Thursday, 27 October 2011

Carnival Of Genealogy 111 - Autumn Weddings

The 4th November represents the 72nd anniversary of my beloved Grandparents, Lilian Edith Matthews to George Butcher.

I would love to be able to illustrate this post with a photograph of the happy couple, but sadly I can not, as no photographs of the event were either taken or have survived. I do not believe that any were taken, based upon several factors. My Grandmother hated having her photograph taken and all those family members who were present at the time have been asked if they have any photographs of the event. No one had, and in the majority of cases no one even remembers a photograph or having a camera. How I long to see a photograph of this event.

My Grandfather, George Butcher was born in 1908 in Wanborough Surrey to Charles Butcher and Annie Prudence nee Harris. At the time of his marriage he was 31 years old and both his parents were still living. My Grandmother, Lillian Edith Matthews was born in 1912 in Guildford Surrey to John Matthews and Mary Elizabeth nee Elstone and at the time of her marriage neither of her parents were alive and she was aged 26 years.

The marriage took place at the Registry Office at Guildford and I wish I had asked my Grandmother about her wedding preparations, what was the weather like, did she have names of all the guests. Why did they choose a registry office wedding? So many questions. By the time of the marriage the United Kingdom had been at war with Germany for a little of over two months. Did the war have any impact on their wedding plans?

My Grandfather's family worked on the land, originally at Wanborough where he was born and by 1930 had moved across to Manor Farm at Onslow Village Guildford. The cottages occupied by the farm hands were lived in by my Grandfather's older brothers Arthur and Harry and their families and his older sister Rose and her husband Ernest Marshall. At some point my Grandfather went to live with another sister Ellen and her husband Edward Ayling in Shackleford, a village only a few miles away. At the time of his marriage my Grandfather was living at Manor Farm, but was working at the diary in Guildford on the bottling machines.

My Grandmother was living at Paynters Close in Guildford with her sister Elsie and her husband Bill Downes. The witnesses were Ellen and Jack Pummell, who were friends and who were to be future neighbours in Walnut Tree Close where my Grandparents lived from 1940.

Initially after their marriage my Grandparents rented a house at Bright Hill Guildford. In 1940 they moved to Walnut Tree Close where my family remained until 1996. Walnut Tree Close featured heavily in my Grandmother's life, as she was born at number 114 and spent the majority of her life at number 17, with only about a year or two away from the road.

My Grandfather joined the Army in 1940 and my Grandmother, in doing her bit for the war effort worked at the laundry in Guildford where they washed and ironed various bits of military clothes and linens. My Grandfather spent time in Africa and Europe and during the War years spent very little time with his new bride. My Grandmother also took in evacuees during this period and in one particular case this formed a friendship between families which remains to this day.

My Grandfather was demobbed in 1946 and settled back into civilian life and returned to his job at the diary. My Grandmother, like many women of the time returned to domesticity and they had eventually had my Mum in February 1947. My Grandfather passed away in July 1974 aged just 66 years and my Grandmother in 1995 aged 82 years. They enjoyed 35 years together.

Taken circa 1950 Southend Essex
Taking part in the Carnival of Genealogy, hosted by Jasia


  1. A lovely tribute, Julie. I'm sure your grandparents would be touched to have their wedding remembered. You always do such a nice job of weaving history in with the lives of your family members. Thanks for sharing in the COG!

  2. You may not have a photo of the wedding, but the photo you do share is terrific! Our ancestors worked so hard at jobs that it would be so difficult for us today. Of course, dealing with the war marked that whole generation with our ever-lasting gratitude. BTW, my mother's name was Lillian too--from about the same era. Great job linking history and family.

  3. What a lovely entry to the COG. Enjoyed the story, the comments about Walnut Tree Close are such a wonderful bit of family history, just one of so many you wrote about. Really, a great post, enjoyed it so much.

  4. Thanks for stopping by everyone and the lovely comments; made extra special because the publication of the COG falls on exactly my Grandparents wedding anniversary.

  5. That is a good picture of them at the beach. I also like the way you placed them in the bigger picture with your parts about history.


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