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.

Roger to Jennifer – nice dinners and no homework

My father, Roger Lines, wrote to his sister, Jennifer, probably about 1939. She had been at Croydon High School, and was evacuated to the home farm of Statfield Saye at the start of the war.

Dear Jennifer,
How I envy you on having nice dinner and no homework. Michael and I have been writing a play for Christmas which you are going to be in. It is very cold here and the wind is whistling through the trees and blowing down the leaves. Tim pinched his fingers in the coal tongs and started to scream with anger and then he started to cry & say “Those silly tongs !!”  Love from

Roger

This was probably  written in the autumn of 1939, as Jennifer was probably one of the girls who had been sent away to safe districts before the whole school moved. From the description on the school web site

When Miss Adams arrived to take over the leadership of the school, the Second World War had begun. She had just evacuated the Queen Mary High School from Liverpool and travelled to Croydon to find not 800 but 54 pupils, for many girls had been sent away to safe districts. Miss Adams had to act quickly to preserve the life of Croydon High evacuating part of the school to Eastbourne and part to Llandilo in Wales.

The play was probably “The Green Gang” – one of several Family Dramas written by my father (some with Uncle Michael). The programme can be seen on the Family Dramas post.

This letter was probably after the one in a previous post, from Roger to Jennifer in 1939.

The reverse of the letter has the tail end of a letter from my Grandmother to Jennifer, but unfortunately I do have the rest of that letter.

lot of time and trouble. Have you seen any warships ? We could see dozens of balloons from our drive this morning, but they disappeared later. They were over Croydon. I haven’t heard where Jean Brindley or Sheila are going to school, or seen them.

Rufie sends lots of licks and little gentle bites.

Lots of love from Mummie

Jean Brindley had been a friend of Jennifer’s since they were about nine, and they ended up going to teachers training college at Roehampton together. Jean was in the same house at Froebel as my mother, which is how my mother and Jennifer met.

Margaret Box letters from Bralo

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One hundred years ago my Great Aunt, Margaret Box was in Greece at a rest camp, near the village of Bralo (Bralos, Brallos), toward the start of the time she spend towards the end of the First World War, nursing in Salonica and Serbia (see this post for further related articles). Her next letter is on 11th October, still from Bralo.

On the 5th, 6th and 7th of October 1918 she wrote to her parents, my Great Grandparents, with an update. First to her father, on Saturday 5th:

Sisters Rest Camp

?Rtea

Greece

Saturday

5.10.18

My Dear Father,

So far – so good ! We are sitting out on a veranda looking at the most wonderful view, the mountains are all round us and the water below is as smooth as a mirror.

What I miss more than anything is the green grass & I should just like a walk in the garden now. I suppose all the michaelmas daisies are coming out now & I wonder if the lilies are done yet.

I slept like a top in my little camp bed last night – we kept the door of  the tent open & the dawn at 6 o’c this morning was just fine. Our sitting room is a mud hut but all whitewashed inside with green windows and doors – we have curtains and tablecloths & an assortment of comfy chairs.

Our Orderly looks after us very well & gave us a fine breakfast not coffee & black bread – but a real English breakfast – fried bacon & tomatoes – a thing we have not tasted for a long time – he makes good tea too – the best I have had since leaving home.

Last night we had a game of whist before turning in to bed & sang songs. We are the only Sisters here at present & we are just enjoying it all on our own.

Please tell Mother the biscuits & chocolate have been most useful – there won’t be any left to hand over ! It has been almost impossible to get biscuits on the way – but chocolate was much more plentiful.

Very much love to all

Your loving Daughter

Margaret Box

 On the following day, continued on Monday 7th, she wrote to her mother:

Rest Camp

Bralo

Greece

Sunday

6.10.18

My dear Mother,

We have moved on from our last resting place – we were quite sorry in a way to leave there – it was a nice quiet little place. We are under canvas here & tomorrow we hope to do a day’s work to relieve the sisters a bit, they are all so busy.

This evening we went to church at 5.30 p.m. in a tent – it was such a nice simple service – the first time we have been able to go to church since coming out.

Last night Yesterday afternoon we had a terrific thunderstorm – we all sat out on the veranda & watched it, the lightning dashed about & the thunder echoed all round the mountains – it soon passed on & the sun came out & we saw the most beautiful rainbow with its reflection from end to end.  The lightning continued all evening jumping up from below the mountains opposite & running along the top.

7.10.18

I got up to 7 o’c breakfast this morning & have been working in the wards – we may stay here some time as there are so many men ill & so few sisters, it is quite strange to work again.

Is not the news splendid.

I have no idea when we shall get to our destination or where we shall find the hospitals !

