All posts by Malcolm Linfield

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Fever! The Year Worthing Died …’

Fever! The Year Worthing Died. A comprehensive account of the 1893 Worthing Typhoid Epidemic.

Edited by Colin Reid. Price £14.99. Published by the Friends of Broadwater and Worthing Cemetery, October 2023.

The Worthing Typhoid Epidemic of 1893 was the greatest disaster ever to befall this seaside town, made worse at the time by the misguided incompetence of the Town Council and the way certain people exploited the situation to make themselves rich. Nearly 200 people died and the town turned into the ‘city of the dead’. The epidemic destroyed the carefully nurtured image of Worthing as a healthy seaside resort and the town never fully recovered.

This new book is the first comprehensive account of this terrible tragedy, covering many different aspects of the disaster, with detailed analysis and research; including a full list of all those who sadly died from the disease. It was written by a group of local researchers, which includes Colin Reid, Mary Mckeown, Chris Hare, Malcolm Linfield, Caroline Nelson and Marion Woolgar. Full of fascinating photos, it is a compelling read for all those with an interest in the history of Worthing and who may have family connections with the events described.

Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: ‘Fever! The Year Worthing Died …’

Jomo Kenyatta: further connections to Sussex

I have always regretted not being able to find any photos of Jomo Kenyatta during his wartime years in Sussex – apart from the one allegedly showing him destroying a wasps’ nest and a blurry image of him waving from the balcony of his wartime home at Heath Common near Storrington, that was about all. Many years ago, I was told by a cousin that he had once seen photos of Jomo when he was employed as an agricultural worker at Linfield’s nurseries in Thakeham; he had been shown them by Miss Mabel Willmer, who had occasionally worked with Jomo during the war, and secretively kept them in an old biscuit tin, only to be brought out on special occasions. Unfortunately, after she died, they were never found and she probably destroyed them. Apparently, she really admired Jomo’s flamboyant signet ring which he promised he would give her one day!

Over the years I have made various requests in the media for any surviving photos of Jomo during his time in Sussex, but the effort has always failed to come up with anything. One of the objectives for writing my article about Jomo Kenyatta and his connections with West Sussex was to put the story in the public domain. Therefore, out of the blue, I was very excited when I received a ‘comment’ to our website from Karen Heald who had stumbled across my article on Kenyatta; she said ‘I have lots of photographs of him in Sussex before and during the war including the full sequence of the wasp nest incident taken by my grandfather’. Of course, I immediately got in touch and she was able to send me a cache of some 30 images, many of which are reproduced in this article, thanks to her kindness and her desire to make them available to a much wider audience.  

Continue reading Jomo Kenyatta: further connections to Sussex

TAKING ANOTHER LOOK AT THE BRAMBER CASTLE LEGEND

The recent communication from Margaret Abbey has reawakened my interest in the legend of Bramber Castle. Every so often, the story appears in one of the local papers or free magazines but there has never been the slightest evidence to prove any of it actually happened. At the end of my article from 1992, I posed a couple of questions: ‘Who was Herbert Erredge and when did he write his ‘history’ of Bramber Castle, and secondly, did Lord Hubert de Hurst and Lady Maud actually exist? If they did not, then the legend of Bramber Castle is pure invention’. Unfortunately, nothing has changed to alter my view, although I think I now have a better idea of why the ‘legend’ evolved and the reasons behind its creation. Continue reading TAKING ANOTHER LOOK AT THE BRAMBER CASTLE LEGEND

THE VALUE OF NEWSPAPERS TO FAMILY HISTORY: SOME OF THE MORE EXTRAORDINARY STORIES INVOLVING MEMBERS OF THE LIN(D)FIELD FAMILIES

 

Newspapers provide some of the most detailed and fascinating glimpses of our ancestors and are a major source of information. Now that so many newspapers are being digitised and made available online, most notably by the British Newspaper Archive, and can be searched by name or any other category, this has become a major resource for all family historians. Thousands of new pages are added every day, so as time passes by, this amazing site will become even more valuable as a resource to all researchers.

Over the past few years, I have been building up a collection of material which I would very much like to share with our readers. I will continually add to this archive and hope to make comments on some of these entries where we have further information. I would also invite comments from anyone who can add their own contribution, as many of these entries relate to individuals about whom we know very little or, indeed, nothing at all. I have also decided to put each clip of news into a category, such as ‘heroic’, ‘criminal/misdemeanour’, ‘tragic’, ‘humorous’ and so on. Continue reading THE VALUE OF NEWSPAPERS TO FAMILY HISTORY: SOME OF THE MORE EXTRAORDINARY STORIES INVOLVING MEMBERS OF THE LIN(D)FIELD FAMILIES

JOMO KENYATTA AND HIS CONNECTIONS WITH WEST SUSSEX – NEW REVISED VERSION FOR 2019

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 many years ago that he had Kenyatta over to lunch 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 book 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). The fact that my grandfather kept this book for over 30 years, before passing it on to me, surely indicates a certain respect for this man and his views, even though Kenyatta’s opinion of the British Empire was undoubtedly quite different to his own. I regret now not asking him what he thought about the ‘Mau Mau’ rebellion and Kenyatta’s role during this colonial crisis.   Continue reading JOMO KENYATTA AND HIS CONNECTIONS WITH WEST SUSSEX – NEW REVISED VERSION FOR 2019

ISLE OF WIGHT LINFIELDS – DISCOVERY OF AN OLD FAMILY ALBUM

I have written a previous article about this branch of the Linfield family which first appeared in ‘Longshot’ in the issue of May 2010. This can now be read on the website (see ‘The Isle of Wight Linfields’). In an earlier edition, we also printed an article by Roger Partridge about his memories of Kate Hilda Linfield, who came from this branch.

I had always regretted that we had very few photographs of this family – there was a grainy picture of Charles Ashover Linfield taken from a magazine article in Canada and some others showing his various stores in Medicine Hat, Alberta. We also had a couple of photos of Kate Linfield, courtesy of Roger Partridge, who remembered her with affection as his ‘Auntie Katie’ when during his childhood she was a great friend and companion to his grandparents.

Luckily, though, in 2016 we recruited a new member to the Group who not only descends from the Isle of Wight branch but has also inherited a fantastic album of old family photographs from her late mother. This was an exciting discovery and I was delighted that, at last, we would have more photos of this branch.

Continue reading ISLE OF WIGHT LINFIELDS – DISCOVERY OF AN OLD FAMILY ALBUM

Part 2: The Descendants of Frederick Caesar Linfield

by Barry and Malcolm Linfield

This fascinating newspaper cutting, updating Bill Linfield’s story and his recent celebration of 50 years in aviation, is a great excuse to have another look at his branch of the family. Bill and his first cousin Barry have written about their family previously in our journal, and we apologise for any repetition. However, this is a good opportunity to bring everything up to date and fill in a few gaps. On top of that, we have tracked down some excellent family photographs to accompany the text.

Continue reading Part 2: The Descendants of Frederick Caesar Linfield

News from Zimbabwe

We have recently received an interesting newspaper cutting from Bill Linfield in Zimbabwe, recording his ‘50 years in Aviation’. Bill is a great-grandson of Liberal MP Frederick Caesar Linfield and first cousin of Barry Linfield, our membership secretary.  In 1999, Bill wrote an interesting article for ‘Longshot’ about his family and their long association with Zimbabwe and South Africa, which can also be accessed on this website. [1] Bill has also sent us some great photos of himself and his family, showing four generations, which also include his great-granddaughter, Lilly. Continue reading News from Zimbabwe