Thursday, 31 May 2018


(Mary Smith b.1903 - d.1990)

Born on the 9th October 1903 in Liverpool, Mary Smith was the seventh child of nine, born to Michael Smith and his wife Bridget (nee Seary/Seery).

Mary was baptised in St Augustine's church, Vauxhall, Liverpool on 17th October of the same year.

Later in adulthood, her occupation would be officially listed as a machinist in a local factory making sacks. These would then be used to carry goods (perhaps coal or grain etc). 

On the 30th June 1925, Mary married James Patrick Dunn when she was 21 years of age. The couple went on to have nine children, five of whom survived into adulthood.

Mary died peacefully at home on the 24th October 1990 aged 87 years of age.

Mary will be remembered fondly by her family for many things. For example, for many years she enjoyed a drink of bottled Guinness in her local pub with her friends in the 'Snug'. Also, anyone who visited her home was asked to help prepare her 'tags' - lacing loops of string through blank parcel labels - a job which earned her a few extra pounds to subsidise her pension. 

(Mary - at home, working at preparing her parcel tags...)

Mary was undoubtedly a party animal - a lady who was full of life, full of fun, right to the end. And she also had a wicked singing voice, which can be heard <here> singing 'Lily of Laguna' at a family Christmas party...

Friday, 25 May 2018


A photo, taken by myself using with my trusty Kodak Instamatic
of a family party which we had in our flat at 22 Childwall Heights, Liverpool.

The picture features Mal, Eric and Marion Taylor who had come to visit. 
Also pictured are my brother Gary, Aunt Betty and Mum Joan.

Just why they had to pretend to form a band; being pictured with our two guitars, a Bontempi organ and a couple of tape-recorder microphones, I don't recall. But what I do remember is that such events were a regular occurrence in our house. We would be visited often by friends and family, and these events would always end the same way-- food and drink would be consumed, music would be played, and everyone would generally have a fab time. 

I also remember that I had an extension speaker my Dad brought home for me from the Hippodrome cinema where he was working at the time. It was an unwanted piece of kit he rescued after the cinema sound system had been upgraded.

During these parties, I would place the speaker in the living room and play music from my gear in our bedroom. I played both records or tapes-- playing whatever artists or albums had been requested by those present. Then, once the dancing was over and the conversation and general chat started, I would plug the speaker into the microphone input of my tape deck and sneakily record some of the conversations which ensued. 

After a while, I would fess up and playback a section of the recording to the audience. Once everyone had realised what I'd done, they'd listen to themselves speaking and even more laughter would take place. For some, it might have been the first time they had heard themselves talking on tape; quite a strange occurrence for some of them back in the 1970's.

It might just have been a family party... but the photo reminds me of such magic moments! 

How I wish I'd kept those tapes. 

I would just love to listen to them now. 

Friday, 18 May 2018


(Elizabeth Douglas b.1873 d.1928)

Elizabeth Douglas was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Douglas, 
who was my maternal great-grandmother.

She was born in Glasgow, Scotland on the 16 May 1873 and was one of three sisters who came with their father to Liverpool from Scotland.

It is believed that she had met my Norwegian great-grandfather while living in Glasgow. 

Peder Gerhard Ingebretsen, (...his Anglicised name Peter Gerard Englebretsen), worked as a mariner on ships which carried goods into and out of the ports of Britain. The exact circumstances of their meeting is not known, but it is believed that the couple met and started a relationship while Peder was on shore leave from the ship.

Elizabeth's mother passed away, and her father brought the family to Liverpool

On 1 November 1890 Elizabeth and Peder were married in Holy Trinity Church, Toxteth, Liverpool. The couple went on to have at least eight children. Three daughters survived - Hannah, Elizabeth and Martha. 

Elizabeth Douglas died in Sefton General Hospital, Liverpool in 1928. 

She died of mitral stenosis - a valvular defect in her heart which led to heart failure.