Friday, 18 July 2008
Meet Ma & Da Wilson
This is Ma & Da Wilson, my maternal great grandparents. Da Wilson was a funeral director and local builder, and then his son James Wilson ( my grandfather ) took over the family business from him. My grandfather went on to be a lecturer at the colleges also, lecturing in ......Embalming! Apparantly he was one of the countrys best.....
I think this is where my love of purple comes from if im honest, as a child we always had loads and loads of this beautiful purple satin and cloth lying around.....I later found out they were spare cloths that (although not the ones we had in the house, they had never been used)that used to be draped over the coffins, in peoples houses as in those days the bodies were taken back to the house. They covered the coffin with this huge cloth which went right down to the floor, the coffin was on two stands supporting it, under the coffin would be a spray. The Undertaker would go to the house each day and spray with this solution to mask the smell of the decaying body. Apparantly as the days went on they needed to go a few times a day as it was quite bad.
I have the original box that he used to keep his embalming tools in , the tools have gone and all the tubes perished, although now the box houses my collection of old handkerchiefs and old fashioned brooches, I suppose its altered art......( i will post a photo of the box)
The group photo is of Da Wilson (in the middle at the front) and his immediate family after attending a conference on funerals, they look like Gangsters dont they? very stern and serious. Ma Wilson's family Hoffmans had the local pork butchers, which apparantly sold delicious food.
Da Wilson had 4 chldren, George who died when he was just young, James (my grandfather)who followed in his fathers footsteps with the local builders and joiners business and also local funeral directors, Annie, who had the local hairdresses (she was petite, and had the most wonderful earrings - she peirced her own ears with a hot sewing needle from the fire) and Rosina, who had the local bakers and catering business. My Grandmother (Jims wife) had the local Post Office which my parents took over when i was about 6 months old.
I hope this gives you some idea about my roots and also you now know why I love old photos. Thanks for reading.