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Wesley Hollier Wright and Ada Emily Louise Shelvey
(1892 - 1957) (1892 - 1962)

Family memories, written by Stephen Hollier. 10th. May 1992.

(Note: hover mouse pointer over pictures to see pictue titles.)

Nanny and Grandpa Wright had a strong bond of love and affection, which held their marriage together through poverty, separation and the hardships of two world­wars. Indeed, this relationship became the yardstick by which two subsequent generations of the family measured their family lives.

Ada and friend 1894

Ada and Lal

Nanny's mother Emily Matilda Shelvey (1868 - 1930) did not have a happy marriage. She married Frederick Shelvey from Kent who came from a farming family but who was now working as a sewer man. He died as a result of an accident at work and left Emily to bring her six children up on her own. The family latterly lived at 3 Talbot Mews in Kensington.

Ada was the eldest child and as such helped her mother with the care of the younger ones. Her sisters Lal (Alice) and Grace, who in their adult lives bickered with each other, all retained good relations with Ada holding her in deep respect and affection. Their only brother Harry dropped out of touch with the family for nearly fifty years, surfacing in the 1970's as he lay dying in a hospital in Orpington. When he met my mother he was reminded of Ada and spoke of her kindness to him and the whole family.

Wesley (in a photograph taken when he was twelve) looks a clear-eyed, sharp-featured boy, uncomfortable in his stiff collar and heavy suit. He was apprenticed to a butcher at the age of fourteen but at sixteen, joined the Royal Navy.

Wesley and Ada remained close neighbours through their childhood years. Even though William Wright moved the family business many times, all of these moves were within a half-mile radius of Talbot Mews. They were certainly friends by 1913 as a postcard dated the 17th December testifies."

Dear A,

Received letter. Hope you take the advice of this card [I'm coming home absolutely stoney..from Sheerness].Train leaves 5.30 arrives 12.30 p.m. Shall not be home till late.

Have got a nice card for your friend, A. Will bring silk with me. Hope you're still in the best, as I am at pres. All the latest yarns when I see you on Friday.

From Wes."


Ada Shelvey

Wesley at about 12


Wesley didn't like tattoos but to make sure that no-one could suggest that he wasn't a “real man”, he had a butterfly tattooed on the top of each foot. At the beginning of the First World War in October 1914, Wesley was serving aboard H.M.S. Formidable, a 15,000 ton battleship launched in 1898 with a compliment of 740. On new-years-eve, it was on a routine patrol in the channel with the other ships of the 5th Battle squadron consisting of eight battleships and two cruisers.


The Ships were travelling line ahead with the Formidable at the rear. Mr. F.E. Little, an ex Cpl. of the Royal Marines was aboard H.M.S. Diamond, part of the squadron and witnessed what happened next.

"It was a clear moonlit night. The sea was like a millpond and the fleet was steaming at approximately ten knots.


At about 1.30 a.m. we heard a thud, not an explosion. "Here, the Formidable's going out of line! She's heeling, She's been hit!'' All the crew were called from below decks and we received instructions from the Flagship and assist. Within 45 minutes the weather changed, with the wind gusting at Force 12. The Formidable sank in corkscrew fashion to starboard at.4.28 a.m."


This interview took place in November 1979 between Marcus Milton of the South Devon "Herald Express" and Mr Little who was eighty-five at the time. It had been torpedoed by a submarine, the U 24. In the disastrous circumstances 547 men were lost. Ada and Annie were frantic, scanning the newspaper reports of survivors. Wesley was fortunate to be picked up (I believe) by H.M.S Agamemnon and was photographed with other survivors soon after landing.

He went back to sea in the new minelayer, H.M.S. Abdiel. At 34 knots the fastest ship in the British Navy. Although it had an active war service and played a minor a part in the battle of Jutland, it survived the war unharmed.

HMS Formidable

Survivors of The Formidable (Wesley in second row with beard)

HMS Abdiel

Wesley and Ada married on October 18th 1917 and on the 2ndJuly 1918 Ada was delivered of twins whom they named Evelyn and Stephen.

