Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Identifying Men on Barnsley's War Memorials

The Barnsley War Memorials Project has now been underway for just over a year (from the official constitution of the group in March 2014) and we have collected hundreds of photographs and transcriptions of local war memorials in our work towards our initial aim of creating a First World War Roll of Honour for Barnsley.
The three folders containing our war memorial index in Barnsley Archives
From more than 500 war memorials, including over 300 war memorial gravestones, we now have to create a list of unique names - that is we have to work out who each man IS in order to eliminate duplicates.  You might be surprised to learn that many men are listed on more than one memorial - and I don't just mean the one in their local church and on their parents' gravestone.  It is a particularly common occurrence amongst the officer classes, my best guess being that when a church memorial was being planned and the committee were asking who should be commemorated the names of well known local officers were put forward by the men who had returned and remembered them with fondness and respect. 

Another problem is a small number of men on each memorial whom we have been unable to identify by the usual routes.  Generally a search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission pages and of Soldiers Died in the Great War (available free on Ancestry in local libraries and on Find My Past as pay-per-view) finds 80% of the men named.  A few more are traced by a search of the local newspapers - the Barnsley Chronicle is indexed by soldiers' names to the beginning of 1917 in Barnsley Archives and the whole newspaper is also available digitally to search month by month. The Barnsley Independent and the South Yorkshire Times also provide photographs and obituaries during the war years - these are available to search on microfilm in Barnsley Archives.

Sometimes, though, we are just unable to work out who a name on a church or roadside memorial refers to.  This is where we need the help of dedicated local researchers.

As well as helping collate the lists of names, photographing and transcribing memorials and recently the 1918 Absent Voters' List many of our volunteers have a particular memorial which they are researching in depth - in fact it is often the way that that they were doing this FIRST and then come on board with the BWMP later, offering us the benefit of their local expertise and research skills.
1918 panel on St Luke's war memorial

I am researching the memorial at St Luke's Worsbro' Common and also the memorial which used to be in St John's Church in the Barebones area of Barnsley, sadly lost when the church was demolished in the 1960s.  

These parishes are adjacent to each other, and many members of the OH's family (my husband's family) lived in the densely packed houses in those areas.  In fact we (the OH and I) lived in that area ourselves until very recently.

One man who has been 'causing me trouble', on the St Luke's memorial is J Brannon.  Helpfully the memorial at Worsbro' Common is sorted into lists by year of death, and J Brannon appears on the panel for 1918.  Although I have found two Brannon/Brannan families and some miscellaneous lodgers in Barnsley with men of the right age to have served in the war there is only one J Brannon/Brannan listed on the CWGC and SDGW with Barnsley connections.  This is a James Brannan who was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, enlisted in Barnsley and was reported missing in August/September 1915 in Gallipolli.  

His parents were Michael and Julia Brannon/Brannan (it depends which census you read) who lived on Joseph Street and Raywood Row in St John's parish in the census returns of 1881, 1891 and 1911.  I have found a newspaper report from 1916 where his death in 1915 is confirmed to his mother - still on Raywood Row and from where she is buried in 1925.  There is no family connection with Worsbro' Common.  At least three men with this surname appear on the 1918 Absent Voters' List in the St John's area.  Michael Brannon is his nephew (very likely) and Thomas (probably) and Bartholomew Brannon (definitely) are his brothers  - all these men survive the war.  

If only we had the Absent Voters' List for Worsbro' Common, a man killed in 1918 would appear on it, but unfortunately it does not exist in the same detail as the Barnsley one and is only available at Wakefield Record Office.

All this research has not been a waste of time however - as linking the names and places I have discovered along the way have enabled me to make a connection that might not otherwise have occurred to me.

Snip from Barnsley Chronicle 24 September 1921
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)
In the absence of the actual memorial from St John's I have been working from a list of names published in the Barnsley Chronicle in 1921.  

Last night I noticed that although most of the names are listed alphabetically that of one of my unknown men on that memorial, James Barman, is out of order.  He falls between John Bird and Harry Brown - what if this is a mistake on the part of the Chronicle reporter and the name should be James Brannan?  That fits much better in the alphabetical list.  There is a Frederick Barman on the list too - but I found him long ago - he has a younger brother called James William after their father, who would only have been 19 at the end of the war, but a man of that name whose age fits dies in Barnsley in 1962, so that seems to eliminate him.

My suggestion is that it is James Brannon/Brannan from Raywood Row who was remembered on the St John's memorial but that he is not the same man as the J Brannon listed on the St Luke's memorial, due to the discrepancy of year of death and the lack of connection to that parish in that Brannon/Brannan family.

Which leaves us with the problem of J Brannon killed in 1918, somehow connected to St Luke's, Worsbro' Common.  J could be John or James or Joseph ... the search on Find My Past's SDGW page lets me search on J* Brann*n who was killed in 1918 and I have 17 hits to check out.  So far none appear to be connected to Barnsley, let alone Worsbro' Common!

I have started a new page on the Barnsley War Memorials Project website for listing the men who we are currently unable to positively identify - more will be added as each memorial is merged into our master list.  You can access the page via the link I have given or by clicking on the Unidentified Men tab on the website.

Please visit our website and take a look - your information could help us identify these men!  
Thank you.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Rise & Fall of Henry Carter & Sons of No 7 Market Hill

(This article first appeared in the Spring 2015 edition of Barnsley CAMRA's magazine The BAR)

No 7 Market Hill in 1900 (from YOCOCO)
The pub on Market Hill, Barnsley now known as the Old No 7 and which is the brewery tap for Acorn Brewery, was for many years known as Carter’s No 7 after the family which ran it from 1878 to 1936 as a wine and spirit merchants.

Patriarch Henry Carter was born in Northallerton in 1815 and came to Barnsley at some point before his marriage to Mary Robinson in 1849.  His five children, William Henry, Joseph, Mary Jane, Margaret Ann and Matthew were born in Barnsley between 1852 and 1863. 

In 1871 Henry is running the Duke of York Inn on Cheapside as a Licensed Victualler, and by the 1881 census he is at No 7 Market Hill as a Wine Merchant with all three of his sons listed as his Assistants. He had lost his wife in 1877 but he lived until 1883, dying at No 7 Market Hill aged 69.  They are buried together in Barnsley Cemetery with their married daughter Mary Jane Mantell who died in Sheffield in 1912.  According to her entry in the 1911 census she had two children, but both had died young.

Henry Carter senior left £3,500 in his will, worth around £170,000 in today’s money.

Eldest son William Henry Carter was living at No 7 Market Hill in 1901 carrying on the business of Wine & Spirit Merchant.  A single man, he had his sister as housekeeper to look after himself and her children who were staying with him.  Dorothy Hough, his niece, is listed as his housekeeper in 1911, keeping it in the family might have saved a bit of money!

Dorothy marries Arthur Watkinson in 1916 and has one son; however both father and son die in 1918, this would be in the period of the great influenza epidemic at the end of the First World War. I cannot find her death, so maybe she remarried. His nephew Harry Hough does not go into the family business, he is a Railway Clerk and married with two daughters in the 1911 census.

Henry’s second son Joseph, a Wine & Spirit Merchant of 7 Market Hill, Barnsley had died in January 1901, before the census, aged 47 and unmarried as far as I can tell.

The third of Henry’s sons, Matthew, was carrying on the family name however.  He had married in 1895 to Maude Schofield and had four children, Henry, Joseph Robinson, Matthew Schofield and Mary by 1901 when he was living at 109 Dodworth Road, but still apparently employed in the family business.  There were two more children by 1911, both daughters, Maude and Marjorie.

Barnsley Chronicle 10 June 1916
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)
Matthew’s eldest son Henry was not listed on the 1911 census, aged 15 he was probably away at school, as we know he attended St Cuthbert’s College, Worksop. Showing his loyalty to his old school, Henry joined the St Cuthbert’s Squad of the Lincolnshire Regiment on 21 September 1914 shortly after the First World War broke out.  He had intended to be an electrical engineer and at the time of his enlistment had been an apprentice at Messrs Thos. Taylor & Sons, Barnsley.  He had been a good cricketer and had played for Barnsley’s second team.  Henry had also regularly sung in St George’s Church Choir.

