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Our own grans

(32 Posts)
Joan Mon 16-Jul-12 12:00:34

I loved these pictures of women in the era of our own grandparents and great grandparents:
I never knew my mum's mum: she died 17 years before I was born, but she would have dressed like this.

whenim64 Mon 16-Jul-12 12:15:23

Weren't they stylish Joan? I don't fancy all the corsetting and layers they used to wear, but some of these clothes are lovely smile.

I would have loved to be able to style my hair they way my grandmothers and greatgrandmothers did - pinned up in the daytime, and brushed and plaited overnight. Beautiful long tresses that they would brush 100 times before bedtime smile

Greatnan Mon 16-Jul-12 13:31:59

All my grandparents died before I was born - I used to envy girls at school who talked about visiting their nan.

glammanana Mon 16-Jul-12 13:40:50

The photo's are fabulous aren't they I have a very old picture of my nanna in something similar but the dress is covered by a full length pinefore as she worked as a maid in a big house in Liverpool.Have you noticed that even though they all wore corsets they still had lovely trim figures,oh and the hats !! how I love hats.

vampirequeen Mon 16-Jul-12 17:48:22

I saw pictures of my grandma as a young girl like these but my memories are of a small, rotund lady who always wore a floral pinny in the house. Not a half way apron but one of those wrap around ones that covered all the clothes. When she went out she always wore a sensible coat that buttoned up and good solid shoes. In fact think Ena Sharples without the hairnet smile

Anagram Mon 16-Jul-12 17:50:14

My granny always wore a hat when she went out, even to the local shops. Secured with a hatpin!

Humbertbear Mon 16-Jul-12 18:26:52

I was fortunate to have both my grand-mothers until I was in my forties. In fact my daughter had three great- grand mothers when she was born. My grand- children are lucky enough to have all four grand-parents and a great- grand mother. My maternal grand mother was always very smart and stylish and told us lovely stories. She also helped out financially, though looking back, I don't know how she did it.

gracesmum Mon 16-Jul-12 18:33:08

My grannies were fearsome ladies with white hair, not particularly cuddly, indeed the one who lived in our town didn't even offer to have my sister and me to say when Mum had a miscarriage and had to stay in hospital, we were shipped out to an (honorary) aunt. I think my German granny loved us, but she had had a fierce Prussian upbringing which made the Victorians look child-centred and rarely showed any affection.The only "happy" memory is of Scottish Granny and Grandpa passing along the "pan drops" when they used to take us to their Congregational Church on a Sunday afternoon. What fun we must have had as children - or maybe not?

Ariadne Mon 16-Jul-12 18:36:18

My nanna (maternal) left school when she was 11 to work in the lace factories in Nottingham. But she used to talk of her teenage years with much laughter; her favourite outfit was her 'obble skirt - knee length and tight. "you couldn't run far, see, me duck?" (chuckling) During my childhood my abiding memory is of her in a wrap over pinnie, but always a hat and nice coat when she went out. (And put her teeth in!)

My other nan was from Hampshire, a blacksmith's daughter who had been in service and who had very clear ideas about how things were done, exacerbated by her time as a senior NCO's wife in the Royal Marines. So all was decorous on the surface. Tidy long skirts, nice blouse and a cardigan.

Neither understood the other! Both thought DH was the perfect even at 14.

Annobel Mon 16-Jul-12 19:07:08

gracesmum - My Scottish granny gave us pan drops at church too! Maybe they were compulsory! English granny went to the Episcopal church, so we very rarely went to church with her - if ever! The Scottish one was the daughter of a baker and worked in the shop; English granny was trained as an artist but I don't think she ever did any paid work. I have a photograph of her in a very smart satin dress, with her curly hair pinned up. She's sitting in a rather uncomfortable chair and was evidently posing for a special occasion portrait.

jack Mon 16-Jul-12 19:34:39

I had two extraordinary grannies. My maternal granny, of English and Scottish stock, lived in St Petersburg before the revolution and used to tell us stories about skating on the Neva and her parents speaking French at court. She and many of her siblings escaped to England and took shelter with cousins. This granny desperately wanted to be an actress and went to RADA but her father did not allow her to take up acting professionally because it wasn't "done". Poor granny. She had the most beautiful speaking voice but her talents weren't entirely wasted because she read us the most magical stories. She also gave us Cox's apples and tea in bed in the mornings when we stayed with her and my grandfather. We adored them.

My paternal granny was very Victorian, but she had a twinkle in her eye and had obviously enjoyed many aspects of her long life. She went to a finishing school in Brussels and then to the Slade to study art but her husband did not allow her to work as a professional artist which must have been incredibly frustrating for her because she was really talented. My sister and I spent many happy hours doodling with her in her "workroom" (now it would be called a studio) and I think this was her favourite room in her rather grand country house. We called her Granny Doo because her four children had always called her "Mummy Doo" (Mummy do this, Mummy do that).