At this time Ada was still living with her mother in the two­ bedroom flat at Talbot Mews. This home was even more crowded after Lal married and her husband Jim Ingram moved in. Wesley stayed in the Navy after the War, serving first on H.M.S.Blake, a depot ship and finally as a member of Admiral of the Fleet, Sir.Doveton Sturdie and subsequently Admiral Sir Hugh Evan Thomas's barge crew. He finally left the navy in March 1922.

Ada and Wesley's Wedding 1917

Wesley and Ada on their engagement 1917

Those previous few years were difficult ones for Wesley. His mother died of a malignant tumour of the pelvis in August 1918. He was present at the time, as the death certificate shows. His father was greatly affected and went into a decline, ceasing to continue in family business. William went to live with his daughter Lilian but within two years she died of pleurisy. In August 1920 Edna, another daughter was born increasing the crowding problem at Talbot Mews.
Wesley and Ada with Evelyn and Stephen 1918

In 1924, Wesley joined the Post Office and returned to study at the London Polytechnic on a course leading to a first-class pass in “First Year Technical Electricity” and an ordinary pass in “Post Office Mathematics”. A year later, the family managed to secure a tenancy in a ground floor council maisonette at 54 Oakworth Road W10. Ada and her family still kept in close contact with her mother and in addition, the two women took in washing; Emily washing it and Ada ironing.

As the family grew better off, they began to take regular holidays at the seaside and Wesley took an interest in gardening. The family sometimes would go back to Somerset and stay with Mrs.Luckins in Draycott. She would "tell us yarns" including how to cure warts. 'They turn you around five-times and hit you over the head with a shovel'.

In 1930, Emily Shelvey died and was buried in Kensington and Chelsea cemetery at Hanwell on the right hand side. The next year, Wesley was appointed Skilled Workman Class 2 with the G.P.O. on a salary of 34/- to 46/- per week. From this time until he retired in 1957, Wesley remained a telephone engineer, installing phones in the London area.

By this time the family was growing up and the small maisonette must have felt cramped. During the mid 1930's, large numbers of better off working people were moving to the new suburbs springing up around London. Wesley and Ada decided to move out and buy a home in Greenford, Middlesex.

When Ada was a child, she remembered visiting the place, which was then a small village from the edge of the city, which they would visit on Sunday school outings in a horse-drawn cart. By 1934, the village had been overwhelmed by speculative building. Each week, the family made a visit on the little steam train that ran from Paddington to Greenford to see how their home was progressing. On one occasion in November 1933, they heard the sound of the horn and watched the Greenford Hunt chase a fox across the back of the site then disappear into the mist.

Number 30 Downing Drive is a white-painted semi-detached house with a one-hundred foot garden backing on to a large field used for sports by the boys of the Greenford Grammar school. It was part of a new estate built by an Irish developer called Murphy. The land had belonged to the Church and they had been reluctant to sell it. Eventually a bargain was struck. The church would sell the land if Murphy would guarantee that each house would be "different”. Murphy readily agreed and building work began. The Church authorities must have been very upset when they discovered that he had batches of roof tiles dyed different colours so that when the houses were completed the only difference was in the mix of colours in the roofs. Within a few years however, no perceptible difference could be seen.

In 1935, Ada and Wesley moved to the house that was to remain their home for the rest of their lives. The garden was especially beautiful. Wesley planted fruit trees and laid out lawns. He planted roses and shrubs as well as taking on a large allotment. He dug a fish-pond and in later years built a substantial greenhouse.

It took a bit of adjusting to by Lyn, who did not like the sense of relative isolation and she complained about having to live on "Muddy Island".

Edna about 1940On September the third 1939, Hitler invaded Poland and Britain declared war on Germany. Steve and a friend who lived down the road(Barron Biggs) joined up. Steve, the Navy and Barron the R.A.F. After the unreality of the "phoney war", the reality of the situation came home to the family. Barron was killed in action, Edna's boy-friend Louis was evacuated with the remains of the British Expeditionary force from the beach at Dunkirk and the Blitz began.

