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10 March, 2013

Irene Mary Hyde

Still researching details

Irene Mary Hyde (née Gowers)
27th May 1926 – 12th September 1989

As strange as it may seem, I know little about my mums early life other than snippets that have been talked about over the years, but what I do know is the she was born on the 27th May 1926, the second daughter of Frederick James and Emily Mary Gowers and the second eldest of their seven children.

(Check birth certificate for details of where born)

She attended Lymingenton Road School in Green Lanes, Dagenham, Essex until she was fourteen and then when to work in a local sweet shop.

Once she reached the age of eighteen she had to register for war work so she went to work in a factory in Ilford, East London called Ismay’s. They manufactured light bulbs and during the war years they produced bulbs for aircraft, airfield runways and for search lights among other things. For obvious reasons the factory was high on the Germans target list and was bombed out, but fortunately mum wasn’t there at the time.

I know that she also spent some time working in the Houndsditch Warehouse, a large Jewish owned department store in London who’s main focus was apparently on clothing, but I’m not sure if that was before or after she worked at Ismay’s.

She first meet Tom (my dad) while visiting her cousin Pat and eventually, with a bit of encouragement from her they started ‘going steady’.

They married on 11th May 1946 and started a family almost straight away.

Their first daughter, Catharine arrived prematurely at the start of 1947 but she had a hole in the heart and sadly she only lived for eight hours. Rene fell pregnant almost straight away and Keith arrived in October 19**, Michael followed in September 19** and then there was a seven year gap before Susan (me) arrived in September 19**. During the years of bring up her family she suffered many health issues, some were gynaecological and others were to do with her breathing and she was diagnosed with emphysema.

With both the boy out at school and just me to look after Rene decided that it was time to find a little job where she could take me along too and fortune was shining on her because Tom's boss was looking for someone to do a bit of cleaning in his home a couple of days a week as well as a spot of cleaning in the offices at the factory and making the teas at lunchtime.  The three litttle job were perfect and the money coming in each week helped to make ends meet.

Once I started school Rene went back to work full time at the Bank of England Printing works in Loughton, Essex but due her deteriorating health she later went part time and eventually retired early due to her ill health.

There followed many years of outpatient appointments and stays in hospital as the emphysema took hold and Rene slowly became house bound, needing a permanent oxygen supply to aid her breathing.

Her fight with chronic emphysema came to an end on 12th September 1989 in Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow Essex and her ashes now lay in the church yard of St John’s in Loughton Essex, the same church yard as her first daughter, Catharine.

10 February, 2013

Susan’s School Photos 1961 - 1973

Susan’s School Photos

19** - 19**

I’ve never enjoyed having my photo taken and it seems it goes back a long way because I have very clear memories of making a big fuss when the photographer came to my Infants school. I cried and it took the teachers a long time to settle me enough for the picture to be taken and get me looking photogenic.

My education begun at Sir Thomas Willingale County Infants School, in Loughton, Essex, where I spent my first three years.

There were many hours of learning my letters and number in the mornings and playing in the sand pit and painting in the afternoons but by my last year at the school (aged almost six) I had already found my love of stitching.

I was asked to stitch some crosses onto the Red Gingham curtains for the new Wendy House in the courtyard and I can also remember making a Green felt needle case with a Christmas Tree stitched on the front. It was to be a Christmas gift for my mum that year (19**) and it’s still in service at my brother’s house all these years later. (2013)

Lots of little things come to mind about that particular school.

*     The little coloured tin boxes that slotted into our desks for keeping our pencils and books in.

*    The smell of the varnished floor in the dining room that also doubled up as a gym.
      The combination of the smell of food and varnish always made me feel sick.

*    My first science lesson where we made crystals from salt water.

*    The big Blue bowls of chopped up Beetroot they used to serve up with salads at lunchtime.

Just a few things but it’s strange the things that come to mind when you start to think back.

The next four years from 19** to 19** weren’t quite as happy.

I moved up to the Junior School but being bullied and the struggle I was having with reading made it a miserable time for me.

I tried to stay in the background as much as I could but I still enjoyed my music and art lessons.

My failure to get to grips with the three R’s (reading, writing & arithmetic) meant I failed my eleven plus, the exam that determined whether I went to high school or not and I was left with the choice of two schools, one a mixed secondary school that had a reputation for being a bit rough, or a secondary school on the other side of the estate that was exclusively for girls.

So, the end of the Summer of 19** saw me starting at Lucton County Secondary School for Girls and it couldn’t have come soon enough for me. My bullies had moved on to other schools and I was free to concentrate on my education.

I still struggled in many of my lessons but I worked as hard as I could, still preferring the ‘hands on’ subjects like art, pottery, needlework and domestic science.

I loved music too and joined the school choir as soon as I could. We were always out and about, doing concerts and entering competitions but the highlight for me was the end on term show we did in my last year there. We put on a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado. I didn’t have a main part and was only in the chorus but it was fun, especially as we made most of our costumes and painted the sets ourselves.

