The Will of Joseph Lines

My Great Grandfather, Joseph Lines (1848-1931) clearly possessed a strength of character. His father, Abel Lines (1807-1877) had been variously a Fur Skin Dresser, Smith, Steel Worker, Porter and Furrier. Joseph’s elder brother George (1841-? after 1911) trained as a carpenter, and started making wooden horses. His sisters were in domestic service until they married or died.
George must have been pretty enterprising in his own right as he had his first factory, at 51, Great Saffron Hill, Camden, London by 1860, where, in the 1861 Census he is described as a Children’s Horse Maker.
In 1876 Joseph joined his brother George and they formed G&J Lines, having a factory at 457 Caledonian Road, which produced Rocking Horses, Velocipede Horses and Life Size Horses for Circuses and Steam Fairs. The business prospered due to the George’s skill and Joseph’s business acumen. Two of Joseph’s sons, William and Walter joined the firm in 1897.  They were joined by the fourth son, Arthur in 1909. The third son, George Edward Lines, my Grandfather, did not join the firm,doing an engineering apprenticeship instead.
George retired in 1903, leaving Joseph in charge of the business which continued to thrive until the outbreak of the First World War, William, who was 35, was too old to be called up, and continued to work for his father at G&J Lines, but the other sons all served in the army.
At the end of the war, while George Edward went into farming, the other three sons returned to the toy business, but their views on where the business should go had changed. Joseph, used to being very much in charge did not agree, and William, Walter and Arthur set up their own toy company – Lines Brothers, operating under the brand name Triang (three Lines make a triangle).
Joseph cut off contact with the rebellious sons, which was very distressing to his wife Jane, who hoped for a reconciliation until her death in 1925.
Although there does seem to have been some thawing in relationships, when Joseph died in 1931 his will shows he had not forgiven the defecting sons.

The Last Will and Testament of Joseph Lines

This is the Last Will and Testament

of me JOSEPH LINES of 141 Lordship Road in the county of Middlesex Strong toy and Baby Carriage Maker and I hereby revoke all my former testamentary dispositions and appoint my son George Edward Lines and Leanord Herbert Graves Accountant of Allen Craig Vera Avenue Grange park in the County of Middlesex (hereinafter called my Trustees) Executors and Trustees of this my will and I declare as follows:-

1. I give free of all duties the following legacies:-

To each of my Trustees who shall prove my Will and shall act in the trusts thereof the sum of twenty five pounds to reimburse them for their interest and time spent, in carrying out my wishes and I declare that Leanord Herbert Graves shall act conjointly with my Son George Edward Lines for a period of two years after which Leanord Herbert Graves will terminate the trusteeship leaving my son George Edward Lines as sole executor and trustee for terminating the disposition of the Residuary estate.

2. All the gifts both of real and personal property, other than that of my residuary estate, contained in this my Will or any codicil hereto shall be paid free from all legacy and death duties whatsoever and it is my intention to exercise by this will or any codicil hereto to the fullest extent all powers of appointment vested in me whether such powers are general or special and whether expressly referred to or not.
3. I give the following legacies to the employees of G. and J Lines Limited if in the service of the company at my death to be paid within three months of my death To my nephew Frederick Fitzhenry the sum of fifty pounds to George William Woodrow, Bertram Tigg thirty pounds each to John Lawrence Ives, Harry Thomas, Arthur Ernest Cutter and Alfred Dilley Twenty pounds each To Henry Arthur Marshall, Alec McKenzie, Joseph Lee, Stanley Bettell, John Warrilow, Mabel Burbridge, Violet Keen and my House maid Elisabeth Stone Ten pounds each.
4. I give the following to my children as a provision during the period which may elapse before the realisation and distribution of my residuary estate such legacies to be paid within three months of my death: –
To my Daughter Edith Rae the sum of Two hundred pounds.
To my Son George Edward Lines the sum of Three Hundred pounds
To my Daughter Winifred Lines the sum of Four hundred pounds
To each for their sole use and benefit:-
5. I give to the Prince Of Wales General Hospital 14 princes Road Tottenham one hundred pounds and I direct that the receipt of the Treasurer or acting Treasurer or other proper officer of each institution shall be sufficient discharge to my Trustees.

6. The number of shares in the Company of G. and J. Lines Limited held in my name is 22,942 these shares are to be transferred as follows within three months of my death:-

To my Son George Edward Lines Ten Thousand five hundred shares
To my Daughter Winifred Lines Eight thousand four hundred and forty two shares
To my Daughter Edith Rae Four thousand shares.
7. These shares are not to be sold or transferred by them except to one or other of the recipients in the first place and dividends (if any) must be distributed in same proportion to numbers held by them and not until the Firms reserve amounts to the sum of five thousand pounds. These shares are to be held on same conditions as stated in the said Firm’s articles of association dated the Thirteenth day of April One thousand nine hundred and eight.
8. I give and bequeath all my other property of every description unto my trustees upon trust that they shall sell call in and convert in to money such parts thereof as may not consist of money with full powers to postpone such sale calling in and conversion for such periods as they shall think proper and shall out of my ready money and the proceeds of such sale calling in or conversion pay my funeral and testamentary expenses and debts and the legacies bequeathed by this Will or any Codicil hereto and shall invest the remainder of such monies and proceeds in or upon any of the investments for the time being authorised by law for the investment of trust funds with power to change any such investment for others similarly authorised for the period of two years from the date of my death and after such period Upon Trust to pay and divide such investments and accumulations whether invested or not between such of my three children George Edward Lines Edith Rae and Winifred Lines as shall survive me in four equal parts Three parts to be equally divided between my Son George Edward Lines my Daughter Winifred Lines the remaining fourth part to be paid to my Daughter Edith Rae.

