Family Photo

At the funeral of my Auntie June ( neé Tidd) a few months ago her sons, Gary and Jamie, produced a couple of albums of old photos. Mostly they date from the early 1950s. I took charge of one of them and I’ve been slowly scanning the pictures for posterity. Not surprisingly, they mostly feature June, her husband Ron Clare (who passed in 2002) and their friends. Usually on holiday.

But there’s one that sets itself apart. It’s Ron and June with his parents (my grandparents) and ALL the siblings and spouses. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them all together before. The scribbled note on the back says it was taken in 1953 or ’54. I suspect it was at their house in Hatherly Gardens in East Ham.

All the family

Front and centre: my maternal grandmother, Rhoda Jane Clare (neé Bailey) Born in London in 1891 and worked as a domestic servant. In 1912 she married a Henry George Simmons and had three children. Henry John known as Jack (1913) Back row, second left. Rhoda Florence–Floss–(1916) Back row, centre and William George, (1918) Front row on the right as you view it.

In 1919, Henry George was carried off by the Spanish ‘flu epidemic. Must have been hard for Nanny Rhoda, but luckily an old friend of Henry’s, Arthur George Clare, seen next to Rhoda on the left, stepped in to help and in May 1922 they married. In December that year, my mother, Hilda Beatrice Clare, far left, was born. Think about that. Take all the time you need.

Later on, they had Arthur Edward (1925) back row, second right, and Ronald George (1931) on the right at the back. Completing the family group we have my dad, Hilda’s husband, James Edward directly behind her, half hidden, and June Iris Tidd, Ron’s wife, in front of him on the right.

I’m absolutely fascinated by this picture. As I said, I’ve never seen all of them together before, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of grandfather Arthur at all. And as he died in 1959, I really remember very little about him.

They’re all gone now, as you might imagine. June was the last living member of her generation of the family. But we do have these and many other photos, and I hope they keep on emerging.

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