|Nellie, Charlie, Treena and a friend.|
This post about Charles Henry Bayliss will be based mainly on my own recollections of him. When I began to write this piece I realised that I didn't really know Charlie that well during his marriage to Nellie. Although I lived in the same street as him for much of my early life I never got to know him as I did some of my other uncles. I have memories of my mother taking me to visit his flat at St.John's Park Mansions but it is my Aunt Nellie I remember the most from those visits. Of course Charlie and Nellie were always at my grandmother's parties, singing along with everybody else and there is a wonderful video of them enjoying themselves along with everybody else. I was very fond of Nellie although as with Charlie I didn't see as much of her as I might have liked to. The reason for this is probably because his children, my cousins Peter and Treena, were a few years older than me and when you are young a difference of three or four years seems greater than it does in later life.
|Charlie with Splogett|
Peter I was very fond of (as everybody was) and I would see him often in the street and with his faithful dog Splogett but we never hung out together. It was cousin Alvin who, being three years older than me, was closer to Peter and he has told me of the great times that had together visiting the Trad Jazz clubs. To be honest (and I know she's reading this) I don't remember ever having an actual conversation with cousin Treena whren I was young - it was only many years later that I got to know Treena better when we corresponded for a while in the late 1980s.
|Happy Days : Charlie and Nellie on a caravan|
holiday with Treena and Peter
I believe Uncle Charlie (as I called him) made his living as a house decorator and, of course, in later years he took over the business of selling paraffin that had been started by Bernard Dell (husband of cousin Cecilia) and he became a familiar figure up and down Pemberton Gardens. In an early part of Charlie's story I touched on the tragedy that struck Charlie during his first marriage and, sadly, it was to strike again. The memory of those days is still painful for the family and I do not intend to dwell on them in any detail. Charlie lost his son to asthma on 24 January 1970 and his wife Nellie to cancer on 11 June 1970. One can hardly imagine how this hit poor Charlie an Treena (who was married by this time) and the shock waves it sent through the rest of the family. It must be remembered that only a few months before, Charlie's mother,Esther, had died. I don't think Charlie ever fully recovered from that awful time.
|Charlie and his brother Arthur enjoy a snooze on the beach.|
|Charlie and Treena (centre) with Derek and his family.|
It was during this time that I got to know Charlie best. My mother, his sister Ethel, had been helping Charlie in his flat and doing some shopping for him. We were living at Tufnell Park at the time and each Sunday Charlie used to come to Sunday Dinner with his mate George Abbott - brother of Cis's husband Fred. Things went on like this for a while and I remember that Charlie, always a dog lover, was very fond of my dog, Oddy. Then, as if Charlie had not had enough tragedy, he had a stroke. I clearly remember getting a late night phone call from Whittington Hospital and rushing there by taxi with my mother.
After this things didn't really improve much. Charlie did recover from the stroke and got his speech back but he was diagnosed with diabetes and eventually was admitted to a care home in Durham Road N.7. My mother used to visit him every week and I would go when I could (and take my dog) and I am sure that other members of the family also visited. Charlie passed away on 15 May 1978
at Mount Vernon Hospital, Hillingdon after an accident at Durham Road.
|Charlie, Me and Oddy at Durham Road|
I kept in contact with Charlie's son Derek for a while as I tried (not to successfully at that time) to find out details about his mother's family. I was able to renew contact with his family late in 2009 only to find that he had passed away in the summer of that year. I remain in contact with his daugher Sally. I lost contact with Treena when she moved to Spain but happily we are reunited again, thanks to cousin Alvin who found her through the internet.
Treena Hall writes :
- Hello Ernest, I have just finished reading the article and thought you wrote it with great sensitivity,it bought back so many memories and the photos are wonderful to see,thankyou so much.
Thank you Treena, I am pleased that you and your family are enjoying the blog and thanks
for pointing out my silly error in one of the picture captions - I've now corrected it.
Hi Ernest, the latest blog is amazing. Thank you so much
Thanks for the feedback and the lovely photos which I shall hopefully be using soon. It
really means a lot to know people are enjoying the blog.