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Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Memories of My Dad - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Wk.24.

"Dads" is this week's  theme  from Amy Johnson Crow's year- long challenge "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks"

My Dad - John P. Weston (1912-2003) was born in Bilston, near Wolverhampton Staffordshir,  in the English Midlands,  the third child of Albert Ernest Weston and Mary Barbara Matthews.  He hated his middle name Percy and always signed himself J. P. Weston.  When I came to research his early life, though, I found that in school log books and in a church presentation prayer book he is referred to as Percy or Perce  Weston.    

in 1919, the family moved to Broseley, near Ironbridge in Shropshire.  Dad was always very proud to have grown up in this  historical centre of England's Industrial Revolution and had fond memories of his years there.   But Wolverhampton always remained his favoured team when it came to football - his life long love. 
The famous 100 feet span of the Ironbridge, linking Broseley  and Ironbridge, completed in 1779.   My grandfather Albert Ernest Weston had a 35 minute walk (one way), crossing the bridge to Coalbrookdale where he worked in the Power House.  
I have hardly any photographs of my father before he met my mother, so i was delighted to get this one from my cousin.  Here is Dad with his brother Charles, both looking very suave in the smart casual style of the day.  c.1936.

 My parents on their wedding day, 1938

Below is a typical family photo from the 1950's taken by my aunt when we were on holiday.  In those days there was no radio in the car, so we had to make our own ways  of passing the time  more quickly. We sang silly songs such as "There is jam, jam mixed up with the  spam in the stores, in the stores" and adding our own verses - I think it was a wartime song.  Dad was a commercial traveller at the time, working for the Beecham Pharmaceutical Group and we made up this  song which I still member today.
A hermit he lived in the hills
Living off his Beecham pills
He took two in the morning and two at night
To keep himself so merry and bright


This bureau  was a wedding present from my mother and   was an important part of the furniture.  I can date this photograph to around 1961, as it was in our new home in Edinburgh,   shortly after we moved there from the north of England,  My aunt (Dad's sister in law)  died soon after  of lung cancer.  Dad, who had been a regular smoker for over 20 years,  immediately stopped smoking and never touched a cigarette again.  

Dad  had left school at 14  years old to work in a local grocer's shop.   Like many of his generation, he continued his education in a "self taught" manner.  He also  had an interest in journalism and it was a familiar sight to see him seated at the small typewriter on his bureau.  He was either ploughing through the paperwork of his job   or keeping in touch with his mother, sister and brothers  by letter. 

Wherever  we lived, (and we moved around a lot) Dad threw himself into the local community - he was a people person, a "joiner" and  an organizer of fetes and festivities in the church and village - so out came the typewriter again for "to do " lists, letters  and press releases.   

Dad was a regular contributor of  letters to local newspapers - my mother was not too happy about this,  as he could get,  in return,  political brickbats from people of divergent views.  

He also prepared talks on a variety of topics  to present  to local societies and I have the originals of his typed scripts. 

Dad often talked about his boyhood and also of  his war-time  experiences and I am afraid it did provoke the reaction “Not the war again, Dad”. We also used to joke about him being in the Intelligence Branch.  It was only later that we came to realise what a life-defining period it was and  I persuaded him to write (type) his memoirs.  He would ave loved the world of blogging!

 A page from Dad's typing of his early life

I am so pleased I have these now, as they, with the wartime correspondence between my parents (discovered after their deaths),   formed the basis of two narratives I have written  based on Dad's memories.


Two photographs, taken 1965, shortly before I left home to work in the USA for a year.

 A proud dad - and a proud daughter!


Mum and Dad  with the telegram from the Queen to mark their 60th wedding anniversary in  1998.  Sadly my mother died shortly afterwards.

I was often told I took after my mother, but in later life I realised that in many respects I had inherited traits from my father - I liked organising things, I liked writing,  I had an interest in current affairs.  and I was a"joiner" involving myself in the community. Thank you Dad.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


  1. Very nice. Enjoyed getting a glimpse of your dad -- and you.

    1. Thank you, Joan, it was a nostalgic post to write.


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