The memories of Kenneth Shawcross,

 with photographs added by his son John Shawcross.

 

 

Kenneth Charles Warburton Shawcross (Dad) was born in 1916 and died in 1992. He married Ivy Edith Binks and their children were John (b. May 2,1941), Linda (b. July 18, 1946) and Charles (b. August 28,1951).

 

The following is copied from my (John Shawcross’s) copy of a typewritten document my father (Kenneth) prepared in April 1986. I sent the typewritten copy to my children some years ago and placed a copy in my safe deposit box. But  I thought it would be good to get this record placed on a computer file before we lose the original documents.  I believe my brother (Charles), persuaded Dad to write it. From the fact that it is both left and right justified I assume it was typed on an electric typewriter with some word processing abilities. I have added a line at the original page breaks.)  e.g.

 

One version I emailed out in October 2002. It just has the text and follows the original formatting.

 

However, in this version I have added photographs I found in family albums.  I scanned them and  to the best of my limited ability cleaned them up and pasted them into this document.

 

Here and there I have added information[i]. (as endnotes)  I have also made a few minor corrections where the wrong word was typed e.g. in the third paragraph of the text I changed “all manner on fruit trees” to “all manner of fruit trees”.  However, I have not intentionally changed colloquial use, or English spelling or even spelling errors. (Sometimes the computer does it without my noticing.)

 

On my copy there is no title or heading just my note in my handwriting

 

 

 

Grandad Shawcross’ – memories.

 

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Edith Warburton 

Future mother of Kenneth Shawcross

(Note written on the back of the photograph, “Wishing you both a very Happy Xmas and all sorts of good luck in the New Year.

With Dearest Love

 Edith”

 and somebody has added “Warburton”)

 

 

 

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Charles Frederick Shawcross and Edith Warburton’s wedding during WW1


 


Edith and Kenneth 1916

 

            I was born in “Ardene”[ii].  It no longer exists, but it was halfway down Sandiway Rd., opposite Burlington Rd[iii]. Ardene was a three-storey Victorian house in about ½ to ¾ acre of garden.

My maternal “grandpa” as we used to call him had brought up my mother and six elder brothers, aided by his wife’s sister who had become the family matriarch. Her name was Sarah Davenport. She was a stern old lady, but with a kind heart, a strong personality and was very, very, “family.” She kept in touch with the family as far afield as Australia.

 

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Kenneth at Newcroft with relatives

 

Back row, on the left Kenneth Charles Warburton Shawcross; center, Edith Withington (nee Warburton), Right, Edward Warburton son of Charles Warburton.

Front row , on the left, Herbert Warburton (unmarried), center Mrs. Ann Warburton (nee Ford), on the right, Miss Sarah Davenport      

 

 

 My mother’s brothers were Fred, Harry, Charlie, George, Herbert (Bert) and Alan. Bert was a bachelor,, Charlie committed suicide whilst his two children were quite young. Fred and Harry were successful in business. Fred in the cotton trade and Harry in London, where he became the head buyer for Warning and Gillows.   

 

 

          Ardene, had a large lawn and at the back all manner of fruit trees and shrubs. I can remember the rows and rows of apples carefully stored in one of the several large cellars. There was a large billiard room and the house was lit by “gas.” There were two or three attics where Grandpa kept his tools. He had been a joiner and was for many years secretary of the joiners union or association.  His politics were strong liberal and religion “Chapel.”   I used to persuade him, with difficulty, to hollow out wood with his drill, to enable me to make toy boats. 

Before Ardene they lived in “Sunnybank”, one of a row of terraced houses in Grosvenor Rd. Altrincham.  In the mid thirties Ardene was demolished and the land sold for building. Aunt and Uncle Bert moved to Beeston Ave., Timperley. Grandma Warburton died of breast cancer, aged 50, in 1896, when my mother was aged five. George died after an operation for a gastric ulcer. Bert had a duodenal ulcer perforate from which he recovered to live to about 79 years. Alan had two children Raymond and Nancy; Nancy died in 1971, and Alan died in a traffic accident.

