Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847) by Peter Grant

Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
(1809-1847)

Mendelssohn courtesy Evans Bros

As with Handel, a century earlier, the English expropriated Mendelssohn from Germany. It was perhaps inevitable; for surely no-one whom Prince Albert had played to, who had heard the Queen sing “with charming feeling and expression”, and who had discussed with her the future Edward VII, could possibly remain a foreigner? Goethe, who knew Mendelssohn as a boy and as a young man, is reported to have hailed him as a David to his Saul; his nearer contemporaries thought him at least the equal of Bach and Handel; yet by the turn of the century even his most ignorant critic was speaking of him as an overrated confectioner of drawing-room trifles, and his young lady patrons were swept away by their far from romantic daughters – Ibsen and Shaw abetting. Naturally the opponents of what was smugly conservative and sentimental in Victorian England could hardly admit to enjoying the very source of its shallow stream of music. So, like Tennyson, whose vast success and subsequent eclipse were similar to his, and who incidentally was born in the same year, Mendelssohn paid heavily for his drawing-room fame, his faҫile pen and his almost unclouded life. Now, of course, the position is different; and since we are neither romantics fighting conservative tradition nor oppressed children opposing our fathers, we can afford to enjoy Mendelssohn for what he is, without fighting him for what he never intended to be.
After such early adulation it was small wonder that Mendelssohn’s hostile critics took him for a mediocre prig, and remarkable that they were wrong. Every trap was laid for him. Even a present-day cinema “genius” could hardly have a more imposing and treacherous background. His father, a respectable Jewish banker, associated with most of the artists and intellectuals of his day. The grandfather, Moses, after beginning life at the starvation level, finished as a literary critic and philosopher, the colleague of Lessing, and the man responsible for the 18th century Jewish renaissance. One of his daughters married the brother of Schlegel, the great Shakespearean translator, and they both wrote romantic novels, advocated “free love”, and for a time at least acted on their principles. So behind him Felix had commerce, intellect, art, and even licence; and when his parents became Christians, assuming the name Bartholdy, he was brought up a Lutheran.
Taught first by his mother, an accomplished pianist and linguist, Felix then went to Zelter, the conductor of the Berlin Singakademie, and to Moscheles, the great pianist. A prodigy, he had written 13 symphonies for strings by his fifteenth year. This facility of composition never left him, but in some ways it was a doubtful gift; for often his music came too freely for him to discriminate about it, and had he not been at root a great composer he might easily have degenerated into a brilliant Kapellmeister – a fate that anyhow he did not always escape. At twenty he visited London, conducting his C minor symphony with a bâton, and this was still enough of a novelty to astound the Londoners. Mendelssohn also played Beethoven’s Emperor concerto, heard then for the first time in England. He had already begun his life-long championship of the almost totally neglected Bach, whose present day popularity rests entirely on that initiative. At eighteen Mendelssohn had got from Zelter a manuscript of the St. Matthew Passion, bought cheaply, it is said, from the effects of a dead cheese merchant; and though opposed by his teacher, who evidently lacked the foresight of this twenty-year old genius, early in 1829 he had the work performed, and as a result published; and throughout his life he spread the new gospel of Bach, playing the organ and keyboard works whenever he could.
The first book of Songs Without Words appeared in 1832, but was not immediately successful; though finally it was these pretty pieces that crowned Mendelssohn king of drawing rooms and annoyed him by obscuring his more serious works. In 1843 he founded the Conservatory at Leipzig, soon to become the Mecca of all nineteenth-century music students. Here he wrote most of the Elijah, significantly enough first conceived during a visit to England in 1837. Nine years later Birmingham heard the first performance, with the composer conducting; since then not even the depths of the Mendelssohn slump have dislodged this work from British choral societies.
Through only thirty-eight at his death, in a romantic age Mendelssohn avoided excess in both his art and his music. Later generations thought him too good to be true; and only within the last twenty years or so have we learned to mistrust this verdict. Yet even now we err on the side of conservatism, and many of Mendelssohn’s good and interesting works – the Reformation symphony, for example – are unaccountably neglected.
Adapting Shaw we might say that once there were two composers called Mendelssohn, one who wrote sentimental “salon” music, which excellently served its intended purpose, and another who created the Scotch and Italian symphonies, the Hebrides overture, and many fine separate movements in the choral works, string quartettes and concertos. That this second Mendelssohn was rarely able to resist the influence of the first makes discrimination hard; but unless we are to be foolish and dismiss as unworthy both the seventeen-year-old composer of the Midsummer Night’s Dream overture and the young man of the Italian symphony and the violin concerto, then discrimination there must be. And, of course, discrimination there is; for if we no longer idolize Mendelssohn, at least we have no need to hate him, and it is not by chance that now, a hundred years after his death, many of his finest works are still part of every orchestra’s standard repertory. Perhaps Queen Victoria knew best after all.
PETER GRANT

This article was first published in November 1947 for the Federation of the Women’s Institute magazine “Home & Country”, Home Counties Edition, Volume 29, Number 11, and priced twopence.
Peter’s piece appears on page 192.

H&C1

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On the trail of a would-be concert pianist and writer: Peter Grant continued

Following my earlier blog about Peter Grant, I have continued delving and made a few more discoveries about him. I was contacted by the eminent musician and musical archivist who has done such an extraordinary amount of work to preserve the traditional music of the “London Irish” and traditional Irish Music generally: Reg Hall. You can ‘Google’ Reg and if you do so you will see he has featured on Irish television, TG4, the Gaelic speaking channel, from whom he has won awards for his extraordinary work in this field.

