Saturday, January 29, 2011

A collective regime of peace and love

I don't generally devote a blog to sharing a cool song I found on the internet, but:

Great Ceau┼čescu's ghost, this is a work of genius! A complete history of the Soviet Union, told in terms of Tetris. The lyrics are brilliant, and the video is sensationally epic! And the group who created it, Pig With The Face Of A Boy, a neo-post-post-music hall anti-folk band, have a really great website with lyrics, merchandise, a picture of themselves crouching in the undergrowth and more, that you all should go and check out right now!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Living here in Allentown

I have a not-writing-about-work-in-case-they-fire-me kind of policy, but I think I'm justified in mentioning, since it was in the newspapers back in October, that the company is planning to reduce the number of head-office staff by about 20%. And having had that vague announcement dangling Damocles-swordishly over us for the last three months, we got details yesterday of who, when and how.

My job's safe, so don't fret, but it's disturbing to work in a department with a lot of people who are getting the chop. It sort of makes me feel like resigning anyway and finding a new job somewhere else. Or else resigning and going on holiday to Las Vegas, which is my usual response to work-related stress. I haven't been to Vegas since I started working for my current employers, and I could really do with a break. My savings wouldn't last me very long, though... maybe I should tell my hordes of Chinese fans about my book? That'd get me a few sales through Lulu, I'll bet you!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Unpaid advert

James Ponder has put together some abstract images practice papers for everyone, and you can find them at The Home Of Abstract Images!

Meanwhile, I've been caught up in family-tree-researching [note - after two or three attempts to spell that word that starts with gene and ends with ology, I decided to give up. I'm too lazy to look it up, although doing so would have taken less time than typing this parenthetical explanation] for the last couple of days. I've even fallen behind on my memory-training schedule, although I'm determined to catch up tonight (just need to do a bit of binary and I'm back on track). But I'm going to add new bits on to the end of yesterday's post, rather than making a new one with each new discovery. So you can all safely ignore that bit if you're reading through my old bloggings.

In other news, I got my copy of "How To Be Clever" today. It looks quite cool, really, considering it was made using Lulu's default cover style and printed in A4 because I was too lazy to re-format my Word document into something more professional. Many thanks to the many, many people who've asked me to email them a copy - I didn't realise there were so many people out there who didn't get it foisted upon them a couple of years ago! It's still not worth reading. I've never considered it to be a real, finished book, just a very rough draft. So don't blame me if you think it's rubbish, I told you so.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A bit more George Harry

Because what kind of working class hero would I be if I eulogised my officer great-uncle and didn't also pay tribute to his three brothers who were also killed in the war? So from a combination of census and war records, here's a brief family history of the many offspring of William Thomas Pridmore and his wife Sarah Jane. Because I know all my blog readers will be just fascinated by the detailed history of my family:

1) Ernest William Pridmore, born 28 July 1877 in Pickworth, Rutland (where William Thomas grew up). Was an 'errand lad' aged 13 in the 1891 census, married Elizabeth Ellen Waters in late 1900 and shortly thereafter was working as a bricklayer's labourer in 1901, while Elizabeth worked in the knife and fork factory (they were lodging with Fred and Eliza Hughes, aged 23 and 19), and by 1911 was still a bricklayer's labourer, but with a home of his own and three living children (and one who had died) - William aged 9, Nellie aged 5 and Lillian aged 3. This makes him possibly the only Pridmore in the whole family tree to have more daughters than sons. We're a hugely male-dominated family. Also living with them were Robert and Herbert Waters, who I would guess were probably Elizabeth's widowed father and single brother.

