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Memories of a Cornish childhood

(17 Posts)
whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 15:20:25

I thought some may be interested in some written memories of an Aunt of mine that she recorded and left for me.

Perhaps others have writings of their relatives they may like to share?

Aunt Chris was born in 1908, in Delabole a North Cornish village.
Her father, my grandfather, worked as a slate splitter in the Delabole slate quarry, and her mother, suffered from a weak heart. They were members of the Methodist church.

"We were blessed with wonderful parents, and brought up in a god Christian home. Our parents were not wealthy, in fact I suppose we were poor, although as children, we didn't feel poor. We had most of what we wanted, but I suppose we didn't want much. We had what everyone else had, and perhaps more than some of the children whose parents used to drink.

Sundays was a big thing in our house. To start we always had best clothes, that was a big thing. I always wore a big ribbon in my hair and black stockings and dress. I used to always go to Chapel with granny because Dad and my sister were in the choir and Mum often couldn't go because of her heart.
Granny was a very dressy person. Always dressed in black silk with leg of mutton sleeves and hundreds of sequins and tiny black beads embroidered on the bodice. She always wore her gold guard and watch tucked into her waist. I don't remember her in any other dress except her working clothes. They were always a skirt and blouse with a very high neck. She always wore bones in the neck of her blouse or fronts to keep them under the ears and chin. The bones would be just behind the ear so as not to interfere with movementof her head. She always wore a big white apron, and a tower when doing dirty work such as cleaning the old black range or washing floors.
A tower is a waist apron made of hessian "

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 15:22:14

That should read towser not tower

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 15:29:18

There was never any question what we would do on a Sunday. We always knew what Sundays would be and we loved Sundays.

We used to be at Sunday School at 10am, and then on to service. We stayed all through service. There was no question of coming out before the sermon. We were not allowed to move during the service. I remember once I had a cold and wanted to use my handkerchief which was in my pocke, but every time I moved my hand to get it out of my pocket Granny slapped my hand. So when I got outside, Mum told me off for having a dirty nose and Granny told me off for fussing during the service.

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 15:31:25

After service it was home for dinner, then back to Sunday School at 2pm. Then we usually went for a walk with Mum and Dad.

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 15:39:15

"Most always we had roast beef for Sunday dinner. Often in winter we had dried cod for breakfast. This was called "toe rag" . It was a huge fish and often dad was the only one who could cut it as it was very hard and had to be soaked overnight to soften and get the salt out, then boiled until tender and served with a knob of butter and pepper. It was delicious"

devongirl Tue 15-Aug-17 15:48:29

That sounds really rigid, ww! I grew up in Devon where my father was a lay Methodist preacher. I remember we were dragooned into goin to Sunday school every week, I remember I got the wooden spoon one year, I think he may have stopped coercing us at that point!

My mother was an atheist, so I daresay he chose not to push us too hard.

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 15:50:04

She talks a lot about the quarry, which won't mean a lot to anyone unless you have memories of the place, but she also describes how the horses were gradually phased out as the little locomotives came in.

" there were 6 horses when I was a child, but I think at one time there were 8. They were lovely great horses. They all had names. Lion was a big brown horse, and he was the horse that used to go down into the pit. He used to go in a big horse box and was let down the incline by a wire rope. That was worked from the engine house at the top of the incline. Then there was Flower that was a big bay horse. He used to take the big blocks of slate from the top of the incline into the splitting and cutting sheds. Prince was a big black horse. He worked out in the slate yard. Daisy took the big blocks of slate from the pipit head at the other side of the pit to the sheds. The other two horses worked anywhere they were wanted..
we used to live around the corner where the horses had to pass on the way to the field after their days work. Our cottages were low and these horses co UKs look into the bedroom windows. We used to run ahead of the horses and go into Mt Geakes garden and look over the hedge to see how they galloped and jumped around when they were set free. They really made the ground tremble."

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 15:53:30

devon I have books here that probably the head of the household read out for Sunday evening listening. They are all moral tales of how children should behave etc. It was full on I think. Imagine today's children tolerating it!!!!

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 15:59:26

But on the other hand the children seem to have an enormous amount of freedom - to kill themselves if they wanted- some of the descriptions of their play makes your hair stand on end. It was definitely out of sight out of mind. I guess they got slapped if caught but it didn't seem to stop them.

devongirl Tue 15-Aug-17 16:18:52

It sounds fascinating, ww!

Jalima1108 Tue 15-Aug-17 20:59:22

How lovely to have those memories in written form.

I think it is so important to pass on memories but no-one in our family wrote them down, many were word of mouth and what I and another relative have found from research, so it may have to be me who does that so that they are not lost.

It's also important to write on or label photographs as we have so many old ones which are in a box which I labelled 'Who are We?'

rosesarered Tue 15-Aug-17 21:04:59

Interesting, we used to live in a nearby village ( Helstone) and our very good tv engineer lived in Delabole.

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 21:10:54

rose then you will know Lanteglos - that's where my family came from during the 19th century. No one left there now.

rosesarered Tue 15-Aug-17 21:11:56

Yes, we lived on Lanteglos Lane!?

rosesarered Tue 15-Aug-17 21:12:39

Lovely old church there.

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 21:15:42

jalima yes I'm going to do that this winter. I have bags full of stuff all needs labelling and explaining. My Aunt kept everything including black edged death announcement cards, all official forms, rations books etc etc you name it it's there.

Letters from my Uncle when pOW in Japan - well a couple of words per letter really but poignant to read. Masses of stuff. I could spend hours looking at it.

whitewave Tue 15-Aug-17 21:20:42

rose blimey small world isn't it?

My great great grandfather (I think it might have been another great) was the village postman. They had 12 childrenshock and I guess they are all in St Juliots church yard, but it was so overgrown and muddled I couldn't find any, but I was with Mum so didn't have enough time but intend to go back some time.