Categories
My family

Robert Humphrey Hopkinson 1923-1986 – The update

It has been a busy couple of weeks. Else Churchill is packing a huge amount into the Pharos course that I am working on, together with client work, putting courses together for Society of Genealogists and an assessment due for Strathclyde University hasn’t left a lot of time for my own research.

Coming back to my To-Do list for my grandfather:

  1. Order birth certificate. Received. More detail completed for his birth.
  2. Locate death certificate. A copy received from my aunt and cousin. Detail completed in time time.
  3. Investigate using electoral registers when he moved from Foundry Lane to The Common. This will involve a visit to the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock.
  4. Look at newspapers for more information about his accident. Nothing in British Newspaper Archive. Another for Derbyshire Record Office.
  5. Investigate if Richard Johnson and Nephew records are accessible and view them if possible. As far as I can tell staff records have not survived.
  6. Investigate if more information about pre-war work as a farm labourer is available.
  7. Order the will of Mary Barratt died 27 June 1957. Ordered
  8. Look for a baptism record.
  9. Learn more about RAF service. I know the family have the records but I have not read them yet.
  10. NEW Investigate records of Queen Mary Nursing Home. It appears nothing before 1940 survives
DateAgeEventPlaceSources
about 1870Richard Johnson and Nephew Wireworks built in Ambergate. “Richard Johnson & Nephew Wireworks at Ambergate was a major employer of men and women from Crich Parish.”16
1920-1921Ireland partitioned into the Free State and the province of Northern Ireland
29 June 19230Birth. Son of Thomas Humphrey HOPKINSON and Adelaide May STEWARDSON. Born Queen Mary Nursing Home, Derby. His father was a grocers assistant and the family lived at The Bungalow, Whatstandwell, Belper. His mother registered his birth on 27 July 1923. See Picture The Past for a picture of the nursing home. Derby, Derbyshire1, 2
28 February 19262Birth of spouse, Norah May BOWLERBelper, Derbyshire
27 February 19273Birth of sister, Adelaide “Myrtle” HOPKINSONBelper, Derbyshire
20 January 193612George V dies and Edward VIII becomes King.
10 December 193613Edward VIII abdicates to marry Wallace Simpson. George VI accedes to the throne.
20 May 193713Death of mother, Adelaide May Hopkinson, from throat cancer.Blackbrook, Milford, Derbyshire
03 September 193916Outbreak of World War 2
29 September 193916Occupation : farm labourerCrich, Derbyshire6
29 September 1939 – 15 October 194716Lived at 102 The CommonCrich, Derbyshire6, 13, 14
25-26 July 194118Selection for RAF 7
04 September 1941 – 14 September 194618Served in RAF Volunteer Force. Reached rank of Corporal. Trade ARM: Bomb disposalDispersal Centre: Hednesford7
10 May 194521Overseas military service commenced.7
Abt February 194622Marriage of sister to Herbert SlaterBelper, Derbyshire
29 November 194623Military discharge7
28 September – 12 October 194724Marriage banns calledBelper, Derbyshire13
15 October 194724Married Norah May Bowler at the parish church at 2:30pm.
He was working as a fitter at this time. Marriage witnesses William Leslie Webb and Glenda Ann Hopkinson.
Belper, Derbyshire13, 14
4 June 194824Birth of sonBelper, Derbyshire
27 August 195027Accident at work, Richard Johnson and Nephew wireworks. His arm was caught in a machine, badly mangling it and requiring extensive surgery. He worked as a die grinder.Ambergate, Derbyshire8. 9, 10
27 August 195027Lived at 7 Foundry LaneMilford, Belper, Derbyshire10
06 February 195228George VI died and Queen Elizabeth II becomes Queen.
15 February 195329Birth of daughterBelper, Derbyshire
02 September 195734Inherited £50 from great aunt Mary BARRATT11
196138Moved from 102 The Common to 53 Over LaneOpenwoodgate, Belper3, 4, 5, 12
11 August 196138Birth of daughterBelper, Derbyshire
28 December 196441Birth of sonBelper, Derbyshire
24 August 196845Marriage of son at St Peters parish churchBelper, Derbyshire
197248Marriage of daughter
August 197349Birth of grandchildDerbyshire
09 August 197450Birth of granddaughterKent
29 January 197652Death of fatherOpenwoodgate, Belper, Derbyshire
07 December 197753Birth of grandchildDerbyshire
16 June 197955Birth of grandchildDerbyshire
198057Death of sonOpenwoodgate, Belper, Derbyshire
09 September 198057Wrote a willBelper, Derbyshire4
198158Remarriage of daughter
07 December 198259Birth of grandchild
198360Marriage of daughterOpenwoodgate, Belper, Derbyshire
25 December 198562Birth of grandchildCheshire
11 August 198663Died at Derby Royal Infirmary from a chest infection and carcinoma lung. My father registered the death on 13 August 1986. Derby, Derbyshire1, 3
07 October 198663Probate, his estate was left to his widowManchester3, 4

