Friday, 20 December 2013

This week's crop of War Memorial Newspaper Cuttings from Barnsley Archives

I've already posted today on the Barnsley War Memorials Project (BWMP) - pages for Dodworth and the West End Club in Cudworth.  The first because I found the relevant newspaper cutting (from which you can see the list of names section as part of my BWMP post) about the unveiling of Dodworth War Memorial in May 1923 and the second because I persuaded the OH to take me for a small beer last night to the Club which isn't a million miles away from our house.  That was my Christmas night out, that was!!  Of course I made the OH take some photos of the Memorial Plaque whilst we were there.
A bronze or brass decorated plaque on a wooden background, mounted high up on a wall, so difficult to get a square picture.
Memorial to Members of the West End Club, Cudworth
Includes WW1, WW2, the Falklands and Afghanistan

I have included a list of names on the BWMP page.  It wasn't very easy to get a good photo of the plaque - it's very high up on the wall of the club's entrance hall.  I think we might need to get permission to go back with a step ladder!

Yesterday's notes from the first six months of the digitised Barnsley Chronicle for 1923 include the beginnings of a discussion at the Grammar School about an Old Boys' Memorial.  This will be the one that is now in the Cooper Gallery in Barnsley.  Also being discussed and much more swiftly erected and unveiled was the Sportsman's Memorial at Shaw Lane.  A little bit contentious because after its unveiling and dedication there were a series of letters in the Barnsley Chronicle from various other sports clubs that felt a bit left out!

The band concerts and cinema showings to raise money for the Barnsley War Memorial, the one that is now in front of the Town Hall, continued.  I didn't see the results of the Silver Ballot I mentioned last time, but I'll go back and have another look after the New Year.

Barnsley Chronicle 17 March 1923
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)

The Town Clerk publishes a letter asking for names to be submitted 'in connection with the Barnsley War Memorial'.   

This links back to the mention towards the end of 1922 of a plan to prepare a list of the names of the fallen men to be inscribed upon vellum.

It does seem that very little happens in Barnsley without a comment of some kind in the letters column of the Chronicle!  The following week a serviceman writes in asking why the list has been limited to the 'soldiers resident in the immediate neighbourhood of the borough who served in the 5th, 13th, 14th and 15th Battalions of the York and Lancaster Regiment'. 

Personally I was wondering why the request for names was limited to soldiers, sailors and nurses.  What about airmen?  or people who died as a result of enemy action?  or the people driving ambulances on the front?  Surely some of them were volunteers, not always soldiers or nurses?  Does it include people who died from wounds after the war ended?  Too specific I feel.

If the Town Clerk or the Council respond to the gentleman's query I didn't see it.  However I was searching using the automatic find functionality in Adobe Reader, and just looking for the word 'memorial' so it is possible that the reply was in a part of the newspaper that didn't scan very well or maybe the word memorial wasn't used in the response.  Again, I must go back and look more closely at the newspapers - the old fashioned way(!) a page at a time to try to find the answer.

As the list of names has not been found in the Barnsley Archives since we started this project and none of the archive staff are aware of such a list existing I do also wonder what happened to all the postcards sent in by the family and friends in response to the Town Clerk's request.  Another mystery!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

War Memorials 1922 - Keep that Money Coming

I've finally managed to catch up with logging my last couple of weeks' searches for War Memorials in the digitised Barnsley Chronicle.  So far I've searched 1919 to 1922 and I started in my search back in early September.  So it might take me a while to finish, especially as I now realise I have to go right back to the beginning of the war just to be sure.  GB and I have come across enough mentions of memorials whilst researching our WW1 soldiers' deaths to realise that the local communities started thinking about commemoration much earlier than I had initially realised.
A snip of an Excel spreadsheet, purposely too small to really read the word.  Explaination in text below.
Just the first 40 of 110 rows of my spreadsheet - look at the orange boxes sweeping in

I've made a wonderfully colour-coded spreadsheet, a row for each town or villager, or where more than one memorial is specifically mentioned then individual rows for each.  I fill in little blue boxes for 'they are still talking about it', green ones for 'we are collecting money, concerts, raffles, cinema shows and rattling tins at football matches' and finally orange ones for 'Unveiling of a memorial reported'.   The blue boxes dominate in the early years of course, with hardly any orange ones in 1919 but by 1920 there are swarms of unveilings going on and it continues with memorials popping up in all kinds of places.  This presentation of my data allows me to scan across a place and see their progress towards a memorial and to see patterns - Dodworth for example, towards the bottom of the snip above, do a lot of talking but not much is happening!

I've already mentioned my findings in 1921, and in 1922 you can add memorials at Barnsley Cricket Club (well they started talking about it and collecting money), Broomhill Methodist Chapel (which moved across the village in the 1930s and is now a private swimming baths - any chance the memorial survived?), a temporary wooden structure in Penistone to make sure they really liked the design proposed, and church related memorials, including tablets and windows and so in in Thurnscoe, Brierley, Mexborough, Silkstone, St Mary's in Barnsley, Wath Main Colliery and Worsbrough Dale, outside St Thomas' church.

Barnsley Chronicle 24 June 1922
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)
Of course the main memorial in Barnsley, which now stands in front of the Town Hall, comes in for plenty of discussion.  In 1922 they reduce the estimated cost from £10,000 to £5,000 in view of the 'trade depression and the long succession of industrial disputes'.  A design is approved in June and in July the Mayor appeals for funds.  He also mentions a plan to 'have the names of the fallen inscribed on vellum and preserved with the records of the Borough in the Town Hall'.  Unfortunately if this was ever done Barnsley Archives haven't got it! 

