My journey into discovering more about my great grandfather, Walter Jordan, began with my gran’s wedding certificate. She never knew anything about her father because he died before she was one year old. On her marriage certificate, he’s named as Walter Jordan, a weaver from Leeds (I’ve written more about my family’s 5 generations working in textiles here). Using that name and date I searched further and discovered him on the 1901 census as being 16 years old and further back on the 1891 census as being 6 years old, living in Leeds with his father, John, a frame maker. His mother is dead. That places his birth year as around 1885.
I then found his marriage certificate from 1909 when he married Emma Moore on Christmas Day. Emma is the daughter of John Moore, an entrepreneurial tailor from Ireland. Emma is listed on the 1901 census as being a 16 year old apprentice photographer.
But the document that really started to tell Walters story is the Medal Card held in the Imperial War Museum collection at Kew.
Walter’s army number, marked on the medal card, is 16/1186. This tells us he was part of the 16th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment, also known as the Bradford Pals.
Bradford, at the turn of the last century, was the world centre of the wool manufacturing industry. Particularly, worstead, which gave Bradford the intriguing nickname of ‘Worsteadopolis’.
“If we look around at our mills, our warehouses and our public buildings it needs no great effort to imagine that Bradford is built of wool”
The Bradford Observer, 31 December 1900.
In September, 1915, the Lord Mayor of Bradford called a meeting to form the ‘Bradford Citizens Army League’ in response to Kitchener’s call for volunteers, saying ‘This war has been thrust upon us, and what we have to do is look to our homes and defend the dignity of the Nation. I trust that Bradford will rise to the occasion’.
Over one thousand men from Bradford stepped forward and an application was made to Lord Kitchener to form a Battalion of the Prince of Wales Own West Yorkshire Regiment.
“I thought it would be the end of the world if I didn’t pass” – 16/1205 Private George Morgan (who signed up 19 men after Walter)
Subsequently, a second battalion of volunteers was formed too (named the 18th), Walter just made it into the first one. The battalions were known as ‘Pals’ Battalions as they were made up of volunteers of friends and co-workers from the same town. Walter would have been 30 years old when he volunteered, with his wife heavily pregnant (with my Gran) and their first born daughter aged just 2.
The men began training on the nearby but now disused ‘Rollerina’ skating rink at Manningham Park, and were provided with two uniforms of fine blue serge (made in Bradford) and a shiny peaked cap.
Normal capacity on this ship was 1,860 passengers but now nearly 5000 men were packed aboard. She set sail on 7th December 1915, initially escorted down the Irish Sea by two destroyers which soon peeled away. 6 days later the ship collided with the French steamship Dajurjura, both vessels were sailing a zig-zag course without lights to avoid the German submarines. The French ship sank and the Empress of Britain sailed on to Malta for repairs and supplies. Leaving Malta 3 days later, the ship sailed on towards Port Said on the Suez Canal, being shot at twice by German U-Boat torpedos which only narrowly missed their target.
By arriving for active service in a Theatre of War on 22nd December 1915, the men qualified for the first of the three ‘Pip, Squeak and Wilfred’ Great War service medals, the 1914/15 Star. Their function was to defend the Suez Canal against attacks by the Turks and they did that until 1st March 1916.
“The sand where we are encamped is full of ants and sand lice. We are getting lousy by now, but it does not matter. I am as happy as a mud lark” 16/127 Sergeant Harold Saville M.M.
France and The Western Front:
On the 7th March the men disembarked in Marseille and saw their first Germans, prisoners of war working in the docks. Painfully slow train journeys followed as they made their way north towards the front line and the Somme. They received a very warm welcome from the beleaguered French people.
In April, the 16th West Yorks were on the front line at Redan Ridge. The Germans had had over 18 months to develop their defenses atop a natural geographical advantage. When the Pals got there, they found their own trenches poorly made and dominated from above by German positions that were heavily defended by machine gun posts using triangulated cross fire. British Intelligence had seriously underestimated the scale and power of the German batteries.
