Sunday, 20 May 2007

Church Organ

The priest was very interested in our quest and referred us to Doncaster Archives, I am currently awaiting information from them and hopoing for proof of what we believe.

St Helen`s Church Burghwallis

This is the church where Mary played the organ and where she was married

Home Farm Hillam

This is where Mary Jane was born

The Chapel- Two views

This is the chapel of the old De La Pole Hospital. Did Mary Jane go there? Did she play the organ, or was she too far into her own head?

It is now a crematorium and when we visited there was a service going on.

She must have walked these paths......

Hull etc

When I was a child I lived behind a shop which was closed on Mondays. So that was the day when things were quiet when I came home from school. However every so often Dad was missing having been to "Hull". As far as I remember there was never any discussion certainly not when I was around, we just knew he had been to see Grandma Brown. Full stop. Nothing.

My Dad died aged 91 in 2000 keeping his memories to himself. Two weeks ago, 54 years since Grandma Brown herself died I finally went to "Hull", to the Mental Hospital which at that time did not admit people under 16. I had a look for myself.

I also had a look and photographed everywhere she lived, as far as I know, and went to a service in the little church where she played the organ before she was married and later when she was widowed.

It was a satisfying trip,clearing up mysteries and getting some sort of sense of the life. The Mental Hospital was a huge complex still containing some of the buildings Mary Jane would have been very familiar with among more modern places.

The most moving was the church and the organ. The familiar architecture, the lonely priest, who says evensong every day, usually alone, the surrounding trees, must have been exactly like this in 1905 when she was married there and later after 1927 when her beloved husband died. We believe that she resumed playing the organ when she returned to the village in somewhat straitened circumstances after the terrible times of the farm diseases of the 1920s.

The music, the religious observance, the familiar village, her son and daughter, grandchildren,do not seem to have been able to stabilse her mind. Ten years later she was "put away", "certified insane?". I`m still searching. I consider I owe it to her, to honour her memory.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Ode to the Tomato

The street
drowns in tomatoes:
in two
and the streets
with juice.
In December
the tomato
cuts loose
takes overlunches
at rest
on sideboards,
with the glasses,
butter dishes,
blue salt-cellars.
It has
its own radiance
a goodly majesty.
Too bad we must
a knife
into its living pulp,
a fresh,
floods the salads
of Chile,
beds cheerfully
with the blonde onion
and to celebrate
the filial essence
of the olive tree
lets itself fall
over its gaping hemispheres,
the pimento
its fragrance,
salt its magnetism-
we have the day`s wedding:
its little flags,
thump to a boil,
the roasts
down the door
with their aromas:
it`s time!
let`s go!
and upon
the table
belted by summer,
stars of the earth,
stars multiplied
and fertile
show off
their convolutions,
and plenitudes
and the abundance
without husk,
or scale or thorn,
grant us
the festival
of ardent colour
and all-embracing freshness. Pablo Neruda

Tales Of The Tomatoes

Irealise that my pictures are not a very accurate record as I don`t always stand in the same place. I`ll try to be more like Tom Phillips and be in the same place at the same time etc in future

Tales Of The Tomatoes

These pictures are here because I am not sure how to get them on to Chao mi`s blog and I want to record their progress as I`m very proud of them. You will see they were very sorry for themselves when I first got them home, but with tender loving care they are going to do well. Watch this Space

Tales of the Tomatoes

Visiting Hull

Below are a few pictures of the Mental Hospital where my Grandmother was until 1953.
As many of the Journey are going on the wall in the Museum I`ll just leave those for now.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

A quiet corner of the grounds

De La Pole Hospital Building

De La Pole Hospital Building

The Journey

On May 3 I left college after printmaking all day and travelled to Yorkshire to visit all the sites connected with Grandma Brown, Mary Jane Brown.
I had to first decide why I was doing this. After all I could gain a lot of family history from the internet and through letters and the telephone, but I felt a really strong desire to go and look, just be there. I wanted to tread the same ground and look at the same places and see if I could get closer to the person in that way.

I began with the most important place to me, that is the Mental Hospital where she spent the last 15 years of her life and where I was forbidden to go until I was 16. I was 14 when she died.

I then visited the houses and farms where she lived, the church where she played the organ, and was married. I went to the graveyard where her ashes were scattered, and established the site of one of the three photographs I have of her.