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Summer Holiday 1930s

What happened to the railway carriages in which Herbert and his family travelled to Ramsgate in the 1880s?

As the new carriages became fitted up with upholstered seats and lavatories the old ones were sold off for sheds and chicken house. (Some of which are still in use.) After the 1914-1918 war, housing was short and old railway carriages were often turned into small bungalows, but along the south coast between Portsmouth and Worthing carriages was placed right on the beach where land was free, and were let out as holiday homes in the summer. Their renovated remains can still be seen around Selsey and Pagham and hired for your holiday.

In 1935 we, that is me, my sisters, my mother and our mother’s help, stayed in one for a week right on the beach at Selsey Bill. The first time we had seen the sea. I think I can still hear the whoosh of the waves on the shingle and the fishy smell of the seaweed – but I am probably letting my imagination work overtime.

I believe my mother cooked on a paraffin stove and that there were oil lamps or candles when it got dark, but we were usually in bed by then. I do remember sleeping in narrow beds one above the other and worrying slightly about falling out – bunk beds of course. We dug holes in the pebbles, we played with a blown up inner tube in the water, carefully watched to see we did not get out of our depth, and we paddled in our woolly, tickly swim suits with our hands tightly grasped – only our mother’s help could swim.

We did not travel by train though. Father had brought us in the car, a large American Studebaker, which had a bench seat in the front to seat three, room for three more in the back plus all our luggage and the toddler’s pushchair. He went back to work and came to collect us at the end of the week, when I would think my mother was only too glad to go home again.

The following years 1936 and 1937 we were in Westcliff-on-Sea, but living in a house by now. Here we had sand to build castles and boat trips round the pier, and as the eldest I had a new woolly swim suit and my old one was handed down to my sister. I was allowed to try to swim in the inner tube, although it was a bit too big to do more than splash around.

A family friend thought one could learn to swim by being thrown in and nearly drowned me, everyone thought it was very funny but I do not recommend it. I did not learn to swim after that until I had proper lessons in a swimming pool.

There was much more to see at Westcliff, more people and lots of shops and the Walls ice-cream man with ice-lollies in their sticky paper wrappers or the occasional chocolate covered bar.

Sometimes we would visit the Kursaal to see the animals or to see a show or travel in the pier train at Southend, but there was not a lot of money to spare so they were exceptional occasions.

An especial treat, for which we were allowed to stay up late, was to tour the lighted tableaux along the front in Southend at Carnival time. There were dazzling strings of fairy lights for miles, with the pier and the Kursaal Dome all lit up. Nowadays in the age of computer generated animation it would seem very tame, but it was wonderful to us to see tableaux of fairy tale characters or a grotesque scene with moving figures lit in all kinds of colours high in the air, followed by the firework display, and the expedition was the highlight of the year.

de Fraines of Buckinghamshire

From Woburn to Chesham via Aylesbury.Farmers, printers, publishers and hairdressers. I take no credit for the bulk of the early de Fraine research. Several de Fraines will have in their possession a paper tree which was drawn up pre-internet by Phyllis de Fraine from...

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Servant of this house

  Herbert George de Fraine, son of George Turner, spent 55 years at the Bank of England and his recollections of life with the bank were published after his death at the age of 88, by his daughter in "Servant of This House" in 1960. From its earliest beginnings...

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G T de Fraine’s summer holiday

  Herbert George de Fraine also wrote about his family life in Aylesbury where his father was the publisher and printer of the local paper 'The Bucks Herald'. They lived a fairly affluent life. Herbert says that when his father had their bathroom installed it was...

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A Paper Chase

  While searching the digital newspapers, looking for information about John de Fraine, several entries for a certain G.H. de Fraine kept popping up in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle. As he was probably a distant relative I thought that I would...

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Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

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Bluestocking

  Towards the end of the nineteenth century, both my grandmothers went to the local school and when they were old enough were sent away to board for a short time at a young ladies boarding school where they learnt the three Rs, needlework, music and possibly...

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de Fraines of Chartridge

de Fraines of Chartridge

  Thomas Turner de Fraine was a son of the de Fraine family of Aylesbury, where his father published the Bucks Herald. He was unusual in his family in wanting to be a farmer and his father sent him to learn about farming to John Tompkins who lived at Ivinghoe and...

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Old Cottage, Chartridge Lane

Old Cottage, Chartridge Lane

  Old Cottage, as far as we know, was a two up two down cottage with a cellar, next to a large double doored barn, in the 1920s. My father took the barn down and extended the house into that area. He and Ted Wells did most of the work themselves. My first memory...

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Wartime Memories

Wartime Memories

. I remember it was a lovely sunny Sunday morning the day war broke out.. We listened to Mr Chamberlain’s speech on the wireless in the kitchen, the only wireless we had, and my parents were very serious and shooshed us when we, my two younger sisters and I started to speak, not really understanding what it was all about. My father took us across to the air raid shelter he had made in an old underground farm slurry tank and said that we would have to go into this dark, damp and smelly room if there was an air raid.

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Newspaper Proprietor

George de Fraine was born in Aylesbury in 1808, the son of Luke who was a hairdresser and later a gardener and seedsman. He married Elizabeth Turner, the daughter of John Turner, in 1829. Their son, George Turner de Fraine became the proprietor of The Bucks Herald from 1872. The first issue under his regime being published on October 5th, 1872. His eldest son, Thomas Turner, wanted to be a farmer so the business then went to two other sons, George Lee and Alfred Charles.

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George Turner de Fraine’s second marriage

  George's first wife, Henrietta née Lee, had died on the 5th May 1905 and George remarried in Bournemouth on the 15th May 1906. His second wife was a widow, Mary Brunton née Mayne. Mary was born in Aylesbury and married there in 1869. She was in Aylesbury for...

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