Last year, a man and his lad came to lay fresh fluffy insulation in my loft. When they came back down, they brought treasure with them: three ancient hickory-shafted (and very warped) golf clubs, and two books. One is a random and disintegrating volume of an encyclopaedia; the other is the classic family bible, vast and portentous. They are both exceedingly dirty, so mostly they've been sitting around untouched. But I moved them, I set them on a new shelf, I thought "must run the vacuum over those sometime" - and then I realised there was something in the bible.
Three somethings, to be exact. Two images, of which more later, and a small envelope on which is written - in pencil, in proud copperplate - "School Referance" [sic]. Inside is a little fabric tag with an ancient safety-pin, which I suspect of being Boys' Brigade or similar; it shows two flags beneath a crown, and they're identified as 'Tyneside Scottish' and 'Tyneside Irish'. The tag is folded into a sheet of paper, a letter, with the printed headers 'Newcastle-upon-Tyne Education Committee' and 'Westgate Hill Council School (Senior Department)'. [I should point out that I live on Westgate Hill, and the school is a hundred yards from my house.)
The letter reads:
"Harry Hoad has recently left the above school. He is a capable and intelligent lad and occupied a high position in the Seventh Standard. He has ability more than the average in sketching and geometrical drawing. His conduct was always excellent and I can most heartily recommend him for employment.
"A R Shaw, Head Master."
It's dated 09/02/11.
Googling Harry Hoad turns up people of that name in Kent and Sussex and Australia, but not in the north-east. Nevertheless, I hope he had a long and happy life, and I hope this letter helped.