My family

52 Ancestors: Week 23 – Bridge

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I am way behind with my writing but I am working on catching up.

I initially couldn’t think of any ancestors with connections to bridges, and wondered which of them may have lived close to a bridge that they must have used on a daily basis.  One of the first villages I looked up was Whatstandwell, Derbyshire.  The first image in my Google search result was a Francis Frith image.

Whatstandwell, The Bridge And Village c.1955

This image is from 1955 and my 2nd great grandmother Elizabeth Hopkinson nee Goodwin died in Whatstandwell in 19571. She and her husband Job Hopkinson had moved to The Bungalow, Whatstandwell, between 19112 and 19263. After living in Whatstandwell for over 30 years I imagine Elizabeth knew this view well.  It has not changed all that much and I expect she would recognise it even today.

I don’t have any record that of Job and Elizabeth’s son Thomas Humphrey Hopkinson lived with them in Whatstandwell, though I know he visited. He was present at his mother’s death, for example.1   Another clue that he too knew Whatstandwell is that his wife Adelaide May Stewardson grew up there.4 She and her siblings attended Crich Carr school between 1909 and 1912 whilst they lived at The Orchard, Whatstandwell.5

On 19th June 1911 the Stewardson family joined the crowd of around 600 people from Whatstandwell and the surrounding villages to celebrate the Coronation of George V. The Derbyshire Times6 paints a wonderful picture of the events of the day. I can just imagine the children  in their fancy dress costumes meeting at the bridge and then following the Salvation Army band as they wave their flags.

The article has been transcribed on the Crich Parish website.

I have mentioned before that Adelaide May Stewardson’s sister Bluebell won the fancy dress competition that day.

There is a hint in the article too that Mrs Stewardson worked at the Post Office with Mrs Kirk and Mr Bowmer, or was it just that the three of them, including “Mr Bowmer at the Post Office displayed garlands, with lanterns, flags, etc.”? I learned about researching Post Office employees during the Pharos Employment Records course I took last month so I will try to follow up on that.

Another thing added to my list is to visit Whatstandwell, and follow the History Walk by Peter Patilla. It begins at the bridge, and passes many buildings and businesses my Hopkinson and Stewardson ancestors must have known.

1Deaths (CR) England. RD Belper, SB Ripley. 23 January 1957. HOPKINSON, Elizabeth. Vol. 3a p. 53.

2 [Census Records] England. Park Head, Crich, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. 02 April 1911. HOPKINSON, Job. RD 436. PN 20985. ED 14. SN 114. : accessed 04 Apr 2009.

3 J&WH Sale & Son Solicitors. (1926) Letter to Job Hopkinson, 16 August.

4 [Census Records] England. “The Orchard” Whatstandwell, Crich, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire. 02 April 1911. STEWARDSON, Robert. RD 436. PN 20985. ED 14. SN 43. : accessed 04 Apr 2009.

5 Crich Carr National (Later Church Of England Primary) School. Admissions. STEWARDSON, Robt. (1909) D4482_2_1. Derbyshire Record Office. Matlock, Derbyshire. National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914. : accessed 14 August 2020.

6 The Derbyshire Times (1911) The Coronation, Derbyshire Rejoicings, Whatstandwell. The Derbyshire Times. 24 June. p. 2b. : accessed 17 August 2021.

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