9. And I desire that my Freehold of Tottenham Toy and baby carriage works and land shall be valued by a professional Valuer and the value arrived at shall be divided between my three children aforesaid in the same proportion as stated in paragraph No 8 in this my Will and it is my wish that Mr. W.R. Harrison of 41 Fairfield Road Edmonton shall be chosen as valuer in this matter and also all other questions of valuation which may arise.

10. And I desire that my Son George Edward Lines shall accept the position of Governor Chairman and Sole Managing Director of the company of G. and J. Lines Limited he should hold all my share certificates Leases Deeds policies and private papers and keys connected with the aforesaid Company and myself.
11. I give to my son George Edward Lines my Gold watch and gold chain and my rings.
12. I desire that the furniture linen ornaments clocks pictures and all contents of 141 Lordship Road shall be offered at first instance to my three Children aforesaid at the valuers estimate of price and they should have first choice of them before arranging sale of the remains and remainder of Lease which should be possible within three months of my death
IN WITNESS whereof I have to this my Will hereunto set my hand this

16th day of December one thousand nine hundred and twenty seven

The Beneficiaries

George Edward Lines

My Grandfather – was working with Joseph at G&J Lines by 1927 when the will was written, and still working there in 1931. Rather against the spirit of the Will, but a sensible move, was the sale of G&J Lines to Lines Brothers, where my Grandfather now worked as head of the Development Department.

Edith Rae

Joseph’s eldest daughter, Edith had married James Rae in 1916. He was a civil servant, who became Sir James Rae, K.C.B and Under Secretary, H.M. Treasury, but had not reached these heights in 1927.  She died on 12th March 1957, and he died on 1st November 1957, just 8 months later.

Winifred Lines

Joseph’s youngest daughter never married, so he made provision for her financial support. She died, aged 93 in 1983.

Frederick Fitzhenry

Joseph’s sister, Mary Ann Lines married Benjamin Fitzhenry in 1875. In 1877 Joseph married  Jane Fitzhenry, Benjamin’s sister. Benjamin and Mary Ann had four children, one being Frederick Fitzhenry, born 3 March 1882. He was baptised on 30th April 1882,  the same day as Walter Lines, and by then his mother, Mary Ann had died.
Benjamin re-married in 1884 and had another three children.
Frederick worked for his uncle. His occupation is unreadable in 1901, but was a French Polisher, working for a Toy Manufacturer in 1911. In both cases he was living with his aunt, Joseph’s sister, Martha Lines.

George William Woodrow, Bertram Tigg, John Lawrence Ives, Harry Thomas, Arthur Ernest Cutter,  Alfred Dilley, Henry Arthur Marshall, Alec McKenzie, Joseph Lee, Stanley Bettell, John Warrilow, Mabel Burbridge, Violet Keen

I assume they all worked at G&J Lines, but I know nothing more about them

Elisabeth Stone

Joseph’s housekeeper, who would have had to take on more responsibility after Jane’s death.

Prince Of Wales General Hospital

This opened in 1867 and closed in 1983, and had just added a new wing in 1923.

The Excluded

Not all of Joseph’s surviving children (he had a daughter, Rosa, who died aged 3) are mentioned in his will.

Mary Freeman

Joseph’s daughter, Mary, married Ralph Freeman in 1908. By 1927 Ralph Freeman was a senior partner in the engineering firm Donald Fox and Partners (which later changed its name to Freeman, Fox and Partners).  Presumably Joseph had no concerns that they might need financial support.

William Lines

Joseph’s eldest son, had been too old to be called up in 1914, and continued to work at G&J Lines throughout the First World War, but joined his brothers in forming Lines Brothers in 1919.

Walter Lines

Served in the army during WW1 and rose to the the rank of Captain. Like his elder brother William, he had been a director of G&J Lines Ltd, but took the risk of branching out with his brothers.

Arthur Lines

The youngest of Joseph’s sons, he had started work as an apprentice at G&J Lines, before joining the army. He completed the trio of toymaking Lines Brothers in 1919.

Martha Lines

Joseph’s sister. Although she worked for Joseph in 1901 as a Toy Horse Rosette maker and was still alive in 1927 (she died in 1935) she was not mentioned in the will.