Band concerts have been held in aid of the War Memorial Fund and the Beckett Hospital since the war ended and a running total of the money raised is included in a listing of all the subscribers to the Memorial Fund.  "Net Proceeds from Band Concerts and Cinema Concerts organised by Messers Chamber and Smith - £843 8s 6d", which is a significant chunk of the £1,325 raised in total.  This makes it all the more unbelievable that in October one of the councillors objected to giving permission for the concerts to carry on for another year in Locke Park - happily he was voted down.

Barnsley Chronicle 18 November 1922 - The Silver Ballot Advert
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)
The fundraiser that really surprised me was 'The Silver Ballot', 'Vote for the twelve most popular gentlemen in the Barnsley borough', which was launched in November 1922.  Apparently you could win £25 or a Gold Watch ... I look forward to reading the results in the 1923 papers later this week!

In December the Mayor confidently announces that he "hopes the Memorial will be completed in about six months time".  He goes on to comment that many other places have already got theirs and that the large congregation on Armistice Day that year had shown that a memorial was needed to provide a place for people to gather to commemorate the fallen.  Unfortunately I know that Barnsley's War Memorial was not unveiled until 1925, so there must be some more delays and obstacles to its completion in the next couple of year's papers.   

Doing this research is a bit like reading a who-dunnit where the crime is revealed in the first chapter but it takes you right until the end of the book to find out how it was done!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Clever or Delusional? And is there something to be said for the latter?

Last night, as I donned my rubber gloves to do the washing up at 10pm, I asked the OH if he thought I was clever.  "Of course you are," he replied. "And you keep telling me I am too.  But if we are both clever why are we unable to sell the other *@%!!* house?"  He was just on his way home to the said house where he has to spend the majority of the week as we couldn't afford to pay the council tax if he lived here with me.  

Barnsley Council Logo and Coat of Arms

I've got a Christmas compilation CD on at the moment and Mariah Carey is singing "All I Want for Christmas is You."  Well, it would be nice to have my husband for Christmas and for the rest of my life ... I thought that was the general plan when you got married.

The old house been up for sale for over two years now, and we've dropped the price several times, to the extent that if it sold today we'd be now be worse off than we were before we moved.  I'd been made redundant so we had a nice bit of cash that it seemed foolish in these days of low interest to leave sitting around in the bank.  I'd budgeted and struggled to pay off the original mortgage before I was finished by my employers - we never had big holidays, just voluntary work at beer festivals and the occasional long weekend.  We don't do fancy clothes or expensive meals out, I like history books and the OH likes beer and we get along fairly simply.  
Our Lives: Beer Escalator Lobby, CAMRA What Pub? Database, Great British Beer Festival,
Open University, Beer Festival at Elsecar Heritage Railway, Beer Festival at Milton Hall,
World War One Soldiers' stories and talks, Experience Barnsley and Barnsley Archives

We looked into having a loft conversion, but the layout of the old house meant that this would involve fire doors and all kinds of complications, and the loft space really wasn't that big ... then we looked at moving nearer to the OH's mum ... and we fell in love with the house that had belonged to the OH's old primary school headmaster.  I think that for him buying it was a kind of proof that he'd done well for himself - "Hey look Mr B, I can live in your house!"  It had a much bigger garden, which I wanted and had options for improvement unlike the previous one which had been extended and redecorated and done up so well by the previous owners that all you needed to do was live in it ... which is a bit boring to be honest.  We made all kinds of plans, ploughed all our money and a bit more into it and were very excited.

Our new back garden - in need of work!

The maths of the transaction worked out so well two years ago.  Which is where the delusional bit comes in ... we thought the old house would sell eventually, we weren't stupidly confident, we had a two year plan.  The sale of the old house would pay for the rest of the new house, and leave enough for some improvements including a modern kitchen and in the meantime the payments on the interest only mortgage are much cheaper than lots of people have to pay in rent, so we are lucky really (more self-delusion ...)

But that's gone and past now, we are into phase two, which is fairly desperate.  I can't work any more and don't get any benefits or allowances.  If it wasn't for my mum's generosity I wouldn't have been able to enrol on my last two Open Uni modules.  The garden has been stripped of Mrs B's shrubs and bulbs, but the raised beds are only made of old scaffolding planks and are beginning to rot.  I've been very grateful for it this year, lots of carrots, green beans, onions and strawberries.  We still have a few leeks and parsnips to pull.  But with the OH living in the other house I have to do all the gardening and other household thingys ... and I get tired so easily.  And it's lonely by myself. 

People have suggested we rent the old house out - but it wouldn't bring in enough to pay the mortgage and I really hate the idea of other people wrecking my lovely kitchen and the carpets and curtains which we left there.  I don't think I could cope with the stress of worrying about the cost of repairs and redecorations and damage and so on.  The council offered to lease it from us for ten years (part of their Empty Homes policy) for £1,000 a year - well that wouldn't pay the mortgage either! 

This morning I woke at 6am (the cat - you all know about the cat by now I'm sure) and couldn't get back to sleep.  I read Facebook and Twitter and watched a really sad video about the effects of the Work Capability Assessment on people with mental health problems.  I'm not so badly off I know, but some days I just get very down about it all.

Am I clever?  If I was so clever I'd be able to think of a way out of this. Or should I just carry on regardless, living for the day and not over thinking the whole thing.  I wish I could afford to go to the pub ... that used to be my answer to everything twenty years ago ... I wish I had a local to go to!  You see, there I go again - overthinking the problem and putting obstacles in the way of even going for a beer. 
Ah, well.  Soon be Christmas!  Hmmm?!

