Kursaal Amusement Park, Southend and Al Capone’s Car

Today is my regular writing slot on Worldwide Genealogy Blog - a global collaboration of genealogists and historians.   My post on that blog today is the story of how my American great-uncle, Harry Elmo LaBreque, brought the bullet proof car of Chicago gangster and America’s “public enemy number 1″, Al Capone, to the seaside amusement park of the Kursaal, Southend in 1933.

Click on Al Capone’s car below to read the story of my great-uncle and Capone’s car.
Al Capone's Car at the Kursaal in 1933

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© Essex Voices Past 2015.

 

 

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Happy 3rd Blogiversary to me!

This week is the third anniversary of me starting my blog, Essex Voices Past.  Reflecting back on the previous year, it has been an exciting and emotional year, both personally and professionally. Please indulge me by letting me reminisce back on my 2014.

Personally, I welcomed into our family my new son-in-law when my precious first born married her love almost exactly a year ago. I am delighted to say that they are expecting the imminent arrival of their own first-born anytime within the next few weeks. My second born, my beautiful wildchild (shhh don’t tell her I said that!) has also flown the nest to live in Bishop’s Stortford with her love. Ironically, whilst I was researching my first local history book, Bishop’s Stortford Through Time and coming home recounting tales of what a great place it is, my daughter also fell in love with the town. She and her young man now live in the historic centre of Bishop’s Stortford town. My youngest, my last born, who I had to home educate for a year (and wrote about on this blog in a series called School Trip Friday for the Academically Challenged), is now thriving at a specialist dyslexia school in the heart of rural Suffolk. My fight to get him an education he could access was worth the almighty fight I had with my local authority.

I am very proud of my family: my daughters, son and son-in-laws. With all the horrors currently going on in the world, it is fantastic to see the next generation steaming through and making something good of their lives.

Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate ColeMy family – posing for a photograph for my first local history book

On the same note (my children), much of what happened when I was fighting for my son’s education should never have happened because of the laws and regulations in England, which are supposed to protect our vulnerable children. With that in mind, I complained to Local Government Ombudsman about my local authority’s behaviour during my struggle. In spring 2014, my complaint was upheld by the Ombudsman with the result that top bods at the Council had to apologise to me both in person and in writing for their behaviour, and give the Ombudsman assurances that they would change their processes. Justice for the little guy.

Professionally, I made the move from my career as a full-time technical business consultant, to concentrating on being a full-time historian and author (but still doing the very ad-hoc piece of IT work!). The move has been fantastic – I commuted for nearly 3 hours each working day from Essex into London for over thirty years. My commute is now 10 seconds: I rise from my bed to put the kettle on for the first cup of tea of the day before settling down at the kitchen table with a cuppa and opening my laptop ready to start work.

Medieval Scribe

I have expanded my writing and now spend all my working time researching and writing either blog posts or books.  My first book Bishop’s Stortford Through Time was published in September and appears to be selling well. In October, to promote my book, I went on a virtual tour around the internet, talking about “all things history”.

Bishop's Stortford Through Time by Kate Cole

In January 2014 I started writing a regular slot on Julie Goucher’s Worldwide Genealogy – an international collaboration of genealogists, family historians and historians. It is a fantastic blog, I do recommend you to take a look. My December post was about the famous Christmas Truce 1914.

Christmas Truce 1914Daily Mirror – Friday 08 January 1915,
© Copyright the British Library Board

Shortly before Christmas 2014, the British Newspaper Archive (a department of the British Library) printed a condensed version of my blog on the Christmas Truce 1914 on their own blog: The story of the 1914 Christmas Truce, as reported by WW1 newspapers. This led to an editor from the BBC World Service contacting me and requesting that I give two radio interviews to the BBC world service about my research into the Christmas Truce. It was very exciting to give the radio interviews and it was from this point that I finally felt that I had arrived as a bona fide historian.

My 2015 is also shaping up well with the highlight being the imminent arrival of my first grandchild.  I am also in the process of moving houses and will shortly be leaving Great Dunmow to live in one the most beautiful and wildest parts of Essex, on the Blackwater Estuary in between Heybridge and Goldhanger.  My current bannerhead on my blog is an aerial view of the Blackwater Estuary (photographed by my son’s drone) – my new house is “somewhere” on the photograph.  I will continue to write about the history of Great Dunmow and the beautiful district of Uttlesford, but will also be writing about Maldon and Heybridge.

Fred Roe's Map of Essex 1929X marks the spot of EssexVoicesPast’s favourite
place in the whole of England.

I also have four books – all commissioned by Amberley Publishing – in the pipeline. The first two on the list are shaping up well and are due to be published this summer.

  • Saffron Walden Through Time
  • Sudbury, Lavenham and Long Melford Through Time
  • Billericay Through Time
  • Postcards from the front: 1914-1919

My 10 most viewed posts over the last 3 years were as follows:-
- School trip Friday: Of cabbages and kings
- A pinch and a punch for the first of the month and no returns
- Queen Elizabeth I’s visit to Great Dunmow
- Images of medieval cats
- Interpreting primary sources – the 6 ‘w’s
- Thomas Bowyer, weaver and martyr of Great Dunmow d.1556
- The medieval spinsters
- Primary sources – ‘Unwitting Testimony’
- Elizabeth of York
- Witchcraft and bewitchment: the Tudor witches of Great Dunmow

I will be continuing to write on this blog, but perhaps not as frequent as before, until after my next two books have been completed.

Thank you for indulging me and allowing me to reflect.

Kate Cole – The Narrator
Essex Voices Past
January 2015

© Essex Voices Post 2012-2015

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Happy New Year 2015

Today’s post is a postcard sent home just before New Year of 1915.  It’s poignant messages states: “O.A.S Dear Madam, I have the pleasure of writing to you and thanking you for the parcel which I received. Hoping you have a Happy Xmas and a bright New Year. From One In Belguim“.

Postcards from the Front - Happy New Year

Wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year.

 

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Thank you for reading this post.

You may also be interested in
Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2015.

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Weblinks for Christmas 2014 Advent Calendar: Part 4

I hope you have had a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas 2014.  If you are in the middle of trying to decide whether or not to brave the Christmas Sales, instead, spend some time to surfing the ‘net and looking at some of my Advent Calendar 2014 websites.

Over the next 4 days, I will be recapping the sites and books which were in my 2014 Advent Calendar.  Happy hunting and reading!

 

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If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

You may also be interested in the following posts
Weblinks for Christmas 2014: Part 1
Weblinks for Christmas 2014: Part 2
Weblinks for Christmas 2014: Part 3
Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2014.

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Weblinks for Christmas 2014 Advent Calendar: Part 3

I hope you have had a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas 2014.  If you are in the middle of trying to decide whether or not to brave the Christmas Sales, instead, spend some time to surfing the ‘net and looking at some of my Advent Calendar 2014 websites.

Over the next 4 days, I will be recapping the sites and books which were in my 2014 Advent Calendar.  Happy hunting and reading!

 

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

You may also be interested in the following posts
Weblinks for Christmas 2014: Part 1
Weblinks for Christmas 2014: Part 2
Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2014.

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Weblinks for Christmas 2014 Advent Calendar: Part 2

I hope you have had a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas 2014.  If you are in the middle of trying to decide whether or not to brave the Christmas Sales, instead, spend some time to surfing the ‘net and looking at some of my Advent Calendar 2014 websites.

Over the next 4 days, I will be recapping the sites and books which were in my 2014 Advent Calendar.  Happy hunting and reading!

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

You may also be interested in the following posts
Weblinks for Christmas 2014: Part 1
Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2014.

Please click here to leave your comment

Weblinks for Christmas 2014 Advent Calendar: Part 1

I hope you have had a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas 2014.  If you are in the middle of trying to decide whether or not to brave the Christmas Sales, instead, spend some time to surfing the ‘net and looking at some of my Advent Calendar 2014 websites.

Over the next 4 days, I will be recapping the sites and books which were in my 2014 Advent Calendar.  Happy hunting and reading!

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

You may also be interested in
Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2014.

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Christmas Truce 1914 and a game of football

This year, my run up to Christmas has been very hectic with some very last minute excitement as a historian and blogger.

On the 18 December 2014, just over a week ago, I published on my regular monthly slot on the Worldwide Genealogy Blog, a post about the First World War’s Christmas Truce of 1914.  You can read my post here – Christmas Day Truce 1914.  It is the full story of the famous Truce between the British and the Germans as it was reported day-by-day throughout the length and breadth of Britain in local and national newspapers.

