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Monday, 26 March 2012

6. Without a Father

There are few records to tell us the detail of how Emily steered her family through the first couple of years of her widowhood. They kept the business going somehow. Bert took on the job of delivery. Doll took on more and more responsibility for the younger children as Emily looked for, and found work as a housekeeper.

It is not clear whether Bert left school before or upon his father's death. Years later, a letter to Bert from an old school friend, Edd Button, mentions their school masters, Bazely Chinn and J Hardwick Barker.

 We do know he won a scholarship in 1908 to attend Handicraft classes at the Houslow Polytechnic, presumably at night and attended until 1910.

He made a chessboard that he kept his whole life.

The back is lined and signed, A.E. Ray Xmas 1908.

We have no record of what else Bert made in his classes. He was, however, always handy and interested in making things. The classes, rather than being recreational, appear to be part of his attempt to improve himself and learn useful skills. His view of education remained practical throughout his life.

Bert's recreation was his cycling, but even that was not free from stress.

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