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, 22 August 2013

Sunday in the Park



In the picture above, taken about 1923, are my Mum and her brother, Billy. And the lady with her hand round Mum's shoulder? Yes, it's my Great Aunt Maud again. I'm guessing the picture was taken with Maud's own camera, and probably by her good friend Mary. Mum is about four and Billy about five years old. They had been taken on an outing by the kindly Maud, as they often were. Maud never married, but she was a generous auntie as readers will recall from last week's post.  The siblings and Maud are in their 'Sunday Best' and in all likelihood it was a Sunday, as we know that Maud worked for part of the day on Saturdays, and Sunday was the day for relaxing with the family.

The picture is taken in a very well-known meeting-place in Nottingham's Arboretum, the Chinese Bell Tower. The Arboretum is Nottingham's oldest public park and close to the city centre. It's home to over 800 trees of sixty-five species, some of which are from the original planting. The Arboretum was opened on 11th May 1852 in front of 30, 000 people. The layout and design were supervised by Samuel Curtis, who had previously been involved with London's Victoria Park. It was intended as an interlinking network of walkways and socialising areas and with plantings made in 'the natural order' so that the public could also learn from the botanical interpretation. Today the park comes under the protection of English Heritage under their Historic Parks and Gardens, and contains nine Grade II listed structures within its layout. I remember visits there myself during the school holidays in the 1950s and 60s, when the highlight would be saying 'Hello' to Cocky the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo in the aviary. Cocky was something of a celebrity and lived to be 114 years old. He was already well over a hundred when I as a child.

The next two pictures were taken when I was a toddler, and I have no recollection of the day of course, but I love them because they from a set taken on a family day out at the Arboretum. Perhaps we listened to the band which played in the bandstand every Sunday. We may even have had a picnic.

















The Chinese Bell tower was designed  in 1857 by Marriot Ogle Tarbotton as a war memorial and built in 1862. The bell was a looted by British troops from a temple in Canton during the Anglo-Chinese War of 1857-61, and two of the cannon were captured at Sebastopol during the Crimean War (the other two are replicas). The bell was moved to the East Lancashire Regimental Museum in 1956, but recently the whole bell tower has been renovated and a new bell cast and hung. Last year was the park's 160th anniversary and this photograph is courtesy of Ray Teece of the Nottingham 21 website. Clicking on the link will show more pictures of the park today.



This week's Sepia Saturday image was a formal group of three, a man and his sister with a third female family member. The little man in my picture is accompanied by his sister and his aunt but in a much less formal pose. Why not see what other memories were evoked by the prompt?

29 comments:

  1. Poor little Billy looks mad and sitting way on the end of the bench, he is alone in that park.

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  2. The bell tower is beautiful and was certainly worth renovating!

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  3. I checked out the Nottingham 21 link and ended up learning a little about the Opium Wars. What an interesting period of time. Your mother and uncle looks so smart in their little outfits. I love Maud - another unmarried aunt who added so much to the family. Did they replace "Cocky" with a new model?

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  4. The Arboretum seems like a lovely park! It's one of the places I'd like to visit one day.

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  5. I lived in Beeston but I never got to any of the parks! I suppose I was a teenager at the time, and not likely to be hugely interested, but I'm sorry I didn't.
    I wonder how comfortable those cloche hats were for a child to wear!

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  6. The Arboretum certainly sounds like an interesting place. Life was so less frantic then.

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  7. Super photographic record of days at the arboretum, Nell.

    Why couldn't I have been born Marriot Ogle Tarbotton? What a name!

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  8. Billy does not look pleased. Perhaps he was prevented from heading off with his friends, for fear that he would mess up his Sunday best before the photographer did their bit. Great post, as always.

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  9. Your first photograph of Aunt Maud and the children is so evocative of the age - love the cloche hats - though the little boy looks as if he is there under duress!

