Mum is Born
Mum was grandma and grandad’s only child. In February of 1934, when grandma would have been two months pregnant, grandad noted that she had been examined by Dr Waller but did not explain why! In June, when she would have been six months pregnant, he noted that she had a new dress and coat but, again, did not proffer any explanation! In August, grandma went to stay with her parents, at the house, called Elstow, at 96 Welbeck Street which is where mum was born at 2.20pm on 15 September 1934.
Having a Baby 1930s-style
Having a baby then was very different than it is now. There was a very strong focus on the woman who had just given birth resting in bed and this period of “lying in” could be anything from two weeks to two months. During this period, there was an expectation that female relatives would care for the woman and the child and there was less emphasis placed on the importance of bonding between the mother and her child in the immediate period following delivery. This may explain why grandma was kept in bed for two weeks and why Olive, grandad’s sister, looked after mum for ten days while grandma was still at her parents. These practices seems strange now but they were the norm then. Mum was fed with something called an Allenburys, a double-ended bottle, which was marketed as a clean and easy way of feeding a child.
As can be seen from mum’s birth certificate, her birth was registered on 24 October and she was christened/baptised a few days later on 4 November.
Mum as a Child
Mum had some photographs taken of her in December 1934 when she was almost three months old. It is possible that the first photograph in this chapter is one of those photographs. Of course, multiple other photos were taken and a selection of early photos of mum are included in this chapter. According to grandad’s diary, mum cut her first tooth in March 1935 when she would have been six months old and walked for the first time on 20 August 1935 when she was just over 11 months old.
Birthdays and Goldfish
At the end of this period, mum would have been four years old. She celebrated her first two birthdays at grandma’s parents’ house, Elstow, where she had been born. The family visited grandma’s parents frequently, having tea there most Sundays. Grandad noted that, in June 1938, he and grandma bought mum two goldfish. As might be expected, grandad noted that they were 4d each. However, in August, disaster struck! Overnight, one of the goldfish jumped out of the bowl. In the morning, the family found it on the rug and they thought it was dead. However, they put it back in the bowl and it was fine “apparently… none the worse” for the experience!!!
Kenneth and Peter Cirket
Grandma and grandad were not the only family members to have a single child. Both grandma’s brothers (Ray and Bert) and their wives (Winnie and Doris) only had one child. Kenneth Charles was born to Winnie and Ray on 28 December 1930 so was almost five years older than mum. Peter Edward Thomas was born to Doris and Bert on 22 April 1933 so was over two years older than mum. There are a number of pictures of the three cousins and some are included here.