Object Biography – Pfaff 30 Sewing Machine

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PfaffAnnie Mottershead was born in Cheshire, England, in 1921 and at the age of thirty, after witnessing the horrors of World War II in their home country, Annie, her husband and three young daughters decided to make a fresh start in Australia.

Growing up in a predominately female family, Annie’s interest in fashion naturally led to sewing. After the war years, with three daughters to clothe, Annie would sit beside the wireless each night listening to her favourite shows, whilst hand sewing dresses for her daughters.

Arriving in Australia in 1951 with few material possessions, Annie continued to hand-sew clothing for her girls. Around the mid-1950’s, once the family had ‘got themselves on their feet’ in their new country, a newspaper advert caught Annie’s eye for a Pfaff sewing machine. She couldn’t resist the opportunity to own her very own, time saving, electric sewing machine!

The first Pfaff sewing machine was built 1862. Originally made for industrial use only, Pfaff expanded into the domestic sewing machine market in 1931. By the 1950’s the Pfaff 30 electric sewing machine was produced. Although similar in looks to its heavyweight predecessor, the treadle machine, the innovative Pfaff 30 was manufactured from lightweight aluminium with a wooden carry case, making the machine easier to carry. (Information source http://www.pfaff.com/en-AU/About – accessed 22nd August, 2016.)

The Pfaff 30 is a straight sewing machine (there is no function for zig-zag or fancy embroidery stitches) which requires a basic presser foot. Other foot attachments included are an edge stitcher with a quilting gauge, a zipper foot and three different sized hemming feet.

A new dress for Jo – from the family photo collection.

A new dress for Jo – from the family photo collection.

A few years after Annie purchased her Pfaff, I was born. Being the fourth daughter of a very talented seamstress, I reaped the benefit of Annie’s expertise and always wore beautiful new dresses as a child.

While growing up, I loved to watch my mother sew at her machine. She constantly reminded me not to put my fingers too close to the needle while the machine was in use, as she had once had the needle sew right through her finger! The incident happened when Annie was in the process of making bridesmaid dresses for my eldest sister’s wedding. Needless to say, a trip to the doctor was the only way to extract the needle, while Annie was left with a painful memory. Many more beautiful wedding outfits were created by Annie throughout the years and she always took care to keep her own fingers clear of the sewing needle.

Annie was often complimented for her talent in sewing. Lacking formal training, she nonetheless could make any garment for any occasion, choosing beautiful fabrics to complete her creations. My sisters’ and I hold many happy memories of the selfless hours our mother spent at the sewing machine, making clothes for all of us.

The original sewing machine manual and accessories tin.

The original sewing machine manual and accessories tin.

It seemed a natural progression, due to my interest in sewing, that my mother should teach me to sew. Using her Pfaff sewing machine, during my teenage years, I made a number of outfits for myself (with mum’s help, of course!) which later led to a lifelong career in manufacturing school uniforms in my own business.

The reason why my mother and I shared such a depth of enthusiasm for sewing remained a mystery until the advent of the internet, which allowed me to research my family history. Dotted throughout my mother’s maternal family, I have discovered a wide array of relatives, both men and women, in the sewing industry, including garment dyers, jacket machinists, shirt finishers, sewing machinists and basic dressmakers.

Annie treasured her sewing machine her entire lifetime. After her four daughters were grown, she continued to sew and the simple straight sewing mechanism suited her home decorator requirements. Annie enjoyed changing the appearance of the rooms in her home as the seasons changed, by making different coloured curtains and cushion covers with her Pfaff.

Neatly tucked away inside the sewing table.

Neatly tucked away inside the sewing table.

None of my three older sisters showed an interest in sewing, so when mum passed away I was the lucky recipient of her sewing machine. My mother had found a lovely, old style sewing table for her machine which I inherited with the machine and for the past twenty-three years (almost to the day, as I write) I have treasured and admired my mother’s sewing machine in my own home.

I still have the original case the sewing machine came in, along with the instruction book and tin of attachments. Occasionally, I pack the machine into its carry case and take it to a sewing centre to have it serviced and as a result, the machine still sews beautifully! I have a number of sewing machines which I have bought myself, but mum’s Pfaff will always be dear to me. The straight sewing stitch is ideal for quilting, a hobby that I have enjoyed for years, in fact, one of the first items I made on mum’s Pfaff as a teenager was a quilt, made out of various fabric scraps mum had stashed away over the years. My youngest daughter is now the proud owner of that quilt.

My mother’s Pfaff sewing machine has continued to be loved and used in my family for over sixty years. It isn’t only the practical use of the sewing machine which makes it a priceless possession, but also the memories of a lifetime.

Giving Our Ancestors A Voice

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Hare & Hounds

The Hare & Hounds Photo by Keith Talbot

My love of writing, combined with an obsession for family history, led me to a new and unexplored Place of Learning last year. I signed up for a short course with the University of Tasmania, “Writing Family History”, which has opened up a whole new world to me, one which I’ve been edging around for years, that of Giving My Ancestors A Voice.

As any addict of tracing their family will tell you, during the hours of research into our beloved, yet unknown ancestors lives, our imaginations provide a running commentary of how they may have lived their day to day lives, how they felt during times of joy and heartbreak, and the words they no doubt would have spoken. We hear their accents, we feel their pain…

…we begin to love them. And when that final discovery of a death certificate is unearthed from amid the millions of archived records, we often shed tears, crying for the ancestor we have grown to love, that man or woman born in 1817, whom we have travelled throughout the journey of their worldly existence with…that written proof of their demise is a blow to our soul.

The view from Werneth Low.

The view from Werneth Low, Photo by Keith Talbot.

For the first six weeks of the Writing Family History course, minus a break during Christmas, students were asked to write a short story of a moment in time, no more than two-hundred-and-fifty words in total, in which we would bring our ancestors to life.

At the conclusion of the six weeks, our final task allowed us to let our hair down and write to our heart’s content, bearing in mind the limit of our heart’s rampage be reined in when it reached one-thousand words.

As I sat at my computer one morning, poised to begin my first one-thousand-word draft in which my three times great-grandfather would play the lead role in my imagination, I found that the voice inside my head was that of my mother. Mum took over at the key-board, she had her own story to tell. And here it is ~

King Walter Meets The Queen

Her hands trembled, opening the envelope. She’d been waiting for the post daily, knowing her sister would send the newspaper clippings from England when they were published. Such excitement, and in her own family too!

She carefully removed the letter from the envelope, opened the pages, and neatly folded within a letter, she found the clippings she had been waiting for.

Annie settled herself in a chair in the kitchen, a freshly brewed cup of tea beside her. Opening the newspaper article, she recognised her brother immediately. He hadn’t changed that much in the eighteen years since she’d left England and sailed to Australia. The faces of loved ones are always remembered, no matter how many years pass by. 

Saved and treasured.

Saved and treasured.

There was Walter, all smiles. Annie read the article with great anticipation. He’d donated three-quarters of an acre of land from the farm to plant a thirty-foot tall sycamore tree. There was a plaque unveiling too, by the Queen of England!

