Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Where was Maud?

Where was Maud? in our wood;
And I, who else, was with her,
Gathering woodland lilies,
Myriads blow together.

The Maud in my photograph is not the one made famous by Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem of that name, from which the above quote comes. The girl on the waggon, smiling from behind the bottom corner of the banner, is my very own Great - Aunt Maud (1893-1980). And where was she? Well, on the back of the photograph is pencilled "Missionary Festival, Albert Hall, 1905" in Maud's own fair hand. This was not the Albert Hall in London, but the one in my home city of Nottingham. At that time the hall was in the hands of the Wesleyan Methodist Mission, but the year after this photograph was taken, fire swept through the building. The Albert Hall which I remember was begun in 1909 and to this day remains magnificent concert hall and conference venue, adjoining the city's Playhouse. 

So that takes care of the location and answers the question posed in my post title. But who was Maud? She was the older sister of my maternal grandfather Sid and his brother Albert, and is seated next to him in the 'Wedding Day Delay' photograph.  She worked in the Nottingham Lace industry but after the war itself she was assigned to  'Army Labour Corps Records' which dealt, among other things with demobilisation. I recently acquired her autograph book, where many of her friends from the office wrote poems and sketched pictures for her.

Mum and Aunt Maud

My mother (born in 1920) was very fond of Auntie Maud (or Maude, depending on how she felt like signing it). During the 1930s Mum attended Sunday School picnics organised by her, and even went away on holiday to the seaside with her. Maud was a keen amateur photographer, and developed most of her own pictures. Some she hand-coloured, and two in particular she had made into wooden jigsaws for my mother. I still have them and one of my very first posts as a blogger was about one of these. There are no comments on that post so I'm guessing very few have seen it; please spare a minute to take a look at the wonderful jigsaw and the original picture with my poem in my post, 'In and out the Dusty Bluebells'

Great- auntie Maud with two-year old Me

I remember her from my own childhood when I would be taken by my parents to visit her, or she would call on my grandparents whilst I was staying with them. She was a very kind lady who volunteered in her local community, notably with the 'Hard of Hearing' club. She was quite deaf herself and wore a hearing aid. Unfortunately this meant that she also spoke rather loudly. She also had a habit of repeating sentences, beginning the second sentence (as an echo of the first one) with an introductory, "I say.....". Whether this was a result off her disability or indeed just a habit, I'm not sure.

My daughter with her Great-great Auntie Maud

Maud and her brothers lost their mother when they were very young; Maud was just nine years old. Possibly this made her quite independent and not a little feisty. She was able to turn her hand to many crafts and made many of her own clothes. She was still tending her garden and making her own bread in old age. She was one of the WW1 generation of young women who never married. So many young eligible men lost their lives, reducing the chances of ladies like Maud to marry. She and another maiden lady became 'companions' and shared a home together until Maud's death. My grandfather always maintained that it was more than just friendship, but we shall never know, nor indeed, care. I was fond of both of them and they always showed affection to my own family.  

Alan's prompt for this week's Sepia Saturday suggests 'waggons' and 'aunties' so I've managed both. Why not see for yourself what others have come up with. There's also a lively Facebook page you can join (you don't have to be a blogger). 


  1. I thought making puzzles from photos was a relatively new invention of the good folks at Kodak and Shutterfly and the like. Who knew? So good for Maud. She must have been quite talented to be a photographer and colorist as well as a crafter.

  2. Maud is the only one smiling in the photo. Most of the others look angry.

    Reading your post about the jigsaw reminded me that I got jigsaws to play with when I was young and sick.

  3. I'm so happy to put in the link to the poem, the original photo and jig saw. The poem is lovely..your mother must have been so pleased. That photo is breathtaking. Families with an unmarried female in the mix always seem to be so enriched by the experience. And having one, like Maud, who was so accomplished must have been wonderful. A great read, as always.

  4. This is the first time I hear of an "autograph book". Is that a book to collect signatures? Of celebrities?
    In the last picture Auntie Maud looks like the aunt everybody wants to have!

