• Molly Spiro (author)


Private Publication



Publication Date



With assistance from her sisters Kitty & Elizabeth, sister-in-law Nettie and family papers and editorial help by her husband Michael.

Alexander Blaikley (1816-1903)

Our maternal great-grandfather

The Blaikleys originated in Armagh, Ulster and were farmers and linen bleachers by trade, hence possibly, the surname Blaikley. David Blaikley crossed to Glasgow and there married Ruth Gillies and Alexander was born in Glasgow. His mother had a workshop where embroideries backed on muslin were made. As a small boy with his brother, he was given the task of cutting off with scissors the surplus muslin. This acquired skill with scissors led him to do cut-out silhouette portraits and landscapes, a form of art very much in demand before the age of photography. At one time, when he was a boy, his out-of-work father took him to his home country of Ulster, touring the area and earning a living by the boy's portraits. Alexander later became an artist, specialising in landscapes and portraits. By this means, he supported a wife and ten children. A bound journal, which has recently come to light, was written by him for his own children and gives a detailed account of the many commissions he undertook. He often travelled to large country houses and castles where he was in residence whilst the portraits were done. Many of the names were of aristocratic or well-known people such as the Duke and Duchess of Montrose or, when in London, Mrs. Siddons the actress. On a tour of Europe, he did portraits of the Prussian royal family. One of his best-known pictures, now hanging in the Royal Institution, London, is of Michael Faraday lecturing there to an audience that included the Prince Consort and his young sons. There are many individual portraits of well-known people in the group.

When Alexander came to London as a young widower, he had through the Glassite church 1 to which the Pratt family belonged in Edinburgh, introductions to members of the London church, at that time in Paternoster RowMichael Faraday, then at the start of his scientific career, was a member of this congregation. Alexander settled in London, marrying Jane Shaw in 1842 and from this union came the London Blaikley family.

David James Blaikley (1846-1936)

Our maternal grandfather

David, known to his family as James, was the eldest son of a family of nine2. He was a self-educated man, leaving school at an early age. He read the numbers of Chambers Encyclopaedia as they were published and was always interested in acquiring knowledge. Several of his sisters were governesses or taught piano. He was employed by Boosey & Hawkes, London music publishers and musical instrument makers, and eventually became a manager. His was succeeded in this position by his son Arthur.

DJB became an authority on acoustics and on the manufacture of wind instruments and he wrote both the article on the bassoon and on the horn in Groves Dictionary of Music and also the article entitled the 'Valve'. In 1874 he designed, for Boosey & Hawkes, a system of compensating pistons, which is now used for all brass instruments except the trombone, enabling the player to modulate with ease into different keys, an important development for orchestral playing. Had he been able to take out a patent he would have become a rich man.

David married Rachel Barnard, a daughter (and 13th child) of Margaret Barnard nee Faraday. Margaret, our maternal great-grandmother, was Michael Faraday's younger and favourite sister (In this generation a brother and sister had married a sister and brother). This tree shows the link with Michael Faraday: 3

The Barnards were established in London. The Gastineaus were a Huguenot family who fled from French religious persecution. Another related family were the Buses (anglicised Boosey) who were Lutherans persecuted in Germany.

David James Blaikley and Rachel, his wife, lived in Hampstead, London NW3. They had nine children and although never well-off, employed maids and had a family nurse for the younger children. 'Nurse' subsequently married William Sands, a farm bailiff, and went to live at Granturzel Farm, Burwash, Sussex, where he was employed. The Blaikleys often used to visit them there. It was so muddy in the winters that William put down planks for his wife to walk up and down!4

Our grandmother, Rachel, was a thrifty house-wife and used to go to the Queen's Crescent market in Kentish Town, London, on Friday evenings when bread and meat were sold at reduced prices. When we were children, our grandparent's lived with their unmarried adult children at 13, Elsworthy Terrace, London. The house was in a cul-de-sac from which a path led to Primrose Hill, a grassy open space of some acres with links to Regent's Park and the London Zoo and which has a magnificent view south over London.

Jane Shaw Thomson (1885-1980)

Our mother

Early Years

Our mother was the sixth child in a family of nine: Alec, Kitty, Arthur, Will, Ted, Jane (Jeannie), Rachel, Flo and Margaret (Maggie).

She was the eldest of the four daughters, all of whom attended the South Hampstead High School. Mother never matriculated as she had to have a year off school because she 'outgrew her strength', and this was a source of great disappointment to her. When she was a little girl, her older brothers, particularly Arthur and Will, used to take her fishing with them and she loved being the chosen younger sister.

