Fig. 6 L to R Jim Linfield, President Kenyatta and Bill Luckin at State House, 11 November 1965

Jomo Kenyatta and his Connections with West Sussex

My initial interest in Jomo Kenyatta, first President of Kenya, was inspired by his links with my family during the Second World War. I knew he had spent most of the war years working as a farm labourer at our family business in West Sussex. I remember my grandfather telling me years ago that he had Kenyatta over to lunch on a number of occasions, when they discussed politics, among other things. I don’t expect they always agreed on everything, but my grandfather had obviously found him to be an interesting and intelligent man, and he was intrigued enough to find out what he had to say for himself. In fact, Kenyatta gave him a booklet he had recently written,called ‘My People of Kikuyu’ and he wrote inside the front cover: ‘To AG Linfield. With best wishes, Jomo Kenyatta. 17-4-42’ (Fig.1). Continue reading

Inside a vinery at Fuller's nurseries, Lancing c.1910

The Worthing Glasshouse Industry

I have recently embarked on a major research project into the history of the Worthing Glasshouse Industry. Started by the pioneer growers such as George Beer in the 1870s, who built the first large commercial glasshouses, the industry flourished in the town and became the main glasshouse growing centre in the country. The industry was important to the local economy for over 70 years, until it gradually declined as the expanding town absorbed all the old nurseries in its relentless growth. By the 1960s, the vast majority had closed. I am very lucky that David Abbott, official historian of the West Sussex Growers Association, has joined me in the project and we recently held an exhibition of some of our ‘discoveries’ at Worthing Library (5- 19 March 2011). Continue reading

Emily Frances Linfield's 'respectable' Worthing cousins: William Henry Linfield, Relieving Officer for the Worthing Urban District and Registrar of Births and Deaths, Arthur George Linfield, Fruit Grower, and Frederick Caesar Linfield, pictured in his mayoral robes in 1906

A Black Sheep in the Family – The story of Emily Frances Linfield (1847-1931)

Every family has its ‘black sheep’, the wayward individual who doesn’t quite fit in, the person who has done bad things, who may have brought shame and embarrassment to his or her family. They are fairly rare in reality, on average appearing only once in every three generations. They may be completely ostracised by their families and cast out, or shown a modicum of restrained toleration – but everyone knows who they are.

One such individual, whom I have touched upon previously in an early Longshot article, was Emily Frances Linfield. She caused untold embarrassment to her family, mainly through her habitual drunkenness, and was even accused of murder when her elderly mother died after a fall. This article explores her life in more detail and updates her story in the light of more recent information. Continue reading

Harold Linfield with the 2nd Battalion RSR marching through Lydd 1914.

Every Man Remembered – New website to honour all the dead of the Great War

Set up by the Royal British Legion, the new website ‘Every Man Remembered‘ has been set up to honour and commemorate every single man and woman who died in the Great War fighting for Britain and the Empire. It is a really fantastic idea, and as a One Name Family History Society, I feel it is essential we should commemorate everyone from the Lin(d)field families who lost their lives. Donations can also be made to the Legion in memory of an individual. Continue reading

Private Harold Frank Linfield, 1914

A New Website to have a look at: The Great War – West Sussex

With all the First World War centenary commemorations well under way, I wanted to tell everyone about a  new website:The Great War – West Sussex‘.

Financed with a lottery grant, this has been a joint project between the West Sussex Library Service and the West Sussex Record Office, who appealed for volunteers to research case studies on various topics of the war or on a particular serviceman or woman. Far more people came forward than expected – 150 rather than the estimated 80 or so – but the end result is a fantastic learning resource that I can thoroughly recommend. Continue reading

Lily Linfield 1893

Lily Lindfield, Dancer

Another of the various items we have acquired through Internet trading sites, is a page from The Sketch. This was an illustrated weekly newspaper, mainly covering the aristocracy and high society. It was published from 1893 until 1959 by the same organisation that produced the Illustrated London News – itself another valuable source of articles for local and family history. It carried regular features on royalty and the aristocracy, theatre, cinema and the arts and was always well illustrated with photographs. Continue reading

Researching Linfield, Lindfield, Lingfield, Linkfield, Linville and variants worldwide