Florence Maud Atkinson was born in Stanningfield, Suffolk, in 1894, the eldest of George and Anastasia’s ten children. When she was a child, her family moved to Lower Marsh Farm in Brightlingsea, Essex. There, she met Charles Field, and they were married in 1926.
Florence liked to write poems – this one about her family was written while she was working in London. She mentions that her sister Margaret was 8 at the time, which puts the date of this poem at about 1924.
The History I’m going to tell you, Of a dear old family,
That were brought up in a farmhouse,
Away near the deep blue sea.
Now Florence Maude’s the eldest, She in the city dwells,
But her heart is in the country,
With him she loves so well,
and when she’s made her fortune Enough to buy a home,
She’ll full speed to her lover, And never more will roam.
The next fair lass is Winnie May,1)1895-1974, married William George Patrick, 1904-1987 She too in London dwells,
A general maid they call her,
For she works and cooks for swells, Her fortune too she’s making
Or rather made it, tis true,
For she owns a watch and a bicycle And a hat with a feather too
Oh proud are they of Edward Vic,2)1897-1960 The eldest of the boys,
For wounded in the war was he, And is missing earth’s great joys
Yet he smiles, and seems content To dwell there with his Mum
He does work in the garden, And thinks its greatest fun.3)On the 1939 Register, Edward is a War Pensioner, Incapacitated.
Then next to him comes Olive,4)1900-? Professional cook is she,
With a vicar in a rectory, Down by the silvery sea.
On Wednesday, that’s her day out,
She cycles to the farm, Then Jack her love escorts her home,5)Married Jack R Last in 1926
To keep her from all harm.
The next is Lilian Ida,6)1902-? of her I will not boast,
But just to say, that some fine day,
She’ll wed him she loves most7)Possibly married Percy March in 1926
Oh William John’s a bonny lad,8)1904-1993? He dwells on a foreign shore,
A Trooper in the Army,9)Was in the Royal Tank Corps from 1924-1945
He’s been eight months or more.
He’s stationed now at Cairo, Oe’r deserts bare, he’ll roam,
For seven long years he’s gone away,
Then we’ll say welcome home.
George Ernest10)1906-? is the next fine lad, Some lad too, you’ll admit,
He works all day down on the farm,
And at night at home he’ll sit.
Now Leonard Arthur,11)1909-? Married Vera Carrington in 1937. By 1939, he was an ice-cream salesman. he comes next, He is a gay young spark,
He’s getting fond of kissing, And of being out after dark,
Of course he’s toiling hard all day,
He assists at the grocery store, And delivers goods to the villagers
Right up to their very door.
John Alfred,12)1911-1987 he is just thirteen, And such a bright little bloke,
For when days seem dark and dreary,
He brightens you up with a joke.
He goes to work on Saturdays, They call him ‘Kitchen Dick’
For he cleans the governor’s knives and boots
Methodical and quick.
Margaret’s13)Born 1916. Still living. the last, but not the least,
For the pet of them all is she,
Goes gaily each day to the village school, She’s only eight you see
And after her lessons all are done,
You can see her with string and a stick,
She’s pretending she’s got a real live horse
And she’s trying to make it kick.
But best and sweetest of them all,
Is the dear old Mum and Dad,14)George William Atkinson (1862-1930) married Anastasia Crouch (1873-?) in Suffolk, 1893.
Who have watched and guarded these girls and boys,
Alike the good and the bad.
And still this dear old couple toil, Doing their duty still
And will do it as long as their life shall last,
With a right and merry will.
Many thanks to Stella, Florence’s granddaughter, for letting me share this poem.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||1895-1974, married William George Patrick, 1904-1987|
|3.||↑||On the 1939 Register, Edward is a War Pensioner, Incapacitated.|
|5.||↑||Married Jack R Last in 1926|
|7.||↑||Possibly married Percy March in 1926|
|9.||↑||Was in the Royal Tank Corps from 1924-1945|
|11.||↑||1909-? Married Vera Carrington in 1937. By 1939, he was an ice-cream salesman.|
|13.||↑||Born 1916. Still living.|
|14.||↑||George William Atkinson (1862-1930) married Anastasia Crouch (1873-?) in Suffolk, 1893.|