The night the London docks were bombed, half of the sky glowed red above the railway embankment. One afternoon, Wesley was working in his allotment when a German plane passing over dropped a 1000lb landmine on a parachute. It fell in the direction of Downing Drive. Horrified, he ran back towards his home. It disappeared behind a row of houses and a massive explosion shook the ground. The bomb had fallen on the next street, Bennett’s Avenue, killing several people. Later in the war, a British bomber, damaged in an air-raid crash­ landed in the field behind the house. Neighbours rushed to the scene and thought the crew might be German as they spoke in foreign accents. They turned out to be Polish airman based at R.A.F.Northolt.

When Wesley had been in the Navy, his father always complained that he was not an officer. He remained an Able Seaman for his entire career. As such Ada and Wesley must have been very proud of their son Steve, when he won a commission in the Fleet Air ­Arm. Steve had marked himself out as a man of potential by inventing the device that allowed the successful release of torpedoes from aircraft, a factor which proved crucial in the sinking of the Bismark. He won his wings and spent much of the war ferrying aircraft from Canada to the Shetland Islands.

Mother had worked for a firm of clothing manufacturers before the war. As it progressed, they were asked to undertake war ­work, in their case the production of surgical supports. This was seen as a "reserved" occupation and as such, she was excused from compulsory national service.

In 1936 she met one of her brother's friends from the Church Army club. A boy from Cyprus called Louis. They started seeing each other but after a period of time Edna broke off the relationship. After the fall of Dunkirk, they met again and in June of 1942 she and Louis married. In the morning at the registry office and in the afternoon the Greek Orthodox Church at Bayswater. The two ceremonies were due to Wesley's insistence because he didn't want Louis to vanish and not have a legal check on him. Mother said that during war-time it was impossible to get a professional photographer and even the music had to be home-made but the party was a great success. Edna's friend Cath Hughes played the accordion and the reception was held in the garden of 30 Downing Drive.

Edna's wedding day with Wesley and Lyn

Lyn Wright 1938

Lyn struck a sour note by saying that as she had just started work at the new Hoovers factory in Perivale, she couldn't take time off. Her father however, insisted that she do so. What she thought of all of this can be seen in her expression in the wedding photographs. Wesley was not-at all impressed when Louis asked him, half as a joke, half seriously, if there was a dowry?

Edna and Louis had only four days together before he had to rejoin his unit and it was nearly four years before he came home again.

In 1945 Steve married Lillian Elstow and their first child, Jane was born in December 1946. Louis returned from the Middle East in February 1946 and after moving into a cramped, dirty flat in Shepherds Bush, their first child, John was born in the November. Three more Grand children were born as the years passed. Sally in 1948 and Wesley in 1952 to Steve and Lillian and Stephen to Edna and Louis in 1955.

Steve Wright

The Railway pub1949. Lyn, Lillian, Ada, Wesley, Louis, John, Sally and Edna
Lyn remained unmarried and continued to live at home. At the age of twenty-eight she took up smoking and bought a Siamese cat which she called Ming.

Wesley reached the age of sixty in 1952 and was offered early retirement from the Post Office after twenty-eight years service. He and Ada had talked of retiring to a bungalow in Somerset but he felt fit, said that and the additional pension would come in useful. In the event, Wesley carried on working until he was sixty-five.

He was a very active and fit man so he ignored a pain in his side on his sixty-fifth birthday. Ada tried to get him to see a doctor bur he refused. That night his appendix burst and he died two days later of peritonitis.

Ada was very upset by his unexpected death and regretted that he had not retired at sixty. She went into a decline and died of Cancer in 1962 aged sixty-seven.


William and Annie Wright's other Children:


The eldest, Lillian was Williams’s favourite. She married Philip Bevan who was described by Wesley as "a crawl-arse". He became a trolly-bus inspector. They had a daughter called Daisy.


Rosa married Bill Reid. They lived in Walmer Road and had two children George and Dorothy. One day Rosa’s younger brother George, newly home from sea, broke into her house to sleep off a drinking bout and "peed in the bed".
Bill and Rose's son George went to Canada as a young man and on his return shocked his mother with a new dance called "The Black Bottom".


