WELCOME TO THE BAYLISS LINE. This blog has been created for my family. By "my family" I mean all those who are related to the Bayliss family either by blood, marriage or even relationship. There are, of course, other Bayliss families not related to us but this blog has at its heart a very specific family who had their origins in Gloucestershire. I am connected to that family because my mother was a Bayliss and it was her curiosity that started my research back in the early 1990's. So, what are you likely to see on this blog? Well, as it is a blog, I want it to be as entertaining as possible rather that a dry listing of facts (that is for Ancestry.com). I will, hopefully, be posting entries on our ancestors and relatives, on the places where they lived, and the historical times they lived through. I have an extensive collection of photographs of people and places which I will, of course, be sharing.

I'd like to ask anybody who reads this blog to give me some feedback. I'd really like this to be a two way thing. It sometimes unearths new information and, to be honest, it gives me encouragement. There will be two ways of providing feedback - either through the comment button (you will need a Google account for this) or via the e-mail address which appears on this page - alternatively, ring me. Now scroll down to read the latest entries.....and, of course, via Facebook.

Monday, 9 April 2012


Ethel in Waterlow Park, probably taken
circa 1946

In 1943 Ethel's health took a downward turn when she started to get abdominal pains. She visited The Marie Stopes clinic who sent her for tests and these resulted in the discovery of fibroids in her uterus. After a short wait Ethel was admitted to  Three Counties Emergency Hospital in Bedfordshire.

The Three Counties Hospital. a Victorian Lunatic Asylum
which was also used as a wartime hospital for women and
later for soldiers.
 The operation to remove the fibroids  was successful.  As a sign of their appreciation for the way Ethel had been cared for, Ernest arranged for a gift of lemons (a rarity during the war years - but readily available through the black market) to be sent to the hospital.  The hospital wrote a thank-you letter which I still possess :

 Dear Mr. & Mrs. Harris,
        I received the parcel of lemons this morning with great excitement.
 It was really a sight for the gods to see such lovely big pre-war ones.
  I do most sincerely thank you very, very much on behalf of the nurses
  and myself for your kindness.
         I am also pleased to say that the plants are also doing well and
 really look delightful now in the sun ward. The daffodils are a lovely
sight and admired by everyone who comes into the ward.
        How is Mrs. Harris feeling? I do hope she is happy and getting
stronger each day. I have a ward full now of 38 soldiers so the ward
looks very different from a women's ward.
        Again thanking you very much for your kind gift.

The letter, signed C. Jones, is dated 4th March 1944.  My mother used to tell me that after leaving  Three Counties Hospital she went to convalesce at  "The Earl of Huntingdon's Castle"  and she always pointed out to me that Earl of Huntingdon was the title given to Robin Hood in the legend. This, of course, enthralled me
as a child, to think that my mother had stayed in Robin Hood's castle.  She described standing on the battlements at night watching bombers take off from and return to a nearby airbase.  Naturally, I never questioned these stories until many years later I started my research into family history.  Looking for a picture of Huntingdon Castle, I was surprised to find that it no longer existed and hadn't for many years before my mother's supposed stay there - not even a ruin remained!  Eventually, my researches paid off and I discovered that the location of my mother's convalescence was actually Hinchingbrooke House, a short distance from Castle Hill - the original site of the castle. It is easy, looking at the house, to see why Ethel saw this as a romantic medieval  castle.  Enquiries confirmed also the story my mother told me of how she and some of the other women patients volunteered to go to another ward where some badly disfigured airmen were being treated. The story of seeing bombers taking off at night was obviously true as from the roof of Hinchingbrooke House (with its castle-like battlements) you could see for miles around and the area certainly wasn't short of military airfields.

Hinchingbrooke House, Ethel's "Robin Hood's Castle" where
she convalesced after her operation in 1945.

After a short trip back to London,  Ernest decided that he and Ethel would relocate to get away from the bombing raids. The location was to be Blackpool in Lancashire and they rented a house at Inver Road near the North Shore golf course. While she certainly did not miss the bombs, Ethel did miss her family living nearby and she spent most of the time in the company of her faithful dog, Peter. Ernest was still spending a lot of time away from home and Ethel was feeling the loneliness more than ever.  She told me that while her family were celebrating VE Day in London she was walking her dog on the beach. VJ Day came and went and the warwas over.  Ethel was facing the approach of Christmas wondering whether she would spend it alone.

William Weaver
Then, at the end of November or early in December Bill Weaver made the trip from London to Blackpool to visit.  Whether his visit coincided with Ernest being away from home deliberately of accidentally we cannot know. Did Ernest even know Bill had visited?   The answers to these questions can only be surmised. What we do know is Ethel found herself pregnant.  Perhaps luckily for her Ernest did spend his Christmas at home with his wife because when Ethel finally broke the news to Ernest he was absolutely delighted and completely accepted that he was the father. Excitedly, they made plans to return to London and Ernest rented a flat in Tollington Court, Tollington Way. They bought new furniture and settled down to await the
birth of the baby.

Joyce Barrett, Ethel, Esther Bayliss (daughter
of Bert and Ada Bayliss) and unknown
serviceman outside the flat at Tollington



  1. Wonderfully written as always and a "page turner"! I'm particularly enjoying how you have plenty of space to bring so much background detail to the story than you were able to when telling this story in the past. For a non-family member like myself, this blog has been a delightful and fascinating read!

  2. Many thanks for the comment, Cerpts. One of the most enjoyable things about doing the blog is digging out background material, a lot of which is new to me. A good example is The Three Counties Hospital which now has a whole website devoted to its history. Seems it was still being used as an asylum alongside the purely medical wards at the time my mother was there. The building is now preserved and has become luxury flats. I've also just obtained a photo of the actual house in Inver Road where I was conceived which I shall post, hopefully, later today.

  3. Another great Article Ernest the letter from the hospital is such a great touch. I always end up not only enjoying a great account of your families exploits but a great insite into the period.The photos are just wonderfull you must really treasure them.I al eager for the next installment.

  4. Thanks, Ian. It means a lo get feedback from family and friends both here and on Facebook. There's lots more to come.