Harry, as he was known locally, was sent to France in November 1915 and was due for leave when unfortunately he was killed on 30 May 1916.  The Barnsley Chronicle published this letter from his Company Commander on 10 June 1916, “He died at his post, being hit by shrapnel.  I especially feel his death as I am an old Worksop boy myself.” 

It was reported that Private Griffiths heard him call after a “whizz-bang” burst, and rushed to catch him as he fell.  He was unconscious from the time he was hit and died half an hour afterwards.  He is buried in Becourt Military Cemetery in the Somme, France. The article notes that “the deceased would have been 21 years of age next August”. 
Barnsley Chronicle 11 November 1916
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)

Second son Joseph Robinson (named for his grandmother we can assume) had also joined the army and at the time of his brother’s death was in training at Cannock Chase with the York & Lancaster Regiment.  He was transferred to the West Yorkshire Regiment and must have been sent out to France shortly afterwards as he was reported missing in a Barnsley Chronicle piece on 4 November 1916.  Born in 1897 he can only just have been old enough to serve abroad as the age limit in 1916 was 19 years old. 

His body must have been found later as he is buried in the Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, in France and his date of death is given as 28 September 1916.

Matthew Carter had now lost his two older sons, he also loses his youngest daughter Marjorie in 1923, aged just 25. 

We know that the Carter family name remained above the No. 7 until 1936 and this fits exactly with the death of Matthew’s his third and last son, Matthew Schofield (named for his mother) Carter in 1936 just 5 years after his father.  Neither Matthew senior nor his son leave a great deal in their wills, so the business still seems to be in the hands of William Henry Carter who must surely have retired as he was 85 years old and living at 49 Sackville Street when he died in 1937. He left £23,620 in his will, or around £870,000 in today’s money.  This does suggest that he sold the business as there were no “Sons” left to pass it on to. 

Henry’s remaining daughter and William Henry’s sister, the widowed Margaret Ann Hough remains at 49 Sackville Street until her death in 1942, but she too leaves very little in her will.  So where did the family fortune go? 

Both Carter sons are remembered on the Barnsley Grammar School Old Boys’ War Memorial now on display in the Cooper Art Gallery. Harry Carter, presumably because he had been a chorister there, was also remembered on the Barnsley, St George's Church, Memorial Plaque which was lost when the church was demolished.

Friday, 6 March 2015

A Trail of Clues leading to the Guest Family - Grocers of Market Hill, Barnsley

As you have no doubt noticed (ha!) I have been spending a lot of time researching WW1 soldiers recently - well, oddly, delving into one of 'my men' has sent me down a more traditional family history research path over the last week and given me a better understanding of one of Barnsley's old families and institutions, Guests of Market Hill.
Durty O'Dwyers at the top of the Arcade on Market Hill (from Google Maps)
The building that is (last time I looked) a pub called Durty O'Dwyers used to be a grocer's shop called Guests.  According to ML, one of the ladies who volunteers with the Barnsley War Memorials Project, "Guests Confectionery was THE shop to patronise if you were well off. Ladies with big hats, long gloves and their pearls used to visit for afternoon tea, this was in the 50's. Sometimes as a treat, [we] used to go in our walking out days."

Major Thomas Guest
from the Illustrated London News
This is Major Thomas H Guest who was remembered on St John's Memorial Tablet in the church in the Barebones area of Barnsley, sadly lost when the church was demolished in the 1960s. This memorial is one I am especially researching as many of the OH's family came from that area.

I found his picture in the Illustrated London News on a special website they have set up to commemorate the First World War - you can search the ILN and eight other magazines from the same company for the years 1914-1919 completely free of charge.  There are lots of pictures and contemporary articles about the war and some very amusing old adverts!

Tom Guest, as he is listed on the St John's tablet, features in Jon Cooksey's book, Barnsley Pals, as a genial old soldier, who served in the Boer War, a good leader and who gets on well with his men. The book also cryptically mentions that he was prosperous local grocer - but not being originally from Barnsley (sorry!) the clue in the name didn't leap out at me.  He was 41 years old when he was reported missing after the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, a short paragraph stating that he was seen to have been shot in the leg as he led his company into an enemy trench and that there was "still hope". Barnsley Chronicle 15 July 1916

He is a bit of a mystery man, his Commonwealth War Graves entry and reports in the Barnsley Chronicle give very few clues about where he was from or how he came to be an officer in the Barnsley Pals.  His medal card on Ancestry tells me that his full name was Thomas Heald Guest and some searching in the old newspapers on Find My Past gave me a good lead.