One Hundred Years Ago

One hundred years ago, on the night of 19th/20th October 1918, during the Battle of the Selle, part of the One Hundred Days Offensive, towards the end of World War One, the British Royal Engineers built bridges, under enemy fire, over the river Lys. (OSM)
My Grandfather, George Edward Lines, at the time an Acting Captain attached to the 497th (Kent) Field Company of the Royal Engineers was awarded the Military Cross for his actions on that day.
Although he was wounded 3 times during the war, he survived that engagement, although not everyone was so fortunate.  The preceding linked site has further information from the history of another Royal Engineer, who did not survive the battle, including a map, and an extract from the original report of the crossing.

The Apprentice

This article is not about the British television show, nor the American one, but about my Grandfather, George Lines, who was an apprentice at Clayton and Shuttleworth – a four year apprenticeship, ending in December 1911.
Clayton and Shuttleworth were a Lincoln based engineering company, mainly focussed, before WW1, on agricultural machinery.
On the 4th July 1907 Commercial Motor carried an article about a new scheme of apprenticeship adopted at Clayton and Shuttleworth, Lincolnshire.
Amongst the benefits were the that apprenticeship would be for 4 years, rather than 7, and would take apprentices between 15 and 22, hoping for boys (the concept of girls as apprentices was not considered) who has been to school beyond 14.

The hours of work are: 6 a.m. to 8 a.m., 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., 1.30 p.m. to 5 p.m., on all week-days except Fridays and Saturdays; on Fridays the works close at 5.30 p.m. instead of 5 p.m., and on Saturdays at 12.30 p.m. Time• keeping of apprentices will be most carefully watched.
I am not sure where my Grandfather stayed at first, but by the 1911 Census he was living at 69 Carholme Road, Lincoln (OSM) which is now the Brancaster Guest House.

In the 1911 Census it was occupied by

  • Mary Jane Woodhead, head of the household, aged 50 and widowed
  • Harold Edgar Woodhead, son, 18, and an engineers apprentice in the field of Agricultural Engineering
  • Ethel Mary Woodhead, daugher, 21, no occupation
  • George Edward Lines, Boarder, 23, an engineers apprentice in the field of Agricultural Engineering
  • Alice Cook, 19, Servant
  • Deborah Daisy Turner, 21, Visitor

I assume my Grandfather boarded here through being a fellow apprentice with Harold.
I do not know further details of my Grandfather’s apprenticeship, but he clearly picked up skills that would serve him well in the Royal Engineers in WW1, and later working for Lines Brothers.

Harold Woodhead’s War.

Harold signed up for the Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment.
His sister Ethel Mary married someone called Chase around September 1912 in Lincoln, and his mother Mary possibly died in Mansfield around June 1915.
Harold died on the 14th October 1915, age 22, and is buried, along with many others, at the Commonwealth War Commission cemetery at Loos.


Harwell Apprentices

When I started work at Harwell it still had an apprentice school, and the apprentices, and after they had graduated from the school, the on-site engineers could produce almost anything from scratch. As in those days Harwell was doing a lot of leading edge research their skills were often required. Many local businesses also benefited from the graduates of the Apprentice Training School.
Many of the roads on Harwell site are named after famous scientists, such as Fermi Avenue, but the small stub road in front of the building in which I worked was unnamed, until one April First, a sign appeared, labelling it as “Dyer Straits”. Ron Dyer was one of the Group Leaders in Material Physics Division, main occupants of the building. The sign was such a good facsimile of the other road signs on site that it remained, and next time the site was surveyed it was transferred to the official site map, and the name remains to this day, as can be seen on Google Maps

George Lines – new digs in Switzerland

I have an incomplete letter written by my Grandfather, George Lines, probably in late 1913 or early 1914, as he is just about to start work, presumably at the Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik. The house is probably near Winterthur.
Chronologically it must come before the letter from Bellagio, and after the letter from Cologne.
The piece I have appears to start at page 5, but none of the other pages are numbered. They are written on both sides of a single A4 sheet of paper, folded in half.


he consulted his Frau, as to the possibility of taking me into their place, and so offered to take me if the place would suit me so I straightway went & inspected the rooms & being favourably impressed decided to take them. I have a bedroom, rather small, but I shall do my exercises in the corridor (its not as large as Mouse’s bedroom) and for meals & etc I use their rooms.

They have no family, but have a piano which doesn’t appear to be used much so I must ?sub up any 5 finger exercise. It is very pleasantly (not the piano, – the house) situated in the middle of

continued on the next page…

a garden with fruit trees & plants all round, so it does not jar on my aesthetic sense. In fact all the houses here are sweetly pretty & the surrounding country is also very beautiful, natürlich.
Have been for some walks with Herr Rhienhold in the neighbouring forests, and today through a vineyard & stole some grapes – but were rather sour. He speaks fair English, but his Frau does not so you can imagine our conversations are rather comic. However I try and speak always German.
You would scream to see the sort of stuff Chief the vegetarian is putting down

