Sometimes there is somebody in your past who, although not a blood relative, is indelibly etched in your memory and in your heart. So it was with Aunt Maud
I remember Aunt Maud as a slim old lady with a chuckle and still mischief in her eyes, and this was in the 1960's when she was already in her 70's.
She lived in Langbourne Buildings, opposite St. Mark's Church on Mark Street, at that time. Victorian flats. I know now they were considered a slum, but in those days they held a magical quality for us kids. We loved to visit Aunt Maud.
Coming by train from Leytonstone to Liverpool Street station, walking past the Victorian horse trough that used to stand on the corner (maybe it still does?)near where the funny yellow three-wheeled trucks from the railway yard used to come out from. We'd walk straight the turn at this corner where they was a pub with the old wood trapdoor to the cellar. Sometimes we were lucky and there'd be a dray and horses and they'd be rolling beer barrels down into the cellar.
Then, at last (it seemed like miles to our little legs) we'd come to Mark Street, where the old gas lamps still stood on the street, although no longer used by then.
That's when the magic would begin!
The flats had a central staircase, a circular one cut in the stone, and as we ran up the stairs, the noise would echo in a deliciously vibrant way. The neighbours probably hated hearing us arrive (with hindsight this would seem quite justified) but we loved those echoes and would stamp just to make them resonate even more.
Next we would make our way along the balcony/passage to Aunt Maud's door. It was huge, solid wood, with a massive knocker on it. The old-fashioned, lift up and rat-a-tat-tat type. When mum or dad would use that knocker, it again resonated through the building. It's hard to describe but even sitting here writing this, I can hear those sounds again.
And then, once Aunt Maud opened the door, the special times began.
Her flat was one bedroom, to the left as you came in the front door. A closet was directly opposite the door, and then you'd go left to go right, into the tiny living room. Through the living room, there was a doorway that Aunt Maud kept a heavy curtain over, as there was no door, that led to the tiniest of scullery/kitchen areas and off of that, to the left, the toilet. The sink in the litchen was one of those old deep white porcelain ones, that many kids my age can remember standing or sitting in to be washed.
Aunt Maud's toilet had a chain dangling from the tank, but for some reason it didn't work when you pulled it, so she had a bucket next to the loo, and it was filled with water from the sink in the kitchen in order to "flush" the toilet.
In the living room she had a solid old table that she kept a chenille tablecloth on. It didn't have any legs as such, there were two supports either side which came down to like an upside down T (ornately carved) and a slat between them a few inches off the ground. When we were really little, that place under the table became all manner of things - a camp, a cave, whatever we wanted it to be. While the adults talked, we'd play under the table!
But that wasn't all! Rememember that mischievous twinkle in her eyes? Well, she would bring out treats for us while we were there. Not just biscuits and sweets, but from the time I was about 7 she'd let me have a Babycham. She would bring it out of the sideboard (that matched the table) along with Harvey's Bristol Cream for my dad and on special occasions, my mum. She kept them in the sideboard along with Tizer, for the younger ones, ginger beer and cider. She would always tell me "don't let your nan and granpop know". Odd really, as they let me have a cider now and again when I was a bit older, always reminding me "not to let Aunt Maud know".
When her niece/great niece Angela was there, sometimes we'd play in the bedroom. Aunt Maud had a feather bed on an old iron framed bedstead. That really got a workout sometimes from a bunch of kids jumping on it, and finally being admonished to stop by the adults.What fascinated me I think were the feathers that managed to fluff everywhere while we were doing it, like a snowstorm sometimes.
RG13 piece268 folio 104 Pg26 Schedule167
52 Granville Bldgs, Shoreditch. Ecclestrial Parish St Michael. Borough Hoxton
Head Charles Bundock, age 52, Occ: Waiter Inn. Born Tunbridge Wells Kent.
Wife Sophia Bundock, age 45, Born Spitalfields
Daughter Lizzie, age 27, Occ: Machinist Blouse. Born Hoxton
Son Charles, age 25, Occ: Pritner born Hoxton
Daughter Maud, age 14 trade staymaker, born Hoxton, Reg. dist. Shoreditch
Although the family name was BURDOCK it appears that it was either mis-spelled or that the handwriting looked more like an "n" than an "r" when it was being transcribed.
Also, Pritner as an occupation, may be a mis-spelling of Printer or it may be that a Pritner was another occupation which has become extinct.
This information, though, fits in with what we already know. This is definitely Aunt Maud!
Aunt Maud had a niece or great-niece, Angela, whose last name was Green (but I can't remember if it was spelled with an "e" or without).
Angela was born in 1954, and at the time I knew her, she and Aunt Maud were the only surviving blood relatives to each other. This was in the 1960's.
I am still looking for Angela. If anyone has any information, please email me at: