I recently stood on the outside deck of the ferry and thought back to when I first travelled across this sea on a school trip to France. I then fast forwarded through all the crossings I have made since – family holidays when our kids were young, taking my seriously ill dad on the trip of a lifetime, visiting my mom who had moved abroad, moving abroad myself, visiting universities with my kids and the regular trips to see my family back in England.
Photo: Broad Street, Five Ways, date unknown (credit: BirminghamLives Archive).
This edited extract from my nan’s hand-written notes provides an example of the hard work women had to endure almost a century ago in Birmingham. To understand its context more fully, you may first like to read part 1 of this series.
Photo: Five Ways Junction in 1926 (credit: BirminghamLives Archive).
Emily Louise Robinson continued her story at her new house at Victoria Terrace, Osler Street, in Ladywood. As I have mentioned before, I have edited her original notes a little and owe a big thank you to local historian Carl Chinn who provided information and pictures to help me understand the context to this more fully. This is a story of how ordinary people struggled to survive in Britain’s second largest city just after the Great War, but I think it is also a story of a close-knit community where people lived, played, relaxed, traded, or worked together in the local area.
This is the second post about my nan’s childhood in Birmingham and the difficult conditions for many people who lived in this industrial city just after the First World War. I have once again made some small editorial changes to her original handwritten notes and added some photos which I hope help to present her work. The first post can be found here.
My nan’s notes offer a fascinating glimpse of Birmingham during the period just after the First World War. I am grateful to my uncle Joe who took her 7000 handwritten words, typed them up and sent them to me knowing just how much I would appreciate them. This is the first of several posts that cover her story. I have made some small editorial changes to her original work and added some extra details and photos, all of which was possible because of the modern technology that was never available to her. I hope she would approve of the way I’ve presented her work.
On Christmas Day 1910, Owen Morgan married Louisa Dixon at Christ Church, Summerfield on the edge of the Edgbaston reservoir in Birmingham. This relationship started a family which is still going strong today, one hundred years and two world wars later.
I remember standing in the warm Brittany sunshine beside my caravan agonising over an empty sheet of paper that contained almost everything I knew about my family history. Even the names of my grandparents were unknown, and the most basic details of their lives a complete mystery.