Much love to all

Your loving Daughter

Margaret Box

Notes

Splendid news

I am not sure exactly what this would have been, but by October 1918 it was clear that the Allied forces were winning the war and that the end was in sight.

Sailing with Jeremy and Jennifer, a letter from Tim to Roger.

On 27th September 1953, my uncle Tim wrote to my father to describe the time Tim and my aunt Jennifer spent with their brother, my uncle Jeremy in Poole (OSM).
My father would have been working as a Forester in Edinburgh at the time.

27/9/53

Dear Roger

M insists that I write a page to make the envelope seem fatter. I don’t think you’ve heard about the adventure Jennifer and I had last W/E. I went down to Poole on Friday night, met Jeremy all right and spent most of the evening in the Poole Yacht Club, drinking and soaking in the nautical atmosphere. Saturday morning we took the DYC launch1 along to the club to fetch some ballast which they had used in an attempt to sink the Hornet in its safety tests. Great iron bars, ½ cwt I believe, tho’ they may have been 1 cwt. Anyway we took these back to the yard and even in the launch (a huge battleship of a thing) we got pretty wet – an accurate omen for the future! From there we went to the station to meet Jennifer, did some shopping and then had lunch. After some preliminaries we got the Hornet launched and we were away! After about 2 ½ minutes Jennifer lost her balance as the Hornet heeled over, which made her heel over even worse – then I lost my balance and the next thing we knew was that we were swimming around Poole Harbour while Jeremy, who knew what was happening, had simply done a sort of log-rolling act as Panic went over and was most unfairly still dry. While the boat was approximately in this position

Jeremy begins the salvage operations with: ‘I think the first thing to do is to get the sails down’ – this when they were several feet under water ! And he proceeded to do it. Then with a bit of clever balancing the whole boat turned right way up again and he commenced bailing with an action reminiscent of Sam2 digging. All this time Jennifer and I were holding the bow into the wind. When she was about half empty (Panic, I mean) Jeremy stuffed the spinnaker into the centre-plate housing to keep the water out – this is apparently normal practice and is the chief purpose of carrying a spinnaker. When he had completed bailing we got back in (actually Jen. and I bailed the last bit – the last bit of all is done with the rubber one to save the varnish) and we could assess the damage. This was fortunately negligible. Jennifer had rescued a plimsole as it was floating away on the billows and the only thing broken was the wooden pennant from the mast head.

We then went for a sail which was most enjoyable despite our wet clothes (fortunately the water had been surprisingly warm) and I had a go on the sliding seat

(another diagram) Actually there was a rope to hang on to, but I can’t draw ropes. Jeremy said that on the Round the Island Race a friend of his spent a good deal of the time two feet below the surface (when the boat yawed over) and they hardly saw him throughout the race because he was in a thick cloud of spray!
3

After hauling up Panic and getting some dry clothes on, we had a meal and went to see Genevieve in Poole. Quite funny, but really only one joke. Have you seen it ? (The film I mean). We also saw a thriller which was quite funny because we missed the beginning and were continuously greeted by such hilarious lines as :’So that’s how he knew the tea-pot !’ etc. etc.

Sunday morning there was a race in Poole Harbour. It was too rough for the Hornet (there was a very strong wind and it didn’t lessen all day), but Jeremy said people needed crews and so we all found ourselves in different boats. Jeremy was with a friend in a Snipe, Jennifer with a man in another Snipe and I was with 3 others (including another hopeless type) in an 18ft National. We had a very enjoyable sail, tho’ rather a wet one! Twice round a not very long course. Jeremy came in 2nd. I’m not really sure where Jennifer and I got in – nobody really seems to care where they come in, a rather nice aspect of sailing. All the yachting types then held a post mortem and then went off for lunch. We had sandwiches at the club and stayed some time on the starting balcony, where they have a marvellous pair of binoculars on a stand. There was a terrific wind flowing and nearly carrying us off.

Later we went to Sandbanks by bus and had a very nice time there, coming back in a large motor-boat at least 35ft long, I should think, but by the time we got to Poole we were very nearly wet through again. We returned home the same evening.

Here endeth the chronicle of Poole.

I have bought a developing tank – it’s a Paterson 35. Rather ingenious and nicely made. The spiral is made in 2 halves which can turn in relation to each other. They each have one or two teeth which engage with the perforations in the film – thus it works on a ratchet system and makes the film very easy to load, simply by oscillating the two halves of the spiral. I tried with a film in the shop and it works quite well. If also has one or two refinements which I needn’t mention. Haven’t got room for any more and anyway this must go in M’s so I’ll just wish you all the best for your car? and Cheerish from Tim.

