Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Just One Street - Waltham Street off Sheffield Road in 1891

My interest in history began back in 1991 when a family friend asked me about names in my family - she started me on the path of a 30 year journey investigating my own and the OH's family trees (and I was happy to research for anyone else who asked or who looked interesting!) By 2012 I had begun to investigate war memorials as a way of finding out more about the OH's servicemen ancestors and now I am in the first year of a PhD studying Barnsley War Memorials. I've come a long way in those 30 years.

Sometimes a photo or a historical image grabs my attention because it says something about my research of all the different varieties. Today's blog post is about a page of the 1891 census return and in particular some families who I could see at a glance were people whom I knew more about.

1891 census for Barnsley, Piece 3770, Folio 120B - showing Waltham Street

I had begun the day by looking for more information about Esther Fisher who married into the Kellett family who are ancestors of the OH. I don't just go backwards in direct lines in our trees, I like to look at brothers and sisters and the families of wives and husbands who married into our families. It is always useful to examine a page of census information to see what you can find out about the area where your family lived.

Waltham Street is off Sheffield Road and useful sites for photographs of the area before the clearances of the 1930s and 1960s are The Tasker Trust and YOCOCO. You might also try the Barnsley Streets books from Pen & Sword publishers, Waltham Street appears in Volume 1.

The top of Waltham Street (with thanks to the Tasker Trust) Image ref: EGT1442

1906 map of Sheffield Road showing Waltham Street (from Old Maps)

Here is a map of the area in 1906 from the Old Maps website, which is also the date and scale of the Alan Godfrey historical maps you can buy from Experience Barnsley (for our area) and online. The houses on Waltham Street are larger than some nearby, and of later date than those on Taylor Row nearby or in Wilson's Piece on the other side of Sheffield Road. The large building at the top of the street on the left was the Rising Sun pub (details on the CAMRA ?What Pub website).

The census page above shows part of the Elliott family, who are living in a Court off Waltham Street, at the top, then:

56 Waltham Street - the Fisher family - William and Sarah with three children and two boarders Harry and Clara Sherburn. William was a Wood Turner and both he and his wife were incomers to Barnsley from Kendal in Westmoreland (now part of Cumbria). Esther, the daughter I was researching, was born in Barnsley in about 1871 and popping back 10 years to 1881 I could see that she had an older sister, Isabella, born in Barnsley in early 1868. So the family had been in Barnsley for at least 23 years by the time of the census shown above. The houses on Waltham Street were quite small, only four rooms (look in the column just before the names) not counting the kitchen. I do wonder how they fitted in the boarders, but I suppose they brought in some extra money for the family. Technically a boarder shares meals with the family, while a lodger has to provide their own. Sarah Fisher died a few months later and is buried in Barnsley Cemetery, William remarried within a year and appeared to have done well for himself moving to Park Road by 1901 (maybe his new wife had a little money - she was also a widow) and running a lodging house on Doncaster Road in 1911. Esther Fisher, aged 19 in this census return, married Alfred Kellett, who was the OH's 1st cousin 3x removed, in 1892.

54 Waltham Street - John and Mary Ledgar - an elderly couple, both from Ireland. Mr Ledgar was a Coal Carter. I hope that at the age of 70 he only had to drive the cart rather than carry the coal - but our ancestors had to do what they could to make a living. They appeared to have a lodger too - although the census entry is amended showing that John Clarke, age 24, was a separate household within their house although how they separated the four rooms is a puzzle. There was a second lodger at number 54 listed out of order lower down the page, John Corley, aged 20. Goodness knows how they fitted him in as well.

52 Waltham Street - the Law family - this is a family I know quite well as they had several sons who served in the First World War. Head of the household was Fergus Law, aged 50, a Coal Miner, his wife and five children were all fitted into another of the four roomed houses. Sons Fergus and Walter were killed and son Arthur survived service in the Royal Engineers. I wrote a post about Fergus in 2017 after visiting his grave in Rawmarsh Cemetery. Fergus Law, head of the household was born in Barnsley in 1841 and his parents had married at St George's church here, but I have not yet found details of his father during my research. He appears to have gone missing before the 1841 census return so I don't know his age or where he was born. One for the 'to do' list.

