Sally in a Tree
Victorian necklace: silver with red glass droplets. This belonged to Annie Forsyth, mother of Arthur Mulligan and grandmother of Janet. Annie gave it to Arthur’s wife Elsie, who gave it to Janet, who gave it to me. We think it’s the only thing left of Annie’s possessions that have remained in the family.I remember playing with this as a little girl when I tipped out mum’s jewellery boxes, I had no idea it was so special. I’m filled with warmth to have it in my hands and know of its roots. I can’t help but wonder what sort of life Annie might have had, to have owned such an item, and what occasions she might have worn it for. 

Victorian necklace: silver with red glass droplets. This belonged to Annie Forsyth, mother of Arthur Mulligan and grandmother of Janet. Annie gave it to Arthur’s wife Elsie, who gave it to Janet, who gave it to me. We think it’s the only thing left of Annie’s possessions that have remained in the family.

I remember playing with this as a little girl when I tipped out mum’s jewellery boxes, I had no idea it was so special. I’m filled with warmth to have it in my hands and know of its roots. I can’t help but wonder what sort of life Annie might have had, to have owned such an item, and what occasions she might have worn it for. 

The text on the back of this picture says it’s HMS Cerion. However a bit of research showed that no such ship existed. A bit more research and it turns out most likely to be the HMS Ceylon.This is my grandma Elsie Mulligan (nee Ryan). Arthur, her husband, as we know, was in the navy and this website explains that the HMS Ceylon ventured to Scapa Flow on Orkney. We did already know Arthur traveled there whilst in the Navy so it makes sense that it was actually the HMS Ceylon she’s aboard here. I’ve emailed the founder of the website to see if he or any of its associated members could verify this, though it seems very probable anyway.The caption on the photo says she was about to go into the boilerhouse, which explains the ‘scrubs’ and surely the job of the wife of a Navy man was to smile and lift the spirits on rare ventures aboard. But I wonder, really, how happy a young woman, whose husband is off to war, standing under two overbearingly large canons, could be. The more I discover about her, the more I see what incredible inner strength she had.

The text on the back of this picture says it’s HMS Cerion. However a bit of research showed that no such ship existed. A bit more research and it turns out most likely to be the HMS Ceylon.

This is my grandma Elsie Mulligan (nee Ryan). Arthur, her husband, as we know, was in the navy and this website explains that the HMS Ceylon ventured to Scapa Flow on Orkney. We did already know Arthur traveled there whilst in the Navy so it makes sense that it was actually the HMS Ceylon she’s aboard here. I’ve emailed the founder of the website to see if he or any of its associated members could verify this, though it seems very probable anyway.

The caption on the photo says she was about to go into the boilerhouse, which explains the ‘scrubs’ and surely the job of the wife of a Navy man was to smile and lift the spirits on rare ventures aboard. But I wonder, really, how happy a young woman, whose husband is off to war, standing under two overbearingly large canons, could be. The more I discover about her, the more I see what incredible inner strength she had.

The HMS Orion at Suez in 1943.My mum (Janet Ryan) recently wrote this about grandad (Arthur Mulligan) and his connection to the ship…"…During the war he was called up to join the Royal Navy. My father was soon promoted to Lieutenant Instructor, and on HMS Orion he served in the Mediterranean  where his maths and astronomy were invaluable as he  was called on when  enemy mines were spotted as he could easily calculate the distance speed and direction which the  warship Orion must navigate to avoid the mines: I understand from an aunt that he had little sleep during this time. He was also at Scapa Flow ( Orkney ), fortunately not when the U boat entered unseen. He taught navigation at Greenwich and at Portsmouth". I remember being told about this by mum once, I must have been young because the explanation I got, was that his job was to drive ships at night using the stars instead of a map.
  

The HMS Orion at Suez in 1943.

My mum (Janet Ryan) recently wrote this about grandad (Arthur Mulligan) and his connection to the ship…

"…During the war he was called up to join the Royal Navy. My father was soon promoted to Lieutenant Instructor, and on HMS Orion he served in the Mediterranean  where his maths and astronomy were invaluable as he  was called on when  enemy mines were spotted as he could easily calculate the distance speed and direction which the  warship Orion must navigate to avoid the mines: I understand from an aunt that he had little sleep during this time. He was also at Scapa Flow ( Orkney ), fortunately not when the U boat entered unseen. He taught navigation at Greenwich and at Portsmouth". 

