Monthly Archives: March 2011

Same name, same age but oh, so different lives

Tonight is census night and whoever is in your house tonight should be on your census form.  This decades census asks different questions to those in previous times and is based more on social and cultural subjects.  Some, sorry, many family historians question the use of this census in 100 years time.  Basic information is being left out, for example it is not asking for a middle name, yet this is now we distinguish a John Smith from a John W Smith.  Where were we born, again another question that could distinguish our John Smith from the other.  But who are we to argue ?

Yesterday I was thinking, I do that sometimes, about the 1911 census and wondered if I could find two people with the same name, born in the same year with two totally differing backgrounds and lifestyles.  I chose a family from one of my war memorial transcriptions but could not find the family on the 1911 census – foiled again! So this morning with a new vigour, 2 monitors (making life easier) and using the pc not the laptop I started my quest for these two people.  Who would they be, how old would they be and what would their every day life be like.  My challenge is on and a cuppa is called for.  Cuppa by my side and here we go !

Who are these young men? What name did I decide upon? How old are they? Questions hopefully we will all find the answers too.

The name – John Radcliffe.  The year of birth – 1886 (as per 1911 census).  Place of birth, well this is where the difference really starts.

Firstly, John Douglas Henderson Radcliffe was born in 1886, the summer of 1886 to Alexander Nelson Radcliffe and his wife Isabel Grace nee Henderson, whom he had married in the late spring of 1884 in Kensington.  Alexander was a solicitor and in the 1911 census he was living with his wife, 4 children, 2 visitors (Noel Burn Rosher b1876 Consulting Engineer born in Higham and Percy Otto St Clair Wilbraham Perryman b 1886 , Asst Dist Commt Uganda born Redhill) and 7 servants (incl cook, nurse, kitchen maid and house maid + butler and footman) all residing on the night of the census at 45 Kensington Square – in total 15 people in 20 rooms.

45 Kensington Sqr

Alexander of Bag Park  was born in Paddington in 1856 and died in Widecombe, Devon in March of 1944.  His wife Isabel was born in March of 1861 in Fremantle, Australia.

John Douglas Henderson Radcliffe had been a pupil at Eton College, leaving by 1904 and going on to Balliol, Oxford where he was known for his satirical humour and sense of fairness.  He rowed in the Eight and was Captain of the Boat Club and according to sources was a first rate coach and gave up his spare time to ‘the river’, being devoted to his College – Balliol. In 1911 he was elected was a Fellow of All Souls College and delighted in the traditions and atmosphere.

After Oxford he joined his father as a solicitor but it was politics that was his goal.  In 1913 he married Mary Augusta  Garlinda Bolitho and only too shortly after The Great War broke out.   John joined the KRRC, serving as a Captain. In July of 1915 there was desperate fighting near Hooge.  John  was KIA on 30 July 1915 aged 30 when the enemy over ran the trench held by Capt., Radcliffe and his men. John  is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres.  John had been living with Mary at 20 Craven Street, Charing Cross and he left over £1,500 pounds to her on his death.

So ended John’s life, a life of privilege and opportunities.  A life lived in Eton, Oxford and London.  Would he, had he had the chance, been able to influence the politics post war? Who knows, but one thing is certain, he left a small piece of himself with all whom he met and was certainly fondly remembered and loved.

Now, which John Radcliffe born in the same year, well we find him in Leeds, the son of John William and his wife Mary Ann.  One of 3 surviving children out of 8, John was also born in 1886 and in 1911 living at 36 Wellclose View, Leeds.  John W was a 61 year old Organ Builder born in Bolton and his wife was also 61 and hailed from Leeds. John jnr was aged 25 and a Textile Printers Foreign Correspondent and his sister Lilian aged 31 was a Co-op Stores Cash Clerk – 4 people living in 5 rooms.

30-36 Wellclose View, Leeds. Leodis Archive

The houses around Wellclose View were terraced, more than likely on a hill.  The terrace ends, those facing the next street had bay windows and attics with full  windows making use of the roof space.  The doors were straight onto the cobbled streets  and most of the houses had usable cellars.

Did our 2nd John fight in WW1, I don’t know.  I’ve looked on SWDTGW, Medal Cards, CWGC and Army Pension records and there is not one John Radcliffe that gives a clue to him being our John.  Let’s hope if he did go to foreign shores, he at least came home to his family.

Did John marry ? There is a marriage for  John Radcliffe in Leeds in the June ¼ of 1912, could this be him ? And there are no deaths that stand out any more than others.

I think it goes to show that if you fit into any of the following categories :- The Great, The Good or The Bad you are recorded very well in historical documents.  But, if like John, and his family, you went about your business, sometimes with a little to spare at the end of the week and others the week was longer than the money, records are limited.