I have left out some detail concerned living people to protect privacy.

There is plenty more I can learn but time to move on to another ancestor.

(c) Ruth Willmore. The link from Robert Hopkinson to Ruth Willmore

If you knew any of the people mentioned or have any other information you think I would be interested in I would love to hear from you. familyhistory@rhoshelyg.me.uk or comment below.

More about Robert Humphrey Hopkinson

52 Ancestors: Week 1 Beginnings

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. This week’s prompt, “Beginnings” is of course a good place to start. I am planning that 2021 is the year I begin again with my family history […]

52 Ancestors: Week 50 – Lines

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 should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I’m nearly there. I was not sure where to take this prompt and decided to type “Lines” […]

52 Ancestors: Week 2 Family Legends

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. This week the prompt is Family Legends. There are two stories I was told about my father’s side of the family. One that he was the oldest […]


References

  1. Deaths (CR) England and Wales. Derby RD. HOPKINSON, Robert Humphrey. 1986. Vol. 6. p. 736.
  2. Births (CR) England and Wales. Derby RD. HOPKINSON, Robert. 3rd Q., 1923. Vol. 7b. p. 1055.
  3. Testamentary records. England. 07 October 1986. HOPKINSON, Robert. Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the grans of probate. https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk : accessed 20 December 2020.
  4. Testamentary records. England. 07 October 1986. HOPKINSON, Robert. Will.
  5. Hopkinson, Bill. (2014) My Great Grandfather2. Email, 22 October.
  6. 1939 Register, England. Crich Common, Derbyshire. HOPKINSON, Robert. Schedule 51/2. RG101/3084G/008/32. National Archives (Great Britain), Kew, England. Collection: 1939 Register. http://ancestry.co.uk : accessed 11 May 2020.
  7. Cresswell, Vicki. (2005) Re: Granpa. Email, 10 August, 10:38.
  8. Bowler, Bett. (2010) Re: Hopkinson. Email, 22 August, 15:27.
  9. Hopkinson, Bill. (2014) My Great Grandfather. Email, 21 October.
  10. Derby Daily Telegraph. (1950) Ambergate Accident. Derby Daily Telegraph. 28 August. p. 12c. https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000521/19500828/062/0012 : accessed 21 December 2020.
  11. Hawksley, Thomas Edgar (?). Probate calculations. BARRATT, Mary. 27 June 1957. Collection: Ruth Willmore.
  12. Directories. England. (1984) Phone book: Derby. British Telecom. p. 212. Collection: British phone books 1880-1984 from the collection held by BT Archives. http://ancestry.co.uk : accessed 26 October 2014.
  13. Banns (PR). England. Belper, St Peter, Derbyshire. 28 September 1947. HOPKINSON, Robert Humphrey and BOWLER, Norah May. Derby Records Office, Matlock, Derbyshire.
  14. Marriages (CR) England. Belper, Derbyshire. 15 October 1947. HOPKINSON, Robert Humphrey and BOWLER, Norah May. Vol. 3a. p. 130.
  15. Images: Photograph. Wedding of Robert HOPKINSON and Norah BOWLER. 15 October 1947. Belper, Derbyshire. Photographer unknown. Colourised by Ian Cresswell. Private collection of Vicky and Ian Cresswell, Belper. [Group photograph of wedding party outside St Peters Church, Belper, Derbyshire.]
  16. Patilla, Peter. Johnson and Nephew Ambergate Wireworks. http://www.crichparish.co.uk/newwebpages/wireworks2.html : accessed 06 February 2022.
  17. Images: Photograph. Robert HOPKINSON and Norah BOWLER with Ruth HOPKINSON. 1974. Location unknown. Photographer Bill Hopkinson[?]. Private collection of Ruth Willmore [Photograph of a couple holding a young child.]
  18. Images: Photograph. Wedding of Bill HOPKINSON and Vera TOMLINSON. 24 August 1968. Belper, Derbyshire. Photographer unknown. Private collection of Ruth Willmore. [Group photograph of wedding party outside St Peters Church, Belper, Derbyshire.]
  19. Images: Photograph. Bob and Norah HOPKINSON with son Bill HOPKINSON. 24 August 1968. Belper, Derbyshire. Photographer unknown. Private collection of Ruth Willmore. [Detail from Group photograph of wedding party outside St Peters Church, Belper, Derbyshire.]
Categories
My family

