Chapter 1: Early Childhood
& Schooldays (1892-1912)
Charles Leslie Lionel PAYNE was born on 9th
April 1892 at 10810 Curtis Ave, Roseland, Chicago, Illinois, USA, while
his father Charles Vincent PAYNE (1868-1941) and uncle Charles Hallam PAYNE
(1870-1960) were employed on the construction of the Chicago World Fair.
This is a history of Leslie rather than the family, and a description of
the movements and activities of his parents Charles Vincent and Amy, and
those of his uncle Charles Hallam Payne, will be given elsewhere.
However, it should be noted that Leslie's parents had travelled with Charles
Vincent's younger brother Frank to Chicago the previous summer, between
May and August 1891. A photo of Leslie (at left), aged ±1
year, warmly dressed and sitting in a perambulator, was probably taken
in the winter of 1892/93, while they were still in Chicago.
They returned from the United States to Derby
before July 1894 and went to live at 83 St James’ Road, where Charles Vincent
did the joinery on some the houses that his father Henry was building in
nearby Crewe Street; they also briefly ran the family grocery shop.
Leslie’s grandparents had by this time moved to the big house at the western
end of the road (number 139), which they named “The Hollies”, while Uncle
Hallam had been living across the road at 17 Hastings Street.
It was probably in about 1896 that the next
surviving photographs were taken (at left & right). Leslie is
seated on a wicker chair between his parents, all three perched rather
precariously on some kind of rockery. They are certainly outside,
as there is a small tree behind and slightly to the right of Charles Vincent,
who appears to be sitting on a newspaper, probably to protect his trousers.
The state of the garden may also be the reason that the bottom of his trouser
legs are turned up.
Charles Vincent and Amy are dressed in their
Sunday finest, the former complete with collar, bow-tie, top hat, handkerchief
in breast pocket, carnation in button-hole and pipe (a meerschaum, perhaps?)
in hand. Amy is wearing what appears to be appears to be a small
corsage in her boddice, and her hat is decorated with what could be a medium-sized
bird. Leslie has on a sailor’s outfit, with the name H.M.S. Daring
on his hat. The name of the studio on the card mounting of the photograph
is A. & G. Taylor, Queen Anne Buildings, New Briggate, Leeds.
This was a firm that had been founded in London in the 1860s, and by 1888
had branches in many of the major towns in England. Indeed, Kelly's
1895 Trade Directory of Derbyshire shows that they had a studio at 63 London
Road, Derby, and it seems very likely that the photo was taken in Derby
rather than Leeds. It was one of three studios situated a mile or
so north of St James' Road, and it's possible that A. & G. Taylor were
able to make a visit to number 83 or "The Hollies" and take the pictures
there. The building in the background looks more like some kind of
greenhouse, complete with plants (perhaps tomatoes, amongst others) in
pots, than a studio. There are at least two versions of this picture,
with slightly different poses; the "first" (left) looking slightly more
stiff and formal, and the "second" (right) more relaxed, with Charles Vincent
more slumped, and Amy having crossed her legs.
In 1897, perhaps with the news that Amy was
expecting another child, Uncle Hallam took over the off-licence, while
Les moved with his parents across to 17 Hastings Street. They continued
to live at this address after a brother Harold Victor was born on 4th January
1898, and while their father Charles Vincent worked as an estate agent,
until about 1900. It seems likely that Leslie would have attended
St James' Road School.
At this point, Leslie’s grandparents Henry
and Henrietta appear to have retired from an active participation in the
shop, and moved to Sunny Hill. Leslie and his family moved into the
Hollies at number 139 shortly thereafter. Leslie noted in his Service
Records a decade and a half later that he had been vaccinated in 1900;
presumably this was done by his grandfather, who was Vaccination Officer
for Derby Borough from c. 1885 until he retired in 1905. Henry Payne
died at Sunny Hill on 1st April 1907. A photo of Leslie wearing an
overcoat and conical hat, standing outside in the snow (right), appears
to have been taken when he was in his mid-teens, and therefore probably
dates from around this period.
They continued to live at “The Hollies” until
about 1910, although Henrietta Christina possibly went to live with them,
since the house at Sunny Hill had been left in 1907 to Charles Vincent's
sister Lucy Mary (Mag) Chadwick. By October 1911, when Uncle Bob
Chadwick sent Amy a postcard photo of a boy, presumably Harold Victor,
holding a bicycle in a walled garden (above left), they had moved to 154
Almond Street. There is a second photograph of the same boy, in similar
clothes, and taken at around the same time, but at a different location,
and without the bicycle (above centre). The photograph of Leslie
seated on a frilly cushion in a wicker chair (above right) must also have
been taken at around this time, when he was in his late teens.
Leslie worked for his Uncle Hallam at the
off-licence at around this time as a 'delivery boy'. In later years
he talked about being able to carry four quart beer bottles at a time in
each hand, to which he attributed his large hands. A photograph taken
1910 shows Leslie standing outside the off-licence premises at 83 St. James'
Road, with his Aunt Sarah and Uncle Hallam standing in the doorway of the
shop (at left). Another lady, with a similar white apron to that
being worn by Sarah, stands to the left, and a fifth person, a young man,
is driving a wagon in the street. Leslie has his right hand on what
looks like a predecessor of the modern shopping trolley.