Family Memories with Fay Hampson

Here is my great-great-grandmother, Mrs Hayward, in 1880 with her three daughters, twins Polly and Sally, and Kitty born in 1854, who was my great grandmother.

Sally married horse breeder Jack Jones, of Whitegate Farm Wrexham. The Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) was so impressed by Jack’s Gold Cup winning horses at the Windsor Horse Show, that he started buying his carriage horses from him.

Polly kept a summer boarding house on the North Wales coast. Kitty married Henry Hampson and one of their sons was my grandad Herbert Hampson, of whom I have written at length.

The photograph of Kitty on her own must have been taken around the same time, as in both these photos the women are wearing what looks like black bombazine, which was a mourning material in Victorian times. Had the lovely Farmer Hayward, the girls’ father, recently died?

Bombazine was woven with a silk warp and worsted weft and the resulting cloth was fine, strong and ideal for suiting.

The centre for worsted production in 19th century Britain was Norfolk. It was spun from long staple wool, such as that found on the Romney Marsh and Old Leicester Longwool sheep.

The little flower girl in the photo is my Auntie Gwen, aged four in 1915, and the baby is my dad Jeff, who was born above the family’s Charles Street Wrexham bakery in 1918.

At that time baby boys were dressed in frocks and dad’s is a beauty.

Isaac Merritt Singer patented his sewing machine in 1851 and when I look at all that sewing in my relatives’ fabulous frocks, I certainly hope they had one.

I still use my hand operated Singer sewing machine, which I inherited from another aunt. I wouldn’t be without it!