If anyone knows of John Radcliffe of Leeds, please let me know I’d like to know what happened to him.

A morning at the Rhubarb Festival – better late than never !

Sorry for the delay this post, but as they say ‘better late than never’.

The small ‘foody’ market was in the centre of Wakefield, just outside the Cathedral and was packed with visitors and most importantly for the sellers, the visitors were carrying lots of bags.  But, not only were there stalls packed with all kinds of gastronomical delights there were cookery demonstrations in a brilliant marquee.  They included rhubarb scones with Dean Rogers of The Devere Oulton Hall, Ashley McCarthy of Ye Old Sun Inn, Heather Copley of Farmer Copley’s, students of Wakefield College and many more.

My first stall at the busy market was Sean Wilson of the Saddleworth Cheese Co.  We had bought Sean’s cheese before from Blacker Hall,  a local farm shop.  My son and daughter visited there one January morning with my daughter boyfriend and two cheeses stood out above the rest,  ‘How’s your father’ and ‘Mouth Almighty’, both cheese names having a link to recent events in our family and if I told you, I think you may be shocked, stunned or just laugh, well, maybe one day I will. But needless to say we laughed and cried over one of the names and came up with some amusing answers to ‘How was your father’?

So Sean’s cheeses were the first of my purchases and yes, again I bought those two particular types.  I was asked if I wanted a sample but said, ‘no thanks, know them well’.

Thanks Sean, ‘How’s your father’ is a winner in this household.

My main aim of the day was now over and I could see what was on offer.  A compulsive purchase, but one that I have not regretted buying was a small book, well, booklet entitled ‘Walks in the Rhubarb Triangle’ by Richard Bell.  Well, I have not been on the walks yet but have certainly made some of the recipes on more than one occasion – I even bought out the local supermarket of Golden Syrup and oats.  I did keep the rhubarb very local though – East Ardsley!  So, the book, it is packed with easy to follow short walks backed up with snippets of history and easy follow maps.  As I said I bought one, then thought better of it and made that 2 – one being for the local family history group.

Oldroyd & Sons had a big stall selling fresh produce including rhubarb goodies including plants for you to grow on in your own gardens.

Two other stall I visited and bought goodies from were Mr Huda’s where I bought a universal curry paste and Raman’s, buying a beetroot relish.  Both stalls had very helpful staff and were only too pleased to speak to their visitors.  The relish, I was told,  goes well with turkey, pepper dusted steak, mashed spuds and venison  – yummy!

Venison sausages were next on the agenda, very rich and very nice, but my apologies to the stall holder – I cooked the sausages, ate them and forgot to make a  note of his stalls name , but do remember where the farm is – sorry but the sausage were beautiful.

My last purchase was 2 pork pies, but not ordinary ‘growlers’ these were pork, mango and rhubarb, well I think they had rhubarb in, but even so, warmed up and served with a hot cup of ‘builders tea’ they went down a real treat.

My last stall was Farmer Copley’s, a farm shop near Pontefract, I didn’t buy anything, I was very good but was given a discount voucher to use when I paid the farm shop a visit – which I did later and may I hasten to add will be doing so again and again even if its just for the frozen croissants and pain au chocolat.

You can see from my purchases I didn’t stop at the cake stalls, as they say ‘why have a dog and bark yourself’ – I bake, so why buy it!  But there were cake stalls providing the visitors with an array of tempting delights.  I also noticed a couple of stalls selling rape seed oil and one stall full of blue and white Polish pottery.

So, where can you find out about these stalls and what else they sell and do ?

Sean Wilson’s Saddleworth Cheese Co., and his wonderfully named cheeses

Walks in the Rhubarb Triangle and other publications by Richard Bell

Round Green Farm for venison sausages and much more

Raman’s  relishes – winners of Hairy Bikers best cooking family

Mr Huda’s pastes and a selection of recipies and I am pleased to say the only place in Wakefield that this can be bought is in my village  – well done R N Binks and Sons,  butchers and very nice people.

Brothers, sons and dads – The Hester Disaster in 1862

A short time ago I was sent a link to a song written by a friend about a Chateau in France where we meet most years and dedicated to my husband, Ben.

This reminded me of a cd we had been given in late November 2010 and one of the tracks I found very moving, as from our house you are very close to  the mining shaft which was used in the rescue mission  of the Lofthouse Mining Disaster – one of my friends was in the team sent in just after to access the damage.  I also remembered a lady with whom I worked many years ago, her son was a miner in the Lofthouse Colliery, lucky for him he was not at work that day.  In  Woodkirk Churchyard, only a few miles away, there is a memorial to  some brothers who were killed in a mining accident in Morley.

Hartley pit calamity from Illustrated London News

The Hester

The Hester

Anyway, The Hester Disaster of 1862 – It was a normal day, the same as many others.  The men went to their work, the women went about their tasks and the children did what children at that time did, but this day would end very different from any other day in this, the small community of New Hartley.

That day, the 16 January 1862,  the fore-shift was just coming to an end there was  over 200 men and children  down the Hester, whose only entry and exit was via a single shaft.  During the process of lowering the new shift and bringing the old shift up to daylight an engine been snapped and fell into the one and only shaft, totally blocking the men’s exit with debris.

At this news, you can only imagine how the families of the trapped miners felt on hearing the news of the tragedy.  And it would be a very long 6 days before the rescuers, lead by Mr William Coulson,  managed to dig down with the hope of rescuing some of the men and boys.  How they must have felt when they were met with 204 people who were family, friends and fellow workers, who would never know the sensation of seeing daylight again after working in the dark for so long.

One of the men down ‘The Hester’ that day was George Hindmarsh, a man in his early 30’s, married with 4 young children.  In the 1861 census George and his family were living in Colliery Row, Bedlington where he probably worked down the local pit.  By the New Year of 1862 George and his family were in New Hartley and on 16 January 1862 was George’s 1st day at work and his last.  George along with the other brothers, sons and dads was laid to rest later that month.

Listen to John Leslie’s moving composition Brothers, Sons and Dads performed by Sawdust Jacks

Other sites about ‘The Hester’  you may find interesting

Names of miners who lost their lives with names of relatives

Names and mine information can be found here

Illustrated London News transcripts for the disaster

The Hartley Pit Disaster article in Tree Magazine 1993

Free access to census via Ancestry

Ancestry wrote :-

George Green Binns b 1793 in 1851 census

27th March will be a historic day, as people all over Britain come together to complete the 2011 National Census. As we fill in details of our homes, occupations and relationships, it’s fascinating to look back at our ancestors who have done exactly the same thing every ten years for more than a century.
On Census Day, you can uncover generations of your family, and read key details of their lives, with FREE access to historical censuses at Access all UK census record indexes from England, Wales and Scotland, for free for one day, so you can uncover the part your ancestors played in history. Find out more

In 1891 and 1901, the focus was very much on employment, with the effects of the Industrial Revolution hitting home around the country. Everyone was specifically asked if they were employed, and whether they worked at home.

Before that, the 1871 Census reveals concerns about the health of the nation. This is the first record to show any serious medical conditions our forebears were suffering from.

The very notion of a national census has its roots in politics and current affairs. In the early 19th century, the British Government was keen to find new ways to monitor its growing population. Alongside the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths, the census was one of its most important solutions.

The census records at provide snapshots of the entire country at these key points in time, and let you uncover the role your family played in shaping our nation?s history. Don’t miss your chance to access the indexes for FREE on March 27th

Local History at Lunchtime

Earlier I posted about Leeds Central Library hosting a series of lunchtime talks.  Well the good news is that they start tomorrow, the 18th of March from 1pm – 2pm and the first talks is “The Grand: An Entertaining Story” given by Catherine Callinan.

3rd Floor Meeting Room, Leeds Central Library 1pm – 2pm.  If you can manage to get there, please write a comment on this page and let us all know how it went.

Iron Bridge War Memorial

Before I start this entry for Iron Bridge War Memorial I must just mention this in the hope that some people can make arrangements to visit the event listed below :-

Heroic Spitfire Veterans to Attend 75th Anniversary Event on 5th March 2011 at the RAF Museum, Cosford – to read more click here and scroll down to Latest News. At the event will be a number of Spitfire pilots including Margaret Frost, female pilot.  Margaret being one of only 15 women and 100 men to have a Special Merit Award for their service in the ATA flying replacement fighters to RAF bases during WW2.

image K Scarth 2010

Now back to Iron Bridge Memorial, but firstly a little bit about the bridge that the war memorial stands so close to.

Abraham Darby III in the late 1770’s was an ironmaster working at Coalbrookdale and was commissioned to cast and build a bridge to cross the gorge.  The bridge was opened in 1781 and today still remains a magnificent sample of how Britain was at the forefront of pioneering the way forward.  The gorge over which the bridge spans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the bridge being Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument – now isn’t that something for Abraham and his family to be proud of ?

The War Memorial to the men of Ironbridge stands proudly within feet of the bridge and visitors walking over the bridge will pass the memorial.  The soldier atop the memorial plinth stands with his back to the gorge, at ease, resting his hands on the  his rifle as he seems to be waiting, looking for his friends from Ironbridge to come into view and come home once more.

So, who is our soldier waiting for ?  John Wlliam Adams who died of wounds ; Cecil Davies, KIA ; Frederick ; Drewball ; William Onions, KIA ; John Steventon, KIA to name a few.

To visit the rest of the young men of  Ironbridge who never came back to their gorge click here