The Alabaster Chronicle
The Journal of the Alabaster Society
NUMBER TWENTY-ONE, AUTUMN 2003
The Cover of the Anniversary Edition is designed by Rupert Fox
by Laraine Hake - Autumn 2003
Ten years have elapsed since the first Alabaster Chronicle was produced - for many of us, that represents at least ten years that we have known each other. A decade in history! How much have our lives changed in that time, immensely or not at all?
One aspect of the Alabaster Society that many have enjoyed has been the Alabaster Gatherings. Please make a note now that the seventh Alabaster Gathering is being planned for Saturday, 23rd April 2005, at The Old School in Hadleigh. I am sure many will be delighted to know that we have already booked Roy Tricker (pictured, left) as our after-dinner speaker!
I have so much more to say, as ever, and so little space! There are very many "thank-yous" to be expressed; firstly to so many of you who made the effort to contribute something towards this, our tenth anniversary edition - note the lengthy "Laraine`s Letters Page" actually pages 30-44 - then to the others amongst you who so kindly lightened my load by volunteering to proof-read various of the articles. Thank you, too, to my son-in-law, Rupert, who designed the cover for this one-off special edition. Thank you to John Stammers Alabaster, whose generosity in contributing to the cost of the publication of a book on William Alabaster means that all paid-up members will receive a copy, free, with the next Chronicle (see page 3), and to Siddhi Savetsila for the donation of a book referring to the life of his grandfather, Henry Alabaster (see page 35).
It has been suggested that an index should be produced to past copies of the Chronicle. I have not yet managed to organise this, but have made the effort in this edition to add footnotes with details of the past Chronicles in which further information and references can be found. If you do not have a set of back copies, do remember that they can be ordered directly from me, see inside front cover. One thing that has really changed in ten years is technology; the comparatively poor quality of the early editions is a historical lesson in itself, although I believe that the content is still of great interest!
Ten Years On
by Tricia Dyer (nee Alabaster)
Take two thousand, add on three,
Many countries swelled our number
Friendships made and some re-kindled,
"Gatherings" in the old School Hall,
Looking back on last Decade
A Forthcoming Publication for the Alabaster Society:
William Alabaster the Poet
by John Stammers Alabaster
Tony Springall writes:
The biannual publication the Alabaster Chronicle has been a very successful vehicle for distributing news and information about the Alabaster family, past and present. For the last few years, however, as increasing historical information concerning the family has come to light, it has become apparent that the Chronicle format has disadvantages for articles of more than sixteen pages and that a second form of publication is needed to augment the Chronicle.
At the 2002 committee meeting it was decided that the Society should publish occasional monographs as suitable material became available and Society resources permitted. Since John Stammers Alabaster has been researching William Alabaster the poet for some years, and was well advanced with writing up his findings, it was decided to publish his work as the inaugural monograph.
A major problem for the Society in publishing any monograph is cost and it seemed out of the question to proceed unless most of the expenditure could be recouped by selling copies to members. However, John generously offered to contribute to the cost of the monograph and this will enable the Society to include a free copy of the monograph when Alabaster Chronicle No. 22 is posted to fully paid-up members, in the Spring of 2004. If you are interested in the life of one of the most famous Alabasters, you must read John`s splendid monograph.
Now there`s an incentive to pay your subscription in good time!
Places of Special Interest
Old Cemetery Some of the original headboards made from Huon Pine are still in place --
Alice Leatherbarrow`s was stolen a few years ago but recovered in Hobart when police
stopped a speeding ute.
The very sad story of Rupert Cecil Alabaster was told in detail in Chronicle 15 (see notes 1 and 2 below). However,
although I was aware of a rumour that his spirit haunted the building, I was certainly unaware that this was used on
literature about the area.
It is interesting to note that another Alabaster, Sidney Herbert, is also said to haunt his former abode (3).
1. Chronicle 15, Autumn / Winter 2000, pp14-17, "A Sad Death in Tasmania" by Beryl Neumann.
2 A Quintet of Alabasters by Adrian Alabaster. Available from Angela Alabaster, address on request.
3 Chronicle 18, Spring / Summer 2002, pp 7-8 "Seen through the eyes of a child" by Samantha Armstrong (nee Alabaster).
18th May 2003. Sue Hill (IIIB), East Peckham, Kent, writes:
Reg & I visited France & Belgium last month to see the Somme and Flanders Battlefields and to visit the graves of our
known ancestors. Now we learn that Reg had another great uncle who died just after the end of the war, and you
have a copy of his war record! How`s that for coincidence? Another of Reg`s uncles (on his mother`s side) died in
1918 just before the armistice, it was all so tragic. Joseph Alabaster would have been in his forties, which was much
older than the majority who died during this war.