Tim was clearly not put off sailing by his dip, as I remember he had a Sunfish, which he sailed on Lake Geneva. The Swiss regulations were strict and when the boat was inspected it had a have an anchor and similar items.

Jeremy has sent me a picture of Panic.

Panic being prepared for Launch

This picture was taken by Tim of Jeremy and Jennifer preparing Panic for launch.
Jennifer had probably come down on the train for the weekend, from her first teaching job at Ealing.
Tim was 21, and might have been staying at Pickwick with my Grandparents, having finished his degree at Cambridge.
My father’s older brother, Michael was probably in London, married to Fanny, and working at Philips

Notes

DYC Launch

DYC is the Dorset Yacht Company, where Jeremy was serving his boat building apprenticeship. The company was founded in 1938, and still exists, through its history (and more history here) it has built sailing and motor yachts,  including, in the 1960’s the offshore race boat Spirit of Ecstasy, one of a number of boats designed by Arthur Hagg (who was also an aircraft designer). DYC also build HMS Wrentham, a Ham Class Inshore Minesweeper in 1955.  The company was also notable for a court case “Dorset Yacht Co Ltd v Home Office” in which on 21 September 1962, ten borstal trainees were working on Brownsea Island in the harbour under the control of three officers employed by the Home Office. Seven trainees escaped one night, at the time the officers had retired to bed leaving the trainees to their own devices. The seven trainees who escaped boarded a yacht and collided with another yacht, the property of the respondents, and damaged it. The owners of the yacht sued the Home Office in negligence for damages.

Jeremy had moved on by this time to work for Thornycroft. While at Thornycroft he was also doing evening classes to broaden his range of skills.

Sam

The family dog.

Round the Island Dinghy Race

This unique event took place on 6th June 1953. There is an account, from the point of view of someone (I think Ian Proctor) sailing an Osprey at  http://www.ospreysailing.org.uk/cms2/index.php/publications/background-information/19-round-the-island-race-for-dinghies-june-6-1953-cowes.
According to a post on the Classic and Vintage Racing Dinghy Association forum, it was Ian Proctor’s account, and according to a Yachts and Yachting forum post 

The results a quite a who’s who’s of small boat sailing at the time..
Ian Proctor
Uffa Fox
Bruce Banks
Jack Knights
Beecher Moore
Just to name a few.

Here is Jeremy’s account

Earlier that summer I had sailed PANIC with two friends from Poole to Cowes for the Round the Island Dinghy Race organised by Tiny Mitchell. We had about 200 starters, some took 2 days and camped on the southern shore of the Isle of Wight. We had a fantastic sail up to Cowes with a good Northerly breeze so a relatively flat sea, we did Poole to Hurst Castle in 2 hours and about another two to Cowes, we also had on board the launching trolley and a suitcase! The race itself was in fairly light conditions, 60 miles so it took us about 12 hours. They have never had another similar as Health and Safety would go bananas! I remember nearly going to sleep on the sliding seat until the helmsman dipped my head in the sea!

F.G. (Tiny) Mitchell was Vice Commodore of Royal Corinthian Yacht Club from about the 1930’s

Jeremy’s early boating experiences

My interest in boats really started with holidays in Cornwall where I was fascinated by the boatbuilder Percy Mitchell at Portmellon near Mevagissey. We did go rowing on the Thames a few times and before I left school built an 18 foot canvas covered canoe which my friend Brian Culliford and I paddled down the Mole camping each night on the bank. When I started my boatbuilding apprenticeship in Poole I bought a 12 ft sailing dinghy in Christchurch and sailed it round to Poole. It seemed the natural thing to do as no one had cars or trailers in those days! It was called seamanship! After that of course my life was full of boats. I built PANIC in Poole, she was a Hornet with a Sliding Seat, the latest in those days.
Looking back on our trip up to Cowes, it seems madness today as with a good Northerly it would be France next stop if anything had gone wrong!

Jeremy and Brian’s trip down the Mole was probably in 1946, as Jeremy went to Poole in 1974. He remembers that they ran out of water, so had to drink water out of their handkerchiefs, and notnot surprisingly had upset tums for a while!
By an interesting co-incidence Brian (Bryan John) Culliford, like my father, went to school at Whitgift, and then went on to study Forestry at Bangor. Unlike my father, he then went on to work for the Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory. As described in his Obituary, he went on to discover a number of important techniques and worked with Universities and other police forces. He was awarded the Adelaide Medal for his contributions to Forensic Science.
As Jeremy says

He was a super chap as you have read.

Jeremy Lines – Yacht Designer

Jeremy went on to design many yachts.

Betty Allen

This gaff rigged ketch was designed by Jeremy in 1999, and has her own web site at http://www.bettyalan.com/. The “It’s about the boat” page has some of the hand drawn designs, and the site has a picture which brings back memories for me, of him up the mast.
 