50 Waltham Street - the Jaques family - this family is distantly related to the OH as a cousin, Ernest Jaques, also married into the Kellett family.  I have researched the Jaques family back to the beginning of the 19th century in Barnsley. At least five members of the extended family served in the First World War, and there may have been more as the Jaques ran to large families and there were a number of sons the right age to have served that I haven't researched yet. Bearing in mind that consciption was introduced in early 1916 by the end of the war most men aged 18 to 50 had been called up. Tom Jaques, son of the Tom Jaques aged 21 in the census return above, was killed in 1917 at Bullecourt. Another fatality in the family was George Frederick Jaques, a cousin of the above family, who was accidently killed whilst guarding a military camp in South Shields, Durham. He was buried in Barnsley Cemetery and has a Commonwealth War Graves Commission gravestone. An older man, he had served in the Boer War. Mary Ann Jaques, head of the household at 50 Waltham Street had been widowed in 1887 when her husband Peter, a Quarryman, died age 50 at 7 Copper Street. I can find nothing about his death in the Barnsley Chronicle so I can only assume it was due to natural causes. He was also buried in Barnsley Cemetery.

A few days ago I discovered a Jaques was killed in the Swaithe Main Colliery disaster in 1875, Henry Jaques aged 27, a cousin of the deceased Peter Jaques.

48 Waltham Street - the Carroll family - is the last household on this page. One member is on the next page. I have not researched this family. 

But having looked up this page, 1891 Barnsley, Piece 3770, Folio 121F, I scanned quickly down and found a very familar name!

40 Waltham Street -the Priestley family - these were the OH's direct ancestors. Robert and Fanny Priestley, from Nottinghamshire, are his 2x great grandparents with Fanny also a Kellett before her marriage. In 1891 there were five children at home, although they had thirteen in all eventually. Robert was a coal miner at this point in time and in this census one of his teenage sons was already a hurrier down the pit. The OH's great grandmother was just six years old - my mother-in-law remembers her as her 'little grandma' who didn't pass away until 1970. I find it amazing that someone I might have known (if I'd lived in Barnsley in those days) might have been able to give me a first hand account of life on Waltham Street in the 19th century. I never knew my own great grand parents as my father and mother were by far the youngest children in their respective families.

The youngest Priestley son, Walter Clarke Priestley, who was born in 1896, a few years after the census return above, was lost in First World War in April 1918 as the Germans made their last advances. His older brothers Robert and William, who were listed with their parents in the 1891 census, both served and survived the war. The husbands of two of the Priestley daughters also served and survived. Walter, William and their brothers-in-law were all in the Barnsley Pals, either the 13th or 14th Battalions of the York and Lancaster Regiment. 

I wrote a series of posts about the Priestley family back in 2014. These two concern the First World War. The Priestley Home Front pt1 and The Priestley Home Front pt.2.

The Kellett family, who linked several of these households in Waltham Street together, came to Barnsley from Retford in Nottinghamshire between 1868 and 1874. I can see from the births of the children in the various branches that Robert and Fanny came here first and must have sent word back to their siblings and cousins as other branches arrive over the next few years. Fanny's father George Kellett and her youngest sister also moved to Barnsley before 1874. The family had been mainly agricultural labourers, although George Kellett had a stint as a toll-bar keeper and as a publican. 

Examine just part of one street and you can see inward migration, changes in occupation over time, family experience of mining disasters, the First World War and even (at a stretch) make a connection to the present day. I recommend you expand your family history into the streets around the area where your ancestors lived, you will find out so much more about the way people lived over a hundred years ago.

This is the top of Waltham Street on Google Maps today from a similar angle to the photo above. A lot of the terraced houses have been replaced by bungalows, the pub is a Chinese restaurant and you can't even access it from Sheffield Road because of some traffic calming bollards. Very different.

Waltham Street (Google Maps)


Thanks for reading and good hunting.

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Our Ancestors Didn't Have It Easy - what with Pit Disasters and the First World War

About five years ago I wrote the story of one Barnsley born man, William Malkin, who emigrated to Australia in 1909. He left behind his wife and child behind (I don't know why) and made a new life for himself over there which caused some problems for his wife in Barnsley after he was killed on 28 September 1916 whilst serving in the Australian armed forces.

Pte. William Malkin, whose parents live at Ward Green, Worsbro' Dale, and who emigrated to Australia seven years ago, has fallen on active service with the "Anzacs". (Sheffield Daily Telegraph, 28 October 1916, p.10.)

His wife's story was quite inspiring for me - she was Barnsley's First Health Visitor and remarried after the war to an ex-serviceman with his own problems. 

From the Barnsley Chronicle 26 Dec 1914
with thanks to Barnsley Archives

Click the links above to read those two stories - or carry on reading here - I will try to make this post stand alone but there will be more detail about William and Frances' stories in the posts above.

Firstly I'll mention the Swaithe Main Colliery Disaster which is how I linked these stories to family trees that I am researching. The above is a link to a dedicated website with full details of the events of 6 December 1875 and a list of names of the 143 men killed that day.  I discovered that my OH (other half) and one of his friends have family links to several of the men who lost their lives and, in an unhappy co-incidence, to the soldier, William Malkin, mentioned above.

