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December 19, 2007

57 - Epilogue

Raymond Prior provides an epilogue to his aunt Mrs Vivien Hirst's vivid account of her childhood days.

Mrs Hirst, who died some years ago, is remembered by her family and friends as a lady who brought happiness to those she encountered.

Now, thanks to Raymond's efforts in gathering her memories into a book, she has posthumously brought happiness to people around the world.

To read her book from the beginning please click on Family Of Four in the menu on this page.

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December 12, 2007

56 - Into The Unknown Future

...I longed to be grown-up, with my hair up, and romance around the corner, and I felt I could not wait for the morrow to come...

Mrs Vivien Hirst tells of her final days at a girl's boarding school.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "56 - Into The Unknown Future" »

December 05, 2007

55 - A Fate Worse Than Death

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls a scary expeience during a visit to London.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior. Please click on that title in the menu on this page to read earlier chapters of her story.

Continue reading "55 - A Fate Worse Than Death" »

November 28, 2007

54 - "Mass Hysteria''

...I so well recall the torrid heat of the summer of 1921, and the scene at Church one Sunday morning. During the first hymn one girl fell fainting, her chair squeaking as it scraped on the wooden floor. Within a short time girls were collapsing like ninepins so that the congregation grew uneasy and restless, and were disturbed by the subsequent movement of the victims of the heat as they were helped to recover, and escorted outside.

At last the Vicar was constrained to call a halt to this form of "mass hysteria" as he called it...

Mrs Viven Hirst recalls her days as a senior girl at a private school in Sussex.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "54 - "Mass Hysteria''" »

November 21, 2007

53 - Work And Play

...I developed a hacking cough that first term, and a cough persisted in the winter during the whole of my stay at Southlands. I think the air from the Downs, and the sea, and the icy cold of our bedrooms were too harsh. Many, many times I found the water in my tumbler frozen solid, and had to plunge the sponge into hot water to thaw it out. Never, before
or since, have I experienced such intense cold...

Mrs Vivien Hirst tells of the harsh life at a girl's boarding school.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Mr Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "53 - Work And Play" »

November 14, 2007

52 - Bells! Bells! Bells!

...Bells! Bells! Bells! From now on they were to call me urgently to awaken, to prayers, to lesson periods, and to prep. It was a relief to hear a gong sounded for meals!...

Mrs Vivien Hirst describes settling into the life at a girls' boarding school - with its strict rules.

Mrs Hirst's memories of her childhood were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "52 - Bells! Bells! Bells!" »

November 07, 2007

51 - Boarding School

...The morning dawned, and soon we were on our way. For the first time I wore my full uniform of navy blue coat and hat, the hatband being worked in a scroll, S.S.S. Over the white blouse hung my gym tunic of heavy serge, bulky with pleats and calico lining, all of which made me look like a ship in full sail. It was vastly unbecoming I feel sure, but neat and businesslike, and with hockey stick in hand I felt the complete schoolgirl....

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls leaving the security of her family home to go off to boarding school.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "51 - Boarding School" »

October 31, 2007

50 - A Death In The Family

"...we entered the large dining-room and became one with the mourners, all standing in front of the window, facing the distant open coffin over which a pale light burned. The air was heavy with the scent of flowers, the room dim and mysterious, the faint sunlight glancing through the slats of the Venetian blinds drowning in the depth of the black clothes it lighted upon.

The Minister, standing near, began the prayer, and at a given moment Daddy took my hand to lead me from the room. Instead of taking me straight out he drew me to the coffin, lifted me in his arms and held me over, saying very softly, "Kiss Granddad good-bye."...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls the day she attended her first funeral.

Mrs Hirst's memories of her childhood were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "50 - A Death In The Family" »

October 24, 2007

49 - The Unknown

...Once a party of girls at Edgefield School decided to dress as soldiers, with belts and khaki hats of cardboard one could buy, and planned to march up the main street towards Outlane, and then to deploy in a field to have battle manoeuvres. Doreen and I, needless to say, were enthusiastic participants.

The Commanding Officer organised her force, allotting junior commands, and to my delight, being one of the smallest girls, I was told to be the Drummer boy. For several days Bobby coached me in the art of beating the drum we had bought, showing me how to hold the drumsticks loosely in the requisite fingers, until I grew proficient...