Robert Humphrey Hopkinson 1923-1986

As I have finally completed the #52Ancestors challenge I have decided to move on to a “do over” of my family history research, one ancestor at a time. For each one I will be checking the accuracy of my research to date from what I have learned, looking for any gaps in my knowledge about them and working out what else I can find out about them.

I have decided to start with my paternal grandfather Robert Humphrey Hopkinson.

(c) Ruth Willmore. The link from Robert Hopkinson to Ruth Willmore

Now though I want to focus on checking my research and identifying the gaps. One good way to do this is to build a timeline.

DateAgeEventPlaceSources
about 1870Richard Johnson and Nephew Wireworks built in Ambergate. “Richard Johnson & Nephew Wireworks at Ambergate was a major employer of men and women from Crich Parish.”16
1920-1921Ireland partitioned into the Free State and the province of Northern Ireland
29 June 19230Birth. Son of Thomas Humphrey HOPKINSON and Adelaide May STEWARDSON.Derby, Derbyshire1, 2
28 February 19262Birth of spouse, Norah May BOWLERBelper, Derbyshire
27 February 19273Birth of sister, Adelaide “Myrtle” HOPKINSONBelper, Derbyshire
20 January 193612George V dies and Edward VIII becomes King.
10 December 193613Edward VIII abdicates to marry Wallace Simpson. George VI accedes to the throne.
20 May 193713Death of mother, Adelaide May Hopkinson, from throat cancer.Blackbrook, Milford, Derbyshire
03 September 193916Outbreak of World War 2
29 September 193916Occupation : farm labourerCrich, Derbyshire6
29 September 1939 – 15 October 194716Lived at 102 The CommonCrich, Derbyshire6, 13, 14
25-26 July 194118Selection for RAF 7
04 September 1941 – 14 September 194618Served in RAF Volunteer Force. Reached rank of Corporal. Trade ARM: Bomb disposalDispersal Centre: Hednesford7
10 May 194521Overseas military service commenced.7
Abt February 194622Marriage of sister to Herbert SlaterBelper, Derbyshire
29 November 194623Military discharge7
28 September – 12 October 194724Marriage banns calledBelper, Derbyshire13
15 October 194724Married Norah May Bowler at the parish church at 2:30pm.
He was working as a fitter at this time. Marriage witnesses William Leslie Webb and Glenda Ann Hopkinson.
Belper, Derbyshire13, 14
4 June 194824Birth of sonBelper, Derbyshire
27 August 195027Accident at work, Richard Johnson and Nephew wireworks. His arm was caught in a machine, badly mangling it and requiring extensive surgery. He worked as a die grinder.Ambergate, Derbyshire8. 9, 10
27 August 195027Lived at 7 Foundry LaneMilford, Belper, Derbyshire10
06 February 195228George VI died and Queen Elizabeth II becomes Queen.
15 February 195329Birth of daughterBelper, Derbyshire
02 September 195734Inherited £50 from great aunt Mary BARRATT11
196138Moved from 102 The Common to 53 Over LaneOpenwoodgate, Belper3, 4, 5, 12
11 August 196138Birth of daughterBelper, Derbyshire
28 December 196441Birth of sonBelper, Derbyshire
24 August 196845Marriage of son at St Peters parish churchBelper, Derbyshire
197248Marriage of daughter
August 197349Birth of grandchildDerbyshire
09 August 197450Birth of granddaughterKent
29 January 197652Death of fatherOpenwoodgate, Belper, Derbyshire
07 December 197753Birth of grandchildDerbyshire
16 June 197955Birth of grandchildDerbyshire
198057Death of sonOpenwoodgate, Belper, Derbyshire
09 September 198057Wrote a willBelper, Derbyshire4
198158Remarriage of daughter
07 December 198259Birth of grandchild
198360Marriage of daughterOpenwoodgate, Belper, Derbyshire
25 December 198562Birth of grandchildCheshire
11 August 198663DiedOpenwoodgate, Belper, Derbyshire1, 3
07 October 198663Probate, his estate was left to his widowManchester3, 4

