Florence May

Florence May was my maternal grandmother, the bright young girl who eventually metamorphosed into the dreaded Mrs Kipper.  Around the turn of the 19th century, her older brother, my great-uncle Charlie, worked in service at 62 Montague [sic] Square , London (number 34 was once leased by Ringo Starr).  From the days when a postcard was the equivalent of an SMS text message, these are some of May’s words written around the time of the Longparish school photograph:

Dear Charlie – I thought you would like a postcard instead of a letter because you can put it in your album.  Barton played against Wherwell.  Wherwell got two goals and Barton never got one. Mr Atkins and two more chaps that played for Wherwell nearly got up to fighting. Longparish played against Laverstock.  Longparish got one and Laverstoke got five.
With love from your loving sister May xxxxxxxx

Longparish postcard

Another card sent around the same time:

My Dear Brother Charlie thank you ever so much for the chocolates and bannas [sic] you sent me they are so  nice and beautiful. I got them quite safe and sound the other morning. I am so pleased with them that I do not know how to thank you for them. I will write a letter on Sunday so you must expect one on Monday morning. I think I must close now hoping you are quite well with love from your ever loving sister May. I have got a lot of news to tell you on Sunday.

Florence May is stood to the far left of this raggedy bunch and highlighted top right and bottom left.  ‘Look stern for the camera’ seems to be the order of the day for most of them – maybe it was consequence of long exposure times but I can’t see why a smile would be so difficult to hold – at least one of them proves me right 🙂

Florence May Taylor

(click on the image to enlarge)


  1. karijeppesen · August 2, 2014

    …I am touched by this story – postcards and much time in our hands…(…smiling…)

    • northumbrianlight · August 2, 2014

      Definitely a slower-paced time although I guess life could be quite hard for some of those children. Many thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      • karijeppesen · August 2, 2014

        …you are right, two sides of the coin, I guess…
        …my pleasure, Robin!

  2. Cate Franklyn · August 2, 2014

    Heartwarming family history! Just love the two little guys with there arms crossed looking smug.

    • northumbrianlight · August 2, 2014

      I garee, don’t they look great – a right handful I expect 🙂
      The real hard nuts are on the back row I suspect. I would love to know what happened to them all – I fear some must have been swallowed up by the Great War.

  3. Tish Farrell · August 2, 2014

    Lovely little glimpses of the past, Robin.

    • northumbrianlight · August 2, 2014

      Thanks Tish – it is only this blogging lark which has made me read these cards. They are quite revealing in their innocent way.

      • Tish Farrell · August 2, 2014

        Well they take you straight to the writer, don’t they. A little unnerving perhaps. Interesting that the postcards with their brief messages have such an unexpected resonance.

      • northumbrianlight · August 2, 2014

        Yes, the reference to football violence struck me too – plus ça change.

  4. LaVagabonde · August 2, 2014

    A few years ago, I suimbled on an antique postcard market in Les Halles (Paris). There were thousands of such postcards for sale. I bought a few. Some had just a picture and the address, others had micro letters written on them. I wondered about the senders and receivers. You are lucky to own these pieces of your family’s past. It seems that, as with text messages, such minute communication is easily discarded.

    • northumbrianlight · August 2, 2014

      I am fortunate that my mother’s side of the family were hoarders of trivia so I have quite a collection of papers, postcards and photos. I must have at least another 60+ cards from great-uncle Charlie’s collection so plenty more posts to come 🙂

  5. LaVagabonde · August 2, 2014

    *oops, I meant “stumbled”

  6. easyweimaraner · August 2, 2014

    It’s great that you still have this cards, that’s a treasure :o)

    • northumbrianlight · August 2, 2014

      Yes, I am very lucky and by posting them online it is making me take an interest in the words on the back. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend – torrential rain in Northumberland 😦

      • easyweimaraner · August 2, 2014

        here too… I ponder about an ark… butt an ark made by my staff is not the real mc coy :o)

  7. restlessjo · August 2, 2014

    They make interesting posts, Robin 🙂 I love the postcard. and the serious expressions. School was a serious business in those days!

    • northumbrianlight · August 2, 2014

      Indeed it was Jo – I don’t think there was any messing with that teacher. We probably need more like her 🙂

  8. suej · August 2, 2014

    Great post Robin…brilliant to have come across these glimpses of the past… Don’t think there’ll be any for me to find, my mum isn’t a hoarder of such things.

    • northumbrianlight · August 2, 2014

      Many thanks Sue, I am quite lucky that I have so much information from both my parents and maternal grandparents. Sadly my paternal grandparents are something of a mystery. Something else to investigate when there are more spare hours in the day. All the best, Robin.

  9. greenmackenzie · August 3, 2014

    Lovely family history….so good to have the tangible words and images from the past

  10. littledogslaughed · August 4, 2014

    I love these “slice of life” glimpses-it also reminds me how items like chocolate and fruit were indeed very special to receive-and I agree no one looks very happy during that period about having their pictures taken!

    • northumbrianlight · August 4, 2014

      I was quite surprised by the mention of bananas – they must have taken weeks to reach the UK in ships with no refrigeration.
      Those kids look like a bunch of toughies 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Meg.

  11. Malin H · August 14, 2014

    Very moving post, Robin!!

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