Anyway, Reg was able to confirm that the photographs my sister turned up of a young man in uniform were indeed of Peter Grant. They were also obviously taken at the back of the same house; 39 Lower Richmond Road, where he and my mother lived in Putney when they were married, and when my late half-sister Rosie “Reddy” was born.

My sister, my niece and I visited London in late August and took photos of the property. Unfortunately it was impossible to get around the back, but we could easily see the “L” shape of the building and the zinc roof of the shed (which obscured our entry). From the doorstep of their home, they would have had a wonderful view of the Thames, and a fine old pub “The Duke’s head” is just across the road; I think it is safe to say that this would have been their “local”.

Reg Hall also very kindly gave me a photo of Peter Grant in his later years, at the time he was married to Evelyn Honour Lucille Gilliat-Smith! This was when he was living at Barn Cottage in West Hoathley, West Sussex. I also learnt from Reg that Barn Cottage had been built by the Ursula Ridley. The Ridley’s were the “Lords of the Manor” in Hoathly and owned the whole village! Barn Cottage has changed now out of all recognition, but it was in their time a most interesting building, incorporating different architectural styles, the names of which I cannot draw to mind at present.

Peter Grant (extreme right-hand side of photo) West Hoathly

Peter Grant (extreme right-hand side of photo) West Hoathly

Peter’s house was crammed full of books and the shelves revealed he had more than a passing interest in psychiatry.

Peter’s grand-daughter, my niece, Louise, visited West Hoathly earlier this year and met two ladies who remember Peter. They very kindly gave her a collection of “Country Living” magazines featuring articles by Peter Grant; so at least one of his ambitions was materialised (He had wished to become a writer).

Peter’s War Records and his Death Certificate both say that he was a Paraplegic. Reg was able to elaborate on this injury sustained during the North African campaign; Peter received a bullet in the spine from a German aircraft.

I take solace from knowing that Peter, despite being a paraplegic, was somehow able to get about with the aid of a stick. I know (from Reg) that he spent years as an out-patient at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital; internationally recognised as a centre of excellence for spinal cord injuries.

I also know from Reg that Peter suffered permanent and agonising pain, but that he bore this with tremendous fortitude, always “keeping the bright side out” and remained cheerful and good-humoured nevertheless.

This morning I noticed from the Marriage Registry entry at the time he married my mother, that as well as giving his address at the time of 11 Stanley Studios, Park Walk, Chelsea, he also gave a “presently residing at” address of 7c Northumberland Street, Edinburgh. What I hadn’t noticed until today was that this is the same address as that of the two Witnesses; “Georgina Neal Watt or MacDonald” and “William Sneddon”. I hope that I can learn more about these two names, as they must have been known to Peter, surely, if he was residing with them. Perhaps they were relatives? Peter’s father came from Scotland (though he himself was born and brought up in Doncaster).

I shall continue to plough on until I have discovered all there is to know of Peter and I hope that in doing so he will not be forgotten.

I forgot to mention that before he was drafted into the army and sent off to become ‘canon fodder’ he had been studying at the Royal College of Music in London. He attended there for two years and was training to be a Concert Pianist. What folly it is to send men such as Peter; musical, literary characters, to fight as foot soldiers in a stupid, bloody war. Surely a gentle, sensitive man such as him should never be forced into such a position?

If you are reading this and have any information about Peter, however small or insignificant, I should be most grateful if you contacted me as every tiny scrap of information helps to build a clearer picture of this sweet, tragic figure.

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Finding Heinrich Wolf

Since first writing “Whatever Happened to Henry Wolf” I have discovered a bit more, and as WP seems not to allow me to edit it in the way I would wish, I am now reblogging it as though it were a brand new post!

 

What Do I Know of the Wolfs?

 

Precious little actually!

My late mother, who was adopted as a baby by Joe Henry and Emily Clegg, must have at some point found out, presumably from the Cleggs, that her birth parents were Amy Alice Oakham and Earnst Wolf. She was also told that he was a musician and of Austrian descent (she wrote this information in her third born child’s ‘baby book’). My mother’s old school, Polam Hall in Darlington, gives her date of birth as 2nd February 1919, which matches the birth record and baptismal record of one Rose Amy Wolf. However, rather than Earnst, the few scant documents I have unearthed name him as Henry Wolf.

Here are copies of the supporting documents so far:

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She knew of her birth parents by the time of her first marriage to Peter Grant as the following certificate confirms:

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Her mother, Amy Alice Wolf (nee Oakham) remarried in 1922 to one Frederick Walker, naming herself as a widow:

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From Amy Alice’s first marriage record, we find that Henry’s father was called Hubert and that he was a tailor. Henry gives his occupation as Hotel waiter (not that this means he wasn’t also a musician!) Henry is also documented as a Waiter on the parish records of Rose Amy’s Baptism at St. Barnabas’ Church Pimlico.

So far we know that Henry Wolf was 22 when he married Amy Alice Oakham in 1913, thus giving us his birth year as 1891.

