Search This Blog

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

1. The birth of Albert Edward Ray in 1891

Albert Edward Ray was born in 1891, the first-born child of Albert Edward Ray, mineral water maker and Emily Grace Higgs, market gardener, living on Staines Rd near Hounslow, Middlesex, England.

His parents appear to have been hard-working, supported by extended families and keen to combine their assets and skills as business partners. They were well placed.

Both families had reached Middlesex from Buckinghamshire and were taking advantage of the demand for food and drink that arose from the growth of London where buildings were taking over the agricultural land close to Chelsea and the Covent Garden Markets.

In 1913, John Weathers in his book Commercial Gardening wrote:

Market gardening has been a great industry in the Thames valley for generations, and notwithstanding the operations of the builder, and the enormous growth of the London suburbs, there is still a large area around the metropolis devoted to market gardening. Of course the market gardener is being pushed farther and farther out, but with improved methods of transit, and better roads, the man twenty or thirty miles from London is probably in as good a position as his predecessor was fifty or sixty years ago, when only a dozen miles from Covent Garden. Old market-garden districts like Deptford, Fulham, and Chelsea have been wiped out by the builder, and buildings and roads now take the place of cabbages,rhubarb, fruit trees and bushes that not so many years ago made those neighbourhoods truly rural. This pressure from the centre has naturally driven the market gardener farther out, and such places as Feltham, Ashford, Sipson, Staines,West Drayton, Harmonds-worth, Bedfont, Shepperton, Stanwell, and Cranford, in Middlesex, are becoming covered with fruit and vegetable gardens. ... Chiswick, on the north bank, still contains some of its ancient market gardens, and these extend to Brentford, Isleworth, Heston, and Hounslow; but in these famous market-garden areas the builder is rapidly covering the ground with bricks and mortar.

The mineral water business was also growing.

So Albert Ray was baptised at the less than 20 year-old church, St Paul's Hounslow Heath, on 18th October 1891.

His godparents gave him a Bible, which he kept, all his life, in a hand-stitched white cotton bag.

By 1895 Bert, as he was known to his family, had a brother and a sister and they wore the fashion of the day.

All seemed promising for his future.

No comments:

Post a Comment