Wednesday, 13 March 2013

A Genealogical No Smoking Day

*13th March 2013*

Over the years I must have had countless conversations about giving up smoking as part of the day job. Well, for the first time I don't have to follow a pitch to patients or have that discussion, but I didn't feel that I could let the day pass by without a mention.

A few weeks ago as part of Sepia Saturday I shared a few photos, one of which was of my Grandfather, complete with a cigarette. Someone made a comment that people were not usually photographed with cigarettes and I thought that was a good link in to No Smoking Day! You can read the original post HERE

I do vaguely recall both my Grandparents smoking. My Grandfather was in hospital during the early parts of my childhood and I recall missing him. He had breathing issues caused by asbestos, we are in the days before Health and Safety! and certainly smoking didn't help.

After he passed away my Grandmother stopped, with none of the patches, gum or inhalers of now, she simply used willpower, but then that was very much her way.

A search through some other photos revealed this one of my Grandmother taken around 1941.

This second photograph was used in an exhibition held at Guildford a few years ago. The exhibition was about war time evacuees and I submitted this photo, although I was not 100% sure if it fitted the criteria. I was delighted that it was used within the display, which was on line and sadly now is not!

My understanding was the three evacuees who stayed with my Grandmother all came from London, one was Joyce Moore who remained in contact and friends with our family until she passed away about 10 years ago. There were also two others, both nameless and one of them is thought to have married an American or Canadian serviceman and returned back to either the States or Canada with him. On the back of the photo is the name of Edie Greenaway. My Grandmother is in the middle. So this is either a photo of my Grandmother with two of the evacuees or two people from the laundry.

I do wonder what happened to the evacuee who made a new life across the pond, and is she still alive today? The address of the house where the evacuees lived was 17 Walnut Tree Close Guildford. If that address rings bells with anyone please get in touch. Whilst my Grandmother is no longer here, we would love to hear more about the events of this time.


  1. There were lots of photos with smoking, especially family snaps and groups of workingmen, taken back in the thirties, forties, fifties and earlier. Some old people were hardly ever seen without a cigarette or pipe stuck in their mouth. It was in the 60s that the "Public" became aware of the dangers of smoking and much later before smoking images started to be frowned upon.

    When the grandparents were young, smoking was considered beneficial. Doctors used to recommend miners with lung conditions like pneumoconiosis and black lung to smoke Capstan Full Strength or some other strong brand to help clear the chest.

    I was a smoker for over 50 years before stopping when the Smoking Ban came in. To my amazement it turned out much easier than I thought it would. I had virtually no craving, and when I did it was gone almost before the thought was formed. Within days I was telling smokers that they stank...

  2. I have smoking photos in my collection. I don't think my grandparents smoked but aunts, uncles and parents sure did, for a long, long time. They probably stopped during the 1970 or later. One uncle smoked until he died of a lung ailment, often lighting one cigarette with the old one.

  3. Anonymous8:24 pm

    I've always been fascinated by stories about war evacuees. I've read lots of children's books about them. How special to have that as part of your family history.


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