There is one record of a Hubert Wolf, an Austrian; it may say ‘Tailor’ (it equally may say ‘Sailor’!) on board a passage from Bremen to New York in 1893 aged 23. This spurious lead becomes even more spurious if one leaps to the conclusion that this Hubert Wolf born in 1870 who has a son called Emil, coincidentally born in 1891, is ours: one can easily see how tempting it is to put legs under a thing and run with it! I choose NOT to leap to any conclusions that I cannot be absolutely sure of! So what I do know is very little:

Henry Wolf was born in 1891, married Amy Alice Oakham in 1913, had 3 daughters: Adeline W Wolf born in 1912, who adds an ‘e’ to her name on the electoral roll in the 1930s, where she lives, still, at 11 St. Barnabas Street; Helene Bertha Wolf, born 1914, who married one Norman E Barnacle and died in 1989, they had one daughter Ann Barnacle in 1937 who married one Ronald A Edmonds and who died in 2005. And my mother, Rose Amy Wolf, born in 1919, was adopted, had her name changed to Rosemary Yolanda Clegg (nicknamed Mollie at school), who married 3 times and had 8 children, of which I am the youngest!

If anyone recognises any of these names and can throw any light upon what happened to Henry Wolf that forced his wife to hand over her baby, and what became of that babies two sisters; my aunts, and their children (if any), my cousins; I should be enormously grateful.

 

Since writing this blog in November (2013), I have discovered a census document, which, although doesn’t give his first name, is almost certainly him. The district (Pimlico), his age (19), his profession (waiter) all match.

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I have also learnt, through contact with newly-discovered cousins, to whom I am immensely grateful and very eager to meet, that Henry Wolf was interned on the Isle of Man, as an ‘Enemy Alien’. His middle daughter, Helene (deceased) remembered his returning after the war. It is likely that he was then deported, ‘repatriated’ to Austria, as there was little appetite for sympathy towards the internees after the war with national newspapers, chiefly the Daily Express, demanding their deportation. These internees were held for a cruel further year after the war had ended while the tribunals were heard.

Most of the records from WW1 were held in London and were destroyed by fire during WW2 (the Blitz). The indexed cards of these records were destroyed by mistake in 1970! The International Red Cross have some records, though not in any form which means they can be easily searched, and I understand that they may search them for a fee. They facilitated the repatriation and may also have records of the vast number of internees who died during that time.

I am reliably informed by an Historian on the Isle of Man, that women in Amy Alice’s position, for whom divorce was unavailable (it being a luxury only the rich could afford), very often chose the title of ‘widow’.

How it was that he and Amy Alice conceived Rose Amy (summer of 1918) in order for her to have been born on 6th February 1919 I am yet to discover! There were instances of internees being released early on humanitarian grounds (ill-health), but it may never be possible to find out as the records have been lost/destroyed.

It does, at least, go some way in explaining why my mother was given up.

As for my part, I shall never rest until I have discovered what became of him, where he was born and who his mother was, at the very least! I may have to learn German and visit Austria!

 

Just last weekend, my newly-found cousin turned up this document folded up in a brown envelope amongst her grandmother’s and her mother’s letters, papers and diaries.

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 At last I know what became of Heinrich Wolf; he died, after a long illness, aged just 31. What I should dearly love to know is if he had siblings, aunts and uncles, and are there living relatives in Austria or elsewhere who I might yet track down!

And there’s still the small matter of my mother’s conception! A lot more to do!

I am indebted to the East European Genealogical Society who are going ‘above and beyond’ to help me in my research, and I hope to be able to add to my knowledge of Henry Wolf shortly. Watch this space!

 

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Hurricane Winds Bring Trees Down

littlelucylavendar

Today the South West of Ireland experienced hurricane strength winds with gusts of 100mph.

I tweeted this:

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When the storm had finally abated, we ventured out to see if any trees had been blown over. They had!

First was quite close by, at the corner of ‘The Pen’ and ‘Parc i dán’ where three trees and the ground under them were pulled up, bringing the sheep fence down and exposing the bottoms of the fence posts:

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Next we went over to the ‘Cnocán’ (the field in front of the house where the two remaining pet lambs live) and at the bottom, two trees had toppled over, bringing up the sheep wire:

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Just along from those two, a large tree was blown over into my neighbour’s field! Who gets to take a chainsaw to it under these circumstances?

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In the same section of the field, following the drain/hedge along, west, a…

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Hurricane Winds Bring Trees Down

Today the South West of Ireland experienced hurricane strength winds with gusts of 100mph.

I tweeted this:

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When the storm had finally abated, we ventured out to see if any trees had been blown over. They had!

First was quite close by, at the corner of ‘The Pen’ and ‘Parc i dán’ where three trees and the ground under them were pulled up, bringing the sheep fence down and exposing the bottoms of the fence posts:

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Next we went over to the ‘Cnocán’ (the field in front of the house where the two remaining pet lambs live) and at the bottom, two trees had toppled over, bringing up the sheep wire:

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Just along from those two, a large tree was blown over into my neighbour’s field! Who gets to take a chainsaw to it under these circumstances?

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In the same section of the field, following the drain/hedge along, west, a large alder fell down into the field, bringing the sheep fence with it:

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Just a little further west, where the green grassy field becomes rougher ‘fináin’ two huge sitka spruce trees fell, bringing a 10ft bank of earth with it and once again, bringing down the fence:

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Down the very bottom of the Cnocán, near the ‘Sough’ a large ‘Sally’ (Sallow) tree fell; naturally on top of the sheep fence:

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and a tall oak tree was torn limb from limb:

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West in Baurearagh, looking over the fence into my neighbour Coillte (the Irish Forestry Commission) I can see that several small sitka spruce have been toppled, domino-fashion:

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On the western side of my own field in ‘Bons’ a large and sprawling ‘sally’ (Sallow) has split in a couple of places, narrowly missing the wire for once:

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And lastly, back in the ‘pen’, a Hawthorne (white thorn) was blown over, up-rooting a couple of fence posts as it did so:

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So it looks as though we will have plenty of wood for the fire, and will be quite busy repairing several different stretches of fence for the foreseeable future!

