As I will soon be going back to London to spend a few days, there are family facts that come back of this fantastic city that saw several generations of my forefathers as their own place of existence. Their lives were filled, for sure, with joy and sorrow. My great grandfather William Begernie was born in 1875 in Lambeth, Southwark and died only 31 years old 1n 1906 at the Bethnal Green Chest Hospital. Like so many others at that time victim of TBC.
Going back in time I find out that the ancestors of my Begernie grandmother Dorothy Maude had been residents of the East End, an area of London synonymous with poverty, overcrowding, disease and criminality. The Begernies were shopkeepers with connections to the butcher trade. That was at any rate William Begernie’s profession at the time of death. My life in London connected very little with my ancestral past.
My London days were very much limited to a geographical area comprising the centre proper (West End ) and the areas going south with Croydon and Richmond as its limits.Having worked in the City I have come very near some of our ancestors without knowing it. I shall now be staying in the Southwark area. I do look forward to meeting my “little” cousin Louise Frith whom I have not seen since 1968. She also has Begernie blood in her veins. We shall be meeting at Waterloo station, also near the areas where the Begernies lived.Many of them left for Canada seeing that emmigration to the “New World” was an alternative for many Londoners in those days. Some arrive and some leave. Most of the one’s in the picture from 1907 did leave!