A complicated plan was formed, that required each Battalion to go over in order and achieve certain goals. The men practised the drill and on the 1st July, at 7.30am (Zero Hour), the big push was to commence.
“Good luck, men. There is not a German left in their trenches, our guns have blown them to Hell” Major General Robert Wanless O’Gowan, GOC 31st Division.
At 7.30am the whistles blew and the 16th West Yorks went over the top.
“The German machine gun fire was terrible. Our Colonel was hit after only a few steps along the trench” Private W.H.T. Carter, 16WY
“As soon as you attempted to get out of the trenches you were fired on”. Private G. Grunwell, 16WY
The 16th West Yorks War Diary records 22 officers and 675 men went into action on 1 July 1916. On 5 July it records a casualty rate of 100%.
Overall, on that one day, nearly 60,000 men were injured and nearly 20,000 lost their lives. The worst losses in British military history.
The 16th West Yorks position as lead battalion meant they had longer exposure to enemy fire and difficulties in bringing in the wounded. It also affected the recovery and identification of the bodies for burial. From the 16th West Yorks alone, 122 men are recorded on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.
One of them is Walter.
This is the only photograph I have been able to find of him so far. I am also looking for his medals (the Pip, Squeak and Wilfred) and any other information about his life. If you can help, please, please do get in touch via my contact page.
To find out more about the Bradford Pals, I recommend this incredibly well researched book ‘Bradford Pals’ by David Raw
To celebrate the launch of my new book PHOTO ART (published by CICO Books), I thought I’d share this photographic transfer project with you. For the chance to win your own free copy of my book, just leave a comment at the end!
FAMILY TABLE RUNNER PROJECT
Bring a family focus to generic white table linen with this quick image-transfer project, which uses black-and-white photocopies, a natural cleaning product called Citra Solv, and an old teaspoon. Have a rummage through the archives and pick out full-length photos of people, then line them up on a fancy table runner to create new scenes. Celebrate a life by selecting pictures of a loved one from babyhood to old age, or use individual photos on a napkins as a novel way to set places at a dinner.
You will need • Photos of people, preferably full length, or copies • Plain white office paper • Paper glue or repositionable spray adhesive • Dry toner laser photocopies of your photos in black and white • Plain white (or pale) cotton table runner, or other natural, flat-weave fabric • Citra Solv concentrate (available on Amazon or www.citrasolv.com ) • Scissors • Sticky tape • Sheet of glass (or other flat, smooth, hard surface) • Small pot • Brush • Bone folder or old teaspoon • Iron • Old towel
1 Cut around the edges of the people in your photographs—full-length photos (from head to toe) work best. Use copies if you don’t want to cut up original photos or they need resizing.
2 Using glue, stick the people down on plain white office paper, lining them up in rows with a space between each one. At a copy shop that uses a dry toner laser copier, photocopy each sheet of paper in reverse/mirror image in black and white. For best results, use high-contrast copies. If the copies are light, ask the copy shop to darken them one or two stops on their machine.
3 Lay the fabric out flat. Cut the paper to separate each person or group of people and decide where to place each one on the fabric. (Lining up the feet to just above the bottom edge creates a neat effect.)
4 Once you are happy with the layout, turn the papers over so that they’re image side down and stick a piece of sticky tape over the top edge of the paper to hold them in position.
5 Place the glass on a clean work surface, then lay the fabric flat over the top, paper side up, with the left-hand image centered over the glass. Pour a small amount of Citra Solv into a pot. Dip the brush in, then lightly brush over the back of the paper, starting in the middle. The paper will become semi-transparent and you only need to “paint” where your image is.
6 Holding the paper flat to the fabric with one hand, burnish over image with the rounded end of a bone folder or the back a teaspoon. Work quickly to avoid the Citra Solv evaporating. For larger images, apply the solution to small areas and burnish before moving on to the next area.