Mrs Muriel Hirst gives a child's eye view of World War One.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "49 - The Unknown" »

October 17, 2007

48 - The Mitten Ordeal

...One event I found quite shattering! Doreen and I rather laboriously knitted big mittens in coarse khaki wool for the soldiers, and Mummy great, long scarves and Balaclava helmets. I still feel proud that I managed to complete seven pairs, fourteen mittens, a real effort on my part...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls efforts on the home front to aid the troops during the First World War.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "48 - The Mitten Ordeal" »

October 10, 2007

47 - Disturbed Nights

...In one way, for us it was unfortunate that he reached the position of Second-in-Command for his Adjutant was almost stone-deaf. There were warnings of Zeppelin raids given from time to time, in the dead of night, and the household could never escape these warnings as the Adjutant would call Daddy up on the telephone, lately installed by his bedside, and Daddy's bellowed shouts of question and answer sounded through the house so that all were awakened....

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls wartime nights.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "47 - Disturbed Nights" »

October 03, 2007

46 - Calling Men To The Colours

...Bobby sometimes went to the Town Hall where the Tribunal sat and grew to know the building quite well, wandering about until Daddy was free to leave. He had one exciting incident.

Waiting one morning for Daddy to join him, quiet and unnoticed by those present, he suddenly saw the man being interviewed whip out a revolver shouting that he was not going to the war, and would shoot them all rather than be sent. He held the weapon steady in his hand, pointing it straight at Daddy who had risen to confront this unexpected danger...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls wartime drama on civvy street.

Mrs Hirst's rich memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "46 - Calling Men To The Colours" »

September 26, 2007

45 - Oh We Don't Want To Lose You

...Opposite to "The Hollies" lived a young man with his mother. We waited anxiously to see him clothed in the familiar khaki, but he continued to come and go in his usual manner. We decided that we might help him on his way! We had a Master's Voice gramophone, the early model with an enormous horn, and among the records was one of Kitchener's appeals made into a song. It went something like this:-

"Oh! we don't want to lose you
But we think you ought to go
For your King and your country
Both need you so.''...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls events after the outbreak of World War One.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "45 - Oh We Don't Want To Lose You" »

September 19, 2007

44 - It Has Come

...As a family, we were not surprised as were so many others that England and Germany were at war, for Uncle Raymond, Mummy's only brother, was a Captain in the Territorial Army and he had told Daddy for some time that he was sure it would come. He and Auntie Ethel had only recently returned from a holiday in Germany and it had been made very plain to them how the Germans felt, many actually spitting at them, so that they were disgusted and heartily glad to be back in their own country...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls the beginning of the first World War.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "44 - It Has Come" »

September 12, 2007

43 - By The Sea

...One year a full-grown whale was stranded on the beach. For some time the impressive mammal lay there, dark-skinned and pathetic, the monster of the seas brought to naught by the denial of its natural element.

Stepladders were placed along its sides and from them Corporation workmen prodded this undesired, and by now malodorous creature, debating with their chiefs how best to remove it. Attempts were made to drag it back into the sea, I think by hammering in staples and fixing ropes around them, but the carcass defied all efforts and remained a perplexing problem...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls childhood holidays.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "43 - By The Sea" »

September 05, 2007

42 - Travelling By Train

...Constantly pulling his slender gold watch from the little pocket in which it reposed, Daddy urged the porter on. The man panted as he ran pulling the heavy truck, Daddy adroitly catching a tilting piece of luggage, we children following, streaming along in an urgent rush, our spades swaying in our grasp as we encouraged Mummy to "Hurry, hurry" as she clutched her large hat and lifted her skirt, until, in the nick of time, we found the carriage, previously booked, and bundled in...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls journeys to a seaside holiday resort.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "42 - Travelling By Train" »

August 29, 2007

41 - The Dangerous Coast

...Daddy had worked so fast and so strenuously that he was completely exhausted and lay on the sands gasping, the tiger stripes of his bathing suit rising and falling with his hurried breathing, until Mummy and I became concerned. And not one single member of the party thanked us!...

Mrs Vivien Hirst tells of a seaside rescue.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book by her nephew Raymond Prior. To read earlier chapters of her story please click on that title in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "41 - The Dangerous Coast" »

August 22, 2007

40 - A Visit To Southport

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls the first time she heard her parents quarrelling - and of the untimely and unusual end of her Uncle Albert.