If only there had been someone at home to share this with, Annie thought to herself, as she looked at the photo of the Queen, smiling at Walter, holding his outstretched hand…good heavens, she held his right hand, the one he’d lost three fingers on! The Queen seemed not to have noticed, by the look of her relaxed smile. Annie chuckled as fond memories of her brother flooded her mind. Thank goodness the Queen always wore gloves, she probably hadn’t even noticed.

Annie smiled, remembering how Walter had always looked after her, like a second father. His son Billy was only three years younger than her, and even though Walter had his own home and family, he’d always made sure their larder at home was full of fresh food from the farm. She hadn’t even been aware of the Great Depression in the nineteen-thirties, thanks to Walter’s generosity.

Cow-heels for stew, eggs newly laid each day, fresh vegetables, creamy milk fresh from the cows, and, oh dear, those chickens she had to pluck! Annie shook her head, as she recalled those days of her childhood, trudging up the hill to Ash Tree Farm, rugged up against the cold. She must have been a sight to see, heading back home to Hyde Road, a lifeless chicken dangling from each hand, still adorned with feathers. She shuddered, wondering how she’d managed to clean and cook the dead birds for her family, without even so much as a grimace. 

As she refilled her empty tea cup, Annie recalled her childhood, how she’d been expected to help out, especially when mam became ill. Children in those days were to be seen and not heard, do their chores and question nothing. In some ways a hard life, yet many fond memories lingered.

Her thoughts turned to her mother, as the ghosts of the past continued to invade her mind.  Walter had always treated her mam well, made sure she never went without. Walter wasn’t mam’s son, but oh she would have been so proud to know he’d been presented to the Queen! And their dad, well, she imagined he would’ve had to tell all his cronies at the pub all about his posh son if he’d lived to see the day.

Her thoughts returned to the present, and Annie read further into the article. The Queen had thanked Walter for the land, to which he’d replied, ‘It’s a pleasure.’ Imagine that, they’ve quoted my brother in the paper, Annie thought, bursting with pride, especially after she read that Walter was the uncrowned ‘King of Werneth Low’. 

What a job it had been for Walter and Mary Ann after their publican’s licence came through, renovating the pub next to the farm when they first moved to The Low in 1928 with young Billy.

With no electricity and no tap water, they’d had to collect water from a nearby well. Never mind water though, all Walter needed was his beer and ‘his’ chair in the pub, and he was happy. Annie laughed as she remembered Walter’s saying, ‘More Drink, Less Talk.’

The sound of the front door opening jolted Annie back to the present again and the ghosts of the past disappeared.

‘Sam!’ she called, rushing to her husband to greet him as he walked through the front door. ‘Edie sent the newspaper clippings, you should see our Walter with the Queen! ‘Ere, I’ll boil the jug and make another cup of tea…come on then, sit down!’ she ordered. Finally, Annie had someone to show off her brother’s day of glory to.

…………………………………………….

I have the newspaper clippings Annie received from England, dated 1967, lovingly saved between the pages of a photo album, which I inherited. Annie, the story-teller, was my mother. 

In another newspaper article, celebrating Walter’s fifty years in 1978 as publican of the ‘Hare and Hounds’, Walter was quoted as saying ‘…the highlight of his life was in 1967 when he was introduced to the Queen during her North West tour.’ 

Fifty Years...

Fifty Years…

As a child, born to an English family after they immigrated to Australia, I became fascinated by the old stories of England. I looked forward to rainy days when mum and I would share cups of tea and I would curl up beside her and say, ‘Tell me stories about England, Mummy.’

‘I have no more stories left to tell you!’ she’d complain, and I would ask her to tell me the same ones again. Mum and I were opposites, she wanted to make new memories, whilst I longed for the old stories, the history.

Tirelessly she repeated them, humouring her strange daughter who was totally besotted by cold old England, the country Annie had wanted to leave, ‘to get warm’.

I write this story, one of many told to me by my mum, to pass on to future generations, to those strange little children yet to be born, who will also ask their parents to tell them the stories of the olden days.

……………………………………………

Uncle Walter in 'his' chair at the pub, with mum's sister, Edie, who sent her the newspaper clippings.

Uncle Walter in ‘his’ chair at the pub, with mum’s sister, Edie, who sent her the newspaper clippings.

Florence Edith Thompson

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Florence Edith Thompson.

Florence Edith Thompson.

Grandma…hold me
a Little Longer…
Rock me a little more…
Tell me another story…
(You’ve only told me four)
Let me sleep on
Your shoulder…
I love your happy smile…
I’ll always love you…
Grandma…so stay
with me a while.
~ Author Unknown.

Granny. I knew her ~ I loved her ~

She sprinkled star dust over her stories, each and every one of them, and I was her captive audience of one.

It has been often said that my granny didn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. She was theatrical. She craved attention. And she drew me in like a moth to a flame when she began her stories, and for hours, I listened. And remembered her words.

And I always remember her. ~ Jo.

Florence Edith Thompson

17th January, 1897 ~ 28th June, 1973

Born Salford, Lancashire, England

The details of the early life of Florence Edith Thompson were always questionable. She spoke of brothers and sisters who were long ago dead and buried, of the children she referred to as “her children”, yet long gone. And of the Irish Catholic mother who she barely even knew, due to the short time she had lived, leaving Florence virtually alone, with just her father, and even he didn’t seem to have been in her life for long. She spoke of people she had met, famous people. The family doubted her, said she was dreaming. I was advised to take all of her stories with a grain of salt.

My early learning of anything relating to superstitions, the supernatural, and ghost stories all began with Granny. What a mysterious lady she was!

The conflicting reactions from my family toward Granny had me bewildered. Whilst on the one hand, those whom I knew and trusted warned me not to believe the stories Granny told me, yet to me, she seemed so believable, so sincere. But what did I know? The young have not lived long enough to have developed the ability to decipher the truth from fiction, I was told. And yet…..

Without any encouragement from my family, I paid close attention to Granny. If she wasn’t telling me the truth, how did she come up with so many details of the incidence she described? And when I asked her to continue an unfinished story, how would she be able to continue on from where she left off, correcting me if I repeated something back to her, if I had even the slightest detail wrong?

A young family in the 1920's ~ Florence, Sam, William and my dad, young Sam.

A young family in the 1920’s ~ Florence, Sam, William and my dad, young Sam.

So many stories, so many unanswered questions. Truth or fiction? My family never knew what to think about granny. But she was my granny, dad’s mum, so I looked up to her, talked to her, admired her tenacity. I knew that the life she had led had been a colourful one, so I listened to her stories, intrigued, holding onto her words, remembering them.

We knew that Granny had been born in Manchester, England, and her birthday was the 17th of January. We sent her birthday cards every year, and we knew her age, as her birth year was 1897.

Dad had a copy of her marriage certificate to his father. They were married in Manchester, England, on the 28th June, 1919.

Granny was a carer. She fed people, nursed them when they were ill, and took in stray cats. And she sang to herself, and constantly hummed a tune as she went about her day.

A young Florence, with her two sons, William and Sam.

A young Florence, with her two sons, William and Sam.

The life of Florence Edith Thompson ended on the 28th of June, 1973, in a hospital bed in Dubbo, N.S.W. Australia. I traveled with my parents to Dubbo to attend her funeral, and the only feeling I can remember is one of numbness. The freezing cold Dubbo winter could have been partially to blame, but it wasn’t just the cold air, it was the people. I didn’t see one single person shed a tear for my grandmother, and I would like to think that, as with me, tears were shed privately.