While the storm was raging, I took a short video of the huge, 60-70ft tall sitka spruce trees at the back of the garden, behind the house. Mercifully they stayed upright as the polytunnel would have been squashed:

A few days later, the clean-up began, and the repair work to fences. We sawed through the vast sitka spruce trees and re-joined the sheep wire fence. To our astonishment, the following morning, we discovered that they had righted themselves again; standing upright, the ground returned to where it ought to be!

16 2 14 (37)

16 2 14 (41)

16 2 14 (44)

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VITALITY: That was her secret

To My Mother On Her Birthday; Her Life in Pictures 

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Early days with the Cleggs:

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Thoroughly Modern Mollie:

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Every inch the beautiful debutante:

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Professional portraits for her portfolio; the ballet years:

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Increasingly more sophisticated (and daring; She hated these ones): 

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18th September 1937, aged 18, A beautiful bride to Peter Grant, at The Registry Office, Haymarket, Edinburgh:

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Hard-up and Happy; Mr & Mrs Peter Grant and Staffie: 

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A radiantly happy new mum: With daughter Rosemary (RIP) 1941-2011 

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World War II left Peter Grant a paraplegic, wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. (RIP Peter Grant 10th May 1916 – 23rd April 1980)

We have no way of knowing why the split up; who to ‘blame’, she may well have been unfaithful to him, perhaps she thought he was dead? Whatever happened to them, she moved on, and so did he (he married twice more too!)

Husband number two: Ivan Pawle –

Ivan and Rosemary at London’s Coconut Grove:

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Their first child together,  nicknamed ‘boy’ and then little sister: 

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 The happy family:

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In the mid 1950s her head was turned once more and she moved on to husband

number three; Alastair Hamish Wiland André Fraser Chisholm of Chisholm.Image

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Her favourite flower was the lily of the valley:

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Together, they had five children, who grew up in blissful freedom on a farm

in Suffolk, where they were given an idyllic childhood by their adoring parents:

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She loved it when the snowdrops were out in time for her birthday:

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They grew old together: Mum, Dad, Heidi the dog and Diana the cat!

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 RIP Dad 5.10.20 – 3.4.97

After dad died, she described him in her diary as the love of her life and

the most exciting dance partner of her life!

Rosemary for remembrance:

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Happy Birthday mum. You were the most fascinating, intelligent, knowledgeable and interesting woman I have ever known. And the warmest, kindest, most generous and loving. I will love and miss you always dearest, sweetest mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Whatever Happened to Heinrich (Henry) Wolf?

littlelucylavendar

What Do We Know of the Wolfs?

Precious little actually!

My late mother, who was adopted as a baby by Joe Henry and Emily Clegg, must have at some point found out, presumably from the Cleggs, that her birth parents were Amy Alice Oakham and ErnstWolf. She was also told that he was a musician and was Austrian  (she wrote this information in her third born child’s ‘baby book’). My mother’s old school, Polam Hall in Darlington, gives her date of birth as 2nd February 1919, which matches the birth record and baptismal record of one Rose Amy Wolf. However, rather than Ernst, the few scant documents I have unearthed name him as Henry Wolf.

Here are copies of the supporting documents so far:

Image

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She knew of her birth parents by the time of her first marriage to Peter Grant as the…

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Whatever Happened to Heinrich (Henry) Wolf?

What Do We Know of the Wolfs?

Precious little actually!

My late mother, who was adopted as a baby by Joe Henry and Emily Clegg, must have at some point found out, presumably from the Cleggs, that her birth parents were Amy Alice Oakham and Ernst Wolf. She was also told that he was a musician and was Austrian  (she wrote this information in her third born child’s ‘baby book’). My mother’s old school, Polam Hall in Darlington, gives her date of birth as 2nd February 1919, which matches the birth record and baptismal record of one Rose Amy Wolf. However, rather than Ernst, the few scant documents I have unearthed name him as Henry Wolf.

Here are copies of the supporting documents so far:

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She knew of her birth parents by the time of her first marriage to Peter Grant as the following certificate confirms:

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Her mother, Amy Alice Wolf (nee Oakham) remarried in 1922 to one Frederick Walker, naming herself as a widow:

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From Amy Alice’s first marriage record, we find that Henry’s father was called Hubert and that he was a tailor. Henry gives his occupation as Hotel waiter (not that this means he wasn’t too a musician!) Henry is also documented as a Waiter on the parish records of Rose Amy’s Baptism at St. Barnabas’ Church Pimlico.

So far we know that Henry Wolf was 22 when he married Amy Alice Oakham in 1913, thus giving us his birth year as 1891.

In summary then:

Henry (Heinrich) Wolf was born in 1891, married Amy Alice Oakham in 1913, had 3 daughters: Adeline W Wolf born in 1912, who adds an ‘e’ to her name on the electoral roll in the 1930’s, where she lives, still, at 11 St. Barnabas Street; Helene Bertha Wolf, born 1914, who married one Norman E Barnacle and died in 1989; they had one daughter Ann Barnacle in 1937 who married one Ronald A Edmonds and who died in 2005. And my mother, Rose Amy Wolf, born in 1919, was adopted, had her name changed to Rosemary Yolanda Clegg (nicknamed Mollie at school), who married 3 times and had 8 children, of which I am the youngest!

