Father's Diary

By Barbara Winder

A selection from her father's diary

Thought I'd mention that mum and dad did most of their courting in the 1920s in the local cinema. They both called it the KINO, (located on Eldon Street). Father's diary for 1927 mentions several visits and what they saw. There seems to have been a different film every night. He also mentions the Hippodrome, which was on The Broadleys.

There was also the Annual Methodist Youth Festival at the Methodist church on High Street (opposite side to C. of E.). It included elocution, singing (solo and choirs), and various classes for writing, painting etc. It was a big event in the 1950s and I've won prizes there. The place was packed for the summer weekend it took place.

Entries from the Diary

Visits to the movies

Monday 11th July-Little Annie Rooney .
Monday 25th July-Men Of Steel - "not bad" .
Wednesday 17thAugust-'Lady Be Good' - booked 4th probably at Hippodrome.
Saturday 13th August-Fair came.
Tuesday 16th August-Flower show.
Monday 22nd and 29th August and 26th Sept-Visited Hippodrome "good show".

The 1927 Clay Cross Company Diary was the only one I have found in my father(Douglas Osbiston) 's effects and the only one he wrote in. He kept it until his death in 1983. It charts the early months of his courtship to my mother, then Hannah Crofts aged 21, and shows the slow pace of courtship then. Here are a few entries:-
Sat.9th April-saw H.C.
Sun.1st May- saw H.C.again.
Mon. 16th May- took F.R.to hospital, took him home and told me where H.C. lived. Should like to know her.
Sun. 29th May-saw H.C.
Sun.3rd July-went to Blackpool but did not enjoy it. I wish H.C. had been there. I wonder what she would think if she ever got hold of this.
Fri. 8th July. Saw H.C. Hoped she would go to Hipp. no luck.
Sat. 9th July. Shall go out tomorrow with the express purpose of getting an introduction.
Sun. 10th July. Got an introduction to H.C. I do hope we get on well together.
Mon. 11th July. Took H. to see 'Little Annie Rooney'I think we shall get on fine.
Wed. 13th July. 8 o'clock she came. Had a lovely walk. It was real nice of her to come.
Fri. 15th July. Saw H going shopping with E. had five minutes to talk.
Sat 16th July. Arranged to meet H.C. tonight. Did do. Went a nice long walk. Gee but I do like her. Going to see her tomorrow.
Sun. 17th. July. All's well- Hannah.
Mon. 18th. She's just my sort. I know mother would like her.
There follows an almost daily meeting for 'nice walks' sometimes 'damp under foot', with visits to the local cinemas and the fair and flower show. He became a regular visitor at her older married sister, May's on Saturdays. They admitted how they felt by the end of August, and on Sept. He mended a set of broken beads for which she kissed him. He also made a wooden kitchen board for her mother.

On 10th September Hannah left on her annual week's holiday to Blackpool.
On 10th Sept he went to Derby, possibly to see a football match, but by Sunday the separation was too much and he went to Blackpool for the day to see her. In the week following both wrote letters and she sent a post card.
He notes by the end of September that he must have a photo taken for her, and on Sunday 25th he goes to meet her mother and father for the first time for tea, then chapel and 'a nice walk'.
Two years later they were married


It was a loving and long term relationship that lasted 53 years of marriage. However, it gives some idea to modern eyes of the slow pace of a 1920s courtship, even though he was 28 and she 21 when they met. I've also included a marriage photo of their wedding day outside the Primitive Methodist Chapel Clay Cross 19th July 1930.


Neil Wilson 2012 - www.claycross.org.uk
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