      Grandma was a Davenport, and was related to the Roylances. Her family came from Oversley Ford, Cheshire. The only surviving relative of my mother’s brothers is Kathleen, a spinster in Torquay. We visited her in Torquay whilst on holiday in 1958, and took a cine of the occasion. Harry had a daughter, Phyllis, whom we didn’t like very much so contact was long since lost.

On my father’s side, Dad, Lucy, Lily and Minnie in reverse order of seniority were born in Clay House Farm, Ringway.[iv]  The house is still standing.

 

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Clay House Farm Ringway, photo by Charles Shawcross in about year 2000

 

 

When Grandad[v] retired he bought Oak Farm Timperley, with about 4 acres. “Newcroft” (opposite Timperley Parish Church[vi]) was built in the grounds of “Oak farm by my grandfather.

 

Newcroft was built to Grandad’s specifications, including a de-luxe shippen for his beloved Jersey cow. The last one died of Anthrax, he was so upset, he swore he would never have another cow. Lucy[vii] continued to look after the hens and “Billy Cock” fattened for Christmas.

 

 

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Newcroft, home of Sarah and Charles Shawcross and family.  After the death of the parents Lucy and Lilly lived there until they were no longer able manage the house. jfs

 

 

“The White House” was built on the site once occupied by “Oak Farm” and years later, this was bought by my father following a misinterpreted wink by my mother!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The White House also known as Oakwood, home of Fred and Edith and where Ivy stayed at the end of WWII and where John has his earliest memories.   (It is worth noting that Oakwood is a hundred yards of so from Newcroft. So when Fred and Edith lived here they were very close to Lucy and Lilly. In this close knit group I (John) had my early childhood.

 

 

The White House[viii] went out of the family when my father died, being bequeathed to Pam, my “stepmother’ 40 years my father’s junior[ix]. Grandfather also cultivated a fairly large kitchen garden. Grandma and Grandad lived to celebrate their golden wedding, which occasion was marked by a photograph.

 

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Charles Rogerson Shawcross and Sarah on their Golden Wedding Anniversary (I think! jfs)

 

 

 

 Grandfather was a strong C. of E. and Tory. He survived a two stage prostatectomy and lived to 79 years having  angina in his final year. Grandma survived him by about 5 years and lived to 83years. Minnie died without issue with a brain tumour aged 46. Uncle Arthur remarried and went to live in Rickmansworth. Lucy and Lily were spinsters. Lily had epilepsy, but lived to 79. Grandma was a Pimlot and the family were Market Gardeners (I think). Lucy had little contact with that side of the family.

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(Uncle) Arthur Stanley, Lillian, Barbara, Kenneth, Charles Frederick, Edith, Lucy; seated Grandma (Sarah).Photo taken in the back garden of Newcroft on Thorley Lane.  Lucy kept the lawn trimmed with nail scissors!  Behind the photographer is the “Shippen” discussed in the text, in which Lilly is said to have had her fall which caused the epilepsy.

 

            My father trained as a veterinary surgeon at Liverpool University and won the gold medal for 4 out of 5 years, and

 

the silver in the  fifth. I regret that his Gold medals were taken by his second wife, and probably “flogged[x]. He served as a Veterinary Officer between 1916 and 1918. He brought the paintings by Banfield home from Palestine. He was not interested in religion and seldom went to church. He was however a keen attender at funerals, and never failed to throw a handful of soil on the coffin in the traditional manner. Mother died of aplastic anaemia caused by a pain relieving drug, containing a substance now withdrawn. These she probably obtained from the Chemists[xi]. It was a Bayer product with a Pyradine base. Grandad was a strong C  of England, Conservative and he strongly disapproved of mother’s liberal chapel background and Catholics!

 

My memories of childhood

 

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Kenneth with his mother Edith Shawcross (nee Warburton)

 

 

In 1918, my father returned from Palestine at the end of the war. I think that at first he went to work for the Ministry as a Vet Officer, and moved around the country tracing cases of Rabies e.t.c. I think that for a while we lived at Beccles, that must have been in 1919/20 before he went to Osborne Rd. Living in Osborne Road where my father set up  practice. A kitchen scullery with back staircase, maid’s room and box room. Three stables opening onto a yard with double garage and gates. 30-40 dogs in kennels and a cattery for 30 cats.

There was a yardboy who’s work I did when I was older for two weeks whilst he was away for ½ a crown[xii] a week: and mice (lot of mice) and an occasional rat.

We had also kennels in the cellar. I kept a large rabbit and white mice, pigeons and guinea pigs. Clara Iorns was our maid. She came to us at 14 years, and lived-in until she got married to Vic. Clara[xiii] later helped in our house in Wellington Rd. and then in 10 Moss Lane. She died in her 50’s from Carcinoma of the Colon. Father bought a roller skating rink in Warrington. Vic used to take me there on his motor cycle. The manager absconded and my father lost a lot of money in the venture, and I lost a tooth![xiv]  We had a gas chamber in the cellar for putting animals “to sleep”. Larger animals were given Cyanide.

            Altrincham was a small Market Town. George St. had great character in the 20’s and 30’s. Trams ran down from the top of the town, down Railway Street to Manchester. There was a tram depot in Broadheath. Most people worked in Broadheath. Linotype, and George Richards, skilled craftsmen, thousands of them, coming and going on their cycles, in grey macs to the dictat of 7.a.m., lunch-time and evening hooters[xv].

            There was a yearly agricultural show on Sept 18th on the Devisdale. I was a large show with many features. Large animals, dogs, cats, pigs and agricultural machinery. Show horses, jumping, pony trotting, and bee keeping. A huge variety, enough to keep you interested all day.

            In the winter there was the amateur dramatics. The Garrick which started under a shop and ended with a fairly large purpose-built Theatre in Barrington Road, still very active.

            My uncle George and his wife were founder members, and they both took leading roles in the plays. Many well known plays were tried out there before going to London. Wendy Hilier, Ronald Gow, the playwright were associated with the theater. Gallows Glorious and the Lady in the Whit Cockade were two of Ronald Groves’ plays, first tried out at the Garrick.

            The Hippodrome, had a professional rep. Company who did many Shakespearean productions as well as drama and comedy.  The Altrincham Cinema, no longer there, where station building now stands was well attended and the Regal (later burn’t down) in Broadheath. My parents went to the films every Monday night in the 1/3d seats, upstairs. The ventilation was so poor that the atmosphere was heavy with cigarette smoke and so stale that it nearly knocked you down, when the doors were opened at the end of the performance. Also the place shook every time a train went

 

past.

            We attended the Unitarian Chapel every Sunday. The long sermons bored me so much as a child that only my aunty  Ida in the choir with her fine alto voice lightened the gloom of the occasion. I remember that spitting was very common in the 20’s and 30’s and the pavements were covered with it. Notices were place in Trams and Public Places threatening a fine if observed spitting 5 pounds[xvi]. It was a 1d[xvii] to ride in the trams for quite a long distance.

There was a branch line past Ardene and Barrington Road.  Once a year  there was a giant procession through Altrincham until the police stopped it. Now the wheel has turned full circle and the Police co-operate with an annual procession which is beginning to resemble the ones I remember.

There was a house in Bloomsbury Lane called “Two Gates” on the corner of Leslie Grove. It was still standing when I first came into practice in Jan 47 and soon after was pulled down. This was the house of my great great grandfather Shawcross[xviii]. As far as I know, he lived there when he came to Timperley from Flixton.

At that time the family attended Bowdon Church and later my grandfather helped establish Timperley Church where he had a pew and attended regularly.  Family gossip had it that one of great grandfathers brothers emigrated to Australia. His wife said she would join him when they built a bridge across. As far as I remember she never did go out. There are Shawcrosses in Australia. One came over representing Australia at squash several years ago.

One of Grandma Warburton’s Uncles on her mother’s side went to America and we have a letter 130 years old recording his experiences in the U.S.A.[xix]

 

Childhood Memories[xx]

 

I first went to school at the age of 5 years. I can only remember learning the alphabet and the colours of the scout flags in French! A good start to formal education! The school was the Old Altrincham Grammar School, Barrington Road, Altrincham (later to become the Liberal club, then waste land and now a large office block to the right of the fly-over). The school closed when I was 8 and I went to Bowdon College, now Altrincham Prep school. It was a boarding school, with day boys. I always felt, probably with justification, that day boys were second class citizens.

 

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Kenneth is cross legged bottom right.  Photo is undated and damaged.

 

 

The headmaster was a bully, a rotten teacher and a complete snob. The school folded-up not long after I left at the age of 16 years (not very surprisingly). The teachers were mostly very young, inexperienced and constantly changing. The result was that my so-called classical education was quite unsuited to the demands of the matriculation board. My subsequent attempt to get 5 matriculation subjects including Latin and English at Lorburn College a Cram School, and Grimes are of no further interest in this account.[xxi]

It may be of interest that my father attended the Old Altrincham Grammar School. I do not know funnily enough, if my father went there but I think so.

At the first school I learned how to stand up to bullies. My father had been a great scrapper with the local boys and when I complained of being bullied, his recipe was to go back to school the next day and punch the school bully. When I plucked up enough courage, I did as advised and it worked like a charm.

When I had my appendix out when I was 9. The specialist said that I was not to ride my cycle for 6 months, so I ran most of the way to school and all the way home, 4 or 5 miles in all weathers. During my “rest” I also extended my swimming achievement to 72 lengths[xxii].

 

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Kenneth

 

Tuberculosis was rampant in the early days. I always had swollen glands in the neck. My father’s recipe was to

 

paint the neck with Iodine Tincture. They seemed to subside in the end. The milk “raw” was brought round daily on a horse and cart in a large churn. Which was usually open and doled out at each house. Daniels milk from Daniels farm now Timperley Hale Golf Club[xxiii].

            The milk usually turned sour in the hot summers which seemed quite frequent in the 20’s and 30’s. Flies were legion particularly blue bottles. Meat was kept in a wire cage to exclude flies. From time to time the meat was found to be full of maggots. Then the dogs got the meat. I shall always remember that in the summer, fly paper[xxiv] was hanging in the scullery, kitchen and dining room and were usually black with flies. Fly swotters were in common use.  

            My father was fond of cars, a continuing genetic trait! and he had all the cars starting with a 3 wheeled Clyno, followed by Model T Fords and all manner of makes. If all the cars were still in existence and in our hands we could have a first class museum, less of course the very expensive models.

 

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Charles Frederick Shawcross in his “Clyno” 1921

 

Our holidays followed a set pattern. A day out on Easter Sunday to the seaside, usually Rhyl or Hoylake and two weeks in the Summer, mid August. Our first major expedition was to Rhyl when I was 5 years, a great adventure, it seemed to be a major expedition. After that my father followed a pattern of working his way around the coast each year,, as follows: Rhyl, Prestatyn, Llandudno, Pennmaenmawr, Aberystwyth, Tenby, Torquay, Falmouth, Swanage and then the East Coast. Cromer when I was 14. Then the Isle of Man. That was the last holiday I took with my parents at about 16 years.

 

 


 


Barbara, Edith, Charles Frederick (Fred) and Kenneth don’t know where or when.