Mrs Hirst's memories of her childhood were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "40 - A Visit To Southport" »

August 15, 2007

39 - To And From School

...We tried different ways of returning home, escaping quite often but also often being chased by tough, dirty-looking boys and girls, of whom we were really afraid. Many times I was thankful I was a good runner and able to draw away....

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls some of the unhappier aspects of childhood.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "39 - To And From School" »

August 08, 2007

38 - Annual Events

...The party supper made an unbelievable spread. All the desks were set end to end down the long room and covered by double damask tablecloths. The silver, shining and thin and old, the party glass so extremely fine that it was risky handling the dainty glass cups to spoon out delicious jelly, egg custard, and fruit and cream.

It made a wonderful sight, with the addition of dozens of plates of sandwiches and buns being set about, among them bowls of trifles and party sweets, the trifles being topped with fondants of pink, white, and yellow, which melted in the mouth. Trails of greenery enhanced the effect, and it was a glory to the eye as well as to the palate...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls the fun of school parties.

Mrs Hirst's memories were collected into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "38 - Annual Events" »

August 01, 2007

37 - The Botany Ramble

...Once I was chased through a field by pigs! I had joined a few other children to collect the cans of milk, carried by thin handles, and on the return we passed a large herd of pigs. Little piglets were among them, some all pink, some black and pink, and I went closer to examine them and to make friends. Loud and ugly grunting began and a few of the bigger animals pushed the earth round my feet with their snouts. I realised they were not friendly but angry, and alarmed I backed away and took to my heels. They made a concerted rush towards me and I darted over the tussocky grass, my ankles turning this way and that, so that the heavy, lumbering animals began to gain upon me...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls an incident on a school outing.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "37 - The Botany Ramble" »

July 25, 2007

36 - Telling The Time

Mrs Viven Hirst recalls her childhood embarrassment at not being able to tell the time.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gahered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "36 - Telling The Time" »

July 18, 2007

35 - The Aunts' School

...I liked it best of all in the winter time when thick snow lay on the ground and very few children, many of the pupils coming from long distances, managed to make their way to school. Then we gathered round the fire and Auntie Flo would take reading, spelling, history and lessons at which we need not write, and it was all so cosy and friendly it was not a bit like school, and I loved it...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls her school days.

Mrs Hirst's memories of childhood were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew Raymond Prior. To read earlier chapters of her story please click on that title in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "35 - The Aunts' School" »

July 11, 2007

34 - Feasting And Beagling

...The next excitement was the postman. He delivered a great many parcels on the actual day which made everything more enjoyable than it is at the present time when most of them arrive days before the 25th...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls the joy of childhood Christmases.

Mrs Hirst's memoirs were gathered into a book, Family Of Cour, by her nephew Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "34 - Feasting And Beagling" »

July 04, 2007

33 - Christmas Eve

...On Christmas Eve we each wrote in a clear, round hand our note to Father Christmas with a greeting and a list of our modest requests, and then watched eagerly as the papers, in turn, were lighted at a flame and whirled away up the chimney until they rose out of sight...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls the excitement of her childhood Christmases.

Mrs Hirst's account of her childhood was gathered into a book by her nephew Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "33 - Christmas Eve" »

June 27, 2007

32 - Prelude To Christmas

...Herbert Thompson, of Leeds, was a striking figure on all counts. Tall, handsome, with thick white hair which had a habit of falling over his forehead, small, twinkling blue eyes, and clear-cut features, he arrived in the dark of the evening. Too young almost, to comprehend, I was dimly aware of his expected arrival, being told that he was my godfather, and brought downstairs early to be ready to greet him.

Running into the hall with Mummy and to the front door, I was suddenly enveloped, and almost stifled, by an enormous figure who wore a wide, red-lined opera cloak which closed about me and hid me in its dark folds. Drawing off his opera hat, Godfather raised me high to kiss me. He seemed a giant, the wide, swinging cloak making him vast. The timbre of his voice was strong, and I drew shyly away from his overwhelming masculinity...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls visits from her godfather, who was the Yorkshire Post's music critic for 50 years.