My story was picked up by the British Library – whose The British Newspaper Archive own the digital archives for these newspapers – and a shortened version was printed on their website on the 19th December: The story of the 1914 Christmas Truce, as reported by WW1 newspapers.  From this, one of the producers of the BBC World Service read my story and asked me to do an interview for the radio station about the Christmas Day Truce.  So I did two audio interviews (from my kitchen!) - one very late on Monday 22nd December, and another early in the morning on Tuesday 23rd December – the latter being a live broadcast so was very nerve-wracking.

You can hear my interviews below:-
- BBC World Service Newsday – my interview starts at 54:22 minutes
- BBC World Service Newsday – my interview starts at 51:49 minutes

One of the main points asked in my interview was, did the Germans and the British play a game of football in no-man’s land? My answer is: There’s a lot of hearsay that several “kick-abouts” either happened or were proposed to take place.  But I could find no evidence or eye-witness accounts in the local newspaper within the British Newspaper Archive that a formal match had taken place.  Below are extracts from reports in newspapers dated December 1914 to January 1915 where a game of football (or a kick-about) was mentioned.

From the evidence below, you decide.  Did one (or more) football matches take place between Britain and Germany along the Front Line on the Western Front at the Christmas Truce of 1914?  All are eyewitness accounts, mainly written down in letters sent home by soldiers in the Front Line and reprinted in local newspapers.

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“The Germans left some of their trenches and came over to talk with our men, and I hear a football match has been arranged for New Year’s Day. I cannot swear to this statement, but seeing that they did visit us on Christmas Day, the event is possible.”

Hull Daily Mail, Wednesday 30 December 1914

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The day after Christmas, they cried across if we would play them at a game of football, but as no football was forthcoming, there was no match.”

Aberdeen Journal, Friday 1 January 1915

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On Christmas Day we agreed to a play a football match, and we got a football but their colonel would not let them play, so we had a bit of a game on our own.”

Liverpool Echo, Saturday 2 January 1915

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Higher up the line – you could scarcely believe it – but they were kicking a football about between the trenches.”

Gloucester Journal Saturday 2 January 1915

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Elsewhere along the line I hear our fellows played Germans at football on Christmas Day. Our own pet enemies remarked that they would like a game, but as the ground in our part is all root crops and much cut up by ditches, and as, moreover, we have not got a football, we had to call it off.”

Western Daily Press Wednesday 6 January 1915

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Did a football match take place between Germany and Britain?
You decide!

Christmas Truce 1914Nottingham Evening Post – Saturday 02 January 1915

Christmas Truce 1914Daily Mirror – Friday 08 January 1915

All extracts and images above appear by kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive / The British Library Board.

This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

You may also be interested in
Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2014.

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Christmas 2014

Wishing all my readers a very happy Christmas.  I hope your Christmas celebrations are much more relaxing than the Louis Wain cats shown below.

Postcards from the Front: Britain 1914-1919 - Louis Wain's Christmas Cats

 

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

You may also be interested in
Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2014.

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Christmas Advent Calendar from the Front: 24 December

To put in you the festive mood, each day from now until Christmas, my blog will be publishing images from postcards sent during the First World War. Click on the picture to be taken to an external website which will be of interest to historians of English history or local history or family history. Each day, the link will take you to a different website and, hopefully, help you discover resources new to you.  Just like a traditional advent calendar, you’ll not know what you’ve got until you’ve opened (or clicked) the door.

My Advent Calendar is my Christmas gift to you. Happy Christmas!

Postcards from the Front: Britain 1914-1919 - silk postcard of snow and child on sledgeWhat’s behind the door?… Click on the picture above to be taken to an external website of interest to historians.  When you’ve finished viewing the external website, come back to my blog and, in the comments, tell me what you think of the website you’ve just visited.

// Books of interest

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This blog
If you want to read more from my blog, please do subscribe by using the Subscribe via Email button.  If you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do Like it with the “Like” button or Facebook button and/or leave a comment below.

Thank you for reading this post.

You may also be interested in
Christmas Advent Calendar 2014
Christmas Greetings from the Trenches 1914-1918
Louis Wain: Happy Christmas Greetings 2013
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Plough Monday
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 1
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 2
Christmas in a Tudor Town: Part 3
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Massacre of the Innocents
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Feast of St Stephen
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Nativity of Christ
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Shepherds
Medieval Christmas Stories: The Magi
Medieval Christmas Stories: St Nicholas Eve

© Essex Voices Past 2014.

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