My English Grandparents

Alfred Thomas Marlborough – My paternal Grandfather

Alfred Thomas Marlborough was born on December 29, 1879, to Henry Marlborough and Sarah Eliza Marlborough/Ashby of 37 Ironmonger Street.  He was baptised at St. Lukes Finsbury, on May 7, 1880.  Henry is listed as a labourer in the baptismal record.

In the 1881 census, the 2 year old Alfred T. is living with his parents and siblings at 38 Ironmonger Street.  Henry’s occupation is labourer and Alfred’s older siblings are listed as scholars, except his eldest brother William J (15) who does not have an occupation listed.

I think these are 4 of the 7 Marlborough brothers. Alfred Thomas is at the left.

In 1891 he is part of a very large family living at 37 Ironmonger Street.  The family are: Henry Marlborough – 48 (father), Sarah E Marlborough – 46 (mother), and siblings: Edward G Marlborough – 21, Harry J Marlborough – 18, Louisa E Marlborough – 15, Annie E Marlborough – 13, Alfred T Marlborough – 11, Florence A Marlborough – 9, Albert F Marlborough – 7, Walter C Marlborough – 5.  Henry is now listed as a warehouse man, as is Edward G.  Harry is a packing case maker and Louisa is a pupil teacher.  All the others are listed as scholars (i.e. in school).  William is no longer living with the family at the age of 25.

Ironmonger Street no longer exists.  We can see it on the 1869 map, but it is now in the middle of an open space and no trace appears. It would have run across the present Radnor Park from the middle entrance to St Lukes Garden behind Bartholomew Square to Lizard Street. 

Click twice on the maps below to get an expanded view.

On Booth’s Poverty map of London from the late 1890s this street is shown in PINK: Fairly comfortable. Good ordinary earnings.

In 1901 most of the family are still together, although Harry has left and the family is now living at 5 Elmore Street.  Family member’s jobs are listed as:  Henry and Edward G are oil and colour warehousemen;  Louisa and Florence are teachers; Annie is a dressmaker; Alfred T is a labourer in a sundries warehouse; Albert F is an engineering draughtsman and Walter C is an office lad.

In 1911 the family are still mostly together.  Henry has died and Sarah is now the head of the household and listed as a widow.  They are living at 2 Digby Road, Stoke Newington.  Edward is now a Labourer (colourman), Louisa an assistant teacher with the London County Council, Annie appears to be unemployed, Alfred Thomas is a loading porter at a distillery (Buchanan’s who made Black and White whiskey), Albert is an engineering draughtsman and Walter is now a Furrier’s Clerk.

Digby Road is now called Digby Crescent.

Jane Maria Brittain – My paternal Grandmother

Jane Maria was born on June 5th, 1879, in Islington, to Samuel Brittain and Martha Brittain/Brown.  Martha must have registered the birth.  She made her mark as a cross so she couldn’t write which explains why Jane was registered as Jane Brittan.  The copy of her birth certificate that I have was produced for Jane to go to school.

Jane was baptised on June 22.  Her parents were listed as Samuel and Martha Brittan of St. Philip St. and Samuel was registered as a milkman.  It’s not clear where the baptism took place, but most likely it was St Philips.

The 1881 Census shows her living at 2 St Philip St, Islington, with her parents and two month old sister Martha. St Philip St is now St Philip’s Way.  On Booth’s Poverty map of London from the late 1890s this street is shown in PURPLE: Mixed. Some comfortable others poor. 

On 15/11/1886 Jane was admitted to Angler’s Gardens School. This school was located in a very rundown street and Angler’s Gardens itself was demolished in 1877.  It ran off Popham Road towards Lower Road, but didn’t go through.  The entry in the school register indicates that the family were now living at 45 Popham Road, Islington.  Granny had come up from Angler’s Gardens Infants school where she had spent 3.5 years  She continued to Standard 5 which she entered in 1890.  By then, the school was called Popham Road School.  It is now called Charles Lamb School.  She left on 26/12/1891 aged 12.  I think she continued with school till she was 14, but I’m not sure.  Her sister and brother (Martha and Edward) also attended the same school.