The family all attended the Glassite church at Highbury Grove, London, where our grandfather, DJB, was an elder and where we also went as children. The services were very plain and there were no aids to worship like music or stained glass windows. The service consisted of readings from the old and new testaments, prayers and the unaccompanied singing of the psalms of David (called metrical psalms). In Order to find the note on which to start, a tuning-fork was activated. Although a fundamentalist sect (the Bible being accepted as literally true) it was not puritanical. Alcohol was not banned nor was the enjoyment of music and theatre. “The connection” as it was called, provided their own amusements and there were walking and sketching parties and sing-songs in the evenings amongst the young people.

Many of our mother's relatives were also members of the church and it was still usual in her generation for marriage partners to be chosen from within this group. Our Thomson great-grandparents were married in the Edinburgh Glassite church as the Pratts were members there. The custom was to give introductions to the new congregation when anyone moved from one town to another.

Before emigrating to New Zealand in 1867 (having lost their money in the crash of the bank of Agra, India) our Thomson great-grandparents lived at Enfield and New Southgate, London, and knew the London Blaikleys. Our paternal grandfather, James Cox Thomson, later sent a whole sheep to David James Blaikley and family from New Zealand, in the early days of refrigerated ships. It proved difficult to consume it all as there were no refrigerators in private houses!

When our father, Edward Allan Thomson, first came to the UK from New Zealand in 1903 to start his engineering apprenticeship as a marine engineer at John Brown's Shipbuilders, of Clydebank, he called on the Hampstead Blaikleys, and so father and mother met. They were married in 1913. Our mother had by then finished her Art School training. There was a tradition of artists in the family, notably Alexander Blaikley and his son Frederick (father of cousins Dita and Ernest) who illustrated an edition of Dickens' novels. Ernest also became an artist and was an official war artist of the First World War and subsequently became curator of the War Museum in London. On the Barnard side, several generations produced members who worked as designers, etc. in the family silversmith business Edward Barnard, established in London in 1710. The business continued until 1985 when it was sold or 'taken over' and the name lost. One of Jane's uncles, George Barnard, was official artist to the Alpine Society and did many mountainscapes. He was also art master at Rugby school in his day.

Our mother originally wanted to take up gardening but her parents thought there was little future in it for a woman. She used to get up early and tend the garden at Elsworthy Terrace before breakfast and this enthusiasm stayed with her throughout her life. She took up art and began attending the Royal Female School of Art, a single-sex Victorian establishment, now defunct but then in Queen's Square, London WC1, in a building that currently houses the Italian Hospital (Ospedale Italiano). Our mother used to walk much of the way to the art school accompanying our grandfather, who walked to his work at Boosey & Hawkes, then in Stanhope Gate, London W1 (near Hyde Park). She spent a farthing a day for her lunch, buying a bun and a piece of chocolate. Our mother often talked of the years before the First World War (up to 1914) when life seemed so settled and secure in Edwardian times. She said it was never the same again and I have heard others say the same. She made good friends at the art school and once went on a painting holiday with them to Bruges, Belgium. Two of her large flower paintings in water-colour, were accepted by the Royal Academy. One of her friends was Dorothy Cohen who did the miniature of William, our brother, and also later on, the portraits of the Towngate Thomson children.

Our mother gained scholarships and prizes and qualified as a teacher. She taught briefly at a school in Kings Langley, Herts., before marrying our father in 1913. Although the French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists were developing their ideas, they were too avant-garde to be known to the students of a Victorian art school. When our mother took up painting again in a serious way after the end of World War II, the work of the French school was a complete revelation to her and influenced her painting very much.

Family Life In London

Our parents spent their honeymoon at the Bear Inn, Burwash, Sussex. During it, our father ate some contaminated rhubarb and was quite ill with red-lead poisoning. They began married life in a small house at Falkland Avenue, Finchley, London, where both William and Kitty were born. In those days, babies were born at home delivered by the family doctor. Dr. Brown had also delivered our mother. A 'monthly nurse', who as the name implies, stayed for four weeks, looked after mother and child. William unfortunately, was born with a severe hare-lip and cleft palate which meant he had difficulty in sucking. Feeding was a long and tedious business, from a spoon. At the time, there was a theory that breast-feeding acted as a contraceptive and as it was not practicable our parents practiced birth control and were considered very advanced in so doing.

