Horses, Tractors, and Vans

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Horses, Tractors, and Vans

Family Life in Victorian Bayswater


Terence Kearey

Leaving home[edit | edit source]

John Keary - Union between Britain and Ireland – Struggle for Catholic emancipation - Thomas Kearey leaves Ireland for St Giles in London – The Irish ghetto - The canals - Railways – Booming economy – Buildings galore - Factory Acts – Dickensian Life – Metal smelter - Tinsmith or Whitesmith – Carter – Worker in metal – Tin-plate.

John Keary was a Gaelic speaking Irishman born in the middle of the eighteenth century. He had five children, the fourth, a boy, he called Thomas, which was a family tradition. Thomas saw the first light of day in 1791… and as with all cultures, he assumed, when old enough, his father’s craft, as a carter and whitesmith - working in and around Dublin. The social conditions for working class people at the turn of the eighteenth century was poor. The city was crowded with many country folk all trying to obtain work. There was not enough housing, and the rents continually increasing. The harvests had been bad for a number of years and the family had a difficult time trying to find enough food for all. Troubled Ireland was in rebellion, and Britain fighting Napoleon Bonaparte, an event that stimulated a period of economic growth especially in shipbuilding, and those things needed to equip an enlarged army. Now was the time to exploit the need for skilled workers for the new industrialized society.

When he marched down the gangplank in Liverpool Docks Thomas was excited by the challenges, which lay ahead. He sought passage to London by coach; relying on his skills as a worker in metal to find work – perhaps start a business - for Dublin’s silversmiths and goldsmiths were recognised as highly skilled craftsmen. These skills, working with precious metals, carried over into working with lead and tin – metals more closely allied to the home – servicing water-tanks, pipes, buckets, cauldrons for washing and cooking pots, and all other metal containers. Not only was he skilful shaping metal but also had knowledge of joinery and the manufacture of carts.

Thomas described himself as a whitesmith, which today maybe better described as a tinsmith, and as a smelter - an extractor of metal from an ore. Back home, the family had originated, in the hills and lowlands on the southeast side of Lough Derg. The ore that had washed down from those hills would have been a combination of any number of metals. The smelter of one ore would be knowledgeable enough to work with any number of base or precious metals.

The skills of a whitesmith was more concerned with cutting, shaping and hammering-out sheet metal, making joints and seams using a mixture of lead and tin to make solder - to give a watertight joint. He may have worked in silver making jewellery. However, when working in London it was highly unlikely that Thomas would have been working with this expensive metal. He would have been devoting all his energies working with lead and tin in a household environment, making and repairing pipes and cooking pans, pots and utensils for a working population. He was quite prepared to seek work of a more mundane kind - to start afresh… hopefully, with better prospects for long-term employment… especially after taking the plunge to leave home. His family, having gone through years of persecution, exploitation, and finally eviction, now had to split up and find their own way, away from the country they loved.

When the Irish immigrant travelled to London, he made for Westminster… it was here that he felt most at home. The Irish populated Soho and the surrounding street and alleyways. There are many written accounts about St Giles-in-the-Fields, in the early 1800s, appearing as a maze of cellars and tenements based on the boundaries of St Giles High Street, Bainbridge Street, and Dyott Street. This was about the time that gas lighting first started to be installed in London, initially in Pall Mall. Within the area about St Giles, New Oxford Street was developed to lay waste to the slums of Church Lane, Maynard Street, Carrier Street, Ivy Lane and Church Street, which was a mass of courts, alley ways and hiding places. These countless tenements were described as ‘Rookeries’ or perhaps as ‘Little Dublin’ or The Holy Land’, whatever, as an area populated by the Irish.

The area of Westminster, Tothill Street, York Street, and Castle Lane was another locality given the deriding term, connecting Oxford Street and Holborn… the area of the abandoned of both sexes. The whole area was sold for redevelopment by private contract in 1844. Even today’s congested streets and heavy traffic does not suitably depict the area of that time: the noise, the horses, shouts, cries of the passing traders, street urchins darting here and there, the sandwich men, the dust, dirt, droppings, puddles and stench, all underfoot. The omnibuses disgorged their passengers, ponderous wagons, lurched and swayed, turned down narrow lanes completely blocking them, forcing all to proceed ahead of them to burst out into the street at the other end. It was described as a howling wilderness.

To Thomas, Georgian London must have seemed intimidating. He was here to escape poverty but was faced with it. His bad of tools, at onetime a mark of industry - here the bag felt like a burglars haul. However, it was no good berating his bad luck he just had to make a go of it. Now that he had adopted an English spelling for his name he could not face the scorn of the rest of the family, by going back...

It was there, shortly after taking lodgings, in 1818, that he met and courted Hester Pepler, eventually marrying her on the 17th October 1819, at St Anne’s Church, Soho fathering two boys and five girls. Hester was born and christened in 1794 in Great Stanmore; a small village on the outskirts of North London, just off the Great North Road, and died, March 1872 in Westminster at the age of 79. She was buried at the same church she was married in sixty years before. Hester’s mother before marriage was named Mary Collins.

In 1816, the building of the Grand Junction branch canal was being dug out on the Paddington Estate. At the same time, houses were being built along its banks to furnish the builders with homes. In 1801, there were only 324 houses in Paddington; this was a time of expansion in keeping with the construction of canals and the development of steam engines. Connaught Place in 1807 was the start to the development of Tyburnia between Edgware Road and the Uxbridge Road. A couple of years later the degradation mounted causing concern,not before time for by then Paddington had 879 inhabited houses to give shelter to over four and a half thousand people. It was not long before Paddington acquired a terrible reputation. The area on the north side of the Paddington and Marylebone Estates was as far as the more reasonable living conditions stretched, for the time being! Beyond that lay: mean streets, alleyways, huts, reservoirs, wharves and warehouses. The building of the Great Western Railway reinforced this division in the 1830s with its terminus and goods station. Land between the railway and canal intersected by Harrow Road deteriorated into slums. A large percentage of those living there were displaced Irishmen.

This whole area began to be redeveloped. The people was gradually pushed out, whole estates raised to the ground and the builders moved in. It became a period of massive building projects that made the way for the prosperous suburbs of Bayswater, Paddington, and Kensington, a place where rich trade’s people, developers, merchants, and professional men followed the gentry into taking over the new houses, giving a further boost to the area with their lavish life styles. Westbourne became the place to be, reaching to the southern most end of Westbourne Green. By 1860, the feverish pitch of building started to end. Thirty years of rapid development...

Thomas and Hester’s eldest son, born 1820 in St. Giles, Middlesex, was named Thomas - as was the custom. He was my great-grandfather and trained, after leaving school, as a whitesmith and tinsmith taking over much of the trade from his father. He married Hanna Raybould in 1841, when she was twenty-one - her father Henry was also a whitesmith. The couple were married at St Andrew by the Wardrobe, Holborn. It was a common belief that there there were 1,000 Irish paupers entering London each week, congregating around this area, all seeking work.

The ‘railway age’ started in 1825 when Thomas was five. By the start of the First World War, almost every part of the country was covered. It was very unusual for anyone to work in a factory that employed more than ten people, for this was the average staff content of most stately homes... workshop managers were just not used to controlling more. It seems strange that businesses had this almost mental limit for group practices. The railways broke this barrier stimulated by the rapid decline in agricultural work. The operation of the Corn Laws, which blocked the import of foreign produce, ensured that farmers received a better rate of pay for their harvests. Only about a third of the population lived in large towns or cities but this was soon to change as industrialization took hold. The government restrictions on the employment of women and children although resisted by the working class were passed. The Factory Acts ensured a fixed working week and length of day, even though a fourteen-hour day was not unusual it continued to drop to ten, later in the century. Schooling was for all ages and a matter for individual parents to decide what was best. There was no co-ordination between competing educational establishments. Only about fifty per-cents of adults could sign their names.

Thomas’s brother William, 1837–1902, sixth child of Thomas and Hester, was born the same year Queen Victoria came to the throne. He became a much-respected Westminster City Councillor for fourteen years - about the same time the London County Council was established. He was a coal merchant, baker and boot merchant [his wife’s father was a Leather Dealer]. During his two marriages, he had fifteen children - four of the births are recorded in St Anne’s Church, Soho, [St Anne’s Church was the same church Thomas was married in eighteen years before] nine of William’s children had connections with the Borough of Brompton where they were all born. There is a plaque erected in Westminster City Hall in his honour for his, ‘loyal and faithful work to the people of Westminster particularly the poor’.

Back in Ireland the ancient clan lands in and around Kilkeary Parish were recorded as being situated in Upper Ormond, four miles south-west of Nenagh. This parish covered an area of over two and a half thousand acres, containing 662 inhabitants. It lay twenty-seven miles from Limerick, in County Tipperary in the diocese of Killalo. Kilkeary and Ballynaclough formed a benefice linked to ‘the deanery’. The deanery was endowed with sufficient capital to provide the enlarged parish with a private school capable of providing education for 70 local children. The farmed land alone brought in tithes amounting to £120, which went towards the rector’s stipend. The growing strength of the British economy had an effect not only on Irish manufacturing but also in siphoning off capital from Ireland’s farming community.