If anyone recognises any of these names and can throw any light upon what happened to Henry Wolf that forced his wife to hand over her baby, and what became of that babies two sisters; my aunts, and their children (if any), my cousins; I should be enormously grateful.

Since writing this blog in November (2013), I have discovered a census document, which, although doesn’t give his first name, is almost certainly him. The district (Pimlico), his age (19), his profession (waiter) all match.

Henry Wolf 1911 census

 

I have also learnt, through contact with newly-discovered cousins, to whom I am immensely grateful and very eager to meet, that Henry Wolf was interned on the Isle of Man, as an ‘Enemy Alien’. His middle daughter, Helene (deceased) remembered his returning after the war. It is likely that he was then deported, ‘repatriated’ to Austria, as there was little appetite for sympathy towards the internees after the war with national newspapers, chiefly the Daily Express, demanding their deportation. These internees were held for a cruel further year after the war had ended while the tribunals were heard.

Most of the records from WW1 were held in London and were destroyed by fire during WW2 (the Blitz). The indexed cards of these records were destroyed by mistake in 1970! The International Red Cross have some records, though not in any form which means they can be easily searched, and I understand that they may search them for a fee. They facilitated the repatriation and may also have records of the vast number of internees who died during that time.

I am reliably informed by an Historian on the Isle of Man, that women in Amy Alice’s position, for whom divorce was unavailable (it being a luxury only the rich could afford), very often chose the title of ‘widow’.

How it was that he and Amy Alice conceived Rose Amy (summer of 1918) in order for her to have been born on 6th February 1919 I am yet to discover! There were instances of internees being released early on humanitarian grounds (ill-health), but it may never be possible to find out as the records have been lost/destroyed.

It does, at least, go some way in explaining why my mother was given up.

As for my part, I shall never rest until I have discovered what became of him, where he was born and who his mother was, at the very least! I may have to learn German and visit Austria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Peter Grant

Peter Grant was born in 1916 (possibly on the 10th of May 19161) in Doncaster, Yorkshire to William George Grant2 (Draper/Clothier) and Harriet Grant nee Jones3.

He was married at 23 Melville Street, The Haymarket, Edinburgh on 18th September 1937, aged 21, where he declares that his profession is Musician4. His bride was the 18 year old Ballet Dancer5, Rosemary Yolanda Clegg; the name given to her when she was adopted. Her birth name had been Rose Amy Wolf. They were both living in Chelsea at that time; he, at 11 Stanley Studios (or Mansions)6 Park Walk, and she at 86 Beaufort Street.

In 1941, on 19th June, Peter registered the birth of their daughter, Rosemary, who was born on 5th June 1941 at 321 Upper Richmond Road. He names his profession as Author, also Rifleman,(it was in the middle of WWII) with the Kings Royal Rifles7 giving his serial number as 6850801. Rosemary Grant, formerly Clegg is registered as the mother. His address at that time was given as 39 Lower Richmond Road, Putney.

His mother died on 20th April 19458 at the Royal Infirmary, Doncaster, leaving an estate of £2099 s2 d2 to her husband, William George Grant (Draper) and her son William Peter Grant (Author)

There are two possible dates for his death; there is a Peter Grant who died in Leeds in 1969 (and who was born ‘about 1916’, ref 2c 8799, and a Peter William Grant who died in Cuckfield, Sussex, in 1980, ref 18 188110

I am persuaded into accepting the latter as *our* Peter Grant, because there is a death record11 of a William George Grant in Cuckfield in 1951, whose birth year matches that of his father, and a record12 of his estate, at the time of his death, 8th October, 1951 at Barn Cottage, West Hoathly, near East Grinstead, Sussex, of £2764 s4 d3 which goes to his son William Peter Grant ‘of no occupation’.

Phone records put Peter at Barn Cottage, West Hoathly from 1949 to 1968 (with a few gaps either in the record collection or as books weren’t published every year)

West Hoathly is a very picturesque little hamlet, with a strong community. There is almost certainly information to be found there, perhaps in the local pub, the Cat, or in the parish records.

We have discovered (I must credit my niece Danu @danuiseult entirely for this research), that during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Peter recorded the late traditional musician, Lewis ‘Scan’ Tester13 at his home, Barn Cottage and at The Cat. He collaborated on these collections with Mervyn Plunkett and Reg Hall.
Oxford Reference dot Com has archival evidence of a quarterly periodical called ‘Ethnic’ subtitled ‘A Quarterly Survey of English Folk Music, Dance and Drama’, published by Mervyn Plunkett, Reg Hall and Peter Grant.

The sole piece of evidence I have of him myself is an ancient piece of hand-written music, with a note at the bottom, to Yolanda, signed Peter.

This is the sum total of my knowledge of Peter William Grant.

I should be enormously grateful for any information YOU may have of him. You may leave a comment on this blog or contact me via Twitter @LucyMJG

Notes:
1. Death Register
2,3,4,5,6. Marriage record
7. Birth Record, Rosemary Grant
8. Wills & Probate record
9. Death Register (Leeds)
10. Death Register (Cuckfield)
11. Death Register (Cuckfield)
12. Wills & Probate record
13. Credits on Album sleeve

 

Since writing this blog I have found out a little more about Peter. He was married for a second time to Lorna Docking in 1944 and they had two children, a girl, Jennifer and a boy Norman. He married for a third time in 1948 to Evelyn Honor Lucille Gilliat-Smith, who was with him in at Barn Cottage, Hoathly, West Sussex, until he died.

