The above shots were taken at Hampton Court, a wonderful Tudor castle just to the west of London. One of the shots is of my wife, Meg, my daughter Ruth, and my grandson, Charlie. The other one gives some idea of the glorious borders and shrubberies that abound there.
I was born in the East End of London on 30th December, 1935. The address was
Dr. Barnardo, who had opened mission schools in nearby Copperfield Street in 1877, wrote a few years later concerning this depressed area, that it was a “thickly populated region covered with houses containing three or four rooms each, many of them with ceilings so low that an adult of full stature can hardly enter them without stooping. The streets are narrow with numerous side courts, alleys and squares. The population is largely a riverside one, but it includes many hawkers, costermongers, fish-curers…..and such like.” The children who attended the schools were the poorest of the poor. “They know what it is to have no fire in the grate and no bread in the cupboard; and we find in many cases that food is more essential to the boys and girls than education."
At that time my father was working at the Lloyd Loom factory, or Lusty’s as it was known in the area, making cane furniture. He seemed to have enjoyed the job, perhaps the only job he ever enjoyed throughout his working life. Before marriage my mother worked at the Black Cat, a building that made a brand of cigarettes that were popular at the time, Craven A. She was a hard worker, with deft and skilful fingers that could pack an enormous number of cigarettes in the time allotted. For the time she earned good money. This money would be spent in good-quality fashionable clothes.
My father’s family were reasonably comfortably off for that time in comparison to surrounding families. This was due to the fact that there was only one child. My grandfather, Henry Davis, known for some obscure reason as Moss by his wife, had a steady job at Bow Sawmills as a lorry driver. He got his job years before it was necessary hold a proper licence. He worked there till his retirement in 1945.
How can I describe my grandfather? He was born in