Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Over four decades before a President of the United States made a visit to Hiroshima I made my first visit to see the Peace Memorial Park at Hiroshima while spending a year in Japan as a student at Waseda University in Tokyo. As I began Memorial Day weekend 2016 in Portland, Oregon I followed the news of President Obama’s speech at Hiroshima and I remembered my speechless visit to the Atomic Cenotaph, Peace Museum, and walk through the park to the Children’s Peace Monument known as the Sadako Statue. I don’t think I said one word to my college companion for most of the time I was there as there were no words to exchange for the impressions we took in at Hiroshima.

For over 70 years the dates of August 6 and August 9 have been a time for remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the victims of the world’s first atomic bombings. The bombings have a profound connection not just to the end of a long terrible war Americans call World War II but to the post-war world in which I grew up. As a post-war baby boomer who grew up in Portland, Oregon I lived a couple of houses away from a man who witnessed the atomic bombing of Nagasaki from a distance of about 100 miles away. This American B-25 pilot flying over southern Kyushu his orders on that day were to avoid northern Kyushu and just after 11 am on August 9 he understood why he been ordered to fly far to the south over Kagoshima. Even though Japan was his enemy he wrote in his journal that he felt sorry for the Japanese people who had suffered greatly from the war that their leaders had initiated in China during the 1930s and finally against the United States on December 7, 1941. “Remember Pearl Harbor” and “Remember Hiroshima” were familiar phrases I heard growing up but the remembering of the atomic bombings was not something I thought about much for the first twenty years of my life until I made a visit to Hiroshima as a college student in the 1970s.

I attended Waseda University in Tokyo as a year-long exchange student and during spring break in 1975 I visited Hiroshima with another student to whom I had no words to exchange during our entire visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (広島平和記念公園 Hiroshima heiwa kinen kōen). We could not say words as we could not fathom the destruction recounted in the exhibits in the museum or symbolized by the Atomic Cenotaph or The Children’s Peace Monument also known as the Sadako Statue. It was a deeply saddening and disturbing experience not because we came from the country that had dropped the bombs but because we are part of a world where such unimaginable tragedy took place. It was the first of many such visits I would make to tragic places in this world that number too many and my visits include Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan, and to Nanjing, China and to Mauthausen, Austria among others.

Eight years later in 1983 I returned to Hiroshima with a US Congressional Delegation from Washington State on an official mission in which we presented a wreath of flowers at the Atomic Cenotaph and 1,000 paper cranes made by Seattle schoolchildren at the Children’s Peace Monument. The statue of a girl with outstretched arms with a folded paper crane rising above her is based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki (佐々木禎子 Sasaki Sadako), a young girl who died from radiation sickness that originated from exposure to the bomb. Sakako believed that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes she would be cured but she died before she could finish the task and her friends and other finished the 1000 paper crane garland called Senbazuru. Today the story has spread around the world and people from all countries fold paper cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed near the statue. Unlike the first trip to Hiroshima that was so deeply disturbing this second trip was like a step towards hope that by remembering we can hope to change mankind for the better.

 

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Roger Julian Mockford (1924-2015)

This is the reprint of the Obituary for my father that was prepared for release to local newspapers. Roger J. Mockford died December 4, 2015 of natural causes a few days before his 91st birthday. A memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Oregon City, located at 822 Washington St. on Friday, December 11 at 11:00 AM, after a private burial at Willamette National Cemetery.

Roger was born December 7, 1924 in Inglewood, California to English immigrants Arthur Julian and Frances Rose Mockford.  He moved with his family to Oregon City in the early 1930s and graduated from Oregon City High School in 1943. Roger entered the US Army and was selected for the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) at the University of Oregon.  His unit was called up to serve in General Patton’s Third Army, 11th armored Division in 1944.  Roger arrived in France on the eve of the Battle of the Bulge, where he earned two Bronze Stars as an infantryman with the 55th Armored Infantry Battalion, fighting in the Ardennes Forrest near Bastogne.  Later, he was tasked with a 60lb flamethrower to attack bunkers in the Siegfried Line as Patton’s Third Army fought its way into Germany.  Roger suffered a concussion in western Germany after a nearby half-track ran into a mine.  He was sent from field hospital to Paris by train just in time to witness VE Day 1945 and the spectacular celebration as the war in Europe ended.  Roger served as the last President of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the 11th Armored Division Association that retired its colors at the Louisville Convention in 2010. In 2015 Roger joined Honor Flight of Portland to visit the National World War II Memorial a trip that was deeply important to him 70 years after the end of WWII. He enjoyed participating in the Reynolds High School Living History Day every year including the November 7, 2015 program.