I have left out some detail concerned living people to protect privacy. Looking through the timeline I have most of the essential information but have the following to do list:

  1. Order birth certificate. This will provide more information about his parents and early home. It will confirm his birth date, though I am confident this is correct as his children told me.
  2. Locate death certificate. This will confirm his date, place and cause of death and may provide other useful information, we must have a copy of this in the family!
  3. Investigate using electoral registers when he moved from Foundry Lane to The Common.
  4. Look at newspapers for more information about his accident.
  5. Investigate if Robert Johnson and Nephew records are accessible and view them if possible.
  6. Investigate if more information about pre-war work as a farm labourer is available.
  7. Order the will of Mary Barratt died 27 June 1957.
  8. Look for a baptism record.
  9. Learn more about RAF service. I know the family have the records but I have not read them yet.
William Leslie Webb, Bob Hopkinson, Norah Hopkinson, William Bowler, Glen Hopkinson. Small bridesmaids Cath and Pen Curtis. Image coloured by Ian Cresswell. [15]

If you knew any of the people mentioned or have any other information you think I would be interested in I would love to hear from you. familyhistory@rhoshelyg.me.uk or comment below.

More about Robert Humphrey Hopkinson

52 Ancestors: Week 1 Beginnings

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. This week’s prompt, “Beginnings” is of course a good place to start. I am planning that 2021 is the year I begin again with my family history […]

52 Ancestors: Week 50 – Lines

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 should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I’m nearly there. I was not sure where to take this prompt and decided to type “Lines” […]

52 Ancestors: Week 2 Family Legends

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. This week the prompt is Family Legends. There are two stories I was told about my father’s side of the family. One that he was the oldest […]


