And I, who else, was with her,
Gathering woodland lilies,
Myriads blow together.
The Maud in my photograph is not the one made famous by Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem of that name, from which the above quote comes. The girl on the waggon, smiling from behind the bottom corner of the banner, is my very own Great - Aunt Maud (1893-1980). And where was she? Well, on the back of the photograph is pencilled "Missionary Festival, Albert Hall, 1905" in Maud's own fair hand. This was not the Albert Hall in London, but the one in my home city of Nottingham. At that time the hall was in the hands of the Wesleyan Methodist Mission, but the year after this photograph was taken, fire swept through the building. The Albert Hall which I remember was begun in 1909 and to this day remains magnificent concert hall and conference venue, adjoining the city's Playhouse.
So that takes care of the location and answers the question posed in my post title. But who was Maud? She was the older sister of my maternal grandfather Sid and his brother Albert, and is seated next to him in the 'Wedding Day Delay' photograph. She worked in the Nottingham Lace industry but after the war itself she was assigned to 'Army Labour Corps Records' which dealt, among other things with demobilisation. I recently acquired her autograph book, where many of her friends from the office wrote poems and sketched pictures for her.
|Mum and Aunt Maud|
My mother (born in 1920) was very fond of Auntie Maud (or Maude, depending on how she felt like signing it). During the 1930s Mum attended Sunday School picnics organised by her, and even went away on holiday to the seaside with her. Maud was a keen amateur photographer, and developed most of her own pictures. Some she hand-coloured, and two in particular she had made into wooden jigsaws for my mother. I still have them and one of my very first posts as a blogger was about one of these. There are no comments on that post so I'm guessing very few have seen it; please spare a minute to take a look at the wonderful jigsaw and the original picture with my poem in my post, 'In and out the Dusty Bluebells'.
|Great- auntie Maud with two-year old Me|
I remember her from my own childhood when I would be taken by my parents to visit her, or she would call on my grandparents whilst I was staying with them. She was a very kind lady who volunteered in her local community, notably with the 'Hard of Hearing' club. She was quite deaf herself and wore a hearing aid. Unfortunately this meant that she also spoke rather loudly. She also had a habit of repeating sentences, beginning the second sentence (as an echo of the first one) with an introductory, "I say.....". Whether this was a result off her disability or indeed just a habit, I'm not sure.
|My daughter with her Great-great Auntie Maud|
Maud and her brothers lost their mother when they were very young; Maud was just nine years old. Possibly this made her quite independent and not a little feisty. She was able to turn her hand to many crafts and made many of her own clothes. She was still tending her garden and making her own bread in old age. She was one of the WW1 generation of young women who never married. So many young eligible men lost their lives, reducing the chances of ladies like Maud to marry. She and another maiden lady became 'companions' and shared a home together until Maud's death. My grandfather always maintained that it was more than just friendship, but we shall never know, nor indeed, care. I was fond of both of them and they always showed affection to my own family.
Alan's prompt for this week's Sepia Saturday suggests 'waggons' and 'aunties' so I've managed both. Why not see for yourself what others have come up with. There's also a lively Facebook page you can join (you don't have to be a blogger).