Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Dear Granny

This is an old letter I picked up in a junk shop. It is creased and fragile but as you may be able to see, it was written by a schoolboy to his granny and is dated 9th May 1913. 

Dear Granny,
Thanks very much for the stamp album. I will bring it up with me next time I come. We broke up from school yesterday (May 8th). I’m in the big boys now, our teacher calls us lads. His name is Mr Frances.

Not sure if the name is Roogy, but a strange nickname if it is. Or could it be the family name, or was his name Roger? [Now identified as Douglas Roy Woodhouse - see note at end of post]

There is also a pencil sketch which appears to show boxer Jack Johnson punching a suffragette and at the same time having his backside kicked by a small person who may be Roogy and who also appears to be sticking his tongue out. Maybe granny supported the suffragettes and therefore Roogy did too, but where Jack Johnson comes into it I don’t know.

Presumably the drawing is contemporary with the letter because Johnson was world heavyweight champion from 1908 until 1915, but for some reason he seems to be depicted as a white chap with a big black moustache. Possibly it was a private nickname for somebody else entirely. Or perhaps there was another Jack Johnson who hated the suffragettes and this is a private joke between grandmother and grandson.

How the letter became detached from Roogy’s family I don’t know. Perhaps it lay undiscovered for decades in a piece of furniture which was subsequently sold and so the family thread was snapped.


Blogger Demetrius has identified Roogy as Douglas Roy Woodhouse born in 1900 according to the 1911 census. So Roy would be aged about 13 when he wrote this letter.


Demetrius said...
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Demetrius said...

Double check, Douglas Roy Woodhouse, 1911 Census aged 11.

Demetrius said...

I think there may be living descendants.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - most interesting. I'll add that info to the post in case there are interested living descendants.

Demetrius said...

Thomas Colin Hunter, born 1974, Sunderland and Robert Joseph Hunter, born 1978, Sunderland.

James Higham said...

Boogie Woogie Roogy boy.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - I wonder if I'll get an email one day?

James - he would have seen the jazz age.