George was finally discharged from the Navy, never to be heard of again.


He, like his brothers joined the Navy, but died at the age of twenty-three of a stomach ulcer after being married for little more than a year.

Emily Matilda Shelvey 1868-1930

Emily Matilda Shelvey (Nee. Ramsey):

1868 - 1930

By far the most colourful member of the family is Ada's mother, Emily and it is she who furnishes the greatest number of anecdotes in this family history. Her father had been a professional wine-taster (and a tea-totaler) from Kent and her mother had come from Aberdeen. She was a lively and kindly woman full of fun and stories of whom Uncle Steve said "had a terrific sense of humour".

She told the tale of how, before she and her future husband Frederick Shelvey (called "Watcherty Fred" by his mates) were married she went with him to meet his parents. His mother had died when he was a child and his father had remarried an Irish woman called Ada Tirrell. Emily said that she was a scheming woman who had sons of her own older than Frederick. She later made Frederick's father make the family farm over to them thereby cutting Frederick off from his birth-right. Ada took snuff and Emily said that she had "a brown dew-drop" hanging off of the end of her nose. Once, when Emily came for tea, Ada Tirrell made a pudding for tea, it fell off of her nose and into the mixture. Emily was so disgusted, that she would not eat anything in the house made by his step-mother again.

In addition to the farm, the Shelvey family had a mineral water bottling business (Shelvey's Mineral Waters) and my Mother used to be reminded of it as they advertised on the London Underground before the War. In marrying Ada Tirrell, Frederick's grand-father, who ran the business felt that his son had married beneath him. As a result, Frederick's father also found himself disinherited.

Frederick finally ended up working as a sewer man in London living with his wife at 3 Talbot Mews, North Kensington. He would collect rats that he found there and bring them home in a sack. He would keep them in an iron cage suspended from the kitchen ceiling until the week-end. On Sunday mornings, he would take them to a pub called The Roundhouse where bets would be taken on terriers killing them in an arena down in the cellar. Sometimes, a rat and a ferret would be put together in a cage placed in the Mews and bets taken on the outcome. Frederick and Emily had six children and not much money. Their marriage was not happy and in later years she would describe him as "a sod", who might come home late from the pub and throw his dinner into the fire.

One day in 1918, he was in a three foot sewer and felt a sharp pain in his back, he straightened up quickly and hit the back of his head hard on the roof. He came home and complained of a headache and died soon afterwards of a brain haemorrhage.

After a while, Emily's brother, Albert came to live with his sister. Albert had left his wife and family who, Emily said, were “making his life a misery". He worked as a lift-man at Claridge's and on one occasion took his great nephew, Steve to a ball where once a year "the posh would serve the poor". He was a favourite with Steve, Evelyn and Edna, giving them Bulls Eyes which he kept in an old wooden cabinet (which I still use to keep herbs in). ln his capacity as a lift-man he saw many rich and famous people. He was very fond of "Old Monaco", the Grandfather of Prince Renier.

When Evelyn was eight, she was given a gold locket on a chain with photographs of her parents inside. Edna was very upset because she wanted one. Albert then gave her another locket, which his brother-in-law had found in the sewers. He would call Edna, "little dolly-dimple”. In the late 1920's he caught his heel in the lift door, the wound went gangrenous and he died.

To her Grandchildren, Emily was always "Nan", and of an evening, she would send "Stevie" off to the pub with a jug or bottle for a quart of Porter. Then she would sing to the children sad songs like "The Mistletoe Bough" or “Only a Bird in a Silver Cage”. Sometimes she would sing something a bit more jolly like "Oh, for a Rolly-Polly" and Uncle Jim would give them “Only a Golden Picture".

In addition to the human family at Talbot Hews, there was Tom, the cat and Polly the parrot. Polly had been bought by Frederick "from an old salt". It had a vocabulary to match its origins. To save herself embarrassment when the vicar came to call, Emily covered the bird's cage with a sheet. As he sat sipping tea, the bird put a golden eye to a hole in the cloth and said in a voice full of menace “I can see you!" “If the bird didn't like the look of you it would say "Git out of it!" Sometimes it would give wolf whistles or shout out "Albie!” Emily would hang the cage on a hook overlooking the mews where Steve and his friends played football. It would join in with shouts of "goal, goal!"