The Swiss grape season is about October, so this could be September 1913, i.e. too early for the grapes to be ripe, or they could be after the grape season, when only the grapes which did not ripen were left.
It is interesting to see Grandpa being a vegetarian at this stage, as he ate turkey at Christmas dinner with most of the rest of the family – apart from my Uncle Michael and his wife, who were vegetarians back when this was unusual. I remember he was also fond of mustard on his roast beef, and my parents had bought him a large jar of it the year that he announced that he was a vegetarian. He would tell us “If you want to be fit and active in your 90’s – become a vegetarian”. My grandmother would point out that the secret was to be fit and active into your late 80’s, and then become a vegetarian !
I think there is a jump here

am sure I shall be sick at meals soon, as they will press you to eat some more when you are quite full.
I think you would love the country round here.
Tomorrow, Wednesday I start work & expect it will be rather comic at first. I think we start work in the winter at 8.0 am – 12.  12 – 2 Dinner  2 – 6.15 work then come home & have a meal abt. 7 o’c & then read, walk or autre chose.
Here they speak a German Dialect which is rather difficult to understand.

The reference to winter suggests that this is late 1913, or early 1914.
Here is the last page

I think I shall be pretty comfortable here. Herr and Frau Rhienhold are quite unconventional, and it is rather decent having someone to talk to at meal times.
They have a proper bath, but it is situated in the kitchen so one must arrange matters accordingly.
I will write again when I have got into harness if I haven’t forgotten all my English by then !
Bite a little piece out of Pudding’s neck & send it to me and tell Pete I’ll write him a letter in German soon as he seemed very interested in that mysterious language, at Stope.

Love to all


Once again we have a reference to Stope, also mentioned in his letter from Bellagio, and his letter about Spring Cleaning and Mountain Climbing.


Letter from George Lines – Spring Cleaning and Mountain Climbing

This was written by my Grandfather, George Lines, probably shortly after 21st May 1914, probably from Winterthur to his future Mother-in-Law. I have left out some padding.

… must write small as I have a suspicion that 3 sheets of this stuff takes more than 2 ½ d stamp. Tell me if this is so. I was going to write some days since, but as I was going on a mountain climb on the Thursday, thought I’d wait & tell you about it instead of having nothing but my usual padding. Of course the latter will predominate here, so don’t expect anything in the nature of a letter.

That brings me to my next point, namely Spring Cleaning or the “Root of all Evil”, which you mention in your letter as hoving in view. I always had a fondness for your show because the place looked as the place looked as though it was used and lived in, instead of being in competition with all the other 999 people in Keynsham & elsewhere, who systematically spend 50% of their waking hours in tidying up and shaking dusters out of windows (for their neighbours benefit) and I always admired the way you could slip off for a ramble without worrying because a few papers or books weren’t exactly tidy at home, and you can’t imagine the delight it gave me, always to be able to find some dust on your mantleshelf. A mantleshelf without dust gives me a chill. I always suffered from chills in Fishponds, and I do here – the shame of dust haunts me like a curse. Here is a person in 10,000,000 – I said to myself, – who has a soul above dusting or scanning every little corner in order to be able to find a speck of dust, and so have one up against the poor skivvy. Well to cut my story short, you are the aforesaid 1 in 10,000,000 of of course well aware of the fallacy of Spring Cleaning, which is this. Everything in this world tends towards a normal state of affairs, – water finds its own level, people find their own level (I of course being the exception which proves this latter rule, insofar as my level being of the coal mine order should never have brought me into touch with your level which must very nearly approach the spiritual realms) – and, what is more to my point, house cleanliness tends to a normal state of affairs. A week or so after the manual annual tomfoolery turn out, everything is the same as if Spring Cleaning had never been invented. I speak of course from bitter experience. I am sure Daddy would agree with me on this point. Having now conclusively proved my proposition you will of course this year forego the silly business, and have all the time that would thereby be wasted, to really enjoy the Spring on the bosom of your family. People are so illogical; Spring perhaps the loveliest season, they set apart for befouling the atmosphere with dust, reek of paint and etc, instead of doing this disgusting work when the fogs are about, and it wouldn’t be noticed, or subtract anything from the enjoyment of life. When the world is wiser people will see that fogs were sent for this very purpose.
My lesson & the moral are plain. If you can now do your Spring Cleaning ? without sm??t???ps from your conscience you must be a hardened character. We have a Spring Clean here one a week due to the pride the Swiss have in being able to call the Italians dirty. They clean up fiendish neptune. Where I happen to keep a few books & papers in the sitting room, Frau G ? calls a “Schweinerei” I.e. a pigsty. She has no idea of what a place ought to look like. Well enough of this topical little kettle.