The funeral began late, and when the hearse finally pulled into the church yard, smoking and spluttering, the apologetic undertakers were most concerned as to why their almost new vehicle had broken down on the way. As I stood nearby, shivering, awaiting the time when we could all take up our places in the warmth of the church building, cats, in fact many, many cats, scurried around the yard. How very appropriate for my cat loving grandmother to be so well attended by her feline friends at this time.

Inside the church, I listened to a minister speaking of a lady I knew nothing of, a lady who visited the aged and sick in hospitals and nursing homes, always willing to take the lead in bringing music into the lives of the elderly, singing the old songs they knew, encouraging them to sing along. The minister had known my granny, he knew of the sunshine she had brought into many a sad day, her loving nature, the care she showed to others.

Sitting in the church pew that day, as my teeth chattered and my legs shook from the cold, I saw candles flickering, as if touched by a gentle breeze. I pointed the flickering candles out to my mum. No doors were open; perhaps they were decorative, electric candles, she whispered. After the service, we investigated. The wax, hand-lit candles had flickered, in the stillness of the church. How surreal. And how very Granny. She knew just how to let us know she was there.

My father, Sam, with his mother, Florence, who he always called "Florry".

My father, Sam, with his mother, Florence, who he always called “Florry”.

Over thirty years passed by, along with my parents, yet the mystery of Granny’s life remained.

It wasn’t until the early 2000’s, after the onset of the internet and the emerging Genealogy sites containing records of births, deaths and marriages and census information, that I have finally been able to begin to unravel the mystery of the life of Florence Edith Thompson.

Florence was born in Salford, England, on January 17th, 1897, to William Thompson and Mary Catherine Kemp. According to Census records, Mary was also born in Salford, but to an Irish mother, hence the stories of Ireland. Unfortunately, Mary passed away when Granny was only a young girl of eleven years of age.

Florence had a half-brother, Samuel Rubery Thompson, seventeen years her senior, and a younger sister, Lilian Thompson, who didn’t live past infancy.

The family in 1942 ~ daughter, Margaret, daughter-in-law, Annie (my mother), Florence, Annie's sister, Edith, and husband, Sam.

The family in 1942 ~ daughter, Margaret, daughter-in-law, Annie (my mother), Florence, Annie’s sister, Edith, and husband, Sam.

By the time Florence was fourteen, according to the 1911 Census records, she worked as a servant in a private home, in Old Trafford, Manchester. The records show her employers were a husband and wife, with twin daughters. With the stories Granny told of “her” children, I have to wonder how many other children were born to the couple she worked for? Or did she leave their employ, moving on to another family to care for?

Little is known of the life Florence led between 1911 and 1919, when she married Samuel Mottershead, although my cousin told me that she remembered hearing a story of our grandmother from her younger years….Granny had wanted to be an actress, and spent some time with stage actors near to her home. When her father found out how his daughter had been spending her days, she was forbidden to see the performers again. Poor Granny, she must have spent the rest of her years longing to be in the spotlight.

Florence and Samuel Mottershead were the parents of my father, Samuel Rubery Mottershead, and his three younger siblings ~ William, Margaret, and Ronald. Samuel had fought in World War 1 prior to their marriage, resulting in ill-health for many years, ending with his passing away in 1946.

Before leaving England, my parents took Granny to the cemetery to see my grandfather's grave, one last time.

Before leaving England, my parents took Granny to the cemetery to see my grandfather’s grave, one last time.

On the 30th of December, 1948, a fifty-two year old Florence boarded the ship “Orontes” in London, alone, to begin a new life in Australia.

Alice and family, with Florence, standing, second from left, in Australia.

Alice and family, with Florence, standing, second from left, in Australia.

The sister of Florence’s husband, Alice Mottershead, had emigrated to Australia as a young, single woman, and although the sisters-in-law had never met, it was to Alice’s farming home, where she lived with her husband and grown family, at Gilgandra, in the middle of New South Wales that Florence headed to, after her arrival.

Florence Thompson Mottershead and James Hughes, on their wedding day, 1951.

Florence Thompson Mottershead and James Hughes, on their wedding day, 1951.

In 1951, Florence married James Hughes, a son of Alice’s, and a man twenty-three years her junior. Throughout my childhood years I would overhear talk of the “odd” marriage of my grandmother, although the man I called Uncle Jim (through marriage, my grandfather, but also my father’s cousin) remained a constant friend and loved family member to us all.

Florence and Jim, on the farm.

Florence and Jim, on the farm.

Granny lived in the farming area around Gilgandra and Dubbo with Jim for twenty-two years, right up until her death in 1973. As a child, I remember visiting Granny and Uncle Jim on their dairy farm, and later at their home in Dubbo. A granddaughter of Alice (and niece to Jim) lives in Granny and Uncle Jim’s home to this day. I once asked her what she made of their marriage, and why she thought a man as young as Jim was would choose Granny for his wife, and she said that he cared for her, a woman alone in a new country, and they were companions, friends. The adult in me can understand such a situation completely, and I can admire Granny for her bravery, in beginning a new life on the other side of the world after the death of her first husband, and Uncle Jim, for his gentle, caring ways.

Florence, carer, lover of all animals.

Florence, carer, lover of all animals.

When I think of my Granny now, after so many years of confusion, of wondering about her story and the stories she would tell, the puzzle pieces are beginning to fit together. Talking about her to cousins has helped, and seeing her life through the eyes of an adult has helped me to understand her more.

Granny, youngest grandchild Jo (me) and Uncle Jim.

Granny, youngest grandchild Jo (me) and Uncle Jim.