In 1891, the family were still living at 45 Popham Road.  Samuel Brittain is listed in the census as a labourer.  In 1901 the whole family is still in the same house, but Samuel Brittain works as a “drug grinder”, Jane and sister Martha are both “box makers – cardboard” and Edward is a “tailors cutter”.  In 1911, they are still all in the same place and doing the same jobs.  On Booth’s Poverty map of London from the late 1890s this street is also shown in PURPLE: Mixed. Some comfortable others poor.

Beach Party in the Early 1900s – Jane and Alfred are on the left of the photo

Jane Marlborough/Brittain and Alfred Thomas Marlborogh Married Life

Jane Maria Brittain married Alfred Thomas Marlborough on March 30, 1918 at St Philip the Evangelist Church in Islington.  Jane’s father, Samuel was listed as a Railway Porter, while Alfred’s father, Harry was listed as a (deceased) Oil and Colourman.  Jane was living at 8 Canon St and Alfred at 8 Mattison Road, Harringay.

The electoral record for 1918 shows Jane and Alfred Marlborough living at 73 Arlington St.

On June 8, 1919 their son, Alfred Edward Marlborough was born.

In 1922 through 1939 the electoral rolls show that Jane and Alfred Thomas Marlborough remained at 73 Arlington Street (now called Arlington Avenue).  Also living in the same house through the period were their very good friends Alice and Alfred Lys.  The area near their house was hit 4 times by high incendiary bombs during the Blitz and there could have been other bombs later in the war.  I’m not sure how long they stayed in the house, although my mother said they were still there in 1944.

Jane Brittain Marlborough and Alfred Thomas Marlborough in the early 1940s

I have no electoral roll evidence of residence for Jane or Alfred Thomas during WWII.  However, in 1945 Alfred Edward was listed at 41 Ecclesbourne Road.  Where were his wife and parents?  It looks as though he stayed there for a few months, then Jane and Alfred Thomas took over when he moved to Elmore St.

In 1946, Jane and Alfred Thomas are listed at 41 Ecclesbourne Road along with Nathanial G. Turnell.  This is “Uncle George”, Jane’s brother-in-law and widower of her sister Martha who died in 1945. 

Alfred Thomas died in 1947.  He was buried on November 19, 1947 in Islington Cemetery which is located in East Finchley. George Turnell died in 1949. 

In 1950/51 Jane moved to 57 Ockendon Road to live with us.  In 1959 the whole family moved to Stanmore where Jane continued to live with us till her death in 1967 at the age of 86.  Jane is buried in Harrow Weald Cemetery.

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This is the view from my workroom. The snow started early this morning and it has been snowing on and off since then. We’re expecting it to last through the evening. The treed area on the left belongs to a couple of our next-door neighbours and the newly built garage on the right belongs to others. Our land actually adjoins 8 other properties.

Our driveway is very steep – it gets steeper as you climb up to the road. This is why we have a 4-wheel drive vehicle. We can get up it, but I’m not sure about the neighbours on the right, or the people working on the garage. I think there’s some snow shovelling in our future!

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75 Today and reminiscing …

me and my Mum!

Having reached 3/4 of a century I thought I would start sharing some of my family history. I’m going to start with me and my parents and then work back through grand-parents, great-grandparents, etc.

So here goes …

I was born on December 17, 1945 at Royal Northern Hospital to Sarah Ilter/Marlborough and Alfred Edward Marlborough.

Sally Marlborough

I’ll start the family history with my Mum. I don’t really know when she was born.  She told my father that her birthday was September 15, 1919 but she later claimed that she was actually older than him.  I believe she was born between 1913 and 1919.  She was born in Istanbul to Jaques and Marguerite Abravanel.  The family changed their name to Ilter sometime after she was born – probably after the revolution that brought Attaturk to power.  Here are some pictures of Sarah (or Sally, as she was known in England) taken before she was married.

It’s very unlikely that I will be able to find any records of my Turkish family because many have been destroyed and what’s there is written in Cyrillic or Hebrew.  Most of what I know is anecdotal and I will write about it another time.  The main focus of my family research so far has been my English family. 

Mum and Dad’s wedding photo 14/12/1944

However, I do know she married my father in 1944.  There were three marriage certificates and two ceremonies.  This was all done on the same day – 14th December. 

