I mentioned painting and decorating yesterday, so below is a photograph of one of my painter and decorator ancestors at work, my grandfather Charles Percy GASSON.
Unfortunately I don’t know where or when this photograph was taken, but I am guessing some time in the mid 1950s and probably somewhere in the vicinity of West Grinstead, Sussex. The glass roof is quite distinctive but I suspect it may well have been replaced by something easier to maintain by now.
I spent a large part of Saturday with a paintbrush in my hand. It has been quite a while since I had to do any decorating and I had forgotten just how satisfying it can be. It wasn’t actually paint on the brush this time but wood preservative for our new garden shed, but regardless of that I still found it quite rewarding and even therapeutic.
It is especially satisfying when I consider how many of my ancestors have earned their living with a paintbrush. Both my father and grandfather were painters and decorators and until a few years ago that was as far as my decorating ancestry extended.
Then I discovered the name of my illegitimate grandfather’s father and his occupation. I was surprised to discover that my great-grandfather had also been a decorator (and a sign-writer), this shared occupation made perfect sense, although I can’t say for certain that there was any connection between the fact that my grandfather shared the same occupation as his father. I don’t even know if there was ever any connection between the two.
With a new branch of my family tree to explore there were many new discoveries to be made, but the biggest surprise was the discovery that not only was my newly discovered great-grandfather a decorator but so was his father, and his grandfather, and his great-grandfather. My father recalled that he was once jokingly told at school that painting was in his blood, little did he know then how true that really was.
I don’t recall any painting lessons but I am sure some of the skill was probably picked up from my father, as he probably learnt from his father as a youngster. Beyond that it is impossible to say whether the skill was passed down from father to son, but when I stand with a paintbrush in my hand I know I really am following in my ancestor’s footsteps or at least their brush strokes.