Lemon Sherbet and Dolly Blue

LEMON SHERBET AND DOLLY BLUE
Lemon Sherbet
and
Dolly Blue
The Story of an Accidental Family
LYNN KNIGHT

First published in hardback in Great Britain in 2011
by Atlantic Books, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.
Copyright © Lynn Knight 2011
The moral right of Lynn Knight to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Acts of 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
Every effort has been made to trace or contact all copyright holders. The publishers will be pleased to make good any omissions or rectify any mistakes brought to their attention at the earliest opportunity.
1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
ISBN: 978 184887 416 9
eBook ISBN: 978 0 85789 574 5
Printed in Great Britain
Atlantic Books
An Imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd
Ormond House
26–27 Boswell Street
London
WCIN
3
JZ
www.atlantic-books.co.uk
For my brother
who shares this history with me
Contents

Cast of Characters

Drawing of Wheeldon Mill

List of Illustrations

Prologue

PART ONE

1   I Deliver My Son

2   Brasso and Dolly Blue

PART TWO

3   Pick Me

4   Eva Nash, 1909

5   Turn and Turn-about

6   A Garden Party and a Wedding Invitation

7   Goodbyes, 1914–16

8   Oh Dear! What a Dreadful War

9   Tea for Two

10   Modern Times

11   Motherless Mites

PART THREE

12   Cora

13   Nobody's Sweetheart

14   Afternoon Visiting

15   Back to the Racecourse

16   Oh Romany, I See the Camp Fires Burning

17   Woolworth's Gems and Saturday Treats

18   Chocolate Fudge for Alice Faye

19   Fast Cars and Darker Stories

20   Wartime Snow and Ice 303

21   Shoot Straight, Lady

22   Silver Shoes

23   Endings and Beginnings

24   Beginnings and Endings

Sources

Select Bibliography

Acknowledgements

Cast of Characters

THE FAMILY

Richard Dorance Nash, Dick – my great-grandfather

Betsy Nash (née Ward) – my great-grandma

Annie Dorrans Nash – my grandma

Willie Thompson – my grandfather

(Doris) Eva Nash – Annie's sister, my great-aunt

Cora Thompson – my mum

THE FAMILIES ‘BEHIND' THE FAMILY

Thomas and Sarah Walker – fairground people

Richard Darnce
*
– their son, who becomes
Richard Dorance Nash
on adoption

Joseph and Mary Nash – Richard's adoptive parents; my great-great-grandparents

William Nash – Joseph and Mary's son (also the name given to Richard's nephew and his young son, both of whom visit the corner shop)

Thomas Martin – collier, Eva's father

Emily Ball – Eva's mother

Nellie Martin – daughter

Kitty Martin /Ball – daughter

Margaret Martin /Ball – daughter

Annie Martin /Ball
– youngest daughter, who becomes
(Doris) Eva Nash
on adoption

Jessie Mee – Cora's birth mother

Mrs Sedgwick – her employer

Frances M. Wood (née Mee) – Jessie's married sister

Jessie's baby
– my mum – becomes
Cora Thompson
on adoption

FAMILY CONNECTIONS AND SUNDAY VISITORS

Annie Wardle (née Ward) – Betsy's oldest sister, a former ladies' maid

George Walter Hardcastle – friend of family; sweet on Annie

Annie Wardle's son Jack – killed, First World War

Annie Wardle's son Charlie – invalided out, First World War

Edie Wardle – Charlie's wife

Liza – Betsy's youngest and favourite sister

SOME FRIENDS AND NEIGHBOURS AT WHEELDON MILL

Florrie Stokes – neighbour and mother of Annie's friend Ethel Ethel Stokes – Florrie's daughter, Annie's lifelong friend and childhood defender

Rolly Cook – Ethel's second husband (also the name of Ethel's son)

Nora Parks – collier's wife

Edna Parks – one of Nora's daughters, marries Clem Stokes

Kathleen Driver – soaps the stairs

Clara Tissington – neighbour (lives higher up the hill)

Zoe Graham – publican's daughter, Annie's childhood friend Carrie Rice – Eva's lifelong friend

Mildred Taylor – collier's wife, has pony-driver sons

Jimmy Frith – neighbour; shell-shocked, First World War

Maud Cartwright – back-door visitor to corner shop

Pearl Cartwright – Maud's daughter; Saturday visitor to corner shop

Clem Stokes – one of Ethel's brothers; injured First World War, marries Edna Parks

