My maternal grandmother, born 15 January 1888 in Newchapel, Staffordshire. I remember her well, although in the days before motorways we only got to visit her once a year.
I don’t know the date of this photo – round about the time of her marriage, I should think. She was a dressmaker, and still made most of her family’s clothes after her marriage. My mother told me that when her elder brother was too exuberant, my grandmother would tie him to her sewing machine with a piece of thread. He could easily have broken it if he tried, but luckily he didn’t realise that, so would sit quietly for a time until he calmed down and she released him.
She had a hard life – when my grandfather returned from the first World War, he had lost a lot of his lungs, and couldn’t go back to his job as a miner.
This photo shows her in her back garden with her dog, Rinty. You may be able to see the crosses and grave stones behind her – the garden backed onto Goldenhill church, St John’s. As a child I used to wander through the waist-high grass to find my grandfather’s grave, my fear being that I wouldn’t be able to find my way back.
In her bathroom she still had her metal dolly tub, although I think she had a primitive washing machine by then. The village was on the edge of Stoke-on-Trent, and high – the winds whistled straight from Siberia I’m sure. I only remember one “summer” when it was warm enough to take off my cardigan.
My grandmother died on my birthday, 18 February 1970, aged 82.