Month: December 2020

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 …..

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!

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! 😉