My only regret now is that I didn’t spend enough time with Granny, being only a teenager myself when she died. And while she told me the stories, I should have asked more questions, and written down the details, as while so many people doubted her words, I just enjoyed playing my small part on the stage of my magical, mysterious, grandmother’s life.Granny's grave

~~~~~~

Samuel Mottershead

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Samuel Mottershead 17th April, 1915

Samuel Mottershead
17th April, 1915

To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms, but absolutely terrified of the word boo. ~ Robert Brault.

I didn’t have the opportunity of ever meeting my grandfather Samuel Mottershead, he had been gone for many years before I was born, but I grew up loving the man who I knew as “Little Granddad”. From what I heard of him from those who knew him, I know in my heart that granddad was the bravest of the brave, the kindest of the kind and would have been the perfect grandfather to his six grandchildren. No one is about to tell me otherwise, so I will hold this image of him, and the essence of my grandfather close to my heart always. ~ Jo.

Samuel Mottershead

20th August, 1890 ~ 30th April, 1946.

Born Prestwich, Manchester, Lancashire.

Samuel, and his twin brother, George Henry, were born the fifth and sixth children of Edmund Mottershead and Alice Hassall. I have only one photo of the twins and although the quality of the photo leaves a lot to be desired, it was significant to the beginning of Samuel’s life.

Twins George and Samuel.

Twins George and Samuel.

Although dressed the same, I’m guessing from the looks of the babies, they were fraternal, or non-identical twins. I’m also guessing that Samuel is the twin on the right-hand side, as I can see a resemblance to his older photos.

Samuel and George were christened on 3rd September, 1890, at Bradford, Lancashire, England. Perhaps the photo was taken at their christening.

Infants School.

Infants School.

Samuel was very small in stature. In the photo above, he is the fifth child from the left, second row from the back. Or to make it easier to locate him, look for the tiniest boy in that row, and the cutest….that’s him! The clothes worn by children going to school in the mid 1890’s were stunning, although I suspect they didn’t appreciate how charming they looked back then.

Young Samuel.

Young Samuel.

I’m sure the photo above shows the young man Samuel wearing his Sunday best. Unfortunately I don’t have the year that this photo was taken, but have seen the background setting in many other photos taken of this side of my family. I’m sure it was taken at a photographic studio, probably somewhere in Manchester, England.

Albert and Samuel.

Albert and Samuel.

Samuel and his brother Albert, who was two years older than Sam, were choir boys. I know his religion was Church of England and he grew up in Manchester, but that’s all the information I have on the possibility of where he may have sung in the choir, assuming it was a church choir. The books they are holding look like they may be church hymn books.

Samuel, the young man.

Samuel, the young man.

The next photo, above, shows Samuel slightly older, although still a young man. Again, I have no date for when the photo was taken. The photo was made into a post card, with his name, “S. Mottershead” stamped on the back of it and taken by photographer Mrs. B Goodman, from Manchester.

Albert and Sam during WW1.

Albert and Sam during WW1.

On the 11th December, 1915, Sam joined the British army at Mill Street, Manchester. According to his army record, he was five feet and half an inch tall and his address was 220 Palmerston Street, Beswick, Manchester. During his time in the army he was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Sam’s brother Albert had emigrated to Australia by the outbreak of the war and when Albert took leave whilst in the vicinity of his family, he would visit them. The above photo shows Albert, wearing his Australian army uniform, with Sam, the British soldier.

Army Regalia.

Army Regalia.

The above photo of Sam, looking tanned, moustached and wearing his army regalia was taken at the Van Ralty photography studios in Manchester.

Florence and Sam.

Florence and Sam.

It would be wonderful to know when my grandparents met, but alas I have no romantic story to tell, nor any wedding photos. Above is the earliest photo I have of the two of them together, however Samuel married Florence Edith Thompson on June the 28th, 1919, at St. Mary’s Church of England, in Beswick. I can only guess that this photo was taken at around the time of their marriage.

Sam in 1938.

Sam in 1938.

Sam and Florence were parents to three sons, Samuel, William and Ronald and a daughter, Margaret.

Samuel, the son, with Samuel, the father.

Samuel, the son, with Samuel, the father in 1941.

Sam remained active as an army volunteer throughout his life and posed proudly with his eldest son and namesake, Sam, during Sam’s time in the army during WW2.

After leaving the army, Sam’s health slowly declined. His lungs had been badly affected by the various gases used in battles during World War 1. In 1945, a year before his death, Sam wrote to his employer, the Manchester Corporation Transport Department, tendering his resignation, saying he must be “resigned to the Will of God”.

Granddad passed over on the 30th April, 1946, just two months before his third granddaughter, Vivien, was born.

In May of 1946, Granddad’s eldest sister, Alice, wrote a letter of sympathy from Australia, to my Grandma Florence. In the letter she expresses her sadness at the loss of her brother, after looking forward to the family coming to Australia. She remembered him as a lad in his twenties, loving and loved by all. Alice also talks of the strain on my Grandma, with having nursed my Granddad to the end. He was only fifty-five years of age. Granddad was laid to rest at Highfield Cemetery, Romiley, Cheshire.

Granddad's Grave.

Granddad’s Grave.

Although I wasn’t lucky enough to know my Grandfather in person, I feel as if I know him from hearing my parents talk about him as I grew up. I know that my Grandfather was an avid reader, well educated and double jointed! He was a highly respected man, well mannered and a thorough gentleman. My uncle Bill preferred not to speak of his father, who had passed away on my Uncle Bill’s birthday. He never celebrated his birthday again, due to the devastation he felt at losing his father, who he thought so highly of. I don’t think Uncle Bill ever quite got over the loss.

My parents both held Granddad in the highest esteem. My mother always referred to her father-in-law as “Mr. Mottershead”, as a sign of respect for him. She told me that she missed him after he was gone and had enjoyed talking to him. And of course, my father adored his father!

A treasured possession.

A treasured possession.

This is Little Granddad’s fob-watch, one of my most treasured possessions, which I inherited from my Granddad. Dad had it during my younger years and I often asked if I could look at it and hold it. Knowing how much I love this watch, my parents passed it on to me. It no longer works, and one hand has come adrift, but that’s okay. I can still hold this watch and know that once upon a time, many years ago, my Grandfather, a wonderful, highly respected and greatly loved man, Samuel Mottershead, held this watch in his hand too.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

 

Caught in a Time Warp ~ Whitley Bay

WB 3I treasure the many mementoes saved by my parents from so many years ago, many of which have travelled across from England to Australia with them when they emigrated in 1951.

Among these treasures are a set of postcards, sent to my mother during World War II, by my homesick father who was stationed at Whitley Bay in England, sometime during the early 1940’s.

I would like to share these postcards, along with the messages my father wrote on the back of each card.

The first postcard, above, of the Promenade and Children’s Wading Pool, has rather a romantic note written on it. I had never taken my father for the romantic type at all ~

To my wife, with every thanks for past pleasures, and thoughts of happiness and love to come. From a grateful and ever true and loving husband, Sam.

WB 2He must have been pushed for time when he sent the next postcard, of the Promenade and Slopes, as the message seems rather hurried. He did remember to include the word loving, however, with a capital L ~

From your Loving husband, Sam.

WB 1My father gets straight to the point in the next postcard, showing the Lower Promenade of Whitley Bay, as he says ~

From your still loving husband, Sam.

Please send something soon, I am broke, another thing, you’ll have to send it quick because of me being moved.

I wonder where he was being moved to? Who knows.