Thomas’ move away from home was precipitant for when his son was eight years old the people of Kilkeary were locked in famine conditions. Gradually the eldest boys of poor families moved into the cities, thereafter making their way to Dublin and onwards to England and London. It was a desperate situation alleviated only by the new industrial society - its quest for power and the need for swifter transportation, all accomplished by: the construction of better roads, the birth of canal navigation, and the manufacture of bricks and steel. The invention of steam locomotion and the construction of the railway network added to the demand for even more coal. Once this movement was afoot – the gravitation from a rural existence to town and city life continued; this was coupled with the invention of machines to mass produce everyday products. Now there was no stopping the process. Fortunately, there was sufficient labour available…

The 1841, census of London registered nearly two million citizens. Three years later parts of Soho were described as ‘a sort of petty France’. French immigrants predominately owned most shop; there were schools, wine shops and restaurants mostly catering to ‘the French’. The proximity of ‘The Rookeries’, in St Giles and elsewhere, gave ‘foreignness’ to this whole neighbourhood of London. None of this mattered to the new citizens. They were only interested in earning money to pay for food and board. Other niceties could come along later. As agricultural workers were laid off, a rapid change was noticed in the countryside. Only just over twenty per-cent of the population worked on the land the difference was felt by the industrial towns and cities as people began to flood in. Construction – the making of things not just building, took half of Britain’s labour force. Free Trade was now the call in all but agriculture. In 1842, the budget introduced income tax... although declared a temporary measure it was never removed, taking the place of tariffs.

There was scarcely any drainage or sewerage, where the gullies were open a foot or more of offal, garbage, dung and sand overlapped the sides, buckets of human waste was still thrown out of upstairs windows adding to the indescribable mess and stench. The corpses of the poorest were just thrown into open marshland around St Bride’s Church. On Wednesdays, the ground was opened up again to receive more bodies. Low-lying districts often flooded resulting in the Great Stink of 1858. Many Irish immigrants were engaged in the construction of the new sewer system. Labourers were paid in 1859 18s a week, skilled workers double that and engineers, the latest skill to be picked-up and developed - by associated tradesmen.

London before The Great Exhibition[edit | edit source]

Soho - Holborn – London’s Markets – Building the Canals – The Great Exhibition – The Railway Age – Street Sellers – Chimney Sweeps - Sutton Street - London’s economy – Factory Acts – City Life – The Metropolitan Railway – Servant Life – Martha’s Laundry – Atlas Omnibus – Street Vendors.

When Thomas, my great-grandfather, arrived in London, he settled in Soho - which was a popular living area and meeting place for the immigrant Irish. He had to take care not to be exposed to ‘the Irish fever’, probably typhus, which one thousand Londoners died from in 1847. Epidemics occurred several times between 1840s and 70s. It was this health risk, which persuaded Thomas to up sticks and move to Holborn still working as a whitesmith. Holborn then was a far more congenial place. As was the custom, his eldest son was called Thomas, and his brother Alfred, my grandfather, was born in 1854.

Most of the meat bought and sold, to be consumed by Londoners, came from the principle market at Smithfield - where in two days of average trade saw 5,000 cattle, 30,000 sheep and 2,000 pigs traded. They all had to be herded there and driven away when sold... through the busy streets, whether in frost or snow, sun or rain, driven with shouts and calls by the drovers - to the excited screams of the watching children, keeping clear of the long horned cattle and butting rams. It was a scene that had hardly changed for generations.

In Regents Park and Hyde Park, opened to the public in the 1840s, the wealthy drove along the avenues in their carriages served by powdered attendants displaying their beautiful horses and splendid accoutrements... past herds of cattle, sheep and goats, whilst the populace went about their normal business - with elegant women in satin and lace twirling their parasols. A scene that emphasised the difference, not only between the several layers of social structure, but also demonstrated the uncaring attitude they had for what was happening in Ireland - in a land controlled by accident, birthright, eviction and brutality. Many of these monied people were living from rents gained from their holdings in Ireland – the absentee landlords.

Back in Ireland in the mid and latter part of nineteenth century, the state was still ‘a source of great anxiety to the English parliament.’ Ireland had been invaded and conquered several times but never mastered. It was still hostile to England, even more so after the famine. The remaining clan members based around the ancient family lands in the Ormond’s’ suffered like everyone else by the potato famine. Bands of starving men roamed the county, begging for food, trying to find work. In Nenagh, County Tipperary, the Board of Works Inspecting Officer, reported, “Gentlemen from Relief Committees are continually filling up places for work to the extent that there are no places left and people are dying from hunger.” Mr Bayly, Chairman of the Board of Guardians, was attacked... and now fearful of being shot! The town was in uproar. The 8th. Royal Irish Hussars provided an escort for the Judge of Assizes; they were only allowed to pass through the barricades one at a time. The Bishop of Killaloe refused to take action and led twenty parishes, amongst them Kilkeary, into armed insurrection.

The full force of the potato famine was experienced in Ireland, not only did this slow the recent population growth but further prompted immigration. The potato blight left much of the agricultural community without their basic food. The British government’s efforts to bring about relief were very inadequate and between one and 1.5 million people died. Queen Victoria was averse to declaring a public Day of Fast in 1847 for the famine in Ireland. The Government decided to advise her that it would be a proper gesture. The 1854 ‘Day of Humiliation’ was the only Fast Day.

In the later half of the nineteenth century, Kilkeary Parish covered an area of 2,272 statute acres, which provided for a population of 345 inhabitants made up out of 59 families. Prior to the Great Famine, as numerated, there were 698 persons all told divided up from an equal number of families. The old Kilkeary School stood on land owned by the Cash family less than half a mile from Kilkeary Cross.

Between 1841 and 1911, 1 million individuals left Ireland for British cities. There was little choice: it was either selective depopulation by frantic emigration or fever and death by staying put. Eventually many of the remaining O’Ciardha clan left as immigrants - boarding ship to Liverpool eventually move to London, which held the greatest number, followed by Glasgow and Cardiff. The remainder boarded ship bound for the new colonies. Children aged nine or ten still worked a full twelve hour day and women worked on the land, their children looked after by others workers in turn, even in the vilest of weathers.

After the worst of the potato famine was over the reduced population became better able to support itself. Gradually the harvests improved as the land became reworked. The number of children born to a marriage in Ireland was always high. The couples were mostly young which gave rise to high fertility. After the Famine, the rate of marriage fell, as did the fertility – well below that of Britain. The later marriage and greater control spaced children apart. Couples making joint decisions about the size of their families, according to what they could afford. Increased health education and a greater knowledge about illnesses improved the mortality rate. Some people were now living to fifty and it was felt morbidity started to increase as the mortality rate decreased.

There was a move towards starting a new life abroad, particularly to America. Eventually America held a greater number of Irish - more than Ireland itself, and this was particularly true of the Kearey family. Still, we are concerned here with that part of the family, which chose England to make a new start, those who used the ‘K’ and ‘ey’ form of spelling. Even within families, some chose Keary others Ceary, whilst their elders retained their Gaelic inheritance of O’Ciardha.

My grandfather Alfred Kearey was born 13th. April 1854, in Sutton Street, Kensington. He was the third son of Thomas and Hannah, nee Raybould. His eldest brother was named Thomas in accordance with family tradition, which went back many centuries; he was the last ‘eldest son’ to be so named. Giving up this tradition demonstrates the need to cast off any connection with the past. Any recognition or acceptance, of past allegiances washed away - to start afresh and take onboard a new life, which London had to offer. This casting off, of their roots went beyond merely changing their name... they mentally rejected all that was Irish.

It was during Alfred’s time at school that he witnessed the almost total development of the entire railway network servicing London. It was this expansion of the railways, after the building of the canals, which soaked up the Irish migrant workers. Steam tugs started to arrive on the Thames in 1848. The hay and straw for London’s vast horse population came down the river in barges with the tide. Those same barges were loaded with manufactured goods to take them to the ships lying beyond the bridges in the Pool of London, where clipper ships were moored.

The mainline stations were like palaces catering for vast crowds of excited travellers. The railways became a conduit of communication and commerce. One hundred thousand people were displaced in the process of construction. When he left school, Alfred as apprenticed as a house painter and stainer, a skill that was in great demand… London was experiencing a massive growth in land development. It was only a few years before that London Bridge Station was opened shortly before Euston. It was a time of enormous expansion to the extent that 6.7 per cent of British income was invested in railway shares. Fenchurch Street station was the first station to be built within the city. By 1852, King’s Cross was opened sixteen years before St Pancras and by 1870 the main railway network had spread all over England.

In 1861, there were one hundred and seventy eight thousand Irish immigrants in London - nearly all of them were Catholics accommodated in concentrations based around Holborn, St. Giles, Whitechapel, and Southwark. Nine years later, there were more Catholics in London and Rome than in Dublin. Engels described London as having ‘indescribable’, ‘countless ships’, ‘endless lines of vehicles’, hundreds of steamers’, and hundreds of thousands of ‘streets, classes, alleys and courts’, all with a ‘nameless misery’. In the 1871 census, there were nearly two million servants in London. It is not surprising to learn that the railways ran where the poor lived. The inhabitants were suddenly uprooted, whole streets were dispossessed, no suitable accommodation was available. The Metropolitan Railway destroyed 1,000 houses in the slums, which made homeless 20,000. This caused considerable unrest until housing societies were started. Peabody Buildings in Holborn, and Farringdon, was opened in 1864; they were five-stories high, round a central courtyard. Later there were estates in Islington, Shadwell and Chelsea, and more built during the following ten-years.

The first water closets were installed around the time of The Great Exhibition, in 1851…within half a dozen years 200,000 were flowing – previously earth closets or buckets were used to be emptied by the night-soil men who emptied the cesspits selling the contents to farmers on the outskirts of the city. Like the dustmen, the job could be financially worthwhile and sometimes double the rate charged for night's work. Refuse was removed by the two-man teams shouting ‘dust oy-eh’ loading up their high-sided carts to be deposited at the dust-yards. It was at the dust-yards that sifters worked; teams of women, sorting out the rubbish for the result to be sold-on, nothing of any value was thrown away.

