Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Scruffy Gene

  My paternal grandparents with the incredibly scruffy next generation. The Childs family. They would become two lawyers, two doctors and an almoner (social worker).  My father is on the far left.  I don't remember any of them being that threadbare and woolly but clearly it was in the family somewhere..

I think my great grandmother had a Beatrix Potter thing going on with her Benjamin Bunny 
tam o shanter and  Mr Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise's string bag. You will remember that he went to dinner with Mr Jeremy Fisher, taking his  own lettuce with him in one.  

The little girl, Joyce, was the younger sister of Grandfather's wife Mabel, standing next to him.  Joyce, unencumbered by the Childs aesthetic became a fashion illustrator in Paris! Alas, I never knew her because she died in childbirth.


  1. Scruffy? Ha! Your family looked great... at least they ate well. I don't know how any of our grandparents survived, with huge families, one income and inadequate housing.

    My grand parents and their 10 surviving children, plus grandpa's brother, left Russia for the East End of London. There they lived in a flat that had 3 bedrooms (the boys slept in one, the girls in another) and uncle slept in the loungeroom.

    I would not have coped - I fall apart if my kitchen is messy :(

  2. The Beatrix Potter thing is quite chic, no? Kind of rural hip - like wearing wellies? And Jeremy Fisher WAS quite the dandy. If I remember correctly, he even wore belgian slippers fishing.

  3. Hels, thanks for that fascinating account of your family who clearly had a testing time in London's East End. They must have been made of strong stuff. It's hard to imagine that dislocation and hardship but presumably they were in a community that had similar experiences?

  4. Author, that's a kind take on my somewhat frumpy g grandmother! Glad to find another Jeremy Fisher reader. Belgian slippers! If you remember, the Trout spat him out because he didn't like the taste.

  5. Dear Rose, what fantastic pictures! I love the top one, everyone looks very jolly. And your great grandmothers hat is so Benjamin Bunny! I like all the hats in the picture xx

  6. I love the photograph- fun loving and having a smoke or two.

  7. 'The Provenance of Madam Rosie West.' I like it - keep it coming



  8. Barima - it's looking to be ALL ABOUT ME and I seem to be warming to the subject. Oh surely not!

  9. It's wonder as many women made it through a single childbirth, not to mention multiples. Puerperal fever was endemic.
    That said, the return of hats and sack jackets is long overdue.

  10. Rurritable, I found this picture in the memoir that my father vanity published! He said that Joyce had eclampsia but I am lucky enough not to know what that involves. I don't really know what puerperal fever is either.
    I found it heartbreaking, looking at that young child completely unaware of her fate.

  11. Now you got me thinking about the Jeremy Fisher story. Found a wonderful film from 1971 ballet. Just great. Wish it was embeddable/



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