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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Sepia Saturday - Family Homes Down the Generations

Sepia Saturday give bloggers an opportunity to share their family history through photographs.

This week's theme is ancestral homes.

My Danson ancestral home - but not quite what I envisaged!

Trap Farm, Carleton, near Poulton-le-Fylde Lancashire, c.1998. 

Trap Farm, c.1998
My first knowledge of Trap Farm as my ancestral home came from obtaining the birth certificate of my great grandfather' James Danson.    I found the farm on the current Ordnance Survey Map and set out to find it on a visit to the Fylde c.1998.  

Situated amidst fields on what is now a busy road, it was a sorry sight - dilapidated and overgrown.

In the 1841 Census, 30 year old Henry (my great great grandfather) was living there with his wife Elizabeth (Calvert), five daughters - Betty, Grace, Mary, Margaret and Ellen, his much older brother Peter and two servants.

By the time of the 1851 Census,  it was a household of 13. Henry was described as a farmer of 31 acres. Eldest daughter (now married)  Elizabeth was there  with her three sisters and her husband Thomas Bailey, whilst second daughter Grace had left home.  But there were now two sons - John and Henry  plus Henry's brother  Peter and two servants.   How did they all fit into what looked a small farmhouse?  My great grandfather James, born 1852 at Trap Farm, plus another daughter Jane,  later completed the family.

By the time of the next census in 1861 the Danson family was no longer at Trap.

Two years ago I returned to Carleton,  fully expecting Trap Farm to be wiped off the map and replaced by a modern housing estate.   To my surprise it was still there, but was undergoing a transformation into a modern home.

I recently made contact with a third cousin whose great grandmother Elizabeth Danson, eldest daughter of Henry and Elizabeth,  was born at Trap Farm, and he sent me a more recent photograph.

Trap Farm in 2011


I am the baby -
with my Dad in our back garden,  

My first home was a rented end-terraced house on the edge of Blackpool, Lancashire.  My memories are of open fires,  and an  icy front room used for special occasions (birthday parties, Christmas plus my piano lessons)  when the fire was lit.   The living room at the back was the hub of family life. 
The kitchen was small and basic,  It was rather dark and gloomy with a solid back door and little light getting in.   A pantry with a cupboard with a mesh door was the primitive fridge!    Washing (always on a Monday when my mother donned  a cross-over overall and put her hair in a turban),  was done by hand and then put through a mangle to dry either outside on the clothes line or  on an overhead pulley. The other alternative was a steaming clothes horse around the open fire.
As the end house of the terrace,  we had plenty of space down the side  for my brother and I to play - he in his  pedal car and myself with my tricycle and doll's pram.  I remember tall  pink and purple lupins in the garden and I pretended they were ladies at a ball and curtseyed and danced to them - but only when my brother was not around to tease me!

It was an event when we heard the rag and bone man passing by on his horse and cart.  We also had a lorry coming around selling drinks and it was a treat was to get  in a stone jar sarsaparilla- a forerunner of Coca Cola? 

We were one of the first people to get a television in 1953, so the house was crowded around it to watch the Queen's Coronation.  We also got a phone then, largely because my father worked away a lot and it was a way to keep in touch - so we felt we were living a modern life in the new Elizabethan age.
My "second" home was my grandfather's house, (right) which he bought in 1924 - I 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 parents, 3 daughters and two sons who all lived at home until they married. The front door had a round stained glass window which I thought was very posh. 

Half way up the side wall was a small door which revealed the coal chute where the coal men emptied  their sacks down into a small cellar under the stairs. My uncle later took on the hard task to clear it all out to create a much needed "glory hole". The side trellissed 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 large gardens were my grandfather's and later uncle's joy - with floral displays in the  front and vegetables and fruit  grown at the back and the scene for many a family photograph. 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, and the flames from the gas cooker frightened me.

In 1954 we moved to our own semi-detached house not far away and my mother was delighted to have a Rayburn - a solid fuel cooker which she loved for making stews, soups, casseroles and baking - our home for two years before we were on the move again.
The village of Upper Poppleton (try saying it quickly!) was the scene of our next  home, near York when my father was transferred with his work from Lancashire to Yorkshire.

Home 1956-1961 at Upper Poppleton, near York.
This home  (left)  was going up in the world - a new build and detached. Instead of the two small downstairs rooms we now had a through lounge (all the fashion), fitted carpets, our first fridge and cumbersome  storage heaters to get at least some background heating. From the outside it hasn't changed much when this photograph was taken  a few years ago. 

1961 saw another move, this time north  to Edinburgh to a lovely  bungalow and our first central heating - bliss!  The colour scheme was rather strong - red units in the  kitchen and a bathroom with a yellow suite and black tiles, which my mother  could not wait to get rid of.  This was the last of my childhood homes - but all left me with happy memories I am pleased to share here.  

In our garden at Edinburgh - a family group photograph taken
before I set off for a year in the USA.

Adapted from a post of 2011



  1. Looks like someone did a fine job fixing up the Trap Farm house some time between 1998 & 2011. I especially like the way they left the original stone wall in front. Hopefully the inside was renovated equally as fine. Nice family photo at the end of your post. I think I remember you said you took the trip to the U.S. in '65?

  2. What a wonderful restoration. I bet you are pleased to see someone loving the ancestral home.


  3. Marvellous to see Trap Farm restored, and to see all your childhood homes.

  4. I always enjoy your very detailed memories although I usually end up feeling like I lived my own life in a fog.

  5. Great memories and a beautiful restoration.

  6. Your ancestral home has a far happier ending than mine -- yours looks absolutely wonderful! What a nice job they did restoring it...

  7. I don't know of any ancestral homes of my family. Yours looks nice.

  8. How wonderful to go back and find your ancestral home restored.
    Great memories and stories with your family's homes.

  9. So much character in those homes. Some wonderful childhood memories too.

  10. Wow, that is something amazing. Just looking at your pictures I can sense all the stories that lurk about! Such a treasure.

  11. Very enjoyable, how fortunate that you have all these photos of your homes. We lived in only one all my growing up years and I have very few piecemeal photos of it. I am always amazed at how so many people could occupy such small spaces in homes back then, it was different.

  12. Nicely done Sue. Trap Farm house looks as though it will last another century or two. A lot of feet have walked thrugh that gate over the years.

  13. The Tramp Farm house/building is gorgeous, even in the first photo. I'm so pleased that someone chose to buy and fix it. Though we live an ocean apart, some of the things you described in your childhood memories remind me of my own childhood experiences. I think in times past people were more accustomed to living closer so maybe, for 7 people in your grandfather's home, it didn't seem so tight. (I also think people have more possessions these days than years ago and need more space.)

  14. I have an ancestral barn in Pennsylvania. I don't know how old it is, but it once belonged to my great-great grandfather. The house across the street is gone except for the foundation. On my father's side I've always wondered about the homes my family had in Scotland. One family was fairly well off, the other not so much. I'm hoping they had something lovely like the ones you've shown.

  15. Enjoyed going through your memory lane of homes. I see that the house in Upper Poppleton (just as challenging to type as to say) has the same type of bowed windows as the previous home, must have been the style back then. Great Post!!!

  16. The history of family homes is such a great subject, whether homes with in my family or in the families of others. I especially liked the changes over time of the house on the Trap Farm. Great post.

  17. A fine post on the theme. Your story reminds me of a 1985 film (also once a play) titled "The Trip to Bountiful" and starring Geraldine Page. It is about a woman who longs to make one last trip to return to her childhood home in Texas. Things never stay the same though.

  18. Can't imagine how to cope without central heating, but it must have been "bliss" when you got it.
    I like the mock-Tudor style of your grandfather's house. Amazing that you have that receipt.
    I've seen, "The Trip to Bountiful" and Mike is right, this does bring that to mind.

  19. Great family history and happy memories of you past homes.

  20. Lovely recollections. I too had piano lessons in a chilly front room; perhaps that’s why I was never much good! I remember the rag and bone man too.


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