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Roger returned from the war in 1945 to continue studies at the University of Oregon and played on the Oregon Ducks Basketball and Football teams while earning his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees.  He then began a career in teaching as a science teacher, coach, and athletic director.  Roger married Marie Rose Dolgan on June 10, 1951. Together they raised two children, Jim and Linda, who attended Kennedy School in NE Portland.  Roger taught at Portland’s Washington High School, Madison High School, John Adams High School, and Portland Community College (PCC).  He was department chair of the PCC Physical Education Department and initiated ski programs for college students at Mt. Hood.  In 1972, Roger became Athletic Director of the Reynolds School District, until his retirement.

Roger was an active Boy Scout Leader. He worked at Echo Lake, California, as well as Camp Meriwether in Oregon. He served as waterfront staff at the 1967 World Scout Jamboree in Idaho, and returned for two more stints at the National Scout Jamborees in Farragut Idaho.  Roger and Marie were active members of Rose City Squares, they traveled to national square dance conventions and were host for Portland events.

He was preceded in death by his wife Marie (2008) and granddaughter Laura Anne Mockford (1999).  Survived by his son, Jim Mockford (Cheryl); daughter, Linda Ferris (Scott); sisters, Mary Conrath and Margaret Foss; brother-in-law John Dolgan (Barb); grandsons, Christopher Mockford (Lynn), Jeffery Ferris, Chase Ferris, and Kirk Ferris; and granddaughter, Jenny Farmer (Jacob).

Donations may be made to Honor Flight of Portland – Bend Heroes Foundation, Providence Medical Center, and St Paul’s Episcopal Church Oregon City.

Roger J Mockford Obituary Portland Tribune

 

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A walk in Southwark in the land of London Bridge

After seeing the sights of Rotherhithe by Thames Path and following neighborhood streets to places where my ancestors lived in the 1800s it was time to take a step further into the family past by setting out to see neighboring Bermonsey and Southwark.

George Mockford was born in Southwark in 1730 and he married Mary Higden at St. Olave’s Southwark in 1763. Not much is known about George Mockford except that he lived during an age of Georges in England: King George I passed in 1727 away a few years before George Mockford was born and King George II had reigned for three years still not popular in these early years of his reign but over time King George II gained the respect of the people. It was an age of challenges for George II as he was threatened by Jacobite ambitions and attempts to take the throne at home and a time when he was engaged in military expeditions overseas. George II was the last British king to lead an army on a battlefield. This took place at the Battle of Dettingen in Germany against the French in 1743 during the War of the Austrian succession. Just two years later George II contended with a threat at home when in 1745 Charles Edward Stuart the Young Pretender landed in Scotland to claim the throne. George’s army was again successful and defeated Charles at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746.

These battles were fought between primarily British and Hanoverian Protestants against French and Scottish Jacobite Catholics and created an anti-Catholic wellspring of public opinion that would combine Protestantism and English patriotism in violent expression that generated the Gordon Riots of 1780. George II died in 1760 and his grandson George III became King as a result of the King’s eldest son, Frederick having died in 1751. For the Mockford family in Southwark and Rotherhithe as well as the rest of England it was a century of King Georges after George III died in 1820 and George IV was King until 1830. Our George Mockford born about 1730 spent a lifetime in Southwark where he married Mary Higden in 1763 and where young Samuel Mockford was born in 1766 and baptized at St. Olave’s Southwark. London Bridge had suffered a fire in 1763 and was repaired in time for a flood in 1763 that required evacuation of residents along Tooley Street which led to the church. The name Tooley Street, is said to be named after the church as in “t’ Olous” the road to Olav’s. George Mockford knew this Southwark neighborhood also called The Borough well. We do not know if George knew or was related to a Francis Mockford who appeared in the press in 1780 for an involvement in the Gordon Riots.

St. George The Martyr Church also known as Little Dorrit's Church

St. George The Martyr Church also known as Little Dorrit’s Church

We walked across Tower Bridge to Tooley Street to London Bridge and south on Borough High Street to St. George the Martyr Church (also known as Little Dorrits Church from the novelist Charles Dickens story). I visited the John Harvard Library and Southwark Local History Library that is located on the former site of the Marshalsea Prison known for the incarceration of accused pirates and smugglers, seditious rebels, and debtors who was among those was Charles Dickens father was jailed for debts in 1824 and young Charles was forced to work in a factory at the age of 12. His novel Little Dorrit is based on this experience and one night little Amy Dorrit sleeps in St. George the Martyr Church while her father in next door in Marshalsea Prison for debts. Today the John Harvard Library and Southwark Local History Library have in addition to local history books a collection of old maps that show the neighborhood in Dickens time and here I found old records of the Mockford family in Southwark and Rotherhithe in the 1700 and 1800s.

Long before George Mockford lived in Southwark a local brewer named Henry Leeke left an estate for the establishment of St. Olave’s School, but with a nod to St. Savior’s Church to have the funds if St. Olave’s did not create a school within two years of the reading of his will in 1560. The schedule was kept and teaching began on Michaelmas Day 1561. By 1571 St. Olave’s School received letters patent as a grammar school and as per the charter the school was called: The Free Grammar School of Queen Elizabeth of the Parishioners of the Parish of Saint Olave in the County of Surrey. A Southwark native named John Harvard (b. 1608) attended who followed the example of brewer Henry Leake except that Harvard left his books and money in America to establish a college. John Harvard was born in Southwark in 1607 and was baptised at St Saviour’s (now Southwark Cathedral) and attended St. Olave’s School before going on to Emmanuel College, Cambridge where he earned his B.A. in 1632 and M.A. in 1635 before marraige to Ann Salder in 1636. In 1637 the Harvards sailed to New England where they began a life in Charlestown but just a year later John Harvard died from tuberculosis and after providing his wife with half his estate the remainder and his entire library of 400 books was given to the founding of a college in Cambridge, Massachusetts that celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2012. http://harvardmagazine.com/2000/01/john-harvard.html

The story of St. Olave’s Southwark goes back much further into the past than Charles Dickens or John Harvard. The naming of the church is associated with the ancient story of London Bridge falling down. This history going back to 1014 tells how the King of Norway Olav Haraldsson in support of his ally the English King Ethelred the Unready sent boats up the Thames to attack the Danes who had attacked London and took control of the bridge. Olav surprised the enemy by having his boats pull out the bridge supports causing London Bridge to fall down and the Danes went tumbling with it. There were a number of wooden London Bridges built over the centuries but as the traffic from the City of London to Southwark increased something had to be done about the chaos and congestion on the bridge. In 1722 the Lord Mayor of London decreed that “all carts, coaches and other carriages coming out of Southwark into this City do keep all along the west side of the said bridge: and all carts and coaches going out of the City do keep along the east side of the said bridge” that may have been the origin of the British practice of driving on the left side of the road.London_Prospect_1710

George Mockford as a young man may have crossed the wooden London Bridge during a time when it was also a platform for wooden buildings including shops and houses on bridge itself but by 1762 the structures on the bridge had been demolished by the Act of Parliament for the purpose of improving traffic flow so that the generation of Samuel Mockford would have seen an uncluttered old London Bridge that lasted until the construction of a new 19th century London Bridge designed by John Rennie and this time built in stone began in 1824 and finally opened in 1831. The new London Bridge had a nice clean and modern appearance with five stone arches and was set 100 feet west of the old London Bridge that was still in use throughout construction and until the opening of the new bridge.

From the generation of Samuel Mockford to the present eight generations of our Mockford family has crossed this 19th century London Bridge with my father making his trip in 1944 as an American GI on leave to see his grandfather John Benjamin II while en route to France where his division was sent to the Battle of the Bulge. As for myself and my son Chris we had to go to Lake Havasu City Arizona in 2013 and make our bridge crossing there.

3 Generations of Mockfords at London Bridge

3 Generations of Mockfords at London Bridge

The church of St. Olave’s in Southwark where Mockford marriages and baptisms were held in the 1700s was very close to the London Bridge but it no longer exists. St. Olave’s Southwark was declared redundant in 1926 and demolished by 1928. The capping turret of the church was saved and placed in Tanner Street Park in Southwark where it was converted for a while into a drinking fountain. We walked to Tanner Street Park to find the structure there but no longer operational as a fountain and looking sadly unkempt and forlorn.

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The illustration showing St. Olave’s Southwark with turret ion 1647 is by Wenceslaus Hollar. Photos of turret at Tanner St. Park taken in 2015.