 

            At 17 I achieved Matriculation requirements and went to the London Hospital. I did the first M.B course, Chemistry, Physics and Biology at St. Marys College in the east Mile End Rd. (Part of the University of London). Clinical studies after Anatomy, Physiology, Pharmacology continues at the London Hospital. I was with two older students.  It was 30/-[xxv] a week, bed breakfast and evening meal and full board at weekend.  The land lady was usually drunk at night and her favourite dish was sausage and mash. My first nauseating introduction to Anatomy was an overripe and very fat man called Chaddington of Chaddington  Breweries. His release was long delayed by a legal battle over his will, which decreed that his body should go to the London Hospital for dissection. Midwifery was at the London Hospital. St. Mary’s Hospital and East London, where delivering babies was like shelling peas! The most exciting part was going alone on a bicycle to a house in Whitechapel, Stepney and Limehouse etc. to deliver babies that should never have been confined at home. One had already had 2 failed deliveries with difficult forceps. It was thought optimistically that it would be third time lucky! Well it was after a very long and harrowing second stage, attended only by a very nervous student on his own.  Many of these 30 deliveries were done in very poor homes, with an abundance of paper on tables, empty dirty pots and pans etc. scattered around. Of course they all survived, with very few infections in the post partum period. Only once I remember I was taken by car to a modern flat in Stepney. For the first time I felt like a real Doctor. At the Mile End Hospital I was present at the birth of Quads. The father was Tommy Bernstein, a well known East End Jewish boxer. The quadruple arrival of Jews was like a red rag to Mosely’s fascists and his bullies stoned Tommy’s house.

            One of my fellow students was the son of an Irish G.P. He was impulsive and on one occasion, in the presence of a Surgeon whom we all dreaded because of his fierce temper, he was asked what

 

he thought the diagnosis was when handed the extremely septic appendix attached to a Spencer Wells. He replied “not much” and threw it back into the sterile area! His departure from the Theatre was rather hurried. On another occasion, he was asked to surgically remove a penis from a rather precious cadaver. With one deft blow he carried out the intricate procedure and fled with Mr. Howard in hot pursuit.

 

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Kenneth age 21

 

 

I qualified in 1939 but wasn’t registered until Jan 1940. Everybody took the M.R.C.S. L.R.C.P. In my post student days, I was involved in early research with May and Baker on sulphonamides.  One of my consultants attempted to treat Syphilis with Benign Tertian Malaria infection. Whilst at Whipps Cross Hospital, as a houseman, I was expected to admit new cases, perform D and C’s, spinal taps, and drain pleural effusions plus a host of minor surgical procedures. It was whilst I was at Whipps Cross that we had the London Blitz. There were over on hundred 1,000 pound “Blockbusters” dropped around the hospital, many of the streets were devastated. Almost by a miracle, the hospital was never hit, although it was a very extensive hospital.

I first met Ivy at a Saturday night dance at Hornsey Town Hall. She was wearing a very fetching green long dance dress. She was flanked by her friends Doris and Vera.

 

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Ivy  in 1941, on the back it says “With Love Always”

 

 I visited her home[xxvi] and was made very welcome by her mother who was very like her. Later that house was bombed and her mother was killed[xxvii].

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Kenneth and Ivy January 17, 1941. A wartime wedding.

 

Only the Ivy’s family and friends are there.  The people I can identify are as follows. Center Kenneth and Ivy. Left of Kenneth is Edith  Brooks (nee Binks), standing child  Patricia Brooks, left of Edith Doris Dancer Mums friend. Right of Ivy, John Edward Binks (Ivy’s Dad), Middle back tall Edward Binks, Ivy’s brother, extreme right holding child, Bill Brooks, child is Dorothy Brooks. I think the person behind Granddad Binks is Mrs. Giles who became his partner but never his wife.

 

In the army I started with a field ambulance after preliminary training at Fleet. We were based in Devon and most or our time we were carrying out 1,2 and 3 day exercises to defend Devon and Cornwall because of an expected invasion by Hitler in Start Bay.

 

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Kenneth Shawcross 1941

 

 

 

We then went to Egypt via Edinburgh. We sailed from Glasgow and took 8 weeks in S.S. Volendam going around the Cape, stopping at Cape Town, Durban, Aden, Suez and we set up a 1200 bedded tented hospital in the canal zone, where we took casualties from the Western Desert. After Alamain we went out with the same hospital to Bombay.