Friday, 13 December 2013

World War One Nurse's Story - Alice Hilda Lancaster

The top right of the Memorial Tablet in
St Paul's, Monk Bretton
Alice Hilda Lancaster's name is proudly listed on the War Memorial tablet in St Paul's church in Monk Bretton.  When I visited last weekend the Vicar and a parishioner were both at pains to point her out - and yes, it isn't that common to find a woman's name listed on a War Memorial.

Alice was the youngest daughter of Thomas Lancaster, a well off local business man, an auctioneer and valuer.  His brother and thus Alice's uncle, was E G Lancaster Esq of Keresforth Hall, Barnsley who endowed St Edward's church at Kingston.  Alice had two older sisters, Rose and Edith and two older brothers, Thomas Edward and George Bingley.

Sheffield Daily Telegraph
19 August 1895
(from Find My Past Newspapers)
Alice's mother had died in 1895 under circumstances which I am sure were very distressing for the family. 

It seems that she had been ill for some time and died after undergoing a surgical operation in Wakefield.  The newspaper cutting to the left states that the operation was a success, but that afterwards she showed signs of collapse and "sank rapidly".  This suggests that she may have died of some kind of infection as a result of the operation. 

As Alice was born in 1883 she would have been just twelve years old when her mother passed away.  Did her elder sisters become mothers to the family?  Neither ever married, but then neither did either of her brothers, which I find a bit odd for a well off middle class family of the time.

The family can be found in the 1901 census at Cliffe House, Monk Bretton and were at 111 Dodworth Road, Barnsley ten years previously.  Before the move to Monk Bretton the family's local church had been St George's on the edge of Barnsley town centre.  That is where Alice and most of her siblings were baptised. 

Alice's mum is buried in Monk Bretton and it confirms in the newspaper report that they had moved before 1895 although in the report of her death it mentions Rock House, rather than Cliffe House.  Are they the same place? If you are familiar with Barnsley you will know that there would be a wonderful view across the Dearne Valley from their house, which would have been at the top of the outcrop of rock that the road now swings out around going up towards the church from the junction of Burton Road and Rotherham Road.
1906 map snip of Monk Bretton showing Cliffe House towards the centre
and St Paul's church at the top right of centre (from Old Maps)
Thomas Edward Lancaster, Alice's eldest brother died in 1909 aged 31 in Manchester and is buried in Monk Bretton cemetery with his mother.  I wonder if he was on business there?  I could find nothing in the newspapers on Find My Past about his death as the editions of the Sheffield newspapers for 1909 are missing.  The gravestone on which Thomas and his mother are remembered is also where Alice herself is remembered, but she does not lie there with them. 

When war broke out in 1914, Alice would have been 31 years old and unmarried. Newspaper reports after her death note that she was "prominently engaged on social work" and had many friends in Barnsley and district.  She works at the Lundwood Military Hospital, which had previously been an isolation hospital, until 1916 when presumably now a fully trained nurse in the Territorial Force she moves to London to work at St Thomas' hospital.

A snip from Alice's Nursing Records as she leaves
St Thomas' for Service Overseas
(from the National Archives)

Thanks to an old acquaintance from Barnsley Family History Society, who obviously knows his way around these kinds of records and wrote a short piece himself about Alice last year, I now have a copy of Alice's nursing records which cover the period from her applying to go overseas to serve as a nurse in France.  It gives details of her application and approval to serve overseas and then sadly a full investigation into the circumstances of her death just over a week after she arrives in France.

It is June 1918, maybe the weather is warm, Alice and a fellow nurse decide to go for a swim at Wimereux after their shift at the hospital is over.  There are other people about, some soldiers nearby. I wonder what Alice and her friend were wearing to swim in? 1918s bathing costumes were bulky but left the arms and legs bare below the knee as far as I can discover.  There's a picture here.

According to the Proceedings of the Court of Enquiry held after her death both Alice and the friend were caught in a powerful current, the friend barely made it back to shore but when she turned back to look for Alice she was just in time to see her vanishing below the waves. Another witness said that, "She threw up her hands and screamed and disappeared". Some soldiers took a boat out as quickly as they could to try to find her, but they found no trace and apparently the boat they had 'borrowed' was leaking like a sieve so they had to return to the shore shortly afterwards.  The writing of the report is difficult to make out, but it does conclude that Alice had accidently drowned and decided to place a ban on bathing at the beach until a suitable safety boat can be provided. 

A copy of the communication sent to Thomas Lancaster
to break the news of Alice's death
(from the National Archives)

A telegram was sent to Alice's father, followed by an official letter of condolence. 

Her body must have been recovered at a later date as she is buried in the Wimereux  Community Cemetery and is remembered on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.  There is a picture of Alice's gravestone on this website, which has a lot of information on nursing in the First and Second World War.

I thought there might be a decent obituary for Alice in the local Barnsley newspapers, but found in a similar story in both the Chronicle and the Independent.  Fairly short and to the point and without a photo, I was a bit disappointed that a woman who after all did die whilst on war service was given much less coverage than the soldiers reported in the same issue of the papers.  I have transcribed the piece and you can read it here on her page linked to the Barnsley War Memorials Project. 

Alice's brother George Bingley served in the war too, and was badly wounded in 1915 when a Lieutenant in the Green Howards.  He was later promoted to Captain and I already knew that he survived the war as I have seen mentions of him in the local papers, unveiling a memorial tablet in Monk Bretton Working Men's Club for example.

