Too Many Cooks

On the 22nd October 1915, the Scarborough Mercury reported that Percy COOK, confectioner of West Avenue, Filey,  had been fined 10 shillings at the Police Court for “not having had lights properly shaded”. (I guess the authorities were afraid of Zeppelin raids and needed to set an example.)

Life was sweets for Percy and his occupation should have earned him the respect of the town’s children. It seems to have done the opposite. A few years ago Martin Douglas told me of a nasty rhyme that urchins would hurl at Percy. (Martin heard it from his mother.) They would enter his shop, chant the verse and make a quick exit, pursued by Percy.

Percy Cook said come and have a look

At my old chocolate shop,

The scales are rusty,

The chocolates are fusty,

And you’ve gone off yer nut.

(Not the best advertisement for British education if the last line referred to Percy’s mental state.)

Percy died in 1944, almost twenty years after his wife Mary Jane née MOODY. The couple married late, aged 33 and 40 respectively, and did not have little angels of their own.

G481_COOKmary_20170928_fst

In loving memory of MARY, beloved wife of PERCY COOK, entered into rest Sep. 27th 1925, aged 57.

Go thou improve the present hour,

Be thankful for the past,

And let thy future movement tend

To calm and soothe the last.

Also of the above PERCY COOK, died June 10th 1944, aged 71.

On Filey Genealogy & Connections Percy stands alone. He was one of at least eight children born to John Frederick Cook, a cashier and bookkeeper, and Catherine JOHNSON. At the 1911 Census, remarkably, six of the siblings were living together at 1 St Paul’s Road in Bradford. All were unmarried. Ten years earlier, widowed Catherine ruled a roost of seven children, one of them Percy, at Cliff Bridge Place, Scarborough. He was the only one to fly the nest during the next decade.

So, why too many Cooks, given this generation’s unwillingness to submit to the genetic imperative? Well, an hour or two of sleuthing, brings in 15 MOODYs, who connect with several Filey fishing families (BAYES, COWLING, SCALES). FG &C has these folk but to check them all out on FamilySearch Tree and add the West Riding COOKs is a daunting task.

I noticed in passing one source that elaborated on the Bradford address, labeling it “Manningham Hall”. This seemed rather grand and I wondered if our humble confectioner had been something of a black sheep. In 1901 his sister Evelin (various spellings) was pursuing the same trade but ten years later told the census enumerator that she was a lodging house keeper.  A younger brother headed the St Paul’s household in 1911 and the Find My Past transcription gives his occupation as a “Trains Merchant”. Inspection of the page image reveals he dealt in pianos, as did brother Vernon William Alexander. A noble occupation, romantic even, but the world was changing and in 1939 Sydney had to file for bankruptcy.

1939_COOKsydherb_NEWS

I looked again for a foothold on FamilySearch Tree and found Mary Jane MOODY Cook’s mother, Ann KNAGGS. Someone to build on…another day, perhaps.

A few words about Today’s Image. The concrete jumble below Flat Cliffs/Primrose Valley Holiday Park is the remains of a short promenade that was, I think, still functional in the 1950s. I have seen an old postcard showing an ice cream van parked on it. I haven’t discovered the purpose of the concrete “rings” yet. Someone must know.

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