WB 4The final postcard, my favourite photo of the series, shows The Promenades Looking South, and of course, my father has added yet another deep and meaningful note to his wife at home ~

To My Darling Wife Annie, from Sam.

(Your ever loving husband, but always broke.)

These messages were so like my dad to write! He could be such a character and I might add also, he was never known to be great at handling his money!

The next photo was taken for me last year, and emailed across from England by a very lovely friend of mine, Richard, who took a photo for me to recreate the last postcard ~

Blip (2)

Isn’t that fabulous? I can almost see the ghosts of another era, as the shadows of their figures still walk along The Promenades at Whitley Bay.

Thank you so much Richard! This photo and your generosity in taking it for me means so much to me.

There is one final card that I would like to add here, this one having been sent from my mother and then baby sister, Annette, to my father when he was away at war.

Anne's postcard

Oh, daddy dear, I wish you could hear

The song I’ve made up just for you.

It’s called “Come home as soon as you can”,

for you see

We want you so much,

Mum and me.

On the back of the tiny card, written in my mother’s hand, it says ~

To Daddy, from your darling daughter, Annette.

What a difficult time it must have been for young families back in the early 1940’s, when these cards were exchanged and families were torn apart.

These precious postcards have been held onto for the last seventy years, caught in a time warp of love and memories and I will continue to treasure them on behalf of my mum, dad and big sister (none of whom are here with us any longer) for as long as time.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Daughters of Samuel Mottershead and Annie Mansfield

To the outside world we all grow old. But not to sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. ~ Clara Ortega.

As a child growing up in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia, my parents would often take me on an outing to see the “Three Sisters”, a mountainous landmark in Katoomba, where the majestic formation of rocks juts out into the depths of the Grose Valley.

The Three Sisters

Mum would tell me I should call the “Three Sisters” by the names of my own three sisters, Anne, Christine and Vivien. Being a child I thought this idea was great fun, and even as I grew older I could never see the “Three Sisters” without remembering my own three sisters.

Naming the rock formations after my own sisters became more and more apt as the years went by; my sisters were my rocks, giving me strength, wisdom, love, advice and friendship, for which I will be eternally grateful. In so many ways, I have been blessed by the structure of the family in which I was born, having four adult women throughout my growing years, all of whom would nurture me, in their own individual ways, as mothers do their children.

Each of my sisters has their own unique personalities and their own individual looks. None of us can see any physical resemblance to each other, even though we have occasionally been told that we do look alike. Apart from all being similar in height, (I may be just a tad taller than the others), and we all eventually ended up having varying shades of brown hair, that’s it; that’s where the similarities end.

A sister is both your mirror…and your opposite. ~ Elizabeth Fishel.

Annette

Annette (February 16, 1942 – December 3, 2007) was “Miss Independence”. She lived her life under her terms and made it very clear that there was no room for compromise.

Anne enjoyed the independence of earning her own income, working from home after her two children were born, even though back in the early 1960’s, when she first became married, it seemed perfectly acceptable for a woman to become the homemaker. Anne enjoyed having a nice home, she just didn’t choose to be tied to the obligations of a home; in fact, she resented being tied to anything!

It wasn’t until around my fifteenth birthday that I felt that Anne saw me as a real human being! In her younger years, she seemed to have little time in her life for children, even though that had all changed by the time my own children, and her grandchildren, were born.

The person who Anne matured into showed kindness towards everyone. The rebellion of her youth subsided into her becoming the most caring person, although whilst mellowing, she never fully lost the quick-witted spark in her personality which was her trademark.

Anne and I became great friends and shared a special bond, which can be best described as a mixture between sisters, best friends and worst enemies, with just a smattering of mothering on her part.

We would talk for hours on the phone, sharing opinions, not necessarily always agreeing with each other, but that was okay. I learned a lot from my eldest sister.

On October 27, 1962 Anne married Bruce Bryce, in the Presbyterian Church at Springwood, NSW. They had two children, Jeffrey and Jenine, but were later divorced in 1977.

Anne and Bruce

Bruce had been a part of my life since my earliest memories. To me, he was and always will be my brother; such is the affection that I feel towards him. I’m sorry his marriage to my sister didn’t last, but that was a decision they had to make. For me, I always have and always will regard Bruce as an important and close member of my family, and he knows that.

There are two other men in my life, who I also regard as my brothers; David Bell, the husband of my middle sister, Christine, and Adrian Knox, husband of my youngest sister, Vivien. Like Bruce, I have never known a time in my life when they weren’t there. All three of these men are a part of the secure family unit I grew up in; nothing will ever change the love I feel for each of them.

Sisters are different flowers from the same garden. ~ Unknown.

Christine

I looked forward to the times when I would have a sleep-over with my sister Christine when I was still young, and we all still lived in the Blue Mountains. I always had the best time with David, and Chris and I would spend time together looking at her jewellery, and trying on her clothes and shoes (which were always way too big for me!) Chris had longer hair than my other two sisters back then and she would let me play hairdresser on her hair.

Chris was the sister that I could have the deep ‘heart-to-heart’ talks with when I reached teenager years. I could tell Chris my deepest, darkest secrets and she would never be shocked by anything I said, betray my trust or laugh at me.

Not long after my parents and I moved north to live near the border of New South Wales and Queensland, Christine, David and their two baby sons moved south, to Tasmania, which is the separate little island you see just below Australia, when you look on a map.

Christine and David

In Tasmania, Chris and David became parents to two more sons and over the years, Christine’s busy life and the distance we have lived away from one another has not allowed us to keep in touch as often as I would like. But when we do speak on the phone, no matter how long it has been since we last spoke, we just pick up our conversation as if we only spoke the day before! That’s just the way it is with us.

An older sister helps one remain half child, half woman. ~ Unknown.

My youngest sister, Vivien, is the sister I see most often and also talk to the most. Vivien lives about five hours south of me and all of my children are the closest to her out of all their aunties.

Vivien

But that’s how Vivien is. She’s the Mother when your own mother isn’t there; I know she was to me, and perhaps still is at times. She nurtures and protects and loves and cares for….well, everyone!

When I was young and I stayed at her home, we would go on outings, perhaps just shopping, but I would enjoy whatever we did. We would cook together and I would lick the beaters when we made a cake and when she tucked me into bed at her place at night, I would think it was the cosiest bed I had ever slept in!

Just last year, when I spent a couple of days with Vivien at her home, her grandson, Jarred, told me about the things he and his grandparents did together and I felt like a child again. I could relate to Jarred’s stories, and could tell him, “I used to do those things when I spent time with your grandparents, when I was a little girl!” Yes, Jarred and I had a lot in common.

Vivien and Adrian

And when I went to bed at Vivien’s home, the bed I slept in was still the cosiest bed in the world….

Even my own son, who visited Vivien with me last year, agrees that Auntie Vivien’s house is the coolest place to visit! My sister is loved and adored by multiple generations.

A younger sister is someone…who needs you…who comes to you with bumped heads, grazed knees, tales of persecution. Someone who trusts you to defend her. Someone who thinks you know the answers to almost everything. ~ Pam Brown.

The youngest of Sam and Annie’s daughters is me…..and this is my story here….

