My Grandmother kept the Prize, which was a Cruet set, which is pictured here.
She also kept the photograph, & now I have the original, which my son, as a child, once scribbled on, in crayon. He took it to be restored for me, & has had these photographs taken from the cleaned original.
This is the cruet set, which is silver plated nickel, & I would imagine the containers are cut glass. They gleam like crystal when the silver is polished.
I have always loved it, & when I was a child, I used to spend hours cleaning it, & polishing it, so my Grandmother gave it to me. I still love it, & I still enjoy cleaning the silver.
It is inscribed "Thorley's Special Prize" & my Grandmother seemed to feel that it was not the first prize.
I have never used it, & I dont think my Grandmother ever used it either. But I have always found the story behind it intriguing, & have always kept both the photograph & the cruet set as 'family heirlooms'- much to GOM'S amusement. But even he, agrees it does look nice when it is polished & gleaming.
It comes apart for ease of cleaning, & the top is held onto the base with silver plated nuts to screw onto the legs of the container circles.
My Grandmother said her father was a very strict man, who didnt tolerate fools- or children, lightly. He was disinherited by his family, because he fell in love with one of the servant girls. He got her pregnant, so he was told if he married her, he would be cast out from the family. So he defied them and married his sweetheart anyway.
They lived in Yorkshire, & my great Grandfather must have leased or bought his own farm, & they went on to have 8 children. My Grandmother was the eldest girl, & she had twin sisters, another young sister and her four brothers. Apparently her father never got on very well with the eldest son, & he emigrated to New Zealand as soon as he was able. Why New Zealand, I dont know.
My Grandmother told us that when she was a young girl, she loved horse riding, & she used to ride along beside the train, trying to beat it. When her father found out she was punished severely.
She said he used to go to Market once a week, I think & he would drink too much ale, & he could be quite cruel when in his cups. ( I once heard him described as a bad tempered little Yorkshireman, as apparently he was not a tall man.) She said one day he fell from his cart on the way home from Market, & it snowed. If it hadnt been for his horse standing over him, protecting him, he would very likely have died in the snow. It must have made him 'see the light' as it were, as he never drank again, & didnt approve of anyone else drinking either.
My Great Grandmother suffered very badly from Arthritis, & so when the family Doctor advised a better climate could be found in New Zealand, they all moved there, but of course the climate was far from beneficial for the poor old lady. But I am sure she was happy to at last be reunited with her eldest son, who had established himself in NZ already.
One by one the off spring married, but one twin girl, Mary, contracted Polio when she was 18. She was engaged to a young man, but the engagement was broken when Mary became ill. She recovered, but one foot was left deformed, & she walked with a bad limp for the remainder of her life, & became the 'family nurse'. She nursed her mother until her death, then she was carer & nurse to the cantankerous old man, who my mother always told us was very grumpy & not nice to be around. When the old man died a cousin came & stayed with Mary, & he had been mustard gassed in the first world war, so he couldnt work, & suffered a great deal with his lungs.
He eventually died, & poor Mary was left all alone. It must have been very hard for her, after her life of sacrifice for everyone else. I remember her as a beautiful natured woman, with white hair, & very thin. She was always so kind, & we loved her, as kids. I also remember the cousin Harry, who was quite nice too, but he wheezed a lot, & I think he found it hard to speak for any length of time. They always kept a sheep in the yard of the house, to keep the grass down, & we were always warned to beware the 'sheep marbles' out on the grass.
I have been tagged for the Thinking Blogger award, by the lovely Julia, of Camille's Place, so I will have to have a think, wont I?