Quite an astonishing letter, it’s hard to imagine what it must have been like for gran, heading out 3rd class to America in 1930, extremely sick and on her own on the ship with a three year old to look after. What’s also very interesting is that she’s sent the card to Reigate for forwarding on. This makes Mr. Moss at Chilterns seem even more like a family friend than merely an employer.Unfortuntely I don’t have the original of this card to hand to see what the exact address in Reigate on the reverse was.

So what’s going on here? Jim and Kate get married and have Eileen, then Jim seems to head off first to Donegal to manage a hotel, then off on his own to America, and Kate and Eileen end up in Reigate, before going to join him. I know that gran (Kate) didn’t like it in America, and when she discovered she was pregnant with my mum (Catherine), she didn’t want her to be born in America.

Incredibly gran returned to London pregnant and with 9 year old Eileen in tow, whilst Jim stayed in New York. His reference from the Hays Building shows that he was employed there until 10th April 1935, and my mum was born in London on 22 January 1935.

Of course it’s just possible that grandad was on some kind of apprenticeship that meant he had to stay. His passport shows that his five year work visa had expired and he attended the British consulate in New York on 16 Jan 1935 (just a week before his daughter - my mum -  was born in London!) to get a six months extension to his visa:
passport renew.jpg
The thought that Jim stayed in America to complete his qualifications might just be confirmed by this item, a ceertificate from the Murray Hill Evening Trade School in New York, dated April 1935, immediately after which he left the Hays Building to head home to London:
JIM_MURRAY_HILL_CERT_small.jpg
backbut.gif
indexbut.gif
forwardbut.gif