To be honest I had forgotten I had this little treasure stored away in my parent’s attic until a few weeks ago. I guess when I was initially given it I wasn’t so passionate about family history, now I realise what a wonderful resource it is.
The book is tiny, about 1¾" x 2¼" and about ½" thick. It was published, if that is the right word, by Eyre and Spottiswoode (Bible Warehouse) Ltd., London, and is rather grandly entitled The Royal Bijou Birthday Book.
Each page is divided into two and each half is headed with a month and day (e.g. October 21), a bit like a diary but without the year. The left-hand page has quote for each day, "A Selection from the Poetical Works of SHAKSPEARE, WORDSWORTH, HOOD, TENNYSON, MOORE, BURNS, COWPER, SCOTT, GOLDSMITH, HEMANS, BYRON, MILTON".
The right-hand page is more like a diary, with a space for writing down the relevant birthdays for that day.
The entries are in two different hands, that of my grandmother (Dorothy Annie GASSON née TROWER), who presumably started the book, and after her death in 1964 it was continued by my grandfather (Charles Percy GASSON). I don’t know for certain whether the book was started before their marriage in 1936 or not, I suspect it was probably after their marriage and analysis of some of the entries might confirm this.
I need to go through this book, transcribe all the entries and identify all the names and their relationship to my grandparents. A lot of the names are known to me and the majority are still living (because they are my cousins, aunts and uncles) so I won’t be publishing the details. Some of the people were probably neighbours and friends.
There is one other interesting addition to the book which is a bit of a mystery. Slipped in towards the back of the book was the passport photo shown below. I have no idea whether it belongs in there or who he is, he doesn’t look like any of my relations, but I could be wrong, perhaps one of my relations will be able to put a name to the face.