Up the mast

The yacht is also featured in the July 2014 issue of  Classic Boat

Android Apps for Renal Patients

Disclaimer

I am a kidney patient, not a doctor. You should consult a doctor, rather than acting on any of the medical information on this page, which should be taken with a metaphorical “pinch of salt“.  If you are a renal patient, particularly one on dialysis, you should not be taking anything with a real pinch of salt.

Introduction

Most people probably never give a thought to their kidneys, or are aware of the many functions they perform. They are so important that they are one of the few organs which come supplied as a pair, either of which, if working to its normal capacity, is quite capable of  enabling you to live a normal life.
Before 1945 renal (kidney) failure resulted in death. In that year Willem Kolff, working in Nazi occupied Netherlands, successfully used dialysis to treat a 67 year old woman, who then lived for another seven years.
Dialysis is life-saving, but does need the patient to be cautious in what they eat and how much they drink – and to monitor themselves regularly.
In 1950 the first successful kidney transplant was performed, but it was not until the introduction of immunosuppressants  in 1964 that it became practical for wider use.
Post transplant patients need to take immunosuppressant drugs, in some personalised combination, for life, and this plus continued monitoring, is extremely important.

Android Apps

There are some Android Apps which I use to ease life as a renal patient. All of these apps are available form the Google Play Store and most of them are also available via F-Droid, which is a repository for Free/Open Source Android apps. Apps on F-Droid are built from their source code, which can be inspected by knowledgeable people to check that the app does what it claims to do. As these apps often deal with potentially sensitive medical data this ability for somebody to inspect the app is important.
There are ‘free’ android apps in the Health and Medical (as well as other) categories, which pay for themselves by selling your medical data, which is why it is a good idea to understand where the apps you use come from.

Medic Log

Monitoring is important for Renal patients, who are often presented with a record book to record their results daily on release after treatment. I suspect the discipline of regular checking is more important than the recording, particularly if the record is on paper over a long period of time, but having results in an electronic format might turn out to be useful. For this reason I wrote Medic Log, which is available on the Google Play Store here, and on F-Droid here.
In the future I hope to add the ability to read weight from a Bluetooth scale which uses openScale directly into Medic Log.

Medic Log main screen

Calendula

Taking your medication, whether on dialysis or post transplant is very important, and,  particularly post-transplant, it is easy to find real life getting in the way. Calendula is an app from the Centro Singular de Investigación en Tecnoloxías da Información da Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (CiTIUS)
It provides a flexible way to set which medication you need to take when, and will remind you when it is time to take it. If the normal time the alarm goes off is not suitable for some reason – for example if you have eaten recently and need to avoid taking your anti-rejection drugs until some time after you have eaten you can delay the reminder. It also keeps track of your stock level.
It is available on Google Play store here, and on F-Droid here.

 

openScale

Keeping a close eye on your weight is important to kidney patients, as it is a good way to tell if we are retaining too much water. Any accurate set of scales will work fine for this purpose, but you may be tempted by one wich connects to your phone via Bluetooth. Most such scales come with an app which shares your data with some medical health company, and at least one will not record your weight onto your phone until it knows your name, and address, your date of birth, and your landline and mobile phone numbers.
With openScale your data stays on your phone under your control. If you are looking for a smart scale I would suggest looking at one of the ones supported by openScale. The openScale app can be found in the Google Play store here and F-Droid here.

Care After Kidney Transplant

This one is not open source, but is one of the apps from the American National Kidney Foundation.  It provides information for post-transplant renal patients, and does not require any special permissions on your phone. It can be found in the Google Play Store here.

Emergency Contact Information

If you have a reasonably recent Android Phone (Nougat released August 2016 or later) you can add Emergency Contact Information, such as being a Renal Patient, which medications you are on etc. This information is available without needed to unlock your phone. You can also add contacts, such as your doctor.
How to set this up is described here

Transports of Delight

As a family we have travelled far, and in many ways. This post describes some of the notable ways that family members have used to get from place to place – as well as being a nod to the CD by Flanders and Swann, whose comic songs, many on a transport theme,  were part of the musical accompaniment of my childhood.

A roadside stop in Brittany in 1948, with Uncle Michael, my Grandparents, and my father, Roger – Jeremy is the photographer.

The Primus stove at the verge allowed the family to make tea wherever they were.
The Morris belonged to my Grandfather, while the motorbike and sidecar was probably Michael’s – the one he took to the cottage at Birling Gap, and possibly the same one my Grandmother used to deliver eggs from the farm at Box.
 