Sources: http://www.exploringsouthwark.co.uk/tanner-street-park/4589835567 http://www.londonremembers.com/subjects/st-olave-church-tooley-street

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/London_Prospect_1710.jpg  I am not sure but the church turret shown on the right might be St. Olave’s Southwark.

http://www.islandguide.co.uk/london/london-bridge.htm
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~genmaps/genfiles/COU_files/ENG/LON/morden_lon_1690.htm

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A walk in Limehouse to St Anne’s Limehouse

On the northern bank of the River Thames across from Rotherhithe is an old area of London called Limehouse. I was interested in walking along the Limehouse Basin that was originally called the Regent’s Canal Dock when it opened in 1820 and seeing the Limehouse Cut that is part of a canal system that barges began navigating in 1769 and still do today. We took the Thames Path around the Limehouse Basin where both canal barges and yachts were safely docked with access to either the canal or the Thames via locks.

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As we followed the path along the canal we came into view of St Anne’s Limehouse the church where my great great great grandfather Joseph Mockford married Mary Ann Mussard on 17 October 1824. Joseph was born in Rotherhithe in 1800 and worked in the shipbuilding community that defined the south side of the Thames. But across the river the church tower of St. Anne’s Limehouse stood for a century before his wedding day having been built from 1712 to 1724 and was completed in 1727 with the consecration of the church in 1730. Because of its prominent location on the north side of the Thames the church was a place of registry for sea captains to record the vital events that took place during voyages. Queen Anne noted this important role by giving the church the right to display the White Ensign of the Royal Navy and the church itself was a “sea mark” for navigation on the river. This tradition continues today and we saw the White Ensign flying from the church tower.

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The church designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor was better known to the seafaring world than other churches because it was for over a century the first major structure that sailors could see from ships as the came up river to London and it had the highest clock tower of any building in London until the construction of Big Ben, the nickname for the Clock Tower at the Palace of Westminster, that opened in 1859 (renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II). At the time of the construction of Big Ben to the west the church clock tower at St. Anne’s Limehouse had just completed a six year long effort to complete restoration having suffered fire damage in 1850. But by the end of the decade the people of London had two tall clock towers to be seen and heard on the east and west sides of the city. It is still the highest church clock tower in London. However, the development of many tall buildings in the area in recent years prevents a clear view of it from the river and across the river from Rotherhithe as once it must have stood out above all. http://stanneslimehouse.org/history.html

Joseph Mockford marraige Mary Anne MussardJoseph and Mary Anne’s marriage is recorded in the parish record of St. Anne’s Limehouse but they returned across the river to live their lives in Rotherhithe where we walked in the footsteps of family a week earlier. https://mockford.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/st-marys-rotherhithe-300th-anniversary/

I did not have a chance to go inside the church as we arrived on our walk late in the day. Another visit will be required to see the church and hear the famous organ and a performance of the Docklands Sinfonia that now calls the church their home http://www.docklandssinfonia.co.uk/home

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Charles Dickens Museum and Dickens After Dark presentation of The Mystery of Edwin Drood 10 July 2015

On our return to London from Canterbury and other towns in Ken we checked into the Grange Lancaster Hotel, one of the boutique Grange hotels located in a traditional Georgian townhouse on Bedford Street in Bloomsbury, near the University of London Senate House where I was scheduled to attend a reception the evening of 7 July 2015. After the reception we had dinner at a nice Indian Restaurant Hason Raja and then we walked the streets of Bloomsbury to find the Charles Dickens Museum located in a Georgian Townhouse at 48 Doughty Street. We arrived after hours but soon found out that a rare “Dickens After Dark” event was to held on Friday 10 July. Cheryl managed to get tickets while I was at the history conference and we returned Friday to see a “World Premiere of the Mystery of Edwin Drood” (son Charley Dickens rare manuscript) performed by five theatrically talented Dickens scholars and presented in vignettes in each room of the Dickens House. See http://www.dickensmuseum.com/events/dickens-after-dark-the-summer-addition/

Dr. Tony Williams, Dr. Peter Orford, Dr. Claire Wood, Ed Haslam, and Karen Martin,

Dr. Tony Williams, Dr. Peter Orford, Dr. Claire Wood, Ed Haslam, and Karen Martin,

