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Day 33 - What to do about boat people?

William Henry Hewton

overcast 18 °C
View Following in the Family Footsteps on Neileeann's travel map.

Back in 1909 William Henry Hewton jumped ship at Brisbane and took up with Dora Hopp and we have been plagued with Hewton boat people ever since! Tony Abbott should really focus on this particular group of undesirable boat people (Just joking).

And so it was in Birkenhead (Rock Ferry), just a short ferry across the Mersey from Liverpool that young William grew up. WWII did a pretty good job of flattening the place, so not much of the old place to see now. I suspect it was a bit rougher in the day, than what it is today.

Rock Ferry has touches of struggle street and other parts of ordinariness, without being what I would call middle class. First of all we went tost Paul’s Church, Tranmere which was the church that Henry Hewton married Alice Griffiths in 1883. At first the church was closed, but we came back later just before the 10am church service. So we were allowed to take a few shots before the service started. I think the Rev was keen for us to join the congregation, given the age of his parishioners, we would be spring chickens.

After that we went to various places that William, Henry and John all lived in and around Rock Ferry. Nothing remains today as all of these places have been demolished and redeveloped mainly after WW2. Even so we are not talking fancy houses. And after walking around the place it is not hard to see why William jumped shipped when he docked in Brisbane. Today, being a summer day, who overcast, winding and cool. You have small dark dwellings that would have been quiet old at that time and not really fit for comfortable living conditions. Then he arrives in Brisbane, brilliant bright sun, wide open streets and housing (while basic) would have been miles better than that at home. I said it before and I say it again – it is the lack of space that I find difficult to accustom to. Every inch is contested and prized. Even the simple act of pulling the car over to get your bearings or get something out of the boot is an exercise in finding space to park or turn off. That feeling of space alone would be a big attractor (at least for me).

Then we went to St John’s Church Liscard, which is where John Hewton married Jane Jones. It is an impressive building that is now closed, but would have been very elegant in its day.

We then went to a memorial in central Birkenhead that listed names of people from the district that died in the two world wars. There was a listing for a Hewton who died in WW2 and it is a record that I only discovered in my travels, so I don’t know the exact relationship, but I am certain that he is related.

Family history matters finalised we went to Chester, which is about 30 minutes south of here. Chester is a wonderful town. Ancient roman town that has many buildings that date around 1600’s. After a traditional English Sunday lunch we went off to explore the town. 4 hours later we made our way back to Rock Ferry.

Tomorrow off to Ireland.

Posted by Neileeann 17:00 Archived in England

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