Found - A Lost Sole (Part 2)
By Sid Robinson
This article was originally published in the November 1993 edition of Soul Search, the journal of The Sole Society.
If I had delayed writing my earlier Soul Search article, describing my search for confirmation that my grandfather John ROBINSON had begun life as John SOLE, I might have been able to include more evidence. Within a few weeks I had a very pleasant surprise.
I was visited by Arthur Halls of Stotford, Bedfordshire, who is a grandson of Daniel Sole, brother of my Grandad, John Robinson (Sole). Arthur is keenly interested in the Kelshall SOLEs and has first hand knowledge of them, having visited them often. He brought me three photographs.
The first is of Lower Cottage, Kelshall, the family home since the birth of Goodman Sole in 1796. The cottage, which had cost one shilling (5p) per week to rent, remained in the tenancy of the SOLEs until Goodman's great‑granddaughter Dorothy left it in 1962 and moved to Stotfold. Arthur visited Dorothy often and obtained a wealth of family information from her. It is interesting to speculate how many people alive today are descendants of the SOLE families that lived in this humble dwelling. Maybe one day the Sole Society will know the answer and it is nice to think they might all eventually become members!
The second photograph is of Daniel Sole, born 1862, and his family in the cottage garden in 1914. With Daniel is his wife Emily (nee RAYNER), their daughters Lily and Dorothy and sons William and young Arthur (whose outgrown leather breeches had been sent to our house via Aunt Kate because "they may fit young Sid"). This was the first photograph I had seen of any of the SOLEs except Grandad.
That Arthur was able to show me the third photograph came as the greatest surprise.
It was a copy of the same picture of Grandad John Robinson (Sole) and his family, taken in 1891 in London, that accompanied my Soul Search article and which is reproduced in my book, but in much better condition than the one I had. Arthur said the picture had hung on the wall inside Lower Cottage for many years; he had taken it down when Dorothy left the cottage. Arthur also told me that the ROBINSONs were referred to as the London side of the family and he had no recollection of hearing any references to Grandad's change of name.
Because the SOLE family of Kelshall so obviously considered the London ROBINSONs to be part of the family, had maintained contact with them and were happy to display their picture for many years, I feel that my search for confirmation of Grandad's family is now complete.
The lost SOLE has been truly found.
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