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  1. #31


    Not sure if anybody has spotted it but adoption became legal 12 years (an act in 1927 legalised adoption) after he was born, although you state he was adopted at 6 months old. Either they had some money to spare (doubt it but it's speculation) or there's been some fibbing. Tell the person you seek aid for that she needs to ask family members what they know - sometimes someone knows something others don't.
    Adopted into a family would be a loose term, if a family took responsibilities for a child who was not their natural child the term adoption would perhaps have been used as opposed to 'today's fostered' these arrangements were informal. Formal adoption of course didn't exist in 1899, but thank goodness for some children there were folks willing to care for orphans or neglected children.

    Unfortunately there won't be any adoption records.

  2. #32


    Back then to become a teacher you could have two or twelve qualifications and still be able to teach in a university (obviously not in Oxbridge). Course now it is a lot more difficult, though I did a PGCE and degree. A lot of dumb people ended up in the teaching profession.....oh woe betide the Victorians
    Is this above quote significant or helpful to the query?

    Leonard's parents were teachers, how are we to know whether they were informed, educated and good teachers, or not. Some teacher's today are teachers' because they can apply themselves to study and thereby gain a PGCE diploma, it doesn't make them good teachers, yes, it gives them the paper qualification but that is all it gives.

  3. #33
    Knowledgeable and helpful
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    I am curious about how Len came to know this information about himself; his parents' circumstances when he was born, and that his mother's maiden name wasn't HAWKES. It seems unlikely that his mother would have divulged the information to him at such a young age and if the adoptive parents were not friends or relations, would she have told them the full story either? Would the Church have told them?

  4. #34
    Newcomer to Brit-Gen
    Join Date
    Oct 2015


    He gleaned all this information from his adoptive Mum over the years. Remember his real mother came to visit him for 14 years and during this time Mum 1 and Mum 2 talked and facts were divulged. Some he knew of at the time and some a few years later when he was deemed old enough. He was always told (and indeed had the feeling) that he was very much loved & wanted by his birth mother. It was just the circumstances and the risk of scandal in those days if the news got out meant everything was kept hush hush and it was impossible to keep him.

    He loved his life growing up in the countryside though and very much loved his adoptive parents & they doted on him. In fact he loved life in general and was quite a character & very wise

    He would have been 100 this year...I still miss him

  5. #35
    Starting to feel at home
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by UKSKP09 View Post
    I am Len’s grandson & knew him all my life and we talked quite a bit about him growing up in Cherington so I can offer some further info.

    When he was adopted he was known around Cherington as Sonny Harris as a child. He reverted to his birth name of Leonard (Len) Hawkes in adulthood.

    His parents were indeed BOTH school teachers at the same school and were married...just NOT to each other hence the big scandal if anyone were to find out.

    It was only his mother that came to visit him...never his father. She used to come on a pony & trap once a year and then when he was 14 on her last visit she said “I will not be coming again” and he never saw her again after that.

    His father’s name was Hawkes....his mother Beatrice was not a Hawkes

    His parents were NOT related and the family that adopted him were not friends of theirs. I think the adoption was arranged through the Church and his birth parents wanted him some distance out of the area to keep their secret, hence a family was found in Warwickshire

    I remember lots of conversations over the years about his life so let me know if you have any further questions

    He was a lovely man by the way and very intelligent....he always said with a hint of pride and a touch of sadness that it was because his real parents were school teachers!
    Hi I am sorry I cannot even remember who I was doing this for and can't find any information to remind me. I think I put this on when I first started helping run a Family History Group which has recently closed. Most of the people who were in the group then left a long time ago.

    I will have to go through message boards and take posts like this off so that I do not disappoint people who see them.

    Thank you for putting the message on and sorry I cannot help


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