Checking your progress. You can lift the paper to see the results, but if you need to burnish more be sure to lay it back down in exactly the same position to avoid blurring the image.
7 Once the first image has been transferred, remove the sticky tape and used paper from the fabric. Move fabric along to the left and align next taped paper over the glass base. Working from left to right, repeat the process until all the images have been transferred . Leave to dry.
8 Press the fabric (on medium heat with no steam) in a well-ventilated area to fix the print. Protect the ironing board with an old towel. It can now be washed as normal.
FURTHER IDEAS • Use photographs from different times in one person’s life to create a personalized potted history. Or create family trees—just remember to leave room for new additions! • This technique also works with color images (as long as they’re toner-based laser copies—inkjets won’t work). • Instead of people, experiment with images of flowers, buildings, cars, or even more abstract imagery such as wrought-iron gates or other architectural decoration.
Remember to comment below to be entered into the competition for a free copy! There are three books to be won, why not enter over on Twitter or on the Facebook page for more chances of winning. Competition runs until 12th March 2015. Winners will be selected at random.
I was lucky enough to catch up with some old friends and have a look round one of my favourite galleries, the National Portrait Gallery, in London yesterday, specifically to see the Grayson Perry exhibition.
What struck me was the attention to detail and high level of craftsmanship in all of his work, which was really refreshing to see in a high art context. That the pieces were dotted around in amongst more permanent (and fustily Victorian) exhibits not only highlighted the playfulness of the pieces but made the whole experience seem like being on a treasure quest, complete with map.
The first textile piece, ‘Comfort Blanket’, was an enormous woven hanging loosely based on a bank note design and featuring a giant ‘Spitting Image’ puppet style portrait of the Queen.
The central figure reminded me of medieval anatomical drawings such as these:
13th Century Vein Map
Medieval Brain Map
Another woven piece, ‘Britain Is Best’ featured some really intricate thread and beadwork.
‘Line of Departure’, a tapestry portrait of 3 wounded war veterans, was designed in the style of an Afghan War Rug.
Afghan rug makers have been incorporating symbols of the apparatus of war into their rug designs since the Soviet occupation in 1979.
I saw with interest that Grayson was using photographs transferred onto ceramic, particularly old family photos, to convey a sense of family history and memory. ‘Memory Jar’ is a portrait of an Alzheimer sufferer and his wife hiding away under a blanket while the demonic ‘Altzy’ furiously shreds his family photos (memories) with a huge pair of scissors.
They’re used again in ‘Modern Family’ to explore the complex mixture of identity issues experienced by a family consisting of two white male parents and an adopted mixed-race child.
These pieces stood out to me particularly as I’ve been working with lots of vintage and antique photographs recently for my new book Photo Art including a project that transfers photos onto ceramics using water slide decal technique.
The lightest moment came when entering a room full of finely painted portraits only to see everyone crowded round one small spot. There, behind the masses, was a miniature portrait of Rylan Clark with a VIP pass slung round his neck, titled ‘The Earl Of Essex’.
Grayson has referenced Victorian mourning jewelry, with the lock of his hair kept at the back of the portrait, and also older Elizabethan miniature painters such as Nicholas Hilliard, by using the cobalt blue ground. I was puzzled by the signature on the back at first – why the letter W and why a little drawing of an anchor. Surely Grayson Perry would have GP as initials?
Then, about 5 hours later, I realised….if you put W before anchor, you get….
“In 1919 the Woolf’s bough Monk’s House in the village of Rodmell. This was a small weather-boarded house (now owned by the National Trust) which they used principally for summer holidays until they were bombed out of their flat in Mecklenburgh Square, London in 1940 when it became their home.” (source)
Photo by Oliver Mallinson Lewis (via Wikimedia Commons)
I visited Monk’s House about 6 years ago whilst working on a photography shoot for Country Living Magazine. It is a sweet, low-ceiling little house with an amazing yet modest conservatory and very much felt like a peaceful retreat from city life. Now owned by the National Trust, it was being looked after at the time by the designer Caroline Zoob who kindly welcomed us that day.