An engaging couple – Roger Lines proposal to Jane Box

My father proposed to my mother on Westminster Bridge so that he was in a convenient place to throw himself off if she said “no”. Fortunately  she said “yes”.  I think the actual proposal might have been on Christmas eve 1955, as my father was in Scotland and my mother in England for most of the run up, however they were clearly keeping in touch, not only with each other, but with the wider family and some of the letters have been preserved.


My father wrote this postcard in Tarbert Waiting Room (B.R.) on Thursday 10th November 1955, to send to my mothers parents.

Dear Mr and Mrs Box,
By now Jane will have let you know our intentions. As I want to ask Jane to marry me to her face it is rather premature to ask for your reactions, as we shan’t  see one another till Christmas Eve. That I love Jane more than anything else in the world will, I hope, be apparent to you. You probably also realise that I cannot offer her riches, though I think I can promise that she will not starve. Fortunately she and I think alike on the essentials, and our love hasn’t blinded us to the demerits of the other. Its just that one half of my life now lives 400 miles away in the South. I hope you will forgive this scrawl and the muddled midnight thoughts.
With Love to you both

Roger

The plantations on the st. are Nevis Forest (F.C.)

 My father’s family must have known what was going on as my Grandfather, George Lines, wrote him this letter.

Pickwick

Wednesday Nov. 9th

My dear Roger/

This is certainly a Red letter day ! I am delighted at your news (however much under a hat at the moment).

Frankly I have always had a tender regard for Jane & admire your taste. Having known her a

    lot longer

than you have – I’m sure you’ll both the very happy. While I think you’re a very fortunate chap, I can’t help feeling that Jane will have a very sweet lad, Mummie and I feel very happy about it all.

We are all very thrilled at the idea of the house hunting – I can let you have the money back any moment you like.

Won’t stop for more now as its rather late  but

with much love

Yours ever Daddy.

My aunt Jennifer, his sister, also sent her congratulations.

Dear Roger,
We are feeling so delighted with The News. I really couldn’t be more pleased, I’ve always liked Jane so much. I’m afraid I can’t help spreading your engagement-to-be about, so if you really want it kept a bit dark at the moment you’d better let me have a list of those not to be told, or the “real thing” will be a bit stale!
If you could send me a note again of what you spent on Nora and Marjorie I would be pleased to settle up with you before I begin thinking of  your wedding present!
We have been much amused at all your financial arrangements, and Daddy is still puzzling over your Income Tax.
The Fiat should be very smart for you at Christmas, (or are you bringing the S.8. ?) and I’m looking forward to having it back. It should be ready before the weekend. I have been going in Miss Large’s S.8. every day and I’m afraid I shall miss the heater.
Don’t write specially, but if you could tell me about the money when you send your washing or something I will get a warrant for you.

Heaps of love,

Jennifer.

 
Nora and Marjorie were college friends of Jennifer’s at Froebel, also housed in The Row, whereas my mother was in Templeton. Nora was from Edinburgh and she and Marjorie were in year below Jennifer and my mother.

The Fiat

Jennifer had the old model Fiat 500 Topolino,

Fiat Topolino – however Jennifer’s was originally pale blue, still with the red wheels, and was repainted green.

The reason Jennifer would miss the heater in Miss Large’s Standard Eight, is that her Fiat did not have one. At some point her brother,  Jeremy, put a funnel behind the radiator with a 2″ hose to the inside. In the summer Jennifer would put a duster into the pipe to turn it off. The main modification Jeremy made was to put an alloy pudding basin over the distributor, as previously, when it rained the car stopped. It worked very well.
The car had a starting handle, and was nominally a two seater, but had a “kind of shelf” where two further passengers could perch, although all passengers might need to disembark if a steep hill was encountered.
Miss Large was head of Juniors as Ashford, the second school Jennifer taught at, and was giving Jennifer a lift to school at this point.
 
 
 

Standard Eight

My father had a Standard Eight, which he probably needed as he travelled the cournty a lot , looking at forests, though earlier he had used a motorbike, and in those days he could also reach places by train.

Standard Eight

Jeremy cleaned my father’s Standard Eight at Pickwick on the morning of my parents wedding.
 

A foray into fashion

Foray – A brief excursion or attempt, especially outside one’s accustomed sphere
Fashion – To make, build or construct, but also styles of clothing (Nineteenth Century Fashions)
My Great Uncle George Braund was born in Lawhitton in Cornwall on 28th April 1812. His father, William Braund (1766-1840) was also from Lawhitton, and his mother, Mary Badcock (1772-1843) was from Landrake, also in Cornwall.
What took him to Dartford, as a Silk Mercer – a dealer in cloth – in Dartford, by 1851 we do not know, although his sister, Christiana had married a Linen Draper, Joseph Williams, in Dartford in 1825, when George would have been 13, so he might have gone to Dartford as an apprentice to his brother in law.
If this was the case he repaid the favour by taking in his niece, Anne after her parents both died in 1834.
He progressed from selling cloth made by other people to being a manufacturer of hosiery, and by 1871 he had a factory making hosiery in Loughborough, employing 50 men, 120 women, 20 boys and 30 girls.

Advert for the firm of George Braund in Loughborough – from the Museum of the Braund Society – click the image for more items from the society museum

George married Ann Roughton, daugher of wine merchant James Roughton (1992-1873). She was born in Oporto, Portugal in 1831.

George Percival Braund (1865-1933)

He was educated at Charterhouse School, appearing in the 1881 census there,
 

A mystery

A man called John Seal of Burton on the Wolds, died on 25th September 1914, with probate to George Percival Braund hosiery manufacturer and Frank Henry Toone solicitor. He was a retired farmer and grazier, with effects of £182 6s 10d. Normally if someone is named in a will this is a clue to some kind of family connection, so I investigated, thinking he might have been married to a Braund sister at some point, but I have not found any connection.

Fire !

Huge Fire at Braund’s factory – from the Loughborough Echo. Click the picture for the article

Fire broke out in the George Brand Ltd Factory on Tuesday 28th September 1965, after the deaths of both George Brand, who founded the company and George Percival Braund, who had continued to run it.
“A major tragedy for everyone” was how Mr Reg Hallam, managing director described the disastrous fire which ravaged the factory of Messrs George Braund Ltd in Factory Street. (from the Loughborough Echo of October 7th 2015 – in its Looking Back section)

The Shepshed knitwear factory caught fire 50 years ago and the building was completely destroyed on Tuesday, September 28, 1965.
Michael Wortley, of Shepshed, contacted the Echo to share his memories of that devastating night.
He said: “We could see the glow in the sky from the top of Leicester Road, and knew it could only be one place – George Braund’s Factory.
“Both my wife and I had worked there over the years, and the workers were always fearful of fire as the old floorboards (the factory was built c1830) were soaked in machine oil.

From the Loughborough Echo of November 18th 2015.
The building was completely destroyed, putting 550 people out of  work, but was rebuilt within  a year.

Only three weeks after completing the 2.25 millions purchase of Woodfdrds (Leicester), Nottingham Manufacturing is bidding for a second Midlands knitwear group, Geo. Braund. The offer, two non-voting A ” Nottingham shares ” for every nine Braund, values the company at 1.35 millions.

From The Guardian of 30th December 1969.
At some point  the business was folded into Mansfield Hosiery Mills, and the firm’s records can now be found a the Leicestershire County Records Office. In the early 1960’s Mansfield Hosiery Mills were the principle suppliers of knitted outerwear to Marks and Spencers.
Fashion, in the sense of the creation of objects, in this case clothes, which in turn was controlled by the invention of technology and the economics of supply, and fashion, in the sense of what people wanted to wear – continue to influence each other.

From knitting and weaving to computers

If you look at the image of the Geo. Braund Limited jumper above you will notice that none of  the pieces are simple squares, but narrow or widen as needed.

Widening

Narrowing

 
 
 
 
 
The widening and narrowing operations were controlled by punched cards, similar to those in the Jaquard loom.
Jacquard loom punched cards

These cards influenced Charles Babbage (1791-1871), in his pioneering work on early computing.
Portrait of Ada by British painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter (1836)

Lada Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), daughter of the poet, Lord Byron, met Charles Babbage in 1833, and quickly grasped the concept and possibilities. Her notes on Babbage’s Analytical Engine are recognised as the world’s first computer program. She is buried at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Hucknall, about 22 miles Barrow upon Soar, where George Braund would build his factory.
 

George Braund – The Biggest Thing In Magic

My Great Great Aunt, Anne Williams, was looked after by her Uncle George Braund (1812-1901), who had a son, George Percival Braund (1865-1933), and he in turn had a son  – George Roughton Braud (1903-1961).
On 28th July 1931 he married Kathleen Honor Mary Sessions, daughter of Harold Sessions.
Like his father and grandfather George Roughton Braund  might have started off in the hosiery business,  though by his marriage in 1931 he was a manager for British Petroleum. However  his hobby and interest was in magic. He was persuaded to turn professional by Russell Swann, as described in the George Baund entry in Magicpedia.
He was a member of the Magic Circle.
A frequent performer at Magic Circle concerts, he played then in the character of a bumbling clergyman.
He continued as a magician with the services throughout the war (through which he was a Captain) performing for the Entertainments National Services Association.
 

E.N.S.A Poster for Captain George Braund – The Biggest Thing In Magic

 
He was on the BBC Television programme ‘Stars in Your Eyes‘ – broadcast at 15:00 on 14th July 1947.

He was on the BBC Television programme “It’s Cabaret Time at the Top-Hat Rendezvous” – broadcast at 20:00 on 29th March 1952.

The Chiswick Empire – from arthurlloyd.co.uk. Click the image for more information about the building.

He appeared in the Chiswick Empire for a a week in 1952, starting Monday 30th June, alongside Jill Ireland, and Alfred Marks. Julie Andrews was originally billed to appear, but was replaced by Kay Cavendish.
In the 5th February 1955 issue of Billboard magazine, Bill Sachs wrote that

George Bruand, the London comedy magician, and and Julius Sundman, Finish wizard, who was over here last year, engaged in a magic session recently in Helsinki, Julius’ home town.

In the 4th June 1955 issue of Billboard magazine, Milbourne Christopher wrote

First magician I saw in London was my old friend George Braund at Oddenios’s. He patters along with vanishing cane, rope and silk tricks and a prediction on a ball of wool.

He was on the BBC Television programme “The Caravan” – Broadcast on 26th August 1959
My mother told me he was told off by the BBC for product placement during his act on television.
He died on 18th June 1961, with an obituary in Abracadabra magazine on 28th July 1961.

Whatever happened to the Williams sisters ?

On 13th February 1825, in Dartford, Kent –  Joseph Williams, born around 1798 (but I don’t know where), married Christiana Badcock Braund, born on 2nd April 1803 in Lawhitton, Cornwall. She was the daughter of William Braund (1766-1840) and Mary Badcock (1772-1843).
He was a Linen Draper
They had three daughters, Rosina, Annie and Christiana, all born in Dartford.
Rosina Williams was baptised on 27th November 1825.
Anne (or Ann) Williams was baptised on 12th July 1829.
Christiana Braund Williams was baptised on 29th August 1834.

Tragedy Strikes

In September 1834, when their daughters were nine, five and one month, both parents Joseph and Christiana Badcock fell ill.
Joseph wrote a will on 7th September 1834, leaving everything to Christiana Badcock Williams. It appointed her, and her brother, William Braund as executors. It was witnessed by Ann Northall, who appears to have been a neighbour in Dartford. Joseph died on 17th September and the will was proved on 26th September.
Christiana wrote a longer will on the 13th October 1834, when she was already a widow – using William Braund, watchmaker, and Charles Northall (brother of Ann Northall above), as trustees, until her children reached twenty one. It was witnessed by two more of her brothers, John and Thomas Braund, and by Mary Cartwright. Christiana died on 16th October 1834.
What followed this tragedy is the story of a family pulling together, all over the country, to look after three little orphan girls.

Introducing the Braund brothers

Christiana Badcock Braund was one of  the nine children of William Braund and Mary Badcock, all born in Lawhitton in Cornwall. She had two older sisters, and two older brothers, and three younger brothers, and a younger sister, putting her neatly in the middle. As most of the brothers will crop up in the story of her children I will introduce them here.

William (1798-1890)

The eldest brother (though having two older sisters), in 1834 he was probably a watchmaker, living in Dartford Kent, and married to Elizabeth Sim. with a young son, William. In October 1841 Elizabeth died, leaving William with his son William, then aged nine, another son, James, then aged six, a daughter, Elizabeth, then aged four, and another daughter, Jean aged two. What happened to them is a whole other story, but he later remarried twice.

John (1800-1882)

He was drawing teacher and artist, and in 1834 was probably already living in London, married to Elizabeth Theodisia Cartwright, with a one year old son, John Joseph. His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1841, after leaving him with John Joseph, now aged eight, and a daughter, Elizabeth Theodissia, now aged four.

James (1806-1887)

He was a farmer, farming 200 acres, in Boyton, Cornwall. In 1834 he was married to Hannah Pring Lang, and had a daughter, Maria, only just born.

Thomas (1808-1843)

He was living in Launceston with his mother, Mary nee Badcock in 1841, his father having died in 1840. Thomas died on 6th March 1843, and his mother also died around March 1843.

George (1812-1901)

George was a Silk Mercer in Dartford, Kent, like Joseph Williams, at least in 1851, which is the first time I can find him in the census, but described as a Linen Draper in 1861. By 1871, George Braund, he was a manufacturer of hosiery, employing 50 men, 120 women, 20 boys and 30 girls, and had moved to Barrow upon Soar, Liecestershire. He married Ann Roughton and had a son George Percival and daughter Agnes Mary. He continued to live there, at Strancliffe Hall, until his death on 9th June 1901, when he left £7706 to his widow Ann.