As our father was now a marine engineer for the Blue Star Line (owned by the Vesty family), his work frequently took him away to the ship-building towns such as Belfast, Newcastle, Liverpool, etc., where new vessels were being constructed. Our mother, used to a lively family life at home, must have found being on her own with William very lonely. Sometimes her bachelor brother Ted would come out and stay with her to keep her company. Edward had a good singing voice and during his absences Jane would practice the piano accompaniments. We would hear sounds of Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep and Bois Epais wafted upstairs after we were in bed.

When the First World War broke out in 1914, our father, due to his deafness, which had developed in his twenties, was not fit for active service and in any case the work that he was doing was of vital importance for the war effort. Kitty duly arrived and our mother now had the equivalent of two young babies to look after with William needing so much time.

Soon after this, the expanding family necessitated a move to a larger house which was 45 Stanhope Avenue, Finchley N3, where the rest of us were born in due course.

Throughout the First World War, with no organised food rationing, food became progressively scarcer and our parents welcomed the food tins that come from New Zealand, especially the hard honey. Butter was non-existent and we lived on margarine for years. Our mother kept hens in the back garden, feeding them spoiled corn which our father obtained through his shipping contacts which ensured a regular supply of eggs.

Our mother used to tell a story of the German air-ship the Graf Zeppelin flying over our part of London. She was terrified but the children thought it was great fun and leaned out of the window waving at it!

The position was such during his time with the Blue Star Line that hardly a week passed when our father was not required to go away to supervise ship-building or repairs either in the UK or in Europe (Denmark, Germany or Malta, etc.). The company was one of the main shipping firms for both freight and passengers. Our mother grew to dread the phone call from father's secretary telling her he had been called away. Her reaction in reply was less than polite, so much so that the secretary refused to undertake this task any longer. On one occasion it happened to be around May 6th, our parents' wedding anniversary, and mother was so incensed that she really created a stir! This was successful and the Blue Star, to their credit, arranged for her to travel to Lisbon and there join the ship whose problems our father was observing. The ship's cook gave them a wonderful anniversary dinner, but our father was somewhat embarrassed by the whole affair!

A week before I was due to be born, father was sent to Malta and as he left he said to mother “now mind you wait until I get back!” Hardly had he gone round the corner to the bus-stop when mother went into labour. Consequently, the Blue Star were the means of informing him by a cable which read “mother and son both well”. History relates that it was not until three days after his return home that our father discovered he had a daughter and not a son! Our father was determined not to be the absentee parent who was required to be the heavy-handed disciplinarian when he was with the family. As a result, much of this task fell on our mother. She did not often lose her temper but when she did, we certainly sprang to attention! A small woman of barely five feet tall, she looked even smaller beside our father's 6ft 2 inches. She had great charm without affectation as well as persistence and energy, with a certain lack of confidence in dealing with social occasions.

Life at Stanhope Avenue continued, the children going in turn to a nearby kindergarten called Lamorna where Miss Bermer and Miss Nancy, two sisters, presided. William transferred to Christ's College, Finchley, a local Grammar school and Kitty and I and later Elizabeth, to the Henrietta Barnett School, in the Hampstead Garden suburb, whilst Arthur went to University College School, Hampstead NW3. Later on William went away as a boarder to Dunstable Grammar School in Bedfordshire. This was to some extent due to mother's difficulty in managing his characteristics of obstinacy and assertiveness without the firm hand of a father.

In 1929, a never-to-be forgotten year, our parents went off on a six month trip to New Zealand, the first time our father had returned to his home country since 1903, although his mother and sisters had visited us. We children were left to the tender mercies of our mother's sister Flo and her husband Cecil Buchanan, a childless couple. They came to live in our house, but only on condition that Mr. & Mrs. Birch stayed there too. Mrs. Birch, “Middy”, had been a mother's help since Elizabeth's birth and was an integral part of the family. In addition, we had two sisters, from Wales, Nora and Margaret Dolan, as cook and house-maid. Many were the occasions that we fled for comfort and mopping up to the “maids”, indignant at the unreasonable demands made by our well-meaning uncle and aunt, who had had no actual experience of managing children.

