Downton – the real-life version


Like most of the UK, I have been glued to Downton Abbey on a Sunday night. I love the clothes and the jewellery and the beautiful things they have in the big house. It’s a real disappointment to know that the Christmas one will be the last ever episode.

Then, last week, looking through some of the stuff at my mum’s house, I found this old tin:

Grannie's tin

It’s really solid with a thick, unyielding lid. What I found inside was quite a surprise.

Grannie's photos

I had only ever seen one photograph of my dad as a boy, but this tin was full of them. And full of pictures of people who I guess are relatives. A few are dated (and you can also tell from the clothes), but this was real-life Downton. My dad was born in 1926, and these pictures show his mum and dad before they had him. They would have been very much in the ‘downstairs’ part of Downton, or maybe living in the village, as they weren’t at all posh. I love this picture of them all in the car with three rows of seats. That one was taken in 1924, and the bald guy in the middle at the back was my grandfather. I don’t recognise any of the others.

Grannie's photo- in the car

The young kids in Downton – George, Sybil and Marigold – would have been about the same age as my dad, which I find really odd. There are pictures of him in there dressed in exactly the same outfits as little George (you can see a couple of them above.) It gives me a weird connection to it all which I’d not really thought about before.

Finally, I turned the tin over:

Grannie's tin bottom

It probably last held biscuits about 100 years ago. I don’t imagine too many of today’s plastic biscuit boxes will last as well.



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