I was born July 28th 1895 in the East Riding Hotel. My father was manager and my grandfather was manager of the East Riding Brewery, this was my mother's father. I was the third daughter having two sisters older than me. My brother was one and half years younger than I. One of the first things I can remember is my brother in a low waisted pink cashmere dress and a silk tartan sash. His hair was curly and I remember mother making a curl on the top of his head round her finger. I also remember being taken for a walk in a go cart sitting back to back with my brother.
I also remember the Boer War. The father of my sister's friend Mr Miller was killed. When the war ended our wagonette was sent to the station to fetch the men who had survived from the war. My young brother sat with the groom in front. The people of the village took the horses out of the wagonette and pulled it themselves from the station which was about a mile. We had medals of some of the generals. Queen Victoria died about this time, also my Grandmother.
There was an auction sale every Monday in the village and several of the farmers came to have lunch at the Hotel. Twice a year there was a fair in the village when stalls, swing boats and roundabouts stood in the street. One was in November when the farmers hired their men for the year.
My sisters went for a holiday to stay with my grandmother four miles from where we lived, if they settied i was to go a week iater for a week, i was sent with the postman who drove a red cart with a covered back and room for two in the front. The village had a band we liked to hear them play and see the fousters walk. They usually stopped at the Brewery and my grandfather sent out buckets of beer for them. On Christmas morning the children went round singing carols. My father used to buy a box of oranges and we used to like giving them to the singers. My grandfather wore a grey top hat and drove in a carriage. He came into the Hotel one day and a girl cousin was playing with me. He told us her mother had got a doll that could cry; we run to their house and found I had got a new boy cousin.
We were all very distressed when Dolly a horse we had died when she was having a foal.
Our school had three rooms and two cloakrooms. The Head Master took all the classes, three, four, five, six, seven and Extra seven. A lady teacher took standard one and two and also a lady took the infants one, two and three. The lady who took one and two took the rest of the older ones for sewing while the Master took the boys for drawing. When I was 13 and in Extra seven there was a boy a little older who had stayed on to learn more. The vicar decided the church needed restoring. An Institute had to be built to hold the services while the church was being restored. Myself and Stanley Curry being the eldest boy and girl in the school were asked to dig the first sod and say a few words. My sister Minnie, myself and a friend became Sunday school teachers and took part in most of the church occasions.
On the Saturday before my birthday July 28*, we were told my uncle, mother's brother had died. We all dressed in black to go to the funeral. My uncle had been farming. My father took over the farm and we went to live there. The following year on the Friday night my mother was sent for and on the Saturday morning we were told my grandfather had died. My two sisters went to the funeral. I think my brother and I had the measles. Two year's later on the same Saturday in July we were told my mother's youngest brother Robert had died.
It was a very nice house and farm and we enjoyed living there. We also had a Wold farm and we sometimes got the pony and shandy out (Shandrydan - a two wheeled cart or chaise, especially one without a hood) and went to pick mushrooms in one of the fields, although we went early morning, sometimes someone was there before us with a donkey and cart.
In a field next to ours a circus used to come and we could watch the ponies, elephants etc getting ready for the show.
We liked the harvest time as we would take the men some lunch and get rides back to the stack yard on top of the corn. People now wonder how we passed the time with no television or wireless. We always found plenty to do. There was a tennis club, cricket field, where people gathered. Also lots of things to do for the church, dances, whistdrives, plays, shows, sales, also a Choral Society.
On the way home from school we had to pass another farmer's buildings, it was a short cut to go through his fields. They were a large family, most of them boys. We would stop and talk to them.
I left school in July when I was fourteen. My father had got heart trouble and used to fall about and my mother was not well. My two sisters (Nora and Minnie) were at home and my father said they could do with my help. Mother got cancer of the breast and went into a nursing home for an operation. The operation was not a success as she stopped breathing during the operation. My sister and I went for a week's holiday in July 1911 and we met a nice girl. She introduced us to three nice young men and we met them a few times and spent a nice holiday.
On returning home we heard a young man had come as Brewer to the brewery. I was staying with my grandma and aunt who lived in the brewery house. My sisters and I went to the tennis club to play most nights in summer. Herbert our cousin brought the new brewer over to the tennis court. A few nights after they were walking home with us, somehow Jack and I were walking behind the others, when to my surprise Jack gave me a kiss and asked me to be his sweetheart.
it became the usual thing for my cousin Herbert and Jack to walk home over the fields with us. Jack's two sisters came to stay at the Brewery house for a few days. We invited them to call on us at the farm. Jack only stayed at the East Riding Brewery a few months. He got a post at Beverley and came through to see me most weekends on a bicycle and usually brought chocolates for myself and two sisters. After a while he got another job at Leeds. My mother died (June 1912) just before I was seventeen and my father dropped dead about nine months after. We were told my father had dropped dead in the field on the Saturday we had arranged for Jack to come and ask him if we could become engaged. As we had to leave the farm in April 1914, we decided to get married on January 17^1914. We got a house in Springfield Road, Leeds. The first World War started that year and our son John Robert was born on November 28*1914. The Head Brewer left and Jack did not care for the new one so he applied for two posts that were vacant. He got the chance of an assistant's post in Oldham. After a few months we heard from the other place which was a Head Brewer's post at Liverpool. He got the post and we went to live at Liverpool. We got two rooms in a boarding house while looking for a house to live in. While we were in lodgings the Lusitania sunk and there was a lot of trouble by people going for anyone with foreign names. A lot of the crew were from Liverpool.
Jack started painting pictures whilst at the Cathedra! School in Hereford. He had got a book of Gainsborough and studied it. He persuaded his parents to let him to go to art school in Manchester. While at Liverpool, Jack had two pictures accepted for exhibition at the Liverpool Art Gallery and was accepted as an Associate of the British Water Colour Society. Our second child a girl Mary was born at Liverpool on 4 November 1917. After three years Jack got a post at Putney. I think it was in 1919. Jack was entered in the Art book as a practising artist. We had gone to Putney under the understanding it was a permanent post, but found the brewer was in the war and he was fortunate to return. We bought a printing business in Richmond, but never got into it as were offered a good post at Aberbeeg, Monmouthshire, where Jack's father was manager. There was a nice House with the post and it seemed too good not to take it. The printing business had belonged to a father and two sons and a grandson worked as print setter. Some of them wanted their money out so we had to sell. One son stayed on as manager and the grandson stayed at his job. After a while the manager asked to buy it back, paying what he could over a period and as he was only paying their wages we decided it was best to let them have it.
I shall never forget the first New Year's eve after the First World War as after we left the Drury Lane Theatre to see a peace play, we were just going over Putney Bridge at midnight when all the church bells rang out.
During the first few years of our marriage, Jack had a lot of pain, he had renal colic "stone in the Kidney". It was at Aberbeeg when he had a bad turn and I went to Abertillery and found a herbalist. I bought some of his kidney pills. From the first lot he began to improve. He took them for years and did not get any more trouble from kidneys.
Soon after going to Aberbeeg the Miner's Hospital was built and we went to the ceremony of laying the first stone. The ladies of the village of Abertillery and Cwmtillery decided to start a linen league to provide the hospital with linen etc. My sister-in-law and myself joined and we provided the hospital with linen etc until we left in 1941 when the Government took the hospital over.
Jack joined the Masons, Buffaloes and Ancient Order of Froth Blowers. He asked the brewery for the loan of a club room and started an art class for the unemployed miners and anyone else interest in art. They used to hold exhibitions. Jack also joined the South Wales Art Society which was held at Cardiff. He painted a very large picture for the church in Abertillery which he called his alter piece of Mary with the child Jesus and the shepherds.
Another lot of ladies decided to help the NSPCC and I was asked to join. We held jumble sales, dances etc. Lady Raglan was the President for the South Wales NSPCC and we held a garden party at Cefntilly Court as their home Raglan Castle was a ruin. I helped with both the Hospital and the NSPCC until we left in February 1941.
Jack put up for the Abertillery District Council as an Independent. He was on the Council for twelve years and did all he could to help the unemployed to make their lot a little better. They started a Betterment Society. Abertillery also started a feeding centre for those having hard times. The Duke of Windsor just before he abdicated from the throne came to visit and Jack who always carried a sketch book in his pocket couldn't resist making a drawing of him whilst he was talking to the miners.
The South Wales Art Society held exhibitions in Cardiff and also sent work to different parts of the country. A French critic came to the exhibitions and chose certain paintings to be reproduced in the French magazine "Review Modern". He usually chose some of Jack's. His pictures were well thought of by the members.
We spent many happy years at Aberbeeg. Four of our children were born there ; Jean Kathleen 7.4.1922, Mabel Yvonne 9.1.1928, Anne Valerie 1.1.1930 and Derek Malcolm 15.3.1931. My first grandchild Deirdre Lavinia was bom on 3rd February 1941 also at Aberbeeg. Jack was sergeant of the 'specials' during the Second World War until we left Aberbeeg.
I think Jack started at Burtonwood Brewery on February 24th 1941. Soon after going to Burtonwood I was invited to be on the committee of the Nursing Association. For two days a week the inhabitants could have a nurse when they needed one. We held dances etc to get money and we bought the nurse a car. I think the Government took the nurse and car over in 1948.
Jack stood for the Burtonwood Council and was on it for about 8 years. He also helped with the youth club by taking an art class in the evening. He was always ready to encourage art. Jack joined the St Helen's Art Club and sent pictures for Exhibition to Warrington and Preston also London. Yvonne and Derek went to Newton-le-Willows Grammar school. Yvonne passed to go to Ripon College. She was only there for a year when they sent word that she was ill and our dear Yvonne died on the 18 August 1946. (Yvonne died from septicaemia from having a tooth out - penicillin was only available from America at that time and I can remember Grandma saying it would cost £1,000 to bring some over, but it was too late... - memories of Deirdre age 51A at the time).
We left Burtonwood after Christmas and moved to New Longton, near Preston. Jack started work at Wilkins Brewery on January 1st 1951. The Brewery was sold after two years. He joined the art class that was at the school to be among people interest in art. He also joined the Preston Scientific Society and they had lectures and exhibitions. He usually had pictures exhibited at the yearly exhibitions at Preston and had two on exhibition there when he died on 26 March 1962.
During the winter of 1961 the council asked Jack to take an art class at Hoghton. The Tuesday before he died he took them round the exhibition. On the opening day I went with him, he seemed pleased with the position of his two pictures. A Mr Brindle an artist who was deaf and dumb was there. They communicated about the pictures by writing things down. My daughter, her husband and two girls came to tea on the Saturday. They usually came on the Sunday. It was on the Sunday morning early that Jack died. Life has not meant much to me since my dear Jack passed away. I do my best to keep going to look after those who need me. I am now in my eighty first year and now have six great grandchildren. I had eight grandchildren but Bruce my second eldest grandchild was killed in an air crash whilst serving with the air force. Michael another grandchild lost his life in a brawl with a bouncer outside a night club. Today I have seen my sixth great granddaughter Susan Mary born 31 December 1975, she is a lovely little girl. Mabel Dixon was 97 when she died. Her son John was 87 when he died 10 years later.