It scored a victory over Tom on one occasion. It would coax the cat over to its cage by saying “come here puss, puss” in Nan’s voice. Purring, Tom went right up to the bars at which point Polly rushed up and pecked Tom on the nose. “Got you, got you" he screeched in triumph. Nan would try to catch the bird out by giving it a piece of sticky toffee, softened in her mouth. The wily bird would accept it but took it straight to the water trough to harden it before trying to eat it.

Daisy Shelvey died aged 21When Lyn and Steve were five or six years old, the bird escaped from its cage and flew about the room. Then to top everything off "it shit in the rice-pudding!" Times were hard so don't assume the pan was just tipped away! It was an affectionate bird and if asked, would give Nan a kiss with its little black tongue. Sometimes Lyn would steal its cashew nuts and eat them secretly. It didn't ever stop talking and could copy the song of Albert's linnets. When the bird eventually died of old age, Nan had it stuffed. When Nan herself died, her daughter, Lal kept the bird.

One important piece of equipment Nan possessed was an old box mangle for getting water out of the clothes she washed. The children were all frightened of it and believed it was haunted. Sometimes it would work on its own in the middle of the night.

Frederick and Emily Shelvey's Children:

Ada was the eldest of the six children. The others were Daisy, Harry, Alice, Helen and Grace.


As a baby, Daisy was taken out for a walk in the pram by Ada. The pram ran away from her down Ladbrook Grove hill and overturned. Daisy was thrown out onto her head. Daisy did not seem hurt but as she grew up it became obvious that she had learning difficulties. She died at the age of twenty-one.


Harry Shelvey at St Marks Boys Brigade camp SeafordThe only son of the family, Harry was determined to do well in life. Joining the Army, he rose up through the ranks to gain a commission in 1918. By November of that year, he was in Gibraltar on his way to a posting to become "an Hofficer in Hafrica". The war ended and sadly he had to return his new uniform and ceremonial sword.

Back in civilian life, he met a woman several years older than him called Emily. She was described as “a funny little thing" who's parents lived in the grounds of a manor house where her father looked after the gardens. Harry and Emily only came to Talbot Mews once, for tea. The meal consisted of "bread, new cakes and winkles". Emily turned up her nose and said "whatever are those?"

Wesley and Ada were the only relations from his side of the family invited to the wedding. Wesley managed to upset the wedding breakfast. When talking to Emily’s father, the man mentioned that Harry was twenty-six. "Oh, no he isn't, he's twenty-one". Emily's father exploded with rage.

It was said that as Emily became older, she became more reclusive and hide from visitors who came to their home outside Orpington.

After the end of the First World War, Harry and Emily dropped out of touch with the rest of the family; though when my parents and I met him in the early 1970's he said that he had tried to contact the family after the move from Talbot Hews by placing advertisements in newspapers.

The tale of Harry being “an Hofficer in Hafrica” was told and retold in the family over the next fifty-years and I was delighted to hear the story from his own lips, unprompted, when he was seventy-seven.

Harry Shelvey

Helens wedding to Harry Adams about 1920


She was criticised by Ada because she wrote a harsh letter to Harry after the wedding and it was this which caused him to drop out of sight for so many years. Helen, known as Nell, married Harry Adams and they had five children; Leonard, Hargaret, George, Audrey and one other. Audrey had two children but was told that if she had any more she would die. In the event, she did become pregnant again and died as a result.



Alice was also known as Lal. In her old age, she lost her teeth and would not wear dentures. Her gums were so hard, however that she could eat pickled onions with them.

Jim Ingram (married Lal)Lal married Jim Ingram. Uncle Jim was a great favourite with Steve, Lyn and Edna. He and Lal shared the flat in Talbot Hews where her mother, her sister and family lived for a period after the First World War. Their only child, Rene was a bridesmaid at her cousin Edna's wedding in 1942.

Rene married a man called Lee with whom she had five daughters.


She married Fred James who, like his father before him was also a "Totter” living in Talbot Mews. Fred had been a professional Light-weight Boxer and married Grace after his first wife had died of influenza in the First World War.

Fred's father, James, had a billy-goat which if it didn't like the look of you "butted you up the arse” according to Uncle Steve. He also kept a bullterrier called Dick. Fred James had two sisters, Lily and Rose who drove a trap and used to go down to the local corn chandlers.

Another dog Uncle Fred had was a great dane called Flossy. When she had pups, Steve asked for and was given one of them. Steve called the dog "Bob”. He-was eight at the time and the family was now living in the maisonette at 54 Oakworth Road. Wesley was worried about "the economics of the situation" so when Steve was out at Sunday School at Bethney Hall, he gave the dog to one of Ada's friends who subsequently used it as a guard dog in a local yard. In its place was “an insubstantial ball of fur". Wesley had bought a little scottie-pomeranian cross which he gave to Steve with a bow tied around its neck. He was broken­ hearted at first but in time he grew to love the dog.

Grace and her children, Derek (known as "Boy" James), Eileen and Gladys eventually moved out of London to Shakespeare Road in High 'Wycombe.

Tony the Dog.
Tony was described by Uncle Steve as "a street raker", who fathered all the dogs in the neighbourhood. He often caught fleas and like most dogs he hated having a bath. As soon as he had one would "roll in shit".

He didn't walk if he could ride and was well known by the bus conductors operating the old open-topped busses that used to run between Pangbourne Avenue and Cambridge Gardens. Tony would jump aboard when the bus stopped and go upstairs to the front of the bus, this being the last place the conductor got to. Jumping off, he would wait patiently outside Lancaster Road School and then when they came out, join in all of the children's games. He loved the "slippery slide" and even took part in skipping. He could jump the rope twice before he caught it with his tail. He was a first-class scrounger and was known in the fishmongers, the butchers, at Mrs.Rose's corner shop, at Jones's and Lee's where he would beg for Liquorice All sorts. Even those people who didn't know his name would know him as "ol' Brownie".

Each week the children would take an old push-chair loaded up with washing Nan had done back to their home in Oakworth Road where their mother would iron it. Tony would sit on top of it and "look as proud as punch".

Once Lyn and Edna tried to dress him up in baby clothes and put him into the pushchair, dressed in a bonnet, jacket and a pair of trousers. He took it all in good spirit but suddenly jumped out and ran down the street. They ran after him and laughed when he tried to cock his leg up a tree but was prevented from doing so by the trousers.

Tony lived to "a ripe old age” for a small dog and was missed by everyone who knew him.

Talbot Mews, North Kensington.

The Mews was originally built as the coach house and stabling for the large houses of Talbot Road. As horses and coaches gave way to the motor-car and the area began to go into decline, the stables were let out as accommodation and for business use. Life in the Mews was set apart from the rest of the area and was a community unto itself. Uncle Steve said that "it was like being in the country really".

One set of stables was used as a fruit warehouse. Grapes and tomatoes arrived packed in cork dust before being laid out on the fruit and vegetable barrows. Sometimes banana spiders would come out of the crates and children would use the "banana rope" which bound the crates to swing on. Another stable was a hay store and yet another was a rag-pickers den full of strange old women who frightened my Mother. Down at one end of the Mews, horses were killed with a spike and hammer. At one time a quantity of condemned treacle was stored there; some of it had been attacked by rats. People came to the Mews and bought it in large buckets. Steve, Lyn and Edna were sometimes allowed to lead the donkeys back to their stalls and perhaps help with grooming and feeding. In the evening, the lamp-lighter would come around on his bicycle with a long pole and light the lamps.

Gambling was illegal on the streets, but men would often come in from the surrounding streets to “throw-up" pennies. A local kid would be employed to look out for the police. If they shouted “Copper”, the men would run away. Every week an old organ grinder would come into the Mews and the girls would come and dance the can-can, showing their knickers. Even Aunty Lyn would join in.

