Moustaches, showmen, trophies and bathing suits don't feature much in my collection - so here is a hotch-potch of vaguely related photographs to mark this week's prompt.
No moustaches and only one beard amongst my ancestors - this photograph (one of my favourites) is of my bearded great grandfather James Danson (1852-1906) of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire. Though his companion in arms is sporting a fine white moustache.
Little knowledge has come down through the family on James Danson who died before the birth of my mother and aunt. Anecdotal evidence does not reflect creditably on him - he was by all accounts of his grandchildren a bit of a ne-er do well - in contrast to the obvious respect for “Granny”. He certainly looks quite a character in the only photograph I have of him sitting merry in Poulton stocks.
James was born in 1852 at Trap Farm, Carleton, the nineth child of Henry Danson and Elizabeth Calvert. A joiner, he married 18 year old Maria Rawcliffe in 1877. It was ironic that Maria, one of eight daughters, and James with six sisters (and two brothers) should go on to have ten sons before their only daughter Jennie in 1897.
James died at the age of 53 on 20th September 1906, An informative report in "The Fleetwood Chronicle and Fylde Advertiser" of 28th September noted: "The deceased gentleman who was 53 years old was a native of Poulton. His father was toll collector at Shard Bridge for 14 years. Mr Danson had been ill for soem time but had only recently taken to his bed. The chief mourners were Mrs Danson (wife), Messrs Robert, John, Tom, Willie Danson (sons) and Mr John Danson (brother from Clitheroe), Miss Cookson (niece), Mrs Riley, Mrs Roskell and Mrs Geo Riley (sisters-in-law), Mrs Porter, and Mr Threlfall. There were a number of beautiful wreaths."
There was no reference in the funeral report to James' first born son Harry who died a year later at the age of 30, nor to the younger sons Albert, Frank and George, and only daughter Jennie, but perhaps as children they did not attend or did not warrant a mention.
Above is the uncropped version of the photograph which was found in the collection of my great aunt Jennie. Very fortunately she had written names on the reverse. Poulton-le-Fylde is a small town east of its more famous neighbour the seaside holiday resort of Blackpool. Poulton, though has the far longer history, noted for the old church of St. Chad's and its market square with a stone slab table for selling wares, and for those who fell foul of the law the old whipping post and stocks. All are still standing to be seen today.No trophy on view here but an entertaining story of sports success which I have featured before on my blog - here told in Dad's own words
One Saturday when I was working as an errand boy, two directors from Birmingham Football Club came to see Dad and Mum to sign me on - they refused, saying I was too young to be away from home. I was not told about this until later and sulked for a month!
But a bit of glory followed, when my school team entered a cup competition. I was vice-captain and we got to the final - and won the cup, the first ever for Broseley.
One of the supporters took a carrier pigeon along with us and set it loose at the end to let Brosely know the result and to prepare a welcome for our return to the village."
Apparently a photograph was taken of the team's success, but no pictures of my father's early life passed down the family. Unfortunately I only had a broad indication of year for the event, which made tracing it in local newspapers difficult. In an effort to find out more, I contacted Broseley Historical Society who put my enquiry on their online newsletter. I am delighted to say I heard from three members of the society with more personal memories - and even better with a photograph of the winning football team. My father on the middle row right, was identified as Perce Weston. I always thought he hated his middle name Percy, but he seemed to be known by that in school records.
This is the earliest photograph I have of my father and I am so grateful to the Society for filing this gap in my family history.
|My father is on the right of the middle row, identified as Perce Weston. |
My father retained his love of football all his life and was an avid watcher of matches on television right up to his death at the age of 91.
Does anyone remember from their childhood scratchy knitted swimsuits with straps, which turned heavy, soggy and uncomfortable if you ventured into water? Here is my 3 year old brother sporting one, which I have no doubt was knitted by my mother.
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