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Friday, 9 May 2014

Of wickerwork, children and blocks




This week's photo prompt features a pair of little girls called Edith and Ethel, with their alphabet blocks from a set entitled Young England's Floral Alphabet, according to the box under the table, and the older girl is seated on a wicker chair.

I found one photo in my mother's collection in which there is a glimpse of what might or might not be a wicker chair. It's hiding in the background of this picture of my Aunty Pat as a young child,circa 1923, but it could just be a cane chair without any wickerwork whatsoever. It's a sweet photo of Aunty Pat anyway. I've previously written a tribute to Pat and her remarkable achievements  here.


It's a bit hard to tell, but what could be the same chair appears in this subsequent photograph of Pat's sister Jean and brother Derek, taken in about 1930. Definitely wicker here.



I don't have many childhood photographs of my father Ian and his sisters Valarie and Nella at all, but here is one of them taken at a similar time to the one of Jean and Derek, with baby Nella sitting in a little wicker chair. Clearly wicker furniture was the in thing back then. The Cruickshank family lived in the town of Rangiora, a little to the north of Christchurch where the Morrisons lived. Ian and Val are no longer with us, but young Nella is still going strong at 85.  



Several wicker prams feature prominently in numerous photos from Jean's collection, The first photo of the Morrison family pram appears in this beach photograph, but by the time the youngest brother Peter was born in 1937 another wicker pram with smaller wheels was in use. 

Mona and one of her sisters with Pat, Ken and the pram on an outing to the beach.


My mother's label under the above photograph is 'Granddad, Ken and the fowls', but this doesn't seem right, as I can't see any fowls and the baby in the photo below looks very similar, with the same location and  figure in the shadows, and that one is labelled  'I arrive - Pat, Ken and me.' I think that's more likely to be correct. Pat and Ken are looking very smart, as is baby Jean. Sadly Ken was killed in France in 1943. I've written a little more about him here.


Ken and Pat, possibly with their younger brother Derek in the pram this time, unless it's one of Pat or Jean's dolls.

Pat, Jean and Ken,and  again it's probably baby Derek in the pram.pat looks a bit disgruntled about something, and Ken just isn't looking. Two year old Jean looks rather mischievous!

Third son Graeme (no photos of him in the pram) with Derek and baby Peter
Pat and Jean also had dolls' prams, which appear to have been miniature versions of the real thing. I believe these sorts of prams are collectors' items today, but unfortunately these ones weren't kept as family heirlooms. With six children to fit into their small family home in Christchurch NZ, there was probably no space to keep anything that was no longer in use.
Patricia with her  doll and doll's pram
Jean with her doll's pram


Finally, here's a professional photo of my mother Jean aged about four, with alphabet blocks. I have shown this photo before, but it's quite appropriate to the topic, so I hope you don't mind.


That's all from me this week, still a bit jet-lagged from our trip to the UK and Spain, but getting back to normal!
For other Sepian takes on wickerwork, blocks or whatever, just click here.




16 comments:

  1. Not only did your wonderful post remind me of the wickerwork chairs, prams, baskets and everything of my youth, but it also reminded me of a detail I had forgotten which is the patterns often woven into the wickerwork design.

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  2. Thanks for showing all those prams...I did have a photo of one, and didn't even think to post it. Perhaps there will be opportunity sometime.

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  3. Wicker/cane child's chair; wicker prams - large & small; alphabet blocks; and a wonderful collection of adorable children. Who could ask for more! Great post.

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  4. Cane prams, what a wonderful interpretation of cane chairs. Everyone of your prams looks familiar to me. As to blocks, what first comes to mind are those Cuisinaire blocks that were used for teaching Arithmetic. A lovely set of photos.

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  5. Welcome home Jo.
    What a delightful set of photos. The beach photo is fun. I wonder how the went pushing the pram in the sand. And I'm very impressed with Pat's fur coat!

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  6. I especially like the prams. Unlike the chairs, the prams are no longer seen today.

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  7. What a great collection of family photographs you have to match the wicker chair theme. The first and last ones of your Aunt Pat and your mother are so cute. I must admit that your father and his sisters don't look too happy at the prospect of being dressed up for a studio photograph. On the other hand the ones of the little girls and their prams make me go "Ah.....how sweet.!"

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  8. I think that is a doll in the 7th photo down. The way the hands are sort of little and stiff looking.

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    1. Yes, I thought that too, but we just visited our new baby granddaughter and I was surprised to notice that she could quite easily fall asleep when we were out walking her in the pram with her hands stuck up in the air just like in that photo! I always put our babies down on their tummies to stop them waking themselves up by waving their arms, but of course these days that's very much discouraged because of research on the sudden infant death syndrome.

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  9. A fine collection of family photographs set around the theme, including sisters, wicker and blocks!

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  10. Those prams are wonderful. I doubt many people in the future will be drooling over the plastic playthings of today's children.

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  11. Snap ! I found photos of wicker prams too. Your photos are just marvellous. I am still trying to work out what is at the foot of the chair in the third photo taken in the studio.

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    1. Mmm, I was wondering about that thing on the floor too - guess I could ask my Aunty Nella, who lives up your way these days, in Mudgeeraba, on the Gold Coast hinterland, not that she would remember from when the photo was taken, but still, she might have some idea what it could be. Maybe just some kind of photographer's prop for getting the children's attention - if so, Brett our SS photo sleuth might be able to enlighten us.

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  12. A great interpretation. I had wicker chairs from my grandmother until only a few years ago and always loved them. Sadly time caught up with them.

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  13. Some lovely photos on the theme, and especially well done on finding both wicker and alphabet blocks. The dolls prams are a bonus!

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  14. Such wonderful photos. The kids all look like little dolls.

    My dad had a wicker rocking chair which got passed along to his brother. Then it was passed along to me. Eventually it was given back to my uncle, my dad's brother, who used it with his three sons. Then when they were grown my aunt and uncle kept it. Now they just both died a few months ago and one of my cousins has taken ownership of the chair and has found a man who will repair it to the way it was when my dad had it. I have to say I wish I'd kept it. I loved that chair.

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