Thursday being Ascension Day (Himmelfahrt) we had a holiday and I made my first mtn. climb. With two men in the office and two Fräulein we set out on the Wednesday evening for the Vienwaldstaffersee in the Luzern neighbourhood where our mountain the Rophaien (7000 feet) is situated. Arrived in Sisikon about 11:30 at night we started on our climb with candle lanterns. The object of starting at night is so that the climb is finished before the heat of the day. It was of course very weird going in the dark but the night was perfectly clear – no moon but twice as many stars as one sees in lower altitudes. You must really try the experience, I’m sure you’d like it. At any rate when I come back we’ll have such an excursion, – just think how fine Black Down would be at night! Of course before the really tricky parts of the climb came the day had broken & we could see without the lanterns. Of course we took grub and other articles in our knapsacks. The latter are splendid institutions. You ought to have them for your rambles. We come into the snow about 1000 feet from the top and in places it was so deep that some mountain huts were completely covered up to the roof, and we found some toads crawling over the snow in an almost lifeless condition, – after their winter sleep I suppose. After one or two exciting stretches we reached the top, and proceeded to rest, which, having walked all night without sleep was jolly welcome. Perhaps more so to me as I was totally inexperienced in mtn. climbing and had got the cramp from the strenuous exertion and big steps that one has to take when going up a steep snow slope.

Hobble skirts would be quite out of the question, and the ladies wear bloomers for climbing. The day was absolutely cloudless and you can imagine the view was beautiful & the air glorious. After grubbing and sunbathing we began the return journey in a slightly different direction. Snow slopes which had taken us perhaps ¾ of an hour to climb we slid down in a few seconds. You simply sit down on the snow & let yourself go, braking with the ice-axe. It is perfectly safe providing there isn’t a precipice at the bottom. Oh! we also saw chamoix springing over the snow on the next mountain with the utmost sangfroid. They seem to have no fear at all. It was altogether a pretty strenuous but enjoyable experience. The sensation of height are rather weird, I think one gets used to it. The great thing is not to imagine anything that might happen. Doubtless after a few such climbs I shall be quite cold-blooded. It is at any rate jolly healthy, – one perspires like a sponge. Do you remember our famous daily climb up the cliffs at Stope. The flowers are awfully interesting in the different zones. I have an idea I should like to make a collection of pressed flowers from my different climbs. Do you happen to have any tips on the subject ?

Wish I were coming with you to Gower – no caves, no shrimps, no paddle for me this year. Hope you have a lovely blazing hot time. Had a letter from Win y’day. Walter has a little car & is teaching her to drive. She also went to a dance & had 43 dances. I can’t imagine how she did it. Am expecting to learn in your next that Pete & Sue have been sucked into the vacuum cleaner.

Well, I must to bed. I’m as stiff as a rock after yesterday, & shall have to manage well.

Best love from Chief.

Fishponds – I believe my Grandfather had digs in Fishponds when he was in Bristol – possibly before he met the Stevens family.
Cliffs at Stope – I am trying to track down where these are, as they are, as Stope, or Stoke, is also mentioned in the letter from Bellagio.
Win is Grandpa’s sister – Winifred Lines
Walter is Grandpa’s brother, Walter Lines, of Lines Bros. fame.
Pete and Sue are my future Grandmother’s siblings. Although known in the family as Peter, he was baptised Cedric Champion Stevens, and she was baptised Brenda Stevens, called Susie, in the family – until the arrival of my Uncle Michael, who – when very young – pronounced Susie and Tudy, and the name stuck,

George Lines Letter – Rats and Shells

Here is another letter, written by my Grandfather, George Lines, from the trenches during World War One.

Dear Mummie/
How like you to write me that jolly letter from Bath station after seeing Mouse off. Not a moment wasted ! Wish I could say the same of my miserable existence.
It arrived too on my birthday and helped to soften the sting of advancing years ! I celebrated the occasion in the old dugout, where we have been doing another spell, but are shortly going back for a good rest, or rather change.
My batman Jenning is apparently an artist on the melodeon having dug one up from somewhere & is now making our cave resound with all the latest. It sounds quite cheery after the trench chillness, disturbed only by the gnawing and squealing of rats, some of which must be huge, judging from the crunching of their teeth on the wooden frames.
Wouldn't old Taff be in his element ? I'm re-reading the "Blue Bird" which dear old Mouse sent me from Bournemouth and think the portrayal of Tylo the dog is delightful. If Taff could only speak, I'm sure he'd like that.
I gave one of Mouse's pairs of mittens away to a Tommy the other day & like a silly ass chose to do so at a corner (known as Dead Male Corner) which has an evil reputation for being shelled. I thought the recipient might as well write & thank Mouse for them so took out my note-book to write down the address and had scarcely started when bang, bang, bang, bang - 4 shells (what we call whizz-bangs because of their high velocity) burst about 30 yards behind. You may guess we hared off pretty quickly. That's what I call luck, but of course it happens so often that I've no longer any doubt that I owe it all to your lucky heather and my other treasures and your kind thoughts. Anyhow I hope the chap writes to Mouse to thank her. I haven't given Graces?? pair yet, but will give her address as well.
I'll now stamp about to restore the circulation in my feet.
	Heaps of love & heaps and heaps to Mouse when you write

This was probably written shortly in late January, or early February 1918,  as my Grandfathers birthday was January 28th, and as he has a batman he was presumably an acting Captain, which I don’t think he was in 1917. I have not been able to find all his promotion dates for his official war record.
I am not sure who Grace was, except that she too was knitting mittens for soldiers at the front.

George Lines letter from Bellagio

This letter was written by my Grandfather. George Edward Lines, almost certainly in 1914, when he is working at Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik , and before July, as Arnold Freeman is as yet unmarried.
I have left out some of what Grandpa called “padding”.

I was sorry those few flowers I sent in the envelope turned up in an indistinguishable condition - I was amused at Mouse thinking one might have been a daisy ! - it must have been a mess. So I have sent you a tinfull from Bellagio i.e. if they arrive at all. There were hundreds of varieties and it would be interesting to know how many different kinds are actually in the tin - you can make a sporting event out of it & have guesses. Mrs Freeman & the Twins knew practically all the names but of course I have forgotten them. They told me that they would pick up if totally immersed in water. The blue ones were gentians. That's the only tricky name I can remember. Well, I will tell you something about our holiday. Mrs F & Co. having been to München to fetch Daisy & her friend Bessie, they came thro' Swtiz'd on their way to Italy, and I joined them in the train @ Winterthur1 on Saturday afternoon. There were Mrs F.2 Arnold, Daisy, Dolly & Bessie i.e. 6 of us. We went on to Luzern the same night and stayed there till Monday morning. The Sunday we made an excursion to the Rigi which we climbed (per train). Monday morning we took train through the famous  St Gotthard tunnel, with all sorts of curious spirals etc, to Lugano & then by steamer & train we eventually at Bellagio of which the cards will give you a paltry idea. It is very lovely. It would suit you two down to the ground when you have a Continental honeymoon, only you must go about now as later on it is rather too hot they say. It is quite Italian of course and it all adds to the fun having to try and understand the blighters. We bought books on Italian but did not become very expert and when we did get something simple off our chests like good morning for example, it must have appeared to the natives as tho' we were making a speech. I should very much like to be able to speak it as it has such a musical sound when spoken decently. The Italian names too, I think are very pretty, - Bellagio e.g. You might re-christen Pudding - Susan Bellagio Stevens and Peter, - Peter Stefano Stevens ! They'd be bound to make their mark with them. Well as we did absolutely nothing there's not much to tell. We systematically lazed, eat and slept. We had brekker abt. 8, before which the girls annoyed the other residents in the Hotel by singing German Volksongs. After that & brekker, we got our lunch from the hotel & sloped off with it from abt. 2 miles, sat down & read aloud in turns (Shaw's, Cashel Byron' Profession), eat lunch, more reading & then back to tea by the lakeside to the tune of a violin & mandoline orchestra & Italian songs. The whole effect being very agreeable. Most of the time as you (at least Mummie) may imagine the ladies did that incessant needlework which goes beyond my comprehension. I suppose it corresponds w/smoking & is certainly a greater evil. After tea the usual programme was a stroll to shake tea down & prepare a vacuum for dinner. The said stroll inevitably passed thro' the shops, whose owners we exasperated by looking but not buying, at any rate for the next few days when as you can guess those who had money (i.e. all except me) wasted it on all sorts of Italian oddities of unquestionable worthlessness for numerous grandchildren & other kith & kin. Then came dinner which was rather jolly owing to the homeliness of the hotel and the sense of humour possessed by the waiters & Arnold.
After dinner we usually retired to one of our bedrooms and read aloud and did needlework (i.e. the ladies). The Freemans are all very keen on reading and its certainly not a bad way of passing the time. In any case the taste for reading is useful when one is old & a nuisance to everybody else. Arnold had to return to England on the Thursday owing to his girl's mother begin very ill, so I had 4 ladies to chaperon which not being much of a cavalier, I'm afraid I'm not great shakes at. I wished you had all been with us it would have been like Stoke3 again. Perhaps we shall be able to have another holiday together one of these days. I much prefer the Stoke type of holiday. I'm absolutely fed up with hotels very quickly. I'm rather afraid I shan't get any more time off before Xmas as when I asked for the week they gave me to understand in a rather condescending fashion that no holidays are, properly speaking, allowed in the first 2 years !! but that if I had a week I must consider it as my holidays this year! However if I can manage Xmas I will. Thank goodness I've only got 17 more months here. I think I should go mad if I stayed longer, and I certainly shan't do the latter. I rather hope Dee & Win4 will pay me a visit during the summer. I could weekend w/them. By the bye I read an official lookg. document a few weeks back re the lost letter. It gave small consolation however. There was a lengthy statement to the effect that "There was no trace of same in the British Postal Administration". You can picture for yourself the whole of the G.P.O. turning out drawers etc, and telegraphing the whole world over, in a tireless search.


  1. Winterthur was the headquarters of SLM, where Grandpa was working
  2. Mrs F. – Edith Freeman, widow of George James Freeman, and mother-in-law of Grandpa’s sister, Mary Freeman (neé Lines).
  3. I think this says “Stoke”, but it could be something else, e.g. “Stope”  I think I have seen a reference to walks along the “famous daily climbs up the cliffs at Stoke” which Grandpa took with the Stevens family, so presumably near Bristol.
  4. Winifred Lines (1890-1983), Grandpa’s youngest sister. I assume Dee was a friend of hers, or possibly Edith Lines (1880-1957), Grandpa’s eldest sister.

