My life started at Oswestry in Shropshire and I was the eldest of two girls.  On the maternal side of our family it was tradition that children were only given one forename.  My Nan gave all her children one forename and my mum gave my sister and I one forename.  This is a family tradition that I carried on with my own children.

My dad was an Electrical Engineer on the Railways and both my grandfathers were Railway Guards.  There was a strong railway connection in those days the railways was very much a community in its own right and when we were little my sister and I travelled all over Shropshire, Mid and North Wales on days out.  At that time, children of railway workers travelled free.  I remember the excitement of travelling on the steam trains.  During the summer months we travelled by train to all the Carnivals at Ellesmere, Market Drayton, Wem and Whitchurch. These Carnivals were big events when we were children as was the Oswestry Carnival. 

Sundays were very much family days.  In the morning dad would take us to see his parents our grandparents and then we would go and spend the rest of the morning in the park.  Mum would be at home cooking the Sunday dinner.  When dad passed his driving test in the late fifties and got his first car, he would take Mum and us girls out on a Sunday afternoon driving around the country lanes.  One of my favourite trips was when my dad would take us round all the meres in the Ellesmere area or to Whittington Castle, where we would climb what was left of the ruins.  If it were a hot summer’s day we would swim in the mere at Ellesmere. We would have to go around the other side of the mere and cross some fields dodging all the cow pats.  The highlight of the Sunday afternoons was when my dad bought us all an ice-cream cornet it cost him about 6d (old pence) each.  My dad used to be so pleased with himself if he could afford to buy us an ice-cream on a Sunday afternoon as money was often tight.

Below is a photograph of my Dad with his first car a 1938 Morris Eight.  The photograph was taken on the side of the road where Oswestry Cattle Market and the Pedigree now stands.



Once a year we travelled on the train to London to stay with my Auntie and her family in Greenwich.  We spent many afternoons in Greenwich Park and the highlight of our stay in London would be going to see a show at The London Palladium we would have seats up in 'the gods' this is a theatrical term for the cheapest seats in the house. I also used to love going to Trafalgar Square to feed the pigeons something which is not allowed now.  This is such a shame because as a child I had such fun and they are memories I will never forget.


The picture below is me in Trafalgar Square c1957



Notice in the above photograph how all the men were dressed in suits, with shirts, ties and highly polished shoes. 

The guy in the background was lighting a cigarette.  At time when little girls like me wore ribbons in their hair, gingham dresses, ankle socks and sandals, the height of fashion.  As children my sister and I were always well dressed, most of our dresses were made my mum.  We also had two amazing aunties who had no children of their own, that often bought my sister and I really good quality clothes.

The railway years ended abruptly when Dr. Richard Beeching was brought in by the government of the time and closed lines and stations which followed with large scale redundancies.  Families put out of work because sons had followed their father’s on to the railways often there would be three generations working on the railways and many times as a child, I heard the words “Beeching axe”.  For the loyal workers it really was a brutal, unsettling time. 

My family moved to Hereford for three years where my dad was an Inspector in a local factory.  Both my mum and dad hated that period and as soon as possible we moved back to Oswestry, their home town which was very much in their blood.  Although they had lots of holidays abroad, they would never contemplate leaving there again.  When my dad was made redundant from Insulation Equipment’s, he took the gamble to turn his passion for photography into a business and worked successfully for over 30 years as a professional Photographer.  His work was regularly printed in the Advertizer and the Shropshire Star.  It is because of his photography that I am able to share some of the images he took, and I hope you the reader will enjoy a trip down memory lane with me.

On leaving school, I worked for twelve months in the drawing office of Insulation Equipment’s this was a horrible job and I hated every moment I worked for that company.  I then spent 10 years working for a local solicitor John C Gittins initially as their receptionist and progressed to working for their bookkeeper.  This job I loved, and I was treated very well by the Gittins family, John Gittins came to my 21st birthday party.  I used to earn £5.00 per week and my pay doubled when I worked for the bookkeeper.  My title of Clerk or Assistant Bookeeper and the other jobs I was taught to do would into days terms put me on Para Legal status.

In 1971 I married, my husband and I had three wonderful boys.  In between having my children, I went back to work at the solicitors in Church Street and went on to work at Oswestry Leisure Centre at weekends.  Eventually I worked as Deputy Matron at Brogyntyn Hall when it was a boarding house for girls from the High School whose parents were in the armed forces.

In 1981, we moved to Cape Town where we lived for four years.  When we moved back to this country, we spent a further twelve months in Oswestry before moving to our present home in Warwickshire where we have lived for the last 34 years.  My boys are now settled, and I have 11 beautiful grandchildren and an amazing great granddaughter.

I have always had an interest in genealogy and for many years wanted to know how my family had evolved from generation to generation.  My Nan who was a big influence in my life was in her element telling us stories of her upbringing and being descended from ‘Landed Gentry’, lost wealth and afternoon tea with the ‘Lady of the Manor’.  I have never forgotten those wonderful stories, but I do wish I had paid more attention.  My Nan died in 1975 and with her so I thought went all the truths, half-truths, secrets, and embellishments.  As I grew up, married, had children and grandchildren of my own I often looked back at my happy childhood and wondered if any of the stories were true.  Dad a professional photographer reignited my interest when he gave me and my sister photographs of his great grandparents, grandparents, and parents together with photographs of my Mum’s family.  Finally, in 2005 I decided that I would look to see what information I could find.

This has been an incredible journey back through time.  There have been many highs and many dead ends.  My journey is not finished.  The tales of belonging to ‘Landed Gentry’ are extremely hard to prove and are at least two generations back from the stories I was told as a child.

I hope to bring together on this site all the different aspects of my past where appropriate I will add timeline or facts which you might find interesting.    Life has highs and lows for all of us and the stories I was told about my ancestors had a lovely romantic feel about them.  The reality was quite different. 

On a personal note although I have always wanted to trace my family history my main inspiration now comes from all the photographs my Dad took.  He left an everlasting legacy.

2010 - present

For now, I am not going to write much about the in between times but I will tell you about some of my journey from 2010.  In October 2010 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer through a routine mammogram which brought my family history research to an abrupt end.  My prognosis was good from the start as the cancer was in its early stages. However, what I did not know and was not told was that I would go on to develop a condition called lymphoedema.  Lymphoedema is lifelong and incurable and mine was caused directly by my radiotherapy treatment.

This of course changed the course of my life and due to the lack of knowledge and awareness of lymphoedema I went on to publish a website and social media groups which is intended to help those who live with the condition.

Aged 18 months

Grandad Fred and me probably when my love of gardening started

Aged 4

Was I always destined to be sitting at a desk?

Aged 13

Wedding Day

6 Months Pregnant

Dad, me on my 21st birthday, Hubby, I was 6 months pregnant with my first child

Red Cross

I have been volunteering in one form or another for the last 40 plus years.  Here is a newspaper cutting from 1980 when I ran the local Red Cross detachment in Oswestry,