.

I have had to doctor this photo I am afraid as it wasn't black and white originally but colour.  I have cropped the original and used the Holga effect in Picasa to make it more dramatic.

This is the photo before it was cropped.

And this is the original photo before the Holga effect.

I am so pleased to have found this photo this morning.  I couldn't really remember if anything like it existed.  I was hoping for maybe a photo of my mother's desk in the background of another shot.  But this is perfect.  I think my father must have taken it.  Hooray for him for capturing her as I remember her so well!  How old is the photo?  Hmmm...not sure - at least 20 years old so hopefully that fits the definition of sepia.

Thanks too to Aunty Denise for insisting that I ship my mother's desk up here and keep it after she died.  I do love this desk but probably not as much as my mother loved it.  She put a lot of work into it: stripping it back and re-staining it a lovely mucky ash coloured kind of stain.  It's got all sorts of interesting drawers and thingummy jigs that you can pull out in case you need an extra shelf or desk space.

Words - they can be troublesome things can't they?  I am a bit apprehensive about going to a foreign country in a couple of weeks...about not knowing the language...I'm trying to learn Indonesian in the car going to and from work and it is, as they say, a very easy language to learn.  It will be excruciating for me, I'm sure, as I haltingly try to ask for things.  As I try to understand and be understood.  In particular I don't want to offend or seem foolish.  But them's the breaks and it will be good for me to be outside my comfort zone.  We all get into a bit of rut at times don't we.  And after all - it's only words and words are all I quote a famous song...

I'm not a great fun of the Bee Gees but this song sprang to mind with this week's theme...I hope it's not an ear worm for you...and speaking of the Bee Gees...did you know that we have a Bee Gees way at Redcliffe?  It's getting a bit of a makeover and will re-open on 11 September.  A great tourist attraction now apparently.  I really must go and check it out one day.

For more musing on words, letters and typewriters let your fingers do the walking over here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What's On? - Saturday 20 - Friday 26 June

What's on offer this coming week in south-east Queensland family and local history wise?

Saturday 20 June - 9:30am - 11:45pm - Genealogical Society of Queensland

GSQ leads the pack with Did my ancestors wear pink dresses for afternoon tea? - Using newspapers for family history – presented by Judy Lofthouse

Cost $12 for members $17 for non-members (includes morning tea) To find out more click here.

Tuesday 23 June - 10:00am - 11:00am - Strathpine Library

A Genetic Look at Family History Learn how genealogists use medical, genetic and DNA testing to enrich family history research, with expert Ann Swain. Free but bookings essential.  For more info click here.

Tuesday 23 June - 1:00- 4:00pm - Bracken Ridge Library

Bracken Ridge Family History Group.  Are you interested in researching your family history or genealogy? Come along to swap research tips or seek advice in family history. Everyone welcome - no bookings required.  Free.  For more info click here.

Last but not least I was delighted to read in my local paper that the relatively new historical society - Kenmore & District Historical Society Incorporated has announced two publications - Kenmore and District - A Pictorial History (a pictorial history of 80 photos and captions) and, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Gallipoli, the Society has been given permission to reproduce Wiliam Pacey's Diary.  For more information about how to purchase these publications or join the Society click here.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sepia Saturday 283 : 13 June 2015

Alan from Sepia Saturday says:

Our Sepia Saturday theme image this week shows a group of construction workers celebrating the completion of a railway tunnel on the Irish rail network. It might prompt you to dig into your own photographic archives and come up with photographs of tunnels, construction projects, or dates carved into the stonework. It might also prompt you to share some other image which you feel is connected in one way or another to the theme image.
Barbara Conner (nee McLoughlin) Leith Waters 8 August 1971
Cor blimey - for some reason it was very difficult to find a photo to match this week's theme.  

I know it's not railway or construction but my mother's pose is kind of imitating one of the construction worker's stances to the right of the prompt image.

Now - my father labelled the photo above Leith Waters - I wonder if it is more properly called the Water of Leith?  

Here's another one of me in Bath Abbey Wells Cathedral I think...not sure...somewhere in near Bath at any rate..

Alex Bath Abbey ?         Wells Cathedral Tuesday 22 June 1971

I wonder how many people have walked up those stairs?  A few I'm thinking

And continuing the theme of people walking away from their partners or parents in old tunnelly places....

Cas walking out of Guard Tower Port Arthur Tasmania 7 July 2014

Yes, I made this photo sepia - it was colour originally....and to prove it was an old can read the date carved into the stonework for yourself - 1835.

Cas outside Guard's Tower Port Arthur Tasmania 7 July 2014

For more takes on this week's theme head over here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

What's On - Saturday 13 - Friday 19 June

Bird Feeding Hour at The Polish Place Mount Tamborine

What's on offer this coming week in south-east Queensland family and local history wise?

Saturday 13 June - 9.00am - 12:30pm - Qld Baptists' Conference Centre

QFHS leads the pack with their Ireland to Australia: Researching Your Irish Ancestors seminar - Presenters are Dr Richard Reid and Mary King.  
Cost $15 for members $20 for non-members (includes morning tea) To find out more click here.

