I knew that he had been writing down some of his memories of his family, and after his death I tried, discreetly, to find them at my grandparents' house, but it was only after my grandmother, Kathleen Nidd, left the house to go to a rest home in February 2009, and I helped clearing the house out, that I found the piles of writing my Grandad had left.
I want to ensure that even if the originals get lost, misplaced or destroyed, that there is a record of what he wrote, so I will be publishing pieces as I can, on here.
The first one I've got today is a piece Pat wrote on his mother, Mary Nidd.
Mary Nidd born Latto
Daughter of David and Janet
To write anything about mother is such that it must be pretty sketchy because little is known of her early life from babyhood to going to Wellington about 1905.
Her father David Latto arrived in NZ with his parents James and Mary Latto (see genealogical table - family tree - marked 1.) in a ship the SS Sebastapool.
Her mother was Janet Heslop - it is not known to us when or how she arrived in NZ. Possibly she came from Australia about the time of the Lattos.
They were married at Kaiapoi on 16 December 1881.
Janet had three children by David - James born 1883, Jeannie born 1884 and Mary born 23 May 1886.
The children were deserted by their father. Also deserted was a baby Adelaide by Janet, but David was not the father.*
James and Jeannie were looked after by James and Mary Latto being David's parents and also by David's brother George. Jeannie was also looked after by people Northcott who were relations of the Lattos. Have seen a photo of them with Jeannie.
Mary and Adelaide were brought up by foster parents in Ward Street, Addington. Nothing is known of them as little children and up to the time when they went to Wellington. Nothing is known of the school or work. Mother never told us - it is possible she could not remember but could hardly have forgotten, we have never solved this. Mother told me several times that they lived in Ward Street.
Mother and Adelaide went to Wellington about 1905 - they were very close. Why they went to Wellington is not known. Perhaps they knew their mother was in Wellington then.
Adelaide worked in a private hotel where she met a Tom Gill to whom she eventually married. I have heard that mother met Jim Gill, Walter's brother at the same time and that she was engaged to him in Christchurch - but nothing ever came of it.
Mother worked in the Te Aro Hotel in Wellington as a licensed barmaid - they had to be licensed then. William Nidd became the licensee when she was working there and eventually married her. I was born there.
Father came to Christchurch in 1919 and had the Star Hotel in Addington and later the Royal Hotel and Southbridge later.
* There had long been family talk about the youngest child of Janet not being David's daughter. For decades we weren't aware that there was another daughter, younger than Adelaide, who Janet gave birth to in Wellington. This child Constance Amy Latto, was undoubtedly not David's daughter, as by then he was well and truly in Australia by the time of her birth (although Janet did list him as the father on Constance's birth certificate). Based on dates and emails with Megan Prendergast, who is married to Adelaide's great grandson, it is fairly obvious that Adelaide was in fact David's daughter.
Photo of Mary Latto at her sister Adelaide's wedding to Tom Gill in 1910
Mary Nidd's obituary appeared most fully in the Ellesmere Guardian, Volume LIX, Issue 1, 4 January 1938, Page 5: