My Little Sister and I are poring over a photograph of a family wedding to see if we can recognise anybody. Which is more difficult than you might be thinking as the wedding in question too’ place on September 24th
1916. Otherwise known as A Long Time Ago.
We had left it rather late to start a new round of family history research as my sister and her fella really wanted to leave for home by around six o’clock.
I am somewhat ashamed to admit that this meant that my brother in law was out in the kitchen, slaving over a hot stir fry, while his other half and I were enjoying ourselves trying to work out which of the several women, all dressed up in their wedding finery,
might be our grandmother and whether any of the children might just be our four year old mother.
Of the thirty people, young and old, captured in this Moment of
Time, we only knew the identity of nine for sure - and that was thanks to second cousin Colin, whose father was an angelic curly-headed mite sitting with his brothers in the front row. We also knew who was the bride and who the groom though the fact that they
were sitting in the centre of the front row and that she was wearing a bridal veil helped in our process of logical identification.
We could usefully have
started earlier and spent the whole afternoon in research but I wanted to take our visitors on a tour of an area of our home town they had not seen. Especially I wanted to take them onto Worthing Pier (which has just been voted Pier of the Year 2019 - I am
SO proud!) to show them all the stained glass Windows on the Pier, including one of the latest, celebrating the 25 years Voluntary Action Worthing worked to enable and encourage the local voluntary sector to thrive. While Bas, my brother in law, and I walked
and talked, stopping every so often to gaze upon a particular window, my sister took her time, reading the inscriptions on every single window. I should have known she would - she was just the same when we were littl’uns.
There was plenty of time, however, to point out the previously dull black bus shelters now painted in fetching pastel colours; the sea-front flower beds tended by many a local club, business or individual;
the beach huts now used to display arts and crafts; and the spot on the beach where the East Beach sandpit will soon be installed for another summer. Well done to the Worthing Journal, the Worthing Town Centre initiative and all the members of the local community
who love our town and do their bit to make a difference.
A quick turn of direction took us into Beach House Park to see the memorial to the soldiers who lost their
lives in the Battle of Boar’s Head on June 30th 1916 - known as “The Day Sussex Died” as local casualties were so high - and to peep through the railings at the Memorial to the Warrior Birds, the pigeons who carried messages to and from the
Front during the Second World War. I always love the fact that so many pigeons frequent this area of the park today, for all the world as if they are paying their respects to their forebears.
We finished off with coffee and cake in Palm Court Pavilion where a party of cheerfully chatty women were celebrating a Baby Shower for one of their number with a delicious-looking Afternoon Tea - before we headed back to the bus stop
via the town centre. It was a Perfect Outing.
You can understand, I’m sure, that as a result we don’t really have the time we need to pay due attention
to William and Emma’s marriage in 1916. We will, however, keep at it - if nothing else it will give us another reason to keep in regular contact.
have so many questions. Which moustachioed gentleman is Thomas Charles? Which of the women in their wedding finery is Rosina? Who are the two elderly women, dressed all in black but with white feathers in their bonnets and wide smiles on their faces belying
their sombre attire? Could one of them be the fabled “Aunt Tilly” of whom our dear Mum often spoke?
I really, really need to know!