Now that I'm a granny myself I can see how much influence grandparents can have on children and what an important and wonderful part we have to play in the lives of the next generation.

numberplease Wed 18-Jul-12 18:15:16

My maternal grandma, who died in 1955, had really long, iron grey hair, worn up in a bun, but she used to let me comb it out as a treat, I can remember loving the smell of her hair.
My paternal grandma, who I lived with from age 13 till marriage at age 20, was a volunteer with the St, John`s Anbulance brigade, I remember her being on duty at a local cinema when a hypnotist was on stage, she said folk were dropping like flies in dead faints, hard to imagine nowadays. She was also the one that the village folk came to when a relative died, to "wash and lay them out", something that she took great pride in, but the thought used to make me shudder. She died in 1965.

granjura Wed 18-Jul-12 18:47:39

Would have loved to meet my dad's mum, but she died a few months before I was born.

The only grand-parent I knew (my mum was 38 when I was born), was my mum's mum. She was very posh, played bridge and did sewing with her group of posh friends for the local hospital. Always dressed immaculately, with beautiful jewellery and manicured nails, hair perfect, white perfect hands. She was not very maternal like so many middle-upper class wives - a show piece. She would refuse to see us if we had any sign of a cold, and put her hand across her mouth and turn her head! Never did a day's work and had a cook, gardener and maid.

In her latter years, she became much more approachable and loved seeing her great grandchildren when we visited.

Charlotta Wed 18-Jul-12 19:20:39

I can remember Dad's mum was a wonderful cook, but looked rather bent double and ugly. My Mother's mum was just worn out with hard work and didn't like having her grandchildren around much. We were in the way but we thought that was normal. In Yorkshire children were often treated indifferently.
it was case of get out of the way, play on the street and don't come in even if its raining.
Looking back it was war time or after the war and everyone was fed up with struggling to make ends meet and with queueing up for food.

I think that due to BBC TV we are getting a picture of bygone days which is far too sweet. The reality was awful sometimes.

gracesmum Wed 18-Jul-12 20:11:35

I bet none of them wore jeans/rushed round the country with a "granny blue light" on their car/worried about losing their youth/agonised over how much or little to get involved with their DGC. Life was simpler then!

Annobel Wed 18-Jul-12 20:36:26

I'm sure my granny who lived round the corner had arthritis because she was always referring to her lumbago. She was thin and rather bent, but was always on the go. I don't doubt that, were she alive now, she'd be wearing jeans and teeshirts. She always took her stockings off when the sun came out and enjoyed sunning herself. My other granny wouldn't be separated from her 'combinations' and wouldn't have dreamt of baring her legs in public.

dorsetpennt Wed 18-Jul-12 20:55:41

My Grandmother was born in 1897 to a comfortable middle class family. She lived in Manchester with an older sister and younger brother - sadly he died in 1918 of the Great Flu', I remember her saying they were so pleased he'd been too young to go into war . I have a photo of her when she was about 18 years old, she had very long soft auburn hair and she's wearing a lovely white dress. She was so beautiful. She met my darling GF on a tram, he was in his Royal Flying Corp uniform, he was a young officer who flew those tiny little planes over France. He fell in love with her at first sight and followed her home. He stood whistling at the front gate to try and get her to come out and talk to him. In the end my great- GF came out and said 'you'd better come in then'. The rest is history. She had my mother in 1922 and my uncle six years later. Always well dressed, she managed to get her family safely through the next war, they grew vegatables in the garden and had been allowed to keep chickens although by then they lived in Uxbridge. My GF was a metallurgist and his work was vital to the war. My grandmother never had a paid job in her life - her class of girl in her day didn't, but I think she would have liked to before she married. She was very keen on my mother, and subsequently me, to be independent women. She instilled in both of us the merits of always having our own money, even separate bank accounts, to be capable of doing most things and to be able to rely on ourselves not just our husbands. This helped me after my divorce when I was left to bring up my children on my own. I hope that in time I will be able to influence my two GDs the same way. I loved my Gps dearly and although she died 35 years ago I still miss her.

PRINTMISS Thu 19-Jul-12 07:50:45

I lived with my grandmother in London for quite a long time. My mum went out to work when I was six months old (1932) and gran was the one who cared for me. My dad a lovely man, but not very reliable. There were six of us in a small terraced house, no bathroom and an outside 'lav'. Gran was the one who was always there, not grand, not particularly kindly, but a rock, she later also took care for three cousins who arrived and lived next door. I remember her as always wearing black and always ready to have a chat with the next door neighbour. I recently learned that my grandfather was Jewish and his father disowned him when he went to live with my grandmother. They had three children before they were married(!) and my grandfather served at Ypes - they got married in 1914 eventually. He survived the war -but never properly recovered. My other grandmother was 'posh' and I rarely got to see her, when I did, I was so terrified I would do something wrong, I didn't really enjoy the visits; never knew my paternal grandfather.
Incidentally, you might be interested in this. We used to run a printing business, and a customer came in with some glass photographic plates from which he asked us to produce prints. These were all photographs of the era we are talking about, and one of them was of a smartly dressed lady stranding outside a gents toilet in London. We produced post cards for the customer to sell on, but they had our imprint on them. A few years after printing them, we had a phone call from a lady who asked where we had obtained the photograph, because it was of her grandmother, who used to earn her keep by looking after the rich gentlements' walking sticks whilst they attended the loo. Not sure if it is true but a lovely story!