Mrs Hirst's vivid and well-told recollections were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "32 - Prelude To Christmas" »

June 20, 2007

31 - Summer Celebrations

...Liquorice AllSorts; walnut whirls; Turkish Delight; small round boxes of chocolate drops, tidily arranged into rings; and among this selection nestled thin belts of ribbed liquorice, a great favourite of mine. On the shelf behind, displayed in tall, glass jars with heavy knobbed lids which made a sucking noise as they were inserted, were aniseed balls; pointed gipsy kisses; sticky brown bull's eyes and many other delectable sweets now, for a little while, beyond our reach!...

Mrs Viven Hirst recalls the allure, experienced in childhood, of a sweet shop window.

Mrs Hirst's childhood memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior. To read earlier chapters click on that title in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "31 - Summer Celebrations" »

June 13, 2007

30 - Spring Festivals

...The Yorkshire people, like the Welsh, have fine voices and enjoy nothing better than their choirs, the Huddersfield Choral Society being world-renowned, largely through their recordings. The Society celebrated its one hundred and fiftieth anniversary in October 1961, with the admission of Sir Malcolm Sargent as an Honorary Freeman of the Huddersfield County Borough, as a mark of gratitude for nearly thirty years of brilliant conducting. In accepting the honour Sir Malcolm remarked that the Choir "is the best of its kind in the world"...

Mrs Vivien Hirst, proud of the musical traditions of her home town, recalls high days and feast days from her childhood.

Mrs Hirst's childhood memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "30 - Spring Festivals" »

June 06, 2007

29 - Quiet Sundays

...After tea we had Bible stories read to us, and in the winter usually held our own Chapel service. Arranging the dining chairs in two rows we would choose the hymn, singing without any music. "Onward Christian Soldiers", "There is a green hill far away" and "All things bright and beautiful" were amongst our favourites. A prayer or two followed and we all enjoyed these simple services...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls quiet Sundays at home.

Mrs Hirst's memories of her childhood were gathered into a book by her nephew, Mr Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "29 - Quiet Sundays" »

May 30, 2007

28 - Making Calls

...Sunday dinner, at home, was a happy meal. We often had chicken and were allowed to pick the bones in our fingers, which meant a little procession upstairs to wash, first turning the door knob in one's palms, very gingerly, so as not to grease it. Mummy was always given the breast. "There is the breast for Mummy," Daddy would say, passing the plate along to the other end of the table, and wafting the carving knife in the air, "Mummy must always have the best."...

Mrs Viven Hirst recalls Sunday visiting and Sundays at home.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "28 - Making Calls" »

May 23, 2007

27 - Going To Chapel

...We children walked with our parents regularly to Chapel, walking two by two, first the boys, then the girls, Mummy and Daddy bringing up the rear. We were a familiar sight all in our best clothes, for that was the custom on a Sunday.

When we arrived in Chapel in the early days Granddad would be already in his seat at the end of the pew, his pocket containing a tin of jujubes which he passed along to each of us at intervals, to keep us quiet...

Mrs Vivien Hirst continues her engrossing account of her childhood days.

Her nephew Raymond Prior gathered her reminiscences into a book, Family Of Four. For earlier chapters please click on that title in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "27 - Going To Chapel" »

May 16, 2007

26 - Parties

...I loved to watch Mummy dressing for a ball. I helped her draw out her gown from the ottoman at the foot of the bed and spread its folds upon the counterpane. Mummy had two gowns which I thought enchanting, the one of golden satin overlaid with black lace, and the other of a glowing emerald, sparkling all over with hundreds of sequins. These colours showed off her skin to advantage...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls the parties of her childhood.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "26 - Parties" »

May 14, 2007

30 - Memories Of A Townie Lad

...Also in 1946, I recall eating a banana for the first time. One day at school, some pupils came back after dinner and asked the teacher if they could leave early because Baines, the local fruit shop, had received a delivery of bananas and were to start selling them at 4 p.m. Once the Headteacher found out, the whole school finished early, so we could go home, collect our ration books and get a good place in the queue...

Robert Owen remembers his school days - and the 11 plus eamination.