Men ruled the household and controlled the family’s fortunes… wives supported their husbands as their only source of wellbeing. Men were out at work whilst their partners maintained the home and family - made the decisions that made up their social circle. Both Hannah, my great grandmother, and Martha my grandmother, were strong characters and strict disciplinarians who supported their husbands. The houses their large families lived in were rented, as were the majority of properties. People either paid weekly rents or were offered leases. 90% of all accommodation was lived in under these conditions and it was considered ‘useful’ to be able to move at a moments notice. The houses were small, which demanded good housekeeping and disciplined order – the pattern to life was set by class traditions and habits.

This was a time of expansion in all trades for more houses were being built to house the vast numbers of new city dwellers and these houses in the main were terraced, where you could not tell one house from the next. There was a gradual movement away from the city centre into the suburbs not only to seek fresh air but ‘a better way of life’. Victorian life was one of segregation and classification; home was seen as apart, private, and guarded. Local municipal regulations stipulated certain standards for street planning, parks, community amenities, and building details. There was an enormous difference between the social classes all living within a few hundred yards of each other. This was a time the streets were filled with an incessant stream of horse-drawn, motor driven and steam propelled traffic all limited to twelve miles per hour. There were no traffic lights, one-way streets circles, or rights-of-way it was all subject to the rate of the horse and its vagaries. The omnibuses were mainly for the middle-classes where women travelled inside and the men climbed a ladder to sit on a bench seat on the top…later versions had a staircase inside which led to the exposed roof.

There were two kinds of omnibuses, the light-green Atlas and the dark-green City Atlas. The light green, with two horses in hand, served particular routes with a first class compartment. The dark-green ran a return journey every hour…both had iron-shod wheels and curtains at the windows. The driver clad in his old-fashioned cape and tall felt hat, driving three horses abreast in bad weather, carried a load of twenty-two passengers under cover from Paddington, via the Yorkshire Stingo, to the Bank. A newspaper was provided to pass the time of day and the conductor called the route. He stood to the left of the door holding onto his strap signalling to the driver by banging on the roof. One of his jobs was to bend down and help women with their whalebone hoops onto the step and through the narrow doorway. A women’s clothing weighed almost forty pounds and when it became saturated with rain, it was difficult to walk. The men passengers who climbed the iron ladder and sat on the ‘knife-board’ a central bench running lengthways either side of a backrest. Passengers sat back-to-back with their feet against the roofs edge, on a footboard. It was no joy for women either: they had to contend with parasols, umbrellas sticks, canes, and numerous parcels. The rumbling, swaying, jerking, and jolting set your-teeth-on-edge: the possibility of fleas, nits, colds, crushed toes and pickpockets all contributed to an uncomfortable experience. There were a number of turnpike gates that had to be negotiated – one at Marylebone another at Lisson Grove and a third at Great Portland Street. It was possible to stop the omnibus at any point along the route. There was no fixed charge and speed sacrificed for profit. ‘pea-souper’ fogs – which were plentiful – which further slowed progress continually interrupted what timetables were attempted. Even when there was no visible fog the soot, particles of burnt coal swirled in the air, created a diffused light and soiled clothing.

Traffic jams were a daily nuisance. The passage of animals and scurrying cabs made reasonable progress impossible. Paths and pavements were forever congested to the extent that they became so smooth that workers were engaged to roughen them. There were nearly eighty main toll-bars and a hundred minor ones – charges mainly paid by tradesmen; tolls were not removed until 1864. The main roads were faced with granite blocks [setts] later replaced with tarred blocks, which proved dangerous under water or in winter frosts.

Street seller abounded selling baked-potatoes, oysters, sheep’s trotters or stewed eels. The butchers and their assistants were always recognisable in their stripped, blue, and white aprons and smocks. They would be taking their orders for the day. Later, the butchers’ boys would deliver the order with the customers name skewered to the joint. The baker delivered his pies, buns and bread daily and the milkman conveyed his milk by yoked pail; potboys sold beer. There were orange sellers near theatres, pie-men, sherbet sellers, muffin-men, cockles, and mussels, cats meat men, watercress came from Camden Town and watered by running water from the River Fleet, cherries and strawberry girls, herbs, apples, matches, sandwiches and flower girls. It was normal to have eight-year-old girls clad in a thin cotton dress, with an equally thin shawl round her shoulders, out in all weathers selling produce off a tray slung round her neck. Shoeblacks, dripping sellers and knife-grinders; chairs were mended on the street, pots were beaten and soldered and sweeps shouted that their boys ‘climbed narrower chimneys’. Many of these vendors had their own calls by voice and bell. The street sweepers were employed by the parish - to give some employment to otherwise idle youths, foundlings and those poor unfortunates who were disabled. Sometimes they worked in pairs sweeping the horse droppings and waste into piles to be picked up later by a horse and cart. All roads were attended to for the waste was sold to farms skirting the city boundary. It was a scene of fevered activity, when not a moment was lost, to service the impatient client.

By the 1880s barrel organs, piano organs and the hurdy-gurdy man accompanied by his monkey, played in the streets. Dancing bears and performing dogs and the one-man-band who clashed his cymbals. The Punch and Judy man - The Puppeteer, visited their handed down pitch on a set rotation. The organ grinder travelled to wherever a crowd gathered – usually outside the theatres.

Water was only piped for mass use in the 1850s. It came from the mains supply in the street by lead pipes into the scullery or kitchen. The supply was intermittent - early on in its inception, the water ran for only one hour every day, three days a week and never on Sundays. It was not until the turn of the century that a constant supply was available on demand. Many children went bare footed sleeping in alleyways, beneath bridges and under railway arches. The Metropolitan or Underground railway had carriages lit by gas lamps, the tracks provided a smooth and comfortable journey compared to the swaying jerking progress of a horse drawn carriage. The stations, platforms, and bridges mainly built of brick, as were the embankments and tunnels. The provision of construction material carted to the various sites for railways use competed with material for house construction. It was a massive undertaking making the already overcrowded city into an even greater hive of industry.

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the middle and upper classes could not have existed without servants… from maids-of-all-work upwards to cook, governess and housekeeper. For men: both in or out of livery, gardener, footmen, coachmen, and butler. One in six women were servants and a high percentage were hired on a daily basis.

Victorian schooldays[edit | edit source]

Kensington Gardens – Parochial Schools – Salem Gardens – Vicar of London – Lord Mayor’s Vicar – The Sutton family in Sutton Place – The Working Class – The Royal Parks – St Matthew’s School – Moscow Road - The Church of England.

There are many accounts about the living conditions and social life of Victorian Britain. All are very interesting but far too general. We are concerned with northwest London, around Bayswater and Paddington, just north of Kensington Gardens. This was the period that introduced the Kearey’s’ to this place, just after The Great Exhibition. It was on the outskirts of the city... there were green fields - not far away, with: farms, hedges, woods, trees, and all the delights of the country.

Bayswater or Bayswatering as spelt on Rocque’s 1748 map lies due south of Christ Church, in the parish that contained St. James Church - built and made parochial in 1845. It was new, being partially rebuilt with the exception of the tower and spire. The pest house, indicated so prominently on the map, was almost on the site of Craven Terrace Chapel, just up the street. Lord Craven gave a site at Soho, to be used as a burial ground, and knowing the problems faced by the citizens during the plague of 1665, land for a cottage hospital too. The streets of Paddington were not conveniently built having to walk the whole length for the lack of a side street - before moving to a parallel terrace. Further, northwards, on the west side of Petersburgh Place is the church of St, Matthew, built with a very high spire consecrated on May 20th 1882 - a church that had stalls and seating for a congregation of 1,550, of which 355 were available free.

The Borough boundary turns out of Kensington Gardens into Palace Gardens crossing the Bayswater Road... travels northwards, between Ossington Street and Clanricarde Gardens, which lies just north of Moscow Road. A Greek church stands impressively by, being given the name of St. Sophia, built of red brick with a high central dome... It reminds one of a storybook picture of a Russian church. Close by, a small Baptist chapel, neat and compact, fitted in between houses - to be built at the back of Porchester Gardens. Moving across Queen’s Road, there stands St. Matthew’s Parochial School. Built in 1831, found not large enough - then enlarged - losing most of its playground,in 1861. Further northwards, in Queen’s Road, are the large buildings housing Paddington Public Baths and Washhouses.

Alfred Kearey courted and married Martha Sutton, born 11th July 1857, who was named after her mother. Both of her grandfathers were vicars in London. In the first nineteen years they had ten children... starting their married life in a small terraced house - 5 Salem Gardens, Bayswater, just off Moscow Road, and Queensway [Queen’s Road] - opposite Olympia.

Martha’s father, William Sutton, was a trained carpenter. His father, also named William, died in 1870, in office, as a Vicar in London. William had his carpenter’s shop at the bottom of the garden - making doors and windows. They had two sons and seven daughters. One of the sons was also named William joined the Royal Marines at Deal and took part in the Egyptian War in 1883. He was wounded and invalidated out of the service, dying less than ten years after returning home. The remaining son and five of the daughters married at an early age, leaving daughters Emma and Tottie at home to help their mother.

