#100daysofbfotc Day 53: Ivy Cottage, Bucks Mills

Malcolm Langford cards (19)

Ivy Cottage (top left)

Ivy Cottage was almost certainly built in the 1830s and is set back from the road on the coastal path to Clovelly. Like most of the cottages in the village, it was constructed of cob, with a thatched roof. In Barefoot on the Cobbles it appears as the home of Eadie and her family. Today known as ‘Crippetts’, the cottage, was occupied by the Harris family in the 1840s. They were followed by the Penningtons and it is likely that Eadie’s parents, Thomas and Ellen, moved in in 1874, the year after their marriage. They had nine children and although they did not all live at Ivy Cottage at the same time, the four rooms would have been very crowded. The family remained in the cottage for over sixty years and after Eadie’s father died, in 1938, it was taken over by Mr and Mrs Bergg. During the Second World War, the intrepid Mrs Bergg used to descend the cliffs on the end of a rope in order to destroy falcon’s eggs as birds of prey were attaching the carrier pigeons that were vital for wartime communications.

‘There were five girls in Ivy Cottage, where Eadie lived, the stairs leading directly on to the bedroom that she shared with her sisters.’

Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.

More information about Bucks Mills can be found here.


#100daysofbfotc Day 52: Jessie Kenny

Jessie Kenney 2Jessie Kenny was one of three suffragettes who played a key role in an incident that is described in Chapter 5 of Barefoot on the Cobbles. Jessie was one of twelve children; she was born on 1st April 1887, in Springhead, near Oldham and she worked in the local cotton mills. Together with her elder sister, Annie, she was inspired to take up the cause of women’s suffrage after hearing Christabel Pankhurst speak in 1905. The sisters joined the Women’s Social and Political Union. At this time Jessie was still in her teens but having learned to type at evening classes, she was soon serving the cause as secretary to Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. A month in prison in 1908 damaged Jessie’s health, yet she continued to be active within the movement, which is how she came to be in North Devon in 1909, haranguing the Prime Minister, not for the first time.

After re-couperating in Switzerland, she reputedly had a lung condition, Jessie spent time in Paris, living with Christabel Pankhurst. She also went to Russia to help Emmeline Pankhurst mobilise Russian women to contribute to the war effort. When the First World War was over, she worked for the American Red Cross in Paris. She went to North Wales Wireless College and qualified as a ship’s radio officer, the first woman to do so however women were not allowed to take up this role. Instead she worked as a steward on cruise liners. Later she took up a post in the office of a school in Battersea. She died in Essex at the age of 98.

‘Suddenly the sharp-eyed police constable noticed the three women. Blowing his whistle and calling to his colleague, he made his way towards the suffragettes at a trot. The young ladies leapt up. With hats falling and hair flying, they headed for the cliffs. As the constable set off in pursuit, the women wisely dispersed in different directions.’

Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.

Days 8 & 9 – On the Way Home

We are up early and all is bustle in the Windjammer. ‘Washy washy’ has been promoted and is today on duty as ‘Dishy washy’, clearing tables. She will work on-board for eight months without a whole day off. More goodbyes before a very long wait in the queue for our pre-booked airport shuttle. Annoyingly, we could have booked an excursion that showed us round Seattle and deposited us at the airport but unfortunately, I didn’t realise this until I had booked flights that were too early for this, another opportunity missed.

There are no problems boarding the plane for Washington Dullas; not to be confused with Dallas. Once again the plane is full and cabin luggage is being prized from people’s hands to be stashed in the hold. I inadvertently push in front of a formidable American lady who was standing in the group 4 queue. Apparently I was supposed to intuit that she was actually part of group 3 and thus entitled to board before me. We are again issued with pretzels and Sprite, so it seems they are standard fare and not just a bonus because of our delay outward bound. There is an airport shop at Dullas that is clearly not afraid to display its political leanings. There are various anti-Trump items, ranging from rubber ducks to uncomplimentary colouring books.

094 14 September 2018 From the Plane.JPGOur changeover goes without a hitch this time and our luck is in as we have an empty seat beside us. Once again I am struck that aeroplane food involves a ridiculous amount of plastic packaging. Airlines seem to be missing a green credentials USP here. I fail to achieve more than level 6 on Bejewelled; so my level 12 on the journey out must have been exceptional. I am slightly concerned to find water dripping on my head. Is this something I should be panicking about? Is something leaking from the luggage compartment overhead, or is it more sinister? Whatever it is does not seem to have dire consequences and we disembark from our fifteenth flight in the last six months, thankful that there are no more planned.

