Tag Archives: 1888

Kitchen Week – in Snitterfield

When Tom Tansey left Snitterfield near Stratford on Avon in 1888 to travel half way round the world to Geelong in Australia he knew that there was little chance that he would see his family again.  I find that hard to imagine, sixteen years old and never to see your parents, three sisters and brother. again.  Another sister was born the year after he left  but he was to meet her later on as she  also came to Australia.

Letitia Trickett, Geelong, aunt of Tom Tansey

Letitia Trickett, Geelong, aunt of Tom Tansey

 

One consolation was that he came to live with his Aunt Letitia  – his mother’s sister. She had married Phillip Trickett and settled in Geelong.  But she was a stranger to Tom as she had come to Australia in 1870, two years before Tom was born.

One thing Tom did have though was a photo of the kitchen that he left behind, the kitchen where he had grown up for sixteen years.

kitchen in SnitterfieldThe heart of the kitchen was a Victorian cast iron range- a utility version of the many kinds which were available.  There is a central firebox with a small oven either side and a chain hanging down to suspend a pot or kettle.  Either side of the range was a small warm nook, just the right size for a child.  There are interesting things to speculate on in the image – the lamp,  knickknacks on the mantlepiece, Father’s chair by the fire, bellows to blow the fire, a stool for a child  and what appears to be a curtain

There was a second brick oven outside in the  wash house.  It was there that the Sunday roast and Yorkshire pudding was cooked. The neighbours would bring their dinners to be baked and were charged a penny to help to help pay for the wood – they would also bake pies and tarts for the week.

This kitchen was the place for the weekly Saturday night bath in a tub in front of the fire.

It is where Tom’s mother sat to make rag rugs for the floor.

It is where Tom’s father would sit by the fire to read his Birmingham Weekly Post with a stumpy old clay pipe in his mouth (his nose warmer) and the cat Moses 0n his knee.

It is where Tom’s mother would set out for Gospel Oak to buy their honey and when there having to accept a cup of “tay” which had been strained through the seller’s hessian apron.

It was from this kitchen that Tom would set forth to band practice.

And from here he would also leave to go to school where he learnt his beautiful copperplate handwriting.

The details of life in the kitchen came from Ellen (Nin) Tansey (1889-1975), Tom’s sister who came to Australia as a war widow in 1920, to remarry and settle in Sydney.

More kitchen related stories can be found through this week’s Sepia Saturday bloggers.

2015.05W-36

 

A Parting Gift

Image

What is precious, tattered, torn and handed down?

When my grandfather, Tom Tansey, landed in Geelong in 1888 as a sixteen year old he brought with him this copy of  WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE AS HE LIVED   by Captain Curling.

 Image

Shakespeare’s grandfather  had a farm at Tom’s home town of Snitterfield, just to the north of  Stratford on  Avon in Warwickshire.  So why had Grandpa brought this particular book with him?

Image

It was a farewell gift from Ben  Currier and his wife Ellen.  Ben was a farmer and much older than Tom but   Ben  and Tom were both members of the Snitterfield Town Band and this had been a parting gift and was one that Grandpa kept all his life.

Image

In the band photo Tom is the short chap fifth from the left in the back row while Ben is standing at the right hand end of the row, This photo was taken the previous year (1887) in front of the Red Lion in Stratford on Avon when the band led  the procession celebrating Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. Tom was 15 and Ben 32.

I was amazed to find that the book has been re-printed as a paperback but is also downloadable fron the Gutenberg Project, Monash Uni library, etc, etc.  This book was first published in 1853 but Curling was a prolific writer and the book had been published before under different titles.  It is described as a Romance and is based on fact with a lot of imagination thrown in !

It starts  –   “It was one morning, during the reign of Elizabeth, that a youth, clad in a grey cloth doublet and hose (the usual costume of the respectable country tradesman or apprentice in England), took his early morning stroll in the vicinity of a small town in Warwickshire…..”