Tuesday 16 June - 6:00-7:30pm - John Oxley Library Reading Room

The Vital Track - 150 Years of Railways in Queensland - speakers Greg Hallam, Historian at Queensland Rail, and Dr Geraldine Mate, Senior Curator, Transport and Energy at The Workshops Rail Museum.  Cost ?  Free!  To book click here.

Thursday 18 June - 10:00-11:00am - Garden City Library

History of the World War II Eagle Farm Airfield
Join historian Peter Dunn as he discusses the fascinating history of the Eagle Farm Airfield during World War II. To book click here.

Friday 19 June - 1:30-3:00pm - Wynnum Library

Learn how to search for your ancestors online. Beginners and more advanced participants welcome. Bookings required. Click here.

Have I missed something?  Let me know!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lunacy? The perils of family history and conjecture

Today's post is really about pure conjecture and pondering and I'd be grateful for any observations on my perusing and conclusions.

Yesterday, as a result of meandering about the web and visiting many genea-blogs and genea-videos - in particular What's New at Ancestry on YouTube - I was reminded to search the Card Catalogue under the Search Tab at Ancestry to look at the latest additions to particular areas of research.  

It's not really one of the latest additions to the UK or Hampshire records having been published on Ancestry on 25/11/2014 - UK, Lunacy Patients Admission Registers, 1846-1912 - but it was 4th on the top of the list by date added - and let's face it - the most interesting title.  

And yes, I think I've found my 2nd great-grandfather Edward Connor on the admissions list.  Of course I can't really be sure as there is no identifying information but I think the timing is right.

Some of you may remember that I posted about Edward here.  On 24 April 1897 it was reported in the Portsmouth Evening News that Edward Connor had accidentally shot himself while inspecting a gun at the Kingston Cemetery. Edward was a pensioned fitter from the Portsmouth Dockyard living at 63 Ivy Street Southsea and aged about 70.  

The entry I found in the Lunacy Patients Admission Register (the source to be precise is The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Lunacy Patients Admission Registers; Class: MH 94; Piece: 33) says 

11406 - Connor Edwd (male pauper) admitted 25 May 1897 Portsmo' - recovered 3 May 99.

So really - all I have is the proximity to the date of the accident and the location.  Nothing concrete at all.  Just wishful thinking.  Not that I really wish an asylum on my ancestor at all.  But you know what I mean.

I'll have to dig deeper to get confirmation and I'm not sure that that is entirely possible.  

What asylums were in Portsmouth at the time?  The most likely candidate is the St James Hospital at Milton Portsmouth as pictured above.  I found the photo on a great site called geograph.  Here's another photo from the same site - please note the copyright attributions and conditions of use.

The National Archives Hospital Records Database advised me that the Portsmouth Museums and Records Services office has the administrative records for St James hospital, so I have emailed them to see if there is further clarifying information about the Edward Connor on the register.  I don't hold out much hope but it's worth a shot.

In the meantime I found lots on the internet about life in an asylum at the time, including a PhD called Above all a patient should never be terrified:an examination of mental health care and treatment in Hampshire 1845-1914 by Diane Carpenter which makes for very interesting reading.  Here's a slideshow if you want an abbreviated version.

If my ancestor was housed at St James at the time, these are some of the things that I found that were of interest:

St James had a:

 "dairy, laundry, brewery, shoe makers and tailors, as well as farm, farm buildings and church." (  

It opened in 1879 and was first called The Portsmouth Lunatic Asylum, then the Borough of Portsmouth Mental Hospital and now St James Hospital.  

Peter Higginbotham's article on parish workhouses makes for very interesting reading and gives a great context.  Edward may very well have been housed in one of the lunatic wards at what came to be known as St Mary's Hospital but was the original Portsea Island Union Workhouse.

The website - Thinking Ahead - gave a great overview of the history of mental health services in Portsmouth, including the acts of parliament that governed vagrancy and caring for the mentally ill.  It noted that in 1896 electricity was installed at St James's hospital amongst other things.

There's lots to absorb and think about here but I will just finish off with an extract from p 184 of Diane's thesis which talks about the regime followed at the BPLA in 1879:

Hours to be Observed During Weekdays

6.00a.m. First bell rings. All Attendants and Servants to get up - Patients to rise, wash, dress, and prepare for breakfast.
7.30 a.m. Bell – Attendants‟ breakfast.
8.00 a.m. Bell – Patients‟ breakfast.
9.00 a.m. Patients all go to their work.
10.00 a.m. Bell - Working men's ale.
12.15 p.m. Bell - Preparation for dinner.
12.25 p.m. Bell - Patients' dinner.
1.00 p.m. Bell - Servants' first dinner.
1.30 p.m. Bell - Servants' second dinner.
2.00 p.m. Patients return to their work.
6.00 p.m. Bell - Patients return from their work
- Supper.
7.00 p.m. Bell - In Winter } Patients
7.30 p.m. Bell - In Summer } go to bed
9.00 p.m. Servants' Supper.