Georgie, Katie and Punka Stokes – some of Clem and Edna's children

Charles/Charlie Parks – Edna Stokes' brother and lodger

(
SOME OF
)
WILLIE
'
S FAMILY

Jim Thompson – Willie's brother and employer; Mayor of Chesterfield 1939–40

Edith Thompson – his wife

Bernard and Ida Thompson – Willie's brother and wife; Ida works in Derbyshire's outfitter's, Whittington Moor

NEIGHBOURS RACECOURSE ROAD

Mrs Blake – trusted next-door neighbour

Grace and Tommy Blake – two of Mrs Blake's children; Cora's playmates

* See
Chapter 23
for a discussion of the variants in the spelling of my great-grandfather's name

MOST NAMES HAVE BEEN CHANGED

List of Illustrations

p.10     Spoof Race Card, Chesterfield Races, November 1863.

p.19     My great-grandfather's adoption document.

p.31     Memoriam Card for Mary Elizabeth, my great-grandparents' first child.

p.32     My great-grandparents, Betsy and Dick, with my grandma, Annie.

p.35     The construction of Linacre's third reservoir. Dick, the foreman, is standing in the centre, arms folded.

p.36     A studio portrait of Betsy.

p.39     Wheeldon Mill
circa
1908.

p.49     Advertisement for ‘Dolly Blue, Dolly Tints, Dolly Fast Dyes'.

p.58     Annie, grammar-school girl.

p.67     Chesterfield Industrial School, photographed by Nadin, a Chesterfield photographer.

p.70     List of Christmas presents received for the children of the Chesterfield Children's Homes, 29 December 1903.

p.80     Annie and my great-aunt, Eva, shortly after Eva joined the family.

p.80     Annie and Eva on the Christmas card my great-grandparents sent to celebrate Eva's first Christmas with them.

p.85     A studio portrait of Eva a few years after her adoption.

p.93     Young men outside the corner shop shortly before the First World War brought death to the neighbourhood.

p.99     Annie (seated, far left) with some of her fellow pupil-teachers – though not George – and staff, Netherthorpe Grammar School. Headmaster, Miall Spencer, is also sitting on the front row.

p.104   Jim Thompson and party in 1915, celebrating his political success. Thompson's cake shop (with awning) is on the left.

p.105   The second silent postcard with which Willie wooed Annie, featuring Thompson's bakery cart.

p.109   Wartime advertisement for Sunlight Soap,
Derbyshire Times
, 4 November 1916.

p.111   My grandparents shortly before their marriage.

p.111   One of the First World War cards George sent to Eva from the French Front.

p.112   Newly-married Annie.

p.125   ‘Conquer or Die', another of George's wartime cards.

p.132   Sheik's sons, photographed by Willie.

p.133   Willie (right) and fellow combatant in the Middle East.

p.137   The silk handkerchief Annie embroidered.

p.138   The swan pen-wipe.

p.141   The musical box from one of Dick's ‘big house' sales.

p.147   Annie and Willie in the bakehouse yard behind the cake shop.

p.151   Betsy and Eva on the doorstep of the corner shop towards the close of a long, hard day.

p.154   Autumn fashions on sale at Swallow's, September 1923.

p.155   Cover of
Fancy Needlework Illustrated
,
circa
1923.

p.158   Dick, resting his arm on the engine, in his Sheepbridge days.

p.164   Dick in the wood with his chickens.

p.179   Drawing of Tower Cressy by Frank Emanuel.

p.185   Classified advertisements for domestic servants,
The Lady
, 7 July 1927.

p.190   Willie's photograph of Tower Cressy.

p.191   Clara Andrew and babies in the garden at Tower Cressy.

p.192   NCAA instructions given to Annie and Willie.

p.197   Annie with my mum.

p.200   My mum's second-birthday photograph, with her teddy bear and a cake baked by Willie.

p.204   My mum doing a dance for her dad (a ‘donkey stone' is on the window ledge).

p.212   Eva.

p.219   ‘Come Out of the kitchen!' Advertisement for the Parkinson New Suburbia Gas Cooker, circa 1930s.

p.222   A daytrip to the seaside: Betsy and Annie with my mum.

p.227   My mum's fourth-birthday photograph.

p.232   My mum with her doll's pram and Sooty the cat in the back garden at Racecourse Road (Willie's sturdy gate is to the right).

p.239   Joan Mason.

p.241   My mum (right) with a fellow pupil of the Joan Mason Dancing School, performing a minuet.

p.250   Dick with his friend Mr Woolley in the wood.

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