Tom's memorial at Lower Peover
(from Military Images)
His father, another Thomas Guest, had paid for work to be done to St Oswald's church at Lower Peover (a place I had never heard of before - it is in Cheshire near Knutsford) and for a brass plaque to be placed there in memory of his son (Liverpool Daily Post 10 October 1918).  

Some Googling brought back an entry on the Military Images website with a photo of that very brass plaque and accompanying a transcription of the text was the information that Tom was also remembered on the Bloxham School Roll of Honour.  The researcher there didn't appear to be having much more luck than me finding out about Tom, but he did mention that Tom was married to a Mabel Ellen Fountain and that they'd lived in Brighton, which suggested that a 1911 census record I'd thought might be Tom was probably correct.  There had been a mention of a Mrs Guest in one of the Barnsley Chronicle reports, but I hadn't known if it was his wife or his mother.  

From that census return I now knew that he was born in Rusholme, on the outskirts of Manchester and that his wife was from Haigh, in Yorkshire.

A search for the marriage on FreeBMD gave me the year 1905 for Thomas and Mabel's marriage, and differing from the Bloxham information told me that they'd married in the Barnsley area!  Interesting ...
1905 Marriage entry for Thomas Guest and Mabel Fountain (from Ancestry)
The marriage took place at Darton parish church on 3 October 1905.  Tom's residence is given as Bowden, which is near Altrincham in Cheshire. Both Tom and his father are described as Manufacturers on the marriage certificate and Mabel's father Joseph Fountain (deceased) as a Colliery Owner - this all sounds very posh.  Linking in with the plaque I'd already found the marriage was performed by Arthur Guest, Vicar of Lower Peover!  But then Mabel and Tom go to live in Brighton, where I found them in 1911 ... so is the link with Barnsley just via his wife?

From FreeBMD
The only birth entry for a Thomas Heald Guest tallies with Tom's age at death of 41 in 1916 and the district of Chorlton includes Rusholme - but of course sending for Tom's birth certificate would cost me £9.25 - drat you General Register Office!  The sooner we have a system like Scotland's where the certificates are available cheaply online the better and I for one will be spending a lot more money.
1881 census snip - The Cedars, Lapwing Lane, Didsbury, Lancashire

I could only find one more census entry that fitted the information I had on Tom now.  That took me back to 1881 when he was only 6 years old and living in Didsbury, which is about three miles south of Rusholme.  Fortunately his name, age, place of birth and father's name and occupation all match what had been already discovered AND - the greatest discovery of all - his father Thomas was born around 1843 in Barnsley!  Look at that - he was a Confectionery Manufacturer employing 79 hands.  Wow!  Tom's mother's name is Mary J and she was born in Patricroft, Lancashire, and he has a sister, Kate, just one year older than him.  There is a sister mentioned on the brass plaque at Lower Peover ...
Lancashire OPC site - Marriages in Rusholme

In Lancashire they are lucky enough to have a very good Online Parish Clerk website - these exist across the country, some are good, some are still in the process of collecting and transcribing their records.  However searching for "Thomas Guest" on the site soon produced the next step on my journey back in Tom's family history.  

Thomas Guest senior had married Mary Jane Heald (so that's where Tom gets his middle name from!) in St James, Rusholme on 23 October 1872 and now I knew Tom's grandfathers' names - yet another Thomas Guest and George James Heald, a Solicitor.  

Next step, back to Barnsley looking for a Thomas Guest born in 1843 (ish) whose father is also a Thomas.  This journey has strayed a long way from the Somme in 1916, but is getting closer and closer to discovering why Major Tom Guest is remembered with fondness on a memorial in a now lost church in Barnsley.

