Tag Archives: brighton

Climbing out of the hole

11 Oct

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that I had done practically no family history recently, well that trend has continued more or less unabated, until yesterday. I feel like I have been stuck in quite possibly the deepest rut ever, struggling to find any enthusiasm for family history and blogging, but at last I feel like I am starting to climb out of the hole.

Last night I spent some time working on an unrelated (at the moment) name on the Brighton War Memorial. As the surname is TROWER and the place is Brighton, Sussex there is a very good chance that he was distantly related, so I don’t feel that I am completely wasting my time.

It is quite an interesting challenge as there are very few details given for F TROWER, my plan is to try to identify him and work backwards until I run into someone already on my family tree. Hopefully it will only be a generation or two before I find the connection, but it is something I have meant to investigate for a long time.

Not only will this hopefully clear up a long-standing mystery, but also spark a little enthusiasm for family history and blogging again. Time however is a still a real issue, but hopefully I can nibble away at this little project, doing a little bit each day, just enough to get me back into the swing of things.

From beach to bluebells, two faces of Sussex

23 Apr

One of the joys of living in Sussex is the variety of landscapes that can be experienced within a short distance of each other. From coast to hillside, from fields to woodland, I don’t think I will ever be bored of living in Sussex.

This morning I had to pop down to Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, this meant a journey through Brighton, East Sussex. Being a sunny bank holiday weekend it was busy, but not as busy as I had expected. Heading back out of Brighton on the bus the queues of traffic coming the other way was a clear indicator that it was going to get a lot busier.

I was heading for the countryside. A few hours later I was walking through a woodland full of bluebells, with only the sounds of buzzing insects, the occasional snatch of bird song and the faint rumble of a jet flying high overhead.

All that work for one tiny little fact

23 Feb

As is so often the case the search for one little fact led to much more work than I had anticipated.

I wanted to find out where Ann GEERING (the daughter of my 5x great grandparents James and Ann GEERING) was born. She was baptised in the parish church at Hailsham, Sussex on the 26th April 1806, but the parish register recorded that she was actually born on the 18th September 1803.

The parish register didn’t say where she had been born, but as her other three siblings were baptised in Hailsham in a timely manner it seemed likely that the family weren’t at home when Ann was born and they waited until they got back home to have her baptised, at the same time as her younger brother (who was nine months old when he was baptised).

Having found a likely suspect for Ann GEERING in Brighton, Sussex (working as a servant) I had to set about proving it was in fact her. Fortunately in 1861 she was living with James and Margaret GEERING and she was listed as James’ aunt.

I then had to find out who James GEERING was. I followed him through the census, his first wife died and he remarried and finally in 1911, after he had been widowed for a second time, he was living in Lewes, Sussex with his brother Mark Anthony GEERING.

As you might imagine there haven’t been that many Mark Anthony GEERINGs in the world, but I do have one in my family tree and all the details matched. James and Mark Anthony’s father was Richard GEERING, sister of the Ann GEERING I was looking for.

Success at last, and I now know that Ann GEERING was born in Heathfield, Sussex (perhaps a dozen or so miles north of Hailsham where she was baptised) or at least she thought that she was born there. What the family were doing there will probably remain a mystery unless some other connection emerges further down the line.

Next steps….

I need to check to make sure that I have checked the parish registers for Heathfield. I have searched FamilySearch and the SFHG Data Archive but I need to check that Heathfield is included in one of these and if so what time period is covered.

I am not sure who or what I would be looking for, probably other GEERINGs and maybe some HOWLETTs in the registers. I would probably have found a marriage for James and Ann if it had been in Heathfield because the SFHG marriage index covers all of Sussex up to 1837, but it would be a perfect place to look for the older Ann’s baptism.

Picture Postcard Parade: The Aquarium and Madeira Drive, Brighton

13 Jan

The postcard below is provided as a contrast to the one from last week, this one probably dates from the late 1960s or early 1970s and show a slightly different view (looking east) of The Aquarium at Brighton, Sussex. Madeira Drive is the road to the right of the Aquarium. The postcard was published by Photo Precision Limited, about whom I have been unable to find out any more information.

This is much more the way I remember it from my childhood. I have tried to remember when it was that I went on a school trip to the aquarium or dolphinarium as it also known. It must have been in the late 1970s. I don’t remember much about the visit, I have recollections of large red plastic covered seats with tables where we had our lunch, and I seem to recall the smell of egg sandwiches, but I could be wrong.

I remember there was a display by the dolphins (long since moved on) in a giant pool, with the dolphins splashing those sitting near the edge of the pool. Also I think they “sang” happy birthday to someone in our school group. I can’t remember anything else about the aquarium, but I do remember we went out onto the beach afterwards, where one of my classmates found a dead fish.

The building now houses the Brighton Sea Life Centre which is much more focused on conservation and education than when I was there, although I have not been there since that visit thirty or so years ago. This is how the entrance looks today (or a couple of years ago) on Google Street View.

Picture Postcard Parade: Palace Pier and Aquarium, Brighton

7 Jan

Mention yesterday of the aquarium at Brighton, Sussex gives me the perfect excuse to show you this delightful card from my collection.

There is so much going on in this scene, obviously the key features are the Palace Pier (now known simply as Brighton Pier) and the aquarium (now known as the Sea Life Centre), although this only shows the entrance to the aquarium, with it’s clock tower (now gone) and steps leading underground into the aquarium itself.

The pier itself is devoid (thankfully) of most of the “attractions” that clutter the pier these days. These were the days of promenading and when the pier was used as a landing stage, as evidenced by the two larger vessels on either side of the end of the pier. There are plenty of other boats out to sea on the right-hand side, but I don’t know if this is Brighton’s fishing fleet or just pleasure boats.

Back on dry land there are plenty of examples of horse-drawn transport, and I wonder what the man at the bottom has in his hand cart? Surprisingly though there are not that many people wandering about, perhaps it was early morning, judging by the shadows I would have said it was before midday at least. Sadly there are no trees or plants that would give us a clue as to what time of year it was.

The postcard itself is unused and printed on the back are the words “Valentine’s Series”, indicating that it was published by Valentine & Sons Ltd of Dundee, Scotland, a well-known international firm of postcard publishers. I would imagine this dates from the early 1900s and certainly pre-First World War.

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