References

  1. Deaths index (CR) England and Wales. Derby RD. HOPKINSON, Robert Humphrey. 1986. Vol. 6. p. 736. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed ?
  2. Births index (CR) England and Wales. Derby RD. HOPKINSON, Robert. 3rd Q., 1923. Vol. 7b. p. 1055. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed ?
  3. Testamentary records. England. 07 October 1986. HOPKINSON, Robert. Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the grans of probate. https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk : accessed 20 December 2020.
  4. Testamentary records. England. 07 October 1986. HOPKINSON, Robert. Will.
  5. Hopkinson, Bill. (2014) My Great Grandfather2. Email, 22 October.
  6. 1939 Register, England. Crich Common, Derbyshire. HOPKINSON, Robert. Schedule 51/2. RG101/3084G/008/32. National Archives (Great Britain), Kew, England. Collection: 1939 Register. http://ancestry.co.uk : accessed 11 May 2020.
  7. Cresswell, Vicki. (2005) Re: Granpa. Email, 10 August, 10:38.
  8. Bowler, Bett. (2010) Re: Hopkinson. Email, 22 August, 15:27.
  9. Hopkinson, Bill. (2014) My Great Grandfather. Email, 21 October.
  10. Derby Daily Telegraph. (1950) Ambergate Accident. Derby Daily Telegraph. 28 August. p. 12c. https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000521/19500828/062/0012 : accessed 21 December 2020.
  11. Hawksley, Thomas Edgar (?). Probate calculations. BARRATT, Mary. 27 June 1957. Collection: Ruth Willmore.
  12. Directories. England. (1984) Phone book: Derby. British Telecom. p. 212. Collection: British phone books 1880-1984 from the collection held by BT Archives. http://ancestry.co.uk : accessed 26 October 2014.
  13. Banns (PR). England. Belper, St Peter, Derbyshire. 28 September 1947. HOPKINSON, Robert Humphrey and BOWLER, Norah May. Derby Records Office, Matlock, Derbyshire.
  14. Marriages (CR) England. Belper, Derbyshire. 15 October 1947. HOPKINSON, Robert Humphrey and BOWLER, Norah May. Vol. 3a. p. 130.
  15. Images: Photograph. Wedding of Robert HOPKINSON and Norah BOWLER. 15 October 1947. Belper, Derbyshire. Photographer unknown. Colourised by Ian Cresswell. Private collection of Vicky and Ian Cresswell, Belper. [Group photograph of wedding party outside St Peters Church, Belper, Derbyshire.]
  16. Patilla, Peter. Johnson and Nephew Ambergate Wireworks. http://www.crichparish.co.uk/newwebpages/wireworks2.html : accessed 06 February 2022.
  17. Images: Photograph. Robert HOPKINSON and Norah BOWLER with Ruth HOPKINSON. 1974. Location unknown. Photographer Bill Hopkinson[?]. Private collection of Ruth Willmore [Photograph of a couple holding a young child.]
  18. Images: Photograph. Wedding of Bill HOPKINSON and Vera TOMLINSON. 24 August 1968. Belper, Derbyshire. Photographer unknown. Private collection of Ruth Willmore. [Group photograph of wedding party outside St Peters Church, Belper, Derbyshire.]
  19. Images: Photograph. Bob and Norah HOPKINSON with son Bill HOPKINSON. 24 August 1968. Belper, Derbyshire. Photographer unknown. Private collection of Ruth Willmore. [Detail from Group photograph of wedding party outside St Peters Church, Belper, Derbyshire.]
Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 52 – Future

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. It has taken me longer than it should but here is the last post in this series.

I didn’t feel qualified to write about the future of our family, so I had a video chat with my nephew Matthew.

He told me that he plans to have one child, as he likes not having brothers and sisters as you don’t have to argue with them. He does like arguing with his Mum though, and when I asked if he thought his child would argue with him he said, “no, they’ll argue with their Mum.”

I asked if he thought he would live in England or Wales like his cousins but he hadn’t thought about that. He would like to see his cousins a couple of times a year as he does now.

Matthew’s career plans reflect the age in which he is growing up. He would like to be a part time gamer on YouTube, and part time scientist. He told me he would like to be the kind of scientist that invents things. His aims are to invent a kind of gun that when you shoot people it changes their age. His other ambition is to invent a time machine.

Matthew is very conscious that time machines would have to be used with care. His main purpose would be to go back in time to prevent murders and other bad things happening. He thought that getting murderers to hit something that prevented a killing taking place would be a good idea. He mentioned that very slight changes to the past could result in people being extinct so it would be important to make only very small changes. I think he has taken some lessons from “Back To The Future.”