For earlier episodes of Robert's life story pleace click on Two Rooms And A View in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "30 - Memories Of A Townie Lad" »

May 09, 2007

25 - "At Home' Days

...Bobby and I made a rush to the kitchen, rapped on the door, and walked round the table to see the array. The silver had been given a final polish and the tea service looked splendid glistening on the patterned tray. The bread and butter was cut fine as fine, and the teacakes so exceptionally thinly sliced that they curled over into rolls into which I could run my finger, to be told sharply, "You naughty girl, take your finger away at once." That slice would be whipped away and the remaining ones re-sorted to fill up the space! ...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls her mother's formal At Home days.

Mrs Hirst recounted her childhood memories to her nephew, Raymond Prior, who gathered them into a book, Family Of Four.

Continue reading "25 - "At Home' Days" »

May 02, 2007

24 - Fire

...Bobby was going through a naughty, tiresome period, becoming difficult and cheeky. Sometimes he would tease the maids as he passed through the kitchen, and one evening the cook became exasperated and threw a full box of matches at him. This hit him on the cheek, and being tightly packed exploded, causing a sudden spurt of flame and a terrifying glow in his eye...

Mrs Vivien Hirst tells of a series of near-disasterous incidents which occurred during her childhood.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "24 - Fire" »

April 25, 2007

23 - Burglars

...Among my fears was one of burglars! There was sound reason for this, for several times in the mystery of the night, a bell would ring, and Daddy would be persuaded to go with a neighbour to his home as the neighbour was sure someone was in the house! Daddy always obliged but first said, "Wait till I get my trusty stick," which was an outsize walking-stick, thick and heavy, kept hanging on one end of his wardrobe for these eventualities...

Mrs Vivien Hirst tells of her childhood apprehensions.

Mrs Hirst's childhood memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew Raymond Prior.

Continue reading "23 - Burglars" »

April 18, 2007

22 - Swimming

...Doreen was the star! She dropped pennies on to the bottom and dived to recover them, she practised life-saving, and once swam twenty-four lengths of the long bath, a splendid effort we thought. Rex was competent, Bobby a trifle nervous and not too happy in the water.

As for me, although I loved to turn somersaults, to make the wheels of an imaginary water-mill go round with my legs, and to jump in at the deep end, I hated to dive or to have my face under water for more than a second...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls childhood fun and games at rhe swimming pool.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew, Raymond Prior, who heard them from her own lips when he was young.

Continue reading "22 - Swimming" »

April 11, 2007

21 - A Watery Adventure

...The house above ours became vacant. Soon we could hear hammering, and from the night nursery window saw a hut, seven feet by five feet, being erected. We were told by Miss Redman that it was going to be a kennel for a large dog the new family were bringing with them. High gates, made of heavy wooden planks, were also placed midway between their back door and the path to the road. Miss Redman agreed with us that it would seem to be an extraordinarily large dog, we knew of no breed that could require such an enormous house to live in, and each day we watched eagerly to see what manner of beast this would be...

Mrs Vivien Hirst continues her vivid account of her childhood days.

Her newphew Raymond Prior, who loved to listen to his aunt's remininscences, gathered her stories into a book, Family Of Four.

Continue reading "21 - A Watery Adventure" »

April 04, 2007

20 - Roaming

...Behind Farmer Hayes' was Grimscar Wood, pleasant with its trees and wandering paths. Sometimes I sat on a great log to pause, to look and to dream, delighting in the sunlight dappling through the old trees, the haze of bluebells on the banks, the tall bulrushes so much higher than myself, and one small square, fenced off, where we were forbidden to enter, for there the ground was sinking into a disused coal mine. This added a spice of mystery and danger to the wood, just right to the child brought up on fairy stories...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls chidhood outings in delightful detail.

Mrs Hirst's memories were gathered into a book by her nephew, Raymond Prior. To read earlier chapters please click on Family Of Four in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "20 - Roaming" »

March 28, 2007

19 - Shopping In Huddersfield

...It is difficult in these days of crowds and hurly-burly to realise that the tram crew knew all their passengers, many of them by name, the same crew keeping to regular routes. We had a little, round, smiling man on our route, his face beaming with bonhomie which did everyone good to see. He was polite and pleasant and we were delighted when Sir William Ramsden, who lived in Edgerton, left a legacy to the team of his regular tram, with remarks of thanks for their ever-present courtesy and kindness, and we said "Hear! hear!"...

Mrs Viven Hirst remembers riding the trams when she was a little girl, accompanying her mother on shopping trips.