I left school in June 19**.

08 February, 2013

Susan Janice Hyde

Susan Janice Hyde
*th September 19** –

 There’s a big gap of seven year between my brother Michael and I, which was mainly due to a number of miscarriages that my mum suffered during those years, but Irene and Tom desperately wanted a little girl.
They lost their first daughter Catherine back in 1946, because she was born with a hole in her heart. She only survived for eight hours, so when I made my appearance into the world at St, Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, Essex, in September 19**, just in time for Sunday lunch, their family was complete.

As you can imagine, I was spoiled rotten, having two big brothers to take care of me and I have fond memories of playing with them on my swing in the garden of our prefab at Marlscroft Close, Loughton, Essex, where I spent the first four years of my life.

The prefab only had two bedrooms, so my two brothers had one room and I shared a room with mum and dad but 1960 saw our family move to a three bedroomed house, still in Loughton but on the Debden Estate, which meant I would have a room of my own.
Paley Gardens remained the family home for the next 29 years, until Mum, Dad and Keith moved into a ground floor flat in 1989. Michael and I had already moved out by then.

School didn’t get off to a very good start for me.

I was a few days short of my fifth birthday when I started at Sir Thomas Willingale County Infants School at the start of September 19**, but I hadn’t been there more than six weeks when I was rushed to hospital for an emergency operation. I had appendicitis, it burst as they were removing it and it was touch and go for a while. I was starting to make a good recovery but then things started to go wrong again when they found I had developed peritonitis, caused by the burst and I had to undergo another emergency operation.
Fortunately it all turned out ok in the end, but I was off school for a very long time, which meant a slow start for me and a lot of catching up to do when I finally went back.

I remained at the infants school until 19** and this was where I first showed an interest in art and stitching, something that would play a big part in my life in years to come.

The next four years were spent at the Primary school next door, but I still struggled a bit with writing and especially reading.  I needed extra one to one lessons to help me and that led to some bullying from some of the class, so it was not a particularly happy time for me.

The next five years at Lucton County Secondary School for Girls were much happier.

I still found it hard going but my bullies had gone to a different school and I was able to indulge myself in my love for art, sewing and domestic science.   I loved music lessons too and although I never got to grips with playing an instruments, I joined the school choir.  It seemed a natural progression at the time because I also used to sing in a small church choir at St. Nicholas, Loughton, the church I was christened in. 

Friday night was always dancing night.  Dad and I would head off to the local community centre for Ballroom Dancing lessons and then we would come home and settle down to an hour of Come Dancing on our new Colour TV.

During my last year at school I got myself a Saturday job in Woolworths and then in the local  Barton's Bakery and I would use my wages to fund craft materials for the cross stitch, knitting and jewellery making I was doing.

When it came to thinking about a career I always said that I wanted to go into floristry or may be even window dressing, but a lack of qualifications and not wanting to go to college, having found schooling hard going, meant there was little chance of that.
I eventually left school with no job lined up and no real idea of what I wanted to do, but one visit to the local careers office and they found me a job in our local branch of Lloyds Bank.

I stayed there for two years and then went to work at the Bank Of England Printing Works, where they print all the UK’s paper money.
It was nice and local for me, just a 30minute walk away and the money was twice as much as I was earning at Lloyds so it was a good move.  Little did I know in 19** when I started there that I would still be working for them in 20**), although not doing the same job. I started out examining the notes 8 till 5 and 28 years later I was working on the security/audit side of things doing shift work but I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of my time there.

At the age of 29 and with no thoughts of marriage or relationships, I decided it was time to move out of the family home and buy somewhere for myself, but I still wanted to stay in the same area to be close to my family, especially my mum, who’s health was failing. I brought a little two bedroom maisonette in River Way, on the other side of the estate and moved there in May of 19**.

My spare bedroom became a craft room and when I was fortunate enough to find myself in the position of taking early retirement from the Bank at the age of 47, I decided it was time to take my crafting a little more seriously, went self-employed and started my own company, Sue’s Krafty Kards.
It was more of a hobby really but I was able to indulge myself, making greetings cards and wedding stationery and get paid for doing it too, which was perfect.

My ‘retirement’ also came at a good time because it meant I could take care of dad towards the end of his life and I was able to be with him without having to worry about having to go out to work.

So it's 2013 and where am I now?

Well, I never did marry.
Despite being in a relationship for more than ten years with a chap I meet at work, I think we were both too set in our own ways and too fond of our own company and eventually we went our own separate ways.
His company was replaced by Emily and then later by BoJangles, two little cats from a local rescue centre that I gave homes to .
I still, knit, cross stitch and make cards although at the end of 2012 I decided to close the company and just craft for fun.

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MME – So Sophie ‘ Open Your Heart’ Patterned Paper
MME – Lost & Found Madison Avenue ‘ Cherish’ Patterned Paper
MME – Lost & Found Paper Flower, Rhinestone and Pearl Brads
Tim Holtz - Idea-ology Trimmings Lavish Ribbon
Mayaroad – Alterable Vintage Lase Blooms
Basic Grey - ‘Sugared’ Alphabet Stickers
Bling Bling – Sticky Backed Pearls
Papermania – Build-a-Brad

Pink Brads
White Feathers
Paper Roses
Pink Diamantes
Small Pink Pearl beads
White Lace Trimming
Computer Generated Journaling
Pink Plastic Frame

Spellbinders – Tear Drop Circles

31 October, 2012

Hopping in Kent

Hopping in Kent

As was the way for a lot of Londoners in the 1930’s, Elizabeth, (Great Grandma Hyde) would pack up some of her belongings and head down to Kent every September to pick hops in the fields of Goudhurst.

  Together with her extended family, they would spend up to six weeks living on a farm in tin huts and sleeping on a fagot beds made from sticks and straw. Everyone would go except for Bill (William, Great Granddad) because he had a full time job in the docks, but he would travel down to be with the family at weekends.

The days were long and they worked in the hop gardens for up to twelve hours a day, but despite the fact that the facilities were poor, they were happy in their work, testament to which was the sound of singing drifting across the gardens on the breeze.

On one was exempt from work, even the children had a quota to pick each morning and then after a picnic lunch beside the hop bins they were allowed to play while the adults carried on until the cry went up, ‘ pull no more bines’, and everyone would stop picking and head back to their huts for a hearty dinner cooked on an open fire.

The photos show that this was a family tradition that went on for many years as William (my dad) can be seen in the hop bines, aged 7 in 1930, while a later photo of Roy (my 2nd cousin) was taken in 1951.
  Roy now lives in Auckland New Zealand and is an accomplished crime writer, having had several of his books published.
After the rest of the photos there follows a story that he wrote back in 2005 in which he recounts a journey he made in 1944, down to Goudhurst.

It certainly brings the era to life!

Eat it. It’ll Do You Good!

It was 1944. I was ten years old. Dad was away at war, lost forever it seemed and mum was stuck at home with three snotty nosed kids. With the youngest, Sylvia at five, me and big brother Dave at thirteen, she had her hands full.

The war had still one year to run, but of course we weren’t to know that. As kids, discards of London’s East End, war was all we knew. The roar of invading aircraft and the wail of a siren regularly combined to form our bedtime lullaby. We never looked for it to be over and ten pennyworth of meat and two pennyworth of corned beef formed the structure of a miserable diet that sustained us and many like us to resemble regulation bean sticks.

Food was never an item that presented itself other than at meal times and waste disposal units could only be found running around of two skinny legs waiting for any morsel that may be directed their way. All potato peelings and pea shucks were boiled and mashed in oats (not that there ever were any) to be fed to the rabbits and chickens, who unbeknown to them were being fattened for the festive season; their last Noel: chicken for Christmas Day and a baked five pound tame rabbit for Boxing Day. I guess our furry friends would have been pretty wild had they an inkling of their fate.

Food of course was rationed.

There was no street corner McDonalds, nor Kentucky Fried to take the edge from our appetites and extend our waist lines and in retrospect we were none the worse for that. I can never remember being hungry, for we ate well when food was available from the table and there were never any left-overs. We never dared. Anything other than an empty plate brought the Victorian instruction – “Eat it. It’ll do you good, it won’t hurt you.” Nothing was ever wasted. If it were eaten, it wasn’t wasted.

So we fattened the rabbits and chickens for a time when we knew we would celebrate at a laden table the birth of someone of importance. That someone I would get to know better as I grew older.

Mum was old fashioned when it comes to culinary delights, and let us stop there for a few moments and analyse ’old fashioned’.

Why wouldn’t she be old fashioned? What’s old fashioned. Traditional? Set in her ways? In ways in which she had been schooled? Experienced? Reliable? Aren’t we all, and how hard is change?

Whichever way, when she decided to cook what emerged from the kitchen was usually bather in fat, steaming and crisp, in high demand and challenging. The Sunday roast was an event for which the scramble for the china bone or knuckle kept us kids competitive. This was always good and always a shoulder or loin of lamb which produced a sumptuous residue.

This residue took the form of a brimming bowl of dripping having been left to set on the window ledge which would become available as the weeks rib-liner to be strongly contested for the brothers grim. In retrospect there was nothing more satisfying that a thick chuck of freshly baked bread coated with dripping and the dregs thereof, needed only a dash of salt to complete a gourmet feast.

How loved was that bread and dripping?

The main of the meal was always supported by a desert which was never known as that. It was always afters and in my roots it will always be.

What’s fao afters, Mum?

A standard question with a standard reply.