One of the men killed down Swaithe Main that day was William Greenbank, aged 27, from Lancashire. He had married a Barnsley girl, Hannah Crank, in Lancaster on 13 November 1871 and moved to Worsborough (the second 'o' in Worsbrough comes and goes over the years before finally vanishing in the mid twentieth century). Hannah's father William Crank (sorry about all the Williams in this story - it was obviously a popular family name) was from Ulverston in Lancashire but had somehow moved to Barnsley before 1850 where he married Rachel Sedgwick that year at St Mary's in the town centre. Here's a snip of a section of their family tree to help you sort it out. 

William Crank b.1823 in Ulverston,
and some of his descendants

William and Rachel had six children in all, the first three were born in Barnsley and the last three in Ulverston. As the two places are 109 miles apart by the most direct route I can see on Google Maps, it fascinates me that the family moved back and forth so much. 

Their moves must have been driven by the availability of work. In Ulverston the main occupation appears to have been Iron Ore mining, and in Barnsley before 1850 it was weaving. In 1851 when William and Rachel were living at Croft Ends in Barnsley town centre (roughly where New Street and Wellington Street meet at the top of the hill nowadays) William was listed on the census return as a Weaver as were both his and Rachel's fathers on their marriage register entry in 1850. The linen trade had brought hundreds of men and their families to Barnsley from across Britain - from Ireland and Lancashire where they had experience in weaving linen and from North and West Yorkshire where men had experience in weaving wool.

But hand loom linen weaving as a well paid job for men in Barnsley was coming to an end by the mid 1850s with the introduction of power looms, which could be more cheaply worked by women, and William Crank may have decided to take his new Barnsley family home to Ulverston where there was better paid work in the Iron Ore mines.

Sadly, as indicated on my snip by a little explosion symbol, William Crank was killed in a mining accident. On 25th November 1868 William and another man were drilling in the No.41 Pit at Lindal Moor, near Ulverston, to make a hole ready for blasting. The second man walked away to attend to some other work and a few minutes later 'he heard a tremendous explosion' and when he ran back he found William had been killed on the spot. An inquest late returned a verdict of 'Accidental death caused by a blast of gunpowder'. (Details from Soulby's Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer 3 December 1868 p.5 available via Find My Past or the British Newspaper Archive.)

William's widow Rachel and some of her surviving children returned to Barnsley between 1871 and 1875. This was within a few years of William's death and Rachel may have been seeking support from her own family in Barnsley. One son, John Crank, who was already married and employed as a Iron Ore miner, remained in Ulverston at that time, though he too eventually came to Barnsley. Another son, George Crank, had met a girl in Lancashire, but they had both arrived in Barnsley by 1879 when they married at St Mary's church in Worsborough village. Rachel's eldest daughter Hannah is the Barnsley born girl who had married William Greenbank in Lancaster in 1871 and they appear to have travelled to Barnsley with or soon after Rachel's return.  Hannah had been born some months before her parents' marriage but William appears to have always considered her his daughter when completing the census returns and she names him as her father when she marries. 

William Greenbank and Hannah Crank's 1871 marriage entry (from Ancestry)

William and Hannah Greenbank were living at Kingwell, Worsborough Dale, in the widowed Rachel Crank's household in 1875. They had one daughter, Mary Alice Greenbank, born in 1872, possibly in Ulverston (although later census returns mention various places in Cheshire). I know about William's living arrangements because Rachel, his mother-in-law, was a witness at the inquest after the Swaithe Main Disaster.  Images of the Coroner's Notebooks are available on Ancestry.

RACHEL CRANK of King Well in Worsbrough aforesaid, Widow, on her oath says, The deceased Wm Greenbank was 28 years old & a Colliery underground labourer. He was my son in law & lived with me. He set off to his work about a quarter past 5 o'clock on the 6th inst: & I saw his dead body the same day at Swaith Main Colliery. His right foot was off & and he was much bruised all over his body. He was in a club.

We also know that William Greenbank was buried at St Thomas's, Worsborough Dale, as the funerals of the men killed in the disaster were reported in the Barnsley Chronicle. From the details in the report I calculate that William's funeral took place on 11 December. Other funerals took place across Barnsley in the following week and all were reported in a very long article on 18 December 1875.

