Off to New York
In August 1929 My grandfather Jim Walsh left his wife Kate and daughter Eileen in London and sailed to America on a five year work visa hoping to build a new life for his family in the States. Twelve months later he called them over to join him.
As can be seen from the above manifest Kate (37) and Eileen (3) sailed from Southampton to New York on board the Cunard liner Aquitania on 30th August 1930, travelling third class, or steerage as it was known.

(Right) Aquitania entering New York harbour from Southampton during the late 1930s.
The manifest reveals their home address at the time to have been: Chilterns, Blackborough Road, Reigate, thus confirming the family story that gran was at one time working in a large house in Reigate. Family recollection has it that gran always said her employer was “an extremely nice and generous man, and she was very lucky to be working for him.”

Jim and Kate were married in London on 17 Nov 1926, and their daughter Eileen’s birth was registered in West Ham in the last quarter of the following year, 1927, so the family were still living in London until early 1928. Curiously Jim Walsh is shown as working as a licensed hotel manager in Donegal (yep!) on his passenger manifest to New York in August 1929, which seems confirmed by the fact that he sailed to New York from Liverpool (the nearest major transatlantic port to Donegal) rather than from Southampton, which would have been more usual if he’d been living in London. That said, his passport and visa were issued in London.

What I don’t know at this stage is how his wife and daughter came to be living in Reigate the following year.

Given that daughter Eileen was three years old at the time of sailing, and that the manifest lists Kate’s occupation as “H’wife” rather than cook, servant etc, it does suggest a considerable degree of generosity on the part of the owner of Chilterns, or possibly that it was a family contact of some sort.  

On the subject of Chilterns itself, I made contact with the Reigate Local History Society, who came up with the following response:
Dear Mr Kelly   I am the team member responsible for local and
I’ve been unable to visit Blackborough Road, Reigate, but I’ve Google Earthed it. Unfortunately you can’t tell the exact dates of the houses from the satellite picture. It’s possible they are post 1930, in which case Mrs Wilton may be right that the art college is the site of Chilterns, but I doubt this as Chilterns was only the second house after the junction with Ringley Park Road, and the art college seems too far along to me. Of course if the present houses are earlier than 1930 then we have Chilterns, the house where gran and Eileen were living at the time of their departure to New York. However, if you look at the 1895 map (inset) you’ll see  Ringley Mead, then Ivy Bank. The local directory gave Chilterns as the property after Ringley Mead, hence Mrs Wilton’s view that Ive Bank was renamed Chilterns. If so then it may be the art college is now where Chilterns was:
Ringley Park Road
2nd house after junction -
could this be Chilterns?
History group’s opinion on location of Chilterns, now the College of Art
Blackborough Road
An amazing discovery - whilst looking out Jim Walsh’s manifest I came across this item, a rough photocopy of a postcard that I must have filed away somewhere. I’ve had this for years but have only just spotted its significance. It’s a note sent by my gran Kathleen Walsh to “Dearest Ethel” - possibly Ethel Hanson, a close family friend. The text reads:
115 - 17 East 96 Street, New York City. Sunday  Dearest Ethel,
reigate_SE1895 copy.jpg
Letter from New York