“Plums and custard” or “Rhubarb and custard.”

Normally the latter, although anything and custard was the norm. The milkman, coalman, baker and greengrocer all had horses and their bi-products created another commodity in high demand. There was little need for street cleaners in our back streets with so many keen gardeners as neighbours and our forced rhubarb was as good as any and there was plenty of it. (Ever eaten raw rhubarb? We tried it as kids.)

Mum’s house special would top the rhubarb, however, and with a bit of luck she would forgo the thickly skinned custard for the joy of boiled suet pudding coated in the sticky delight of golden syrup, or treacle as we called it.

You’ve heard it: ‘Put yer pudden out fer treacle!’, but have you ever done it?

Not exactly Christmas pudding, but as good as and mum was a dab hand at making them as well. Yes, Christmas always seemed a lifetime away, but better than that came the Kent hop harvest which over-rode every occasion in the Jenner calendar. There was nothing more personal and exciting to any of us than hop picking. The last week in August was ever one filled with tingling moments of anticipation as preparation was begun to move the thirty seven miles to Goudhurst in the weald of Kent where the hops would be high up the wires and ready for picking by the first week in September.

Dartford is eighteen miles from London.

We lived in Dartford and to get to Goudhurst by rail the brilliance of the Southern Railway system required us to take the train to London Bridge where a change of trains would return us on another line to Maidstone. This didn’t just mean a change of trains. It also meant a change of rail systems where the modern technology of electric rail gave way to the Puffing Billy where the hiss of steam and the constant belch of swirling Black smoke pitted with soot and cinder blessed the lungs.

So through August the necessities of living were packed into trunks, cases and tea chests to be transferred on the day of departure to out hoppers huts on Trillinghurst Farm. Sheets, blankets, plates, cutlery, cups and saucers, pots, pans and cooking devices which always included a primus stove, the number one consideration for boiling the kettle. No true hopper would be caught without one.

So, we packed all we could pack (familiar wording) into the guards van and along with fellow hoppers occupied a third class carriage bound for adventure land. Really, once on the move we were there, not caring how long the one hour journey by road would take. It was usually four hours, but we were on our way and it meant another month off school.

The carry-on baggage for the train was always an event. With two sons why would mother waste four arms that could be stretched to the limit carrying string bags and oil cans?

This now is the special moment and the whole point of this yarn.

I remember the day well.

We were on the third leg of the journey, Maidstone to Paddock Wood, now the heart of the hop country. Seven of us, grown and not so grown filled the carriage from which there was no escape once the wheels were moving. The net luggage racks were filled with hand luggage and we were free to imbibe the changing scenery as hop fields, oast houses and hop country towns rolled by our vision.

It had been hours since leaving and with our destination at least one more hour away the worms were starting to bite with none of us having eaten since leaving. It was a good time for mum to break out the food from the string bag in the rack above.

Already laughter flows within at that thought.

What a good mum! Cheese sandwiches, a bottle of cold tea and yes! A suet pudding specially prepared for the journey. It was all there in the Blue string bag in the rack.

“Get it down, Davey and give us it ‘ere” she said. Then “What’s that smell?” As she sliced up the meal for the day.

Gutsy Roy was the first in with a double mouthful of suet pudding which he endeavoured to spit out as soon as it hit his palette.

“It tastes of paraffin, mum” he bleated. “It’s horrible. I can’t eat it.”

“Nonsense, Eat it. It’ll do you good.” Accompanied by a clip around the ear.

Quite illegal now, of course, but the can of paraffin for the primus had been stored in the rack and leaked into our rations, into the food for which we craved. The suet pudding, as absorbent as any sponge, had imbibed sufficient of the flammable fluid to warrant a Shell Company product, not edible, but one probably more suitable as a fire lighter.

An indignant mother endorsed the quality of the product.

“There’s nothing wrong with it. Eat it. It’ll do you good.”

Over the years the flavour of mum’s ‘paraffin pudding’ has seasoned the years. Most times when I drive into the forecourt of a gas station her memory crosses my mind; mum and her ‘paraffin puddun’.

“It’ll do you good” she’d said, almost sixty years ago as I write.

The flavour of that horrible ‘pudden’ has seeped down through the years, but the disgust is long forgotten and the distaste of a retched situation matured into humour and even merriment. Five year old Sylvia is no longer with us. In her forty seventh year she was taken from us, but there was never a time during those intervening years when the siblings were reunited after being poles apart when the hilarity of the situation was not relived by them.

Many times I recall, either over the phone, or on a one to one when a conversation collapsed in fits of laughter with just a slight reminder of what occurred on that hoppers’ train almost sixty years ago.

Sylvie was great. Fantastic sense of humour with never a smile off her face.

“Look, come on over for dinner” she would say. “I’ll make a paraffin pudden” and never finish the sentence. Tears of hysteria would come to the eyes and still they flow sixty years later just at the memory. My body aches in unison at the thought; and the taste.