Dickens lived 48 Doughty Street from 1837 until 1839 and wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby during this time. It wasn’t the first time that we had set foot into Dicken’s history during our trip having spent a day at Broadstairs, Kent on Sunday meeting cousins at the Royal Albion Hotel and walked up the path to the “Bleak House” overlooking Viking Bay. A few days later we also walked by the John Harvard Library in Southwark that was once the location for the Marshalsea Prison where Dicken’s father had been imprisoned for debt and nearby St. George the Martyr Church also known as Little Dorrit’s Church because of the story set there by Dickens in his novel Little Dorrit. At the end of his career Dickens was working on The Mystery of Edwin Drood but died before it was finished. His son Charley Dickens completed a manuscript but it was never produced into a play nor publicly read until this Dickens After Dark performance that coincided with the exhibition A Dickens Whodunit: Solving the Mystery of Edwin Drood curated by Dr. Peter Orford of the University of Buckingham. http://www.dickensmuseum.com/exhibitions/temporary-exhibition/

We really enjoyed this Dickens after Dark event and visiting with the actors in between sets to learn more about how each of them has a personal and deep interest in Dickens and special expertise to share with others. Cheryl received a hands-on lesson in book-binding after the performance and we both enjoyed the music in the summer garden by Facio (and Pulpo on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwCA0h9u890 ) and Jean Caprice on accordion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNGGuKbpN18 ) We thank Shannon Hermes Museum Manager and all the museum staff for working on the many activities that made our visit to the Charles Dickens Museum so enjoyable.

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Faversham Nautical Festival 2015

A beautiful day was 5 July when I visited the Faversham Nautical Festival with my cousin Sarah who lives in the old town of Faversham, Kent. Cheryl and I arrived in England a few days earlier and we stayed in Canterbury for four days before returning to London so it was just a short train ride of about 10 miles from Canterbury to visit Faversham for the first time and see this lovely town and colorful waterfront with sailboats moored at the Town Quay. The festival brought out boats from all around and bands playing while crowds walked across the bridge and along both sides of Faversham Creek to view the festive scene.

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I had a look inside the TS Hazard, a building built in 1475 as a town warehouse and used to supply the ship that Faversham sent to fight the Spanish Armada and now bears the name of that ship. Today the building is the home of the TS Hazard Faversham Sea Cadets. The town is known for its beer from Shepherd Neame Brewery founded in 1698 http://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/ that I enjoyed with view of Faversham Creek from the Albion Taverna Pub https://www.facebook.com/albiontaverna?fref=ts . The FAVERSHAM CREEK TRUST provides a great web site with photos of the festival and information about Thames Sailing Barges, dingy races, and heritage preservation efforts. See the Swing The Bridge Fund and other projects at http://favershamcreektrust.com/

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A Walk in Rotherhithe and St. Mary’s 300th Anniversary

In July 2015 Cheryl and I visited England for two weeks on holiday from the USA and we explored places where my ancestors once lived such as Rotherhithe, London and Canterbury. We also visited cousins currently living in Broadstairs, Faversham, and Sittingbourne. I had visited London in the past but I had never been to Rotherhithe so we set out on the Thames Path on Thursday 2nd July to see first hand some places that I had scouted online via web sites such as www.stmaryrotherhithe.org

We stopped by St. Mary’s Rotherhithe and were just in time for the Thursday 6pm Eucharist after which we fortunate to meet Rector Mark Nicholls who introduced us to the history of the church and he invited us to return the following day to attend the special service and reception to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of St. Mary’s.  Outside we viewed the ‘Blue Plaque’ on St. Mary’s church tower that marks the historical connection the ship Mayflower and its Captain Christopher Jones a parishioner here and who died in 1622 and was buried in the church yard just two years after delivering the Pilgrims to America. The exact location of Jones’ grave is no longer known in the passage of almost 400 years. But a fine sculpture by Jamie Sargeant was made in 1995 and placed in the yard that imagines Christopher Jones looking back to the Old World while the forward looking child in his arms looks to a future in the New World.

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The neighborhood around the church included the Mayflower Pub with view of The Thames from a deck overlooking the river (good fish and chips and Scurvy Beer), The Sands Films Studio (with Rotherhithe Picture Library) and the St Mary Rotherhithe Free School (founded by Peter Hill and Robert Bell Esqrs. 1613 and instituted as a Charity School in 1742, removed here 1797) just across the street from the church. We continued our Rotherhithe neighborhood walk to corner of Neptune Street and Albion Street where the now closed The Albion Pub is located. It was a destination in my search for the places where my Mockford ancestors once lived because of an old letter that Joseph Mockford wrote while aboard a ship at Portsmouth in 1835 that was sent to his wife Mary Ann and was addressed on the envelope for the postmaster as “No.4 Albion Street, near The Albion.”

