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Sunday, 7 April 2013

A=Z Challenge: G is for Grandad's House

Join me on this journey  into  A SENSE OF PLACE where I will be:

  • Featuring places connected with my own family history'
  • Highlighting places with happy memories
  • Shining the spotlight on place names that appeal.
  • Linking my interests in history, travel and photography.

G is for:

GRANDAD'S HOUSE   - After the First World War In 1924, my grandparents,  William and Alice Danson, moved to a new semi-detached house at 146 Blackpool Old Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.    I still have the receipt for the deposit of £67. It looks quite big, but, with only three small bedrooms, it must have still been a squash for William and Alice, 3 daughters (Edith, Kathleen (my mother)  and Peggy) and two sons (Harry and Billy) who all lived at home until they married. The house had no electricity until the late 1950’s and this remained the family home until the death of my uncle Harry Danson in 2001.

The front door had a round stained glass window which I thought was very posh.  Half way up the side wall was a small hatch door which revealed the coal shute where the coal men emptied  their sacks down into a small cellar under the stairs. My uncle Harry later took on the hard task to clear it all out to create a much needed "glory hole".  He also modernised the kitchen and installed French windows in the living  room at the back of the house.

The side trellis gate was later taken down and a driveway created to take my uncle's car.  The former hen house at the back then became the garage. 

The front garden was the setting for many a family photograph down the years.  Here are my Mum and Dad after their wedding, with Mum in her going away outfit, with her parents on the left and Dad's parents on the right.  This is the only photograph I have of my paternal grandfather.  

The large gardens were my grandfather's and later uncle's joy - with floral displays in the  front and  productive vegetables and fruit  grown at the back. 


There was one surprising feature about the house, though - it did not have electricity until the late 1950's, because my grandfather refused to have it installed. I remember my aunt standing on a chair to light the ceiling gas lights, and ironing with a heated flat iron, whilst the flames from the gas cooker frightened me. 

A copper kettle stood in the hearth (open fire) and I was told that had belonged to my great grandmother Maria Danson, nee Rawcliffe (1859-1919). 



Pride of place in the front room (kept for best) was the piano which I learnt to play on. The  bookcase held the family bible recording the marriage of Maria Rawcliffe and James Danson (my great grandparents)  and the birth of their first four (out of ten) children - entries petered out after that. Another favourite book which had belonged to my grandmother and was treasured by my mother was an 1899 edition of "Pride and Prejudice" with delicate pencil drawings protected by flimsy paper.
My mother was the first of the family to marry in 1938, followed by her younger sister Peggy who emigrated to Australia and then Billy. Edith and Harry lived there nearly all their lives until their deaths in 1995 and 2001 when over 70 years of a family home passed away.

It was in Grandad's house that I first saw the shoebox of old family photographs and embroidered cards sent by him from the battlefields of the First World War. This discovery set me at an early age on this fascinating family history journey.
GALASHIELS in the Scottish Borders, known locally just as "Gala".  The name is derived from the Gala Water, with  "shiels" meaning shelter ,    Gala was one of the major mill towns of the Borders  and now  is home to Heriot Watt University School of Textiles and Design.  The local motto  "Soor Plums" stems from an incident in the 14th century when English raiders were defeated in a field of plum trees.  Today's "soor plums" are a sharp flavoured local  sweet. 
GLASGOW  - Scotland's second city and where I studied for my diploma in Librarianship.  Meaning "Green Place", the city on the River Clyde, was founded by St. Mungo  in the 6th century.  The 19th century saw its rise to prominence  as one of  the most important industrial cities in the world.
Join me on the next stage of my A-Z Journey to the letter H.
Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved



      1. I came here to comment on Sepia Saturday not knowing you're doing AtoZ too. I must go back and read your other ones. You have so many wonderful and specific memories. What a great memory book you could create!

      2. What a great house! It does look big. I guess the parents had one room, the boys one and the girls another. Several of my uncles stayed at the family home until the end. I have many photos taken in my grandparents yard with the people strung out just like that. It was a great way for me to find photos of people I couldn't find elsewhere.


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