Shortly after our parents' return, we moved to a larger older house with ¾ acre of garden: this was Linwood, 38 Holly Park, Finchley, which was just round the corner from Stanhope Avenue. We all loved this house and the large garden which still contained the original field ditch and hedge with a tall oak tree, and big enough lawns for tennis and croquet. There was also an orchard and a rose-garden and an area hidden from the house, where the children's swing, pets and gardens were. The house, which was white, had large bay windows topped with black timbers, in the three reception rooms overlooking the garden and there was also a terrace and a conservatory. Our parents, both keen gardeners, spent much of their spare time cultivating the garden. our mother and her sisters went in for English Country Dancing at Cecil Sharpe House and sometimes gave parties on our lawn. It also saw the annual Guy Fawkes parties on November 5th given fro us and our friends, with a man from the Blue Star Line dealing with the firework display.

We had many advantages as children as both parents wanted us to experience a wide range of activities. Piano lessons were taken as a matter of course. For those of us showing talent, a second instrument was added. This meant violin for myself and Elizabeth and Oboe for Arthur. We were all interested in sport of various kinds and also belonged to Scouts and Guides, etc. and went camping. We had dancing lessons, Greek dancing for the girls and later on ball-room. We also learnt to horse ride and Arthur did rowing at school. Kitty was consistently active in the Crusaders and Children's special service mission whilst at school and others of us intermittently.

As an occasional treat we were taken to the cinema. I remember the silent film of Peter Pan with a live pianist providing the music. Later, William developed a crush on Janet Gaynor! At Christmas, we went to the theatre and saw plays like Peter Pan and Where the Rainbow Ends and the operetta Hansel and Gretel. Our first taste of grand opera was Faust: the story of a girl being seduced caused us some embarrassment! However, we absorbed many of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas without difficulty.

Our mother had imbibed the ideas of Jean Jacques Rousseau, the eighteenth century French philosopher, on education as described in his book Emile where the importance of nature is stressed. We had marvellous holidays, often going away for two weeks at Easter and then four to six weeks in summer. our family trunks included reference books on all aspects of nature (birds, flowers, trees and shells, etc.) and many were the competitions organised for collecting wild-flowers, etc. We were also encouraged to do water colours and if 'cousin' Dorothy Cohen (really a friend) were with us, were given lessons in situ. Another of mother's art school friends was a stained glass designer. Mother commissioned her to design a plaque around the saying “the difficult can be done immediately, the impossible takes a little longer”. This was set in the bay window of our dining room and occasioned much grumbling from us children! These holidays in Cornwall, Wales, the Lake District and eventually in Scotland (where we met the Girvan family at Inverarnan House, Loch Lomond), were possible financially because of the various inventions our father patented, which brought in an income additional to his salary.

We had family cars from an early stage in their development. One well-remembered one was a Vulcan, an open tourer, which required a starting handle. We would drive out some Sundays to Dunstable, collect William and have a picnic on the Dunstable Downs near Whipsnade, the country branch of the London Zoo newly established. In fact our great-aunts were very worried that William might be exposed at Dunstable Grammar School to escaping animals and reptiles! The joys of thses country jaunts were tempered by anxiety when our mother took the wheel. Always an intrepid driver she nevertheless had problems if the engine stalled on a steep hill, in re-starting without rolling backwards. We girls too, would arrive home with knots in our hair (which had flowed in the wind) necessitating extremely painful combing out.

School work was of course given a high priority and we all passed the exams we required for our careers. We had all the usual (in those days) childish ailments: there were no vaccinations for measles, whooping cough, mumps, etc. I recall having my appendix out at home and my brother Arthur, his tonsils, with the surgeon and his nurse coming to the house for the operations.

When William left school, he was articled to a surveyor and cycled to work from home each day. The next year, he had an operation by Sir Alexander Gillies, a well-known plastic surgeon, to improve his hare-lip and cleft-palate. Tragically, just when life might have opened out for him as a result, he was killed in 1934, being knocked off his bicycle by a tram, on the way to work. He was twenty years of age.

His death made a tremendous impact on us all. Our mother had a complete nervous breakdown. Our father had to continue his work, travelling as much as ever and we children drifted through a kind of nightmare, with inadequate help from various sources. Mother was looked after at home, mainly by sedation with pheno-barbitone from the family doctor, and made a gradual recovery. However, she never fully regained her previous state of health and the start of the Second World War, five years later, threatened to tip her over again. It was partly due to this state of affairs that our father decided to take early retirement and move down to live full time in Tidebrook where our parents had built a wooden house, Hopehill (so named because our father was born on his maternal grandparent's farm in New Zealand, of the same name), on the hill overlooking Towngate Farm, bought by them in 1934.

