Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Treasure those Memories Carbis Bay … part 4: Women …

 

As it is International Women’s Day week I thought I’d combine a few other aspects re early life in Carbis Bay.

 

Penwith peninsula

My grandfather had died in the early 1920s in a road accident … my grandmother remarried … and it was at her/their house that we would go and stay/visit …

 

 

After the War, when they returned from Calcutta … my step-grandfather having been in the Air Force … had a wooden propeller in his study at the house …

 

Hayle Estuary off St Ives Bay

 

… his family had lived in Hayle … there was a retainer, called Mary … whom both families – ie just us and my grandmother, step-grandfather were determined to help as far as possible.

 

 

Mary was a formidable Cornish woman … somehow during the war she’d got a glass eye … eventually she learnt to drive a car, and loved going to the gliding club at Perranporth, north Cornish coast, with my step grandpa …

 

Anemones

Mary had a friend Mabel (of very religious Methodist Chapel tones – of which Mary was not) … but they teamed up and bought a semi-detached granite-built house on the way down the main road to St Ives with plots of land at the back for vegetables, fruits and flowers - anemones ... a Cornish favourite.

 

 

Mary and Mabel, known to me as Muddy Label, turned this into a Bed and Breakfast … for a few years we’d rent it when we visited the family.  It had an attic which looked out over St Ives Bay to Godrevy Lighthouse … and stained glass frames around the windows … so much fun for us littlies … so pretty …

 

 

Godrevy from shore opposite St Ives
On the other side of the road was a bungalow in which my father’s grandmother lived … she was almost blind, lived to over 100 … but I remember seeing her, as a four year old, from the B+B’s windows … and visiting to see the robin being fed.

 

Great Granny - my father's g'mother

I’ve no idea why she was in Cornwall – they were from London … but her youngest child (a twin) was one of 8 or 9 and was a Royal Academician … sadly she had to look after her mother. 

 

 

Great Aunt Dolly


Perhaps during the War they decided to settle in Cornwall – but Great Aunt Dolly had a place in London, which she moved back to on GG’s death.

 

 

 

'The Forge' by Aunt Dolly

Great Granny’s bungalow was on a reasonable sized piece of land … which on her death was bequeathed to the local council to make a memorial garden … which I remember seeing as Garden of Remembrance full of rambling roses … a delightful haven off the Carbis Bay – St Ives road.

 

 

Wild Rose
This survived for four + decades … but eventually growth, consumerism and tourism took over – resulting in the land being sequestered for a roundabout to the local small supermarket at the back of Muddy Label’s B+B – Mary would have had a field day fighting that!!

 

Longstone Cemetery - before the County
Council took over the maintenance
They have built a larger memorial garden, now including a cemetery … which is not being looked after – the county took control over from the locals … now maintained by people, who are not gardeners … makes me mad: everywhere – no knowledge or interest in learning ‘how to garden’ … etc … and it’s the season of gardening!  Noise and incompetence will abound …

 

Longstone Cemetery now - disrespectful
to those in their last resting place
As far as I know none of our family are there … we used the cemetery high on the hill looking over St Ives … my mother and I went up a few times …

 Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

30 comments:

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I would love to stay in the attic overlooking the light!

Did you Aunt Dolly paint that picture? It's beautiful!

I probably would have left London too during the war to escape the bombings. Those guys who lived through that were some tough people!

Hels said...

If Great Granny’s land was bequeathed to the local council to make a memorial garden, then it has to be looked after. While I am delighted that the council built a larger memorial garden, and cemetery, clearly the effort was too much. The council should have known it takes a lot of time, money and energy to keep the garden up to date.

Perhaps you or other members of the family could chair the council body with responsibility for the memorial garden :) Citizens' rates should be available for essential local facilities!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elizabeth - yes those views are still there for me in the memory brain bank ... especially the coloured lights from the stained glass panels coming through. Aunt Dolly did indeed paint The Forge - well she was acknowledged as an excellent artist, as she was accepted as a Royal Academician ... the highest accolade for an artist.

@ Hels - well it was a long time ago ... and we're not the senior members of the family ... and I've no idea what happened ... it was the 1950s ... and we're too far away now, and much too late.

Contract gardening is not the best - it employs people ... but doesn't train them, and sadly they don't appreciate what's what in the natural world.

Thanks for the interest in the post - all the best - Hilary

Natalie Aguirre said...

