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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A 1930 wedding

I often think fondly about Kathleen Lovis, my grandma who died in 1991 aged 84. She was an indomitable character, larger than life. They never owned their house or had a car, and were never well off. But Grandma was a marvellous cook and made lovely clothes, so my mum and her brother had a happy childhood.

She was 81 and a widow when she finally went abroad for the first time, to Canada where we have relatives. Unfortunately the pace of sight seeing and catching up with relatives resulted in a stroke and she was kept in a Canadian hospital for two weeks. When she got home, doctors could find very little wrong with her.

I am very lucky that she wrote her life story and gave it to me in a red folder. I love her account of her wedding.

She married Jack Lovis in Plymouth, their home town, on December 29 1930. In her account, Kathleen wrote:

"Mother made my wedding dress, long in white satin. She also made the three bridesmaids' dresses, yellow with lavender accessories. We had a small page boy who wore a yellow satin blouse and purple velvet trousers. I borrowed a headdress and veil from a more prosperous friend. It was a lovely long one made of real lace.

"I was lucky that I was able to buy my 3 tiered wedding cake at a reduced price from Cummings, a lovely confectionary shop near us. It was a cancelled order and should have been £2, and I think I got it for £1.

"Jack naturally had bought a nice 22ct wedding ring. I didn't have much of an engagement ring. We'd been told there was a shop selling off its jewellery in Union Street and we'd gone and bought one. It was supposed to have been £7 and we got it at half price. I often wished though it had been a better ring."

My Gran told her friends and boss in Woolworth's, where she was working behind the tea bar, that she was getting married. Her two friends cried and her boss asked if she was ready for marriage. After courting for six years, and 24 years of age, my Gran replied she was more than ready. But of course in those days firms usually chose not to employ married women.

On the morning of her wedding, Kathleen cleaned the brass step as usual. She washed and curled her  hair  and applied her face powder, kept in an orange and blue bowl.

After the service there was a reception.

"I'd bought several very long white loaves - not sliced as it never was then - and my mother had boiled a large ham to perfection. There was a large genoa cake full of fruit and cherries, and a lot of really delicious fancies.

"Needless to say it was a spread fit for a king and queen.

"We only had port or sherry for the toast. Other than that it was soft drinks or gallons of tea. We played games and it really was very congenial."

Grandma changed into her going away outfit, and she and Jack set off the very short distance from Embankment Road to Oakfield Terrace, where they were going to set up home in a top floor flat. It was to be their first ever night together. And Grandma's two sisters had both bought her a nightie for the occasion.


Sue said...

Loving the detail of your story - and you have photos. Have loads of aunts and uncles but only one or two of before that - and no-one knows who they are.

Sue said...

Oh my word - that will teach me to watch before I type. You are approving comments. You now have three from me - lol