2) Albert Pridmore (who seems not to have had a middle name), born 1 May 1879 in Wittering, Northants (where the family were either visiting or lived for a very short time before moving to Sheffield). I can't find him at all on the 1901 census, but he was recently married at that point to Margaret, two years his junior. By 1911 they'd been married for 11 years and had four living children - Albert jr aged 10, George aged 4, Ernest aged 2 and Harold aged three months. Two other children had died. Albert, like his brother, was working as a bricklayer's labourer (their father was a bricklayer - presumably it was the family business). He listed his birthplace as Sheffield, not Wittering, on the 1911 census. Albert joined the army as a private in June 1915 (he was 36 - compulsory enlistment for married men of his age didn't come in until the following year), was wounded in action on 2 May 1917 and died in Bradford hospital on 22 June.

3) John Thomas Pridmore, born 23 February 1881 in Sheffield. Joined the army aged 18 in 1899 and fought in the Boer War, then left the military, married Harriet Annie in 1907 and by 1911 had two children, Ernest William aged 3 and Gladys aged eleven months, and was working as a railway porter. He joined up again when war broke out (despite his army experience, he was never promoted beyond private) and was killed at Ypres on 14 October 1914. "Buried where he fell," according to the records - a lot of men died that day, 62 years exactly before I was born.

4) Arthur Edward Pridmore, born 1 April 1883. Followed his brother John into the army in May 1900 and fought alongside him in South Africa, according to the military record, although the 1901 census (taken the day before his 18th birthday) lists him as still living at home and working as a brewer's labourer - I'm thinking that he probably joined up in May 1901, not 1900. He remained in the army, becoming a recruiting sergeant, and married Annie Elizabeth in 1909. They had no children by the time of the 1911 census, but they had a five-week-old "visitor" in the house, as recorded by the census form, by the interesting name of Leslie Fredrick John Dyer. They lived in Dewsbury, away from the rest of the family in Sheffield. When war broke out, Sgt Arthur returned to the front lines, and was again fighting alongside John, but apparently this time giving his older brother orders. He was killed at Ypres four days later, on 18 October.

5) Florence Pridmore, born April/May/June 1885. Details about the girls in the family are harder to find - she was presumably married by the time of the 1911 census, but there were about a million 25-year-old Florences in Sheffield alone at that time. It was a popular name. Aged 15 in 1901, she was working as a "spoon & fork buffer", a wonderfully Sheffield occupation!

6) Lilian May Pridmore, born April/May/June 1889. There's a 21-year-old, Sheffield-born "Lillian something Pridmore" working as a servant to the Bennett family in nearby Ecclesall Bierlow in the 1911 census. The something might well be 'May' - the transcribers read it as "Cong", which is just silly. The handwriting is not good.

7) Wilfred Pridmore, born April/May/June 1892. By 1911, aged 19, he was still living at home and working as a labourer in the steel foundry. He would almost certainly have been in the war too, given his age, but he survived.

8) Oswald Pridmore, born Jan/Feb/Mar 1894. At 17 years old, he was a "horn buffer". Again, he would have been the perfect age for conscription into the British Army, but came through the war intact. Next step on my research list is to track down Wilfred and Oswald and find out what became of them.

9) George Harry Pridmore, born 23 June 1896. See yesterday's post. He seems to have always been known as "George Harry" - his parents had had another son called George (between Lilian and Wilfred), who was four months old at the 1891 census but died shortly thereafter. There were two other children who died, somewhere along the way, according to the 1911 census return.

10) Sidney Pridmore (or maybe Sydney - he generally spelt it with a Y as an adult. The 1901 census form has either a y written over an i or vice versa, it's impossible to tell, but in 1911 he's unequivocally "Sidney"). My 'Sheffield granddad', born in 1900 (I've got the exact date somewhere, but can't find it - he was ten months old on 31 March 1901), lived until 1982 and had a similarly huge army of children himself, putting even his own father to shame by having just one girl out of the thirteen. He and his brood deserve a blog-writeup sometime too, just as soon as I can get all the information together.

Anyway, sorry to bore you all with that. I know I wouldn't be all that interested if you told me all about your ancestors, but hey, it's my blog, I can write whatever I want. Nyah.

