Jeff Avery - About, page 2 of 5

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At age four I started infant school at Raynham Road, Edmonton. Here is a recent picture of the school though not the part that I was in.

When I was five years old, I was rather a sickly child and it was  suspected that I had tuberculosis. So I was sent away to the Victoria Convalescent Home in Margate on the coast. Although it was quite a journey in those days and expensive for our family, my dad visited me each Sunday and my mum came when funds permitted.

It was intended that I stay at the convalescent home for a year but my parents took me home early after nine months. At the Home, I slept outside for the entire nine months under a large lean-to roof. It was thought that fresh air cured everything! Here I am on the right with some of the other children.

As part of my schooling at the Home, I wrote a weekly letter to my mother. Here are some of them that have survived.

All letters start with the obligatory “I hope you are well.” The next sentence: “I am (much!) better” is perhaps a plea to be rescued! I don’t know if the stick figures represent sick people (!) or old people that I had seen.

In these later letters I seem to have stopped saying that I am better but the stick people are still in evidence. And I assume that’s me in jail (another plea?). The last letter is dated May 19th so I had my sixth birthday at the Home.

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