  5. Lovely story. It sounds as though Maud had a long and interesting life.

  6. It is a wonderful photo with everyone piled onto the wagon and the little girls in white dresses to walk along side in a parade. Aunt Maud looked like a very wonderful woman to know.

  7. Treasure pictures. Enjoyed seeing Maud through the years.

  8. Loved your essay on Aunt Maude. Well done, and what lovely memories.

  9. Lovely story..makes me realise that the current generation didn't invent girl power!

  10. What a great collection of photos of a woman who really was a gem. I'm impressed that in the wagon picture, she is the only one smiling. She learned early the gift that gives to others.

  11. That is a great story. I said THAT IS A GREAT STORY. (I'm allowed to make politically incorrect jokes like that)

  12. I've been reminded by your post that I had an Auntie Maud, but she was known as Auntie Peg; but not as talented, as far as I know, as yours. A post which is a pleasure to read.

  13. Hello Marilyn:
    This is all most intriguing and, indeed, totally fascinating. Reading about a past generation is always of interest, not least for the way in which all kinds of connections and/or references are made to other related people and events. We have most certainly looked at the jigsaw of your mother which is absolutely wonderful and something which must be very central to your family archives. Clearly Maud(e) was a remarkable woman, as so many of her generation.

  14. That was such an interesting post about your Auntie Maud. And that photo puzzle of your mother - how gorgeous.

  15. The second parade float photograph that we've seen this week. All I can think of is, "Come into the garden Maud," but that's a different poem by the same person, isn't it? Here it is referred to as a Victorian parlour song.

    1. It's the same poem Brett - rather a long and tedious one in my opinion. The 'Come into the Garden' bit appears at the end of Part One (!) and was indeed turned into a parlour song.

  16. Great story, I love reading small biographies like this, accompanied with photos. I'm glad she found someone nice to live with. BTW actress Maude Fealy (same generation: 1883-1971) was also often called Maud. Maud/Maude, what's in a name. She was also known to love women more then men, but that must be a coincidence :-).

  17. She sounds like somebody I would have loved to meet. You were all blessed to have her in your lives, weren't you? Thanks for sharing Aunt Maude with us, Marilyn.

    Kathy M.

  18. Another lovely quote by Tennyson that makes me sing through it! You were such an adorable happy little two year old Marilyn what a wonderful photo! My grandmother's only sister was named Maude but sadly she died very young, but I have a paper cut out of her foot, (was one of my grandma's treasures) now mine. Wonderful story, and your mother quite pretty too, all your photos are gifts of memories that keep on giving for you!

  19. The first photograph is a wonderful one to have in your collection. I loved the dresses and the large hats. A beautiful tribute to your great aunt Maud.

  20. Your post brought back childhood memories. As a youngster I was aware of several ladies like your Aunt. I seem to recall that several lived with a companion, but a few lived alone. For the main part they were older than my parents but not as old as the grandparents. And when their condition was mentioned it was frequently with remarks like "...her intended was killed in the Great War.." or "....her fiance never came back from WW1..."

    As with Auntie Maud, they seem to have had personality and substance. Perhaps, this was because they never had the burden of worry about Husbands and Kids or perhaps necessity was a good educator. I recall that several teachers, including the Headmistress of my infant school, were single women living with a companion or housekeeper. Indeed, I had a great Aunt (one of my Grandfather's 6 spinster sisters) who was a District Nurse who lived with her sister as her Housekeeper.

    What they appear to have had in common was that they contributed to the local community and were respected.

  21. Reminds me of my great auntie Jean who was a mothercraft nurse and gave so much of herself to other people's children but unfortunately didn't have her own, and due the 'late breeding' of her great nieces and nephews didn't get to enjoy another generation of the family (and become a great great auntie like your Maud). I love the jigsaw - what a treasure.

  22. Quite the character!! She had a very gentle smile.
    Who cares the nature of her relationship with her roommate.
    She had companionship, making life more bearable.
    What could ever be wrong with that?

  23. An old photograph always gives the story more life.