Added on January 26
Deaths from childhood diseases were sadly something to be expected in places like Sheffield in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The excellent Sheffield Indexers website has burial records, which allow me to fill in the gaps in the family trees mentioned above:

5a) Beatrice Eliza Pridmore, born c. June 1887, buried 4 April 1889 aged 22 months. Daughter of Wm Thos Pridmore of 4 Edgar Street, the family's address as at the 1891 census, so certainly part of our family.

6a) George Richard Pridmore, born c. December 1890, buried 2 October 1891 aged 10 months. This is a little more dubious - the age fits exactly with the George R listed on the 1891 census, but the burial record calls him "George Pridmore, son of G R Pridmore". Looks like they put the son's initials instead of the father's. He died at 27ct Carlisle Street - perhaps the family moved house in 1891, they did seem to do that a lot.

9a) Percy Pridmore, born c. August 1898, buried 1 August 1899 aged 12 months. Son of W T Pridmore, died at 18 Doncaster Street. By the 1901 census, William Thomas and family were at 143 Daisy Walk, but Percy fits into a gap in the family, and there aren't that many Pridmores around.

Eliza Pridmore, daughter of E W, died at 4/4 Shepherd Street (Ernest William Pridmore's address in 1911) aged 18 months, buried 3 June 1905. She will have been his second child, and first daughter.

Frederick Pridmore, son of A Pridmore, died aged 5 months, buried 23 January 1904.

Lily Pridmore, daughter of A Pridmore, died aged 13 months, buried 8 January 1906. Both of these were at the same address, 2/2 Blue Boy Street - not where Albert was living by 1911, but they're almost certainly his two deceased offspring, meaning he and Margaret had their six children at very regular two-year intervals.

There don't seem to be any burial records of the adult Pridmores from this branch of the family on the website, but this means all the babies are accounted for...

Added on January 27
Wow, that Sheffield Indexers site is awesome! The school records provide me with a birthday for Ernest, and the nugget that the four oldest boys all went to All Saints School, Pitsmoor. Arthur is called "Arnold Edwd", but it's definitely him - they were all the sons of William, at 4 Edgar Street, except that when Ernest started school they were at Harleston Street instead. Ernest is on the admissions list twice, both times recorded as leaving due to 'med certificate'.

The records are patchy (the only other family member on the site is my uncle Lol, admitted to Highfield Special School in 1942), but it's a miracle that there's anything surviving at all, let alone freely available on the web!

The Pridmore family's addresses, as best I can tell so far:

They must have moved to Sheffield at some time between May 1879 and February 1881 - there's no trace of them on the 1881 census, either because there's a page missing or because they were missed off in the first place. On 18 February 1884 they were living at 4 Harleston Street, by 14 Feb 1887 they were at 4 Edgar Street, where they remained until the census in April 1891. By October 1891 they were apparently at 27 Carlisle Street, then to 18 Doncaster Street by August 1899. For the 1901 census they were at the pretty-sounding 143 Daisy Walk, then by 1911 were living at 34 Hunt Street, where they remained until at least the end of the first world war.

Added 28 January
A bit of birth-certificate-trawling gives me closer approximations of the birthdays of those Pridmores I could only estimate, plus middle names for baby George and Lilian, edited up above. This also tells me that Albert's son Ernest was born in Ecclesall Bierlow rather than Sheffield (if the brothers had refrained from naming their children after each other, this would be less confusing - John also had a son called Ernest in 1908, and he was born in York, where John's wife Harriet came from). Next step, I suppose, is to send off for the certificates and get an exact record...

Added 29 January
The latest family gossip:

There's something wrong with our Ernest. He continued to have children after 1911, and they continued to be almost all girls! What happened to that legendary Pridmore y-chromosome? He ended up with a total of six girls and two boys: William (1902), Eliza (1903), Nellie (1906), Lilian (1908), Elizabeth (1911), Ernest (1914), Hilda (1916) and Rose (1918). Having dutifully named his first son after his father, poor Ernest had to wait until his sixth offspring to have a namesake!

