Grandad’s story

A few months ago, my mum gave me some writing from my uncle, all about my Grandad – partly his own memories and partly family history research. I’ve been meaning to share it on the blog for a while, but then our lives got over-run by lockdown. I’m not sharing it word for word, as they are not my words to share, but I will share the gist of it.

My Grandad was the second of four brothers born in a village close to Nuneaton – where both of my parents were born and grew up. He was born in 1917 and survived the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 that we have heard so much about lately. He left school at 14 and went to work at a factory eight miles away in Hinckley. He would cycle there and back every day. His dad was a miner and, like many miners, was determined that none of his sons would go down the pit. Apart from the war, my Grandad spent his whole working life on the shop floor in the textile industry.

Grandad wa a quietly spoken and modest man. He was always smartly dressed. You would hardly ever see him without a tie. His trousers had a perfect crease and his shoes always shone. He cleaned the whole family’s shoes every night. My uncle believes this was partly a legacy of his time in the Royal Marines during World War II.

Although quietly spoken, my Grandad had strong views and grew up surrounded by politics – at election time the front room of the family home became a Labour Party committee room. Coming from a mining family, the words ‘bloody Tories’ became all one word. Even after the war, Churchill was a hated figure for mining families.

Grandad didn’t read books, but always know what was going on in the world. He was an avid reader of newspapers and always had the radio on, tuned in to news and sport. As a child, I remember my Grandad literally holding the radio up to his ear to listen. Throughout his life sport, particularly football and cricket, were his greatest passion. As a young man, he would cycle to see his favourite teams play – Leicester City for football and Warwickshire for cricket. In later life, I remember him volunteering at his local cricket club and going to watch Nuneaton Borough play football.

Grandad passed his love of sport on to his son, my uncle, who in turn passed it on to his own sons. Grandad did a deal with Granny that he could keep watching his sport as long as he took my uncle with him. My uncle remembers trips by bus or train to away games – usually tucked away among back streets of terraced housing.

Next, you can read about my Grandad’s experiences in World War II.

Grandad, Grandchildren, Siblings, Cousin, Grandfather

Grandad with me (front), my brother (middle) and my cousin – my uncle’s eldest son

 

Author: Sarah Mummy

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10 Comments

  1. What a lovely entry, Sarah. It sounds as though you are describing my grandfather when you talk about the tie and trousers with a well-defined crease. My grandfather had a different start, Southern Ireland. He too was a gentle and quietly spoken man but with strong opinions when it came to politics. Unfortunately for him, he lived through Thatcher’s Britain and sadly for us, he passed away a year before she resigned. Not sure he ever got over her being re-elected for a third term in 1987! The politics apart, maybe it is just me being nostalgic but life seemed more innocent and easier then!

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    • That’s lovely to read about, your grandfather sounds very similar to mine. What a shame he didn’t get to see Margaret Thatcher resign!
      You’re right, those days did seem easier. I have fond memories of my Grandad walking up to his local cricket club on summer evenings.

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  2. Aww I love this, so great to read about your grandad’s life experience. My dad still polishes everybody’s shoes too!
    Nat.x

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    • Thanks very much! I suspect my dad still polishes all the shoes too – although ‘everyone’ is just him and my mum now. He certainly always did ours every day ready for school. Now my kids are lucky if their shoes get polished from one year to the next! x

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  3. I’ve been discovering more about my family tree over recent years and it’s fascinating. I lived near Hinckley in the mid 70’s for a few years. I remember the silver jubilee and having a street party.

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    • I think it’s amazing how much you have learned about your family tree. I would love to find out more about mine and I’m sure it’s something I will look into when I have more time on my hands. That’s a coincidence that you lived nearly Hinckley back in the day.

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  4. What wonderful memories and the writing from your uncle is a special thing to have.
    My Grandad was born in 1917 too but he ended up down the pit and was a miner. How interesting to read x

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    • Thanks very much. It is a lovely thing to have. It’s surprising how little I knew about my own grandparents’ history. What a coincidence that your Grandad was born in 2017 too. x

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  5. Aww that is so lovely. These memories are so important to keep for us and for future generations xx

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    • Thanks very much! I’m so happy to have them. It’s remarkable how little I knew about my grandparents’ early years. I only knew them as my grandparents.

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