1861 census snip - 5 Market Hill, Barnsley (from Ancestry)
This census snip from 1861 shows Thomas aged 19, a Grocer's Apprentice, living at 5 Market Hill, Barnsley with his father, Thomas Guest, a Grocer.  Checking in Barnsley Streets Volume 3, I found that number 5 later became number 22 and several lovely pictures of Guest's Grocers shop before and after its redevelopment in the 1890s.  So Tom's grandfather had been a well known Grocer in Barnsley - maybe Tom came to help out with the business in Barnsley (his grandfather, the elder Thomas shown above, died in 1867 and his uncle George in 1913) in the years between his sojourn in Brighton in 1911 and the start of the war in 1914.  Maybe that was how he ended up in the Barnsley Pals. 
Guest's Grocers to the right of the newly opened up Arcade (from YOCOCO)
This is a picture of Guest's shop as the building next door was redeveloped and the top of the Arcade opened up to Market Hill, before that there had been a covered passageway into the yard behind.
A snip from the 1889 town plan of Barnsley showing Guest's Yard

Guest's original shop was the large building just below the the covered passageway which is shown in this map from 1889 marked with a X to the right of the R of 'Market Hill' and then leading eastwards from that is a long narrow yard - shown as Guest's Yard - the family even had a street named after them!  This is now the Arcade, a neat little covered shopping street leading down to Eldon Street.

Major Tom Guest's story is far from finished, but writing it down like this today has focussed my thoughts and recorded the steps it took me to link this soldier with Barnsley.  I have a lot more to write about the Guests and their intermarrying with other well known families in Barnsley like the Fountains and the Hewitts, but that will have to keep for another day.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 2 March 2015

A Chemist Goes to War (and so does his sister) The Johnson's of Church Street, Barnsley

The Barnsley War Memorials Project have just about completed our first volunteers project - to transcribe the 1918 Absent Voters' List for Barnsley and surrounding area.  This was compiled following the changes in electoral franchise extending the vote to all men over 21 and to women over 30 who fulfilled certain property requirements.  So all servicemen who were over 21 or who would be 21 by the forthcoming General Election in 1918 were registered to vote.  You can access the transcriptions from the Absent Voter page of the BWMP website.

There have only been two women found on the list (as far as I am aware). I wrote about one a few months ago, Katherine Blackburn of Sheffield Road, Barnsley, who was a Nurse in the Territorial Force Nursing Service.  One of the very last transcriptions to be returned from our volunteers has turned up another, Lucy Hilary Johnson, a Red Cross Nurse.
Extract from the 1918 Absent Voters' List (thanks to Barnsley Archives)

As you can see another person from the same address, 46 Church Street, is also in the forces - Alfred Lancelot Johnson is a Private in the Royal Army Medical Corps.
1911 census snip (from Ancestry)
A search of the 1911 census shows Lucy and Alfred living at 46 Church Street with their widowed mother Margaret and another two sisters.  Lucy's occupation was entered as Spinster I think, but it has been rubbed or scratched out.  Alfred is listed as a Chemist.  Margaret has filled in the details about the length of her marriage and children born to it, even though as a widow she hadn't needed too - in fact the census enumerator has struck the information through with red ink - but it's very useful for us!  She had been married for 49 years and borne 10 children, of whom 3 have already died.  

The family proved a little elusive in 1901, as it transpired because Margaret and her husband John were away from home on census night.  I did find three of their grown up children living at York Terrace, Stairfoot - and cross checking on Ancestry I found that John Johnson was on the Electoral Roll for that address in 1899. 
Sheffield Evening Telegraph 13 September 1910 (from Find My Past)
John Johnson died on 12 September 1910 and in the notice above we can see that he had been the Manager of Carlton Main Colliery and had been 71 years old when he died. He left £4737 18s 10d in his will according to the Probate index entry on Ancestry where, as one of his executors, Alfred Lancelot Johnson is referred to as a Chemist's Manager. Margaret died in 1911 and both are buried in Barnsley Cemetery along with sons William Matthew Johnson (d. 1895 aged 31) and Richard Aaron Johnson (d.1894 aged 24). I don't know who the other child who died young is yet - but the family was living in Carlton in 1891 and before that in Halesowen where Alfred was born and Wales where the older children were born so another child could have died in any of these places.