Strancliffe Hall, Home of George Braund Click the image for article from Loughbrough Echo

 

So, what did happen to the Williams sisters ?

Christiana

In 1841, aged 6, Christiana was staying with her uncle, Thomas Braund, in St Stephens, Cornwall, along with his mother (her grandmother), Mary Badcock. Thomas died in 1843, as did Mary, so Christiana would have had to move on.
In 1851, Christiana, aged 16, was staying with her uncle, William Braund – a watchmaker, employing 8 men, in Bexley near Dartford, along with his son James and daughters Elizabeth and Jean , and his nephew, William Peardon – also a watchmaker. William’s wife, Elizabeth Sim, had died in 1841.
By 1861 Christiana was staying with her sister Rosina, who was now married to William Braund Box, in Highgate.
She had moved on again by 1871, to stay with James Braund, her Cornish farming  uncle, now a widower, as his wife Hannah, died in 1868. Also living there are James’ daughter, Maria and son, John Bernard Lang.
Christiana clearly got on well with her cousin John, as they married in early 1879.
Unfortunately John died on 23rd October 1900, and it looks as if she continued running the farm until she died on 8th September 1907 at St Thomas, Launceston, Cornwall, leaving £986 12s 11d to William Williams Box, solicitor.


This should be a map showing where Christiana Braund lived – I am still working on this bit. She does go back and forth across the country several times before she settles down.

Anne

She was staying with her uncle, George Braund in the 1851 Census, and continued to stay with him, acting as his housekeeper, through 1861, when at least during the census, they were being visited by my Great Grandfather, John Robert Box, then aged 11. She moved with George to Barrow upon Soar, Liecestershire, by which time he has a wife, Ann, and son George, aged 5, and daughter, Agnes, aged 3.
Anne continued to live with George Braund until at least the 1901 Census, but I do not know what happens to her after George’s death on 9th June 1901.

Rosina

Rosina married William Braund Box on10th February 1845. I think she may have lived, like her other sisters with George Braund immediately after the death of her parents. It may seem a strange co-incidence that Rosina should marry someone with a middle name of Braund,  but the eldest of the Braund siblings, Elizabeth Braund (1793-1849) married John Box (1788-1849) on 9th June 1818, and they had a son, William Braund Box in 1815. They were my Great Great Grandparents, and one of their eight children was John Robert Box, my Great Grandfather.

Information from Great Aunt Rose

In a letter from my Great Aunt Rose Box, to my mother on 5th February 1967 she writes

Now about Christianna Badcock Braund. I have looked in the family bible and see that she died in 1834, aged 31, so she must have been born in 1803. Her husband, Joseph Williams, died a month later to they probably had an infectious disease, maybe typoid ! They lived and died at Dartford, Kent, where he had a drapery (?) shop. Her younger brother, George Braund took their three girls to his home and Rosina became his housekeeper until she married her cousin, William Braund Box. Then Anne was housekeeper to her uncle and Christianna married her cousin John Braund and lived at a farm at Newton near Launceston. I remember all three quite well. Rosina was my dear grandmother with whom I often stayed at Highgate. I stayed for a time with Aunt Chrissie at Newton while I was on a visit to Uncle Arthur Box at Launceston, when I was 9. Little Auntie Annie often stayed with Grannie Box at Hampstead.. She did beautiful needlework. I think George Braund had a business in South London and so was Christianna’s nearest relative when they lived at Dartford. Later he had a business at Loughborough and a big house somewhere near. I went one day to see Aunt George while I was staying with Aunt Janet at Syston. when I was 16. Your father could tell you more about the Braunds as he had to go to Cornwall to trace next of kin to Ann Peardon who died without a will and left some money. Her mother was Mary Braund and sister to Christianna.

Notes

John Braund, referred to above it John Burnard Lang Braund, son of James Braund. He and Christianna lived at Newton Farm, Boyton. (OSM)

Aunt Elwina was (probably) born Elwina Joyce in about 1853, in Hinkley, Leicestershire, and married Arthur Williams Box about 1884.

Visit to uncle Arthur Box when I was 9

Great Aunt Rose was born in 1865, so this would have been about 1874. Arthur Williams Box (1853-1940), was  living in Hornsey in 1871, and in Canterbury in 1881, when his occupation is listed as Jeweller. I do have a note which says that he bought the Foundry at Maramchurch from his cousins, Edward and Henry. He would have been 21, which does seem quite young. His occupation, by 1911 is shown as Iron and Brass Founder, and his business as Kitchen Range Manufacturer.

Visit to Aunt Janet at Syston when I was 16

In 1881 I cant find who would have been Aunt Janet. Aunt George would be George Braund’s wife, Ann – presumably called Aunt George due the number of Anns in the family. I will update this post if I find out more.