I have also come across some photos which I believe MUST be Peter Grant. There is a little wallet of pictures and negatives that are clearly taken at the same address, the building, dustbin etc are the same. It may very well be 39 Lower Richmond Road. some of the photos are of him during WWII in uniform and one is in a civilian suit. There is also a photograph of a child which I think looks as though it may be the same person. I do hope someone out there will one day read this blog and identify him!

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Twitter and the blurring of personal boundaries

Twitter and the blurring of personal boundaries.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how well we really know the people we interact with on Twitter; those people we call our friends, but who are actually total strangers, about whom we know only what they’ve allowed us to.
Everyone likes to present their best side, be it in a photograph or in their bio, they have an image of themselves that they want to project to their followers. That is perfectly natural, given the egotistical nature of the human being. One might shave a few years off one’s age, put up a photo of themselves which their best friends in real life would be hard-pushed to recognise, hide the fact that they’re a blue-blooded Tory voter by saying they don’t like politics, pretend to be an animal-lover whilst secretly tucking in to juicy hunks of flesh. You get the idea.

But what if the side of themselves they’re hiding is more sinister? What if, for instance, their ex-girlfriend felt so stalked by them that she was forced to take out a court injunction against them, barring them from making any type of contact?
What if a ‘friend’ of yours was putting herself in danger, drawing an obviously obsessive stalker upon themselves? In real life I’m pretty sure you’d speak out, I know I would.

