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Friday, 1 February 2013

Sepia Satuirday - How We Got About

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.

I have no bicycle photographs in my collection  and  have exhausted hats and caps lately with previous Sepia Saturday postings.  So I have  gone along another pathway  by looking at different ways of getting about.  Some of these  photographs have appeared before in my blog, but may not have been seen by more recent readers. 

A carter in Newcastleton, Roxburghsire in the Scottish Borders. 
From the postcard collection at the Heritage Hub, Hawick.

How many of us have carter ancestors?  This was the occupation of my great great grandfather Robert Rawcliffe of Hambleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. 
 The old Peebles Railway Station in the Scottish Borders, c. 1908. 
From the postcard collection of the Heritage Hub, Hawick.

Peebles is 27 miles south of Edinburgh and the first passenger trains ran there in 1855, ceasing in 1962. The site of the station is now a car park.  

Tommy Roger, born c. 1845, Ironbridge, Shropshire
The famous Ironbirdge, built in 1779, can be seen on the left of the picture. My father John Weston grew up in Broseley on the other side of the river from Ironbridge, and this photograph was found in the collection of his older brother Fred.

You might be wondering, where is the mode of transport is  here? Well, it is on the back of Thomas Rogers, coracle maker of Ironbridge in Shropshire. A coracle is a small, lightweight boat with a loosely woven frame traditionally covered in animal hide, but in more recent times calico, canvas and coated with a substance such as bitumen.    When the Iron Bridge was opened in 1779 locals objected to paying the tolls, so they used their coracles to cross the river instead.

Tommy Roger  was well known as a poacher and the local newspaper reported  his appearance in court on poaching charges.   He also  helped to build the new police  cells and court room in Ironbridge in 1862 - only to be one of the first people to use them.  

Waiting for the Bus
Not a very good photograph, but the man on the left in the peak cap is my great uncle Bob,  a postman in Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, standing by the bus ready to take passengers into Blackpool.  I don't know if I would feel all that safe on the top of this vehicle. 

 Charbanc ride, c. 1920's
I know next to nothing about this photograph. It was in the collection of my Great Aunt Jennie of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, and judging by the style of dress e.g. cloche hats it must have been taken in the 1920's. There was no inscription on the reverse, but the photographer/publisher was identified as Arthur Hadley, Photographer, Ramsey, Isle of Man. This could be a clue, as one of Jennie's many brothers. Albert, worked on the Isle of Man ferry between Fleetwood, Lancashire and the Isle of Man.

I like it as a happy holiday photograph, though  again I wonder how safe I would find the vehicle with so many people on it. I could imagine someone might need to get out and push, if going up hills!

My father John Weston and his brother Charles c. 1936.
I cannot resist sharing again my father's memory of his first car. I was lucky that he wrote down for me stories of his life in "Family Recollections". Dad was a commercial traveller and in the 1930's got a new job with instructions to pick up a car at Derby and drive 90 miles north to a position in Blackpool. He had never driven before and here is his tale of his first hair-raising journey.

"I had never driven a car before. On Boxing Day, I went to the British School of Motoring and said I wanted some urgent lessons. When I told the instructor I was driving to Blackpool the next day, he nearly had a fit. I collected my car - a four door Morris saloon which I was expected to buy on hire purchase at 18 shillings per week. It was a traumatic journey with me being a complete novice, having had no proper tuition. There was no heating, no radio of course to help pass the time, and the windscreen wipers kept seizing up. I had also been told that the tyres were awful for punctures. Still I made it, as  it was getting dark and I did not know how the lights worked!

My elegant mother standing beside a later car of Dad's c.1938.
I get the impression that  the car was the most important feature of this photograph!

 Finally  - back to the horse - my daughter in 1974. 

Click HERE to find  out how other bloggers have  got on their bikes
with this week's theme


  1. I really had to laugh about Tommy helping to build the cells and then being one of its first inhabitants. Didn't he take some "constructional measures" for an impromptu departure?

  2. I love the irony of the man who built the police cells ending up inside one of them. I hope they let him off for good behaviour

    gill x

  3. I'm not sure which story is funnier - Tommy Roger or your dad. Fun post!

  4. Two cars with Derby Borough Council number plates *RA !! He must have travelled for a Derby based company surely??

  5. I liked your family photos best. I guess it was not necessary to have a license when your Dad started driving.

  6. A great take on this photo theme Sue. I loved the story of your Dad and all the transport photos.

  7. I'd be partial to a charabanc ride, I think. The idea of open topped buses doesn't seem to fit well with English weather, but perhaps I'm labouring under a misconception?

  8. Interesting photos! Our hospital in Tortola is named after a Major Peebles who came to the territory in the early 1920s. I wonder if he was from that area or somehow connected.

  9. Tommy Roger and his coracle stood out for me until I saw the picture "Waiting for the Bus" in which there is so much detail.

  10. The two pictures, "Waiting for the Bus" and "Charbanc Ride" rather made me feel like a time traveler --- the folks headed off in a wooden spoked-rim conveyance and came back in 1920s style. Nice collection.

  11. Oh I believe I enjoyed your various photos even more than another bicycle! Very interesting!

  12. Your dad's cars are so shiny! He must have loved them.
    Great photos.

  13. A wonderful collection of photographs. Each one of them makes you want to explore inside them searching for more and more detail.

  14. I like your fun mix of stories and photos. Perhaps unintentionally each photo has a strange illusion created by things that seem the wrong size. A little horse or a big man? A little steam engine or big people? Giant cars or midget cars? Well done!

  15. I loved your dad's story about driving his first car. That was priceless.


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