During the years leading up to the war our mother found herself increasingly at a loose end. With her considerable family responsibilities, she had found no time for painting and as we children needed her less she cast around to find things to do. She undertook the training and became an air-raid warden, she became interested in a housing association then involved in a slum clearance programme and she tried being a committee member for some other project but was intolerant of so much talking, being a 'doer' rather than a 'talker'.

Meanwhile, we each in turn left school and started on our training for careers. Kitty took a domestic science teachers course at Berridge House, Hampstead, an institution where mother in her day had undertaken a 'bride's course'. This included learning how to manufacture cleaning materials from bath brick! Kitty went to her first job at a school in Norwich, before being sent for to return home at the start of the war in 1939 when father was worried about mother's health. However, she was able to take a teaching job from home at the junior department of Henrietta Barnett School. When our parents moved to Sussex she joined the land army and moved up to Scotland to be nearer Davy Girvan to whom she had become engaged in 1938. They were married at Tidebrook, Sussex, in 1941 and went to begin their life together on Davy's farm at Corrimony, Glenurquhart, Invernesshire, where their seven children were eventually born.

I did a social studies diploma, firstly at Woodbrooke College, Selly Oak, Birmingham, and completed it at the London School of Economics. This was followed by a course in Personnel Management and the day after the war started, September 3rd, 1939, I went to my first job as assistant staff lady supervisor to the British Thomson-Houston Co., electrical engineers in Rugby. Arthur was completing his first year as an engineering student at St. John's College, Cambridge, call-up for the forces being deferred until two years later, when he had finished his degree. He then joined the RAF serving for most of the remainder of the war in the Middle East as engineering ground staff. Elizabeth started her physiotherapy training at King's College Hospital, London, with the usual wartime disruptions.

Whilst Elizabeth was at school, she acquired a 'pen-friend' who lived in Nordhausen, Germany (organised through the League of Nations Union). Henry Eisner and his brother were the sons of Jewish parents who owned a textile factory. With the growing threat of the Nazis under Hitler and their policy of persecution of the Jews, after Henry and his father had been sent to a concentration camp, my parents helped Henry come to England by sponsoring him (ie. guaranteeing his maintenance). He lived with us in London (1938-1939) and attended the Regent St. Polytechnic. Eventually the rest of the family got out and they all went and settled in the USA in Baltimore. Henry became an advertising executive, owning his own firm. His son Steve is now in process of taking over from his father. The family remained in close touch and I have visited them several times in Baltimore and they also came to stay with us in London.

The beloved house, Linwood, no longer needed by the family, was requisitioned first by the army for billeting troops and later, after the bombing of London, by the local authority for housing bombed-out families. Our parents were only able to sell it when the war was over. it was then divided and two houses made out of it. In addition a separate large bungalow was built in the orchard. So ended the 'country house' in the middle of town!

Retirement In Sussex

Our parents began life in the real country in 1940. Father developed the dairy farm based on his early experiences in New Zealand, and introducing new ideas from his engineering experience, such as a machine for drying grass. He continued farming until Arthur was demobbed with the rank of Squadron Leader.

After Arthur and Nettie Girvan married they settled at Towngate House, Tidebrook, where their four children were born. Arthur eventually took over the running of the farm and he and Nettie turned it into a paying proposition. The proximity of them and their family was a source of great happiness to our parents, enabling father who had missed out on so much of his own children's growing up, to know his grandchildren really well.

Our mother gradually settled into country life, keeping poultry and geese as well as several hives of bees and developed the flower garden round the house. Unfortunately our elderly London family cat, Timmy, had not been able to stand the transposition and had to be sent back to town! He refused to go out of the house and stood at the back door obviously terrified, his hair standing on end!

During the war, Tidebrook was very much in the firing line as German bombers and later unpiloted flying bombs, crossed the coast and flew inland to London. At one time, an anti-aircraft battery was stationed in the field next to Hopehill. However, apart from one or two jettisoned bombs falling in the fields and woods, the farm with its houses was unscathed. Our parents gave house-room to Ernest and Marjorie Conybeare with their son, John. Can was then responsible as a public health doctor for the south eastern section and his office had been evacuated from London. One more child, Martin, was born before the family were able to move to their own home in Sevenoaks. It says much for both our mother and Marjorie that they were able to share a kitchen amicably!