Mrs Hirst's nephew, Raymond Prior, gathered her reminiscences into a book, Family Of Four. For earlier chapters of her story please click on that title in the menu on his page.

Continue reading "19 - Shopping In Huddersfield" »

March 21, 2007

Greenhead Park

...Before school days, and afterwards, during the holidays, we spent a great deal of time in Greenhead Park. Off we would set with one child in the go-cart, and strapped on behind the dear little half-moon shaped basket containing robin cake for our lunch. We chose to take with us tops and whips, and ran along bowling our wooden hoops skilfully....

Mrs Vivien Hirst, who grew up in a Yorkshire mill town, tells of enchanting days in the nearby municiple park.

Mrs Hirst's nephew, Raymond Prior, loved to hear her stories of ealier imes when he was a boy. He gathered her reminiscences into a book, Family Of Four. Click on that title in the menu on his page to read earlier chapters of her story.

Continue reading "Greenhead Park" »

March 14, 2007

10 - Either A Nurse Or A Mother

...One day, he seized Doreen's eager hand and drew it gently, nearer and nearer to the hot bar, repeating that the fire was not just a pretty thing, but a hurtful thing, and one she must always leave alone. Then he held her little hand on the bar, just long enough for Doreen to feel the heat and pain, before withdrawing it, Mummy standing by in trepidation. This stern measure must have cost Daddy a pang or two, but it proved to be successful, for Doreen never again showed any desire to play with the fire...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls family discipline.

Mrs Hirst's memories of her childhood were gathered into a book by her nephew, Raymondf Prior, who listened to her stories with immense delight when he was a boy. To read earlier chapters please click on Family Of Four in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "10 - Either A Nurse Or A Mother" »

March 07, 2007

Feeling Things Keenly

...The day arrived, and on returning from school I noticed that the curtains of their house were drawn. I thought nothing more about it because I expected Edward would have to be kept quiet after the operation.

Presently Daddy entered the dining-room where I was alone, sat down on the couch without a word, drooped his head and sobbed. I was astounded. I never knew grown-ups ever cried, and I stood, solemn and dismayed, not knowing what to do.

"Poor little boy," Daddy said, gulping, "poor little boy, only twelve years old, so very young to die."...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls the day she had to comfort her father.

Mrs Hirst's nephew Raymond Prior arranged for her memoirs to be published under the title of Family Of Four. To read earlier chapters click on that title in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "Feeling Things Keenly" »

February 28, 2007

15 - Pets In The Garden

...Every fine Sunday evening in the summer Daddy would call us out to play cricket. I would swing round the pear tree, watching the flaming wonder of the sunset of red, yellow, and palest green, and listening to the mellow chimes of the Lindley clock, my thoughts far away, for cricket is a game I could never enjoy.

I seldom seemed to bat or bowl, and fielding I thought very dull. I was also secretly ashamed to throw for the ball never went in the intended direction...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls idyllic times in the garden of her family's home in a Yorkshire mill town.

Mrs Hirst's nephew, Raymond Prior, arranged for her memories to be published as a book. To read more of her enchanting reminiscences please click on Family Of Four in the menu on his page.

Continue reading "15 - Pets In The Garden" »

February 21, 2007

14 - Blanket Day Calamity

...Mummy and I were together in the dining-room when there was a knock on the door. At once it opened, and without waiting for a reply Miss Redman said, "You had better come at once, Mrs. Hirst. I don't know what has happened but I opened the kitchen door and smoke poured out, and I could hear Emily moaning''...

Mrs Vivien Hirst, continuing the story of her childhood in a Yorkshire mill town, tells of a "blanket day'' disaster.

Mrs Hirst's nephew, Raymond Prior, arranged for the publication of her memories.

Continue reading "14 - Blanket Day Calamity" »

February 14, 2007

13 - The Family Wash

...steam from the drying clothes around the fire, hanging on clothes horses (called "maidens" in Yorkshire) arose in wisps of mist, liming the windows. From the creel above hung flaps of garments, the thick and heavy ones, so that there was no glimpse of the fire which gave dancing life to the kitchen, and it shrivelled into dull greyness. This was a place of discomfort to be avoided, and there was no temptation to run down from the nursery on a Monday. There was, too, that all-pervading damp smell, which escaped into the lower rooms despite the utmost care being taken in closing both the kitchen and inner hall doors....

