Voices From The Past

The Bednall Archive

Last updated  23/03/2010

Oral Autobiographies

One of the first tasks for anyone thinking of researching their family tree, is to talk to parents, grandparents and other relatives about what your trying to do, gather (or copy) any useful documents e.g. family bibles, photo albums, certificates etc they may have and record what they have to say about their lives.  One of the best way of doing the latter to record them on tape or mini-disc and this is what we attempted to do with regard to two or three of our Bednall, Dring, Randall and Waterall relatives.

The quality of the results is variable being worst for a tape recording in a noisy residential home and best for a mini-disc recording in a quiet house. The results are given below

Mrs Mabel  Chilton (1913 to 2009)   


This recording was made by  Mrs Mabel Laura Chilton, widow of Reginald Thomas Chilton of Worth Street,Mrs Mabel Laura Dring of Carlton, Nottingham June 2006. Carlton, Nottingham, in about 2006. Mabel was born in a 3 roomed house on Carlisle Road, Carlton on the 14th March 1913. She was the 5th child and 3rd daughter of Harry Woolston Dring (a general carter) and his wife Polly nee Raithby and a granddaughter of Clark and Emily Dring, a Huntingdonshire couple who had settled in Carlton in the early 1870s. Her father, like many other Carlton men, became a soldier during the first World War but was fortunate in surviving it relatively unscathed.  However, Mabel's mother suffered much illness when her children were young and died, aged 41, in 1922. For much of her early life, therefore, Mabel's elder sister, Winnie, took care of her brothers and sisters though all played their part when they could. Quite when the family moved to number 29 Worth Street, Mrs Mabel Chilton's home for more than 70 years -29 Worth St., Carlton, Nottm. Carlton is uncertain but it was there that Mabel was to spend more than 70 years of her life. Mabel and Reg got married in August 1940 and though they never had children their marriage was long one and ended only with Reg's death in the 65th year. Their pleasures were simple ones and they never had a television for they were content with their garden, their church activities and the companionship of their friends.  Reg's hobby was toy making at which he was very skilled and Mabel enjoyed making dolls for charity.   As she entered her 90s, Mabel underwent a number of operations for skin cancers and was hospitalised a few times as a result of falls but aided by her many very good friends and neighbours, she continued  to live alone in the house that she and Reg had made their home so many years before. It wasn't until about a year or so before her death that she was finally persuaded to move into a Carlton nursing home. In August 2009 she collapsed and was rushed into the Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham where, on the 31 August, she died.  15 days later she she was reunited with Reg in the grave in Carlton Cemetery just a short walk from the house in which they had spent so many years together.


Mrs Lorna Kelsall (1931 to 2005) 


Lorna Bednall of Aspley, Nottingham 1940sIn this recording Mrs Lorna Kelsall nee Bednall recalls her early life in Radford Woodhouse and Aspley, Nottingham in conversation with her brother. The recording was made shortly before her birthday in July 2005.

Lorna was born on the 13th July 1931 in a nursing home at Sherwood in Nottingham. She was the daughter and first child of Samuel Edward Bednall of Radford Woodhouse and his wife Hilda nee Dring and spent the first 5 years of her life in Radford Woodhouse, a coal mining village on the edge of Nottingham. In 1936 her parents moved to a new home on the Aspley housing estate to the north-west of the city and it was there that Lorna lived until her marriage to William James Kelsall (known always as Jim) in 1951.  The couple subsequently had 3 sons, Michael, Nigel and Jeremy. but later they divorced and Lorna resumed her maiden name.

On leaving the William Crane School, Lorna started work at the age of 15 and during her long working life had many jobs and was amongst other things  a mannequin, a personnel clerk, bus conductress and an assistant accountant. She had a very strong entrepreneurial  drive at one time running a shop and market stalls while still doing accountancy work. Later in life she established and ran her own courier service but despite this still had time and energy to become an organiser for the Nottingham Victim Support scheme.  Her chief pleasures was to holiday with her grandchildren in her caravan at Chapel St. Leonards near Skegness, where she had spent so many happy hours as a child.  A heavy smoker all her life, her death at the age of 74 on the 21st August 2005, followed a severe stroke. With the consent of his widow, Lorna was buried in her beloved son Michael's grave in the Wilfrid Hill Cemetery, Nottingham


ŠA.W.Bednall, Macclesfield 2006-2010