A postcard of Edward George Gregory
The last part proved to be relatively straight forward. It would have been at least 35 years ago. I remember we were visiting my grandparents on a Sunday afternoon, when this slightly built, elderly gentleman came strolling through the gate. Born in 1900, George would have been in his mid 70s (my arithmetic is atrocious). On that day, he had taken the ferry from the Isle of Wight, caught a bus from Southampton and walked the last half a mile from the bus stop. A bit adventurous for a man, well into his retirement, just to visit family, on spec. But I have learnt that adventure was probably in his blood.
His father, Robert Frank Gregory, was born in Dewlish, Dorset, in 1867. Robert's early life would have been centred around his father's agricultural duties as a Dairyman. The family lived in a small hamlet, in the most rural of locations. However, Robert had an itch he needed to scratch, and by 1891, he had gone to London in search of some excitement. In fact, he and another chap, John Holmes, just four years his senior, were lodging together in Burchell Road, Peckham, both working as Tram Drivers. This wasn't the only thing they had in common. They were also from the same hamlet in Dorset. Somehow, it isn't difficult to imagine two young men, showing an urge to move off the land and, perhaps, encouraged by the signs of increasing mechanisation on farms, determined to capitalise on a new age.
15 Garfield Road, Shanklin - courtesy of Google
I know he married Kate and that they had lived in Frome, Somerset, for a while. But things are a little sketchy, until the family turns up at 15 Garfield Road, Shanklin, IOW, in 1901. Cousin George is now 1 year old and Robert is working as a butcher.
Half the fun of family history research, is tying up loose ends, following clues and making educated guesses. For instance, my grandfather vaguely remembered his Uncle Robert had some connection with buses or coaches. Try trams, for good measure. Maybe that's what he was doing in Somerset, during the lost decade or so.
The oddly, patched, reverse side of the postcard, with Christmas message
However, some things will remain a mystery. The patchwork of paper scraps on the reverse side of George's postcard takes some working out. I can only imagine that he sent this to my grandfather in an envelope (as there is no stamp), one Christmas.
73, High Street, Shanklin - courtesy of Google
One thing is for certain. The flat he occupied at the time of sending the postcard was unlikely to have had The Bag Shop below. I am wondering if this could possibly have been a butcher's shop, then. In which case, I'll probably be left with more scrag ends than loose ends.