Mrs Vivien Hirst continues her account of growing up in a big house in a Yorkshire mill town.

Mrs Hirst's nephew Raymond Prior arranged for the publication of her vivid reminiscences. To read earlier chapters of her story please click on Family Of Four in the menu on his page.

Continue reading "13 - The Family Wash" »

February 07, 2007

12 - Baking Day

...On the bread baking day I would sometimes slip out of the nursery and run down to the kitchen. Pleading to be allowed to remain I entered with full participation into the activities, helping to knead the bread and to cut, slap, and shape the loaves when ready for their tin. I was completely happy and I thought the kitchen the most wonderful room in the world. The fire was huge and bright, Cook busy and bustling, the steel fender gleaming and warm to sit upon...

Mrs Vivien Hirst continues the enchanting story of her childhood spent in a big house in a Yorkshire mill town.

Mrs Hirst's stories were collected into a book, Family Of Four, by her nephew Raymond Prior, who was amused and entertained by them when he was a boy.

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January 31, 2007

11 - Bobby's Predicament

...One morning, some time after this, I walked into the house, and the housemaid told me I had better go upstairs and see if I could help Master Bobby to get out of the nursery. He had locked himself in and could not turn the key to release himself. Apparently Robin had been exasperated with Bobby over some offence, and was approaching to spank him when Bobby evaded her, and ran off through the kitchen and the back door, right round the two houses, up the road, and in again at the front door, with Robin pounding after him....

Mrs Vivien Hirst continues her account of her childhood in a large house called The Hollies in a Yorkshire mill town.

Mrs Hirst's nephew, Raymond Prior, was often amused and entertained when she told him stories of her early years. When she eventually wrote down her memories he gathered them into a book, Family of Four.

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January 24, 2007

10 - Bad Nanna And Other Nurses

...It was a different story for Sundays and parties, for then we girls were dressed in elaborate white dresses of broderie anglaise, with yokes and puffed sleeves, fine lace bordering the neck and arms; knickers and petticoats with the same embroidery, with pink or blue ribbon threaded through a slot in each article. The boys wore the popular sailor suits which consisted of white blouses with large, flat, navy blue collars, black cravats, and short navy blue trousers, and we all had heavy coats with sailor collars in the winter, together with sailor caps....

Mrs Vivien Hirst continues the story of her childhood in a Yorkshire mill town.

Mrs Hirst often entertained her nephew Raymond Prior with stories of her childhood. He it was who gathered those stories into a book, Family Of Four, and arranged for its publication. To read earlier chapters of her reminiscences click on the book title in the menu on his page.

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January 17, 2007

9 - Honey Pots

...Mummy was dainty, trim, and very pretty and always gay. She would gather us round her to read to us in a musical voice, chiefly from Anderson's and Grimms' Fairy Stories, or Aesop's Fables, or from Black Beauty, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Water Babies, or the delightful Peter Rabbit series. Perhaps we would choose Treasure Island, Rhymes from Mother Goose, or Lucy Mary, and there were many other books we knew and loved.

Sometimes Mummy would sing in a sweet, tuneful voice, one song being our favourite. I cannot think the words had any meaning for us at all, and in any case we only knew the first verse, but it was a lilting tune which Mummy herself enjoyed enormously and played with great eclat. It went...

Ah, to find out how it went you really must read this chapter of Mrs Vivien Hirst's delightful memories of childhood.

Mrs Hirst's memories were athered into a book by her nephew, Raymond Prior. To read earlier chapters of that book please click on Family Of Four in the menu on this page.

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January 10, 2007

8 - Nursery Days

...It was a house of warmth and happiness, of laughter and sudden tears, of childish squabbles and hidden fears; a busy, bustling house, overflowing with its family life.
Introduction...

Mrs Vivien Hirst recalls her childhood days in a Yorkshire mill town in the early days of last century.

Mrs Hirst's nephew, Raymond Prior, arranged for the publication of her memoirs under the title Family Of Four. For earlier chapters of her story please click on that title in the menu on this page.

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January 03, 2007

7 - Florrie's Serenity

Mrs Vivian Hirst continues her lively account of family life in Huddersfield in the early days of last century.

Mrs Hirst was one of four children who grew up in a large house called The Hollies, at No 13, Imperial Road.

Her nephew, Raymond Prior, eventually arranged for the publication of his aunt's memories of her childhood.

