Christmas at Rest Harrow and Little Cucknells

When we were young, Christmas was a very special time for my siblings and me. We lived in Edinburgh, but our Grandparents, and most of our relations, lived in the south of England, or even further afield. Although I have written about going to Pickwick for Christmas, my father’s parents must have moved when I was quite young, as I remember being at Rest Harrow during the Winter of 1962-63, when the elder of my sisters was a baby, and the younger not born. (Although, when she was a small child and was told she did not participate in such great adventures she would protest ‘I was there, in Mummy’s tummy!’). Rest Harrow was snowbound, as was the whole village of Medstead, and my father had to walk to Four Marks for bread and milk. It is possible that we did not then go on to my mother’s parents at Little Cucknells,

Our normal pattern was that we would travel from Edinburgh to Rest Harrow – usually by car, with the journey becoming swifter as the years passed – in the early days I believe the trip incorporated a Bed and Breakfast somewhere around Nottingham. I do also remember flying (in a Comet) and being put to bed, and then woken to be taken by taxi to the station to go down on the train – though that may be have been to Pickwick.

Pre-Christmas at Rest Harrow

On arrival at Rest Harrow there were several common events before Christmas. Grandpa would have bought a Christmas tree, which would be in a pot in the sun room, awaiting our artistic, or enthusiastic labours to decorate it. We eschewed the minimalist approach, and it was impressive how many of the glass baubles would still be there every year, despite having been put up by small children.

Sunroom, Restharrow

As my brother and I grew usefully tall we also had the honour of helping to decorate the large Christmas tree at St Andrews Church in Medstead.

St Andrews Church

The while family would also be involved, to varying degrees according to skills, in the preparation of Christmas dinner. My Grandparents approached gardening on a serious scale, so harvesting and preparation of winter vegetables was a communal activity, preparing sprouts, peeling carrots, parsnips and potatoes, as well has mixing (and tasting) cake ingredients. Aunty Jennifer always made her famous cheese straws, in a variety of shapes.

Christmas Day at Rest Harrow

We would wake on Christmas morning to find that, no matter how resolved we might have been to catch him in the act, Father Christmas had been in the night and managed to fill out stockings (we used Heriots school socks) with presents. It is possible that Mother Christmas might have taken some tips from her relative, George Braund, and switched the stockings for ones which had been filled earlier.

The stockings managed to achieve an impressive balance, considering our range of ages, between fairness and personalised interest. Several of our toys only really made sense as communal toys, even though we knew which specific parts were ours – examples of this were the Floral Garden, the Zoo (with Britain’s Zoo animals) and the Farm (again Britains Farm animals, though with out of scale farm machinery. The stockings were filled in roughly the same order, and so opening them together we might have clues about what type of thing might be inside the individually wrapped parcels (in venerable wrapping paper). Recurring themes were

  • Some kind of small torch
  • A cub/scout/brownie/guide diary
  • A pencil
  • Notebooks
  • little sets of colour pencils
  • Chocolate coins (I suspect one bag was divided into four, and the balance became a delivery fee)
  • The aforementioned animals, parts of gardens and so on
  • A paperback book
  • Always a satsuma in the toe of the sock.

Opening the stockings often occurred on my parents bed, where they would be suitably impressed by the wisdom and good taste of Father Christmas.


Stockings on Christmas morning, Jane with Jennifer and Elizabeth

We would also show our new presents to Aunty Jennifer, who lived at Rest Harrow, and to Uncle Tim, who came from Geneva for the Christmas period. As a bachelor uncle – who had the opportunity to give us slightly less suitable toys (I remember a battery powered walking, noisy robot) Tim was relegated to the sofa bed on the lounge, where he may not have been having as restful a night. Despite this we felt it was our duty to bounce on him in the morning to wake him up. Some years later Tim married and had two daughters, and my brother and I relinquished the bedroom we had used, to sleep in the lounge. I remember being awoken on Christmas morning by the enthusiastic bouncing of two small girls, egged on from the doorway by their father, Uncle Tim.

During the morning my Uncle Michael and Aunt Fanny would arrive from London, and my Uncle Jeremy, with Aunt Claire, and her mother, Oma (Flemish name for Grandmother), and cousins Peter, Ian and Robert from Southampton or later Gosport. If the weather was fine we would go out into the garden.

Christmas Morning 1966, on the new seat in the sun
Jennifer with JF and CD on the swing.

My Grandmother would make a quiche for Michael and Fanny, who were vegetarians, but the rest of us would be keen to try it, as well as the traditional turkey. Fitting about twenty people round the table was a challenge, but we managed (sometimes by having a children’s table). The Christmas pudding had silver threepences cooked into it which were then exchanged for real money. Afterwards everybody helped clear up and wash up. We listened to the Queen’s Speech on the radio, and there would be the traditional family photo, in the sunroom if the weather was bad, of outside if we could. In the early years this was my grandfathers prerogative, using a self timer on his camera, with varied results. There are a number of pictures of a Grandpa shaped space in the family group, and I am sure there should be some of the sky or the grass due to tripping over the tripod trying to reach that space. We then chatted, or played games until the prolonged departures of the day visitors, normally after even more food.

Entertainment at Rest Harrow

There was no television at Rest Harrow for several years, when they were common elsewhere, but there were plenty of books, including a full set of the Swallows and Amazons series, and The Far Distant Oxus. We also played games, my grandparents had a Deluxe Edtion Scrabble board, on a turntable. Aunty Jennifer was a whiz at Pounce, and we also played Pickwick Rummy. She also always had some kind of craft activity available, from candle making to painting. She was also headteacher of Herriard school, and would bring musical instruments back from school. She also had a guitar, which we would attempt to play – she would teach us some chords, but we would generally forget them by next Christmas and have to start again. My cousin Peter, an accomplished musician, sometimes played his violin.