It is through the different personalities, and the varying relationships that I have had with my three sisters that I believe I have learned the true meaning of what it is to be a part of a close family unit, for although age and distance is between us, the bonds of sisterhood can never be broken.

Both within the family and without, our sisters hold up our mirrors: our images of who we are and of who we can dare to become. ~ Elizabeth Fishel

Joanne, Christine, Annette and Vivien Mottershead.

Annie Mansfield

“The love between a mother and daughter exists in a special place…where “always” always lasts and “forever” never goes away.” ~ Laurel Atherson.

The closeness of the relationship I had with my mother goes beyond words; it extends into the depths of feelings, emotions, and an unconditional love, the likes of which I didn’t think could ever be repeated, until I had children of my own.

When I gave birth to my first child, a son, I told my mother, “Now I understand how you feel about me”. I corrected that statement when my daughter was born, telling her “Now I really know how you feel about me!” The bond between a mother and daughter cannot be explained in words, only feelings.

It’s been eighteen years since I last saw my mother, but she never really left me; she can’t. There’s an invisible golden thread that holds us together, for all eternity. A thread that can never be broken…

My mother was pure love….an indescribable love….a forever love. Jo.xxx

Annie Mansfield, born Bredbury, Cheshire, England.

June 5, 1921 ~ August 30, 1993.

Annie on the left, with a school friend, 1933.

Annie was confused as a child, constantly wondering who all the men were in her house! She knew one of the men, her father, Walter Mansfield, but as for the others, she wasn’t sure. She knew them by name, and they would visit her home often. It wasn’t until she grew older that she understood the structure of the family she had been born into….

Annie was the eldest daughter born to Walter Mansfield and Edith Lillian Statham Potts Mansfield. Her younger sister, Edith, came along three years later.

Her father had previously been married to Martha Shaw and they had eight children. Martha passed away in 1915, and by the time Walter had married Edith, and Annie was born, Walter still had five surviving adult sons.

Annie on the right, with her friend, Lily, who remained a life long friend, taken 1935.

Her mother, Edith, had been married to John Lowe Potts, who had also passed away in 1915, leaving Edith with two young sons and a young daughter. From Annie’s earliest memories, the two boys were teenagers, so it was little wonder that she felt surrounded by men! Annie adored her big sister Lily Potts (the only girl) and always had an understanding that Lily was her sister.

During the first ten years of Annie’s life she vividly recalled the days she spent with her mother. She often reminisced about their regular trips to Yorkshire, to visit family, and her carefree days playing on the Yorkshire Moors. She had not a clue who the people were she visited in Yorkshire; all she knew was she was loved and safe when she was with her mother.

Her brothers lived nearby to her home and she

With the Mottershead family, 1942.

remembered going to visit her brother, Walter Mansfield, to collect newly killed chickens, which she carried home and was expected to prepare for cooking. In her older years, she would shudder at the recollection of plucking chickens!

She also vividly recalled the day she was christened, being dressed up in her “Sunday Best” and walking to the local St. Mark’s Church in Bredbury, situated next door to the school she attended, where her christening took place.

Annie on the left, with her father and younger sister, Edith.

She had a particularly close relationship with one of her brothers, Bill Potts, a son from her mother’s first marriage. Bill joined the army and spent much of his time in India and he later moved away from Cheshire to live in the south of England, but during all of his travels, he and Annie constantly stayed in touch with one another.

When Annie’s mother took ill, she knew something was terribly wrong. There came a time when she was forbidden to go upstairs to spend time with her mother, and was delighted one day when one of her brothers told her that he would take her upstairs to see her “Mam”, as she called her.

She hadn’t bargained on the sight of her

Annie, August 1943.

mother, laying still and cold in the bed, and even though at ten years of age she did not understand the concept of death, she felt petrified. Annie later recalled the terror she felt, and realised that she had run downstairs, even though she didn’t feel her feet hit the stairs, such was her freight.

Unfortunately that was the day that Annie’s idyllic childhood ended. Whether through grief, or another emotion unknown to Annie, her father would often leave her alone at night, coming home in a state of drunken stupor, which he would have no recollection of the next day. Annie had also become cook and housekeeper for her father.

At age fourteen, Annie was invited by a friend, Harold Barton, to go to the local “Guy Fawkes Night” celebrations, on November 5, 1935, where they would eat treacle toffee, see the fireworks and keep warm by the huge bonfire. Harold introduced Annie to his cousin, Sam Mottershead, who had come from Manchester for the night.

On Sam's bike, 1951. Annie never had a licence to drive anything!

Sam and Annie were inseparable, from that night on.

Another huge blow hit Annie when, two years later, she lost her beloved sister, Lily Potts, through complications of diabetes. Sam also had become great friends with Lily, and the two took her loss very hard.

By this time, living with her father had become unbearable for Annie. She told Sam of her misery and he questioned her in disbelief, as he had great respect for Annie’s father. Annie asked Sam to stay with her at home one night until her father arrived, to witness what she knew would happen.

True to form, her father arrived home, and in his drunken state, found no kind words for Annie, who apparently reminded him of her mother.

Annie holding new born daughter Annette in 1942.

Sam, in total horror, ordered Annie to come to his home, where she was welcomed with open arms by Sam’s parents. She remained living with the Mottershead family, right up until just after her and Sam were married, in 1939.

In 1941, with Sam in the army and overseas fighting during the Second World War, and their first child on the way, Annie moved home to be with her aging father.

Annie and Sam’s first born child, Annette Mottershead, came into the world on February 16, 1942, born in the same room and bed in which Annie herself had been born, twenty years before. The midwife had been called, but didn’t arrive in time. Annette was born with only Annie’s seventeen year old sister Edith present at the birth.

The family in 1946.

Annette became “big sister” to Christine, on April 29, 1945, during the same year in which Sam was discharged from the army. Sam had spent so much time away that when he finally came home for good, Annette didn’t realise that he was her daddy. When Annie told Annette to kiss Daddy goodnight, she followed their usual routine, which was for her to climb up onto a chair to kiss the photo of Daddy on the sideboard!

On June 26, 1946, Annie and Sam’s third daughter, Vivien, arrived and in 1951, the family of five immigrated to Sydney, Australia.

Christine's wedding dress and Joanne's flower girl dress were both made by Annie.

When they arrived in Australia, one of the first purchases Annie made was a “Pfaff” sewing machine. She had been taught how to sew by her Auntie Lily, a sister of her mothers, and she made all of the clothes for her three daughters using the sewing machine. When the girls were married, Annie made a wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses and flower girl dresses herself, along with doing all of the catering for the weddings.

When Annie and Sam’s fourth daughter Joanne came along, Annie continued with the tradition of sewing beautiful clothes for her to wear. As Joanne also showed an interest in learning to sew, Annie patiently spent hours at a time, teaching Joanne everything she knew about sewing, (between multiple cups of tea!) on her trusty “Pfaff” sewing machine.

A new dress for Joanne.

To this day, Joanne still has her mother’s one and only sewing machine, bought way back in 1951.

After all the girls had left home and Sam and Annie had moved to the far north coast of New South Wales, Annie found more time to pursue her other interests, cake decorating and crochet.

She claimed herself to be a “Jack of all trades and master of none”. Just take a look at these photos, showing the skills she was capable of. I think you will agree that she underestimated her own abilities profusely!

