Winifred Brown was my maternal grandmother (adopted) and I have recently made contact with a descendent of her brother, Eli. I love catching up with relatives like this, it’s a good time to exchange information, photographs and stories. It turns out that Winifred was the second youngest child in a family of eight. As with most families of the late 1880s two of her siblings had died very young, aged three and four.
I have also learned that all the men in the family were connected with the sea, they were bargemen, watermen. They lived in Surrey Road, Shoreham-by-Sea which is just along the road from where I am currently living. There is a harbour, and it is very much built up around the water. I don’t know much about it, so I can feel a trip to the local library coming on where I can research the town.
Eli’s son (Winifred’s nephew) was born just two months before Eli died, which is very sad. At the age of four he was put into an orphanage in Brighton. I am also interested in finding out about this establishment, I wonder if there were several orphanages at that time?
I also wonder if this experience led to Winifred’s kind-hearted gesture at adopting two children later on, one of which was my mother. I guess we’ll never know, so I am only imagining. Which is all we can do really, isn’t it?