Sunday, 4 September 2011

Sepia Saturday 90

This week's Sepia Saturday call shows a very young Beatriz of Spain (1909-2002), daughter of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. Now surprisingly, I don't count European royalty amongst my family! Nor any Spaniards, come to think of it. So I'm going to use Alan's suggested theme of little girls, and write about this picture.

I'm almost certain that the little boy in this picture is my maternal grandfather. The photograph was taken in Batley, Yorkshire and that fits with what I know about him. If you assume him to be seven or eight in this picture, then it would have been taken in 1910/11. He also had a younger sister, but more about her later. If anyone out there has any ideas about the date of this picture, I would be very interested to hear your opinion.

My grandfather was born into a fairly prosperous family. His father and uncle were partners in a firm of insurance brokers; a business founded at the end of the nineteenth century by their father (my great-great grandfather). From what I know of it, it seems to have been a successful business; my great grandfather and his father before him, were prominent Masons and generally pillars of the local community. Unfortunately for him, this was not what the future held for the little boy in this picture.......

Dear reader, my grandfather was the black sheep of the family! At least, according to his daughter (my mother). I've no idea what he did to deserve that reputation; if Mum ever told me, then I wasn't paying attention at the time! As far as I'm aware, he spent most of his working life as a farm worker, presumably doing a variety of jobs; most of which would have come with the use of a tied cottage. He changed jobs frequently, and they moved around the country as his job(s) required. I wrote a little bit more about him here. 

This one was taken a little earlier, and shows the same children presumably with their parents and a grandmother. The man standing at the back is my great grandfather, and he was the owner (with his brother), of the insurance brokers I mentioned earlier. He was also an amateur artist, and I have two of his pictures that have been handed down to me. I know very little about him, and unfortunately I know nothing at all about either of the women in the picture. My great grandfather died in 1941, aged 64; his brother (my great-great uncle), continued to run the business until it was sold sometime in the early fifties. I do have a faint memory of him (he retired to the area I was born in), but he died around the time of my fourth birthday.

Funnily enough, a couple of days ago, I met a lady who remembers my grandparents, and who knew my mother as a teenager/young woman. She remembers my mum enjoying the dances at the local village hall, and she reminded me that Mum used to play tennis. I asked her if she remembered my grandfather, but apart from telling me that he worked on the local farm, she remembered little about him. I got the distinct impression that she didn't care much for him; a strange expression passed across her face when I mentioned his name. Of course, it may have been my imagination.....

I wish I remembered more about my grandfather; he died when I was seven years old. I have two younger brothers, and they have no memory of him at all, so perhaps I should be grateful! He would have been 64, exactly the same age as his father before him.

Since this post was inspired by Alan's picture of a little girl, perhaps I should finish by telling you what I know of the little girl in the pictures. She would have been my great aunt, but I don't even know her name! I just know that she married a solicitor, and that after my grandfather's death she wrote to my grandmother saying that she no longer wanted anything more to do with either her or my mother.

Families eh? Don't you just love 'em......... 

This is a Sepia Saturday post.

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