Photo by John Cummings (via Wikimedia Commons)
We saw the annexe room that Virginia Woolf had built on the side of the original house (which had it’s own entrance and that she used as her bedroom and retreat, defining her own personal space within her home and marriage) which perhaps, alongside the writing lodge that she also commissioned at the end of the garden, contributed to the creation of her extended essay ‘A Room Of One’s Own’.
“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction” she famously wrote.
We are very proud to say that our ‘Virginia Woolf – A Room Of One’s Own’ cushion, remade from a penguin books cover tea towel, has been stocked in the shop at the prestigious National Portrait Gallery (Trafalgar Square, in the heart of London) to coincide with their major Virginia Woolf exhibition. Unfortunately, they have now completely sold out – as limited edition things tend to do.
When in the garden that day with my friend and colleague, I asked her what had made Virginia leave Monk’s House, as it was so peaceful and tranquil there. She told me that Virginia had filled her pockets with stones, walked down to the river at the end of this very garden and drowned herself. It was a chilling moment. And now, these few years later, that very friend of mine is no longer with me, tormented by the same demons.
Anyway, it is a beautiful location and worth a visit when the season begins again in the spring. If travelling from London then just the journey over the wonderfully undulant South Downs landscape is a welcome joy.
In England in the late 1800s, visiting one’s friends and relatives required a calling card. These Victorian equivalents of text messages were rectangular cards with the visitor’s name engraved or printed onto one side and covered with a highly coloured and decorated die-cut flap of paper. These designs incorporated many motifs and symbols including meaningful flowers such as roses and forget-me-nots, sailing ships (to indicate going on a journey), the ubiquitous ‘hand of friendship’and other symbols of love and amity.
A selection of Victorian Calling Cards from the late 19th Century.
One’s card was handed over (usually by one’s servant) to the servant at the receiving household and was received on a silver platter but the messages didn’t stop there: The upper left corner turned down signified a congratulatory visit, lower left corner for condolence, lower right hand corner to indicate taking leave (going on a trip) and upper right corner meant the visitor had left the card in person (rather than sending their servant). To formally arrange the visit, the recipient sent their card in return however to receive no card in return or inside an envelope indicated that your proposed visit was not welcome.
Note the top left corner has been turned over.
The engraved name under the decorated flap is Mary Cady who gave this card away in a congratulatory visit (as indicated by the folded top left corner) to persons unknown.
Hunted and Stuffed have used this fascinating historical quirk as the inspiration for our new HandS collection.
Each cushion is 43cm x 43cm and is designed, printed, sewn and stuffed in the UK with a British made luxury feather pad (made in Yorkshire).
The design is digitally printed onto 100% cotton and continues over the seams and onto the back, cleverly giving a wrap around effect and creating a double sided design that you can simply flip over if you fancy a change.
Perfect as gifts for friends and loved ones (or as a treat to yourself) because we firmly believe that offering the ‘hand of friendship’ should never be out of fashion.
To my amazement and joy, I recently sourced some fabulous deadstock fabric that had been produced at the now demolished Gannex Mill in Greater Elland, Yorkshire. Always one to love a bit of research to uncover the stories behind the vintage fabrics that we upcycle, I discovered that this unique textile is a surviving piece of social history and one that’s intertwined with my own personal history- let me tell you the story…….
Gannex is the brand name for the iconic British textile invented and produced by Kagan Textiles Ltd in Greater Elland, Yorkshire in the 1950’s.
Joseph Kagan, later Lord Kagan, was a colourful character. A Jewish immigrant who survived the Nazi conquest of Lithuania, he built a textiles business in Yorkshire and developed a new type of cloth which combined the warming properties of wool with the waterproofing of polyester which he named ‘Gannex’.