First they were married in a Turkish Registry Office.  I don’t have that certificate.  Secondly they were married by the British Consul General.  He issued a marriage certificate and so did the British Army.  Sarah came to Britain in 1945, some time before the war ended.

Here are some more pictures of Sally and Alf from the time when they were in Istambul.

Alf Marlborough

Born June 8, 1919 to Alfred Thomas Marlborough and Jane Maria Brittain Marlborough my Dad lived at 73 Arlington Street with his parents; presumably he was born there.  This is a picture of Alfred at an early age.  I believe he is in the garden at Arlington Street with Annie Lys who lived in the same house and was a good friend of my grandmother. 

This is a picture of 73 Arlington Ave (the street names have all been changed and it’s possible that the house numbers are different too. However, most of the houses look the same as they did when I was a girl and I can remember my Dad showing me the actual house.

If this is the right house, it was badly damaged in WWII.

Alfred Edward was apprenticed to the Cleansing Department of Islington Borough Council in 1936 to learn the trade of “fitter and turner”.  His apprenticeship should have lasted for 5 years (till 1941) but it was extended because he was called up to serve in the Army during World War II.  His apprenticeship finally finished in 1946.

Below are a couple of pictures of Alf holidaying with his parents followed by a couple of photos of him in Istambul.

Alfred was sent to the Middle East with the REME and ended up in Istanbul where he met and married Sarah Ilter on December 14, 1944.  His marriage certificate shows him to be a Staff Sergeant (No. 7617341).   He returned to England with Sarah before the end of the war.  Sarah reported that they expected to live with Alfred’s parents, but they were living in a bomb damaged house.

More later …..

75 Today and reminiscing … Read More »

SHHS Photo

WARNING: Be careful if you try to click on the two links in the next paragraph. The files are huge and take a long time to download! Panning and zooming on the .pdf especially takes a long time, so don’t keep clicking – just wait for something to happen 😉

I have been talking to some old school friends and one of them mentioned the school photo that was taken in 1961. In order to have a really good look during our next Zoom meeting I’ve scanned it at 400dpi. My scanner can’t take anything that long, so I did it in 4 sections and those are shown below. However, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I decided to combine it back into one photo using Photoshop, and then exported it to a .pdf so I could pan the photo and zoom in on the details if I needed to. I was amazed to see that the whole photo turned out to be 43 megabytes and the pdf is 186 meg! Each of the original jpegs is less than 2 meg, so it shows how much extra stuff goes into photoshop files and pdfs!

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Thanksgiving Greetings!

Today, as lockdown 2 ends, they announced approval of the first vaccine. So we’ve had an elated, attenuated, belated Thanksgiving.

Yes, we had our Thanksgiving dinner today. We were planning to have it last Thursday with friends, but lockdown 2 prevented that. We went ahead and ordered the turkey but decided to reduce the amount of food we were planning to cook. And then the appointment came through from the hospital – I found myself booked in to have a minor op to remove some skin cancer from my hand on Thanksgiving day. This is no surprise as we don’t officially celebrate Thanksgiving over here. We just do it because we’ve done it for years and we like the idea of a feast day with no presents and minimal religious overtones.

We delayed our turkey order for a week. I was wandering around with a big bandage on my hand while John was preparing a meal of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, with baked potatoes from the garden and Turkish-style braised green beans in tomato sauce. For dessert John made his first ever pumpkin pie. He used fresh pumpkin and it was served with cream. It was beautiful and delicious.

We’re thankful for a lot of things right now. The wonderful NHS continues to deal with the covid crisis, in spite of all the dreadful things our last few governments have thrown at it. Locally the people of the Strettons have banded together to protect the vulnerable and lonely and to keep everyone safe, well fed and protected.

I’m also thankful to Jackie Banfield for lending me her amazing Limbo! 😉

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The Spring Peak

Now is the time of peak spring flowers in our garden. I’m not going to write anything, this is just a gallery of shots taken in the last couple of weeks. As usual, you can click on a thumbnail to see a bigger version.

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May Day

It’s May, but we’re having April showers today! There has even been some hail! The warm and sunny weather finally broke last week and we heaved a sigh of relief when we realised we didn’t have to water the garden for a while. Now, several days of rain have limited our outside work, but the garden doesn’t care – it’s burgeoning with new growth and more and more flowers are appearing.