One of the many cakes, made and decorated by Annie.

One of the many beautifully crochetted doilies, handmade by Annie.

Annie and Sam celebrated fifty years of marriage in 1989, with Golden Wedding Anniversary celebrations at the home of their daughter, Vivien. Photos taken on the day can be seen by clicking here….

After the death of her mother, whilst she was still a child herself, Annie lived what some would term a hard life, but she never gave up on pursuing her dreams. Her strength of character saw her conquer the most trying of times, as she continued to care for her family with love, strength and compassion when others might have given up the fight. Annie was the driving force in keeping her family happy and close, the one who everyone turned to if they needed a shoulder to lean on, and an ear to listen to their woes. Annie always had time for those she loved ~ always.

At the christening of grandaughter Emma, in 1993.

Annie left us on Monday, August 30, 1993, but the family traditions she created during her lifetime have remained. Sam said the memory of his wife lived on, every time he looked into the eyes of one of their daughters.

The names of the descendents of Annie Mansfield, along with further stories of her life with her husband, Samuel Rubery Mottershead can be found by clicking here…

Sam and Annie, 1962.

“My mum is a never ending song in my heart, of comfort, happiness, and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune.” ~ Graycie Harmon.

Samuel Rubery Mottershead

“I look back on my childhood and thank the stars above, for everything you gave me, but mostly for your love.” ~ Wayne F. Winters

My father was the best father in the world. Isn’t that what every daughter thinks about her Daddy? Well, I’m not sure whether they really do or not, but for me, my father was the best father ever.

He was the strongest, kindest, loyalest, bravest man who ever existed. When Dad was with me, I was completely safe from all harm. Nothing could hurt me when Dad was there to protect me. When we were together I was indestructible and so was he.

Why didn’t I ever tell him that? He needed to know that nothing could ever harm him, that he could fight dragons with his bare hands and still survive.

Maybe if I had remembered to tell him that, he would still be here today….

There’s one thing I do know that he knew; that I loved him, just as I know he loved me too. And for that, I thank the stars above.  Jo. xxx

~ ~ ~

Samuel Rubery Mottershead, born Manchester, Lancashire, England.

March 29, 1920 ~ August 16, 1998.

Baby Sam at 13 months of age.

Samuel Rubery Mottershead (Sam) was the eldest son born to Samuel Mottershead and Florence Edith Thompson. As a youngster, he was the wild child, the one who ran away with his mates on an adventure, forgetting to mention to his mother where she could find him.

The day Sam was born, he was blessed by fearlessness, a quality which remained with him throughout his entire lifetime. Nothing worried him; he never panicked; he never cried. He remained calm, logical and composed in all situations. That was the Sam the outside world knew.

But there was another side of Sam that his close family knew. The compassionate, gentle man who loved cats and would do anything to protect an animal from harm. And the intellectual man, spending hours researching topics of interest, or helping his daughters with their homework.

Sam in kindergarten. He is in the second row from the back, fifth boy from the right.

He enjoyed his school days, as school satisfied his thirst for knowledge. A highly intelligent and inquisitive man, his mind retained knowledge and detailed facts with a precision that others only dreamed about.

At only fifteen years of age, Sam met the girl he would spend the rest of his life with, Annie Mansfield. From the time they met they were together, and married four years later on October 27, 1939, in Stockport, Cheshire, England, just eight weeks after Britain and France declared war on Germany.

Sam & Annie, 1940.

Sam had initially wanted to join the navy, although his final choice was the army, in which he became a paratrooper. He was proud of the fact that he had flown in hundreds of aeroplanes, yet had never once landed in a plane!

The years of World War II were not easy for Sam. His compassionate side could not tolerate the cold-blooded taking of human life that he witnessed and on a few occasions he was known to go AWOL (absent without official leave). Ultimately, he suffered from a condition known as “war neurosis”, and shortly after a six month stay in hospital, Sam was discharged from the army in 1945.

Between 1942 and 1946, Sam became the proud father of three girls and in 1951, the family of five emigrated from Cheshire in England, making their new home in Sydney, Australia.

At the migrant hostel.

Further stories of the family, during their days as “New Australians” can be read here…

Living in a migrant hostel when they first arrived in their new country may not have been an ideal situation, but it was a beginning. Before too long, the family had a home of their own, a motorbike for transport which was soon upgraded to a car, new furniture, the girls began their new schools and Sam was employed, working in his chosen trade as an engineer welder.

The family, now living in Australia, taken in 1955.

By the 1960’s, Sam and his family, (now four daughters, as I had been born),   moved to the Blue Mountains, to live in a family home partially built by Sam himself.

Sam could turn his hand to anything he set his mind to; building, structural gardening, painting, car repairs or welding. He was a man who could fix or make anything!

Sam & Annie at the wedding of their daughter, Anne.

Throughout the decade of the ‘60’s, Sam continued to work as an engineer welder and by the late 1960’s he had accepted a position building pumps and working in the mines, just outside of Sydney. He saw his three eldest daughters all married and settled into lives of their own.

Sam was ready for a change.

A work mate had decided to move his family up to the northern N.S.W. area, to become self-employed in a general store and take-away food business. This idea appealed to Sam and so the family, now with just one daughter, was on the move again.

Whilst living in a caravan at Ballina, in northern New South Wales. Sam fell in love with an old general store, opposite a busy railway station and on the main Pacific Highway, in Murwillumbah, N.S.W. The old building appealed to his sense of history, and the projected income appealed to his pocket!

An account of their move north can be read by clicking here….

Sam & Annie, 1991.

The family spent three years working seven days a week in the general store, much to the dismay of Annie, who was not impressed with either the long working

hours or the old building they now called home. Sam’s instincts regarding the business being something of a “gold mine” proved to be accurate and after three years they were on the move again, this time just a few kilometres further north, to Tweed Heads, on the border of New South Wales and Queensland.

This new situation was more suited to Annie, as they now had a home separate from their new business, a petrol station. Their home was now in Coolangatta, just over the state border in Queensland.

After another three years had passed, Sam had had enough of being self-employed and went back to working in his old trade.

Sam in 1997.

Just before retiring age, the factory in which Sam worked closed down. Not satisfied with sitting at home with his feet up, Sam soon found further employment working in the kitchen at a local club.

In 1993, it came as a huge blow to Sam when he lost his wife of fifty-three years, Annie. They had celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1989, with a get together of their daughters, their daughter’s husbands, all the grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Photos of the celebration can be found here…A Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration.

Sam survived for five years on his own, staying active by teaching himself how to cook, joining Neighbourhood Watch, buying a bike for bike rides to the beach, going for long walks and regularly spending time with his family and friends.

It was very sad to see Sam in his final year or two, as the once brilliant mind gave way to slight dementia, just as many bright minds are prone to doing. He remained living in his own home at Tweed Heads, being totally self-reliant, right up until his final day, when he joined Annie.

Sam and his wife, Annie Mansfield, leave a legacy of their four daughters ~

They have twelve grandchildren ~

Sam aged 17, with Annie, 16.

  • Jeffrey Gordon Bryce
  • Jenine Yvonne Bryce
  • Troy Bell
  • Steven Bell
  • Scott Trevor Bell
  • Mark Bell
  • Andrew Gregory Knox
  • Mathew Charles Knox
  • Benjamin Michael Rubery Keevers
  • Hayley Christine Keevers
  • Emma Louise Keevers
