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MEMORIES OF MY POLLITT AND GRIFFIN GRANDPARENTS AND THEIR DESCENDANTS

An extract from the above private publication, with the kind permission of June's son, Tony Cope who is my 4th cousin.

Both Edwin & Charles were small men sharing the same lustrous brown eyes and they trained in accountancy and law respectively. Edwin was the most popular of men and the soul of generosity. He was also brave. Ernest was handsome but lacked his brother’s courage. As a lawyer he was a careful man, a fine historian and he had a pleasant baritone voice. He was a good golfer and was a captain of St Helens Golf Club, and for many years was an executive with the ‘Saints’, the St Helens Rugby League Club. 

Both men loved the same woman, Bessie Gerard, a large and stately, hospitable and loving, woman. Edwin won her. Both men went to the First World War. Edwin saw action in Mesopotamia and was both injured and severely ill with disease to the extent that he was left for dead in a corner of a field hospital. Family legend has it that among the dead on stretchers there was a movement and an orderly exclaimed “that little bugger’s alive”. Small and tough, Edwin survived. 

Ernest joined the Royal Flying Corps and was drafted to Canada. My mother told me that the day before embarkation the troops were given a lecture on the dangers of venereal disease (VD), which so alarmed Ernest that he was left with a fear of sex. Edwin returned from the war as did Ernest. 

After their wartime experiences, the two brothers could not face a lifetime of work in an office in their professions. Together they opened a furniture retailers, ‘Griffins’ in the centre of St Helens, and they also opened ‘The Barlow Motor Company, ’a garage with a Ford Licence situated near the Toll Bar in Prescot Road St Helens. The businesses gave them a pleasant lifestyle. Edwin died  possibly in his eighties, and his funeral at which he instructed that no church minister should attend, was one of the largest held in St Helens. 

Ernest emigrated from the UK to South Africa at the age of eighty for ‘his health’ and to join his married sister, my mother Hilda and her husband. He lived in an apartment in the same building until my father’s death. He then moved in with my mother for some years, but after his 90th birthday she requested him to leave and he lived in a beach front hotel where he died. He kept his mind alert until his old age by repeating all the major capitals of the world and their rivers as an exercise before breakfast. Neither he nor Edwin had children

Owner of originalJune Cope
Date2019
Linked toAlfred Edwin Barlow Griffin; Charles Ernest Barlow Griffin

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