“Eat it. It’ll do you good.”

What good did it do? I think you know. Laughter is the best medicine.

Written by Roy Jenner

February 2005

27 October, 2012

Keith Denis Hyde

Keith Denis Hyde
19** -

Born with in the sound of Bow Bells, officially making him a Cockney, Keith, Denis, the first son of Irene Mary and William Thomas Hyde arrived on Sunday *th October 19** at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

Quite early on it was discovered that Keith had a problem with his feet causing him to walk on his toes which he still does today (2012) and it inevitable meant many hospital and clinic appointment which in turn had an impact on his schooling.

He attended Alderton Hall Junior & Primary school and later Lucton Boys Secondary School in Loughton, Essex but he found it difficult to keep up with the rest and fell behind but the one class he really did enjoy was woodwork.

When he left school at the age of fifteen he knew he wanted to carry on working with wood but with no qualifications it was difficult to find something. Eventually he managed to find a job in a local factory called NuTone Hammers where he stayed for five years making hammers for pianos.

His father Tom got him his next job.

Tom worked for a Dutch company called Ozalid, just across the road when where Keith was already working and they were looking for an Export Packer / Warehouse man. If he should get the job he would still be working with wood, making crates for machinery that was being sent around the world and the bonus would be some extra pounds in his pay packet at the end of the week, so he applied and got the job.

That was back in 1967 and despite the company being taken over and the location changing a few times, he was still doing the same job when he retired at the age of sixty-five.

Being newly retired, he doesn’t know at the moment what the future holds for him.

He’s a bit of a loner really and doesn’t have many hobbies or interests other than he’s a bit of a science fiction fan and a ‘Treckie’, that’s a Star Trek fan for those not in the know.

One thing he does plan to do thought is build a modal railway, parts of which were given to him when he was a small child receiving treatment for his feet. It’s hard to believe he’s had it all that time, so it will be nice for him to be able to set it up somewhere permanently.

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MME – Stella & Rose Patterned Papers
Bazzill – Green Cardstock
Memory Stor - Plain Paper

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Round Buttons
Heart, Bundle of Love and Teddy Buttons
Glitter Alphabet Stickers
Pearl Heart Stickers
Computer genorater Journaling

11 October, 2011

William Albert Hyde 1874 – 1968
Anne Elizabeth Hobbs 1873 – 1962

The further I’m going back with my ancestors the harder it’s getting because there’s no one around who actually has many personal memories of my Great Grandparents from my Father’s side of the family.

I myself was twelve when Gt. Granddad passed away and I do have a few very sketchy memories but of my Gt. Grandmother, who died just six years before William I have absolutely no memories at all which I find a little strange.
I’m sure I must have met her but for the moment I just have some wonderful photos and an awful lot of digging around to do to find out about her. I’ll let you know when I have something to tell.

Most of the information I have about them and their family has come from the 1881 census and of course Birth, Marriage and Death certificates which is the most obvious way of finding out things I suppose, but I have one other thing that has given me a real insight into their lives because at the grand old age of 93 William gave an interview to the local paper and I have the cutting.

So to start at the beginning, William was the youngest son of Edward and Emily (Colsworthy) Hyde.
He was born in the family home, 7 Victoria Road, Plaistow, East London on the 16th June 1874 and had three sisters, Clara, Florry and Alice and four brothers, Thomas, Herbert, George and Alfred.
They later moved to Hermit Road, still in Plaistow.

In the interview, written in 1967 by a journalist called John Graham he recalls his life’s memories.

At 93 he is a link with Waterloo

There can’t be many people around today who can claim acquaintance with veterans of Waterloo. Yet as a small child Bill Hyde knew such men and can remember to this day – well over three quarters of a century since the last of them died.

Bill is 93 now and has been retired from the London docks since just before the last war (WW2) His astounding memory for the people and events which have crowded his long life, both before and during the 45 years he spent in the docks provokes endless, fascinating tales. Some of them are personal and of no account to the historian. His early childhood for instance, when dressed in the petticoats which were standard wear for the infants of the 1870’s, he attended the first school to be built in Plaistow, in Hermit Road.
“I left school when I was eleven”, Bill said. “It was only a small place and we had to make room for other kids. They reckoned we’d learned enough by then anyhow.”
For the next nine years or so he worked as a delivery boy, at first for a baker and then for a greengrocer – for a weekly wage that never much exceeded eighteen pence (that’s just 7 ½ pence in today’s decimal currency)
For the great mass of London’s dockers employment at that time was casual and intermittent – not that most dockers have had the good fortune to see much change for the better here. But they were also unorganised and thus prey for unscrupulous bosses.

