Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Ghosts of Grandad's Past!

There is always the danger, when researching a family history, of finding the proverbial ‘skeleton in the cupboard’. Fortunately, I don’t think I’ve found anything too serious yet!  But through the numerous contacts family history researchers build up, we often get some vital information and sometimes -  photographs!


Last week I received a photo of the KELLAND great grandfather – Francis Arthur Kelland. He’s the one who left Dartmouth some time after 1871 to settle in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.  Since there was a business in East London called “Kelland & Booth”  (painters, decorators, coach trimmers) established in 1880, it seems he may have returned to his home country a little while afterwards and married Annie Jane Gillard in November 1882 in Dartmouth. He might have left her a few years earlier promising to set up a business and then come back for her – which he did!  The photo comes from the archives of the East London Municipality (South Africa), where he was a town councillor from 1889 – 1895.

Also last week I had an email from the Northampton Museum (UK) saying they had received a pair of early 19th century shoes with a very clear label inside.  To H.R.H. Princess Augusta” above the Lion & Unicorn coat of arms and “Holesgrove Boot & Shue Maker, 67 Burlington Arcade, Piccadilly” clearly printed with scroll sides beneath.  (The Northampton Museum & Art Gallery is said to be “the home of the World Famous Show Collection” - http://www.northampton.gov.uk/museums)

Granny Crossley – Violet Maud – was born a Holesgrove in 1894. Her Great Great Grandfather William was a Boot & Shoe Maker at Burlington Arcade, in the Piccadilly or Kensington/Chelsea area, as was her Great Grandfather William Holesgrove!  Which means that the shoes that the Northampton Museum have, were made by the current Kelland’s maternal Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather!! (See an earlier blog for more on the Chelsea Holesgrove's)

The lady at the Museum very kindly provided some information on the type of shoe:  The shoes date to 1820’s-1830’s. They are typical of the style for women at the time sporting a square toe, flat sole and look very like ballet shoes. They are satin lined with white kid leather and have blue kid leather toe caps.”

And in case you’re wondering how she got hold of me …. she obviously used faithful Google and found our family website!!

Final words come from my dear sister-in-law in response to my Facebook status announcing the Shoe Find: "Just to remind people, don't have any skeletons in the cupboard; someone, somewhere, some era, will find them!"

(Thanks to Keith Tankard for the photo of F.A. Kelland, and "Mrs King" via Rebecca Shawcross of the Northampton Museum & Art Gallery for allowing me to use the picture of the shoes.)

1 comment:

  1. A very well written and researched article Rose. So good to see our family coming together. Lots of love,ELAINE