My Early Days in Helston
Adapted from the papers & photographs of my late Grandfather
William Frederick IVEY
I was born at the “Willows”, Church Street, in a cottage at the rear of the main building; which later served the community as Kerrier Council Administrative Offices, but was then occupied by the late Mr.R.G.Rows, whom my father served as Coachman-cum-Gardiner-cum-General Factotum. He was paid the princely sum of 17/6 per week (with cottage thrown in) and in this capacity served for a further 3 years.
William In 1906 the family, furniture and effects were packed on a wagon and removed to NANSLOE LODGE, my father having secured new employment with the then Mr, but later Sir H Montague Rogers, as Gardiner.
The family fortune at this point was increased to 18/- per week (with cottage).
He laboured in this capacity until 1914, when we left Helston for Pengelly Farm, Nancegollan.
It is then, up to 1914 that my reminiscences refer.
In the course of this effort I shall at times refer to persons by `nicknames`. At this point I would like to explain that in their use, I do not mean to be disrespectful and if by any chance I should refer to a `nickname` which might have been coupled with a relative of anyone present, or indeed not present, I hasten to assure you that no disrespect is intended or implied, and that my reference is merely to illustrate a point.
Now, while 18/- per week would appear to be a very poor sum by modern standards, my family were not too badly off. Coal was 1ld per cwt and was delivered every Friday by Mr Willie Carlyon who, I believe, worked for Gweek Co., taking his stock around the town by a horse drawn wagon. I remember my mother on one occasion on being told that coal had gone up a ha`penny replying, “I can`t afford more than one this week”. It was her custom to buy 1cwt one week and 2 cwt the next!
During my sojourn at Nansloe Lodge a number of incidents occurred, some of which have gone down in history as major events:
There was the visit of Sir William Treloar in 1907.
The outcry about the capture of Crippin in 1910.
The death & funeral of King Edward VII in the same year.
The Coronation of King George V in 1911.
The tragic sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
The jokes about suffrogettes.
The opening of Helston Cinema and the antics of Charlie Chaplin.
Our entry into the Great War in 1914 and the comic strips about Kaiser Bill and Little Willie.
I would like to make some comments about a couple of the items mentioned above.
At the Coronation of King George V, Helstonians rose loyally to the occasion.
There were parades & processions.
Banners flying, bands playing, bugles blaring, drums beating and the usual tea drinking.
About that time of my life this sort of thing seemed endless, and to finish off the celebrations it was decided to have a huge bonfire where the Cottage Hospital now stands. Weeks of preparation went into the making of this accumulation. Sticks, old furniture, furze, in fact anything of a combustable nature. It truly reflected credit on the organisers. Indeed the only way of reaching the top of this pile was by climbing a very long ladder. But, the `best laid scheemes`O mice and men Gang aft agley` and during the night preceeding the celebrations, some person or persons unknown, maliciously set the pile alight. When day dawned little remained but a mass of glowing embers. I believe a reward for information to the extent of £5 was offered, but I have never heard of it being claimed. I was too young to have the finger of suspicion pointed at me!
I was at the Lizard when this fine ship passed. She was on her sea trials and was a blaze of lights from stem to stern. A truly wonderful sight. I asked a relative who was with me at the time and we both recall the shout going up “The Titanic is passing” and the general scramble to the point to see her.
And I remember the sorrow of a short while later when the news was learned that this great ship was sunk. Amongst the 1500 odd drowned were the two SOBEY brothers of Mrs Cook (wife of the late Mr Willie Cook, Carpenter of Mawgan). Neither were ever again heard of ……
My grandad had a brother whos name was Samuel James Hayden Sobey. He was 25
(born 1886 in Porthallow) and died on the Titanic. He embarked at
Southampton as a 2nd class passenger (ticket cost 13.00) and shared a cabin
with a Helston friend called Frederick James Banfield (I wonder if he is
related to Sandra?). He was a quarryman and going back to work in the
Michigan goldmines (after a visit home). His body, if found, was never
identified. I got some info from a website called Encyclopedia Titanica
(Passenger Biographies) and have also found him on passenger lists. I’m sure there was no other brother with him (although my grandad did go to America
with him before – the story goes that he cancelled this trip because he met
my gran and fell in love!) Good job or there would be no me!!
Hope you find this interesting!