Tag Archives: hailsham

Victorian Pharmacy

19 Jul

Last Thursday saw the first episode  of a new four part series on BBC 2 entitled Victorian Pharmacy. The series is produced by the same company (Lion Television) who produced Victorian Farm, which was shown last year.

The series looks at the workings of a Victorian pharmacists’ shop. The first episode sees the shows two main stars, Ruth Goodman (also from Victorian Farm) and Nick Barber, along with their apprentice Tom Quick setting up shop in the re-constructed Victorian town at Blists Hill.

We saw quite a wide range of activities in the first episode, from gathering herbs for traditional remedies to the creation of a slightly more scientific remedy in a rather basic (by today’s standards) laboratory.

Like Victorian Farm there were several experts on hand to explain some of the principles, and there was also a stream of ‘customers’ willing to try out their remedies and treatments.

Their shop was quite spectacular to look at with all sorts of bottles, jars, pots, boxes and packages displayed on the counter, in glass cabinets and on shelves. I am not sure how typical this would have been, because the shop is itself is a museum exhibit.

I certainly had trouble reconciling the image that I have in my mind of my GEERING chemists and druggists with what was shown on screen. Admittedly my mental image comes largely from the description provided by Thomas Geering in his book Our Sussex Parish.

I just can’t imagine my GEERINGs mixing remedies or gathering ingredients from the countryside surrounding Hailsham, Sussex. I see them more as shopkeepers buying in ready made preparations for sale to the residents of Hailsham.

Overall the programme was fun and entertaining, there was a small element of education, but the emphasis was more on things that seemed shocking or laughable to our modern eyes, like the use of leeches.

As a glimpse into the possible lives of my ancestors it is invaluable, I just wish I knew more about what was in their shop and whether their business flourished or was avoided like the plague by the residents of Hailsham.

Picture Postcard Parade: The old Common Pond, Hailsham

6 Jul

Mentioning the missing burial of Jane GEERING the other day gives me a perfect excuse to show you this postcard of where her body was found. It looks quite picturesque doesn’t it?

Common Pond, Hailsham

I have written at length before on the circumstances surrounding her death, but basically her body was found in the Common Pond, Hailsham, Sussex on the morning of the 15th September 1874 and the inquest the following day returned a verdict of "found drowned".

The postcard hasn’t been used and no publisher is mentioned. It has quite a distinctive style of caption which I am sure I have seen been and feel I should recognise it, but I can’t place it at the moment. I would imagine it dates from the early 1920s.

These days the banks of pond are a more open, although beyond the banks it is now surrounded by more housing. I need to go back to Hailsham in brighter weather and get some better photos of the Common Pond and the parish church.

If not Hailsham, then where? The missing burial of Jane GEERING

3 Jul

You may remember me writing about Jane GEERING before, she was my 5x great-aunt who was found drowned in the Common Pond, Hailsham, Sussex.

I know quite a bit about her death, from the reports in the local newspapers and her death certificate, but I did not know where she was buried. I had checked the transcripts of the parish registers for the church at Hailsham, and she hadn’t been buried in the churchyard there (and I have checked the original registers now).

I wasn’t entirely surprised, she died in 1874, two years after the cemetery at Hailsham was opened, and the fact that she probably committed suicide all pointed to the fact that she would have been buried in the cemetery. Of course if it was that straight forward I wouldn’t be writing this post.

I have checked the transcript of burials for the cemetery and she is not listed in there either. I know it is only a transcript, but it looks accurate. The entry numbers from the burial register have also been transcribed, so they haven’t missed an entry, and there is nothing like the name Jane GEERING, so I don’t doubt that she is not in the register.

Perhaps she was buried in the church or cemetery and it was not recorded in the appropriate register, but this seems unlikely. It seems more likely that she was buried somewhere else, but where?

The only other option I can think of is Lewes, Sussex. Her closest relatives, her nieces and nephews were living in Lewes, but I can’t imagine why they would go to the expense of having her body transported to Lewes for burial.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 26

27 Jun

Time for another confession, I really struggled last week to actually do any genealogy. I blame two things for this:

  1. The warm summer evenings, perfect for walking or sitting in the garden doing nothing.
  2. I can’t decide what to do next.

I need to stop beating myself up for not doing any family history, but I really feel that I should be doing some research, but haven’t been able to pinpoint what I want to do.

I did a bit of work around the MITCHELLs and Exton, Hampshire but I just couldn’t get enthused about it, which disappoints me. I fear all that time organising files and folders has spoilt my appetite for research.

I do have plan though for kick-starting my research, and that is in part because of the Capital Ring walk on Saturday. I have given myself a challenge, to find out why my grandfather was at school in the London Borough of Greenwich between 1917 and 1924, and when did he come back to Sussex after he finished school.

I will explain more about this challenge later, but for now I think I have settled on three projects to concentrate on, which is more than enough for the time being, and allows me some flexibility to take on other bits and pieces as they turn up.

The three projects are:

  1. Finish off my research into the GEERINGs of Hailsham, Sussex.
  2. Investigate and write about the life of William Joseph Henry BATEMAN of Victoria, Australia.
  3. Find out why my grandfather Charles Percy GASSON was in Greenwich, London.

Personal Genealogy Update: Week 25

20 Jun

My organising is done, for the time being at least. There will be plenty more organising to do in the future, and that is the challenge, to keep this state of affairs in the future. I still have to go through and create a template for all my file and folder names, but that shouldn’t take long.

Last week the GASSON and GEERING surname folders were sorted out, and I started doing some preparation for GEERING research. I feel a little in limbo now, I have my entire family history at my fingertips, my research could head in any direction I want, but I am not sure where to go next.

The GEERINGs are a definite, but before I get back to Hailsham and the druggists, I have a couple of service records to sort out, downloaded during the recent findmypast.co.uk free for all. After sorting these out I need to get to the East Sussex Record Office and check some records before I decide if there is anything else I can do.

I need to do a quick bit of research about the MITCHELLs of Exton, Hampshire, I need to make sure I have all the place names and dates ready for when I visit Exton as part of my South Downs Way walk.

This week I need to decide what to do next, do I throw all my resources and concentration into one big project or do I just fill in gaps in my research covering as many different branches as possible. Perhaps I should concentrate on one particular area, or time period. I don’t really know, so this week I will see which way my research takes me.

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