Henry told me several times this story: as a boy he used to scare the birds from the fields. Then he was sent to London on the back of a Tumble Cart carrying crops to market, to find his fortune. His parents gave him a shilling, so he would not be classified as a vagrant, a pocket-knife so he could be deemed to be a tradesman "Tools of the Trade", and a piece of string, what that was for eludes me.
In the 1881 census Henry is shown as a Cook Assistant living at no. 152 Old Kent Road, London. In the 1891 census he is at 351 West End Lane shown as an Insurance Collector. In one of his notebooks with mention of all sorts of figures, events in his life, recipes for large beef dishes, gallons of coffee, how he had a bad hand which was operated in Bart's hospital and various addresses he had lodgings, the amount of Lace (Laced?) boots he bought shows how much walking he did as an insurance man.
Henry applied for the post of keeper of the Bunhill Coffee Tavern, Roscoe Street in February 1889. He eventually got the post - according to my mother he had to be a married man so this hastened the marriage to Rosa Brewer at the Emmanuel Church in West Hampstead 29th October 1891. For a man coming from such a poor background he made the best of himself, his notebooks show how neat he was at writing, he was a keen photographer making his photos on slides and developing them and printing the photos himself. If only he had written on the back of the photos what the subject was I would have had a better idea of what the family looked like. Henry even took photos through a microscope of bee stings, flies eyes and such items, the light sources being candles or a gas jet. Rosa took part in local politics as a Liberal and when she left Roscoe Street was presented with a silver teapot in appreciation of her work.
Henry taught me about stars clusters, from where to find the Evening star to the Plough and the others. As for fossils he was quite passionate about them, most of which I buried at Handside Close as I couldn't lift them nor had a place in which to keep them. The last "rat hunt" I have just remembered is of Henry and the Bellini Pot. This was a German wine bottle made of clay and roughly coated in a tin glaze, had a handle and a caricature of the unpopular Pope of that time was stuck on the front. They were made in the 16th century to export German wines and then to drink from. Genuine ones are quite collectable. Henry was looking down into a building site when he saw a pot and asked one of the labourers to get it for him. He had a rather blunt reply, so Henry being a Pond climbed down several ladders tied together with rope to get it. He found the return trip rather daunting and to hold the pot with one hand and to hold on to the ladder beyond him, so he tucked the pot in his shirt. When he got to ground level again, no doubt feeling relieved he climbed over the fence surrounding the site and as he was bending over to do this the pot fell out of his shirt and broke in half! Anyhow, nothing daunted he took the pot home and glued it together as it is today. How about that, hey.
I gave Toby the little display case which used to be in the hall when Henry was alive with some interesting pieces of fossils. Henry and Rosa stayed in Roscoe Street until they retired in 1930 to Welwyn Garden City. The Bunhill Coffee Tavern was founded by a group of young Quakers coupled with an Adult Education School as they were concerned about the local factory workers heavy drinking "drunk for a penny, dead drunk for tuppence" and also their illiteracy. The whole premises was destroyed by the Blitz in WW2. Only the Coffee House Keeper's cottage where my dad was born remains (Roscoe Street was wiped off the map, the area by the cottage is now called Quaker Place and the cottage is an occasional Quaker Meeting House [Ed: actually Quaker Court]). I remember staying there in my very early childhood.
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