Today I’d like to start in the pond – well beside it, anyway. The frogs spawned in late February and the spawn lasted for some time. Of course, that attracted the newts and we spent several evenings watching them on the hunt around the edges of the spawn mass. The tadpoles continue to eat the spawn “jelly” for some time, but they crowd together for safety in the middle of it. Slowly the tadpoles disappeared. I doubt if they’ve all been eaten, but with all the mighty hunters in the pond they keep a very low profile once they are swimming free. We may see one or two as the summer progresses, or we may see a tiny frog as it leaves the pond later in the season, but if we do it’s just luck.

Meanwhile the newts have been getting frisky. It’s now the mating season. To attract the females, the males use their tails to flick pheromones through the water towards them. You can see them cruising through the water, with several males following each female in the hope of being the one to pass on their sperm packages. You can see a full description of the process here along with some much better pictures than I have managed to take.

I’m using the lockdown to catch up on various jobs and projects. One of them is to learn to use my camera. I have had it in auto mode for too long! I am learning to do a few more things with it, which is why I was able to get better pictures of the pond life. However, I realise I have a long way to go before I get really adept at changing settings, focusing and shooting quickly!

As the earth warms up, lots of interesting plants are showing up in the garden. I love the young ferns, the bluebells, the red maples and the apple blossom. Here’s a selection of photos taken over the last couple of weeks. Click on a photo to see it more clearly.

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An update

Hello again! May I introduce you to our resident Great Spotted Woodpecker. He spends a lot of time in our garden and in the trees on the bank above our house. Take a good look at the picture and you can see that he is hanging onto the fat feeder with one claw! Yes, he only has one leg. He’s been hanging around since last autumn, so he made it through the winter and he’s a lovely sight to see. He seems to be able to feed himself well enough, in spite of his disability, but from watching how difficult it is for him to perch on a branch I doubt if he will be able to mate or rear offspring.

These are scary times. We have been staying at home and trying to get on with jobs. I have to admit I am bored. I would love to go out for a ride in the car, or visit a friend, or take a trip to another part of the country. But I know that this is going to have to wait till the Covid crisis is over.

At present all we can do is phone, text, email, and skype our friends while we tidy, sort, file, clean and garden. So gardening and and observing the plants and animals in the garden have become even more important than usual.

Let’s start with the pots in front of the shed. In autumn I planted up lots of bulbs. The daffs are in full bloom now, and they have two or three flowers on each stem. The tulips I planted below the daffs are almost ready to bloom, so we should have a good show by next week.

The acer that the Turners gave us is just budding now. Paul will be pleased to see that I have weeded out most of the ground elder!

Unfortunately, I also sprained my knee while doing the weeding here, so I’ve had a good excuse to avoid kneeling for the last few days!

Along the edge of the stream I have been doing a lot of clearing. I daren’t dig out the brambles as I’m afraid they are keeping the stream bank together, but by cutting them back I’ve exposed the shrubs and other plants which are growing there.

As the garden grows towards it’s flowering peak in May we can see the other acer is also putting out its leaves. These are a gorgeous deep red which will soon be complimenting the azaleas and rhodedendrons that surround them.

On the right of the above set of pictures you can see a new arrival. This suddenly appeared in the garden for the first time this year. From the oniony smell of the leaves and the bulbils on the flower stalk I decided it’s an allium, but I was a bit dismayed to find out it’s the invasive Allium paradoxum or “few-flowered leek”. Two clumps have appeared this spring in different parts of the garden. The good news is that you can keep it under control by eating it!

The early daffodils are starting to fade now and I’ve been deadheading them, but there are still plenty about and there are some lovely varieties.

Meanwhile in the mini meadow we now have cowslips and the red currants are blooming.

Gooseberries are blossoming and the apple flower buds are swelling, too. However, this plant with the lovely blue flowers is the dreaded green alkanet – attractive in small quantities, but unfortunately it won’t stay in one place!

Another flower is doing it’s thing at the bottom of the garden right now. This is Erythronium ‘pagoda’. It’s a relative of the dog-toothed violet here in the UK and of the Trout Lily in the US. Every year it seems to be getting bigger and stronger, and while it doesn’t last long it is truly beautiful while it’s out.

An update Read More »