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The location of The Albion Pub was a known point for over 180 years although the current building was reconstructed in the last century. The sign Courage on the building is a familiar name in local history that began in 1787 when John Courage started brewing beer as Courage & Co. Ltd at the Anchor Brewhouse in neighboring Bermondsey. Having found The Albion Pub closed and facing potential redevelopment I was happy just to take a few photographs and make my way back to The Ship Pub on St. Marychurch Street and Elephant Lane where we enjoyed a sampler plate snack and a pint on the patio while we sat next to a dozen women from a knitting club that managed to knit while drinking beer and wine and having a lively and creative time.

To begin a story of the Mockford family connection to the neighborhood I will start with Joseph Mockford who was born in 1800 and lived a life in Rotherhithe as a ship builder and ships carpenter. He married in 1824 across the River Thames at St. Anne Limehouse and returned to Rotherhithe with his new wife to have two children John Benjamin “Jack” (born 1826) and Ann Elizabeth (born 1829). The Mockfords witnessed the building of a new London Bridge as they raised their small children and then crossed it after it opened in 1831 (this bridge was disassembled in 1967 and moved to reopen in 1971 at Lake Havasu City, Arizona). The Mockford children grew up in Rotherhithe while the construction of Brunel’s Thames Tunnel was underway for years and finally completed in 1843 and they saw advancements in industry and steam engine shipbuilding that became John Benjamin’s profession as Rotherhithe became a place for shipbreaking at the end of the age of sail and ship fitting at the beginning of the steamship era. The Mockfords gathered at St. Mary’s Church for the burial of Joseph’s sister Elizabeth in 1829 and grandfather Samuel Mockford’s burial in 1845.  Samuel Mockford (b. 1766 Southwark) also lived with the family in Rotherhithe at the time of the 1841 census when the Mockfords lived at Coburg Street. Samuel’s residence at the time of his death in 1845 was Elephant Lane as indicated in the entry in the parish record of St. Mary’s Rotherhithe.
20150710_135951-1 I visited the John Harvard Public Library and Southwark Local History Library and I am grateful to Lisa for helping me look through old maps to find the location of Number 4 Albion Street and the online access to Parish Records. John Benjamin Mockford married Lucy Ann Clayson at St. Mary’s Church in 1851. Ann Elizabeth Mockford married Ebenezer Bradshaw at St. Mary’s Church  in 1853. Eb Bradshaw served as Parish Clerk at St. Mary’s in the 1860s and resident at Eden-terrace, Paradise-row, and Princes Street. He was well known as a mast maker and block maker at Rotherhithe. (See Memorials to Serve for a History of the Parish of St. Mary Rotherhithe by E.J. Beck, 1907) Bradshaw weddingThe Bradshaw’s daughter Alice married James Jones, a Welshman living in London and their son David Jones became known as an artist and one of the Great War Poets for his publication of In Parenthesis (1937) and other works . The Mockfords, Bradshaws, and Jones families were a close extended family that often got together after church  in the late 19th century and early 20th century before John Benjamin Mockford I died in 1914 at the start of difficult years of The Great War followed by the heartbreaking news to my great grandfather John Benjamin II and his wife Elizabeth Agnes Cram of the loss of their son Herbert Mockford of the Middlesex Regiment in the advance on the Somme near Leuze Woods in September 1916. http://www.inmemories.com/Cemeteries/comblescomext.htm

My great grandfather John Benjamin Mockford II was born in 1860 in Rotherhithe as perhaps the last of our line of Mockfords to live here and the fourth generation of Mockfords to reside in Rotherhithe in the 19th century (Samuel 1766-1845, Joseph 1800-1875, John Benjamin “Jack” 1824-1914, and John Benjamin Mockford II 1860-1945).

On 3 July 2015 Cheryl and I returned at 7 pm to The Parish Church of St. Mary The Virgin Rotherhithe for the 300th Anniversary of the Reconstruction and Consecration of the Church. The church service was a Solemn Pontifical Mass with Principal Celebrant The Rt. Reverend Jonathan Baker, Bishop of Fulham, and Preacher Bishop Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury 2002-2012) who gave an insightful Homily. The organist Sam Draper played on the church organ built in 1764 by John Byfield and the Choir sang the Introit Cantate Domino by Claudio Monteverdi and Mass for Four Voices and Anthem Laudibus in sanctis by William Byrd.

St Mary's 300th Anniversary Program

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Following the service we enjoyed the reception in the church yard and met other visitors, parishioners and clergy. We were grateful to be able to be present for this significant moment of history that further deepened my understanding of the cultural heritage of my ancestors and the world they lived in this place called Rotherhithe.

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