The Christmas present from Aunty Jennifer to my brother and me was a trip to London, on the train, visiting famous sites, such as Madame Tussauds and the Post Office Tower – back in the days when you could eat at the top. We traveled on the Underground, very exciting for boys from Edinburgh, and ended the trip with a visit to Hamleys, where Great Aunt Peggy was managing director (though we were more impressed by the railway running round the big central staircase, the teddy bears the size of a grown up and other amazing toys)

Christmas at Little Cucknells

When we were young we did not really celebrate New Year, but had a second, quieter, Christmas with my mother’s parents at Little Cucknels, in Shamley Green. Our interactions with Grandfather Box were limited – I only really remember him lying in bed in a downstairs room with the curtains closed, and greeting him awkwardly on arrival, and saying farewell when we left. Grannie Bee (My mother said it was because she was busy as a bee – though I assume the name really came from her being Box) cooked a second Christmas Dinner for us. She too cooked a Christmas pudding, but every piece came with a sixpence, courtesy of sleight of hand in the serving process.

Meals were cooked on the Aga, which also kept the kitchen and adjoining small dining/sitting room warm. I remember both at Little Cucknells and Rest Harrow (and at home in Edinburgh) that hot water bottles were part of the bedtime routine.

If the weather was good we could play in the huge, overgrown garden, or Little Cucknells wood, and if the weather was bad we had our new toys or books to read. Although the house was full of interesting antiques, such as the Bell of the Kishon, the longcase clock made by my Great, Great Grandfather – William Braund Box, and a chess table made by some ancestor – a model of this table made by the same person is in the Queen’s Dolls house in Windsor Castle – they were not very interesting to children, though the copies of National Geographic, with their maps and pictures of exotic places gave plenty to read and look at.

We would also go and visit my mother’s sister Aunt Sue, with her four boys, and her husband (until they were divorced) who I mainly remember for the smell of brandy and cigars, at their home in South Stoke, with Wolfie, the Wolfhound.

Somewheres and Anywheres

Receiving scans of Christmas past from my father’s slides sent by my sister coincided with me reading ‘The Road to Somewhere’ by David Goodhart. (I am still in the early stages). The book relates the differences in attitudes to society, and life opportunities between the majority (about three in five), of Britons who still live within 25 miles of where they were born – the Somewheres, and the possibly less grounded, but more influential Anywheres, who lack the deep connection to a single community, although they may well be members of several less tangible communities. My father, for example, spent most of his life far from his London roots, but was a member of a small international community of Research Foresters.

A description of the book can be found at ‘Anywheres and Somewheres‘ and another viewpoint at ‘The Road to Somewhere by David Goodhart – a liberal’s rightwing turn on immigration‘ Despite the reference to immigration in the title of Guardian review most of the Anywheres referred to in the book leave a home in Britain to go to university, and then move to wherever their life takes them. My Grandparents, on both sides, uncles, aunts, brother, sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces fit the profile of Anywheres, as do many of the people mentioned in this blog, from the tragically orphaned Williams sisters to the Famous Freemans and Renowned Rebbecks.


Pictures of Pickwick

When my Grandparents left Grove Farm at Box, where they had been farming, they moved in to 141, Lordship Road, Stoke Newington with my Great Grandfather, Joseph Lines. This was around 1925, and may have been prompted by the death of my Great Grandmother, Jane Lines (nee Fitzhenry) on 7th June 1925. They lived with Joseph and helped run G&J Lines, until he died in 1931. They rented The Cottage, 55, Anne Boleyn’s Walk, Cheam, Surrey for about 3 years, while they had a house built on Warren Drive, Kingswood, so moved in probably about 1934.

The house was named Pickwick, after the village near Box.

The family were still living there when I was young, though I do not have clear memories of the house. My parents lived in Edinburgh and we used to spend Christmas with my Grandparents, traveling by various means. One of my early memories is of a taxi ride through central London, and the lights of Piccadilly Circus – there was nothing similar in Edinburgh.

I have some 2″ Slides from my Aunt Fanny’s collection, which show Pickwick, which I have photographed to reproduce here.

My setup, lightbox and Lumix DMC TZ-80 camera
At Pickwick September 1955

Roger, Michael,Jenifer,Jeremy

Mouse, Chief, Tim
At Pickwick September 1955

My Grandpa (George E Lines), known in the family as Chief, and my Granny (Doris Joan Lines – nee Stevens), known in the family as Mouse.

Croquet at Pickwick June 1956

When my grandparents moved to Rest Harrow the croquet set moved with them, and we all played croquet as children.

Pickwick Spring 1959
Pickwick Spring 1959
My Granny in the garden
My Granny in the garden
Grandpa in the garden

I do not wear a tweed jacket and a tie for gardening, I feel I am letting the family down !

Sam – the family dog
Michael and Jennifer

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 (1841-1921) 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. She probably giving birth to him as he was born on 3rd March and she died on 6th March.
Benjamin re-married in 1884 and had another three children.
Frederick worked for his uncle. His occupation is unreadable in 1901, it might be ‘perambulator trimmer’, 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. He married Grace Bailey in 1934,  in the 1939 Census he was ‘assistant to a silver dealer’ and he was a ‘retired shop porter’ when died in 1952.

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.

5

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

Chief

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
		Chief.

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.

Notes

  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.