I've found a husband for Lilian (not Ernest's daughter, Ernest's sister. Ernest senior's sister, that is. These duplicated names are very confusing). She married John C May in 1917, thus becoming Mrs Lilian May May. She must have really loved him, to have married a man whose surname was the same as her middle name. They had just two children that I can find (perhaps John was a bit less Yorkshire than the Pridmores), Charles born 1918 and Florence born 1919.

Florence (Lilian's sister, not her daughter), meanwhile, remains elusive. She may have married a John Palmer in 1908, but then again she might not - I can't confirm it with any 1911 census data.

I also can't find a wife for Albert. In 1911, he was married to someone called Margaret, but who she was and when they married I can't tell from any information available online. With that and his absence from the 1901 census, I suspect something scandalous. Or at least I hope for something scandalous, because a lot of these Pridmores lived very boring lives.

John's wife, meanwhile, was Harriet Annie Myton, and after Ernest (1908) and Gladys (1910), they had another son, Frederick (1913). I'm sure they would have gone on to have a traditional huge family had he survived the war.

Arthur's wife was probably Annie Elizabeth Ashworth, and she came from Ireland. No sign of any children for them, though they were married in 1909, and Arthur's military service seems to have been mostly based in England.

Wilfred possibly married a Chloris G Moorhouse in 1913. "Chloris"?

Oswald currently shows no sign of having married anyone or done anything, ever.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My great-uncle George has died

It was 92 years ago, but I've only just heard about it.

Having overcome my dislike of, I did a search for the name 'Pridmore', to see if any of my perennially-unproductive namesakes have self-published a book too. Not much joy on that front (there are quite a few Pridmores in the world, but most of them prefer to labour in obscurity all their lives and never show up on the internet or the bookshelves), but I did find a seller of World War I photos and obituaries, which provided something extremely cool!

Remember my 1911-census obsession of last year, which included this bloggery about my then-ten-year-old granddad, also involving his older brother George Harry, 14-year-old chemist's errand boy. I'd sort of wondered what happened to him, seeing as my dad was named after him and thus his name filtered down through the years into my middle name...

Well, here's what I found on Lulu today:

22 years old when he died, and just a couple of months before the end of the war, too. What's really fascinating, though, is that he was an officer! Just a 2nd Lieutenant, but even so, that's pretty good for a young man apparently without any education after the age of 14 and from a family consisting entirely of rank and file types! Must've been the brains of the family.

Also, although he's got the dark hair and big nose of the Pridmore clan, he's got a longer, thinner face than most of my relatives. But he has got the same hairline I had at that age...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Because You Demanded It

No, I'm not dead. I was kidnapped by working-class people who mistakenly believed I'm the King and wanted to force me to institute a parliamentary democracy. It's all been sorted out now.

Anyway, I've been bullied into putting my book on Lulu. You can buy it here if you want. It costs a tenner, some of which may or may not end up being paid to me, I'm not sure how it works.

Yes, I'm still emailing it for free to anyone who asks me; no, it's still not worth reading under any circumstances; no, it hasn't changed since I wrote it many years ago, barring roughly half a dozen proof-reading corrections kindly supplied by Simon Orton two and a half years ago and finally incorporated today, and a couple of parts where I changed the 'current' date from 2008 to 2010 (forgetting that it's not 2010 any more).

So in summary, and in all seriousness, don't buy it. Ask me for a copy if you want to read it, but I wouldn't recommend it.

It really is taking me a long time to get used to it being 2011. I blame the Royal Mint. I got a 2011-dated 50p coin in my change today, and according to the internet they were first issued last October. This is more confusing than it sensibly needs to be, and I'm going to write a letter of protest, spending the 50p on a stamp in the process.