Once at Heathrow, it takes an hour, travelling up and then down again on various lifts to get to the Central Bus Station for our coach. Here our luck ends, as it is full, so we are unable to sit together. I am not sure who has the shortest straw. My seat mate has some unpleasant lurgy but I do at least have my fair share of the seat. Chris is perched on the edge of what little his generously proportioned seat mate has left him. It is quite difficult to doze off delicately sat next to a stranger. Bar a short doze on the second plane we been awake for twenty four hours. Home then to try to catch up on all the emails that have arrived whilst I have been in this internet black hole. Until next time.

#100daysofbfotc Day 51: Eadie

EadieEadie is another character who had to undergo a name change to avoid confusion. She appears in only three chapters, near the beginning of Barefoot on the Cobbles, yet her role is an important one. It is through Eadie that we first glimpse how Albert might react to parenthood. Her story has been handed down through the family and is told in the novel with little elaboration.

Eadie was born on 14 May 1884 into a large family, who lived in what was then called Ivy Cottage, Bucks Mills; the history of the cottage will be posted in a couple of days’ time. Her father was a fisherman, known as ‘Crumplefoot Tommy’. Her mother, Ellen, struggled to cope and when Eadie was about six, she was informally adopted by Ellen’s brother, William and his wife Mary. From that point onwards, Eadie spent her whole life living in Rose Cottage in Bucks Mills. She married her first cousin, Walter in 1908, amidst a certain amount of disapproval because of their close kinship; they were in fact cousins several times over as Eadie’s parents were also first cousins. Eadie cared for William and Mary in their old age but somehow found room for eleven children in the tiny four-roomed cottage. Walter died in 1938, when the youngest child was only eleven and Eadie died in 1955.

‘On the step of Captain Joe’s substantial house sat a weeping child, dishevelled and dirty, her tears tracked by the grubby smears on her sun-stained cheeks. A young fisherman was walking towards her, on his way up from the shore. As Albert approached, the girl’s hand scrubbed across the bottom of her nose and she sniffed heartily. The other hand failed to push her dark hair from her eyes. Her faded ribbon had long since ceased to perform its duty.’

Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.

More information about Bucks Mills can be found here.

Day 7 – Victoria

Today we are in Canada and we disembark in Victoria. The security point exhorts us to ‘declare all weapons including firearms’. By what stretch of the imagination are firearms not weapons, even if they are used for sport? Most of the tours on offer include Butchart Gardens, which are lovely but we’ve been before, so we choose one that goes somewhere else, in this case Craigdarroch Castle. It is of course not really a castle at all, not even in the sense of a folly. It is however a stately home of impressive appearance. Our coach driver, Bob, keeps telling us how unusually cold it is; thanks for that one Bob, it makes us feel so much better.

Part of our excursion is a ride round ‘scenic Victoria’, before arriving at the Castle and we drive through Beacon Hill Park. A regulation prevents people from beating their rugs in the park; so that’s another activity I’d planned that won’t happen then. We also see the tallest free-standing totem pole, erected to commemorate the first nations’ contribution in World War 2. In summer, 70% of Victoria’s population are employed in tourism. Many have more than one job as the cost of living is high here. There is a memorial to Terry Fox who was the inspiration for the worldwide fundraising Marathons of Hope. There are also some interesting, painted telegraph poles.

091 13 September 2018 Craigdarroch CastleRobert Dunsmuir made a fortune from the coal industry. Initially he came out from Scotland to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company, travelling via South America and up the west coast. He soon set up on his own, having found a rich coal seam. He set out to build Craigdarroch Castle but died before it was finished in 1890. His widow did not like it so moved out in 1908, since which time the ‘Castle’ has had many uses. These include a military hospital for ‘incurables’; it is patently unsuitable for this as it is built over four floors. It has also been a College, a Music School and offices. It is now run as a tourist attraction, with 100,000 visitors each year. One of the most impressive aspects of Craigdarroch is its stained glass. Typically of cruise excursions, we don’t have anything like long enough there, so rush round before re-boarding our coach. Once back on board, we had planned to sit on deck but the unseasonal weather makes this less than pleasant, so we force ourselves to make the most of the Windjammer’s offerings. We are invited to clap the staff as they parade round the dining area.

