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Graham Holloway, 2008
Ada Sail & Harold Holloway
Ada was born into the Sail family who lived at 39 Crabb Street, Rushden. There were other 'Sail' families living in the same street. She had two brothers George (who, if born today, would have made possibly a Premier League football player) and Eric. The
The Sail family in 1916 - father in uniform
Ada and brother Eric with their parents in 1916
family had other cousins living nearby. She was brought up to be part of a Christian family attending Park Road Baptist Church. She was a proud member of the Baptist Brigade and went on summer 'camps' to the seaside with them. She also became an accomplished player of the church's organ.

An early recollection she had, was when she had her tonsils out. The doctor came round to her house and the father became quite annoyed because he had to leave his place by the fire and go into the front sitting room because the doctor needed to operate on the kitchen table! She felt discomfort after the operation but was told by her mum that that was caused by the operation. However the discomfort was just as bad in the morning so her mother walked to the doctor’s house and he followed her back to see Ada. Upon looking into her throat he saw that he had left a swab in there and upon pulling it out he sprayed the kitchen wall with blood. Her dad then had to redecorate that wall!

She also took part in the Baptist Church's Brigade pantomimes. 

She started work in a shoe factory in Glassbrook Road and worked in the shoe trade until she retired in the 1970's. As she lived in

The Coronation 1953 - Sargent's factory in Glassbrook Road
Sargents Factory in Glassbrook Road celebrating the Coronation 1953
Crabb Street she would occasionally catch the bus from the Lightstrung up to the Oakley pub.

She tells in her diary of the time that she met her future husband. Ada was at Harold's grandparents Golden Wedding when she began to dance with Oscar (my father), then Harold came up and asked her to have a dance with him. (Knowing both of them, Harold then, being 5 years older than Oscar probably said, "Com'n our kid it's my turn to have a dance".) Anyway love started there and then.

In her dairy, Ada lists the presents that she received for her 21st and wedding day. Compared to these days then the list is not very exciting but it does show how our standards have changed, perhaps not for the better.

Ada was also deeply interested in both going to the pictures (Theatre, Palace & Ritz in Rushden, the New Theatre in Northampton) where she tells you what was on and whether she liked it and listening to the 'wireless'. She does mention that the Rushden Band was featured on one of the Vauderville radio evenings.

Reading through her diary you get a deep sense of how this love was to last a lifetime. Harold and Ada became soulmates. Holidays were taken at Great Yarmouth, Margate and Bournemouth and it was the very simple basic things in life that mattered to them. They did not drink or take expensive holidays.

Reading her descriptions of holidays taken by train, usually from Irthlingborough LNER Station, you gain an insight of how 'hard' life was in those days.

When Harold was called up it almost broke her heart. Her description of meeting Harold off the train is almost like the film 'A Brief Encounter'.

Harold & Ada on their wedding day in 1940
Ada & Harold 1940
Upon marrying they moved briefly to Scarborough Street, Irthlingborough, Harold's home before, at the outbreak of WWII, moving back to 39 Crabb Street, Rushden.

Their first house was also their only one that they lived in together. The bought 'Ithondale' 33 Birchall Road, in 1946 with money loaned to them by their solicitor. Both at that time were boot and shoe operatives. Ada stayed at the same place of work throughout her life. Harold left the boot and shoe industry and became a caretaker for Tennyson Road Secondary Modern Boys School under the head, Burt Catlin DFC.

Harold retired from there and unfortunately died in 1984 from a brain tumour. This devastated Ada but she found some comfort in writing poems for her beloved. Every anniversary was remembered again with a poem or a mention in her various diaries.

She moved out of Birchall Road in November 2006 moving to The Cloisters in Rushden. It was only after her death in December 2007 that we discovered her wealth of photos and her diaries. Most of the photos did have the year or in some cases the actual date that they were taken which we could then cross reference with her diary. From coming from an ordinary shoe worker's family we found an enormous number of photos which do record life in the 1890-1950 period.

Graham Holloway (nephew)


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