Monday, December 30, 2013

Dad's first job

A hundred years ago this Christmas my dad left school at the age of thirteen.  He never explained why he hadn't left at the age of twelve like most working class kids at the time.

 So early in the new year he started his first job at Gibbs soap factory on Green Bank Wapping.
For anyone familiar with Gibbs products they will probably think of SR toothpaste, and older generations will remember Gibbs dentifrice.  Dentifrice was a cake of dental soap (there is no other word) in a metal tin.  The taste was dreadful, and no matter how little you tried to get on the brush, your mouth stilled filled up with soapy foam, but there were not that many toothpastes around at the time, and when you think about it those little round metal tins were quite convenient for when travelling.  Except that people didn't travel as much then !

Apart from the dentifrice Gibbs also made a toilet soap and this was the section that thirteen year old Dad went to work.  His main memories of those days was first of all the smell from the boiling vats and secondly the sheer hard work of cutting up large slabs of hard soap into small tablets.

Most people are probably aware that soap in days gone by had as it's main ingredient boiled bones of all kinds with the addition of lye and various sodas.  The smell given off from the boiling process could not be imagined by anybody who had not experienced it

Later Dad progressed to the cutting department.  He said that when solidified the soap was in large blocks about the size of a tea chest which were then cut into slices and then into tablet size.

The cutting was done with a length length of wire which was pulled through the soap.  Although the soap itself was not hard at this stage, it was still hard work for a thirteen year old who was not even fully grown.   (Even when fully grown he was not that tall anyway)

There was also another cutting device which contained a blade whist I'll had to be pulled through the soap 

And still requiring a great deal of effort for a young boy.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Source for the goose

To source or not to source ...etc

Those a lot written on genealogy message boards with the suggestion that those who do not show their sources on public family trees are somehow guilty of shoddy research.

Not so!

When I started well over twenty years ago I did not record my sources.  The simple reason was that I knew where I had got the information and did not have to prove anything to anyone else.

The method was quite simple really.  If I recorded a full date and place for a birth then it followed that I had a certificate.  Likewise for a marriage, christening or a death or burial.

If I put in "about". Then I didn't know or it came from a census.  For census info then it went into the notes that on the xxxx census they were living at .... so that is clear that the approximate dates for that family came from the census.

I have had folk complain about this lack of sourcing but I just point out that I am not doing "GENEALOGY" but family history.  If they have dates etc which differ too mine, then they can do the same kind of research that I have done and possibly come up with the same results.

Professional genealogists have a different criteria.  They will need to show to fee paying clients that they have done the job properly.

I don't have to prove anything to anybody except myself