Years ago, when I was only a kid really, of about 14 or 15, one of my sisters had a stalker. Everywhere she went he would be there, lurking. He didn’t look dangerous; he was puny, but he was very, very creepy. So one day she asked if I would come with her and see if he showed up. He did. We were in the public swimming baths and there he was, sitting on the bench, ogling her. She was so upset by this that she fled, wrapped in her towel, while I, ever the tomboy marched over to him and confronted him. I didn’t give him a chance to explain why he was everywhere that she went, if it was him that was sending the flowers and cards to her place of work, I just told him outright that if he didn’t stay the fuck away from her I’d smash his fucking face in. How I was going to do this; a 14/15 year old girl and him a fully-grown, albeit rather puny, man, I neither knew nor cared! But I certainly made an impression on him because the flowers and cards stopped and she didn’t see him again for well over a year, and when she did go into a pub where he was he left immediately.
I wouldn’t recommend this course of action nowadays. I certainly would not send my 14 year old sister to confront a stalker, but things were different when I grew up. There was no internet and stalking had never been heard of; there wasn’t a word for it as far as I knew. I think the first time I ever heard about a stalker was when John Lennon was shot, in 1980.
But you would still get involved, wouldn’t you? If a friend of yours was putting herself in danger? You’d warn her at the very least, surely? Offer to go with her to the police?
But what happens when it’s playing out on Twitter, among strangers? What are the rules? What is the protocol? Will you be the one who alienates yourself from your ‘friend’, who may think you’re being ridiculous, insulting their intelligence, or even accuse you of being jealous?
What if your friend is from another country, and English isn’t their first language? What if they seem to have missed the nuance in the tweets that have caused your concern?
What if they seem about to agree to meet the obsessive stalker?
What if I told you that the obsessive stalker isn’t a hypothetical, but a very real person?
What if I told you that the police take his past behaviour so seriously that they broke his door down to arrest him when he (apparently not for the first time) broke the terms of the injunction and left a voice mail message for his ex-girlfriend?
What follows are his tweets. Not all of them, but enough of them to give you a pretty good idea of his character.
2nd May 2013 @(Ex-Girlfriend) I’ll be in xxxxxx Cafe at 8pm, will you pop round and have a cuppa with me. Don’t think I’m asking much
4th May 2013 @ (Ex-Girlfriend) I can’t take any more. I can’t take this any more. I’m so fucking upset. I need you to get in touch. Xxxxxx Xxxxxx Please.
4th May 2013 @ (Friend of his Ex) I need your help
4th May 2013 @ (Friend of his ex) Can you reply with an email address for me to send you just one mail? It’s really import Xxxxxx
5th May 2013 God give me the guts
7th May 2013 I’ve just been through the worst 2 days of my entire life. It’s not been a walk in the park before then. I’ve lost my job, my friends,
7th May 2013 the girl I love. I’ve tried to kill myself twice this year. Most recently on Sunday morning. I’ve lost too much too quickly. I’d been trying
7th May 2013 by email only to get this girl to sit down with me and talk. After my latest failed attempt at suicide I mailed her in desperation.
7th May 2013 I shouldn’t have, but when you want to die you do desperate things. I got arrested yesterday for all my emails to her. I spent 17 hours
7th May 2013 in solitary confinement sobbing my eyes out. Then another 12 hours in a court cell with 20-25 assorted criminals of the worst type.
7th May 2013 Now I face 3 charges and a criminal record for the rest of my life. The price of hopeless love and hopelessness. Just wish I’d got a reply.
7th May 2013. And that’s that. I haven’t broken my bail conditions by posting this. I’ve checked. I’m a criminal for being hopelessly in love.
19th May 2013 I can’t contact you. I love you. I need you back in my arms. I dreamt you called. What was happening was daft and could you see me …
19th May 2013 Waking up to this reality was never more painful. My love and adoration for you is going to be eternal it seems.
21st May 2013 ……. Folk say I have no work ethic
21st May 2013 Home …. Cracked open a cold one. I’ll be just fucking fine.
21st May 2013 My own Mother on the phone to her Son there, then pretends She’s on the phone to her friend Xxxx. I hung up….
21st May 2013 Is anyone else’s life as fucking ridiculous as mine?? What the fuck I don’t even….
21st May 2013 I’m on my own. I have been, since I was 15. In every way. Fucking hell….
21st May 2013 I’m getting the fuck out of here to Xxxxx Fuck this shit. I don’t need friends, family, women. Life fucking mission. 5 years max. Fuck this!
22nd May 2013 Absolutely unbelievable…..
22nd May 2013 Police at my door. Think I’m going to have a coronary….
22nd May 2013 I slip one time. Another two days in prison for a momentary lapse of reason? For missing her? It’s not fair. Terrified to leave the house now.
22nd May 2013 In a park alone and upset. I write some poems, get drunk, cry and leave a harmless voice message. After recent discoveries it WONT reoccur
22nd May 2013 I can’t believe this. I cannot believe this. I’m going to be put in prison, potentially until the 3rd of October on remand.
22nd May 2013 Will this never end? How can things just keep getting worse? I thought it was impossible.
22nd May 2013 I was having a nice wee day. Now I need to call a lawyer and try to stop crying.
22nd May 2013 If you’re reading this? PLEASE call them back and say you erred??? I BEG YOU. Don’t punish me for loving and missing you. Please….
22nd May 2013 It will not happen again. Not since Sunday night was it ever going to happen again. You’ve did enough to me. No more Please?
22nd May 2013 I was pathetically calling just to hear your voice, recorded. I got more upset. Then I let the beep happen and spilled my heart.
22nd May 2013 I mailed the next morning and apologised. Told you I had a wee slip, that I’d since had closure via, well, you know. Why then do this to me?
22nd May 2013 I don’t know what to do. Xxxxx? Call me one last time? You’re actively ending my life. Not just making me want to end my own anymore.
22nd May 2013 How does someone who apparently loved you, do this? When they ended it without warning, and no answer why? They leave someone devastated….
22nd May 2013 then get them imprisoned for asking why. Then try to get them imprisoned for 5 months for leaving a voicemail? What kind of person is that
22nd May 2013 What kind of person does that?
22nd May 2013 @ (friend of ex) @ (another friend of ex) @ (a third friend of ex) Xxxxx is trying to get me jailed for 5 months for leaving a voicemail saying I missed her. Have a word??
22nd May 2013 Meant to be going to police station. Not going. Terrified 😥
22nd May 2013 @(sympathiser) I’m done with her, discovered shit lately. I apologised for the slip already. Still trying to destroy me though.
22nd May 2013 @ (as above) Wish she’d remember I have a Daughter when she’s trying to fucking get me put away for 5 months. Evil.
22nd May 2013 @ (as above) I slipped once! A voice message! Fuck sake!! It’s because I loved her so much I slipped. This is vindictiveness now…
22nd May 2013 @ (as above) I went to the shop a wee while ago feeling and acting like Harrison Ford in the fucking Fugitive. Terrified. Can’t believe her
22nd May 2013 @ (as above) She certainly doesn’t give a fuck. I now don’t believe she ever did in two years, to do this to me after all she has already.
22nd May 2013 @ (as above) I need to go lie in a darkened room. Darkened fucking house – I’m 11 minutes late for the police. Be chapping any minute 😦
23rd May 2013 A fugitive… An outlaw on the run… For crimes of the heart #Ifyoudidntlaughyoudcry
23rd May 2013 Just back from the shops. Turned a corner – 2 police walking down other side of road towards me. Hid in a shop for 10 minutes! #Fugitive
24th May 2013 Every white car. Every white van. Every person in fluorescent yellow. #heartattack #panicattack Glad to be home eventually. Thanks for this.
26th May 2013 I would…. but I’m not able to…. #mentionsomeoneyoulove
26th May 2013 It’s important to be responsible for your actions. It’s also important to be responsible for the REACTIONS to your actions, especially when….
26th May 2013 …they are rash, without warning, selfish and unfortunately downright hurtful enough to be dangerous. Especially if the person loved you….
26th May 2013 Take responsibility for the results of your actions
26th May 2013 Take responsibility for slamming the door shut without warning on a guy who loved you completely. For watching coldly as he began losing….
26th May 2013 ….everything around him, including twice thus far, almost, his own life. Take responsibility for ignoring him time and time again, when he was
26th May 2013 crying out to you and begging you for help when he was so confused, depressed, and utterly, completely heartbroken. Take responsibility for…
26th May 2013 having him imprisoned for almost 3 days for simply trying to get answers. Take responsibility for being too cowardly to tell him you’d
26th May 2013 a dating site days after you cast him away. Take responsibility for trying to get him imprisoned til October for leaving a voicemail.
26th May 2013 Take responsibility for causing a guy to be terrified to leave his flat, when all he’s trying to do is get on with things
26th May 2013 Before judging others’ actions? Have a really good think about the months and counting of damage and devastation yours cause #Hypocricy
26th May 2013 I’ve decided. Selfish to keep this stress to myself… if I get caught? Spend another minute in a cell?
26th May 2013 I’ll be reporting assault and battery charges to the police,bma and anyone else who’ll hear me
26th May 2013 If you’re determined to ruin me? I shall finally ruin you right back.
26t May 2013 Your move. Stop fucking with my life. I’ve nearly killed myself twice because of you and still you try to destroy me?
26th May 2013 I just had the police almost break my door down again. For loving you?
26th May 2013 A VOICEMAIL. Saying NOTHING but how much I loved and missed you.
26th May 2013 It’s hardly getting punched and kicked and dragged around a flat by the neck, is it?
26th May 2013 Think of my Daughter who adored you and misses you, as you try to get me jailed for months for nothing but lovesickness
26th May 2013 You’re pushing me too far. I do not want to strike back, but you’re cornering me. You’ve hurt me more than ANYONE ever has.
26th May 2013 Don’t make me respond
26th May 2013 I get commented about in the public domain. I dare to defend myself in the public domain and have the police at the door twice as the result
27th May 2013 *My tweets are all just thoughts out loud, directed at no-one at all. They are for my followers. No-one else…
27th May 2013 safe to say I’ve moved into my ‘anger’ grief stage. I have a hellova lot to be angry about.
31st May On way to Lidl. Police van goes past me then turns in street. Goes by. On way back.. Police car coming at me. Slows right down across road.
31st May 2013 Look away pretending I’m on phone. Stop. Get out car. Think about running. Don’t. Get home. Albeit with 2 years off my lifetime. Fuck 😥
31st May 2013 I may technically hate her right now. Doesn’t mean I don’t miss her. Doesn’t mean I don’t care. Doesn’t mean I don’t still cry for her. 😥
31st May 2013 Doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could rewind to 83 days ago now. It doesn’t mean I don’t still love her…. I do.
31st May 2013 I thought I was past this. Everyone else seems to have at the least SOME control over their heart. How do you do that? I have none 😥
31st May 2013 Sometimes I think she sometimes thinks she’s made a mistake. Unfortunately, if so? I know she’d rather take it to her grave than admit it.
8th June 2013 Police trying to smash my door in
8th June 2013 Door smashed in. Flung to floor and handcuffed. Dragged into a police van in front of all my neighbours. Why? (picture of himself)
8th June 2013 Murder? Kidnap? No, leaving a voicemail saying I missed someone. Landlord on the way… pretty sure I’ll be given notice to leave.
8th June 2013 Are you done yet?
8th June 2013 I slipped up a couple of times. I am VERY SORRY. You are ruining my life. Please stop it now.
8th June 2013 Well… that’s it. My lease won’t be renewed, and £250.00 off my deposit to replace the front door. Your ruination of me is complete.
8th June 2013 Four hours ago I was in a police cell, facing being locked up til Monday. Now I’m naked in a meadow, Thank God… (Picture of himself)
8th June 2013 You have broken my heart completely. Destroyed my hopes and dreams, my future. Watched silently as I lost everything else in a spiral of….
8th June 2013 Depression, twice attempting suicide. You’ve got me imprisoned for
8th June 2013 voicemail… I mailed and apologised, begging you not to call the police, that all I was guilty of was missing you more than normal. You…
8th June 2013 Could’ve left it at that, but you fucked me even more. Weeks, terrified to even walk the street, because another moment in a police cell was
8th June 2013 more than I could take. Then today. The horror that was today. Now I’ve lost my house. That’s everything gone now. EVERYTHING.
8th June 2013 Nothing else you can take from me except my life now. You already almost took it twice. Third time lucky? Is that what you’re trying to do?
8th June 2013 I’ve never been damaged so much via one individual in my life. You have completely and continually and relentlessly destroyed me.
8th June 2013 Do you feel even a shred of guilt for all you’ve did to me? I’m losing my flat. My fucking home. I’m homeless in 10 weeks. Congratulations.
9th June 2013 I’m absolutely terrified. I have to go to court tomorrow and I might be put in prison. An actual fucking PRISON, for at least a month.
9th June 2013 I can’t stop crying. I’m so fucking afraid. I can’t believe this is happening to me. All I did was tell a girl I loved and missed her.
9th June 2013 A moment of weakness. One voicemail. Fucking Hell…..
9th June 2013 @ (friend of ex) Xxxxx? Could we briefly follow each other on here in order to direct mail? I honestly wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t in dire need…
9th June 2013 @ (friend of ex) I’m in a LOT of trouble over relatively nothing. Please help?
9th June 2013 @ (friend of ex) I basically need you to ask a friend a favour on my behalf…