10.00 p.m. Servants go to bed.

Source: P.C.R.O., PR/H8/1/8/1, BPLA, Rules, 1879, p. 28.

What's your regime for family history?  Does it include ale? Servants? Bells?

A great big thank you to all those websites, articles, PhDs, transcribers and their creators who gave me so much to ponder yesterday on the Queen's Birthday Holiday.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sepia Saturday 282: 6 June 2015

Alan Burnett of Sepia Saturday says:

You might need to give a good deal of thought this week to the theme image before making your move and posting your post .....The man in the photograph is a famous musician, so you can put the games away and get the concertina out if you so wish. Whatever you decide to go with it will be a gambit we all look forward to examining.

I enjoy participating in this blogging meme when I am able.  I do put a lot of thought into it and embarrassed how long it takes to put a post together.  I have blogged about chess before because I remember my maternal grandfather Tom McLoughlin liked to play chess quite a bit.  You can read my previous post here.

Today I will post what I think is a new photo though.  Probably self-consciousness has prevented me from posting it in the past.

Here I am playing chess with my grandfather.

Alex and Tom playing chess at Nungara Street circa 1970 scanned at 600dpi

I thought I would conduct a bit of a scanning exercise and see the difference in clarity if I scanned this photo on the Epson flat bed scanner in Robbie's study as opposed to my lazy way of scanning stuff on my marvellous Flip Pal scanner. This is the result with the flatbed scanner.

Alex and Tom at 1200dpi

Of course Picasa gives you various tools to play around with your picture to try and improve it.  We're wrestling here really with this one as it is shot against the light of the dining room window so what we are essentially dealing with is trying to make shadows look better.  But we can boost the fill light which is on the 2nd tab along of the toolbox set on the left of the Picasa work screen.

This is the result when we increase the fill light....

Yep - that's pretty good...but for some reason - in an anti-sepia-establishment mood I prefer the heat map effect for this particular photo....which you can find on the fourth tab of the Picasa toolbox set. What do you think?

Perhaps I like this better because the sad fact of the matter is that I never really like chess.  I'm just not smart enough or that way inclined.  Maths and I are were bad partners and as for spatial intelligence well...that was something I never inherited from my grandfather unfortunately.  So whilst I might look as though I'm thinking in this photo - really I am just panicking.  My grandfather was very sweet and patient though.  This was probably taken around Christmas time.  Here is a transcription of a letter from him to me before Christmas in 1970.  It's written from 5 Samuel Street Wiley Park (his sister-in-law, Isabel Grace Wingfield's home as per the 1972 electoral roll) on 20 December.

Dear Alex
I am very pleased with the fine letter you have written me.  I must apologise for not answering your last letter.  I was waiting for one copy (no. 6) which the newsagent somehow neglected to save for me. He kept saying "next week" but it was nineteen weeks before "next week" came.  I am looking forward to meeting Matilda but must remember not to rush her too soon.  I have found that cats and girls prefer to study one from a distance before making up their minds about accepting one.  I hope you had as good a time as you expected on your visit to your friend's place.  I have two more "Heritages" which I intent bringing to you next Thursday.  It is very hot here today and I think I'll do some tossing about in bed to-night.  I'll have to face it though so will say "Goodnight".  See you on Thursday.  
Love Grandad 

Grandad loved history, Reader's Digest and anything else that was like a subscription.  I did inherit my love of reading and history from him.  He had subscribed to a set of magazines called "Heritage" which was about Australian history.  You can buy a whole set of them online here at eBay (no they are not mine!)

Matilda was our new grey persian pussy cat.  

This is what my mother said in a letter to her father, my Grandad, three months later:

The night before New Year's eve I found Sooty (our first black cat) dead on the road outside the house.  i was just climbing into bed when it occurred to me that he hadn't been in for a couple of hours, and I suddenly felt anxious.  Jim fetched him in and i didn't see him again, because after I saw him on the road, I'm afraid I didn't behave very well, and upset Jim and Alex with my distress.  Tilly (Matilda), by that time, had begun to think Sooty was pretty terrific and the next morning she was pathetic to watch searching for him.  This didn't help an already wretched atmosphere.  It rapidly became obvious that we needed a replacement, as much for me as for her.  Within two days we had a black kitten, indescribably difficult to get at the time, believe it or not.  I spent two mornings canning papers packed with advertisements for eerything but black cats, visiting house after house, and several calls to the animal refuge in vain.  Eventually, my hairdresser tracked one down for me, and after a stormy beginning, she is part of the family.  She is black, but ninety per cent Siamese in shape, so Oriental in fact, that she earned herself the name of Yum-Yum.  ...I am so glad we got Yum-Yum before I started full-time working, because I am sure it would be positively cruel to leave one cat alone all day, particularly a cat like Tilly, who is the biggest sook ever created.  They are totally different in temperament, utterly fascinating as ever, and very wrapped up in each other..

There is more but I'm sure you've had enough....

What are you thinking about this morning?  To see what others are thinking about go here.

Sources: Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.Original data: Australian Electoral Commission. [Electoral roll].