Thomas Lancaster senior died in 1930 leaving over £60,000 in his will and Alice's remaining siblings appear to have remained at Cliffe House together until their deaths in the 1950s.  All are buried in the adjacent plot to Alice's mother and brother in Monk Bretton Cemetery.  Cliffe House is no more, instead there is a small housing estate on Cliffe Court on the site, although a gatehouse appears to survive.  As none of the family married there were no descendants of Thomas and his children to inherit the considerable quantity of money left by George, who outlived all his family.  It would be very interesting to see if he became interested in helping the miners and working classes in Barnsley - in his speech at Monk Bretton Working Men's Club he does mention that his opinion of them had changed after spending time in the trenches amongst them.  I found this reference online which suggests he did leave money to charity.

I would have loved to have found out more about Alice Hilda Lancaster's family, but I think that it might be way, way beyond the scope of my blog!  And certainly straying off the topic of the First World War.

Catastrophe Averted at St Mary's Worsbro' Village - Narrow escape for War Memorial

I come home from the Archives each week with a nice fat pile of newspaper cuttings (well, actually virtual cuttings in these electronic times) and then it takes me a while to process them.  I'm supposed to be labelling and tallying them into my War Memorials spreadsheet at the moment, but considering where GB and I went last night I can't resist this one.

Barnsley Chronicle 18 March 1922
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)


St Mary's Church - In December last, part of the West Wall of the above church fell, bringing down with it a small stained-glass window.  Fortunately only the outer part of the wall collapsed, the thick inner wall - on which is the War Memorial Tablet - remained standing.  The work of re-building had to be arranged at once and the necessary money provided.  In the meantime Mr W R Steele kindly sent men with timber and the wall was boarded up, to ensure safety.  The Vicar convened a meeting of the Parochial Church Council, and it was decided that a circular letter be written to all on the electoral roll, and distributed along with small envelopes - for contributions - by members of the Council.  In this way £34 2s 9d was collected.  Friends outside the parish were written to, and the following subscriptions received: - From Capt. Wentworth, £10; Mrs Cooper-Mann, £5; Miss Cooper-Mann £5; the Rev. W H Elmhirst, £2; Mrs Guest (Egremont), 5s and £5 10s was given from the proceeds of a Jumble Sale in the Church Room, Birdwell.  The cost of the work, including taking down and refixing the War Memorial Tablet, amounted to £75 5s 9d.  Mr W R Steele, managing director, Barrow Colliery, had generously offered to pay the deficiency, and gave the sum of £13 10s, that being the amount needed to cover all charges.  The Vicar (Rev F C Stock) and the Parochial Church Council wish to gratefully thank those who willingly and generously gave towards the fund, that their Church might be restored.  The work of building the wall was entrusted to Mr Rawson Porter, the window to Mr Rusforth and the taking down and re-fixing of the Tablet to Mr F W Oxley.
A white painted church wall, with a small window placed very high up.  The memorial tablet is decorated top and bottom with carving and there are four columns of names upon it.  On either side are dark slate strips with gold painted names for the 1939-45 war.  A shelf below carries candles and poppies.
The West Wall of St Mary's church, Worsbrough Village

In a follow up to a cutting I found a week or so ago about the unveiling of a mystery memorial in Worsbro' my friend GB and I visited St Mary's last night, were made very welcome and took lots of photos of the War Memorial tablet.  There is a full list of names on that linked post on the Barnsley War Memorials Project site and a larger picture of the tablet itself.

As you can see the Memorial plaque is a lovely marble tablet, with more recent additions in slate either side for the Second World War names.  I'm so glad it didn't fall and break when the wall collapsed!

Not Neglecting You - Honest!

I've only been posting once a week while I get my head around my current Open University module and the Barnsley War Memorials Project.  Sorry about that, but you will find plenty of information on the latter site now, a list of war memorials that we know about, a few added that we have discovered and a start on researching some of the soldiers on my own chosen project, Monk Bretton.

Open University logo: Blue shield with a hole and text.
My Open University module is causing me a bit of angst.  It's the first presentation of the A327 War, Peace and Modernity: Europe 1914-1989 module and there are a few teething problems.  Too much online reading, an overwhelming choice of independent study resources from which we are meant to choose about four hours worth of stuff ... and TMAs (Tutor Marked Assignments) that appear to be being set at the wrong time for what we have studied, with no advice given on how to attack them and marked very, very harshly.  I'm not used to getting mediocre marks! Grrr!  I noticed on the Facebook group this morning that two of the younger students have just withdrawn and another is thinking about it.  As it is most people's last module they don't want to risk a low mark reducing their overall grade, and I can't say I blame them.  I had hoped for a good mark myself, but it is less important for me at my time of life I suppose, so I'll keep soldiering on.  Second World War next week! and my chosen topic for TMA3 is "How did the Second World War change the lives of European Women?", so hopefully I can start making notes for that soon.

Grainy photo of short haired youngish man with pale uniform.  Caption is a link to page about him.
Thomas Knight DCM
Meanwhile on War Memorials I have created a page for each soldier which can be accessed via the list of names on both the page for the impressive tablet in Monk Bretton church and the memorial on Cross Street.  The pages follow a simple template, and are not 'stories' like the ones I post on this blog, so you might find a bit of duplication in the facts at least.  The problem I have with historical research and especially with research in the newspapers is that it is very easy to get carried away ... if I get chance later today I might just tell you a story that intrigued me earlier this week.

I would love to have some time to revisit the early 19th century pub inventories in the Barnsley Archives, they seem to make very popular blog posts and they are fascinating to read.  They are a bit tiring to study however, a lot of small, difficult to decipher handwriting and obscure terms for household objects to wrestle with so I just don't feel I have the energy to spare for them at the moment.  In the New Year, I promise I will get back to them.  So please, Archive staff, don't send my box back to the outstore just yet!