During Bill Hyde’s middle teens he often stopped outside his local church on Sunday mornings and listened to the “sprouting”-as he calls it – of a fiery young orator called Ben Tillett. Society was hardened to such firebrands, but some of Tillett’s exhortations fell on willing ears among his docker audiences.
A small union was formed, the leaders of which called for a uniform rate of sixpence (2 1/2p today) an hour for a minimum of four hours’ work in the docks.. Even thus, the lucky ones might not earn more than eight (40p) to ten (50p) shillings a week, since demand for work far exceeded its availability.
True to form, the dock companies refused the demand and to their amazement and horror 2500 men struck work on August 12 1889. Within a week the strike had extended to all of London and dockers in other large ports refused to handle ships transferred from the strike-bound docks.
Pictures of these events crowd Bill Hyde’s memory – the long protest marches through the streets of Bermondsey, Wapping, Plaistow and Poplar; the street corner and church hall meetings held by Ben Tillett, Tom Mann and occasionally by the Catholic archbishop, Cardinal Manning himself.
Bill still recalls the pleas for “tick” from the penniless housewives to whom he delivered vegetables during the dark days of the strike.

Eventually, the dockers having shown no sign of surrendering, the employers gave way, granted the “tanner an hour” and although this was far from being their intention, gave an immense impetus to trade unionism.
In a very short time, the dockers union – which had christened itself the Dock, Wharf and Riverside Labourers Union – had enrolled more than 40,000 members, among them Bill Hyde, who gave up his grocery round and started work in the “Baccy” department at the Victoria Dock at the age of 20.
“I was lucky,” said Bill. “I was taken on as a perm and from that day until I retired I was never out of work.” “Mind you, the money was bad – at one point I was keeping a family of seven children on 3s. 6d a day (15 1/2p), I don’t know how I managed, looking back”.
“But the work was all right. We were in the baccy sheds, unloading the big sailing ships and loading the baccy barges. If work was slack I used to be transferred to customs, gauging barrels of rum. I’s be sent to go round with the food inspectors examining meat.”

For the first 14 years of his life in the docks, Bill Hyde was employed by the London and India Docks Company – the PLA was not founded until 1909. Among his most treasured possessions are his work and union registration cards – the oldest being a creased and faded London and India Docks card dated 22 January 1897, naming Bill Hyde as Registered Labourer No. 1073. Slightly less old is his union card, issued at the time when Ben Tillett was general secretary.
A third card, issued in 1920 is his PLA “perm” card, stipulating his wages as 88shillings per week of 44 working hours, rising to 89 shillings after two more years and to 90 shillings after two more years, but no sick pay, no pension and just one working week holiday.
Bill, who now lives with his widowed daughter at Sheringham Avenue, Manor Park, has not seen the inside of the docks for many years.
“But my son William (My Granddad)– he has just retired after working in the docks all his life – has promised he’ll take me round in his car. I know all the docks. At one time or another I’ve worked in every one and I’d be interested to see the changes, especially Tilbury – I’ve been told I’m in for a big surprise there.”
Bill Hyde doesn’t know how big a surprise. A man whose memory can recall the old sailing clippers will be more than surprised to see containerisation in action.
But then, a man who can recall the old soldiers of Waterloo must be perfectly capable of taking the most spectacular changes in his stride.

Well I think Gt. Granddad would fall off his chair if he could see docklands today. It’s totally unrecognizable from anything he would have known and the thought of an airport actually being in one of the docks would have been beyond belief!

As for my own memories, as I have already mentioned I have few.
I can remember him living in Dartford, Kent, in the same street as his granddaughter, my aunt Peggy (Dad’s sister). His house was at the bottom of a cul-de-sac and I can remember seeing everything pulled out of the house and laying in the front garden because there had been a flood. I think Gt. Grandma must have already pass away by then because my next memories are of him coming back to Manor Park in East London to live with his daughter, my Gt. Aunt Emily because the house was no longer habitable.
I can see him now, a big man, sitting in his armchair beside the fire, wearing has flat cap and smoking his pipe, just like the picture in the newspaper article.
At the moment I’m not even sure of when Bill and Anne married but I do know that Anne had been married before because she had a sone called John Delmage. I shall be looking into this later to see if her first husband had died or if there was a divorce because at the moment I have no details at all of him. Bill and Anne went on to have six children together, Emily, Arther, Rosina, William (my Granddad) Violet, and Richard so there was a household of nine altogether.

19 August, 2011

Wedding Day - Irene & Tom Hyde

Wedding Day - Irene & Tom Hyde

The sun was shining brightly on the day that Irene Mary Gowers was to walk down the aisle and marry the love of her life William Thomas Hyde and the day was made all the more special because their wedding would bring the two families together for the second time.

Rene’s uncle Laurie had married Tom’s Aunt Emily back in 1927 and it was at their house that the two of them first met, thanks to a little matchmaking.
Rene was best of friends with Emily and Laurie’s daughter Pat and the cousins would go everywhere together.
Tom was in the army at the time and whenever he was home on leave he would always go to visit his favourite Aunt and so it was that the two of them met and started to get to know each other.

They were both quite shy though and it took ages for Tom to pluck up the courage to ask Rene to walk out with him but eventually he did and their first date was an evening at the local picture house with cousin Pat tagging along because Rene was scared to go out with him on her own.

I’ve no idea how long they were engaged for but their wedding took place at Rene’s local church, St. Thomas’s in Becontree, Dagenham, Essex, on the 11th May 1946.
Her uncle Laurie gave her away because her father Frederick had passed away two years earlier and her bridesmaids were two of her sisters, Joan and Win, her cousin Pat and her brother Ron’s girlfriend at the time.

A small piece of trivia is that we believe the actor and song writer Dudley Moore played the organ at their wedding. Obviously it was a long time before he became famous but apparently as a young boy he sung in the choir at the church and to make himself some extra pocket money he would play the organ for weddings, so there’s all likelihood that he played at theirs.

Rene’s dress was beautiful, Ivory Satin with long sleeves that had tiny pearl buttons part way up the sides. The sleeves came to a point and had a loop that slipped over her middle finger.

I know so much about the dress because as a small child I was allowed to dress up in it which looking back now was a crying shame because I ruined it…………………………………………………what I would give to have that dress now but you can always look back and say, if only.
All I can do now is take comfort in the knowledge that my mum was happy for me to have the many hours of fun I with it.

I can also remember the woven headdress with tiny little flowers through it and some of the horseshoes because they were in the top of her wardrobe for years but I’ve no idea what became of them.
I don’t ever remember seeing the veil but I think it may have been passed down through the family. Looking back at mum’s eldest sister Rose’s wedding it certainly looks like she’s wearing the same one in which case it was passed down to mum and could have also been passed on to Joan for her big day.
I’ll have to get hold of her wedding photos to see.
I’ve also noticed by looking at the sister’s wedding photos that the bridesmaids dresses were recycled too. Because it was soon after the end of the 2nd World War and things were still in short supply Joan, being a clever seamstress, altered the sleeves to make the dresses more up to date.

Anyway, the wedding went without a hitch but married life didn’t start out well for them.

Rene fell pregnant almost straight away but tragedy struck.
She gave birth prematurely to a beautiful baby girl who they named Catharine but she had a hole in her heart and only lived for eight hours.
Mum had confided in me, I suppose because I was her only daughter, so I knew about Catharine but she was never mentioned within the family and it wasn’t until my mum passed away in 1989 that my two brothers even knew of their sisters existence. It only came to light then because we were going through mums belongings and found some paperwork, a receipt for Catharine’s burial, unmarked in someone else’s grave, apparently that was the way of things at the time.
She’s somewhere in our local church yard St. John’s, in Loughton, so whenever I go there I always say hello to her and wonder what it would have been like to have a sister.

It wasn’t long after losing Catherine that Rene was expecting again and this time there was a happier ending.
Keith Denis Hyde was born on *th October 19** and they had the makings of a new family unit.

Two years later Rene was expecting again, this time with twins but she miss carried one of the babies part way through. Although tinged with sadness there was still a happy ending because Michael Frederick John Hyde arrived on the *th September 19**.

Seven years were to pass filled with numerous miss carriages before their next child arrived, me, Susan Janice Hyde, the daughter they had longed for and I made me entrance in to the world on the *th September 19**.

Now their family was complete and our own story is to follow.

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Basic Grey – ‘Cappella’ Patterned Papers and Journaling Spots
Memory Stor - Plain Paper

Other Stash
Vellum Paper – Printed on my computer with a picture of the church they were married in
Peel Off Gold Corners
Heart and Dove Charms
Mother of Pearl Buttons
Seam Binding
Gold Brads
Flat Backed Pearls
Various Flowers
Computer Generated Journaling

04 August, 2011

Frederick James Gowers    1889 – 1944

Frederick, my Granddad and my mum's father came from a large family of eight children and was the eldest son of James & Jessy Gowers.
I know very little about his life at the moment because he died long before I was born. So far all the information I have has come from birth, marriage and death certificates and his only living daughter, my aunty Win remembers very little about him because she was just ten years old when he passed away.

What we do know is that family all came from West London.
Frederick was born at home, 9 Mansfield Road, Walthamstow, Essex on the 25th May 1898.
By the time he married my Nan, Emily on 31st October 1918 in West Ham Parish church, Essex, the family had moved home and were now living at 76 Tennyson Road, West Ham.
Their marriage certificate also tells us that he was a soldier at the time and must have fought in the 1914-1918 Great War, but I’ll have to try and get hold of his service records to find out where he actually was.

Frederick and Emily moved to their own home, 1 Agnes Gardens, Chadwell Heath, Dagenham, Essex, and later to 299 Valence Avenue, Dagenham, where they raised their family of seven children and after leaving the army Granddad found work with the London and North Eastern Railway, first as a General Labourer and then an electrician.

