This Issue offers a real treat to our readers in the
form of great articles by two family members, each of whom has a strong
story to tell.
On countless occasions, we've shown the Stentifords against a
backdrop of gentle Devon scenery - leafy lanes, remote villages,
windswept moors and seaside resorts - true, the families were all poor but at
least there were roses around the doors. But in his article, Huw Davis takes us into a very different world and
presents the story of his family of Stentifords (a story we began in
Issue 52) set against the harsh backdrop of 19th and 20th
century coal mining in South Wales. Kevin Stentiford, on the other
hand, takes us to a world which, at first sight, appears very similar
to Devon. But as he tells the story of how his family came to be in New
Zealand, we begin to understand how superficial that similarity was to working class men and women after the end of the war in the
1940s - to them, New Zealand seemed a very different place to the
class-conscious England they were prepared to leave behind.
Huw's family lived within a rigid social system that
offered little more than a lifetime of unremitting toil and a
complete lack of opportunity for betterment. Returning to this
kind of social order was the prospect that confronted Kevin's family after
the war - but, like thousands of their contemporaries, they simply
couldn't face it - in fact, they wouldn't face it. They voted with their
feet and took advantage of the eager welcome offered to them by
Commonwealth countries faced with the post-war task of
rebuilding their economies. Young, bright, fit, skilled and
ambitious, they left the shores of Britain in droves, assisted by all
manner of incentive schemes which included secure jobs and decent housing.
Aussies" and would-be New Zealand citizens, they all sailed away, not
in the expectation of great wealth, but looking for social justice -
hoping to find an equality of
opportunity in their new country which would allow them to secure better
futures for themselves and their families.
In Issue 51, Rita Roberts asked for help in tracking
down Reginald Stentiford. She has been making some progress but has
asked us to publish her new e-mail address which is email@example.com.
Please contact her if you come across any useful information.