  • Adam William Keevers

And sixteen great-grandchildren ~

  • Mathew Nathan Bryce
  • Mitchel Adam Martin
  • Mickayla Elizabeth Martin
  • Erin Bell
  • Cameron Bell
  • Olivia Bell
  • Jake Bell
  • Kayla Bell
  • Ruby Mary Bell
  • Finn Bell
  • Lily Christine Bell
  • Alexander Charles Knox
  • Lachlan Andrew Knox
  • Annabelle Maya Knox
  • Jessica Lauren Knox
  • Jarrad Mathew Knox

A Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration

On October 27, 1989, the family of Samuel Rubery Mottershead and Annie Mansfield joined with them to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary, at the home of their daughter, Vivien Knox at Valley Heights, NSW, Australia.

Their marriage took place on October 27, 1939, in Stockport, Cheshire, England.

The following photos tell the story of the day ~

Sam, Annie, their daughters and two youngest grandchildren, Ben & Hayley Keevers.

Sam, Annie and their four daughters. I wonder what was so funny?

Daughters Annette Joiner and Christine Bell.

Sam & Annies Grandaughter Jenine Bryce holding her son Mathew Bryce and Jenine's mother Annette Joiner, holding Sam & Annies youngest grandaughter, Hayley Keevers.

Sam's brother Bill Mottershead, his wife Fay, Annie and Sam.

All of Sam & Annies grandchildren in 1989 ~ Troy Bell, Jenine Bryce, Andrew Knox, Jeffrey Bryce, Mark Bell, Scott Bell, Steven Bell, Mathew Knox, Hayley Keevers & Ben Keevers.

Sam & Annie cutting the cake. Annie said she was so happy!

Brothers Sam & Bill Mottershead.

David Bell tickling his neice, Hayley Keevers, while big brother Ben looks on.

The whole family ~ Maria Bryce, Christine Bell, Joanne Keevers, Allan Keevers, Adrian Knox, David Bell, Troy Bell, Brett Joiner, Jeffrey Bryce, Andrew Knox, Annie holding grandaughter Hayley Keevers, Sam holding grandson Ben Keevers, Annette Joiner, Vivien Knox, Jenni Knox, Mathew Knox, Scott Bell, Steven Bell, Jenine Bryce holding Mathew Bryce and Mark Bell.

Grandaughter Jenine Bryce holding her son, Mathew Bryce and her neice, Hayley Keevers. The two babies were often refered to as the twins, as they were born one day apart, yet Hayley is the generation above Mathew.

Sam and Annie...So many presents to open!

Sam & Annies four daughters ~ Annette Joiner, Christine Bell, Vivien Knox and Joanne Keevers.

Annie with her eldest grandchild, Jeffrey Bryce.

Cousins Troy Bell and Hayley Keevers at play.

Annie..."Anyone for cake?"

Chatting with the girls outside in the Bar-b-que area.

Sam and Annie were married just after the outbreak of World War II, and a Sam was joining the army, they didn’t spend very much time preparing for their wedding day and there were no photos taken. They were married at the registry office in Stockport, with Sam’s parents as their witnesses.

After their wedding, they bought fish and chips, which they ate at home. (Fish and chips remained a favourite meal throughout their married lives!)

This photo is Annie, wearing the dress she was married in. Annie said an artist added colour and definition to the original photo taken, and the gold coloured bow on her dress was a brooch.

 

Joanne Rubery Mottershead

Jo, 5 months old.

During the latter years of the “Baby Boomers” I was born into a family of English immigrants at Penrith, New South Wales, Australia. My three elder sisters were all verging on adulthood when I was born and by the time I had reached the age of my earliest memories, they all had boyfriends and were preparing for marriage.

The three men my sisters married are as much a part of my childhood family as my sisters; I can’t remember a time when they weren’t in my life.

And so it came to pass that I grew through my childhood years as the only child, surrounded by a family of eight adults! I really did enjoy an idyllic existence.

At 18 months old, with Dad.

We lived in the Blue Mountains, about fifty miles west of Sydney, in what was then a remote area, with a gravel road leading to our home. Due to the lack of children my age to play with in the area, along with the strong English accents of my family, I grew up speaking with a broad “Pommy” accent, just as my family did. My mother preferred to call me a “Pozzie”; a cross between a Pommy and an Aussie!

After my three sisters were all married with families of their own to care about, Dad and Mum decided the three of us would move to a warmer climate, so our house was sold, along with all of our furniture, and we headed north in search of a warmer climate.

For Mum and Dad to uproot the three of us and move north must have been the simplest of ideas. They barely batted an eyelid and off we went. I can imagine after transporting themselves and their three young daughters, by ship, to the other side of the world, a move north, taking them a mere six-hundred-and fifty miles away, would be easy. An account of the move north, where we finally settled at Murwillumbah, N. S.W. can be found here….

Sweet Sixteen.

For me though, it wasn’t. I struggled to come to terms with leaving my sisters, brothers and their children, only accepting the idea of moving because I had to go, I had no other choice. It helped knowing we would make regular trips back to the Blue Mountains as well.

At age nineteen I met the man who ultimately became my husband and the father of our four children. Allan was born and raised in Murwillumbah, N.S.W. but had accepted a position in Sydney after leaving school, with Telecom Australia, so I moved to Sydney to be with him.

We were married at St. Philip Neri Church in Northbridge, Sydney, in 1979. Since our marriage I have actually been known as Joanne Rubery Keevers, although for the purpose of recording the Mottershead history, I have reverted back to my maiden name.

* Joanne Rubery Mottershead ~ Penrith, NSW, Australia ~ May 2.

Married ~ Northbridge, NSW, Australia ~ May 19, 1977 ~ to

* Allan Gregory Keevers ~ Murwillumbah, NSW, Australia ~ September 9.

* Children of Allan and Joanne Keevers ~

* Benjamin Michael Rubery Keevers ~ Wahroonga, NSW, Australia ~ April 22, 1985.

* Hayley Christine Keevers ~ Wahroonga, NSW, Australia ~ June 13, 1988.

* Emma Louise Keevers ~ Tweed Heads, NSW, Australia ~ December 1, 1992.

* Adam William Keevers ~ Tugun, Queensland, Australia ~ August 25, 1997.

Allan and me, with our first-born, Ben.

My husband is Allan Gregory Keevers. Although I have researched Allan’s family history over the years as well, I will not be recording any of his family history here. Allan has a very large, mostly Catholic family, many of whom have researched all lines of his family to the nth degree. However, if anyone has an interest in the following surnames, I would be more than happy to share any information I have, or put you in contact with someone who can help ~ Keevers, Kelly, Twohill, Mills, Hatton and Neylan.

The first fifteen years of our marriage was spent living in Sydney, the city I call “home”. In 1992 however, and seven months pregnant with my third child, I made the same move I had made many years earlier with my parents; we moved back north.

There was a purpose for the move, however traumatic it seemed at the time. My mother had taken seriously ill and I didn’t know how much longer I would have her.

Holding my first daughter, Hayley.

By August 1993 my mother was gone and over the next five years it gave me the opportunity to really get to know my Dad. (Mum always told me that there was a silver lining to every cloud!) Dad and I became very close during the years he lived alone and it hit me incredibly hard when one day, without a word of warning, he had joined my mother.

“Dead” is such a permanent word, so I will not refer to any of my family in that way. They are no longer with me in physical form, but they are still with me. If you would like to read more about my feelings on the subject of spirits and spirituality, I have a blog called “A Sense of Spirit”.

Me and my Mum.

Starting up this website has been a dream of mine for many years now. It has taken a while to get my head around the planning and layout of what I wish to achieve and I sincerely hope that many people will have the opportunity to be enlightened on aspects of their own branch of the family by visiting this website.

As new relatives are added to the site and I build on the information I have already found, it is my hope that you will find here more than just the branches of a tree, with names, dates and places. For as many relatives as

My one week old baby girl, Emma.

are possible, I will also be including photos and personal stories and information on their lives. This is where I will be asking my extended family to assist, by sending photos and stories of their own for inclusion here.

Please bare with me as I progressively add close relatives and more distant ancestors to this site. I’m sure it will be a “work in progress” for some years and definitely a “labour of love”, which I am delighted to be undertaking.🙂

Baby Number Four, Adam.