He passed away 7th February 1944 in 1Oldchurch Road, Romford. (Oldchurch Hospital) suffering from lung cancer at the age of 55.

That's about as far as my knowledge of him goes at the moment, so hopefully my investigations through various members of the family will come up with some more interesting facts about his life.

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7 Gypsies – ‘?????’ Patterned Papers
Bazzill – Brown Card
Basic grey – Plain Paper

Other Stash
Letter and Number Stickers
Round Metal Buttons
Fancy Brads
Round Brass Tag
Grandfather Plaque
Metallic Photo Corners
Hemp Cord
Dymo Words

07 May, 2011

William Thomas Hyde (Tom)    1923 - 2010

The eldest son of William Archibald Hyde and Sarah Elizabeth, William was born on 22nd June 1923 in Plaistow East London. He had two younger siblings, Margaret (Peggy) and John.

It was the family’s tradition to name the first son after his father and you can just imagine the confusion at times as dad was growing up, living in the same house as his Grandfather William (Bill) and his father William (Will) so almost from the start they used his middle name Thomas and he was known to everyone as Tom.
I think I was in my teens before I realised that dad’s real name was William and not Tom.

As a young child Tom would spend several weeks towards the end of the summer each year hopping in Kent with his extended family.
Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins would all pack their belongings and head for Goudhurst and while the older members of the family were working long hard hours in the fields fruit or hop picking the children would play in the hop binds.

At the age of around seven Tom’s family moved to Kent and he told me stories of an idyllic childhood, living in a rented gardener’s cottage of a big house in Wilmington, where he had the run of the big walled garden. He would spend happy hours helping himself to all kinds of fruit from the trees and collecting eggs from the ditches where the chickens used to roam free.

The family later moved to Swanley and then to Long Reach and as soon as he was old enough (around the age of eleven) he started his first weekend job working in a treatment plant alongside his father.

Yet another move of house and Tom found himself living in Dartford and working part time driving a little narrow gauge train, moving aggregate.

Eventually he left school and went to work full time for Walkers the Jewellers in Dartford and with his first weeks wages he brought his mum a solid silver thimble, which she passed down to me (Tom’s daughter Susan) on my eighteenth birthday.

During World War Two Tom joined the Home Guard and when he received his call up papers he joined the Royal Norfolk Regiment and fought in France and Germany. He also saw service in Ireland, Palestine and Egypt.

It was while home on leave that he first met Irene and they married on the 11th May 1946.
They started married life living with Irene’s parents in Dagenham, Essex until they were allocated a council prefab in Loughton, Essex, where they brought up their family.

Jack of all trades, master of none, Tom was a grafter and was never out of work.
He cleaned windows, worked in a butchers shop, delivered milk and drove a lorry delivering steel. In his later years he worked as an instrument mechanic teaching himself as he went along because he had no qualifications but he retired early so that he could take care of Irene who had suffered from ill health for many, many years.
Sadly Irene passed away in 1989 but Tom continued to live in Loughton with his eldest son Keith.

By this time Tom was having some health issues of his own, first being diagnosed with asbestosis and then having to undergo major surgery for an aortic anurisium but the most distressing problem for Tom was finding out that he had Macula Degeneration as his eye sight started to fail. He had a great love of books and reading and could get through five or six books in a week so as the reality that he would never read another book again set in I saw him cry for the first time.

Despite all his problems he was still managing to do most of his own cooking and cleaning but gradually we noticed him deteriorating and then came the most devastating news of all. In April 2010 Tom was told he had terminal stomach cancer and after a short battle he passed away in St Clare’s Hospice, Hastingwood; Essex on the 6th August 2010 aged 87.

My memories of dad are of a man who was fun loving and a joker at heart, always playing pranks on people.

A man who had time for everyone and would give his time freely to help anyone who needed it.

And of a dad who loved his family and was loved by his family more than I can tell.

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Basic Grey – ‘Cappella’ Patterned Paper
My Mind's Eye - '29th Street Market' Patterned Paper
G.C.D. Studios - 'Ella Blue'

Other Stash
Alphabet and Number Stickers
Card Candi
Best Dad Plaque
Hemp Cord

Computer Genorated Journaling

03 May, 2011

You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby!

This is the first and very precious photo that we have of my dad, William Thomas Hyde.

He’s was just six months old when the photo was taken back in 1923 and he looks so cute and cuddly in his had knitted outfit.

I should explain why the building bricks have Tom on them as opposed to William.
It was because as dad was growing up, living in the same house were three William’s so to save confusion his Grandfather was known as Bill, his father was Will and dad was Tom.

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My Mind’s Eye – 'Lost and Found'  Patterned Papers

Other Stash
Letter and Number Stickers
Metal Flowers and Leaves
Stamped Building Blocks – Hand made by Sue Hyde
Computer generated Journaling