As the oldest of my generation of the family I am the only one likely to
have childhood memories of how Uncle Ken came to be one of us.
Christmas was approaching, presumably Christmas 1951, although I suppose it could have been
1950, and I was taken to the Church Bazaar in the church in Strone Road and in
particular was taken to see Father Christmas. After emerging with whatever
trinket was handed out I was introduced to the white bearded man in the red suit
and told that Father Christmas was going to be my new uncle. How could I not
like him from the very beginning?
I spent several school holidays, most Easters I seem to remember, with Aunty Win and Uncle Ken which was often spent catching fish and frogspawn but another source of entertainment was Uncle Kens brick built shed, or was it an air-raid shelter, at the end of his garden which was packed with tools. My recollection is that my new uncle was quite a handyman and keen carpenter.
Some 15 years later when I was buying my first house (small flat would be a more accurate description) Uncle Ken, being something of an expert in things legal, became a very useful ally. In an attempt to save money I decided to do my own conveyancing and Uncle Ken stood by my side for daily advice. It was convenient that his London office was only a short walk from mine at the time.
The transaction was fairly straight forward except that at one stage the vendors solicitor doubted my ability to pay for the house; the deposit and the mortgage advance being a little short of the purchase price and the statutory fees. I told him that I do have a little money in the bank you know, to which he replied that I should pay it over to him. Uncle Ken wrote him a suitable letter and the requirement was immediately dropped.
When the time came to complete the contract I was invited to the vendors solicitors office where he and I and several other people including one from the building society sat in a circle and passed around documents and money as in a game of pass the parcel. I have no idea whether this ritual was specially staged for me or whether it was standard practice.
For the record, the price paid for 3 Legge, Crescent, Aldershot was £3,400 and the mortgage £3,100.
Information provided by Malcolm Knight.