That Reminds Me, by Jeff Dunn
12:02pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in News
When readers get in touch, either with feedback on a previous item, or to share some interesting tale of their own, it brings a welcome glow to the TRM room, like sunbreaking through on a cold, wet, winter morn.
This week, Alison Hardy takes pride of place for warming the cockles of my heart, after sending me the following excellent, and thought provoking family pieces.
"When you are young, you are busy making history, and it is only when you get older, you start to think about who you are, and why you are in Milford.
When we went to the 125th anniversary of the fishing industry at Milford Museum, I felt how much we truly belonged in this lovely town that we call home.
My great grandfather, Joseph King, who was born in Islington in London, was first recorded on the 1871 census as a visitor to a family in Charles Street, age 14 years.
Ten years after that, he was married, and living in Hubberston; then, in 1891, just after the Docks first opened, he is living in Dartmouth Gardens, with his wife and family, and is a fish packer. He was the first King to work on the newly established fish market.
But by the census of 1901, Joseph is dead and his son, my grandfather, W.H.King, is also a fish packer, along with his brother James.
The 1911 census shows that W. H. King is living in Marble Hall Road, with his own family, and has become a wholesale fish merchant.
His first child, my Uncle Norman, was just 8 months old on that census, but too went on to carry on with W H King's business as a wholesale fish merchant himself.
In 1920, my father, Gerald King, was born, and after returning safely from the war in 1945, set up his own business as a fish merchant, and continued up until he passed away in 1983.
The Museum has a fish market display which I find very evocative, the fish boxes used in the display bear my father's name, so he is truly immortalised along with his ancestors, who worked on the fish market before him.
I remember going down to the fish market to see my dad when I was a little girl, and the place was so busy. The noise was deafening, with the seagulls and the Lister trucks going up and down the market, with their loads of fish and ice.
The fish merchants had little wooden offices, with phones to take orders from customers, and the phones had to have extra loud bells on them, or the men wouldn't have heard them ringing.
The floor of the market was so slimy from when the workers were gutting the fish and the bits used to drop off the work bench. Ugh !
Those were the days when FISH WAS KING, and in our case , when KING WAS FISH, too."
That's a wonderful family story from Alison, who also kindly provided copies of the relevant census forms dating back all those years.
But it doesn't end there.
Following last week's TRM's passing reference to mermaids, it turns out that, in July 1822, while fishing off the Shetlands, Alison's great great great great grandfather, once hooked such an amazing creature.
I have to admit that I'm "gobsmacked" to have received such an amazing piece of feedback, but here are some extracts from the solemnly sworn statement describing the encounter.
"In the beginning of the month of July last, they were deep sea fishing from 30 to 36 miles from land, and about midnight took up a creature attached at the back of the neck to a hook, which was about three feet long, and about thirty inches in circumference at the broadest part, which was across the shoulders.
From the navel upwards it resembled a human being, had breasts as those of a woman, attached to the side were arms about nine inches long, with wrists and hands like those of a human being, except that there were webs between the fingers for about half their length.
The fingers were in number and shape like those of a man. The little arms were close on the outside of the breasts, and on the corner of each shoulder was placed a fin of a round form, which, when extended, covered both the breasts and arms.
The animal had a short neck, on which rested a head about the length of a man's, but not nearly so round, and somewhat pointed at the top; had eyebrows without hair, and eyelids covering two small blue eyes, somewhat like those of a human being, not like those of a fish. It had no nose, but two orifices for blowing through.
Has a mouth so large that when opened wide it could admit a man's fist.
It had lips rather thicker than a man's, of a pure white colour. There was no chin, but they think the lower jaw projected a little farther than the upper one. There were no ears. The whole front of the animal was covered with skin as white as linen, the back with skin of a light grey colour like a fish.
From the breasts the shape sloped towards the tail, close to which it was about four inches in circumference. The tail was flat. It consisted of two lobes, which when extended might be six inches(together) in breadth and was at right angles to the face of the creature. It resembled the tail of a halibut.
The animal was nearly round at the shoulders, appeared to have shoulder bones and a hollow space between them, like a human being. The diminution of size increased most rapidly from the navel, which might be nine inches below the breasts.
There was between the nostrils a thing that appeared to be a piece of gristle about nine inches long and which resembled a thick bristle. There was a similar one on each side of the head but not quite so long.
When the men spoke the animal yawned and moved those bristles which led them to suppose that the creature heard by means of them.
There was no hair on any part of its body, which was soft and slimy.
There is an opinion among fishermen that it is unlucky to kill a mermaid and therefore after having kept it in the boat for some time they slipped it."
I am extremely grateful to Alison for all this week's TRM contributions.
I've really enjoyed reading them, and I hope this week's snap captures the mood.
I would also love to hear from any of our fishing fraternity readers, about the most "unusual" catch they ever brought in....and I bet it won't match Alison's ancestor's!
Now for our posers...and last week's caught quite a few of you out. It was all to do with Roman numerals. X1X being 19.. by removing the 1...leaves XX...namely 20.
Those who deserve some roman candles are...Paul John; Margaret Jones; Mel Horn; Sheila Rimmer; Alan Scard; Gerald & Anne Llewellyn; Ken Davies; Roy Holman; Tricia Hawthorn; Denis Payne; John Roberts and Malcolm Cullen.
Thanks to everyone who had a stab at it.
If you've got a bit of time to spare, try this week's.
How many times do the hands of a clock overlap in 24 hours?