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  10. Little Billy looks rather unhappy even grumpy!!! Maybe wearing ones Sunday best was not so comfortable!
    Jackie
    Scrapbangwallop

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  11. Another part of Nottingham that I have never visited. Billy probably doen't like wearing his hat - especially for a photo.

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  12. I sometimes used to walk in the Arboretum to clear my head from the pounding it got doing an engineering degree just down the road. That was a few years before I met Little Nell. Although I can see Mary now in Mary then, I wouldn't pick Little Nell out from the photos above!

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  13. I can't take my eyes off that top photo! The outfits are just classic! The little fella, Billy. It looks as if he could just get lost inside that hat!

    Great post, Nell!

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  14. Your mother and Billy and Aunt Maud -- all balanced precariously on that fence rail! Everybody's talking about how unhappy Billy looks, but I think your mother's a bit concerned, too!

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  15. I can see a likeness of you and your Mum. Lovely post Little Nell!

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  16. I'm impressed that you know the cocky's proper name! There are many Aussies who don't even know that.

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  17. I can remember us as kids being grumpy when we used to have to put on our Sunday best then go somewhere fun! We had to keep our clothes clean when all we wanted to do was run around - I'm with Billy! :(

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  18. I would have loved visiting there and seeing Cocky when I was the age of your mother and her brother.

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  19. Aunt Maud seems to have carried a camera everywhere. What would she have done with modern smartphone cameras? It's also a remarkable idea that the same Cockatoo might be in photos 100 years apart!

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  20. A very special 'Threesome Photo'...how nice for Auntie to share in the lives of your Mom and Billy. Really makes for close family ties and memories shared so many years later. Billy looks ready for next weeks theme of Ties, too. Thanks for sharing the history of the Chinese Bell Tower....very interesting.

    Sue CollectInTexasGal~Today's Post~
    Older Sister Syndrome~Sepia SAT Sibling 3Some

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  21. I would really like to know exactly what Maud's friend was saying to perhaps get Billy to smile. You know we picture takers are always saying something! I do believe your Mother's aunt Maud was much like an aunt my children have, because although she married, she never had her own children, and she is like Mom # 2 still to my children! A dear girlfriend of mine, also no children and never married yet, she is like mother # 3. Children are truly the lucky ones to have wonderful people like this in their lives, besides their own parents! Also, is it me, but I had to look again and again at Billy he kind of reminds me of Alan in that photo! (Our Sepia Saturday Alan of course!

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  22. I wonder if Billy just wanted to run and play. Isn't it interesting how a place, like the Arboretum, becomes the focus of a family's outing across the years. Aunties can play such a special role in families.

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  23. What a nice combination. The family photo at the bell town and the renovated bell town. Very nice.

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  24. No question about the identity of that toddler! A Sunday outing with family is always such a nice idea. Sadly, in our family we are sometimes just too tired and want to sit. Now I'm wondering if future generations will think we never did anything - HA!


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  25. That first picture is so clear. The kids weren't smiling, but I can see your resemblance to your Mom. It is always fun to see you when you were little and heartwarming to see you with your Dad.

    I enjoyed the history of the arboretum too.

    Hope that you have a wonderful week, Marilyn.

    Kathy M.

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  26. The kids don't look that happy in the first photo. It's great the English keep their heritage places intact, so you can still visit the same place as your mother and her aunt. In Holland everything has to change every decade or so: The canons would have been removed since they are militaristic. The bell should have been returned to the Chinese. The trees should have been chopped down because they are sick, or not the right kind. Of course the whole park should have been redesigned by a fancy design agency destroying everything old. Amersfoort had some very nice 19th century parks but they are all gone...

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  27. Oh my, the difference between the joy you show and the lack of joy in the two kidsters in the first shot. They look perplexed. You look happy to be doing whatever you were doing.

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  28. Lovely shot of the three of you except Billy doesn't look too impressed with procedures. Interesting info about the gardens. I like the then and now of the bell tower.

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  29. I must say that first picture is very well framed,
    even if the bell tower is not shown in its totality.
    Nice memories you got there.
    :)~
    HUGZ

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