JOHN HOARE'S FAMILY HISTORY
Albert John (Jack) Bell
First draft November 2014
My Grandmother, Florence Kathleen BELL, came from a large country family and I haven't always put a lot of work into finding out about them. I am very lucky that Barry Ayres has sent me detailed information about grandmother's younger brother Albert John, known as Jack, along with some really nice pictures. Here is Barry's story -
Jack was born in Southampton in 1886, and was living in Chandlers Ford within a few years. He started work aged 13, as a woodman, and was actually a real countryman, and good at many different trades. In 1913, he came to London for a year, working as a bricklayer, as there was a high demand at that time for skilled builders. Whilst in London, he met my Grandmother, Mabel (Smart), and they were married in the same year. Shortly after marriage, they returned to Hampshire and lived in Romsey. By then Jack was working as a gardener. In 1914, Jack and Mabel had a daughter (Winifred), who was my mother, and their only child.
Jack and Mabel spent the rest of their lives, really, in service. Jack as a gardener, and Mabel as a housekeeper. They moved quite a lot, mainly in Sussex, Hampshire, and eventually in Bitton, on the outskirts of Bristol. I spent a lot of time with my Grandparents as a small child, and spent time with Jack, trapping rabbits, and picking mushrooms. He spoke about his brother Victor during our walks, and told me that he had taught Victor how to set snares for rabbits. He also told me that Victor, "was a silly bugger, who could not wait to get into the army!" . Jack and Mabel finally retired to a small bungalow in Bitton, and were quite content in general. However, in about 1957 Jack walked out on Mabel, and cycled to Southampton to see one of his sisters. I never knew which one. My parents, then collected him and brought him back to Mabel. Mabel died in 1970, and Jack died in 1973.
My mother also spoke a lot about Victor, as she spent a lot of time as a small girl with her grandmother (Victors mother [Charlotte]). She told me she was a lovely warm woman, with a wonderful sense of humour. However, she was badly affected by Victors death, and would talk to Victor, long after his death, whenever she was using the wash tub, as Victor used to help her as a small boy and she always felt that he was still there. She never forgot his birthday or his anniversary, and right up until her death in 1930, she mourned him.
©Barry Ayres 2014