Martha had been a trained schoolteacher, managing on a very low income. In Victorian society, it was frowned on for woman teachers to be married, so she had to give up her job. Wishing to provide for an increasing family, she started, and ran, a successful hand laundry from home, in a large washhouse in the garden. It required enough space on the range to boil the coppers of washing, and sufficient room to do the ironing - next to the drying room. She employed other women to do a large amount of washing and ironing. Laundry work was very labour extensive... A major part of the Victorian family’s budget. It was a known fact that infections from mixed washing were possible. In sensible laundries, the washing was separated, hung to dry, and suitably aired. W H Lever began to sell soap in one-pound bars, ready wrapped, in 1885. Every large house in those days sent out for its laundry. Bayswater was a fashionable part of London, forming the North West corner of Kensington Park... There was a ready business to satisfy Martha's calling to help the family income.

The washing was sorted on Saturdays and Sundays and entered into the washing book; this was checked at the end of the process by my great-grandmother. Sheets and linens were covered with luke-warm water and a little soda and left overnight. On Monday, the fires to the boiler were lit two hours before the rest of the household came down to breakfast. As soon as the water was hot, the sheets and linens were taken out of the overnight soaking water, rinsed in hot water ladled out of the copper, rubbed, and beaten with a dolly or possing stick. The sheets were then wrung out, and the water reused - for soaking-water. It was a long process, from soaking, three washes - one boiling, and a number of rinses. Within each stage were special stain removal processes, and fabric conditioners... some items were unpicked, resewn, and added to, after processing. Once the first washing had been completed, it was hung out to dry or if wet hung under covered ways - this could take several days. The starching process was complicated in that all materials needed a particular treatment. Unconditioned linen or cotton quickly became creased and rumpled.

The ironing was done on tables. Flat irons were used in pairs – whilst one was in use the other reheating. A dozen irons were arraigned on trivets over an open fire. Each iron before use was cleaned on a rubbing cloth, any adhering starch cleaned off; irons which were still dirty, were rubbed on an emery board. Box-irons and goffering irons all had their special uses. Items for repair were set aside and all aired before wrapping - then made ready for collection.

There is no doubt that Martha had to be extremely organized to run both the house, large family and family business. The fact that she had been a teacher indicates that her own education had been above average. Coming from a middle-class home gave her the spur to maintain her position for both herself and her children. The family owe much to this hard working woman.

Martha’s grandfather, Samuel Elyas Pearce, was a Vicar of one of London’s city churches and Chaplain to the Lord Mayor of London. “The patronage of the Lord Mayor included the appointment of a chaplain who lived and boarded in the Mansion House, have a suite of rooms, and a servant. The Vicar rode in a state carriage and attended the Lord Mayor whenever required. He was presented to Queen Victoria at the first levee, and received fifty guineas from the Court of Aldermen - and a like sum from the Court of Common Council. His wife, my maternal great grandmother, often told my father, that when she visited her great grandmother she would be told many frightening things about events which happened before and after The Great Fire of London, in 1666.

In Victorian times, the main reception room presented the public face of the family and it conformed to the accepted strictures of the society. It displayed, on shelves, tables and what-knots, a variety of small object both expensive, and inexpensive which were reminders of people and places. Tablecloths came right down to the floor with plants in heavy pots and planters. Covers were placed to protect furniture from coal dust and fire-embers. Window curtains suspended from poles and rings were tied back to reveal net curtaining obscuring the view outside. Slip rugs positioned at the fireside left exposed the polished wood floor.

Martha was the eldest child in the Sutton family. It was usual in those days that the eldest girls in the family took on a great deal of the housework by rota. This would include the cooking and work in the laundry. It was held as convention that this was the way a girl contributed to the home and was properly prepared to bring up her own family, when and if the time came. However, it is clear that there was little affection in the home especially by her mother. When grandmother showed independence by wearing a new hairstyle she was told to, 'leave the home and do not return'. This seems on the face of it a hard thing to do but her mother had to control the situation. It was a small house and a large family and her mother could not afford for the situation to get out of hand and lose respect. In those days most women in England were excluded from political and economic power. Wives and daughters were legally subservient to their husbands until the Married Women’s Property Acts of 1870 and 1880s. Protecting women from beatings by the husband did not come about until 1891.

Martha sought help and comfort from a girl friend that lived not far away in Caroline Place. She was also a laundress and worked from home. It was not a large house and there was no more room for another person to sleep so a place was found for her under the ironing table. My grandfather Alfred Kearey who knew Martha before this event quickly saw in her a person he could befriend. Shortly after this, the Sutton family were reunited and they were married in 1878. A house found for them in Sutton Place.

The owner of Salem Gardens, who was incidentally the founder of the building firm William Whiteley, demolished the whole site – to prepare it for redevelopment. Whiteley was enormously impressed by the Great Exhibition, and all that it offered as an introducer to new fashion and industrial development. He opened a shop in Bayswater, which was then considered in 1863 a fashionable district of London. This shop was a success and he gradually enlarged it, taking on more staff, whilst improving his stock. Eventually his stables were one of the largest in London having 145 vans and 320 horses, able to deliver anything ‘the same day’. It eventually became one of the new ‘department stores’ – he called it the ‘Universal Provider’, boasting that he could provide ‘anything from pin to an elephant’. Thomas Lipton called his early shops ‘Irish markets’ probably because he sold Irish butter and eggs. There was a great deal of competition between Lipton and the others providers particularly those who catered for the working class and poor. These lower ends of the market traders did not worry Whiteley for he was looking to the middle-classes to make his fortune. As a child, Whiteley had gone to school with my great grandfather, and therefore, well know to him. Unfortunately, William, who was married at the time, went out with one of his female staff. This was not an unusual happening, and caused great bitterness. Years later one of the children took revenge on the father - for bringing such unhappiness to his mother and family.

My grandmother was very conscience of her grandfather’s position in the church - of Christian principles towards other people who needed help. Her own large family gave her knowledge and understanding about women in labour and child delivery. She became the local unpaid midwife taking on the responsibility not only being at the birth of neighbouring children but helped nurse them, and their mothers too. Martha did this not only to help the family budget but also to relieve the hardships found in the surrounding streets.

The 1870 Elementary Education Act was introduced to ensure all children would be eligible to go to school. This was the first time a school place was available in a building set aside for that purpose - under a certified head teacher. Previously most children could only rely upon instruction by the main religious bodies and philanthropic organizations: the Anglian National Society in 1811, and the British and Foreign School Society in 1814.

The Victorians found pregnancy something to be hidden and not talked about. Fathers were ignorant as to what was happening and mothers too were unclear about the physical side to life. Martha’s visits and ministrations were much valued. It says much for her fortitude, knowledge and experience, in a time when these were hard to find, by doing those things without payment.

In the middle to late 1800s religion was the all-permeating influence, not only of the family but the greater society. The parish church was the centre of the social system – the keystone that propped up the government. The main creed was obedience. ‘Honour thy father and thy mother’ heard every Sunday at church. Church was also a social gathering where everything was discussed, evaluated, and equated. The dissenter was an unsocial person, to be wary of. The average person was not so concerned about dogma but of difference in the social classes. The clergyman was the father of the parish linked to parliament and the monarchy. The landlord was the lawgiver, the representative of the parliamentary system - one of their own – born in the district. He could be seen every day walking about in and out of their houses. He knew them and their troubles, their ideas, their wants, dreams and desires... they were similar to his own. It was here that the word and philosophical understanding of their ‘rights’.

In the middle to late 1800s individuals still did not regularly bathe. Underclothes were worn as either summer clothes or winter and not removed, except to replace. Strip baths were the only means of washing either at the outside sink or tin bath. Those elders who were considered fussy used the public baths which children were encouraged to use – mainly to remove vermin – to stop scratching. This state of affairs lasted until well into the 20th century. This is how the working class understood the world they lived in and this is how the middle class saw their place in the grand scheme of things. It was based upon a rural foundation, which was to change... most were onetime hewers of wood, tillers of the soil, and drovers of stock.

In the second half of the nineteenth century London’s rich and middle class moved away from the city centre, which was being swamped by immigrants, particularly Westminster, where the Irish, French, and Jews congregated. The rich preferred Sydenham in Kent and Barnes and Richmond on the Thames, the upper middle class: Hampstead and Ealing, north and west of the city and Penge, south. The lower middle class: Camberwell, Hammersmith, Leyton, and Balham. Those men who worked in ‘city-offices’ preferred Bayswater, Brixton and Clapham. All these towns were at the time situated on the city's boundary - the new suburbs.

Victorian home life[edit | edit source]

The Family - Bayswater – Salem Gardens – Queen Victoria – Poor families – The parlour – Education Act – Church Schools – The church – Perambulations around Kensington Gardens – Board Schools – Piano lessons - The Music Hall – Steam engines - Abduction.

My father, christened Albert Edward - Albert after the Prince Regent, and Edward - the future monarch; he was the fifth child, born on the 21st March 1889, at 6 Salem Gardens, Bayswater. After my father’s birth, three sisters and three more brothers were added to the previous four children… making eleven in all. He recognized – and appreciated later, that all his brothers and sisters were most fortunate having parents who were so considerate and caring.

In the late Victorian age many children from poorer families were thought of as ‘an investment’ and put out to work as errand boys, carriers of beer, street cleaners and railway station porters. Others held horses, carried trunks, and delivered parcels, they stood at doorways ready to call a cab, and helped cabbies who were drunk, – the number occupied thus was estimated as between ten to twenty thousand. Many became match boys and street sellers, carried food and fruit. They did even the smallest thing to make what they could to help at home. As soon a dawn broke, they were to be seen outside every market place ready to take up a barrow. Others traded by the queues of shops and theatres to entertain and amuse, by ‘their antics’. Workmen of the period sported heavy moustaches; wore heavy boots with hob-nails, thick twill trousers, course worsted jackets, a waistcoat supporting a watch or key chain, and a cap or billycock hat – a short top-hat, but all very well-worn - probably cast-offs! Some may wear smocks, overalls, or wear a uniform that would distinguish them from others – it was a matter of survival, to stand out from the crowd.

