These pencils are not so much jewels but instead represent a way of life which has largely disappeared – these are the elegant but practical jewels of bygone days.
As with a few of the objects included in this series these pencils were found in the belonginings of Ethel Star my Great Aunt and because of where and who last owned these items, there can only be two possible candidates.
These two ladies, I believe, would be either Agnes Downham or Eliza Hopkins – my 2 x great grandmothers on my mum’s side. They both came from comfortable backgrounds – Agnes from Chippenham and Eliza from Leighton Buzzard.
Agnes married George Henry Star and moved to Mansfield and as my Granny (Agnes’ granddaughter) remembered, “was not the sort of person who shouted her children in for tea – they had a bell for that”.
Eliza grew up in Leighton Buzzard and moved to Mansfield for reasons unknown - at this moment in time. Granny remembered that her grandmother’s front parlour was “like a palace” and that “no-one was allowed to sit down in there” unless “Granny [Eliza] was with you”.
The first mark shows that F. Webb of Birmingham was the maker; the Lion indicates that it is indeed sterling silver .925. The next mark is the date stamp indicating that the pencil was made in 1897; finally the anchor confirms that the pencil was manufactured in Birmingham.
The amazing thing about these pencils was that they still had lead in them – just think perhaps the last person to use these pencils was one of the ladies above.
Many apologies for not posting as frequently as I should – I have no excuses …
To compensate for my lax ways in my blogging duties I have decided to do a series of posts on the family jewels and the stories behind them …
There is no better person to start the series with than my Granny, Doris Star. Here she is on the occasion of her Confirmation in 1926.
The photo was taken by her uncle Albert Train who had a photographic studio on Market Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Doris’ dress was made by her mother, Gertrude Harrison (nee Hopkins, originally of Leighton Buzzard).
Doris’ watch was a gift from her mother to mark this important occasion.
Doris treasured and wore the watch for many years.
After her death in June 2010 I brought the watch home to photograph and Darren (my husband) managed to get it working again. It was lovely to hear the tick tick tick of the mechanism and to think that the last person to hear that sound was my Granny.