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December 27, 2006

6 - The Belles Of Huddersfield

...There were balls to delight Florrie's heart and her programme was always quickly filled. The housemaid, Maria, took a great pleasure in helping her dress for these enchanted evenings. She was always waiting up for her with hot soup ready, and agog to hear about the young girl's gaiety, and whether some attractive fellow had been particularly attentive.

It must not be imagined that Florrie went unchaperoned to these balls. Oh, dear me no! A friend's relative, or an older, married friend, was drawn into service and arrangements carefully made for her to return home safely. Considering the period, however, it seems to me that she was allowed a good deal of freedom...

Mrs Vivien Hirst continues her account of her childhood and and the doings of her family in the Yorkshire town, Huddersfield. Her nephew Raymond Prior arranged for the publication of her story.

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December 20, 2006

5 - A Stylish Wedding

...The marriage was in Holy Trinity Church, on September 16th 1891. Both families were well-known and eager eyes followed the young bride's slow procession to the altar on the arm of her father. As the organ swelled to the strain of Mendelssohn's Wedding March from a "Midsummer Night's Dream" the bride was demurely followed by Irene, carrying a basket of flowers, and by Florrie.

They made a pretty picture; the bride in her costume of cream cloth edged with gold braid, a matching hat and feather boa; Florrie in a dress of pale grey trimmed with silver braid, and her hat of grey adorned with white wings; and the small girl in liberty silk. Eliza Jane was handsomely attired in black satin brocaded in bronze and gold. Her bonnet, of two shades of beaver, was trimmed with feathers and jet...

Mrs Vivien Hirst continues the story of her family, who were in the textile business in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.

Raymond Prior, Mrs Hirst's nephew, arranged for her memories of childhood to be published as a book. For earlier chapters of her story please click on Family Of Four in the menu on this page.

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December 13, 2006

4 - James And Eliza Thomson

...To the right of the square hall was a pleasant morning room, dominated by an enormous mahogany bookcase filled with books of tooled leather, of glowing colours and gold lettering, which looked handsome and splendid. The dining room was large and well-proportioned, and the drawing room quite charming. Painted all in white, carpeted in delicate green with chairs spaced about richly upholstered and embroidered in silk and satin, and with delicate china and silver on display, it looked cool and dignified...

Vivien Hirst recalls the home of her grandfather, James Thomson, who walked all the way from Glasgow to Huddersfield in Yorkshire, there to prosper in the textile industry.

Vivien's nephew Raymond Prior arranged for the publication of her childhood memories.

Raymond and His Aunt Vivien could both claim descent from Robert, Earl of Gloucester, the illegitimate but politically important son of Henry I, and therefore grandson of William the Conqueror.

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December 06, 2006

3 - Manufacturer's Agents

...In the early days "on the road" the custom was for travellers to dress in black jacket and vest, a morning coat and striped trousers, over which was worn, in winter time, a black frockcoat with a black silk "topper", which was usually carried in a special case to fit a top hat only...

Vivien Hirst, whose family were involved in the Yorkshire textile business, continues her engaging life story.

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November 29, 2006

2 - William And Sarah Hirst And Family

...The working hours in those far off days were 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. which overtime often extended to eight or nine o'clock for a wage of a few shillings a week!,,,

Vivien Hirst was one of a family of four children who grew up in large house in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. She wrote a warm and vivid memoir of her childhood days. Vivien could claim descent from Robert, Earl of Gloucester, the illegitimate but politically important son of Henry I, and therefore grandson of William the Conqueror.

Raymond Prior, Vivien's nephew, arranged for the memoirs to be publshed.

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November 22, 2006

1 - William Metcalfe And Family

When Raymond Prior was a little boy his aunt Mrs Vivien Hirst often amused and entertained him with stories of her own childhood.

Mrs Hirst was one of a family of four children who grew up in large house in Huddersfield, Yorkshire. She eventually wrote her memories of childhood in a warm and vivid style, gathering them into a book, Family Of Four. After his aunt had died Raymond arranged for Family Of Four to be published privately.

Raymond and his Aunt Vivien could both claim descent from Robert, Earl of Gloucester, the illegitimate but politically important son of Henry I, and therefore grandson of William the Conqueror.

Today we begin the serialisation of Vivien's book. Don't miss a reading treat.

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