Saturday, 23 February 2013

Society Saturday - Green Fingers at the Marske Show

My great-aunt Lillian Barton, loved to garden and was an active member of her local gardening society right into her 70s.  Lillian may not have known it, but gardening was a long standing interest in the family of her paternal grandmother Eliza 
Ditchburn (1856-1930).

Eliza Ditchburn's family came from the village of Marske-by-the-Sea which is just south of Middlesbrough.  Her family, through her Bryden, Hartforth and Potts ancestors, can be traced back in the village right back into the 16th Century.

The Ditchburn family's gardening interests were shared by large numbers of Marske residents and from August 1875, the annual Marske Horticultural, Industrial and Live Stock Society show was a highlight of village life bringing together people from right across the class divide.

Friday, 22 February 2013

The History Hop #2

Welcome to the History Hop.

This is your chance to link up - as many as you like - of your best recent posts on any area of history. Everything from genealogy through military, political, cultural, social to archaeology and contemporary ethnography.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Thriller Thursday - Jarndyce v Jarndyce in Gedling!

The sons, grandson and great-grandson of David Palethorpe

The market garden that my family kept in the village of Gedling for over 150 years, always seemed to represent everything I thought I knew about my Palethorpe ancestors.

Independent, hard working but contented Nottingham folk who enjoyed their food!  I certainly didn't associate them with scandal.

So, I was most surprised to discover that in 1858 there was a big Nottingham legal case - Palethorpe v Palethorpe - which disputed the very ownership of the garden.

The case, reported at length in the Nottingham and regional papers, arose after Thomas Oldknow Palethorpe left the garden to his son David in his will.  The problem was, that in doing so, old Thomas overlooked two elder sons, Tom and John, and four elder daughters.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Sunday Obituary - The Advancement of Science for Girls

Hilda R. F. Cowie died in Sutton, Surrey in 1965, aged 93.  "Miss Cowie" had been a teacher and for 24 years, from its foundation to her retirement in 1943, was head mistress of Durham Girls County School

The carefully saved clip of her obituary, that I found amongst my great aunts' belongings suggested that she had been a significant figure in the lives of Lillian and Nancy Thompson and their elder sister Marjorie who had all attended the school.

Little further information is available about "Miss Cowie" but the history of the Durham Girls County School is an interesting one.  It was formed in 1918 when Durham's highly unusual mixed grammar school was split into separate boys and girls schools.

Mixed sex education at this level was very rare at the time as was the school's scientific and technical focus and endeavour to provide as much access as possible to poorer families.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Welcome to "The History Hop"

I have only been writing my history blog for the last 5 months, but I also have another blog about my life as a mum that I have been writing for longer.

One of the things that I love about the mums' blogging community are the weekly "blog hops".  There are hundreds of them every week and they provide a great chance for bloggers to share their best posts of the week and to discover great new bloggers.

As I haven't been able to find any similar blog hops in the history blogging community - the blogging prompts at GeneaBloggers and the History Carnival are great but a bit different - I've taken it upon myself to organise The History Hop.

It's very simple - every Friday, you'll be able to come and link up one or more of your favourite posts and then check out what others have shared.  Posts from all areas and ages of history - ancient archaeology, military, social, high politics, cultural, genealogy, contemporary ethnography! - are all very, very welcome!

Please, feel free to grab The History Hop button and link to it from your blog.  And if you're interested in co-hosting please do drop me a mail at wecamefrom69 at

Anyway let's get this inaugural History Hop started ...

Friday's Faces From the Past - The Unknown Bride

A beautiful bride in a beautiful dress but unfortunately I have no idea who she is.

I found the photos - which, I guess are from the 1930s - amongst my cousin Michael's belongings, so the couple may be relations of either of his parents.

Michael's mother was Lillian Thompson (1913-1989) whose parents were John William Thompson and Annie Newnham.  Michael's father was Ernest "Billy" Barton (1900-1980).

Both the Thompson and Barton families were living in the North Yorkshire / County Durham area during the 1930s.  However, Annie Newnham's family came originally from Woolwich, London and the Barton family had Liverpool connections.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Thankful Thursday - From the Civil Defence School in Dhaka

Ernest "Billy" Barton

Following his demobilisation at the end of World War 2, my great uncle, Ernest "Billy" Barton - who had been a professional solider before the war - became an instructor at the Civil Defence Training School in Eastwood Park, Falfield, Gloucestershire.

The school was originally founded in 1936 as the Civilian Anti-Gas School with the aim of training groups of civilians in what to do in the case of a gas attack in a future war.

By the late 1940s, there was little concern about gas attacks.  Two things had changed that - Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  And in 1949 the British government formed the Civil Defence Corps to train civilians in what to do in the case of a nuclear attack.