John Johnson and Margaret Parker were both from the North East of England and had married in the June Quarter (April, May, June) of 1861 in the Newcastle upon Tyne district.  She was born in around 1839 in Winlaton, just south of the river Tyne in Durham and I have identified her family easily in the 1861 census (7 April 1861) as helpfully her younger sister and brother are living with the Johnson family Wrexham in 1871.  Her brother Richard is living next door to them in 1881 in Halesowen too, married to a Welsh girl and with two children.  John Johnson, also born around 1839, gives his birthplace as Gosforth, Northumberland in the 1881 and 1891 census returns and was much harder to trace, however he is most probably the son of Matthew Johnson (Matthew being the middle name of two of his sons) who was a Overman in the Colliery in Winlaton in 1851, despite the family reporting their origin as Longbenton, Northumberland (just 2 miles from Gosforth).  This does seem to fit nicely with him marrying a girl from Winlaton a few years later.

Their eldest son William Matthew Johnson's death is also reported in the Sheffield newspapers - he had been a Bank Clerk in Sheffield and had died at Crookes in Sheffield in 1895 of typhoid fever aged 31.  The report also notes that whilst living at Carlton he had been a Sunday School teacher there, travelling regularly between the village and his employment in Sheffield.  Unfortunately the report is spread over two columns of the newspaper and the bottom part of one section is missing on Find My Past. 

Despite a good search I can can find no further mentions in the Sheffield papers (which are the nearest that appear on Find My Past as yet) of John Johnson's career - there should be an obituary in the Barnsley Chronicle, so I'll put that on my to do list for next time I visit Barnsley Archives.
40 to 46 Church Street (thanks to the Tasker Trust)
The book, Barnsley Streets Volume 1, states that L H Johnson was living at 46 Church Street from 1906 to 1929.  It seems odd that the entry would be in Lucy's name when John and Margaret would have been the senior householders ... but maybe Mr Tasker was just being economical with his records and bundling all the entries under the name of the person who lived there for the longest. All of the houses in the photo above, from the Tasker Trust website, were demolished when the road was widened and a roundabout put in, roughly opposite Barnsley College I estimate from the information in the book.

Lucy was 34 years old in 1911, so when she was listed as a Red Cross Nurse in 1918 she would have been 41, but obviously playing her part in the war and living away from home to do it.  In 1915 the War Office proposed that volunteer nurses, known as VADs (Voluntary Aid Detachments) could work in RAMC hospitals (lots more details on the Red Cross website) - I can't find a record for her on Lives of the First World War so maybe she did not work abroad.

Her brother Alfred appears to have been invalided out of the RAMC in 1919 with malaria, at which time he was a Sergeant, according to a detailed Pension Record available for him on Ancestry.  A little younger than Lucy, he was 35 years old when he enlisted in April 1916.  His occupation was given as Dispensing Chemist and he had dentures fitted!  I expect that his peacetime occupation made him a perfect candidate for the Royal Army Medical Corps - and he must have served overseas as he has medal records showing that he was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
1955 Probate Entry for Lucy Johnson (from Ancestry)

Both Mary Lizzie and Margaret Dinah Johnson, the sisters who are at home with their mother, Lucy and Alfred in 1911 die unmarried and are buried in Barnsley Cemetery, Margaret in 1921 in Barnsley and Mary in 1838 in Harrogate.  Lucy herself dies in 1955 aged 78 years also in Harrogate according to her Probate index entry on Ancestry, but she does not appear to be buried in Barnsley.  She leaves £17,424 6s 2d and her executor is Alfred Lancelot Johnson, retired Chemist.  That is a substantial amount of money - worth around £300,000 today (there is a handy converter on the National Archives website). 

Alfred, possibly the last of the family, dies in Cheshire in 1965 aged 84 - did he marry?  I don't know.  And I haven't accounted for all of John and Margaret's children yet.  There is an elder daughter, Sarah Jane Parker Johnson, b.1861  and more sons, John Matthew Johnson b.1868 and John P Johnson b.1875 who appear in the census returns still to track down. 

I'm afraid that is all I have been able to find about the Johnson family so far ... but a search at the Barnsley Archives later this week might turn up something else.