 

Here are the key points which demonstrate the unstable and disturbing nature of his character:

He constantly blames his ex-girlfriend for the consequences of his violation of the terms of the injunction. Not only tweeting her by name but also sending multiple tweets to her friends which is completely inappropriate.

The language he uses sets off alarm bells: “it’s hardly getting punched and kicked and dragged round the flat by the neck” “She’d rather go to her grave than admit it”

He enacts a fantasy-like scenario, comparing himself to Harrison Ford’s ‘The Fugitive’

He’s not above using his daughter for emotional blackmail (I sincerely hope he doesn’t have custody of her as he is clearly emotionally immature and unstable and appears to drink heavily)

He also attempts to use emotional blackmail with his attempts/claims to have attempted suicide; for which he again blames her!

His own mother feels unable to admit to other members of her household that she speaks to him by telephone

His behaviour has alienated him from his friends (he says he’s lost his friends)

He remains in the delusion that he’s in love. This isn’t love. This isn’t unrequited love. This isn’t romantic and it’s not a tragic love story. The man is obsessive.

We don’t know what happened “83 days ago” when their relationship ended and Xxxxx made her escape. I doubt very much if he uses his real name so it is impossible to Google local court cases, but it seems unusual that the police would knock his door down to arrest him unless they believed, as I do, that he is, at the very least, potentially, a dangerous individual.

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