The Millennium - a Personal View of the Century in Photographs

Really these photos are about the first half of the 20th century rather than the second ...

My grandmother was born in 1875 and this photograph shows her at about twelve or thirteen years old. As we know from the 1900s house series, Victorian/Edwardian teenagers had to wear very constricting and heavy garments. It is appropriate to include a Victorian photograph, as I believe that up to the 1950s we were influenced by Victorian thinking in all kinds of subtle ways.

In 1899 the Boer War started and Great Uncle Albert was apparently involved. Sadly, the 20th century was to see many wars.

My mother was born in 1906 in Middlesex but from Cornish stock (the family house was called 'Pendennis' after the Falmouth area of Cornwall). She was born into a world where there were no aeroplanes; the telephone was in its infancy; there were very few cars; electricity was still of relatively minor importance as a source of power and light; women did not have the vote; and the computer was not dreamt of. Just one year before Charlton Athletic Football Club had been formed.

The 20th century also saw growing prosperity and the motor car was its greatest blessing and its greatest curse. Here we see an early version, my mother to the left of the photo. This photo was probably taken before the outbreak of the Great War. I believe it was taken in Purley, Surrey - now the home of Charlton centre back Richard Rufus.

Expansion of work at the Woolwich Arsenal brought my maternal grandparents to live in Plum Lane, Plumstead Common during the Great (First World) War, thus starting an association with the area that has lasted nearly a century. My maternal grandfather, Thomas May, is to the left of this picture taken at the Arsenal.

My parents marry in September 1937. Under Jimmy Seed, Charlton are a top 1st division club. On the day of their wedding they are beating West Bromwich Albion at The Valley 3-1. My mother and grandmother leave behind the old rented Victorian house in Plum Lane and move with my father to a new 'Goldstein' house in Cheriton Drive, built at the latter end of the interwar housing boom in London. This picture shows the garden with Georgie the dog in the top left-hand corner. Today I live in a Victorian house built when my grandmother was a young girl.

1947 and I'm born as part of the post-war baby boom. Now in the year 2000 I expect to become a grandfather. What will the 21st century hold for my grandchild? Let's hope the first year sees Charlton back in the Premiership.

Our first post war holiday in Cornwall was blighted by severe rationing, but my father looks happy enough. Perhaps he hopes I will be a successful non-league footballer like him - or even do better. That was not to be. But by the time I was six he had introduced me to The Valley.

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Wyn Grant
Leamington, Warwickshire

Some of my other pages

Wyn Grant's page: My original page - an illustrated account of growing up in the 1950s
Common Agricultural Policy page: Latest developments in the CAP - surprisingly my most popular page
Political Economy of Football: The business side of modern football
World Soccer Page: The equivalent of the Political Economy of Football page - but covering the developed world rather than just Britain