For the Cudworth Local History and Heritage Group I have just designed a leaflet to advertise the group.  You can download a .pdf here. We have booked a table for the Barnsley History Day on 23 February 2014.  One of the members has produced some posters for my talk on Cudworth WW1 Soldiers which will be on 5 February 2014 in Cudworth Community Fire Station from 10am to 12 noon and I saw one stuck up in the library on Wednesday.  Very nice.
A colour photo of the baubles on my christmas tree, with my bay window in the background.

And in case you hadn't noticed, Christmas is coming.  Argh!  Haven't written the cards yet or wrapped anything!  Must get on with it!  Trying to get in the mood by playing Christmas music while catching up on minutes and emails. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers! xx

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Many Memorials at Monk Bretton

Over the past few weeks I have been searching through the digitised Barnsley Chronicle at Barnsley Archives for mentions of war memorials after the First World War.  I have been asked to present a talk to the Friends of Barnsley Archives in November next year and given that I had already spoken to them about First World War Soldiers I thought a suitable topic would be the War Memorials of Barnsley. 
Barnsley War Memorial in front of the Town Hall

Since beginning this research in September I have found that war memorials began to be discussed during the war, for example the first mention I have found of a memorial in Cudworth is in January 1917, so I will need to amend my original search parameters to include the war years.  I have, so far, searched through 1919-1921 and found hundreds of mentions of the topic of memorials in the Barnsley area.  Opinions differed on what was the proper way of commemorating the men (and women) who had fallen.  The widows of servicemen, especially those who lacked a grave to visit (no bodies were repatriated in the First World War, apart from the Unknown Soldier who was buried in Westminster Abbey) wanted a tangible site at which to mourn.  Some returning service men suggested cottage hospitals, cottages for widows and disabled servicemen and others wanted a suitable memorial to remind future generations about the ultimate sacrifice made by their comrades.  As a consequence of my research I become involved in the Barnsley War Memorials Project which hopes to co-ordinate the discovery, recording and research of any and all memorials in the Barnsley area. 
A map snip showing the location of Monk Bretton
Location of Monk Bretton to the North East of Barnsley
(a 1920s Bartholomew's map from NLS)

In the Barnsley Chronicle in February 1919 memorial windows were suggested for St Paul's church at Monk Bretton and at Smithies and Old Mill along with brass tablets inside the buildings and stone tablets outside.  Two weeks later a letter to the Chronicle condemned this plan as a waste of money and suggested building houses instead and the debate continued through into March.  It was suggested that photographs of the fallen men with their names and honours attached should be hung in Smithies Wesleyan Reform Chapel, Old Mill Chapel and Smithies Working Men's Club. One correspondent noted that "90% of the men who have gone were Non-Conformists" and objected to the sole memorial being in Monk Bretton Church.  

Part of a newspaper cutting listing the names of the members of Monk Bretton WMC who served in the First World War.
Barnsley Chronicle
26 Mar 1921
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)

In September 1919 an appeal appeared in the paper for names to be submitted for the memorial and then I note nothing more until a plaque is unveiled in June 1920 at Cliffe Bridge Wesleyan Chapel and then in March 1921 a Roll of Honour unveiled in Monk Bretton Working Men's Club.  I wonder what was actually decided upon for Smithies and Old Mill?

Forty-nine names are mentioned in the newspaper article (left) printed in the Barnsley Chronicle on 26 March 1921.  These were not just the seven who fell, but all members of Monk Bretton Working Men's Club who served.  A list of the names can be seen here and on the Barnsley War Memorials Project. I don't know if this Roll of Honour still exists - can anyone help me?

The memorial in St Paul's Monk Bretton was unveiled on 22nd May 1921.  It took the form of an large alabaster tablet with the figure of St George in the centre and the names of 61 one men and one woman were inscribed to either side.  It was placed on the wall of the north aisle, where the OH and I were very pleased to see it yesterday afternoon.  I spoke to the Vicar, Father Kevin Maddy, and asked if he knew of anyone who was already researching the names on the memorial.  He wasn't aware of anyone so I offered my services.  I have already researched one name, that of John Thomas Johnson who is a relative by marriage of the OH.  His story can be found in one of my previous posts.

A large alabaster tablet.  The top section has the inscription "Monk Bretton holds in Grateful Memory her Brave Dead who gave their lives for King and Country in the Great War 1914-1919 May they Rest in Peace" surmounted by a semi circular extension enclosing a wreath.  Below are three panels, the central one holds a picture of St George, on either side are the lists of names.  The whole is surrounded by a mosaic border and carved raised borders in the stone.  There is a ledge below on which is resting a poppy wreath.
The memorial tablet in St Paul's church Monk Bretton

A transcription of the names can be found here and on the Barnsley War Memorials Project.

Also in the church at Monk Bretton is a Memorial Book.  This lists the same names as the memorial tablet and can be found in a glass case in a window at the back/west end of the church.  Pictures of both the memorial plaque, the memorial book and many other pictures around the church plus memorial inscriptions from the churchyard can be found in a DVD published by the Barnsley Family History Society - and available from GenFair.
Two isolated pillars set on blocks of stone inscribed with names. Between the two is a bench.  The whole set in a paved and bordered garden with a high wall at the back.
Monk Bretton War Memorial on Cross Street, Monk Bretton

You might be wondering when I going to mention the War Memorial I visited some months ago on Cross Street, Monk Bretton.  Well, it hasn't come up in the newspapers yet.  Unhappily this means that the information for this memorial on the Imperial War Museum's War Memorials Archive is incorrect as it notes the unveiling of this memorial to be 22 May 1921, which I have just discovered is the date of the unveiling of the memorial in the church.  I am sure that if this memorial was dedicated at the same time some mention would have been made in the newspapers, so I can only assume I must keep looking.  The memorial lists casualties from both World Wars, however the dates 1914 and 1918 are carved into each pillar, suggesting it was originally erected to commemorate the First World War.  The names on this memorial can be found on the Barnsley War Memorials Project.

