Baby David, found on shop step

THE adoption of a child today goes ahead only after rigorous checks and many complicated formalities.

David Kindred

THE adoption of a child today goes ahead only after rigorous checks and many complicated formalities. I have often heard stories, even into the 1960s, where children would be taken in by another branch of the family, often quite remote, or even family friends. I know of a boy who was taken into a family in a village on the edge of Ipswich where the only documentation connected with the adoption was a letter from the village policeman!

I featured a photograph from the 1950s of a popular grocer's shop on The Mount, Ipswich. The photograph was sent to me by Pat Mahoney, of Pinecroft Road, Ipswich, whose grandfather was Wilfred Taylor, the grocer. Collett Vallar, of Woodrush Road, Ipswich, has family connections with that shop. Collett explains how a child was adopted by the family in the late Victorian period with little formality.

“My grandfather, David Vallar, was found as a baby on the doorstep of this shop and was taken in by Mr and Mrs Taylor in 1896. My grandfather had a note pinned on him with his name and where he was born, which was Ireland. My grandfather, who was raised by the Taylors, wasn't ever officially adopted by them, though.

“On the 1901 census he is registered as a lodger with them. He used to help out in the shop and also used to deliver the vegetables using the trade bike. To this day mystery still surrounds how it came to be that a small baby in a basket should be abandoned so far from home.

“My grandfather worked in the Taylors' shop up until the outbreak of World War One, when he enlisted. When he returned to Ipswich after the war he bought his own fish shop on The Mount. It was approximately where the police station now stands. From there he then bought his own greengrocers in Queens Way, Ipswich, which he had until 1956, when he died.

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- Were there any casual adoption arrangements in your family? Write with your memories to Dave Kindred, Kindred Spirits, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN

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