I was touched to be given Elsie’s sewing table and sewing tins when she died. She was a prolific needlewoman and I remember the hundreds of times I saw her peering over an embroidery or tapestry frame. For a long time all her haberdashery supplies were left as they were, in my sewing cupboard. There was a huge tangle of embroidery threads in tins and bags and I’ve finally got round to sorting and tidying them. As I unwrapped the many ‘leftovers’ which she preciously saved for other projects, I unravelled the scraps of paper she’d wrapped them around. They date from 1938 to late 1950s (I’m guessing, from the design of the gas advert). The W. Ryan mentioned in the British Legion is William Ryan, Elsie’s dad. I’m still working through the threads, there may be more treasures to uncover yet…
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.
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.