BEYOND THE TREE | From Essex to Liverpool

The free Beyond the Tree exhibition at Liverpool Regional Museum includes a growing community tree and you can add your own family story. Bring in photos of your family moments to be scanned, printed and mounted. It's in conjunction with Liverpool Genealogy Society. Volunteers help with research and family enquiries Tuesdays to Saturdays. The Champion is running a series of family stories tying in with it. Here is the story of the Chris Alton

I was born in Essex England in 1950 and I spent the first decade of my life there.

Like many people at the time, my parents didn't have much money and we were still on rations to a certain extent. My dad was a baker so I guess we always had bread.

Mum and dad would go on picnics on their tandem bicycle with a sidecar attached to take me with them and later my brother as well.

I remember dad had a big vegetable garden as well as six chickens. Everybody had to help provide for themselves in the years after the war.

We lived in the back of a house in rural Essex, with the front half being the local shop and hardware store. (I visited that house two years ago and it hasn't changed except the shop has gone).

The village was quite small with only 30 or so houses, but of course there was a pub (The Feathers) and a church (St Nicholas C of E).

My father was a baker at the local bakery and I would go there as a young boy and help sometimes. I remember putting the glace' cherries on the cupcakes. One day a complaint was made that only half a cherry was on the cake, of course I was eating the other half, I don't think I was allowed to help after that.

When we were older Mum and Dad would take a two week holiday some years and we would get on a steam train and go and see Grandad in Goudhurst in Kent.

Grandad was a farm labourer and we would go there to pick hops, peas and potatoes to get extra money.

We were lucky we stayed with grandad while others stayed in little shacks for the season.

Some years we would go to Butlin's holiday camp in Clacton-on-Sea for our holiday.

These camps were all over England and provide an affordable holiday for families.

In 1961 mum and dad brought us all to Australia. We sailed from Southampton to Fremantle then to Melbourne and until we finally sailed into Sydney Harbour, arriving after 30 days. We settled in Liverpool in 1962.

  • The free Beyond the Tree exhibition is at Liverpool Regional Museum, 462 Hume Highway, 8711 7126. Open Tuesdays to Saturdays, from 10am to 4pm.