Lord Kagan displaying his Gannex textile invention. (Photo: paphotos.co.uk)
Gannex raincoats sold across the world with the British Prime Minister Harold Wilson being the staunchest supporter, rarely seen without his. Both men pursued their vision of putting British manufacturing firmly back on the map and reviving the fortunes of the Yorkshire textile industry with Kagan Textiles being the leading employer in Elland for a time.
Harold Wilson in his Gannex overcoat. (Photo: Ernest G Bilko via Flickr)
Ever the entrepreneur, Kagan persuaded the Duke of Edinburgh to order a Gannex raincoat from Harrods thus securing the Royal Warrant and leading to the provision of raincoats for the Queen and even her Corgis to wear.
Lord Kagan is also known for his spectacular fall from grace, doing time inside for ‘tax evasion’ in 1976 after stealing 23 barrels of indigo dye from his former factory, going on the run in Spain and finally being captured and extradited on a visit to Paris when a disgruntled former mistress betrayed him. He was also rumoured to have been a spy. Although jailed and fined he did make a return to the House of Lords and eventually passed away in 1995. (You can read more about the fascinating life of Lord Kagan here).
The Gannex Mill in Elland, Yorkshire, closed in the 1990s and was eventually and controversially demolished in 2010.
Gannex Mill in 2010 before being demolished. (Photo: Tim Patterson, Greater Elland Historical Society)
Inside the abandoned Gannex Mill before it’s demolition in 2010. (Photo: Rookinella 28DaysLater.org)
So with all of that history and pedigree and Hunted and Stuffed’s love of a good back story, imagine how thrilled I was to hunt down some original vintage rolls of Gannex fabric from this famous, and now long gone, Mill. Enough, in fact, to create two very special Limited Editions…
A strictly limited edition of 25.
Each piece is handmade, fully lined and over-locked with a hidden zip in the base and has it’s own hand-stamped label with the origin of the vintage textile and the individual edition number.
These limited edition cushions really are the last parts of the story and once they are gone, they are gone.
So what’s all that got to do with my Granny? Well, researching the history of the Gannex Mill in Yorkshire got me thinking about my maternal grandmother, Lily.
She used to work as a Worsted Weaver in Leeds in the 1940’s and 50’s at the Bean Ing Mill until it too was closed and eventually demolished. After doing some further family research I discovered that her father and also her grandmother both worked in the textile industry too. There is some comfort in discovering that something you have chosen to do is actually in the blood and I was amazed to discover that I’m actually the fifth generation of my family to work in textiles – that I have discovered so far.
My Gran Lily (3rd from left) and other Mill Girls down the local.
This is the interior courtyard of Bean Ing Mill in Leeds at the time Lily worked there in 1948.
Built over a 40 year period by Benjamin Gott, it was the world’s first factory for woollen manufacture. This whole area was demolished in the 1960s and the Yorkshire Post Newspapers building erected on the site.
This is a loom found at the site and the kind that Lily would have operated, perhaps even the same one. She was quite deaf in old age and this was probably the culprit.
So Lily, these cushions are made in your memory. By the way, the feather cushion pads inside were made in Yorkshire too. 100% Yorkshire made – just like you. I hope you like them.
We’re thrilled to tell you that one of our Equestrian themed upcycled vintage cushions was selected to appear on last night’s TV episode of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on Channel 4!
For those of you not familiar with this programme, architect George Clarke presents a show that celebrates the extraordinary world of small design – from secret hideaways and space-saving retreats, to eco-friendly bolt holes and re-conditioned vehicles.
In this episode (series 2, episode 4), he meets Chloe Le Fay who magically transforms a smelly old horsebox into an absolutely stunning combined mobile shop for her vintage clothes business Crystal Vintage and living quarters. She managed this amazing feat on a shoestring budget and upcycled a variety of materials (many sourced for free) to create a real success story.
This is Gloria before the transformation.
Here she is after the conversion (with Mr George Clarke).
Here’s our Hunted and Stuffed Equestrian Cushion nestled behind an upcycled world map table.