Michael Tippett, the composer, came to live in Tidebrook whilst writing his first opera, Midsummer Marriage. His mother, Isobel Kemp, and our mother became close friends. As a result, Elizabeth and I were invited to attend the first night of the opera at Covent Garden.

Our mother still felt she had too much time on her hands. All her children were launched and there was the not uncommon feeling of loss and not knowing what to aim at next. She had always been vitally interested in the farm and would ask questions about it at every opportunity. But it was not her responsibility and Hopehill was not the farm house or centre of operations, where she night have found a useful role. I well remember a conversation I had with her on one of my weekend visits when the question of whether she should join a local art class came up. She was diffident, having been out of the world of art for so long, but with our encouragement, decided to enrol. The teacher was Maurice Weedman and mother became his star pupil, a position which did wonders for her self-esteem despite her natural modesty, and she never looked back.

Thus began a second and longer spell of painting both in water colours and oils, of landscapes and still life, some of which were exhibited, though not for sale, at local art exhibitions. Most of her paintings she gave away to us, her family and friends and to the younger generation as they came along. Her last painting was done when she was over 90 years of age.

Our parents lived at Hopehill, Tidebrook, for more than forty years. They were eventually joined by Elizabeth who developed a private practice in physiotherapy in the district. In 1967, when Arthur and Nettie and their family moved to Graston Farm, Burton Bradstock, Dorset, our parents moved to Wadhurst, a few miles away. At this time, Elizabeth was working from a bungalow she had bought in the village, where there was a spare plot of land attached. Our father purchased this from her and set about designing and having a separate bungalow built, all of which he closely supervised despite being in his eighty-eighth year. With our mother's small stature in mind, the kitchen was designed accordingly and the floor lay-out of the rooms made the place very easy to run. our father introduced some of the space-saving ideas he knew about from designing ships, such as sliding doors. He survived to enjoy his bungalow (also called Hopehill) for a single year only, dying from an embolism of the aorta, which struck him down whilst we were attending in Scotland in 1969, the wedding of [name witheld], our parents eldest grand-daughter.

Mother returned a widow and lived in her bungalow eleven more years until her ninety-fifth year. At this time the gardens of Elizabeth's and her home were continuous with no fence in between, and it was entirely due to Elizabeth's willingness to look after mother that she remained independent for so long. Finally in 1980, came the day when she could no longer walk in her beloved garden. She needed full-time care and arrangements were made for her to go into Queen Mary's nursing home in Tunbridge Wells. She died there three months later, quite lucid although by then very deaf, and her long journey through life was over.

Source Notes


The Glassites (or Sandemanians) are a small religious sect founded by John Glas (1695 - 1773).


Alexander's first child, a daughter, 'Lizzie', from his marriage to Jane Pratt, remained in Scotland with her Pratt relatives, later marrying Tom Purves, a sea captain.


While Michael was Director of the Royal Institution, Rachel's sister Jane became his secretary and lived with him and his wife at the Institution, in Albermarle Street, London. Michael gave Jane a knee-desk that she subsequently presented to our mother, her niece. On our mother's death in 1980, we presented it to the Royal Institution and it is now in the Faraday Museum.


Our father came to know Towngate Farm, Tidebrook, Sussex, because William Sands was then working there. Our father bought it, when it came on the market, for his retirement. William transferred with the farm to work for our father.





Date Known


Edward and Jane Thomson begin married life in a small house on Falkland Avenue, Finchley, England. Sources: 1

May 1913

Newly-wed Edward and Jane Thomson honeymoon in Sussex, at the Bear Inn. Sources: 1


Edward, Jane, William and Kitty Thomson move into 45, Stanhope Avenue, Finchley, England. Sources: 1

November 1928

Flo and Cecil Buchanan temporarily move into 45, Stanhope Avenue, Finchley, England to help look after William, Kate, Edith, Arthur and Joan while Edward and Jane Thomson travel for six months. Sources: 2

3 November 1928

Jane and Edward Allan Thomson embark on a round-the-world trip from Southampton aboard the R.M.S. Aquitania. Sources: 3

7 May 1929

Jane and Edward Allan Thomson arrive back in England aboard S.S. Orford, passing Cape Finesterre “and other lights” on the way. Jane notes: “Wind and sea somewhat lively. Many passengers incapacitated.” Sources: 3


Edward and Jane Thomson and their children William, Kate, Edith, Arthur and Joan, move into 38, Holly Park, Finchley, England. Sources: 2


While cycling to work, William Allan Thomson is struck by a tram. Sources: 1