Family Memories with Fay Hampson

This is now my final article for the Leader, so I have taken the liberty of filling it with photographs of my family, specifically with the children of the Charles Street bakery.

The children were: Gwen born 1912, Wally born 1914, Joan born 1916 and Jeff (my dad) born 1918. Here they are as youngsters in 1926.

Gwen, Wally, Joan and Jeff Hampson in 1926. Photo courtesy of Fay Hampson

Gwen, Wally, Joan and Jeff Hampson in 1926. Photo courtesy of Fay Hampson

Gwen (pictured in 1950 in a print blouse) married Wrexham boy Doug Stokes in 1934 and in 1936 my cousin Cathy was born.

After the war this little family moved to Canada, where Uncle Doug, a chemical engineer, worked for Monsanto.

I can remember exciting Christmas parcels arriving at our house from Canada. Once it was a big box of Canadian apples - crisp and red, another time it was peanut brittle - new to us.

Cousin Cathy had lovely clothes and a lot of them came my way and I loved them. We are in touch with Cathy, who still lives in Canada.

Wally, pictured after a dip in 1938 and in a 1930 photo with Jeff, was a civil engineer.

He joined the Royal Engineers in the Second World War, rising to the rank of captain. I have previously written about his distinguished war record.

He married our lovely Auntie Jenny in 1945. Wally then had a job in St Alban's, but he was restless and responded to an advert for a job in the Public Works Department in what was then the Northern Rhodesia Congress and off they went!

When Northern Rhodesia gained independence and was renamed Zambia in 1964, Wally and Jenny returned to the UK, first to Denbighshire where Wally worked in the borough surveyor's office and then, in retirement, to Brighton where he carried on working, this time in kitchen and hardware department of Robert Dyas wonderful store.

I remember him in his brown ironmonger's coat expertly replacing the element in a kettle for a customer. In those days electrical goods came minus a plug and Wally excelled in popping plugs on appliances for yet more satisfied customers.

Auntie Jenny had a little antique shop - very popular in Brighton. Wally and Jenny returned to live at Bangor-on-Dee. Jenny died in her 60s and Wally eventually moved to Abbeyfield and then to Nazareth House where he was looked after with loving care. He died aged 90 in 2004.

Joan was considered "a beauty". She certainly looks lovely in the 1940 photo of her in a check top.

I know that she had beautiful hands and worked at some time as a hand model in advertising. Joan went to visit Wally and Jenny in Africa in the late 1940s and she fell in love!

John Davies worked for the Provincial Commission in North Rhodesia and had become friends with Wally and Jenny.

John was an advisor to Kenneth Kaunda, who became the first president of Zambia in 1964. John fell in love with Joan and they married in Africa in 1951. John continued his distinguished career and he and Joan lived in places across the world until John retired and back they came - to Wrexham!

What can I say about my dad, Jeff? Pictured in 1938 with his beloved Peggy and sweet little Abbie.

I've already written about his war service (Flight Lieutenant J. R. Hampson DFC). He was the first in the family to go to university, to Bangor where he read Forestry and met my mother.

Trees were his great love and he worked for the Welsh Division of the Forestry Commission until the mid-1970s when he took a career move (rare in those days) to Dŵr Cymru (Welsh Water) and my parents moved with their last two children, to Brecon.

I say last two children because mum and dad had six of us, making up for the lack of offspring, apart from Cathy, from his siblings! I have five brothers. The eldest was born in 1943 and the youngest in 1960.

Dad died in 1998 aged 80, but it was when Uncle Wally died in 2004 that our branch of the Hampsons finally left Wrexham, although I have been delighted to learn during lockdown, that I do have distant cousins living there…

The Hampson name is kept alive in Wrexham by Hampson Avenue and Hampson Guest House, both named after my grandparents who ran the Charles Street Bakery all those years ago.