NannaB Thu 19-Jul-12 08:56:05

I never met my Mum's mum but new my Dad's mum. I remember her as being someone who enjoyed a drink. She once showed me she could still do a cart wheel on the green outside the pub! She must have been in her 60's at the time. Which of course seemed REALLY old to me! She wasn't a warm loving person which is where I feel we are very different. Still, I am glad I knew her.

Joan Thu 19-Jul-12 12:03:39

So many lovely stories about grandparents - what an interesting bunch we all are, coming from such diverse families.

I know Mum's Mum was really interesting: born in the 1880s, she rebelled against her religious Dad, a lay preacher, and left home, eventually lodging with an orthodox Russian Jewish family who had escaped the pogroms for a new life in 19th century Liverpool. She got pregnant by one of the sons, we think, but as an atheist she would never have converted to marry the father. We never knew the circumstances of Mum's birth; we thought our Grandfather was the man Grandma married, but when Mum died the paper work came out and the dates were all wrong. Mum was three by the time they married. Also, Mum and her younger sister looked so different, Auntie with her reddish hair and blue eyes, and Mum with dark Mediterranean looks. Mum also told me, when she heard me practising my German, that she had spoken Yiddish before English. Mysteries on mysteries.

Mum's Mum died in her 40s of cancer - such a shame. She was known to be fiery and funny and a bit scary.

I never knew my Dad's parents either - they were both dead by the time I was 2. People died a lot younger back then.

Grannylin Thu 19-Jul-12 12:57:53

The only memory I have of my Dad's Mum is of visiting her in hospital when she was dying of TB. We all had to be vaccinated as small children and the nurse used to come to our house to check the see-through patches on our backs- what was this?

Joan Fri 20-Jul-12 13:49:24

It could be this:

Back in the 1970s I worked for the Dept of Social Security and interviewed a man later found to have TB. They sent me for an X-ray to see if I was OK. I was.

This reminds me of something, not to do with anything in particular. Back then in the 70s, 56% of all Yorkshire deaths were bronchitis related. Just the thought of it makes me want to cough!

I'm safe though - I live in the sub tropics now!

Amber Thu 02-Aug-12 13:08:07

Reading through these posts reminded me of my grandparents I was lucky enough to know all 4 of them and also one great grandmother, all lived within 8 miles of us, My Maternal grandparents spoilt me rotten, I was their first grandchild and the sun shone from my back****, as far as they were concerned, my gran taught me to knit, bake, sew, and play tiddlewinks,smile and my Grandad how to sweep a chimmney (getting filthy into the process), and how to grow things, he was a bundle of fun and used to play cricket or rounders with all of us (I was one of 7) and any of our friends that wanted to join in. my paternal parents had a farm (mixed) and worked very hard, so when ever we went to see them (as often as possible) and were always welcome, but were always given a task, collecting eggs, 'helping' with milking, or haymaking, or picking up potatoes, but my favorite job was rounding up the cows for milking, we used to ride the horse, a very gentle old cob, who I am sure saw looking after us as his main duty, he put up with an awful lot poor thing. I'm sure Health and safety would have gone mad to have seen 3 or 4 kids all piled on to the back of that horse, no saddle or bridle just a head collar and not a riding hat to be seengrin, but no matter how tired she was my gran always found time for us and to go to church on a sunday night.
I think my grandchildren really miss out on the type of fun we used to have, but not on the affection

gillybob Thu 02-Aug-12 14:55:07

My grandma is still going very strong at the ripe old age of 96. She lives alone and does most of her own cooking, cleaning and shopping. She is very active and has a very good social life. Our grandchildren (her great, great grandchildren) call her Little Tiny Grandma as she is just that.

specki4eyes Thu 02-Aug-12 22:18:23

I always laugh when I see a Giles cartoon which has 'Grandma' in it because my Grandma looked exactly like that - a large dark triangle with a hat on top. She was a member of the Plymouth Brethren and consequently thought all forms of enjoyment were heathen. How on earth she managed to produce six children is therefore a mystery. She always smelled lovely - lavender water I think, and I used to love being grasped into her large bosom! When we got our first telly in the mid 50s, we used to watch a comedy programme featuring someone who used to talk over the garden wall - that amused her, but rather than laugh, she would just smirk and shake a little. Every Christmas she gave me a florin - thats 2 shillings to you young'uns or 10p. She was comparatively liberated, going away to visit relatives for weeks at a time, leaving my Grandad to fend for himself. I like to emulate that trait!