The only one of my grandparents I remember was a small elderly woman dressed in black with very strict rules, particularly on Sundays, when we were not allowed to play but had to read improving books. She sat in the corner by the fire, where a smoke-blackened kettle always stood. She didn't say much and didn't like children to make much noise either.
At Christmas we would all get together for a family meal around a large table in the front room, seldom used for the rest of the year, where all except me would eat goose, sent up from the family farm by train to Paddington where one of my uncles would go to collect it the day before. I found goose far to greasy and instead gorged on the chipolatas and bacon from the local butcher.
My grandmother had been born Eliza Ann Davies in Llansaintfread in mid-Wales on Boxing Day in 1865, so the Christmas meal was a joint celebration. She had met my grandfather who came from Essex but moved to London to work when she, like many young Welsh girls had also come up to work in London, perhaps in a shop like this, perhaps the family dairy shop, somewhere long gone on the Gray's Inn Road. London dairies would sell produce sent from Wales by train, but also might have a cow or two kept in the back yard. Not far away there is still the London Welsh Centre ("The world's only Welsh cultural centre", though it only opened there in 1937) and the 1854 Welsh Tabernacle (Eglwys y Tabernaacl) Grade II listed and still standing, though now Ethiopian rather than Welsh.
The shop in the picture, J Evans, on the corner of Conway St and Warren St is Grade II listed and was built around 1793, though the shopfront dates from around 1916, when J Evans, dairyman, is recorded as having arrived here, presumably with a cow or two. It was more a small general store when I took this picture (along with others, mainly in colour which show up the beautiful blue of the tiles and surrounding the gold lettering) and is now the Old Diary coffee shop.