My great grandmother, Hannah Mann ( photographed with her eldest daughter, Rachel), on the other hand, must have been really tough. She had worked in Pasturefields asylum in Derbyshire as a very young girl before she went on to become a ladies maid in Hebden Bridge,Yorkshire where she met and married railway points man John Beech. They moved to Shropshire, where she became a mother to eight children. She was widowed when the youngest was eleven and ran a boarding house for railway men. I like to think of Granny Whitchurch, as she was called, as a regular Pride and Prejudice Mrs Bennett, who, according to the records I have found, seemed to marry her four daughters off to the unsuspecting boarders, one of them being my grandfather Cadwalladr from the sideboard above.
My maternal grandparents were also a kind and jolly bunch. They were in the hospitality game. My great grandfather was a meat carver in a restaurant, great granny came from a family of publicans. They knew how to party. I know this because my nan and grandad threw some whoppers. Everyone had to do a turn. My Mom played piano, accordion and tap danced, my uncle was a good magician until he forgot to swap the watches! My grandmother and great aunt did the Can-can much to my embarrassment and another aunt could always clear a room when she insisted on ending the party with' One Fine Day'.
My grandmother loved dressing up and very large hats. One day, she was walking down the road in a large fur coat and then very fashionable, mop hat and I remember my father saying ' Come and look, is that a bear or your nanny coming down the road?' My maternal and paternal families married into each other twice. I bet the weddings were fun. This is a snap of my Mom and Dad's bun fight!
One family tie which binds us is we all grew and still grow our own veg!