Somehow I seem to have missed out on most of the things that this trip is renowned for. Maybe it is because I don’t feel very well, or because I was seriously jet lagged until the cruise was almost over. Barely a glimpse of whales, no northern lights, no brown bear spotting, not making the most of the icebergs. Nonetheless, it has been a wonderful opportunity to meet up with many worldwide genealogical friends and to make some new ones.

In the evening, Maurice gives a hilarious talk entitled ‘How I Nearly Cloned Myself over a Couple of Martinis’. This involved mention of a crowd-funding project to clone Joseph Smith, which has attracted a fair bit of support. I think I’ll just leave that one with you. There are photos, prize givings and fond farewells. The week has gone far too quickly and many of us are looking forward to next year’s cruise to the Mediterranean.

#100daysofbfotc Day 50: Mr Moss

Clovelly Harbour 1912John Thomas Moss appears only obliquely in Barefoot on the Cobbles, as the proprietor of the Red Lion Hotel on Clovelly’s quayside. He was born in Clovelly on 22 October 1868, the son of John and Mary Moss née Foley and spent his childhood living at North Hill. Initially, he followed his father’s trade and went to sea. John married Lizzie Arthur Slocombe, in 1893, in Ilfracombe and the eldest of their two daughters was born there. They set up home back in Clovelly, at 15 High Street and when he came ashore, John managed the Red Lion. He died 1951.

‘The members of the Mariners’ Union repaired to The Red Lion for their repast, which would be accompanied by beer, or even whisky. The Club Room had been suitably decorated with garlands of greenery and candles for the occasion. Mr Moss’ staff were on hand to serve a roast dinner, befitting of the status of those on the top table.’

Barefoot on the Cobbles will be published on 17 November 2018. More information about the novel can be found here. Copies will be available at various events in the weeks following the launch or can be pre-ordered from Blue Poppy Publishing or the author.

Day 6 – At Sea

Another full day of lectures, although I miss the first one in order to prepare for my own. All in all I have attended all but two of the sessions on offer during the week. There have been some difficult choices, as for the most part, there have been two and sometimes three, streams of lectures. I begin the day with Helen Smith on ‘Begotten by Fornication’, an interesting look at illegitimacy. Then Jan Gow with ‘Remember the WWW. No, not the world wide web but the Who, Where and When’. It is over twenty years since I last heard Jan speak, when she was in the UK. This is really a talk about one-place studies so very interesting for me. I follow this with my session on the mental health of our ancestors, a talk I always enjoy presenting. A short break and then it is Pat Richley-Erickson aka Dear Myrtle with ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective Genealogists’. I volunteer to represent one of the points although I am not sure I quite qualify as ‘highly effective’ as much of my information is still on index cards. Next, more DNA with Maurice again. This time his title is ‘Using Triangulation to Break Through Brick Walls’. The afternoon ends with my Facebook Generation talk, which was very well received and sparked many questions and comments.

An interesting incident in the toilets by the Windjammer. The doors to the cubicles open inwards and an injudiciously position toilet roll holder makes it quite difficult to exit, for even an average sized person. One of the cruise-goers has got herself in but is struggling to extricate herself. She attempts to sidle out facing the toilet roll holder. This fails, so she turns round and gives it a go facing the other way. I have to say she was a lovely lady and was laughing at her various ineffective attempts. We wonder if she will have to do a Winnie the Pooh and remain there until she is thinner but no, somehow she squeezes past the obstacles and is free.

DSCF0814.JPGThe evening sees the presentation of the prestigious Prince Michael of Kent Award to Cyndi Ingle for her decades of tireless work on Cyndi’s list. Mia has somehow managed to successfully bring this glass vase from the Society of Genealogists without mishap and there are a few tears as it is handed over. Very well deserved it is too, if you haven’t consulted Cyndi’s List then you can’t call yourself a family historian. Caroline Gurney follows with ‘Are you Related to Royalty?’. The answer is probably yes, so Maurice, who has been trading on his distant relationship to Princess Diana all week, now has to deal with competition from the rest of us.