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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.