I suppose that's what I like about all of my family and local history research, it often seems that no sooner have you solved one mystery than another appears.  When I find the answer I'll let you know!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

One of those happy moments - evidence from a vanished church

Today, during my trawl of the digitised Barnsley Chronicle in Barnsley Archives I found the newspaper report of the unveiling of a memorial tablet in St John's church in the Barebones area of Barnsley.  This was one of those *ahhhh* moments for me as this church was demolished in the late 1960s.  A few months ago I found an appeal in the Chronicle from February 1919 asking for names to be submitted for a memorial, so I did hope it was only a matter of time until I found the actual report of the unveiling.  I have had my fingers crossed ever since that when it did appear it would include a list of names.
Grayscale photo of a church in the background and a half built structure with scaffolding surrounding it in the foreground.
St John's Church on Joseph Street, Barnsley in the 1960s
The building in front is one of blocks of flats on Union Street
(picture from Yococo)

And it does ... 140 of them.  I have added them to the Barnsley War Memorials Project on their own page, so I won't reproduce them here. 

Newspaper cutting reporting the unveiling of a brass tablet in Buckley Street Church.
Barnsley Chronicle 22 Oct 1921
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)
I have just cross checked the names against a query run on the OH's family tree to see if any of the men are related to him.  Two names match, George Stathers (lived on Copper Street) and Joseph Woodcock (lived on Wood Street) both related by marriage. 

Oddly the names I had been expecting, Walter Clarke Priestley (lived on Duke Street) and Frank Armitage (lived on Blucher Street) who are much closer relatives, did not appear, however I also found a mention of a brass tablet being unveiled at Buckley Street Primitive Methodist Church, which is nearby.  On his service records Frank's religion is given as Wesleyan so maybe I'll find him there.  Unfortunately there are no names mentioned in this cutting (left) so we will have to see if we can get access to the church to have a look around. 

I have noticed that the number of memorials is proliferating.  I searched from August to December 1921 today and found memorials unveiled by the Barnsley Swimming Club, the Barnsley Cordwainers Society, the Barnsley Branch of the Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers (one of the forerunners of the British Legion) and at Wortley Golf Club.  This is in addition to memorials in Darfield, Hoylandswaine, Wortley, Hoyle Mill, Mapplewell, Wentworth, Worsbro' Common, Wombwell, and Penistone.  I wonder if the tardiness of Barnsley Council in erecting the main town memorial had anything to do with this dispersal of memory around the area.  The feeling seems to be that people wanted something tangible to commemorate the fallen men, and if one big memorial was not provided then they would do their own! 

Next week I move onto the 1922 newspapers, but I know that the main Barnsley War Memorial wasn't unveiled until 1925 (according to the War Memorials Archive).  I look forward to reading more about its planning and erection in the Chronicle - estimates of its likely cost in the newspaper reports so far are in the region £10,000, which, as you can imagine has caused a certain amount of complaint from people who were of the opinion that the money would be better spent elsewhere. Hopefully when it does materialise all differences will be put aside, at least for a while.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Discovering More War Memorials - and more people who care! Jump, Bolton on Dearne and Hood Green

Yesterday at Barnsley Archives I met and chatted to two people who are also very interested in recording and preserving the information on our local war memorials.  One was a lady whom I've seen there many times, working hard transcribing and indexing for the Archives as a volunteer, the other a gentleman whom I've not talked to before.

A tall white stone obelisk war memorial, with green hedges behind.
The Jump & Hemingfield War Memorial
(photo from BWM - WW2)

Jump and Hemingfield War Memorial is located on the edge of the cemetery on Cemetery Road in Jump.  SP has researched nearly all of the names on the memorial and is hoping to deposit her work in the Barnsley Archives in due course.  Anyone who has an ancestor on the memorial is welcome to contact SP to find out more.  There is a page for this memorial with a list of names and her contact information on the new Barnsley War Memorials Project.  The page also includes links to the memorials listings on other sites.  This memorial lists 54 names from the First World War and 21 from the Second World War. 

Later I was handed a little booklet entitled "Barnsley and District War Memorials Calendar Book 2014".  This has been produced by the Dearne Memorial Group to raise funds for the Dearne Renaissance Centre.  The Dearne Memorial Group has indexed all of the cemeteries in the Barnsley area and made the records easily searchable online with results available for a very small fee.  If you don't know where your ancestors were buried I would recommend a visit to this site.  Remember it includes cemeteries, not churchyards, but there again most churchyards filled up pretty quickly in the 19th century so ancestors who died after about 1860 are quite likely to be on here.

