The story of a community
John Hughes – always called “Jack” – was born in Kidderminster in 1885. His father, a carpet weaver and dyer, moved the family north to Sowerby Bridge, in Yorkshire, to work in the carpet trade, and where Jack subsequently qualified as a chemist and dyer.
He married Frances March in 1914, and after an investigatory trip by Jack with his brother Will, in 1920 the couple moved to Smyrna, where Jack had obtained a job as a dyer in the Oriental Carpet Manufacturers Company. By 1921 they had two children. The youngest, my mother Winifred, was born on New Year’s Day 1921, following the exuberant New Year’s Eve party so well described by Giles Milton.
The wife of John Hughes, Frances Elizabeth Hughes (grandmother of Frances Clegg) Pasaporta (Smyrna dockside) 1920, Bornova 1922
In 1922, when it seemed unsafe to remain in Bournabat, Frances and her two children left Smyrna on a cargo ship carrying coal. Jack and his brother Will (who had been staying with them) remained until September 14th, the day after Smyrna was set on fire. With the help of a Turk, Haida, they managed to get aboard a ship carrying refugees. Jack and Will made themselves useful on board by assisting with caring for these desperate survivors.
Caption: Record from your hearty and devoted Haidar - (later pencil annotation: Friend who helped the Hughes family leave Smyrna when the Turks arrived 1922).
Caption: Mrs Dr Sadik - (currently unknown person).
Caption: Mrs Refik, Izmir - (currently unknown person).
Once back in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Jack resumed work in the carpet manufacturing business, but then in 1924 he was invited by James Baker (on behalf of Mr De Portu) to rejoin the OCM in Smyrna. Jack and Frances were thrilled to return, as they had loved the life out there. And so they remained in Bournabat until 1934, when they reluctantly decided that they had better return to sort out their son Charles’s educational/career needs. Jack went on to found his own carpet company in West Vale, Yorkshire, which in 1947 he relocated to Workington in Cumberland (The Vale Carpet Company).
Jack, Frances and the children went back and forth between Smyrna (Izmir) and England many times, for holidays and in order to visit relatives. Jack and Frances returned to Izmir for the final time in 1950, when they were warmly welcomed back by former colleagues and friends. Despite having been advised to fly, they followed their usual train and sea route via Marseilles, Italy, Greece, etc., and stayed for three weeks at Edmund Giraud’s house at Bournabat.
No caption: Extreme left: George Bradbury (deduced from another captioned photographed), Centre-back, my grandfather John Hughes and grandmother on the extreme right.
Caption: The Sykes family and friends at the Varipati House, Bornova, March 5th 1922. - John Hughes: centre back, Frances Hughes: 3rd lady from the right.
Caption: 3rd house, Freda La Fontaine, Mr Sykes, Frances Hughes.
Caption: Outside the Fred Whittall House, Mr Fred Whittall (left), Mr Butler (Mayor of Scarboro), Madame Hüs, Madame Massey (a visitor from Derby), Madame Fred Whittall (with white collar & cuffs).
Jack had taken up the hobby of photography, and my mother could remember tilting trays of developing solution in his dark room in Bournabat. He had several photographs enlarged and framed, which he gave to me in the 1970s. I had always known about one large photograph album which my mother had, and would show to my sister and me when we were young. However, it is only since the death of my mother and father (in 2012 and 2013 respectively) that I have had the chance to discover the complete collection of albums and photographs which had been stored in suitcases under a bed for sixty years! These photos, together with stored items of correspondence, itineraries, passports etc., have enabled me to start to put together a more coherent picture of my grandparents’ life in Izmir.
Caption: John and Frances Hughes on left, Mr & Mrs Pickering.
John and Frances Hughes with their daughter Winifred, around 1924-25 in their garden in Bornova after their return in 1924.
I can’t say how indebted I am to Giles Milton, as his wonderful book Paradise Lost enabled me to put more pieces into the jigsaw puzzle. Furthermore, he has been extremely helpful in putting me in touch with many members of the Levantine families – several are very well known to me by surname – and so starting off a new trail of discovery and documentation. Thanks to Craig Encer’s suggestion, I am now reading Antony Wynn’s Three Camels to Smyrna, and feel yet again that more of the jigsaw is beginning to fall into place. And what’s more, I have some mementos of the OCM – a copy of a letter written to my grandfather on the ornately headed notepaper – and also a rather large Turkish carpet with my mother’s initials woven into it!
Written by Frances Clegg (aged 67), granddaughter of John Hughes, November 9th 2014, daughter of Winifred Haigh (nee Hughes).
No caption - probably the backstreets of old Bornova.
No caption - earthquake damage to the chimney of the dying factory (?) in Smyrna
Caption: ‘Picnic above Bournabat. Winifred as pannier passanger, 1921.’
Caption: ‘a Turk, Father (Jack Hughes), Boy de Cramer Feb 1922.’
Caption: ‘Mustapha, Blackburn, Christian.’
Letter from James Baker, one of the partners in the Oriental Carpet Manufacturers Company to John Hughes offering a year contract to work for them in Smyrna, November 1924, as the city and the company slowly recovered from the war and accompanying fire that destroyed the stock and the building of the firm on the water-front.
Caption: ‘Spring 1926, John Hughes, right back row; Don Allen, left back; George Bradbury, seated front; middle row: Will, Boy & Arthur’
Caption: ‘Mademoiselle Zipsy and her chrsanthenums, Dec 1927 + Frances E. Hughes’
Caption: ‘Mrs Pengelly’ [Pengelley]
Caption: ‘Winifred convalescent. Dec 1927.’
Caption: ‘2nd house’.
Caption: ‘2nd house to the right, near child, Bornova’.
No caption, looks like a group trip for one of the organised picnics.
No caption, Bornova street.
Caption: ‘3rd house, prev nursing home, l. dining room - kitchen, iron gates at front, back guest room (?)’.
Caption: ‘3rd house’.
One of a series of annual rent contracts (600 turkish liras per year) of the house lived in by the Hughes family, this one from 1931. The owners of the property are shown as Miss Kathleen Murphy representing James Belhomme and Mr J Hughes is shown as the manager of the Şark (Turkish translation of Oriental) Carpet Factory.
John Hughes and for his wife police-pass for car travel to the nearby city of Manisa from Bornova issued on 5-9-1929 for a month (the same document on the reverse shows use of it again with new permission again later that year and twice in 1930) showing foreigners required official authorisation before inter-city travel was possible during this period. The document also notes his valid residency number.
Caption: last picnic with the Girauds, 1933.
Caption: ‘Denise Baladour [Baladur] and self sailing home’.
1933 address list (done for Winifred?) when the Hughes family left Bornova.
1939 letter from Sheila Whittall to Winifred Hughes. [Sheila Whittall was the 11th child of Frederick Edwin Whittall & Adelaide Helen La Fontaine. She married Patrick Graeme Tweedie CBE. She was born in 1904 and died in 1992.]
Selection of photos from John and Frances Hughes visit to Izmir, 1950.
During their return as visitors April 1950: Ruth Giraud and Frances.
Caption: Mother, Eddie, Thelma (Mr and Mrs Wilkinson - 1950).
Caption: Mr Giraud [Edmund] and the Padre [Rev Bird] taking coffee with the Turks.
submission date 2015