Monday, 21 December 2009

December, 1910

Born in December 1910, my mother recently celebrated her 99th birthday and entered her 100th year. Here she is, very faint, when she was a few months old.

A random selection from Longman's Chronicle of the 20th Century gives a flavour of 1910:

*Girl Guides, a youth movement which encourages girls to be obedient, clean-living and resourceful, is formed by Sir Robert Baden-Powell and his sister Agnes

*Socialists are shot and sabred in Berlin during a suffrage demonstration

*Kissing is banned on French railways because of delays caused to trains thereby

*Diaghilev's Ballets Russes open their Paris season with première of Stravinsky's The Firebird

*Duncan Black and Alonzo Decker set up a tool company in Baltimore

*A London doctor claims that if lunacy increases at the current rate, the insane will outnumber the sane 40 years hence

*In Leipzig British officers Lt. Trench and Capt. Brandon are found guilty of espionage.

1910 was a busy year for the Ferryman:

*Edward VII died and was succeeded by his second son, George V

*Dr Crippen was hanged

*No amount of intercession by Dave could save Florence Nightingale

*The last surviving Pre-Raphaelite Brother, William Holman Hunt, died

*Charles Rolls, pioneer aviator, crashed fatally in Bournemouth, severing the Rolls-Royce partnership

*Reports of the death Mark Twain were no longer exaggerated.

My mother came from Colne, in Lancashire. The Burgh of Colne motto is, very aptly, 'We long endure'. She has been variously a teacher of home economics, a hotelière, a fashion retailer and a private caterer. She had to resign from her first post, in the West Riding, when she married. Married women were not then allowed in the teaching profession.

Several quotes have passed into family legend.

*When asked how she is: "A little better, thank you." Than what? We're never told.

*When tackling a bowl of raspberries, having emptied at least a quarter-pint of double cream into the dish:
"Do you eat much cream, dear?"
"No, I don't, really."
"Neither do I."

*Of her two marriages: "I never had any luck with my husbands."

Here she is with her great-grand-daughter, AKA the Blue Kitten. Almost 100 years separate them. When the Blue Kitten reaches a similar age, I wonder what her children will find remarkable about 2008, the year she was born?


Dave said...

'Kissing is banned on French railways because of delays caused to trains thereby'

Between the driver and the stoker? We need to know these things.

Christopher said...

No idea, Dave, but I expect they would have said None Of Your Biseness

PS Fr. bise = Eng. kiss

patroclus said...

"Are there many black people where you work, dear?"

The Blue Kitten was born on the day the world's financial industry collapsed. Not only that, but it was also Dave's birthday. Auspicious indeed.

Christopher said...

Ah yes, I'd forgotten about the black people. One to add to the list. She never asked me, but then, working in places like Grantown on Spey as I did, she probably had a shrewd idea of the answer already.

Could it have been Dave's birthday party that caused the collapse of the world's financial industry? Some hooly, eh? I think it's time the truth came out.

Z said...

The London doctor was prescient, wasn't he?

My father was born in 1910 too. He didn't do as well as your mother (who looks wonderful, btw) however and didn't make it to 60.

Rog said...

The London Doctor was right though....

I, Like The View said...

I was going to ask about the kissing, but I see Dave got in first

grosses bises, cheri

(your grand-daugher is a cutie!)(but we'd expect nothing less from the PSOB)(patron saint of blogging)

Christopher said...

Rog/Z: Great minds...and simultaneously!

This was a better day, Z. In reality she's up and down. One day we think she won't last the week, another she's writing to the Queen to tell her what to put in her centenary telegram.

I: Dave is thinking of those immoral lines from Die Fledermaus (also Sarah's favourite operetta):

Wo alle küssen
Werd's ich's auch müssen

(Where everyone's kissing
You won't find me missing)

- and it has to be said there are worse things to be thinking about.

Sarah said...

*hanged* hurray, someone who gets it right!....not that I would expect anything less from you's just that I spend my life correcting people.....Pictures are hung, people are hanged....anyway it's one of those things that constantly bugs me!!

I've got the Christmas tree last!

Sarah said...

Oh and in 2008 I became ever so slightly addicted to kayaking!

Christopher said...

Glad to hear about your Christmas tree, Sarah. I'm sure it will be decorated with inimitable taste. (You can see ours one post down, which to be honest is a thinning scrumped from a sort of jungle of derelict cherry and olive trees, self-seeded firs, ash and larch adjacent to our land.)

Kayaking? Goodness. How venturesome. Can you roll?

Sarah said...


No, I don't like getting wet. Not even in a wet suit.

Christopher said...

So that means you try to avoid Essex rapids and white water?