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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

9. Independence

In 1911 Bert was a mineral water traveller. In 1912 he worked for six months in Pinkerton's market garden in Rayleigh, Essex. It is likely that the change occurred with the sale of the family's mineral water business.

The market garden work was seasonal.

He got a good reference. It included, almost as an afterthought, the fact that John Pinkerton had always found him sober - a characteristic Bert kept all his life.

He collected other references, including one from the Edinburgh Hotel to which the family had no doubt regularly delivered mineral water.
The move from Hounslow seems to have put paid to his competitive cycling.

Permanent work was hard to find. Somewhere, however, in his search for work and friendship in Essex, he met Nellie Talbot, a young woman, daughter of a farm labourer, living in St Thomas Road, South Fambridge, Essex, with her parents, six sisters and four brothers, .

 They got on well. She apparently appreciated his sobriety.

In March 1913 they were married at the Fulham Registry Office, giving as their address 17 Mulgrove Road Fulham. Bert had a job as a railway porter.

No one from either of their families was present. Bert was 21. Nell was 20, although the marriage certificate says 21. Nell, it seems, put her age up by a year. Either her father had refused permission for her to marry, or she hadn't told her parents.

Their son, the third and last Albert Edward Ray, was born in June of the same year. Only after the death of both Bert and Nell did their marriage certificate and date of marriage come to light. They kept to themselves the story of their marriage and the reactions of their families.

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