At the bottom on the left is an alphabetical list of the pages in this web site, to help you navigate if you feel so inclined.
A guide to our family photo album covering 1994-2010, showing the principal themes, is here.
A year by year guide to our family time-line from 1994 through 2007 is here.
A photo journal beginning in 2008 is here.
The most recent pages of the album, copies of posts from my WordPress family blog, http://ianstock.wordpress.com/, are linked here:
One of the pleasures of Ian's middle age has been discovering his aging aunts. Taking advantage of the low fares, he spent five February days in England and visited Aunty Vi (Violet Rose Eliza) in Solihull, West Midlands and Aunty Angela in Rye, East Sussex.
On the left is Angela at the Playden Oasts in Rye Hill, where she likes to lunch. 84 years young, if I remember correctly.
Angela née Stock is not actually an Aunt, although she feels like one. Ian and Angela are second cousins thrice removed, or something of the sort. She almost came to our wedding: a bit of car trouble delayed the visit two weeks.
During this visit, Angela pulled out a receipt for her grandfather's grave in Swindon, where he (Walter Stock) had spent his career as an engineer at the Great Western Railway's Swindon Works.
The GWR and then British Railways built steam locomotives at Swindon Works until 1960, when the last main-line steam locomotive built in the UK (until 2008) was built there. Named the "Evening Star," this locomotive made national headlines as it heralded the end of steam in the UK. Ian, then an ardent trainspotter, remembers the sadness of that passing.
After visiting Aunt Angela in Rye, Ian drove around London and down the M4 and found her grandfather's grave, in the photo to the right.
The Swindon cemetery where Walter was laid to rest is now all but abandoned, and many of the graves have almost disintegrated. But walking around, Ian stumbled upon the grave. Walter was buried there with his wife Mary Ann, née Thomas, and two of their children, Victor and William. The poor couple buried two of their own children during their own lifetimes.
It was perhaps wishful thinking, but this grave seemed to have been very well put together, as if a good engineer had thought through the design himself. In any event, it was in good condition considering that it has probably fended for itself for fifty or sixty years. Angela lives a long way away, and her children even further.
Walter George Stock is in the photo on the left: he was Thomas Charles Stock's younger brother. Thomas was Ian's Great-great-grandfather. His grave in Paddington Cemetery can be seen here, with his young namesake.
Earlier during the trip, Ian drove to the house on the right, 23 Sutherland Place, London W2, the former home of said Thomas Charles. In what is now referred to as Notting Hill, Angela visited this home in the 1920s with her mother and brother Nigel. Angela remembers that brother and sister entertained their aunt, uncle and cousins with song and dance, accompanying themselves, I think on the piano.
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Aunty Vi née Smith, Grandma Stock's sister, still lives near where she was raised in Birmingham. Ian took her for a drive around the city, visiting Grandma's grave and sights from her past.
But first he drove by a few of his own memories in the Birmingham area. On the left is the level crossing at Mill Lane in Dorridge, with a train going by underneath the footbridge.
Ian lived at 85 Mill Lane from 1964 to 1966, about half a mile from the level crossing, and as a trainspotter was delighted to live there, because the trains were so close.
Aunty Vi showed him around the houses she lived in as a girl, and they lunched on Erdington High Street, the shopping center of her childhood. Her father, Frederick Smith, was a painter, what we'd call a contractor nowadays. She said that he was sought after because of his attention to detail. The house on the right was his on Milverton Road. At least, she thought so, but wasn't entirely sure. She did remember that he bought it new, but not which exact house it was. They all look alike, and it's been sixty years, after all!
She did remember going with her brother Cyril to watch Aston Villa, one of the stalwarts of English soccer, and getting in free every Saturday because her father was engaged to paint the stands for the Villa. Did he paint in claret and blue? A photo of the Smith brother and sisters is here.
During the 2008 trip, Vi and Ian went to pay their respects to Grandma. As there is already a picture of one grave on this page, let's refer you here, where there is a nice shot of Grandma's grave in the Abbey, Erdington. As she asked in her Will, she was buried with her parents.
It's an Irish neighborhood, still today, and a chap with a broad brogue who works for the parish looks after the grave, well, most of the time. He periodically disappears, and we start to worry. But he keeps coming back!
Here are the other 2008 photo journal pages: Tom living in Paris, Alban out and about in Santa Cruz, Maman, Papa, Charlie and Alex taking a long weekend down the California coast, birthdays and other special days in 2008, soccer in 2008, portraits in 2008 and, last but not least, the main 2008 journal page.
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban