Summer Lane Page 8 - c. Leonard Nott, Hardware

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The Becketts of Summer Lane by Dot Sheargold (Now Dodson)

My mother's family came from Summer Lane, she was the 2nd child, born 17 December 1902 - died 7 December 1980 Her other siblings were - Florence born 7 July 1901 died 19 Jan 1985; Elizabeth born 23 October 1905 - died in australia 28 February 1993; William born 17 May 1909; alice born 18 July 1911 died 26 November 1992; Elsie born 21 October 1912 died in infancy april 1914; Lillian Evelyn born 31 May 1915 and living in Berkshire.

Her parents were married on christmas Day 1898 Photo enclosed of their wedding - Just the two of them William and Emma. Her father, William was born 1878 and died of TB June 1921. This was as a result of being in France in the trenches in WW1.

Her mother died in childbirth at the age of 39 in 1918 - my mother used to tell me that, the baby also died, a little girl weighing 14lbs (!). My mum was heartbroken at losing her mother. She used to tell me, that all the children went to church and Sunday school. and on Saturday, she would fetch coal and do errands for anybody to earn the money for the 'plate' the next day. She said that they went 3 times each Sunday, and they would get there early so that they had a cup of cocoa, and a biscuit. and again in the afternoon, they had a drink and another biscuit.

She had a lot of Sunday School prizes - for regular attendance and good behaviour. I only wish that I still had them. I do remember that I used to read them when I was a child, the one that really comes to mind though, was one with the title of "Maggie and Bessie" I loved that one, and read it over and over again. They all had a missionary theme. all the children went to St Georges c of E school at Hockley (would it have been Gt Hampton Row?)

My mum said that they had swimming lessons, but she never learned how to swim, and the teacher used to fetch her out of the pool, because she was splashing about (sounds about right) and mum would tell me that she used to try to explain that it wasn't her - and anyway she had paid the money to rent the swimming costume (the mind boggles). She had regular attendance (and good behaviour!) prizes from St Georges school as well.

She used to tell me about where they lived, and that the yard where they lived, was very nice, each house had their own small patch of garden with a fence round it. also their grandparents lived in the same yard. Grannie and Granpa Stokes - their mothers parents. She related once that somebody, complained that the children had put a jam sandwich down the toilet, (sounds like there was a communal lavatory). and their dad, jumped to their defence, saying that they couldn't afford jam, so it wasn't any of his children. She said that they didn't really go hungry but they had very plain food. Her father worked in a steel foundry, and she said that she used to go each day when she came home at dinner time from school, to take his sandwiches, she said that where he worked was so hot that it would have spoilt the sandwiches if he had taken them with him in the morning. But because the men did sweat so much, he would most times be in the pub, when she go there, because it was such thirsty work.

Whenever we went past camp Hill, I seem to remember that there was a factory - Stokes, and my mom, used to say, that they were some relation. Don't really know the details They were also related to Harry Beckett - he was a bookie in the Hockley - Gt Hampton row area. I remember that their brother, was employed by 'Uncle' Harry just after WW2, because Bill (their brother) had been in Yardley Sanatorium - with TB - and he couldn't do heavy work. That was before bookies were only legal on the race-course. and they did have police raids. I remember that whenever this happened, my uncle Bill was pushed out of the side door, so that he wasn't arrested.

I am enclosing my Mom's wedding photo, the group the old lady to the right of my dad (the groom) is his mother, my grandma Sheargold. The young man to the left of my mum (the bride) is her brother Bill (the one who used to work for their uncle the bookie - in later life).

Best Wishes Dot Sheargold (Now Dodson)  

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