No fewer than twenty interments took place at St. Thomas's burial ground, Worsbro' Dale, on Saturday afternoon. The names of the deceased were: Charles Henry Vine (20), Whitecross Farm, Swaithe; William Hudson (38), Worsbro' Dale; Joseph Robinson Mowbray (19), Worsbro' Common; Benjamin Bennett (26), the Row, Worsbro' Dale; Leonard Galloway (16), Worsbro' Common; Tom Kilburn (49), Swaithe; Charles Goodman (19), Swaithe; William Laughton (17), Whitecross Farm, Swaithe; Joseph Harrison (20), Worsbro' Common; Alfred Hoyland (29), Ward Green, Worsbro'; John Semley (17), Swaithe; Charles Harrison (13), John Henry Gilbert (20), and George Beresford (53), all from one house in Swaithe; William Greenbank (27), King Well, Worsbro'; William Balmforth (22), Worsbro' Dale; John Dawber (24), Worsbro' Dale: John Thomas Smith (18), King Well; and the boy who was not identified. 

The full article takes up several columns in the broadsheet newspaper. 

The Crank/Greenbank family had suffered the loss of a second male breadwinner in just over seven years. 

Hannah had to seek work to support herself and her little daughter and in the 1881 census I found her working as a Housemaid in the household of Samuel Joshua Cooper of Mount Vernon - famous in Barnsley as the founder of the Cooper Art Galley. I wondered how the daughter and widow of miners had the experience to be a Housemaid in a wealthy household, but on investigation in earlier census returns I discovered that she had worked in 'service' before her marriage. She may also have been charitably viewed by the Cooper family as the widow of a man killed in the course of his work. While Hannah was working her little daughter Mary Alice Greenbank was boarded out to an elderly couple in the Ward Green area (again according to the 1881 census returns).

Hannah remarried on 1 October 1881 in Darfield All Saints to William Malkin who was four years her junior. She gave her occupation as Servant at her marrige, and note that she signed the register with a X, William Malkin was a miner but he could write his own name.

William Malkin and Hannah Greenbank's 1881 marriage register entry (from Find My Past)

As a point of interest it is worth noting that parish records for Barnsley can be found online in two separate places - due to the different Diocesan archives where the completed registers from the churches were deposited. The records for churches in Barnsley town centre and places to the north and west can be found in Barnsley Archives and the West Yorkshire Archives in Wakefield and have been published online by Ancestry. The registers for churches to the south, including Worsbrough, Wombwell and Darfield, are in Sheffield Archives and have been published online by Find My Past. Depending on where you live one or the other of these two websites will probably be free to access in your local library. It is worth making enquiries (after the current Covid crisis has passed of course) before you visit to find out what your library has and whether you need to book a computer in advance.

After their marriage Hannah and William Malkin lived at Ward Green and had three children. William Malkin (jnr) who was the young man who married and then emigrated to Australia, and two daughters, Ethel and Florence. Mary Alice Greenbank was also living with William and Hannah in 1901, but not for long as she married Thomas White on 7 April that year. 

Hannah Malkin became a widow again in 1913 with the death of her second husband. She lived until 1920 so she also knew about the death of her solder son William Malkin jnr 1916. William and his wife Frances had one son, Clifton Trevor Malkin who had been living with Hannah in 1911 whilst his mother was working as a Health Visitor. I thought that spoke well of Hannah, caring for her grandson so her daughter-in-law could work, especially after her son had gone to Australia without them. It suggests to me that there was no (or little) ill feeling between the women of the family.

Mary Alice's husband, Thomas White joined the Barnsley Pals (13th Battalion York and Lancaster Regiment) on 26 September 1914 and remained in service without incident until the end of the war. His Service Records are available online. They do not appear to have had any children of their own, although the 1911 census shows that they adopted a little girl.

Hannah's daughter Ethel Malkin married Herbert Simmons on 21 December 1912 and had one daughter, Florence, before the war, and a second, Ruby, on 31 August 1916. Their sons Cyril, Herbert jnr and Joseph were born after the war.  Herbert was a soldier in the Reserve from early 1915 but I am not yet sure whether he served overseas or whether his occupation as a miner kept him at home. He also noted, in his discharge papers, that he had suffered from rheumatism for twelve years and fits (epilepsy?) since he was a child, so he may never have been fit enough to serve overseas.

Hannah's daughter Florence Malkin married Allen Edgar Scales in 1929. She would have been 37 years old by this time so I'd be interested to know what caused her to marry relatively late in life. Allen Scales had also enlisted in the First World War but was discharged shortly afterwards as unfit to serve due to poor vision. Florence and Allen had one daughter, Margaret, born in 1931.

The more I learn about the history of Barnsley the more events and people connect with each other. If I had not already researched Barnsley's First World War soldiers I wouldn't have spotted the significance of  Hannah's second marriage so quickly.  Was her experience unusual for the time? She lost a father and husband in mining accidents and a son in the Great War ... only further research will tell. 

Thank you for reading.


Dedication on the Swaithe Main Memorial in Worsbrough, from the WayMarking website where you can find other pictures of the memorial.