Matthew thought that when he is an adult we will still be driving petrol and diesel powered cars, but they might be more eco. We might have sent people to Mars, but only just. Things will not change all that much.

Matthew pointed out that my blog about the future can only be a prediction, I would need his time machine to actually have a sneak preview and to be able to tell you what the future actually looks like.

Other #52Ancestors posts


Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 51 – Holidays

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. Finally I’m at the penultimate blog in the series.

I have quite a lot of photographs of various family members on holiday. There are some I recognise, some with helpful notes on the back, and some that are probably ancestors with “holiday friends” who even they had forgotten the names of. Some tell me where they were visiting and some don’t.

I have picked these two pictures, as we know exactly when and where they were taken, and I know that they are my Grandma and Grandpa, Bessie and Eric Tomlinson.

I love that Grandma is wearing the same dress in both pictures! It is clearly much warmer in Cornwall than the northern most tip of Scotland too. Openwoodgate is the village just outside Belper, Derbyshire where they lived their entire married life. In fact Grandpa lived in no more than 3 houses, all in Openwoodgate, and two of them the halves of a semi-detached.

Ruth and Tony Willmore at John O’Groats 16 September 2018.[3]

Thirty five years later, the sign has been replaced, but the weather hasn’t improved. The photographer offering customised signs is replaced by dodgy selfies.

As far as I know Grandma never left the British Isles, and only ventured onto an aeroplane once, to go to the Isle of Man. Their luggage was delayed or lost so it wasn’t a good experience for her. For Grandma and Grandpa holidays usually meant coach trips. I remember that as soon as the Trent Coach brochure dropped through the letterbox Grandpa jumped on the bus to the travel agency so he could book the front seats on the coach.

Other posts about this family


References
  1. Photograph. Bessie and Eric Tomlinson. 26 August 1980. Lands End, Cornwall. Photographer unknown. Collection: Ruth Willmore.
  2. Photograph. Bessie and Eric Tomlinson. 10 August 1981. John O’Groats, Caithness. Photographer unknown. Collection: Ruth Willmore.
  3. Photograph. Ruth and Tony Willmore. 16 September 2018. John O’Groats, Caithness. Photographer Ruth Willmore. Collection: Ruth Willmore
Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 50 – Lines

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 should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I’m nearly there.

I was not sure where to take this prompt and decided to type “Lines” into Google. One of the suggestions was wires which made me think of my Grandfather, Robert Humphrey Hopkinson, who worked at Richard Johnson and Nephew Wireworks in Ambergate, Derbyshire.

Bob Hopkinson, as he was known, was born 23 June 1923 in Derbyshire, the son of Thomas Humphrey Hopkinson and Adelaide May Stewardson. When he was 3 1/2 years old his sister Adelaide Myrtle Hopkinson was born and 10 years later his mother died of throat cancer.

When WW2 broke out Bob was living with his widowed father in Crich. He was working as a farm labourer. I have not yet found his sister on the 1939 Register, but I believe she went to live with her mother’s family.

From 1941 to 1946 Bob served in the RAF.


After the war my grandfather was employed at Richard Johnson and Nephew wireworks in Ambergate. He worked shifts and was, I believe, a die grinder. The wireworks were a major employer for the residents of Crich.[1] They had a factory in Manchester as well as Derbyshire and during the war had supplied galvanised wire for the PLUTO pipeline (pipe line under the ocean).[2]

Advertisement. (1945) The Electrician. 01 June. p. v. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/File:W._T._Henley_1945VP.jpg : accessed 06 February 2022.

