My Gran was born Emily Winterford in 1866. She died in 1954 aged 88 years. On June 6th 1887 she married Joseph David Samwell. He was born 1863 and died in 1940 aged 77 years.

Years back one of her ancestors was a Sir William, he owned a rope factory and a boot and shoe factory up north somewhere. I’m going back generations after generations.

granny samwell


Granddad Joseph was always drunk. He was a night watchman and had a tarpaulin with a brazier and he’d sit there and he’d warm his tea up on it over the night, and I had to take his supper round to him. Him and my Nan lived in the same house but he had his own room and he slept in there, done his own cooking. They never spoke. When he came home drunk when the kids were small, she’d go through his pockets and take all the coppers. She wouldn’t take the silver cos he knew how much he had. When I’d come home from school, he’d call out ‘Daisy, go out and get me half ounce of shag’ (Tobacco). Perhaps I’d got a farthing change, he wouldn’t give me it. My Nan would say he was a tight-fisted old bugger. He was a very surly man.

We all lived in Radnor Street. Gran had a six bedroom house and they all grew up in there. She looked after us; we went to her for dinner when we came from school at 12 o’ clock. She’d pick me up and take me to school. They’d come home from work and she’d have a meal ready for ‘em. When Sophie got married she had two rooms. Alf had two rooms so Bet moved out to be with Alf, and Ada and Fred moved in. Then Ada moved round the corner in Little Galway Street. And then Aunt Ria moved in there, her and Uncle George. Aunt Ria had a house down the back and when her kids grew up she moved in there. You all lived together, you all helped one another.


She had quite a few kids, carried 13, not all of them lived of course. The ones I know are George, Joe, Sophie, Ada, Louisa, Elizabeth (Bet), Clara, and Esther who died when she was 3.

Uncle Joe had three children; Charlie, George and Patrick. We were walking home from work and bought the paper and saw that Uncle Joe was dead. He was a window cleaner and fell off the ladder and as he fell he scraped his head down the wall. There was no hope for him.

George married Ria and had Johnny, Georgie, Freddie, Teddy, Rosie, and David – the last two were evacuated. Georgie died in Chingford 20 years ago.

My mum (Louisa) had us four.

Ada had two boys Denis and David

Bet (Elizabeth) never had any children nor did Sophie.

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