How cool that your great-grandmother's land became a memorial garden. I enjoyed learning more about your grandmother's life. She certainly had an interesting one.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
For some reason, the word that sprang to mind when reading about your wonderful female progenitors is 'redoubtable'. They certainly did not appear to lack courage! YAM xx

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Hello Hilary: This is a wonderful post, filled with personal reflection and historical perspective all woven together so skillfully. It really is a pleasure to read as it flows along seamlessly. The art produced by your Aunt Dolly looks better than splendid. Do you have this work? You had some talented people in your background, and I am sure that you stack up well against all of them. Great post, Hilary. I enjoyed it immensely.

Inger said...

Love this post, the pictures of the grannies are so lovely. So much has changed, including how we old ladies look. One regret from my almost three years in England -- I never visited Cornwall. I watched Poldark some years ago, and, again felt that regret. A beautiful place.

Elephant's Child said...

Add me to the people who really enjoyed this post - while mourning the memorial garden.
You do indeed come from a talented line. A very talented line.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Natalie – yes it was at the time … but now sadly built over by a roundabout! It’s being interesting bringing back memories and remembering the elderlies …

@ Yam – yes … we come from strong families – that’s for sure … my father’s mother was even stronger!

@ David – many thanks … I’m very happy to read that you enjoy the combinations of my memory murmurings and thoughts on my backstory. Yes the families are talented … this generation isn’t quite as elevated … especially this soul – probably from other influences: eg late developer …

@ Inger – thank you … I can’t find all the photos I want to find – but I’ll make do for now. I remember you mentioning that you’d never got to Cornwall – it was a long way from Kent, back in the late 1950s …
Yes the Poldark programmes showed Cornwall – they’ve got a Poldark tour now … amongst other things …

@ EC – thanks – yes it’s a pity the new Memorial Garden is not kept up by the locals. The families have achieved quite a lot … some of our generation and younger are making their mark in the world … not this one though!

Thanks so much for visiting and commenting … so appreciate you being here – stay safe - Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry they built a supermarket behind the bed and breakfast. And that was a funny nickname you gave the ladies.

Janie Junebug said...

Everything in this post is so interesting, Hilary! I love the photo of Great Granny.

Love,
Janie

Anabel Marsh said...

Great Granny and Great Aunt Dolly look such lovely ladies. And I laughed at Muddy Label!

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI Hilary,

What lovely childhood memories. Yes, it is sad that the charming old place now is not kept as it was. Sadly, that has happened everywhere. My childhood home had the most lovely park across from it... The town took away all the beautiful hedged rhododendrons that encircled the park. They were over twelve feet high, simply glorious. Many of the stunning dogwood trees were cut down during the 80s because of drugs being sold. It's hardly a park anymore, it's all open..you can see right through it....so sad.

As always, I enjoy your wonderfully historic posts, this one especially because it is so personal...

Sending you hugs...

Sandra Cox said...

Wow. What a fascinating family, Hils. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Joanne said...

Your words paint the pictures so clearly. I love this. And I really like the pics of your great grandmother and Aunt Dolly - formidable women. It's interesting because my heritage is English/Scots/Irish and I swear oldie pics all look like these. True characters. I can remember as a very wee one (age 4 or so) visiting my great grandmother - a teeny woman in bed from a broken hip. I was scared to death because she was SO old. It's funny what one remembers.
I love your scenery and history descriptions - perfect. Cheers!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex – yes the purloining of the Memorial Garden is a bit much … but c’est la vie over time. I guess I couldn’t talk properly … so Muddy Label they became …

@ Janie – thanks so much … Great Granny – though I didn’t know her, it’s ‘nice’ to have a few photos …

@ Anabel – they’re good photos of those two ladies … Aunt Dolly was wonderful … I do remember her; Muddy Label amuses me to this day, too …

@ Michael – yes … time does alter our landscape and so often through human planning and development. Sad to read about the loss of your childhood park – rhododendrons are just beautiful and would have provided excellent ‘rough hedging’.
Thank you – so glad you enjoy this sort of post …

@ Sandra – just snippets of childhood, with a bit of history thrown in … but delighted you’re enjoying them …

@ Joanne – thank you … I’m glad I’m bringing the area, or the snippets of childhood life, or history back to life – so you can imagine a visualisation …
Yes – I’m sure your ancestors would look very like this – albeit these photos were taken only 70 years ago for Great Granny. Gosh your great grandmother with her broken hip – must have been in agony … and I think us teeny kids would have been very anxious about death – it wasn’t something that was addressed in families – at least it wasn’t in mine.
Many thanks for your support via your comment.