Another view of the dining area – note the beautifulwooden cladding made with upcycled scrap wood.
If this is making you feel inspired about the possibilities of design on a budget or in a small space, check out Jane Field-Lewis’ ‘My Cool…’ brand at mycoolhomepage.com Jane is also the hugely creative force behind the Amazing Spaces series and books.
Already doing it? Get involved with the next series by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the conversation on Twitter….@huntedandstuffed @mycoolcaravan @mrgeorgeclarke @gcamazingspaces #amazingspaces
Last month I was approached by the lovely Lauren from Farrow & Ball, Richmond to collaborate on an exciting new upcycling project to support Purple Carrot, a community project based in Barnes.
Purple Carrot, the brainchild of Illana Adamson, upcycles furniture that would otherwise end up in landfill and aims to create a route for income for marginalised members of the community as well as create skills for the community as a whole.
Using this book as inspiration, we soon found our own collection of pieces that were abandoned or on their way to landfill. Here they are just after we rescued them.
We began work at the Castlenau Community Centre in Barnes on the day of it’s grand re-opening after huge investment and rennovation.
Lots of members of the local community pitched in and we soon got sanding and priming.
Lauren and I get stuck in.
Above left: Illana gives some advice to young helpers. Above right: Lauren tackles the hundreds of staples that needed removing from the wooden chair.
The new ‘YellowCake’ paint colour inspired cake made by Lauren – didn’t hang around long!
‘To Market’ Fast forward a few weeks and after much hard work the pieces were finally finished. Time to show them off in Duck Pond Market, Richmond.
The once staple-ridden chair was transformed with Yellowcake No. 279 (with a Hunted and Stuffed cushion).
This lovely little chest was painted in Dimpse No. 277 and had castors (spray painted red for contrast) added for a pop of colour. The handles were replaced with upcycled champagne corks.
The chair was painted with Nancy’s Blushes No. 278 and upholstered with a vintage kaftan featuring an amazing peacock design. This piece got reserved before it even got to market!
Lauren worked tirelessly on these drawers and made them look amazing with Stiffkey Blue No. 281 and some rescued brass handles and ‘windows’. The drawers are also lined with beautiful paper inside. To the left is the little stool painted in St Giles Blue No. 280 with a vintage 70’s linen upholstered removable top and kid-friendly vintage hooks and fixtures for decoration.
This little stool was painted with Purbeck Stone No. 275 and the seat upholstered with a vintage feed sack textile from my stash.
This desk, painted in Mole’s Breath No. 276, was also lined inside with beautiful paper and the handles made with an upcycled leather belt and silver fixings.
Me with the Richmond Farrow and Ball ladies.
Illana and Lauren have a well earned sit-down.
‘The Perching Post’ Anna, proprietor of The Perching Post in Barnes, has kindly offered her support by hosting a pop-up shop where our pieces are currently available for sale. All monies raised will go to support the Purple Carrot project.
The Perching Post specialises in reintroducing items of furniture for the home which would otherwise end up in landfill. They add colour and rejuvenate them to make them attractive and functional. They also stock a range of quirky homeware, supporting local designers and goods made in GB. Do pop in!
Exciting news! – My first book ‘Creating The Vintage Look – 35 ways to upcycle for a stylish home’ is being published worldwide by Cico Books this month.
To celebrate the launch, we’ve teamed up with The Old Cinema in Chiswick to hold a free exhibition of unique upcycled vintage furniture and homeware projects featured in the book.
The Old Cinema is just that: a picture palace dating from the 1890s which has been refurbished to become London’s only antiques, vintage, and retro department store. They are at the forefront of the upcycling movement in the UK and we are thrilled that they are hosting our book launch exhibition and pop-up shop.
There will also be a Hunted and Stuffed Pop-Up Shop where you can find the latest unique pieces by this luxury upcycled vintage homeware brand. Copies of the book will also be on sale.
VENUE: The Old Cinema 160 Chiswick High Road London W4 1PR