This is just a little biographical piece about myself and my
in south and east London, and the ideals behind the formation of the
. I hope you enjoy it.
Somebody mentioned in a letter that many members do not really know much about myself and how the SBD came to be. So, if you will forgive my self-indulgence, here is a short “CV” and introduction.
I sometimes think that members imagine me as a scholarly
mid-sixties, retired and doing this to fill up my time. Nothing could
farther from the truth!
I was born in South London (Lewisham) in the early 1950s the youngest, and only boy, of four children. Both of my parents’ families had lived in the Greenwich area. When I was three we moved north of the Thames and I grew up in the East End of London and Essex.
Cockneys say “South (sarf?) of the River’s a different country”, so I would never be considered an East Ender. There has always been a rivalry between the opposite river banks!
Throughout my childhood I had a lot of contact with Greenwich and spent many good times there in the park or museum (it was free then!) or just walking by the Thames and looking at the Cutty Sark , the old tea clipper kept on display there.
It is still a wonderful place to visit and outshines some of the better known tourist spots in London . At the time many aunts and uncles still lived in that area, as did my eldest sister. I loved passing the beautiful buildings of the Museum, Palace, Naval College and Observatory as I went to visit them by bus.
Many non-UK members may find it very hard to believe that up until fairly recent times the majority of working people in Britain did not have cars, or for that matter, telephones! Mum never even had a fridge until the late 1960s!
The schools I attended were fairly average, but I was blessed with having two superb teachers during this time. Mr Owen, who taught me at Shaftesbury Junior school in Forest Gate ( E.7.) deserves the ultimate praise for his radical teaching methods. Every lesson was fun and everything he taught “stuck”. I still remember singing the seven times table to the tune of “Way Down Upon the Swanee River” at the top of my voice with the 39 other boys in his class. His methods were a complete opposite to those of the other strict, ex-military teachers who controlled with slipper and ruler. From the north of England, his accent was not one heard often in those parts. He was kind and he cared!
Miss Dove, an elderly, very old-fashioned teacher taught me whilst I was taking my GCEs. My father was seriously ill and this caused me a lot of absence. Due to her faith in me she did her best to ensure I achieved what I could, and suggested I should try to go into a job where I could continue with my education.
I have worked for British Telecom since leaving school and underwent further education with them. I was a Technical Supervisor at a Business Fault Reception Centre leading a team of Business Fault Managers. I dealt with fault diagnosis on Systems, PSTNs and ISDNs, and technical queries, customer problems and complaints and completed an NVQ to become an Assessor at Customer Service Level 3. I have recently taken an early retirement.
I married in 1980. My wife Sandra, was born and raised in Hertford,
We have two children, Emma aged 9and Sophia aged 7. My main hobby until I started family history research was music, playing guitar and singing (some say badly!). I have worked in cabaret with many well known artistes , and can lay claim to appearing on stage at the London Palladium.
I started my family history research about 1990 and found that my gGF (born 1829) was a brushmaker. I decided to check out his trade and this led to my discovering a lot of little known information which led to my writing an article for Family Tree magazine.
It is the response to this article, and my locating of even more information, that caused the SBD to be formed. I envisaged that the SBD would work by receiving and publishing members’ own articles and interests, plus any details of other non-related brushmakers they found during their research that could be of interest to other members.
When the Society was first formed in 1993 we had about thirty members. Most of these are still with us!
The first Journal was produced on an Amiga, which was better than most PCs at the time, and a new 24 pin dot-matrix printer, which was not really up to the job. It used to take two or three minutes to print each page. The early Journals, although poorly produced compared to current Journals, are still in demand and can provide surprises and revelations to those who order them.
The Self Help Theory
The theory behind how the SBD should work is simply this: “This brushmaker may not be anything to do with my research, but he could be the missing ancestor a fellow member has been seeking for years, so I will send the reference in to the SBD. Another member may well do the same with information on the ancestor I’m looking for ”.
This concept has resulted in many successes, so send in any brushmakers you spot whilst looking through censuses, directories or parish records etc. Try to provide as full a reference to the source as possible to help those who may want to follow the lead.
Due to its widely spread membership it was realised early on that this could not be a conventional Society with various Secretaries and Officials, as so few members live within easy reach of me, so I undertake all functions:- membership secretary, dealing with enquiries, treasurer, editor, general dogsbody! I enjoy it immensely, even though it is hard work sometimes.
Unfortunately, sometimes life throws other things in our paths, and production of the Journals gets delayed. Our early members, the majority of whom have stayed with us since the first Journals, have always been prepared to make allowances for this and I am sure newer members will too. You can consider the Spring Journal appearing in Autumn to be part of the Society’s “quirkiness”. I hope this has given you a better idea of who I am and what has
gone before. I added the picture so you will know me if we meet and will be ready to take cover should I start singing!
Copyright Kenneth A Doughty 2000 (updated 2002)