In 1865, a middle-class man, was distinguished by a face richly adorned by hair in the shaped of muttonchops, full beard, with moustache. He wore a universally prescribed silk-plush, top hat on a stiff blocked base made of canvas. A black or dark blue frock coat, with a fashioned waist and skirt, with straight edges, to about knee height, open at the front by curving or wrapping the skirt-front round to the back. A pocketed, silk lined, velvet waistcoat with a man’s watch usually on a silver chain. Trousers were fashioned tight in white, grey, fawn or striped, held up by braces. A pinned satin cravat beneath a studded collar-band topped a mid-thigh length shirt with separate, point up, starched collar and linked secured, folded cuffs. For special occasions, a starched, frilly shirt front and tied silk bow. Beneath all would be one-piece long johns and silk socks held in place by garters thrust into ankle-boots.

For women, the fashion was very wide skirts supported by crinolines which took over from tight-laced corsets… The all-in-one dresses, superseded by tunic dresses and waisted blouses, with a bustle at the back… both, soon to be replaced. A waterproof cloak with hood, heightened boots, the essential hat and parasol, completed the picture. City life was one of organised chaos. There were few women particularly in public areas – there was a changing shift of people mainly men to and from work. Clerks were in abundance being the main form of employment for the non-servant classes; they would not only populate their offices but be rushing delivering letters, plans and manuscripts.

My father lived with his parents, Martha and Alfred Kearey, at 6, Salem Gardens, Moscow Road, Bayswater... Salem Gardens, which was later demolished, is now called Salem Road, which is to be found just off Queensway, and Bayswater tube station, together form a square. On the other side, backing onto the gardens is Moscow Place and Moscow Road, which forms another square – together with Queen’s Mansions… Both these squares are but a stones throw from his paternal grandparents. Number six was a small rented house with just four rooms, two up and two down, a kitchen and an outhouse. It had a back garden, which stopped at the Queens Mews stable wall, belonging to a house in the next road.

Within the homes of Albert’s friends elaborate rules of etiquette were observed. In middle class homes, one had to dress for dinner in full evening dress. Lace curtains were de rigueur and on Sundays best clothes were worn. No games were played; no shops were open, no theatres played, and only the bible was read. No running in the road and parks, for decorum was observed at all times… and no shouting, ever! The parlour was used as a ‘special room’ for Sundays, ‘high days’, Christmas, and for entertaining guests and visitors. Albert attended Sunday school when four, in 1893 - at the school in Queens Road [now Queensway]. The girls and boys were formed up in ranks of two… then, holding hands, marched off to Saint Matthews Church, Saint Petersburg Place, Bayswater… led by a Master and Mistress… It was here that Albert spent his first two years at Infant School.

It was thought important, by the government, that, as more people were taking up the option to vote they should be educationally equipped to make proper decisions. At the same time, it became apparent that Britain industrial base was lagging behind some European countries. Both these factors suggested that elementary education should be expanded. The 1870 Elementary Education Act ensured this would happen and school boards were set up. In 1895, the voluntary schools still provided half a million more places than the board schools. Poor families complained that sending their children to school instead of to work prevented the rest of the family from eating.

The Kearey family was relatively well off - having a father skilled in his own painting and staining business with a full order book. The school fees were 1d. or 2d per week. There was, however, a considerable variation of fees - depending on the numbers of children from one family going to the same school, or, whether there was sickness,r lack of footwear, or real need. By 1891, sufficient money was made available by the government to provide free places. When Albert went to school in 1893, he did not have to attend school with this fee in his pocket. The minimum age for children leaving school was eleven… It would take another six years to ease this up to twelve.

That was time education in London led the way in curriculum innovation, promoting music, drill and object lessons – some instruction about the world around them… about science, history and geography. Lessons other than the three Rs were considered ‘class lessons’. For the older children two other specific subjects were included. The question about the provision of a piano was much debated finally it was left to the head teacher knowing what funding from grants was available. At around the age of twelve children who went to church schools were confirmed… afterwards allowed to attend communion services. For several weeks before confirmation, there would be classes of instruction to learn The Creed, Ten Commandments, The Catechism, The Lord’s Prayer and other religious works. On the day of communion the girls would wear white long sleeved dresses, white shoes and veils and the boys their best suits and well shone shoes, starched collars to their white shirts a buttoned up waist coats. In the late Victorian era, Sunday’s were a special day, no work was to take place, and no games played. People who did not attend church were considered wicked, or lacking in respect, and often snubbed.

Most children went to Sunday school, and attended one proper service – morning or evening. At Christmas, they went to both. The Sunday school lessons consisted of bible reading, instruction and righteous stories with a moral theme and learning the collect [single prayer of the day]. Picture stamps of bible scenes were collected and mounted into an album. Hymns for young children were sung to the accompaniment of a piano. All the people were dressed in their Sunday best. Children in particular were clothed in shirts stiff with starch. The congregation knew were to sit, usually always in the same pew. The congregation knelt down and said a prayer - ask for forgiveness for wrong doings, before the service began.

The High Altar, a covered table, was reached by several steps around which were displayed several oil paintings depicting biblical scenes. The chancel was imposingly large - separated from the body of the church by a wrought iron grill. There were always on hand many servitors - functionaries, in high-church dress. The service was intoned and sung, except the lessons. There was a special service for woman who had not long given birth. This was called ‘Churching for Women’ a service to cleanse her - release her from sin.

At St. Matthew’s Church, pews could be rented. When the Upper Classes – particularly the Nobility and Aristocracy, attended the service, a footman followed them in. He was dressed in frock coat, white skin-tight trousers and buckled shoes – his job was to carry the bible and prayer book – to be handed over to their masters at the door. Pew-openers directed the ordinary parishioners into their strictly graded, rented, and paid for seats. In the previous generation these titled folk were ushered into their pews, which had doors, and sometimes a separate internal roof. Pew-openers attended them making sure they were provided with a cushion and blankets - to spread over their legs. These attendants were women who had black poke bonnets and white aprons. Services were known by heart particularly the hymns. The sermons were often long and difficult to hear because of the echo. The rector constantly instructed his parishioners that they should worship all day Sunday. However, the evening services were those best attended. The aristocracy attended church in the mornings, the evenings mainly attended by their servants - who were too busy at their household tasks, and looking after the horses and farm animals, to find time during the day.

In the winter months, the church interiors were lit by the soft glow of oil lamps, which cast mysterious shadows over the walls and pillars - making the gloomy, cold, and damp environment eyrie – to small children, frightening. The congregation sat in the same seat every week and woe betides if you sat on somebody else’s pew. You always had to be on your best behaviour. My father knelt down with everyone else and said a prayer, asked forgiveness, before waiting for the service to begin. He was supposed to read the collect for the day or a psalm. Everyone knew the service order by rote and most of the hymns. At the collection, a halfpenny would be dropped in the plate. It was not unusual for the gentry to have their own family pews and the added luxury of a couple of heated rooms where they could meet, entertain, and retire to. The beadles kept order… and the poor out.

At the end of the service, the parishioners walked out into the blackness of the night and those who had a long way to get back home would light candles in their lamps that flickered on the footpaths and disappear into the night. However distant the journey there was little fear of being accosted by vagabonds or scoundrels for the congregation all left together. You could hear the happy 'goodnights' all around you as the cheery calls echoed through the night air... The clear night sky would enable you to recognise the constellations, and sometimes see a falling star - receive a wish.

It was a ritual on a Sunday, for the ladies and gentlemen from surrounding churches to perambulate around the squares and gardens, after Matins. This walk ended up strolling down Lancaster Walk past Speke’s monument, and further still, onto the Albert Memorial. This walk was termed ‘The Parade’. It was here that the bonneted women and attending dandies would be bobbing and nodding to their acquaintances all showing off their latest fashions. The riders had a similar parade; both men and women wore top hats, the women rode sidesaddle, and the society dandies, with their simpering belles - disporting in their barouches, whilst chattering loudly, fluttered their fans. Some of the small children would be riding their ponies besides their parents giggling and chattering like sparrows. The nannies would be pushing the enormous sided prams, the largest of which displayed wealth, kept to the railing paths.

Regents Park, planned by Nash, displayed the Zoological exhibits –a favourite place for them to go…needing one shilling for the pleasure. This display, performed by the rich, occurred in all of London’s royal parks. This droll, ostentation by the bourgeoisie had a great effect upon my father who saw it as a display of wealth – from those who might also cast a glance of disdain on the unfortunates who did not have an equal social standing. Although he always voted conservative, he was fully aware of the injustices in society and could not abide pomposity.

After church, my father would walk to the top of the road towards Kensington Gardens. At that time, Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyle, occupied The Royal Palace of Kensington. When he got to the park, he had to walk – never to run because the Park Keeper would soundly admonish him for desecrating the Sabbath Day. Regent’s Park was never just the preserves of aristocrats, about a third of occupants of Nash’s terraces were in business. Kensington Gardens was not open to the public for its first ten years after it is inauguration but kept as a great private estate for Royalty and the aristocracy.

During the week the water carts would be out laying the dust, crossing keepers dressed in their uniform, keeping their particular spots clean of mud and dung. The potboys and shop staff lifting open the hatches to the cellars, rolling back the blinds and pulling open the shutters. The street life during the day was cosmopolitan with a frantic grating, crunching, swirling of speeding horse drawn traffic, the hackney drivers vying with each other to get back to the pitch as soon as possible - were the worst, darting here and there without a by-your-leave’. During early mornings and after work the streets returned to almost village life… over and behind the shops family life progressed. There were three main commercial and business groups: the sellers, the buyers and the providers. This last group contained the service and maintenance staff, builders and repair people who lived in the so-called village.

Babies, at the turn of the century, were not often weaned until they were at least one year old. It was not only expected, not to give up breast-feeding, but cheaper and more convenient. Babies were kept in long gowns and nothing was done to disturb them or excite them. They were not expected to sit up until the age of at least six months. Their prams had large wheels, high sides and were fully sprung. Trying to help the child to walk before the age of two was frowned on because it was thought the childhood become bow-legged. In summer, many of the children went to the London parks. As most children were from large families, the eldest daughter kept an eye on the younger-ones. The prams were pushed by their owners some hired other by the child’s nanny…picnics held beneath the trees or by the lakes. Drinking water was to be had at the fountains, ducks fed on scraps of stale bread and peacocks gazed at in awe.

Albert remembered an incident when he was a toddler, no doubt reminded of the happening many times - when his brothers came out of the park to return home found they had forgotten him; he was quite innocently trotting off in another direction. A chimney sweep saw him, apparently all alone, picked him up, and placed him on his barrow - amongst all the brushes and bags of soot… and made off with him. The brothers meantime had reached home still deeply engrossed in conversation, to find him not bringing up the rear. There was panic and his mother ran up to the park, frantically searching for her son. In Victorian times the slums of Notting Hill, which is the other side of the park, had an evil reputation for kidnapping, and extortion, and it was because of this reputation that Martha made her way there. Fortunately, she found her son Bert perched on the barrow parked outside a public house. The sweep was celebrating his successful abduction inside the inn.

Sweeps, and slum factory owners, wanted cheap labour - frequently resorted to child theft. Small children were used by sweeps to descend narrow chimneys, especially the bends - used in the chimney to obtain a better draught... The child being lowered from the top scraping and sweeping whilst they were lowered, the soot being collected at the bottom. Sweeps, as a form of advertising, used very small children, declaring that, ‘they could clean smaller chimneys than any other sweep.’ There was an argument on the pavement between the police officer and the sweep - vigorously holding onto Bert. The sweep was heard shouting, ‘I know my rights, he’s my child, and I’m defending, and protecting him!’ The interested onlookers gathered around, some coming from within the public house. They heard my father calling out to his mother, whilst furiously trying to clamber into her arms. The crowd supported my grandmother calling to the police officer to do his duty. That decided it for the police officer who, when taking the infant from the cart - to returned the child to its parent, told the sweep of a possible summons, if he didn't keep quiet…!

Preparing for work[edit | edit source]

Paddington Station - GWR - Fashions – Moscow Road – Sunday best – The parlour – Queensway – Voluntary Schools – Good works – St Matthew’s Church – Churching for Women – Lancaster Walk – Regents Park – Bayswater - Marylebone Station.

On January 10th 1863, Paddington railway station was opened to the public; it serviced, The Great Western Railway Line, and the Metropolitan Railway. The railways construction had resulted in many families being evicted from their homes - so that they could be demolished. The broad staircase in the station foyer lead down thirty feet to platform level but long before reaching the bottom the smell of smoke and steam pervaded the air. You could feel the draught caused by the compressed warm air rushing past. The gas burners light the way, as the passengers jostle to clear the way – for there are a steady stream making their way along the smoke filled tunnel. At last, the train is reached; it was just over a mile away from home in Salem Gardens.

That same year, riding in ‘The Row’, in London’s Hyde Park, the latest carriage style included the Victoria Phaeton, the Mail Phaeton, the Four Wheel Dog Cart, the Light Waggonette, the Brougham, Parisian Phaeton, and the Stanhope Phaeton. The bicycle was slowly becoming popular for the sporty city toffs now with improved tyres, gears, and brakes. By 1900, the cost of an average car was £385, which was about ten times that of a farm workers yearly income. Paddington was now a borough with tree lined roads and squares. There was an enormous disparity between the various districts. This was apparent the nearer one got to Hyde Park, and those houses alongside the canal. The areas around the railway terminus, the shops, and entertainment centres in Westbourne Grove, Queens Road, and Edgware Road, gave variety and colour.

In 1900, horse-transport was the usual mode of travel for both individuals and groups. Most of the carriages were privately owned although there was a public horse drawn system called the omnibus. Some people had a pony and trap or small governess cart, drawn by very small ponies. Occasionally goats pulled the country carts. Every shop had its errand boy who delivered goods by hand; the older boys, doing a bigger round, used a pony drawn cart. Very few people carried their own shopping relying upon the shop’s delivery van. Men drove Brewer’s drays drawn by four huge horses, with their jingling horse brasses and bells, with bowler hats sitting high up at the front covered with a tarpaulin wrap fastened over their knees. Carrier Vans collected and delivered heavier goods on either two or four wheeled carts. Two paraffin oil or acetylene lamps lit his way. These vans travelled around a particular route known by the inhabitants. If their services were required, a note had to be pinned to your door or gate. Deliveries were also made from the railway stations guaranteeing a door-to-door service. It was alongside Kensington Gardens that the stagecoach route ran from Central London. During school holidays, my father would sit in the public gardens and watch the coaches bowling along the road to Windsor or Hurlingham with the guard whipping up the horses and blowing his coaching horn.

When grandfather was asked to leave Salem Gardens, they rented a house in Bayswater. It was here that my father started kindergarten in 1892 at the age of three. His starter class, attached to the infant school, was well attended; taught by senior girls, at the age of fourteen - considered fit by their studies to consider teaching as a profession. Parents had to pay perhaps 4d per-week for the first child then, on a sliding scale, less for additional children; the rate was flexible according to the parent’s income. These fees were only just beginning to be scrapped after an extra government grant for elementary education came into being. The minimum leaving age was twelve by the time Albert started school… at the same time attendance for all children was compulsory.

Saint Matthew’s Infant School, Poplar Place, Moscow Road, was a small Church school for very young children and was to last for two years. There were no desks or individual seats but galleries amounting to eight rows of broad steps. He had to sing his multiplication tables and alphabet every morning. These were not the only form of learning by rote there were others: alphabet, spectrum colours, kings and queens, months of the year, times tables and many other useful facts, were all learned using a simple tune. Common words learnt by ‘heart’ and religiously checked every day by his teacher. Proper pronunciation of words, the correct use of grammar, national tunes, mental arithmetic, countries of The Empire were all given a place in the curriculum. By the end of the two-year period a great deal was learnt and committed to memory.

Girl teachers, who were very patient and kind knowing as they did how important it was that their charges could cope with the curriculum at the Junior School. His junior teachers were fourteen - the age when pupils left school; they were the brightest girls from the top class – who were now in teacher training. There were no grants. There were few jobs for girls. To be a nurse the training was the same. The parents paid the fees. Some worked in local hospitals but were not able to qualify without going to College to receive their certificate. This was no different for craft apprenticeships – the parents had to pay. My father was very happy at St Matthew’s school and did well coming out top of the class. At this age, he began piano lessons, which he persevered with; years later achieved professional standard and much sought after.

Victorian street life[edit | edit source]

Saint Matthew’s Infants – Learning by rote – The harsh winters – Charity Funds - Junior School – Church School – Children’s complaints – Industrial society – The laundry –School Board – The Underground System - Boy’s Brigade – The Volunteers.

When Albert was five years old, he transferred to St Matthew's Church Junior School, which was held in another building - in Queens Road. It was only Class 1 that had a separate room - known as ‘The Bottom Standard’. There, he was taught the Prayer Book, to recite the Ten Commandments: The Creed, The Catechism and The Lord’s Prayer - to prepare the class for ‘confirmation’. In subsequent years, the higher standards were taught in a large hall, which seated about five classes. The head teacher was Mr Dexter, who had an assistant, and three female staff. Boys were separated from Girls, who had their own hall. At this time, education was not compulsory - there was a voluntary charge made throughout the year of two pence per week for lessons. discipline was vigorously exercised to keep noise levels down - so as not to disturb the other classes... lessons arranged so that singing in one class was taught at the same time sewing or drawing in another - so that one would not affect the other.

These large rooms, or halls, were very cold in the winter for they had large windows and lofty ceilings. Each large room had a coal heater set in the middle of the floor with the chimney pipe running up to the high roof. The floor, uneven through use, showed raised nails - was of bare wood, which gave off clouds of dust when anyone moved. Colourless flaking lime-washed walls white peppered the surrounding floor, which added to the general dust.

My father spoke of the severe winters and dense fogs, which made going to school something to be dreaded. In the winter of 1894-5, which was particularly severe, hot meals were provided and warm clothing distributed to the needy and boots to those without. A school’s medical officer, that at least one third of all children had not had their clothes off for more than six months and that a high percentage of these had their underclothes sew on them, reported it. These children smelt - nobody wanted to sit next to them; others continually itched and could not sit still. Schoolroom was fumigated and teachers wore bags of sulphur sewn into their hems- to ward off vermin. A great many children worked before and after school as messengers, street sellers, and errand boys. It was a case of having to, to provide for a single or sickly parent. For twelve-year-old girls leaving school domestic service was the most popular job available.

Many of the children were fed by charitable funds provided by rich neighbours and philanthropic action by societies. It was only at the start of the First World War that the Board of Education compelled all authorities to provide meals. The health of schoolchildren was a matter of concern and provision made for the medical inspection of all schoolchildren. By 1914, just over three-quarters of London’s Boroughs made health, eyesight, and dental checks. The improved provision of continuous tap water helped children’s health. Skin complaints began to disappear and infections from various bugs reduced to the degree that fumigation tailed off.

These were dreary winter days… when the teacher lit the gas mantle held in the wall bracket… to produce a depressing yellow glow. This light could hardly penetrate the gloom, not only because of the lateness of the hour but the denseness of the London fog outside which seeped into the room. It is difficult now to imagine… although understandable when we consider their Mondays’ in particular, when all the boilers lit for washing. It was difficult to breathe the sulphurous air: the fumes from candles, oil lamps and various heaters made even the inside of homes smoky. To go out was a trial… continually tripping over milk churns and dustbins, negotiating horse dung and rotting waste, into a world of a pale golden colour with humps and hillocks… ghostly bodies set lurching into each other… all groping to find their way.

The high-hung school bell, set on the roof, rang at nine and one o'clock. The children had to form up outside until let in… to form queues that were led snaking into the classrooms. There was no talking and no running every movement was regimented and orderly. Slates were used to write on which made a squeaky noise when the slate pencils were used. No provision was made for cleaning the slates so children spat on them and rubbed them with their sleeves. Slates, hung from pegs around the wall, were used for minor lessons and practice - to save paper. When writing perfected using slates ‘writing books’ and ‘pen and ink sets’ passed out by the monitor.

By the turn of the century, a system of elementary education had been worked out and some two million children attended board school. This was the direct result of the 1870 Education Act coming into fruition. All of England was divided up into school districts where school boards were set up with powers to levy rates and build schools. This was done and the results can be seen today – those schools are still in being although perhaps not as schools any more. The Education Act of 1902 was the basis for all branches of education – from elementary to university, included in this were church schools. County, district, and borough councils who formed local education committees [LEAs] replaced School Boards. By the end of 1902, fifty-three secondary schools set up. It took a further ten years to add three hundred more.

The working population of large British cities, particularly London at the turn of the nineteenth century, was described graphically in Dickens’s novels. They were people intent upon holding their jobs, maintaining their position in the social order, and putting on a brave face - to cover up any differences of order or hardship. Amongst these citizens were the Kearey family - one of many who succeeded. They eventually considered themselves Londoners and were proud of it! In addition, what was different about them, from many such families, was that their paternal great-grandfather Thomas Kearey had been born in Ireland – of ancient Gaelic roots…

My father was very aware that he was fortunate… his father had a skilled job that enabled him to be self-employed. This was at a time when a number of events, in both Britain and the rest of the world, came one after another to create ‘the industrial society’. Steam engines were invented to pump out water from the mines - allowing more coal to be extracted. This power source was adapted to drive mills and traction engines. Canals were built to move heavy materials across country. Railways took over the transportation of goods and passengers. This movement of people stripped young people away from the countryside. Houses, factories, railway cutting, tunnels, and docks had to be provided. To clothe, equip, furnish and supply the factories and their workers ancillary businesses blossomed. Once this train of event happened, there was no stopping the development of a new ‘industrial’ society that had far-reaching social effects. Into the birth of this new world, Thomas galloped to start a new life and eventually generations of Londoners. His son Thomas, took over the reigns to pass them to my grandfather, who benefited by the building boom, allowing him to start up his own business.

If you were to see a film of London’s population at the turn of the nineteenth century, you would be able to pick out those people who had a lot of money, from those who had little. Their dress would give them away. The rich women wore long dresses made out of silks and satins, wore flamboyant hats and fur stoles, and carried a parasol. They did no work but run their house through the effort of servants and cooks planning the weeks programme and menu. Their husbands, many were absentee property owners, living off the rents of property, stocks, and shares, wore: frock coats, bowler hats, and astrakhan collared over-coats... Income tax was very low allowing surplus money to be spent on clothes, houses, horses, and carriages. It was a very unequal society. The poor children wore rags, went barefooted, and were frequently undernourished. They lived in tenements and back-to-back houses with no sanitary arrangements except a community lavatory and tap. Many children lived away from home - under bridges and populating derelict houses.

All the different strata of society wore clothes appropriate to that level – not attempting to copy their so-called betters, but maintaining their station in life. The rich looked upon the poor as ‘unfortunates’ some socially minded did so with embarrassment, others felt guilty - that there wasn’t greater equality. The mass of the population were struggling with the day-to-day survival. Three-quarters of all adults earned less than £160 per year. The gap between paying income tax or not widened during the Edwardian period. Almost sixty per cent of the population were living more than two to a room.

Many of these unfortunates were housed in the workhouse on a diet of half a pint of milk and five ounces of dry bread for breakfast. Dinner, the main meal of the day, consisted of an ounce and a half of fatty roast beef, four ounces of potatoes or other vegetable, and six ounces of some sort of pudding – usually a concoction of suet and flour. In addition, for supper, a half pint of, water and milk mix, of cocoa and a quarter pound of seed cake. This diet exceeded that of a workers family whose wage might be twenty-shillings a week… thirty shillings was considered a good wage. Alfred, a self-employed painter, earned about forty-shillings a week. Fortunately, these were times of feverish activity industrially and economically. Employment was high for Britain was preparing its defences and the work demanded by the railways and house building kept the labour market busy.

The working week was sometimes more than fifty hours and even though employment was high there was always a fear of be laid off – of being out of work. Trade unions were weak and the law gave very little protection for unfair dismissal. There was no unemployment insurance or social security. The property owner for any trifling excuse could throw a family out of their house.

As there was already, a piano in the house it was not difficult to accord him that desire. It did not take long for him to reach the first grade and his teacher declared that he had a natural bent learning not only the practical side but the theory too. Soon he was able to play the hymns sung at the school assembly – he was often required to accompany singers at Christmas time and within a few years diligent practice proficient enough to play for the local film show, keeping pace with the black and white films. He continued to play for the rest of his life reaching a high enough standard to play for Masonic meetings.

To have a piano in the house at the turn of the nineteenth century was the popular means of home entertainment. It is estimated that there were between two and four million pianos in Britain - one instrument to ten to twenty people. It was a skill considered to be, ‘one of social inclusion’, especially for girls. To be able to play well - able to accompany singers entertaining company, a mark of distinction… it was also a guarantee of inclusion, for a skilled player was always wanted for every social gathering. The piano in the parlour was not just a butt for jokes but a matter of fact. Between 1877 and 1902 ‘The Lost Cord’ sold fifty thousand copies of sheet music per year making Parry a very rich man. The family singsong around the piano, singing the songs of the day from popular music hall acts, operettas, national tunes, and hymns looked forward to as a means of social discourse – bringing family and friends together. Even during the Second World War, every weekend, it was my task to gather the music together sort out the tunes to be sung and prepare the piano - making sure the action had been aired - free from damp before the fire. I had to sing my party piece before visiting aunts and uncles: Cherry Ripe, The Tree, The Miner’s Dream of Home and The Teddy Bears Picnic; my father with, The Village Pump and Captain Ginger, and a selection from Gilbert and Sullivan.

My father stayed at school until he was seven years old when the family moved to Kensal Green. His next school, Princess Frederika Higher Grade School, had the sexes still separated. He tells us that it was a miserable place staffed by elderly teachers who were always unsmiling, stern and dressed as if in morning. He was glad when he moved yet again to the London School Board at Amberley Road, Paddington. {This school is still there and backs onto the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union Canal. One end of the road is Harrow Road in Westbourne Green]. Whilst my father attended this school Queen Victoria died and Edward VII was crowned King. All children were given the day off to celebrate and street parties were arranged. Later that year my father joined the 6th. London Boys Brigade Company, which was attached to the school’s church. The captain who ran the company was J.A.Robson a remarkable man enrolling more than a hundred boys. Most years winning the area cup and shield for band and drill competitions.

The Boy Scouts were based upon trekking and scouting. The Boy’s Brigade linked to a military style of light infantry training. The Boy’s Brigade, founded by Sir William Smith in Glasgow at the end of the 19th.century. The object of the Brigade was to produce good citizens. In 1904 throughout the country there was said to be 54,000 boys between the ages of 12-14 in the organization. Baden-Powell became honorary Vice-president and Inspector General that same year. It was thought by many, both in the Army and Government, that here was an organization that could be a source of recruitment for future officers and men of the British Army. ‘A strong force behind the Volunteers and the Army – a third line in defending our shores’.

Now at last my father was happy. The Headmaster at the London school Board was Mr Williamson who although strict was kind and fortunately ably assisted by capable teachers in six separate classrooms. He could master the three ‘Rs’ and was taught elementary algebra, composition, drawing, geometry, French and woodwork. He had great affection for this school and never forgot the headmaster - what he owed him for his many kindnesses. Discipline was looked on as something essentials and necessary and so too punishment for wrongdoing and slackness. There was a punishment book called ‘The Board School, cane and Punishment Book’. The children with great awe regarded this and so the threat of entry into this book was sufficient to deter misdoing. At the start of every day, prayers were said and hymns sung in the main hall. At the end of each day, the same thing happened. Pupils were expected to pay respect to older people – hats should be raised and taken off to masters and mistresses, to say ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ when spoken to. When leaving school caps were to be worn at all times. Father played the piano for the school assembly and in the evenings for the local picture palace where silent films with sub-titles were shown. This required dexterity and a knowledge of many tunes to follow each part of the story line.

English lessons, which were taught every day, had as their main content the spelling of words and note taking. Writing with a hand in copperplate script was the standard necessary and much practiced. Mental arithmetic was greatly encouraged by giving every class every day a problem to be solved. Teachers taught all subjects and knew their charges intimately, their faults and failings, their successes and strengths.

