“Did he ever mention the idea of suicide?” asked the coroner.
“All the time until I told him I was sick of hearing it,” replied Mrs Graham at the inquest of her uncle’s death.
It turns out my great, great uncle, Arthur Ayres, shot himself in the heart in 1934 shortly after his confectionary business failed.
For a year or two my dad’s been researching the family tree, and while he’d found lots of info on his mother’s side of the family, very little was known about the Ayres line. We knew his grandfather had been in a Scottish regiment at some point, so assumed we had a Scottish connection, but that was about it.
However, my father has recently reconnected with a long lost cousin and been finding out all sorts of things about the family history: photos, newspaper clippings and tales of fortunes won and lost. It makes for fascinating reading.
For example my great grandfather, the brother of the unfortunate Arthur mentioned in the snippet of newspaper report above, married Edith Adams, the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in Surrey at the time, the Adams Sawdust Contractors. Apparently, however, Edith’s brothers managed to blow the family fortune when they took it over. Drink problems have been mentioned.
As Maggie wanted to visit the Twisted Thread Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate on Saturday, I took the opportunity to drive down to Chesterfield and take the kids to see their grandfather, while Maggie looked for interesting bits of silk fibres to turn into art.
Unfortunately dad’s computer is on the blink so I’ll have to wait a while before he’s able to scan and forward all the stuff I want copies of. However, I do now have a picture of my great grandfather, Charles Sidney James Ayres who was in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during the Boer War.
Charles Sidney James Ayres and his Helmet
Do not be fooled by the tartan, however. It turns out that he enlisted with Edith’s brother and was no more Scottish than a cockney barrow boy. In the end, of all the Ayres family, by dint of marriage and location it seems I have the strongest Scottish connection of any of us