George Edward Lines

George Edward Lines was my Grandfather. He was the son of Joseph Lines and Jane (née Fitzhenry).
A poetic summary of his life can be found in ‘Ode to a Nonagenarian
He was  a prolific letter writer, and I have inherited some of the ones he wrote, which I have used to piece together some of his life story.
In the following OSM links are to OpenStreetmap maps.
He was born in Islington (OSM) on 28th January 1888.
Before the war he went to Germany looking for work there.

His Official War record shows the documented history of his recruitment, wounding in action and being awarded the Military Cross.
His letters written during the war show the more personal side.

He married Doris Joan Stevens, my Grandmother, on the 19th August 1922.
After the war he farmed at Grove Farm, Box (OSM) for a while, until the Depression and his father’s need for his help with the family business sent him back to London.
After the death of his father he worked for Lines Brothers, the toy company founded by his brothers, until he retired.
They were living on Anne Boleyns Walk, Cheam, Surrey (OSM) in 1932,  when Tim was born.

The Cottage,
55, Anne Boleyn's Walk,
Cheam, Surrey
 Tel. Sutton 3081

They moved into  Pickwick, Warren Drive, Kingswood, Surrey (OSM) in 1935 – they had it built – and were still living there in1957.

Ode to a Nonagenarian

On the occasion of my Grandfathers 90th birthday my mother , Jane Lines, wrote the following poem – dated 28/1/78

Sonnet1 to a Nonagenarian
Young George2 goes trotting off to school
To Owen's3 - for he is no fool !
There he gathers lots of prizes,
Gilt-edged books, all shapes and sizes.
To be an engineer is his ambition,
So breaking with family tradition,
His brothers, making rocking horses4
Do joinery and other courses,
But working in a steel foundry
Is not as easy as making tea5 !
An unpronounceable Swiss firm6 -
What a lot there is to learn !
Suddenly all has to halt7;
The Kaiser's out to take our salt.
"Now form up all you soldier lads, for you are off to fight.
Left, right, left, right, down the street. It's here you'll stay the night."
"I don't like this - not up to much - what do you think men ?
Down the stairs - we'll try our luck and join the queue again !"8
Then a young soldier, off to France,
To lead the Germans a pretty dance.
There awarded the M.C.9
For some secret gallantry10.
Back home to try a different life,
Accompanied by a pretty young wife11,
To the beautiful peaceful countryside
To farm at Box12 and there reside.
Meanwhile Arthur13, Bill14 and Walter15
Have ideas - their Dad16 won't alter -
So boldly the brothers three
Form a brand new company17.
Famous throughout the land for toys
Here we come - the Triang18 boys !
"Before you lose all you put your shirt on19
You'd better come and help at Merton20."
And now he's an engineer again.
(The scale is different from a toy train21 !)
Doll's houses22, trikes23 and prams24 you see
With the well-known name of "Pedigree"25.
His own family increases -
Along with nephews26 and some nieces27.
Lovely hols at Gorran Haven28,
Always sunny, never rainin',
Michael29, Roger30, in the sea
Here comes Jennifer Mary.31
Jeremy's32 busy with a spade
Tim's33 shorts on rocks will soon be frayed !
Alas ! Another war34 we see
And Triang make things military35.
(About the shade of yonder windmill36 -
Does Grandpa's army lurk there still ? )37
The family at Pickwick38 are,
with Sam39 and chicks40 and motor car.41
But eventually persuaded to retire
They've gone to the heights of Hampshire.42
There though armed with fork, spade and barrow
The house was inaptly43 named Rest Harrow44.
No other such super veg45 can grow !
No wonder he's first in the Bentworth Show46 !
The latest venture's to plant some vines -
And next twill be sampling home made wines.
Down to France47 and the lovely sun -
to stay in the flat48 - it is such fun !
Then after having B on B49
They'll have a quick splash in the sea.
Now for the family photograph50. "Line up everyone.
Jonathan51, Chris52 and Jennifer Ruth53, Peter54, Elizabeth55, Ian56,
Robert57, Julie58 and Nicola59 - come all you grandchildren !"
Now everybody, give a loud cheer !
For now its Grandpa's 90th year !!


Some of the links to the notes are not yet active. I hope to get them all done when I get time.
Some of the information I do not have, and would be grateful if any family members can fill bits in, or correct what is here.

  1. Technically not a sonnet, as it does not have 14 lines,  but I am happy for it to mean what she chose it to mean.
  2. George Edward Lines – my Grandfather, known in the family as “Chief”
  3. Dame Alice Owen’s School – I think
  4. His uncle and father were George and Joseph Lines of G&J Lines who made rocking horses.
  5. Grandpa did his engineering apprenticeship initially in England – at Clayton & Shuttleworth for 4 years, ending in December 1911,   and then in Germany and then in Switzerland (I think)
  6. The Schweizerische Lokomotiv- und Maschinenfabrik which made the mountain railways. My Aunt Fanny’s Grandfather, coincidentally, worked there also – although that would have been earlier
  7. Grandpa was an Army reservist, so was called up at the start of World War 1.
  8. Jennifer told Jeremy that when Grandpa joined up in 1914, aged 26, they were billeted in Epsom and when he was shown his house he went upstairs and was not impressed so he came down, walked out of the back door and joined the back of the column and finally ended up in super ‘digs’ but his good landlady had the memorable name Mrs Coffin!
  9. He was awarded the Military Cross
  10. He did not speak much about his wartime experiences, but I think it may have been “For great gallantry and determination during operations which led up to the establishment of our line across the Lys on the night of 19/20th Oct. 1918. He personally supervised the building of infantry bridges across the river under heavy fire, and it was due to his example that the operation was carried to a successful issue.”
    From The London Gazette.  There is more about his war record at my George Edward Lines Official War Record posting.
  11. My Grandmother.
  12. After the war Grandpa switched from engineering to farming. More information about the farm would be interesting.
  13. Arthur Lines, Grandpa’s younger brother
  14. William Lines, Grandpa’s eldest brother
  15. Walter Lines, Grandpa’s elder brother.
  16. Joseph Lines 1848-1931
  17. Lines Brothers
  18. Three Lines make a triangle – hence Triang
  19. The farm ran into financial difficulties during the Depression and Grandpa went to work for Lines Brothers
  20. The Triang factory at Merton. From  “Even though the Old Kent Road factory had only been operational for a little over a year, by the end of 1923 it had become apparent that Lines Bros. was growing at a rate that required even bigger premises. In December, a contract was placed for a new purpose-built factory in Morden Road, Merton, South London, on a 27 acre site.”
  21. Hornby and Triang Trains
  22. Grandpa’s niece, Peggy Lines had a very nice dolls house
  23. Not really related to Grandpa, but apparently Walter Lines invented the scooter when he was just 15.
  24. Some notes are going in so that if I think of something relevant I don’t have to renumber everything.
  25. Another well known Lines Brothers trademark, though I don’t know if Grandpa had a direct connect with that side of things.
  26. Nephews – Walter Lines had two sons Graeme and Sandy, William Lines had one son Joseph, and Arthur Lines had three sons, Arthur, Hugh and Peter.
  27. Nieces – Walter Lines had two daughters, Peggy (of Hamleys fame) and Gillian, William Lines had four daughters, Winifred, Margaret, Dorothy and Nancy, and Arthur Lines had one daughter, Marjorie.
  28. I have seen a film clip of my father, uncles and aunt playing on the beach, probably at Gorran Haven in 1939
  29. Michael Lines, my uncle
  30. Roger Lines, my father, who was a research forester became Silviculturist North, and received an O.B.E. for services for forestry in 1986
  31. Jennifer Lines, now retired from being Headmistress of Herriard school and and now focuses on her painting.
  32. Jeremy Lines, now retired from yacht building and is now occupied with Yachting History and other sailing related activities
  33. Tim Lines, now retired from the International Labour Organization
  34. The Second World War
  35. From During the Second World War Lines Bros. Ltd. stopped making toys and concentrated all their efforts on production to help the allied war effort.“. This included a redesign of the Sten Gun – lots of detail available in the book Sten Machine Carbine whose author I know through Oxford Phab
  36. The windmill on the heath was the Home Guards H.Q. where they mustered. 1939-44.
  37. ???
  38. The next family home was called Pickwick, after Pickwick, near Box where Granpa farmed. The Mr Pickwick of the Dickens novel was indirectly named after the same place.
  39. Sam was the family dog. I don’t have a picture or know very much about him
  40. The family kept chickens. I have seen a film of Granny feeding them.
  41. The car I remember as a Austin 1100, but this was probably referring to an earlier car.
  42. To the village of Medstead.
  43. The family mantras are “If a job’s worth doing … Its worth doing well” and “If you want a job done well… Do it yourself” – which tends to keep us busy.
  44. The name of the my grandparents house.
  45. There was a large vegetable garden, and  a huge fruit cage, rotating compost heaps, and Grandpa was out in the garden a lot of the time.
  46. My Grandfather regularly carried off most of the fruit and vegetable prizes in the Bentworth show, and my Grandmother would win many of the floral entries.
  47. He was driving to the south of France regularly, as he became older (I am not sure when) they started to break the journey half way down.
  48. The Flat at St-Clair, near  Le Lavandou
  49. Breakfast on the Balcony.
  50. Family photographs were a required ceremony at family gathering, using the self timer feature of the camera to add suspense and excitement.
  51. Me
  52. My brother
  53. The elder of my sisters
  54. A cousin, now a doctor in Australia
  55. My younger sister.
  56. A cousin, and International Croquet player
  57. Another cousin, also now living in Australia
  58. Another cousin
  59. Another cousin, now living in New Zealand.