In 1900, the underground railway system was electrified. For the price of a tuppeny ticket, the passenger could travel as far as he wished. This became so successful that the underground railway was extended which in turn paid its way. The first transatlantic wireless message was sent the following year. The industrialization continued apace each year that passed more inventions and discoveries were made.

My father started work at the age of fifteen in 1904 [the same time the Russo-Japanese War started]. He joined the Great Central Railway Company whose head office was at Paddington Station as a junior clerk. Because there was no vacancy at that post, to start with, he had to serve out his probationary period learning to pack parcels and load wagons in the Goods Yard. A few months later a vacancy for junior clerk occurred on the staff of Thompson McKay and Company, who were Carting Agents for the G.C.R…, which he took. Office work included dealing with street accidents, claims for damage to goods in carriage, stoppages, overtime and bonus payments, accounts, detention charges, correspondence and ordering feed for the horses. In retrospect; if my father had waited for a vacancy with the railway company and not gone to a private cartage company, he would have benefitted enormously both in eventual retirement benefit and rising in the far larger concern.

The Cartage Department then came under the jurisdiction of the District manager who had six hundred horses, a Miles Daimler 5-ton, iron tyred, motor with rack and pinion drive and a 10 ton Yorkshire Steam Wagon. All the horses were young and some had to be trained. Some ‘car-men’, the term used for drivers, were detailed off as ‘young-horse car-men’ for breaking in these animals. As ‘Agents’ Thompson McKay & Co. carried out town cartage work as well as more general work… particularly orders for Lots Road, Electric Generating Station, which was speciality work… some being very heavy. In cases where the cartage of 40-ton boilers was, necessary twenty horses were used at a time pulling a special heavy-duty wagon. Steam engines were invented to drive pumps and move heavy goods for the mining industry at the turn of the 18th. Century. By 1903, Ford had built his first petrol driven motorcar and the first steam tractors for farm and roadwork designed.

My father enjoyed his work and was interested to learn more outside his normal duties. By this time, his various tasks included visiting local markets and the docks and leaning how to service extra heavy loads. This started his never-ending love for London, its street and all the business, which went on within its boundaries. He did anything, which would help his career and increase his knowledge of the cartage industry. Gradually more and more motors were obtained to deal with the increased workload. Drivers had to service their own motors and for this, parts and lubricants had to be ordered in. Throughout this period, he kept abreast of all the latest methods adopted to transport goods, for a personal interest drove every vehicle, and got to known its working.

It was now just three years after the end of the Boar War. Previously Britain had invested the Empire with a rosy glow, after the war the glow was not quite so warm. Although the period was one of growth – the necessity of putting back what the war had drained away, the change in society, not quite as large as that experienced after The Second World War, was large – the people did have more and there was a definite improvement in the nation’s health. Nevertheless, there was a feeling that the ‘golden age’ of Victorian Britain was over.

Most of the middle and upper classes were quite prepared to tolerate extremes of poverty so that they could indulge themselves in luxury. The working class saw the need for communal action to improve society. Britain’s economy and growth had been greater and faster than at any other time. As time has gone by it becomes even clearer how substantial these changes had been. When an individual, group, or even country produces such wealth it becomes envied – produces a jealous reaction…, the Second World War, in this case, was the result …

The Prime Minister, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, held an election just after Christmas – in January 1906. It was a wise move for the result was a landslide victory for the previous Liberal Party gaining eighty-four seat majority over all other parties. The election had been fought on issues of Education, Chinese slavery and tariff reform - which the Liberals presented as a likely increase in the cost of food. It was an exciting time for those who left the Boys Brigade witnessing the massive public excitement. They all went to Trafalgar Square to see the huge screens erected there displaying the projected election results. It was agreed by Parliament, 31st March 1907, ‘That a sum of £2,353,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge of Barrack Construction; for Works, Buildings, and repairs, at Home and abroad [including purchase of land]. This was a bill acknowledging that something had to be done about modernising the Army - improving the living arrangements. On the eve of war, there were 132,000 private cars on the roads.

During the last few years, before the outbreak of the First World War, Britain had developed department stores, chain stores and Cooperative stores. It was unusual to buy items direct from the manufacturer or farmer. Costly items such as suiting and shoes might be ordered ‘made to measure’ but most goods were made in standard sizes and weights. The middle classes graced Harrods and Selfridges; Liptons, Co-op, and Grand Universal Stores had been built-up on the needs of the working class, catering for volume sales with small margins.

British society had become more tolerant. It was possible to change ones class. There was greater understanding for the poor, the homeless and handicapped. The Factory Acts did protect workers. Reforms allowing trades unions to be formed, and the introduction of the Welfare State, which continues to this day. Britain was becoming more civilized... These improvement, in living standards, came from invention, new technologies, and entrepreneurship.

Joining the colours[edit | edit source]

Boys Brigade – Enlisting – The Colours – Volunteer Force – The Kensingtons – Princess Louise – Infantry Training - Elgin Avenue - Thompson McKay & Co – City of London Volunteers – Territorials - The Kensington Battalion – Colour Sergeant – London Rife Brigade – Mobilization.

In 1906, at the age of seventeen, my father left the Boy’s Brigade with the rank of Sergeant. He, and other lads - from the Brigade, enrolled in the 4th Middlesex Rife Volunteer Corps at the Drill Hall in Adam and Eve Mews, Iverna Gardens - which is just off High Street, Kensington. Previously, the Corps was know as the West London Rifles, but renamed in 1905, to become The Kensington Rifles. It was then that the Borough adopted the regiment. Three years later, when the Territorial Force was raised, there was an amalgamation to form the 13th Battalion. It was this force that became known as the Kensingtons having their Colours presented by King Edward VII at Windsor, on the 19th June 1909 - which my father attended. Four years after the colours were consecrated, Princess Louise gave her name to the regiment - to now become the 13th Princess Louise Kensington Battalion, The London Regiment.

When my father joined The Kensingtons, in 1906, his knowledge of drill, gained in The Boy’s Brigade, stood him in good stead, for he quickly became a Lance Corporal, in charge of a squad of men. This was the start to a permanent connection with the regiment – he stayed close to its organization for the rest of his life. That promotion, to Lance Corporal, began a series of promotions over the next eight years. By the start of The First World War he was a senior Sergeant in the regiment. The Kensingtons could be described as a ‘pals’ regiment, although not strictly so, being a Territorial unit. The term was not used until much later when National recruiting began to be difficult. The Regiment was made up of men drawn from the local area, mostly from boys clubs, Scouts, Boy’s Brigade and Church Lads, as well as a sprinkling of unattached youths. They knew each other, where they lived, who their friends were, their brothers, cousins and schoolmates. Albert was twenty-five when war was declared. He lived for the regiment - his company, and its men. He did not intend to be made an officer for when asked opted to stay with his men - those he grew up with. By the time the Battalion was put on standby – to take part in the British Expeditionary Force, he had been in the regiment for nearly ten years.

The family again moved house northwards - towards Maida vale, northeastern Paddington – not far from the Regents Canal. The house was 80 Elgin Avenue, Paddington. Before 1886, the road was called Elgin Road. The district was mainly residential, although there were a few new shops - built as outlets, others converted house fronts. One of the main contractors was William Henry Pearce. He built a hundred houses in the neighbourhood, in the 1890s. Some of the flats built were in the direct control of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who acquired long leases from the lessees. The southern part begins at Little Venice – white stuccoed dwellings spaciously laid out – like most of Maida Vale – in the neo-Georgian manner. Sidney was the last natural child Martha had; he was born in 1900, dying seventeen years later in France – unburied on the battlefield. It was not long before the Kearey family moved yet again, to 7 Errington Road, Paddington.

The second week of July was reserved for the Battalion’s summer camp. The billets were almost empty, no carpets or curtains, just the regulation iron bedsteads. The majority of men were in bell tents set in a square. Physical training started every day, followed by: musketry training - firing in the butts, lectures on trench building, and the importance of patrols. Route marches and map reading, patrolling and elementary first aid, followed by square bashing - all essentials for the fortnights camp.All these Infantry Training exercises were practiced until all the orders became second nature. Bayonet training had to be done with the maximum vigour, to achieve a lifelike effect, how to parry and lunge, plus all the skills of hand to hand fighting. Each Company Sergeant taking their Company off to practice on their own - to give the Sergeants responsibility and leadership skills. All the commands, whether arms drill or marching, were done by numbers, and most forced and route marches included full pack: rolled greatcoat, full water bottle, bayonet, box respirators, and entrenching tool - fitted behind the pack.

It was in rifle practice that Albert excelled. He was already a champion shot – a marksman - shooting for the regimental rifle team at Bisley. He was an expert with a marksman crossed rifles badge on his sleeve. Most weekends saw him on the rifle range of Bisley or Purbright, with his fellow team members. Now it was up to him to teach the new recruits. From the 27th July, Britain began to respond to the gathering crisis in Germany. Two days later, all regular soldiers were recalled from leave. By chance, the Territorial Force had just been assembling for summer camps they were ideally prepared - able to mobilize quickly. It was now time for them to show their skills.

Acknowledgements[edit | edit source]

For my father's early life - before The First World War in, 'Horses, Tractors, and Vans', I was fortunate to have his typewritten autobiography, my uncle's handwritten life story, my brother's 'family tree' and the family bible. Always close to hand: Liza Picard's Victorian London, Pamela Horn's The Victorian and Edwardian Schoolchild, David Thomson, The Pelican History of England, and the Pelican Original, A History of British Trade Unionism. I thank all those authors listed.