I remember being told about this by mum once, I must have been young because the explanation I got, was that his job was to drive ships at night using the stars instead of a map.

  

The Inaugural Nelson Gramophone Society

Quick apologies for a very quiet blog of late. I am still collecting documents, objects, stories etc. The only delay is due to lack of time, and lack of images to go with the many excellent stories that have come in. If you have a story to send me, please do - if you have an image that would go with it - even better! Mum (Janet Ryan) sent me an article she wrote about her dad, Arthur Mulligan, something of a local character, much known, loved and respected by all accounts. I’ll come back to that another time but it reminded me of something else I’d come across about his role in setting up Nelson’s Gramophone Society…

 Nelson Grammarphone Society

* “Although the present society dates its foundation from October 1950 there had been an earlier gramophone society in Nelson of which little is known apart from the fact that, like its successor, it met in the Borough Café. We don’t know when that society started but we do know when it ended. The advent of the wireless as a new source of music in the home (and of the cinema as another challenger in the entertainment field) caused its membership to dwindle to a point where the society was no longer viable and, towards the end of 1925, the founders conceded defeat, held a final meeting and disbanded.

For the next 25 years there was no gramophone society in Nelson. By 1950, however, radio was no longer a novelty and interest in music on record had revived, boosted by the release in June that year of the first LPs from Decca. Alec Croasdale’s record shop (which stood on the corner of Every St. and Pendle St.) was a favourite hang-out for record enthusiasts and three of these were the founders of the new Nelson Gramophone Society. Their names were Edgar Kay (who had been a member of the old society), Alan Robinson and Arthur Mulligan; names which may be familiar to many older residents of Nelson and district.

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Nelson Grammar School.Also written on the back something I couldn’t make out - clublands? newlands?I can identify Janet (mum) (top row middle); Sylvia, Elsie and Arthur (bottom row, right hand side all together) and Janet’s best friend Dorothy (middle row, second from right).Mum went to Nelson Grammar School (later Walton Lane High School, now Pendle Community High School). Dad went there too. And Arthur taught there. I’m not sure but I assume he taught maths.Maybe around 1961 though I don’t know. I wonder what the club or group was, and the occasion for the group photo. And why Elsie / Grandma was part of it too since she didn’t work there, but did accompany Arthur / Grandad on lots of his trips to all sorts of places.

Nelson Grammar School.
Also written on the back something I couldn’t make out - clublands? newlands?

I can identify Janet (mum) (top row middle); Sylvia, Elsie and Arthur (bottom row, right hand side all together) and Janet’s best friend Dorothy (middle row, second from right).

Mum went to Nelson Grammar School (later Walton Lane High School, now Pendle Community High School). Dad went there too. And Arthur taught there. I’m not sure but I assume he taught maths.

Maybe around 1961 though I don’t know. I wonder what the club or group was, and the occasion for the group photo. And why Elsie / Grandma was part of it too since she didn’t work there, but did accompany Arthur / Grandad on lots of his trips to all sorts of places.

Arthur & His Mother. I don’t know her name, or what year this is. I’d guess by the dress it might be early 1940s, though Arthur (Grandad) has no decoration of his outfit so maybe it was earlier. Or maybe this was his shore leave suit? Or perhaps you only wore all the badges and whistles on special occassions? 
I do know Arthur was in the Navy and worked on large naval ships. I have photos of these to add another day. I know he was (amongst other things) an astronomer and navigated using the stars during wartime, as many naval crew did, so as to avoid drawing unnecessary attention. He also taught other crew how to do this. It was only when I saw this photo today that I realised I don’t know much, if anything, about his mother (my great-grandma). If anyone knows anything about her please add your story in the comments below. 

Arthur & His Mother. I don’t know her name, or what year this is.

I’d guess by the dress it might be early 1940s, though Arthur (Grandad) has no decoration of his outfit so maybe it was earlier. Or maybe this was his shore leave suit? Or perhaps you only wore all the badges and whistles on special occassions? 

I do know Arthur was in the Navy and worked on large naval ships. I have photos of these to add another day. I know he was (amongst other things) an astronomer and navigated using the stars during wartime, as many naval crew did, so as to avoid drawing unnecessary attention. He also taught other crew how to do this.

It was only when I saw this photo today that I realised I don’t know much, if anything, about his mother (my great-grandma). If anyone knows anything about her please add your story in the comments below.