From there I did various trips to Karachi, Ceylon, Aden and Suez. Then we went to Poona. After that I was appointed R.M.O to Colaba hospital in Bombay, doing my daily rounds on a bicycle. This was a very hectic time, having beds at the hospital, I was responsible for the care of attached civilians, British and Indian in Bombay and for Malaria control.

Then I was posted to an Indian 200 bedded tented hospital at Bangalore. We took most of the sick and wounded evacuated from Burma (Chindits). Most of these were in a bad way with Malaria dysentery, Jungle Sores, Tape Worm, and even Vitamin B deficiency. To make things worse, we had an outbreak of Bubonic Plague: about 8 out of the “other ranks” died of the plague.

 

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Kenneth in India 1943

 

 

After that we took a convoy of 14’th army troops by road from Madras up the East coast to Assan.  On this trip I contracted Benign Tertian Malaria. Later of course, we were all on Mepacrine. Then I flew from Jo-Jo in Assan to Burma. There I joined the Brigade of Ghurkas, Punjabis and Lance Fusiliers. We marched down the country digging ourselves in each night, often under enemy fire from Japanese snipers. On one occasion, we walked into a trap but managed to retreat with some wounded but none killed.

Just North of Mandalay, I received my home posting and flew out of Burma to Calcutta and from there to Bombay and home by ship through the Suez canal and Mediterranean, arriving home on May 5 1945.[xxviii] After home leave, I was posted to Tenby, to the Ak Ak Field Artillery depot at Manobier, where I was in charge of a small hospital. Ivy and John had a flat in Tenby.

 

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Kenneth, John and Ivy in Tenby, 1945

 

 Linda was on the way, and John went to school in Tenby.

On coming out of the army (when I was judged to be short portly for my suit!, and me a fit lean 10 stones 10 pounds[xxix]and no fat, what an insult!). I went to work at Park Hospital, Davyhulme, as an Assistant Medical Officer and was there for

 

about 6 months. Following a locum at Northwich, in December 1946. I joined Jim Brown in January 1947. I bought a 2/5 share in the practice. In 1948 the National Health Service was formed. Those early years were very hard. Two and three hour surgeries, Winter visits of up to 40 house calls. Saturday morning and afternoon surgeries. Night calls were frequent. Home midwifery and Nursing Home Midwifery involved many a long night vigil.

            Outbreaks of serious illnesses were rife in children. Measles, Whooping Cough, Croup, T.B., Pneumonia, etc. A G.P’s lot today is so easy by comparison. However, on the credit side, Doctors were highly regarded by the majority of patients in those days and most of them realised what a dedicated existence we were leading. This in turn was satisfying for your self-esteem.

 

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Ivy and Kenneth in 1972 on occasion of Ivy’s installation as President of Rotary Club Inner Wheel

 

 

 

 

K.C.W.S 13/4/1986

 

 

Dads story ends here. Which is odd since he was really just starting his medical career in Britain.

 

Linda was born while we still lived in Flixton[xxx]. After buying into the practice in Timperley we moved to 1 Marsden Drive, Timperley, Cheshire.  Those were hard years for Dad but happy years for me.  I had a lot of good young friends there. We built a giant bonfire for November 5 (Guy Fawkes night) and set fire to it in the street outside our house.

 

In about 1950 we moved to 20 Wellington Road, which was the start of a bad time for me. I guess Charles was born while we were there and between Dad being busy in his work, Mum having a new baby and me moving away from my friends and not finding new ones, and also not being near school friends, I was bored when I was not at school.

 

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Linda, Charles and John

 

 

Things looked up for me after we moved to 10 Moss Lane Timperley where Dad had built a house with an attached surgery.  I made some new friends and got into playing tennis.  I was active in scouting and school kept me busy. Dad worked out of that home, taking Jim Falconer as his assistant then partner.

 

He does not say much about his marriage in his memoirs. But I would say it was a very good one. Ivy was a very loving and supportive wife. They were a good team who enjoyed each other’s company. Not to say there were not rough patches. But as good a marriage as most can hope for.

