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Saturday, 10 March 2012

2. Albert Ray's Childhood in the 1890s.

Albert Ray's mother, Emily Grace Higgs,  had two older and three younger sisters as well as two younger brothers, all living within the Heston or Hounslow area. Emily was the first to marry, and Bert was the first grandchild for Emily's parents, David and Lydia Higgs.  Others, however, soon followed. By 1901, two of Emily sisters and one of her brothers were married.

Alice Ada Higgs
Harry Robert Chitty
Her older sister Helen married Charles Keen, a local signwriter.

Her younger sister Alice married Harry Chitty, a whitesmith from Richmond. In 1901, her brother Richard married Katherine Bravery, a commercial clerk from Richmond.

all portraits courtesy of  Peter Furze

Kate Chitty
Her brother Charles married Kate Chitty, grocer's book keeper and sister of Harry, in 1904.

David Higgs
Lydia Higgs
David and Lydia Higgs were market gardeners with 50 acres on the Bath Rd, employing both men and women, some family, some not.

In 1903, David and Lydia must have been very proud of their growing family, as demonstrated by the photo below.

Back row, Albert Ray, unknown, Jack (John) Keen, Middle Row, Harry Chitty, Doll (Dorothy)Ray, Fred Ray, Sydney Ray, Percy Keen, front Row: Stanley Ray, Jessie Higgs ,Janet Chitty, Gordon Chitty, Kate Chitty, Winifred Keen. (It is possible Fred Ray and Winifred Keen should be reversed) . The photo is from the records of Molly Keen. Thanks to Peter Furze.
The Rays were living in High Street Hounslow, the Keens in Cross Lances Rd Hounslow South, the Chitty's in Lydia Villas on the Upton Road, Hounslow North. Richard Higgs and his family lived on the Bath Road market garden property with David and Lydia. The cousins saw a lot of each other in their childhood. There were three National schools in Hounslow in 1903, Hounslow Heath, Heston and Spring Grove and at least some of the children would have attended the same one.

In 1903 Bert also won his first cycling medal, in a competition organised by the Heston and Isleworth United District.

It was an optimistic, relatively secure and predictable world for Albert Ray, surrounded by capable, enterprising adults in an extended family.

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