Bolton upon Dearne has two existing War Memorials, one in the church and one in a school playground.  This second memorial was recently featured in the Barnsley Chronicle, as it is under threat because the area is to be redeveloped now the school has relocated.  It lists just 45 names, men who had been pupils at the Bolton upon Dearne Board School who lost their lives in the First World War.  It is a wonderfully different design, looking like an inglenook fireplace, the names of the men are listed on the beam above the opening.  I will have put the pictures and links I have found for it onto a page on the Barnsley War Memorials Project - with all due thanks to the Barnsley Chronicle, the Dearne Memorial Group and the Mexborough and District Heritage Society (incidentally their site has a brilliant list and photos of all the memorials in their area).
Close up of the Bolton upon Dearne Old School Memorial
(from Mexborough and District Heritage Society's site)

The gentleman who had brought in the booklets, PF, told me all about their most recent project - to raise funds to erect a new memorial to the fallen men and women of Bolton Upon Dearne, Goldthorpe and Highgate which will be placed in Bolton upon Dearne Cemetery.  They have already collected nearly 300 names from the First, Second and Falklands wars.  They do need more donations, which can be made to The Dearne Towns War Memorial Appeal - contact Peter Shields or go to the Dearne Memorials site to make a donation online.

Finally, as I browsed through the little booklet (I've sent you a donation PF and PS!) I found a picture of a memorial that had not appeared on any of my lists up to now. 
Hood Green War Memorial on Google Maps

Funnily enough the OH and I passed through Hood Green on one of our drives around Barnsley to photograph pubs and war memorials only a couple of weeks ago, but as I hadn't known about this one I have no actual photograph of my own yet. The above is from Google Streetview - but of course it's not clear enough to make out the names!  As far as I can make out from the picture in the Dearne Memorials calendar there are between 15 and 20 names on this memorial - which, when you consider how small Hood Green is, is quite shocking. I look forward to the next time the OH and I are out and about - I know where we are going!

Yesterday was a very interesting day and it was lovely to meet other people who are as keen as myself, JA and GB to preserve and record these memorials.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Mysterious Worsborough Heroes - Barnsley Chronicle 6th November 1920

In gothic font - The Barnsley Chronicle and underneath "and Penistone, Mexbro' Wath and Hoyland Journal
Header from Barnsley Chronicle early 20th century (from Barnsley Archives)
As I work my way through the digitised Barnsley Chronicle in Barnsley Archives looking for mentions of war memorials in the post First World War years the story of the commemoration of the men of Barnsley gets more and more complex.
I have already mentioned that some villages erected their memorials much quicker than others, and in some places there was a lot of discussion about the proper form of such memorials.  Last week I found a mention of a plaque in Worsborough Parish Church which was unveiled on 31st October 1920.  I copied the cutting because it included a list of names, any list of names is like gold to a family and local historian, no matter what the context!

It's the first one I have looked at this evening and it has given me a new mystery.  Now it is possible that someone who attends the Worsbrough church(es) may well be able to help me out with this straight away, but getting in churches isn't the easiest thing these days so I would appreciate any help.

Barnsley Chronicle 6 Nov 1920 (from Barnsley Archives)
There was an extra 'o' in Worsbrough until about 50 years ago when it was officially dropped, so both spellings are right and although mostly I see Worsbro' with the apostrophe at the end in hand written sources, it also appears in this newspaper cutting.

The piece mentions that the memorial is a "mural tablet" and that it's in the interior of the church.  I have photos of the  combined war memorial at Worsbrough St Thomas's and there is a transcription on the Worsbrough Local History Society's website.

This plaque appears to be an additional memorial, erected earlier than the war memorial in the churchyard which was unveiled on 24 December 1924 according to the Worsbrough Local History Society's page.
War memorial outside St Thomas's church,
Worsbrough Dale

I don't have a problem with there being two memorials, although the plaque does not appear on the Imperial War Museum (IWM) War Memorial Archive, whereas there is an entry for the war memorial itself.   I imagine the local people wanted to make the memorial more accessible and impressive and suitable for Remembrance Day wreath laying and so on.  Maybe they received further donations after the plaque was unveiled and so decided to erect the memorial as well.  Further investigations in the newspapers may help with this.

No, my problem is that some of the names in the newspaper piece are of men who are not on the memorial.  Given that the memorial is the later of the two I would have expected it to be the other way around, with additional names on the memorial, maybe of men who died of wounds after 1920 or whose families came forward with their names too late to be included on the plaque.

There are 46 names listed in the newspaper cutting and 112 on the memorial.  But only five of the names in the cutting are on the memorial!

Capt W Elmhirst,
Pte F Abrahams,
Pte J H Rodgers
Lieut E C Elmhirst
Pte W Rodgers

Forty-one of the names listed as being on the plaque in the church do not appear on the memorial.  This is very odd. 

York and Lancs: Capt G A G Hewitt, Sergt G Aimer, Sergt J T Draisy, L/Cpl W Rushworth, L/Cpl W H Whitehead, Pte O Sanderson, Pte A Naylor, Pte G Weldrick, Pte J A Walton, Pte J H T Skelton,  Pte W Booth, Pte L Bassender, Pte F Burkinshaw, Pte J Booth, Pte E Jackson.
Duke of Wellington’s:  Pte J Hargate, Pte R E Burkinshaw.
Notts and Derby: Pte F Waller
South Staffords: Pte H Waller
KOYLI: Pte J Richardson, Pte S J Mayes
Royal Fusiliers: L/Cpl E Fripp
Grenadier Guards: Tpr J Hayhurst
Royal West Kents: Pte H A Young
Durham Light Infantry: Pte J Carr
Coldstream Guards: L/Cpl T Spencer,  Pte G W Kellett
RAMC: Pte C D Thorpe, Pte N Skelton
Motor Transport (ASC): Cpl A Utley
Royal Engineers: Cpl J Gallagher, Spr L Smith
Manchesters: Pte F W Bartle
Northumberland Fusiliers: Sergt E B Moody, MM
Royal Artillery: Dvr J A Butcher
Connaught Rangers: Pte T Goodyear
Oxford and Bucks LI: Pte T Higgins
Lancs Fusiliers: Pte W F Bromich
Border Regiment: Pte T Clark
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve: A/B E T Carrington
Yorks Dragoons: Pte C Armitage

I know there are several churches in Worsbrough, so maybe these men appear on another memorial.  After all the newspaper cutting doesn't actually say which church the Parish Church is.  It could be St Mary's in Worsbrough Village.  But if that is the case why do five of them appear on the memorial at Worsbrough Dale?
1917 face of the memorial at St Luke's
church, Worsbrough Common

I have photos of the memorial at St Luke's church in Worsbrough Common.  Two of the names from the newspaper cutting are on that memorial.