 

After Dad retired he moved to Hale.  Golf, snooker and the daily cross word puzzle were important parts of his life at that time. Eventually he died of complications following an operation for cancer of the esophagus.  His funeral service was in Timperley Parish Church and was attended by a large crowd of family, friends and many of his former patients.



[i] These endnotes were inserted by John Shawcross in 2003.

 

 There is a lot Dad left out in his written memories, perhaps because some might be painful or embarrassing. But where I have knowledge of things he did not say or where I think he missed an important detail I have added it in these endnotes. Also this was written in Cheshire England for an audience that know the area and the country. So I have added clarifications that may help a later audience in other places understand some of the references.

For clarity I have not called my grandfathers “Granddad” since that confuses the generations per Dad’s story.

 

[ii] I believe this is because his father married shortly before heading off to serve in World War I, and they had not yet established a family home of their own. See photo of my father’s father  in uniform at the wedding. (Strangely this same event situation occurred in 1941 when Dad went off to WWII leaving my mother Ivy with her family (see photo of Dad in uniform at his wedding) . In her case the family  home on Trinder Road had already been destroyed by a German bomb and Ivy’s mother (my maternal grandmother)  was killed in the bombing.  So my father and I had in common that we both were conceived just before our fathers headed out for war, that our maternal grandmothers were dead, and that our early years were in the home of a grandfather.

[iii] I believe this is in Altrincham, Cheshire, England.

[iv] An “aerodrome” was built at Ringway. It was enlarged during WWII, became Ringway airport after the end of the war, and at the current time (2003) is called Manchester Airport, probably the third busiest airport in Britain after London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

[v] I think this would be his paternal grandfather, Charles Rogerson Shawcross.

[vi] Timperley Parish Church on Thorley Lane, is where the Shawcross family was buried. My children may remember that is where we had my father’s funeral and the memorial service for my mother, Ivy. 

[vii] So when I came on the scene, my great grandfather who build Newcroft had died and my two Aunts Lucy and Lilly lived on in the house.  They supported themselves off various investments made by their father including “Chief rents”, selling apples, eggs and fruit and living quite frugally.

[viii] And it was to the White House that my mother moved towards the end of the war. And it is in the White House that I have some of my earliest memories.

[ix] I was very fond of my grandfather, which is not surprising since after my mother left London we lived in the White House and nearby until and after Dad returned from the war.

 

 

John Frederick Shawcross with his Grandfather Charles Frederick Shawcross

 

 

 So my grandfather Shawcross was a father figure to me until my father returned. After my grandmother died and my grandfather decided to remarry Pam, there was conflict between Dad and my grandfather.  This really upset me as a young teenager.  Dad saw Pam as a gold digger pure and simple.  I like to think there was a lot more to it than that. 

[x] See what I mean about the bad feeling!

[xi] At the time my recollection is that there was some discussion on whether my Grandfather had given her the pills from his veterinary practice.  But you see how Dad discounts that story.

[xii] Half a crown was a coin equal to 2 shillings and six pence. Similar value to a US quarter.  When I was a young teenager I got half a crown a week pocket money.

[xiii]  What Dad forgets to say is that Clara, Vic and their children Olive, David and Peter continued to live in Osborne Road in what I assume was part of the old practice property. David was just a year older than I was, and we would go to the cinema together. I would also go down to Osborne Road and join them for the local bonfire on November 5 (Guy Fawkes night). Clara made the best “Parkin” a kind of brownie made of treacle.   Olive was the oldest and perhaps the smartest of the Iorns kids and my grandfather helped her get into University and then later on helped her get a Rotary Club scholarship in South Africa. So “Aunty” Clara and “Uncle” Vic were part of my growing up too.  Vic worked at a machine tool company in Broadheath.  It was the target of a German bombing raid that I can still remember as a very young boy. The Iorn’s cellar was large enough to house both a billiard table or table tennis table which it did alternately from time to time, as well as every nut, bolt and screw known to humanity.  If we ever needed an odd nut, bolt, washer etc. we went over to Uncle Vic’s and rummaged around in the bottles and jars until we found one the right size. We also used to go there at Christmas and always sat around their fireplace and played the card game Newmarket. (Old Mossy Face etc.)

[xiv] I assume it was lost falling on the ice. Strangely enough, it was the same position tooth that I lost half of in a Rugby game. (Lower jaw right alongside the canine) In my case the dentist (old Mr. Smith) put some white stuff on it and it lasted  into my 50’s when another dentist Dr. Bruno did the same and I still have it!

[xv] The “hooters” were sirens , like air raid sirens.  Kind of a communal alarm clocks.

[xvi] Dad used the symbol not the word pound.

[xvii] One penny is roughly equivalent to 1 US cent.

[xviii]  I think Dad has one “great” too many.

[xix] I have a hand copied copy of this letter.  I don’t know what happened to the original, but I remember being shown it by Aunty Lucy.  What was amazing about the original (not the copy) was that the thin paper was written on both sides both across the page and up and down the page.  I guess paper was in short supply and lighter was better. But it sure made it hard to read!

[xx] Yes this is essentially the same title as the previous section.  I’m just copying what I have here!

[xxi] Obviously Dad did not enjoy this stage of his education. In fact years later whenever he wanted to encourage me to greater diligence in my studies he (and my mother) would say “I’ll send you to Grimes”. So I guess it had been so miserable it left an indelible mark on him.  But at least it became a family joke!

[xxii]  In the swimming pool in Altrincham a “length” was 25 yards.  So swimming 72 lengths totaled about a mile.

[xxiii]  Of which both my mother and father were members right up to the end of their lives.  Mum having taken up golf at the age of 50. Dad took it up in about 1956, having graduated from “putting” greens, to “pitch and putt” and then to golf.  I actually learned golf with him being his companion first at Wythenshaw pitch and put and then later on the golf courses until I went to University in 1958.  Also he was playing more frequently, and I could not stand being constantly beaten by my father.  Dad was a fierce competitor in every game he played.  His best game was English billiards (2 whites, and a red) six pockets he was also good at the English billiard game “snooker”. He had a very good control over the cue ball.

[xxiv] Probably people of my children’s generation will not have seen fly paper.  To the best of my recollection it was hung from the roof by a string usually near the center of the room or light fixture. It was about 6 inches wide by a foot long, brownish and flies would stick to it and die.  I do not know whether it had some kind of scent attractive to flies, but I suspect so. Every so often the old flypaper would be taken down and replaced with new flypaper.

[xxv] 30/- was the abbreviation for 30 shillings, 1.5 pounds (there being 20 shillings to the English Pound).  I believe at that time the exchange rate was about one pound equals 5 dollars.  So 30/- would be about $7.5.

 

[xxvi] This is the house on Trinder Road in London.

[xxvii] Yes, well it turns out there was a lot more going on than this short sentence implies.  First Ivy was still living in the house as an unmarried daughter with her parents. At the moment of the bombing, her mother was upstairs; Ivy and her father (my granddad Binks) downstairs.  Ivy called up the stairs to her mother “would you like a cup of tea” when the bomb hit. House collapsed, Ivy and father took shelter under the kitchen table and survived. Ivy’s mother was killed. Ivy was pregnant, with me, since about late July.  Whether her parents were aware of the pregnancy at the time of the bombing I do not know.  I don’t think Dad knew either at the time.  Judging from the tone of a letter he wrote to Ivy from Aldershot after his induction into the Army, I don’t think he knew of her pregnancy until some time later.

[xxviii] Where, having just celebrated my fourth birthday, I was there to greet him!  My memory is of standing in the front room of the White House on Thorley Lane, seeing a taxi arrive on the road and Dad got out. Obviously the excitement had been building since it remains stuck in my memory. Note the symmetry from earlier in these memories of Granddad arriving home in 1918 from Palestine to meet his young son.

[xxix] 150 pounds

[xxx] Oddly enough the old Flixton Church where Linda was baptized was where the Shawcross family had celebrated their births, deaths and marriages 100 years earlier, before they move to Timperley.