We found one memorial to a 14 year old! -- and one inscription on a grave that I can not forget was -
and this was for a nineteen year old.
I was also struck by the article about the Borrowers film and the owners having the surname of Alabaster. Some years
ago, in the village where we live, an old wooden working man`s club was demolished and a block of flats erected in
its place and named Alabaster House. I managed to have a word with our local historian last week, I asked if she
knew why Alabaster House was so called. It turns out that the road I live in, which is called The Freehold, is a
relatively new road, built originally in the early part of the 19th century. At the time plots of land surrounding this
road all seem to have been purchased, not by local people, but by investors trom London.
Our historian believes they may be named after the Londoners who originally purchased the land, but unfortunately she has not (so far) been able to fmd the original deeds to prove this. All deeds which she has uncovered so far prove the link with London investors. I have now established that the plots of land in the Freehold first went on sale in 1850.
So, do we have any likely Alabasters living in London during this period who may have made such a purchase?
Does anybody have any ideas on this one? LH
Steve Abbott (IIIB), London, SE13, 11th June 2003
Interesting to note in the last Chronicle that, among the info supplied by Peter Copsey, were the baptisms of three children of Frederick & Louisa Alabaster (IIA), who lived at 38 Dunedin Rd, Leyton, East London. There is another interesting Alabaster connection with Dunedin Road, as told to me by my second cousin Stephen Heard.
One of my great aunts was Stephen`s grandmother, Rosetta ("Rose") Elizabeth Alabaster (1903-1985), who married driver Reuben ("Rob") Ridley at St. Matthew`s, Bethnal Green, on Christmas Day 1924. The parish magazine for January 1925 shows that 15 couples married there on that day, as Christmas Day was one of the few holidays to which the working class were entitled. Rose & Rob were also living in Dunedin Road, at no. 63, with their three children, Rosetta Violet, Iris and Robert William (for photos of Rosetta & Iris, see Chronicle 18) until 19th October 1940 when their Victorian terraced house was one of about 15 destroyed by a large German bomb intended for the nearby Temple Mills marshalling yard (a major railhead). This was the height of the Blitz and the family were spending the night in the Anderson shelter which they had built in the back garden. As well as the five Ridleys, the shelter also contained Agnes Alabaster (Rose`s mother), Ivy Alice Alabaster (Rose`s sister) and some neighbours.
There was no sound, just a blinding flash and the electric light (installed thanks to one of the ` neighbours being an electrician) went out. Rob gingerly stuck his head out and said "Rose, you ought to see your house". It had been completely demolished save for a portion of one wall. Under the rubble were a new coat bought for Rosetta`s birthday the next day, a box of unbroken eggs and a leg of lamb which had been `cooked` by the heat of the explosion. Their dog, who had hidden under the bath, was unharmed. Rob described the bomb crater as "deep as a lamp-post". The family were unable to get into the street and had to cross the back gardens to get out.
Except for Rob, the family were evacuated to Skipton in Yorkshire (which they never liked)! After some temporary homes, they resettled in Dunedin Road, at number 75, which had been spared bomb damage and remained the family home until the 1980s.
I have produced an updated tree of the modem descendants of my great grandmother Agnes Alabaster. I`ve traced 135 direct descendants of hers, and since there was one branch of the tree that I haven`t been able to trace, there must be around 150 of their direct descendants! I`m sure Agnes would be utterly amazed at how large her family became!
Sandra Stevens, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk 19th June 2003
I am a G.O.O.N.S. (Guild of One Name Studies) member collecting HAZELWOOD & variants, and through Free BMD have just come across an ALABASTER connection.
It seems that Henry George (Harry) HAZLEWOOD married Annie Margaret ALABASTER 1874 St Saviour. From the 1881 census Annie Margaret was born c. 1851 at Hornchurch, Essex. She died 1896 in Islington, aged 44. Do you know of her? If it is of interest, I can give you details of her descendants.
This is another example of the kindness of a fellow researcher passing on Alabaster information to us. Annie Margaret Alabaster was born 26 October 1851 in Hornchurch, the second daughter of Walter Goddard Alabaster and Louise Patten, so Branch IIIA, and gt aunt or gt gt aunt to several of our members!
Angela Alabaster IIA, Reigate, Surrey 4th July 2003
I have been sent an interesting package from Thailand.
This proved to be a hefty book from Siddhi Savetsila entirely in Thai! I will quote his covering letter:
"Thank you for sending me Alabaster Chronicle No 20. I still try to read Henry`s poem and to understand it. Lately some local television asked to interview me about my Grandfather`s life and also from my son Thada, whom you met in London and also in Changmai. My fifth sister Poonsri passed away about four months ago ( I have eight sisters), her sons and daughter published a book about her life including my father`s and grandfather`s Henry with reference to Adrian`s and your research about Henry`s life unknown to our family or available records in our national Archive. Though I have edited some parts, the spelling of your `name `Angela` was not corrected. The whole book is in Thai, and yet I have to send you one for collection. The last picture is my uncle Thong Yoi ( Phya Indra Thipbodi) grandfather of Sakuni who hosted you at her house"
I long to read his version of Henry`s story,(but cannot read Thai) and the captions to the numerous photos.
The book is also an insight to the fimeral rituals for a wealthy family and their life style. Anyway it will be 'for the collection' and I will let you have it when we meet.
May I take this opportunity to thank Siddhi once again for the generous gift of a copy of this book to the Alabaster Society.
Tony Moore (IIA) County Antrim, N. Ireland, 30th July 2003
Found this photograph (right) recently and thought it would be an addition to your records. It would have been taken in 1957 when Sidney Herbert would have been about 71. With him are my wife, Muriel (left) , and daughter, Rosemary. The picture was developed and printed by S. H. A. who was always into photography.
Jim Alabaster (IIA), The Netherlands 7th August 2003
Attached is a digital picture of the new 46 metre motor yacht I
have just completed building in Holland. This was taken in the
port of Rotterdam at the start of the trials back at the beginning of
July. The yacht is now in the Mediterranean having voyaged from
Holland with one brief stop in Gibraltar to pick up some fuel, the
owner and his family will be enjoying her in this part of the world
for the remainder of the summer.
I was very pleased with her and I think everyone associated with the project has been very complimentary. She has a stunning interior. There are several innovations aboard and she is very much up to date with developments on commercial ships in that the navigation and communication systems are computerised and fully integrated throughout. It may be of interest.
PS Did you see the picture that Tony Moore sent of my Dad? He looks exactly the same as I remember him .
Jim `s father was Sidney Herbert Alabaster - above right!
No photograph currently available. RW
Tony Springall (IIA), Clevedon, Avon 17th August 2003
Here is a photo I took of a memorial to a hero at the causeway approaching La Corbiere lighthouse in Jersey. At best he is only related back at the time of the Norman Conquest!!!
This is a picture of an Alabaster family gathering this past July. the picture was taken July 18, 2003, the actual date of
Moe's 75th birthday. Moe and I, and our sons Thomas and Donald, along with their children and Don`s wife Cindy,
met at a resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to celebrate Moe`s birthday. The photo was taken just prior to our special
dinner and those pictured are all Alabasters Sydney, Sam, "Moe", Sofie; Amy and Justin are sitting on the sofa, and
standing are Tom, Charlotte, Don and Cindy.
Just thought you`d enjoy seeing a picture of our family here in the states - all very proud Alabasters!
Ivor Smith (IV), Hornchurch, Essex 3rd September 2003 was given this information recently:
It is presumed this patient went back to Bethnal Green after leaving the Hospital.
Royal National Hospital for Consumption, Ventnor, Isle of Wight (record office ref: H03/El)
age: 38 yrs.
weight: about 6 stone.
occupation: Cabinet Maker.
abode: South Street, Pollards Row, Bethnal Green, London.
admission: 21 June 1870.
last date in patient record: 16 July 1870.
patients father: Died age 70 Dropsy.
patients mother: Died age 56 Cancer of breast.
brothers: Never had any.
sisters: One half sister living age 50.
This was an email sent to Ivor, not me, by yet another helpful researcher. Ivor forwarded it on to me for information. I
was fascinated by the amount of information contained therein. W G. Alabaster must have been Woodrow George
Alabaster, grandson of Charles Henry Alabaster (IIA), whose address on 1871 census was 13 South Street, Bethnal
Green. His profession is given as Cabinet Maker, employing 3 men and 3 boys. The 1871 census was taken on 2nd
April that year. Woodrow died on 16th May 1871.
Beryl Neumann, (IIA) NSW, Australia 20th August 2003
Congratulations on our 21st Edition. I wrote to Laraine in November 1986 and can very clearly remember meeting her for the first time in April 1987 on a trip to England. A few days later I visited Hadleigh and was blown away. This was before the Alabaster Society was even thought of.
Little did I know then what would happen. Thank you Members for all your great participation over these years and to you, Laraine, for your tremendous enthusiasm and hard work. Where would we all be without her? Let us preserve our past, enjoy the present and look forward to the future.
Beryl has a great deal to answer for!!! It was her planned return trip to UK in 1990 that spurred myself, Adrian, and John Stammers Alabaster to take action and organise the first Alabaster Gathering and the rest, as they say, is history!