Yorks Dragoons: Pte C Armitage
York and Lancs: Capt G A G Hewitt

But that still leaves thirty-eight men somewhere else maybe?

I'm confused.

I've tried looking  a couple of the names up on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site.  GW Kellett was from Birdwell and RE Burkinshaw is actually buried in St Mary's churchyard in Worsbrough.  J Hayhurst is also from Birdwell as is O Sanderson - is this a pattern?  Should I be looking for another memorial in Birdwell or in Worsbrough Village somewhere?

Some of the names don't even appear on the CWGC.  Aimer and Draisy and Bassender for example, I didn't search the whole list - have they been misspelt in the newspaper article?

Can anyone help me?

Launching the new Barnsley War Memorials Project

Barnsley Town Hall and War Memorial
I've been a bit busy these last few days launching a new newsletter and index blog for the Barnsley War Memorials Project.

Myself and a few other people were concerned that research of memorials in Barnsley might be getting duplicated, whilst research done by individuals on their own special or local memorial isn't being recognised or isn't available to other researchers.

We had our first meeting last week and there was support for the idea of providing a centralised index of all the Fallen of Barnsley in one place, in paper based folders in Barnsley Archives and Online. This wiil cover the whole of Barnsley linking to information already available and indicating areas still to be studied.

I have been researching War Memorials for the last couple of months for my own pleasure, it's an excuse to get the OH to drive me around to various churches while he takes pictures of pubs for Barnsley CAMRA's magazine.  Plus, whenever the weather is nice I take a wander up the road to Cudworth cemetery and photograph a few more gravestones up there, many of which are turning out to be technically war memorials, by the Imperial War Museum's definition, which is an inscription remembering someone who isn't actually buried on that site.

I wrote a post explaining the different sorts of War Memorials here.

We are hoping to have another meeting in January and anyone who is interested in contributing is welcome.  Please check the Barnsley War Memorials Project news page nearer the time for details.

Friday, 22 November 2013

It's all in a phrase ... "Work Related Activity"

So here's the decision, it landed on my doormat a few hours ago.

Officially for the next eighteen months the DWP have deemed that I "have limited capability for work" and my claim for Employment Support Allowance or National Insurance credits will continue.

But before you start to pat me on the back agreeing that someone has seen sense and realised that Crohn's Disease and Fibromyalgia and the associated side effects (which are similar to Chronic Fatigue or ME) mean that I just can't hold down a regular job  - just before you think there's justice in the world - you have to read the next paragraph too.
A picture of the letter telling me I have been put in the WRAG again
The decision - it's complicated!

There's a machine printed tick in the box before the heading "Work Related Activity Group".

The judgement is "you do not have limited capability for work related activity and you have been placed in the work related activity group", that's the WRAG.  Get used to that acronym I'll be using it a lot for the next year or so.

Let's review that:
I have limited capability to work .... but I do NOT have limited capability for work related activity.

The DWP and ATOS accept that I can't work at a regular job, BUT in their eyes I am fit enough to take part in some work related activity that they will decide. 

Sorry, but did I misunderstand?  I'm not fit for work! you said so! and yet you are expecting me to attend the Job Centre, waste the time of some poor 'specialist personal advisor' and undertake goodness knows what other kind of 'relevant activity' you might throw in my direction.  Note to DWP - I have been ill since 2003, my last day in full time work was in 2009, I have had nothing but doctors' appointments, consultants appointments and tests and test and tests ever since and I am not going to get any better!  Recently I had another colonoscopy and a gastroscopy and a CT scan and none of them were good news - it wasn't 'the end of the world' but it wasn't a New Dawn either.  I will be ill like this for ever!

My friends have just been suggesting on Facebook that I look into part time teaching or some other self employment - I am trying to establish myself as a Local History speaker, but somehow I think that the four, expenses only, bookings I have got so far for 2014 aren't going to do any more than start to repay the OH for the nice shiny leaflets he had printed for me.  I can't commit to teaching, I tried that, I can't guarantee to turn up to a regular session, I will inevitably fall foul of something or other and end up spending a week in bed and another couple of weeks being dodgy, just like I did last month and I'm only just coming out of it now. 

If I don't participate in the activities the DWP specify it "may affect your Employment and Support Allowance".  That's my NI credits actually, I haven't had any ESA for over eighteen months as the OH (my other half) works full time.  So presumably if I'm ill on one of the days I have to go and be 'active' that will count against me rather than prove that I'm actually too ill to work - oh, dear it's all a bit too complicated and circular.

What if I give it all up  and don't bother to attend? - I probably have enough NI credits for my pension by now - I will completely fall off their statistics and they'll be able to crow about another scrounger who has been found to be claiming a benefit they weren't entitled to.

Errm ... I'll just reiterate - YOU  - the DWP - have just agreed AGAIN I have 'limited capability for work'.  Why do I have to keep proving it?