Children would play "Back and Fore Stones", "Billy Bailey" or "Buttons". The girls would sometimes play "statues" and sometimes to make money, they would make a little "cave" of shells and ask passers by to "remember the grotto" and wait for a donation.

The boys had "whip-up tops”. A “hopperty peg-top” was no good while a “steady" was. At nights the boys played “Blackin’ Toffee”-ten aside. When they could, they made "Scat Bangers”. You would get a key with a hole in the top, push a match head into it then get a nail and ram it up inside. When you threw it on the ground it went off with a bang!

In winter, the night watchmen had braziers and the kids would gather around it to warm up and if they were lucky he might give them a roast chestnut.

A home-made scooter was made by taking a "tarry loggo"-a tarred wooden board which had previously been laid on the road to make a good surface and attaching to it a couple of metal bearing scrounged from old motor cars with a couple of screw-eyes and a few bits of wood to finish it off.

At number-one lived the Ingram family. They were Totters and their son Jim married my Great Aunt Lal. After they moved, another family, the Haysmans lived there.

At number-two lived the Tedders. They were also Totters and scrap dealers, specialising in breaking-up old motor cars. Their son Joe Tedder became a life long friend of Uncle Steve. The family was very poor and Joe was always shabbily dressed, shivering in the cold. He usually had a short haircut called a “tuppenny-penny bug-shave”. l last saw Joe at Uncle Steve's funeral in 1986.

Talbot Mews number 3 is where the boys are standing on the left

Talbot Mews 1932 prior to demolition Number 3 is where the boys stand on the left

The James family also lived in the Mews and their son Fred married my Great Aunt Grace. Other families who lived in the Mews at the time were the Harwoods, the Mathews and Emily Bunting. In addition there was "Granny" Ibbs, who wore a bonnet and shawl, lace mittens and button boots, “Ol'Greens", an Irishman who always seemed to be drunk, "Lizzy" who wore long earrings and ­ always wore her hair up. Next to her lived the Cousins family the Stillwells, the Crawleys and the Smiths whose son Billy "was a bit simple”. There was also Mr and Mrs Teddy and their two girls Kitty and Maisy.

Another character who lived in the area was "ol' Blower". He had acquired a "wonky knee" in the Boar war and was a relation of the Tedders. He had a donkey which he took on his rounds. He made it wear a panama hat in summertime and when he stopped outside his local, The Roundhouse, it refused to move on until it had a bucket of beer. Once it had it's beer, it would take him home, whatever his 'condition.

At the end of the Boar war in 1902, there was a victory parade through the streets of London. Because he looked a bit like the South African's President Kruger, "Ol' Blower" was dressed up for the part to lead it. His friends got him "well oiled" beforehand so that he wouldn't object but he didn't like it when the crowd booed him and threw things at him.

The Mews was pulled down in 1932 and replaced with a factory. That in its turn was demolished and the site has since been redeveloped for housing.

Stephen Hollier. 10th. May 1992.

Stephen Hollier, biography 2007.

"Stephen Hollier was born in North West London in 1955. After school, he worked for a year in the City of London for a firm of Stockbrokers, which put him off commuting and conventional careers for life. He subsequently studied Sociology at the University of Essex, gaining a 2:1 degree. He then spent two years at Braintree college training as a potter afterwhich he ran a small pottery workshop in Suffolk. In 1982 he returned to Essex University and gained Masters degree in 1984.
Between 1984 and 1990 he ran a multimedia workshop for people with physical and mental disabilities and latterly managed the Community Development team for a new town local authority.
At the beginning of 1991 he began work for a local authority as one of the country's first Arts Development Officers. Funded by The Arts Council, he promoted arts events of all kinds and supported a variety of arts organisations. He was subsequently appointed County Art Officer for two counties, posts he held until 2002.

Stephen Hollier
Keen to return to actual arts practice, he returned to college and trained as a garden designer, setting up his new business in 2004. He now lives on a narrowboat and travels abroad as much as he can.
Stephen has been married (and divorced) twice and has one son, now aged twenty. He has always played music and after a long period playing with folk bands, performs with the acoustic band Fat Freddy's Cat.
For more information about this excellent combo, check out"


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