Born on June 10th 1947 in Birmingham, England, John William Boonham,
I was playing music at quite an early age. This really started when my
parents aquired my grandmother's piano. Before that, I had wanted to be
a drummer. Both my mom and dad liked to sing and my dad played the
piano a little.
I went to have lessons from a piano teacher who lived near to us in the
village of Shelfield, near Walsall, which was then in Staffordshire.
The parents of one of my aunts kept a public house and every year near
to Christmas, my mom's mom and dad held a party there, so that all the
family could be together. Although I was an only child, I had lots of aunts,
uncles and cousins.
This is probably the earliest picture showing me at about the age
of ten, playing the piano at one of these Christmas Parties and
was taken in the private function room at "The Four Horse Shoes"
public house. This was situated in the Pleck district of Walsall.
At about this time I started attending the local Secondary School
My Music Teacher married my my Woodwork Teacher and became
Mr. Lewis was a fine craftsman and had made many lovely items of
furniture, etc, for their house.
The following picture is one that he took of his woodworking class
I am in the foreground, third from the left, at the bench, using a Tenon
At about this time we had started taking our annual holidays,
staying in caravans at Towyn, Near Rhyl, North Wales, along
with my aunts and uncles and cousins.
I really enjoyed our holidays here. Staying on a caravan site by
the sea was great and there was a very busy railway line right
alongside the camp which made things even better. It meant
that I could also persue my hobby of trainspotting.
The following picture was taken by the camp photographer
and shows me with mom and dad. In the background, aunt
Evelyn and aunt Hilda are just leaving the camp shop.
The picture above is one of my first of the North Wales
Coast Line. It was taken with my first Kodak Camera.
It shows a Hughes Fowler (Crab) 2-6-0 hauling an excursion
train along the Down Slow Line near Towyn, having just left
Most of the trains at that time were steam hauled. In addition
to all the excursion trains going to the resorts along the coast
there were also passenger and freight trains, serving the port
In those days a lot of livestock was shipped from Ireland this
way and transported on by rail.
There will be more pictures in the "Hobbies" pages later on.