A new baby in the family …

What a delight to have a new baby in the family! Welcome little Felix, born on the 7th July, just two weeks ago as I write today.

This lovely photograph is of my daughter Helen with her new little baby Felix right after he was born …
Helen & Felix, 7th July 2019Just a year ago today, my step-daughter Zacyntha gave birth to little Reuben. What a beautiful expression of incredulous delight is on her face!Zacyntha & Reuben 2018I was so struck by the emotions captured in these two pics that I went back to look at other mothers in earlier generations …

There’s me, of course, with my babies. First with my oldest, son James, in 1980 … I think there’s wonder – and perhaps new mum nerves there too.  Baby James, with his hands over his ears, clearly doesn’t want to know …New mother Katherine with baby James 1980And here talking to my new baby Helen in 1983, a more confident mum, I think …Katherine talking to baby Helen 1983 Going further back, here’s my mother Mary with me in 1954. I’m just over two weeks old, and look pretty engaged …
Mary & Katherine 1954I guess she’s proud and delighted but on the back she’s written that I look rather like a little pig!Mary's note that K looks  like little pig 1954.jpgBut what an enchanting photograph this is of one-year old me feeding my mother with icecream!Katherine feeding Mary icecream 1955She looks enchantingly happy too with my sister Marian in this 1957 photograph … Marian with Mary, Leicester 1957My grandmother Doris looks thrilled with her baby son John as she rocks him in the pram in 1921 …
Granny with John, Dublin 1921But it’s Nurse Taylor who’s been captured lovingly reassuring my mother as a baby in 1924, not my grandmother. Different times, sometimes less hands-on mums …
Nurse with Mary, 1924But not always so! I love this 1926 photograph of my Australian grandmother Dora with my very newborn father Dick – she’s so clearly new-to-the-job, with the baby rather clumsily  bundled up …
Dora & Dick, Gnoll, Melbourne 1926And the sense of her joy positively leaps out at you from this photograph of them some six months later …Dora & Dick, Cowes, Australian, Xmas 1926Skip a generation back, and here’s my grandmother Dora with her own mother Nini. I’m guessing a first birthday photograph, so taken in November 1900.  It’s a very affectionate photograph even if it is a formal sitting.Nini & Dora c.1900By contrast the photograph of my great-grandfather Charles with his baby daughter Dora is most uncomfortable! I think you could say he’s holding her at arm’s length, which is perhaps rather strange seeing as she was his fourth child.  He clearly wasn’t what you might call a hands-on dad …Charles Church with his daugher, Dora c1900Which is atypical of the dad photographs.  Even going right back to the last century, there are many pictures of men in the family deeply involved in parenting.

I love this picture of my great-grandfather William rather tentatively giving his grandson (my father) a bottle …Graandfather WHGE feeding Dick 1926There are wonderful pictures of his son Vin with my father. He’s proud – and confident!And that look of glee on my father Dick’s face as he clutches his father’s hair!Vin & Dick 1927The hands-on confidence my father learned from his father is reflected in the beautiful pictures of my father with me.  This photograph just creases me up – the look on my father’s face really defies description …Katherine (8 days old) & Dick 1954Like his own father, my dad was perfectly happy to hoist me up on his shoulder – but what a hoot of a photograph this is – that expression on my face, and that pipe!Dick & Katherine, Chuzenji 1954He wasn’t alone to think that pipes and babies go perfectly well together.  Here’s my uncle John and my cousin Polly in 1953.  A lovely expression on his face – but I think she’s worried about that pipe!John & Polly 1953This pic of my uncle Bow with his son Tim in 1961 just has to be one of the sweetest of dad pics …Maritn with Tim 1961My father was lovely with his grandchildren too.  Here he is with his oldest grandson James in 1980 – a beautiful thoughtful expression on both faces …Dick with James 1980 DevonAnd new father Hugh is clearly having a very deep bonding moment with his baby son James …Daddy Hugh with baby son James 1980Some of the most fascinating pictures are of older children connecting with new babies. There are clearly deep thoughts in my older son James’ mind as he gazes on his new baby sister Helen …brother James and baby Helen This is my daughter Helen with her cousin Louisa in 1994. Helen was just old enough to realise how very special it is to hold a baby …Helen & Louisa 1994Here is the 3 year old Louisa talking to new baby Johnny!  What a conversation!Louisa & Johnny, 1996Coming back to the two new babies in our family, there are several other very touching photographs.  I love the sharing of joy between my husband Stephen and his other daughter Ellie when they meet little Reuben for the first time …Stephen & Ellie & Reuben, August 1918And how can you not smile when you see new parents Helen and Elias beaming down love on little Felix …Helen, Elias & Felix, July 2019It was a deeply emotional moment for me when I met my first grandchild Felix for the first time last week …Katherine & Felix, July 2019In later years may there be many happy times spent with these new little lads.  This is a charming photograph of another great-grandmother of mine, Mathilda Rose, here shown in about 1890 with her two little boys.  It’s my grandfather Percy with his back to us, and his brother Bill looking at the camera.  Were they reading together, I wonder?  Or perhaps it’s an impromptu nature lesson on that daisy-filled lawn …Mathilda Rose with Bill & Perks, Devon c. 1880My grandfather Percy went on to have four children of his own. Despite having a demanding work schedule, he had very happy family holidays with his young children in the 1920s in Devon. That’s my mother Mary comfortably cuddled between his knees …Waterfield family 1920s DevonThis 1959 photograph is a lesson on how not to be all together for a family photograph! My grandmother Dora and aunt Shirley smile glamorously, but how miserable my mother Mary looks – and as for those harassed dads! And I don’t think you can say anything nice about those wriggly, grumpy and bad-tempered children!family pic 1959No, let there be the best of holidays – just as my young parents are enjoying here. A positively glowing photograph of them with me and their dog Chad …Dick & Mary & Katherine& Chad, Chuzenji 1954Here’s to happy children, happy times! (cheers to my sister Marian and her little daughter Bel!)Marian & Bel, Christmas 1997



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10 thoughts on “A new baby in the family …”

  1. Welcome to your little Felix, a new addition to the family tree. I do love your family photos. You are so lucky to have such a collection.



    1. Thank you Hilary – another Felix in our shared family! and yes, we are very lucky to have such photos. You can research your family history and get names, dates, events etc etc, but nothing brings people to life like a photograph ….


  2. That must have been a journey, finding all those photos! Though family photos bring up mixed feelings in me as a childless person, it was lovely to see especially the beautiful one of your father with you as a baby, me with my father (I did know that one), and Matilda Rose – which I don’t think I’d seen before. I actually rather liked the one with the ‘grumpy’ children that you dismissed. Realistic and lots of life in it! I can only guess at how it must have felt meeting Felix. May you have many happy moments with him to come.


    1. Actually it’s quite easy to find the photos, Polly, because over the past 5 years I’ve scanned the whole lot to share the albums with my siblings – hard work at the time, but rewarding now. I really love re-using the old pics, bringing the stories of past generations to life again. Even the grumpy one – which actually I love too because it’s so funny! I remember all too well the times somebody in our family was grumpy – and that was no fun … Yes, definitely looking forward to more Felix cuddles 🙂


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