Thanks so much – so pleased to see what you think … and am always happy with your comments … all the best - Hilary

Susan Scott said...

Lovely history and memories Hilary though sad about things not being properly looked after. And a worthwhile post in remembrance of Women's Day. Muddy Label and Mabel would be well proud!

Friko said...

It’s lovely to be able to delve into the past and family history but it can be sad when good memories turn into an unpleasant present
for whatever reason, in your case “progress” and “neglect”.
I am sorry that everything gets trashed but you do have your good memories.

Women rule!!

Deborah Weber said...

What amazing memories Hilary - so much to cherish. And yay to celebrating the women in your lineage.

Jacqui Murray said...

I love this real-life history of people helping people, responsibility, love. No one asked for a handout because we had family. Thanks for sharing this.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan – thank you … I think if we lived in Carbis Bay we probably would have done something … but it was my father’s family and not my mother’s side, who are of St Ives origins. Yes –I’m glad we were able to support Mary … while my naming of Muddy Label is fun isn’t it …

@ Friko – yes … I’ve enjoyed looking at my very early history on holiday down in Cornwall. I haven’t seen the cemetery … but just see what contract gardeners ‘do’ – they have no awareness of gardening …
Yes – I have my memories of those happy days on holiday over many years …
Women should rule … definitely!

@ Deborah – thank you … they sit amongst memories of those early years. Yes I just suddenly thought this week – the week of International Women’s Day – was the time to bring them into this series …

@ Jacqui – thank you … my grandparents and my parents helped Mary until her dementia took her away from us, as we weren’t family. Still we were there for her … and that rings bells for me …

Thanks so much to you all for recognising the women in my early days … and as it’s International Women’s Week – recognising all women in the world.
All the best - Hilary

Keith's Ramblings said...

Thanks for sharing more of your charming memories with us Hilary. Muddy Label, that's hilarious!
It's such a shame the Memorial Garden and Cemetery aren't getting the care they deserve. Gardens are so important in so many ways.
Looking forward to another episode!

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

What lovely tales and that painting is bloody lovely

Rhodesia said...

Wow Aunt Dolly's painting is amazing, do you have the painting or only a copy of. I am surprised, a road accident in the 1920's the cars were not as speedy as they are these days.

Have a good weekend and stay safe. Diane

Liz A. said...

Such great memories. Looks like it was a lovely place to visit.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Keith – thanks so much … glad you enjoyed the ‘Muddy Label’ pen name for Mary and Mabel coming from a child who couldn’t speak properly …
Yes – the Memorial Garden being lost is sad – but it was too small for a burgeoning population – so I guess a logical conclusion – however much I rue its closure today.

@ Jo-Anne – thank you …

@ Diane – yes her work is just lovely … I have a few pieces, my brother has the most. The Forge is here and I’m chuffed I’ve got it … I love her works … and those memories of our house walls in our childhood homes.
My grandfather’s accident was similar to TE Lawrence’s motorcycle death in 1935 … why I relate it like this is another ‘funny’ of life – when they’re separated by 12 years …

@ Liz – thank you … west Cornwall is just wonderful – particularly back as a child …

Thanks so much for reading and taking an interest – have good weekends everyone - Hilary

retirementreflections said...

Sharing this family history is a perfect way to celebrate International Women's Day. Thank you!

DMS said...

You spotlighted some strong and interesting women. Amazing to imagine those women and their lives. Your really brought your memories to life for us- I could imagine your visits and they clearly made impressions on you. I agree- they would have put up quite a fight about the roundabout and supermarket! Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Sandra Cox said...

I love that your Great Granny's land was bequeathed as a memorial garden. How purrfect.
Take special care, Hils.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Donna - yes ... suddenly thought about Women's Day ... so I'm pleased I wrote about the family connections - thank you ...

@ Jess - yes ... the family has some very strong characteristics and it's not easy to think back on life a hundred or more years ago. Seventy years after WW2 finished - so much change happened and looking back from 2021 there's so many snippets of life one forgets about. I'm enjoying the explorations of my life's history and 'ancestry' ... delighted to see you ...

@ Sandra - yes it was a philanthropic gift ... and I hope the new garden has some reference to the family's gift ...

Thanks so much for visiting everyone - always lovely to have your comment - all the best - Hilary