In 1956 Richard Johnson and Nephew copper tape and steel armouring wire was used in the first transatlantic telephone cable. I can only imagine that my grandfather was involved in this in some way.[3]

In 1950 he was involved in an accident at work, his niece told me, “his arm was caught in one of the machines and it was only due to the quick thinking of another employee turning off the machinery that his injuries were not more severe. His arm was seriously ‘mangled’ and he spent some time in hospital. To save his arm the surgeons took some bone from his leg and grafted it to his arm. I don’t know if you remember he always walked with a slight limp and his arm was slightly misshapen but at least he could use it.”[5]

The local newspaper did not make the accident sound as serious as his niece. His arm still was affected over 25 years later. (c) Reach PLC. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.[4]
I think Bob Hopkinson is right at the back in the centre pane of the left hand window.
Jack Oldham’s retirement. Photo courtesy Crich Heritage Partnership[1]

Granpa retired in about 1984 and about ten years later the factory closed. Images of the closed factory can be seen here. https://www.derelictplaces.co.uk/threads/ambergate-wireworks.34614/ and here https://www.flickr.com/photos/johnorme/with/8408447021/ It looks very sad and neglected.

That has all changed again and the site is now home to a whisky distillery. White Peak Distillery have made their home at the former Johnson & Nephew Wire Works, in what is now the Derwent Valley UNESCO World Heritage site, with the still placed in what Bob Hopkinson would have known as the old Maintenance and Stores Sheds.[6] Their first whisky, Wire Works Whisky, was released just last week, and I cannot wait to try it. They also produce rum and gin. My next visit to Derbyshire will have to include a distillery tour so I can see where Granpa made wire and whisky is now made.

While writing this I have learned that there is another connection the Johnson and Nephew company. Our closest neighbours when we lived in Cheshire in the early 1980s were part of the Johnson family who had recently sold the company. It is a small world!

Other posts about this family


References
  1. Patilla, Peter. Johnson and Nephew Ambergate Wireworks. http://www.crichparish.co.uk/newwebpages/wireworks2.html : accessed 06 February 2022.
  2. Grace’s Guide Ltd. Richard Johnson and Nephew. https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Richard_Johnson_and_Nephew : accessed 06 February 2022.
  3. Burns. Bill. Richard Johnson & Nephew. https://atlantic-cable.com/CableCos/RichardJohnson/index.htm : accessed 06 February 2022.
  4. Derby Daily Telegraph. (1950) Ambergate Accident. Derby Daily Telegraph. 28 August. p. 12c. https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000521/19500828/062/0012 : accessed 21 December 2020.
  5. Bowler, B. (2010) Re: Hopkinson. Email to Ruth Willmore, 22 August, 15:27.
  6. White Peak Distillery Ltd. The Wire Works. https://www.whitepeakdistillery.co.uk/waiting-for-whisky/ : accessed 06 February 2022.
Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 49 – Handmade

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 should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I will do so as soon as possible.

There was never any question over who this prompt would be about. It always had to be about my Mum. She is one of the most talented needlewomen I know.

I have just had a look through her Facebook page and here are some of her makes from 2021. Many of the quilts and blankets are given to charities such as Project Linus.

All images above (c) Vera Hopkinson 2021.

I just had a quick look around our house for things Mum has made, there are the living room curtains, and two patchwork duvet covers. These are just a selection of what I found on a very quick look. I’m afraid I’ll offend her by what is left out!

I asked her how it all began. After all, she was crafting long before I was born. I remember wearing handmade clothes as a young child. There were some jumpers that were knitted in three different sizes so that I could wear them at the same time as my siblings.

Images: Photograph. Vera Hopkinson knitting. 01 July 2018. Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochant. Max Hopkinson.

“I have been sewing all my life, since before I can remember. I say that because I remember a pot holder at my maternal grandmother’s house that was always called “Vera”. It was a pretty scruffy thing and I remember asking, when I was aged about 8 why it has my name, and the answer was that I had given it to my Grandma as a Christmas present when I was 3. I can only assume my Paternal Grandmother who lived next door to us had been the one to get me to make it.

Some of my earliest memories are of being taught to use my Grandma’s treadle sewing machine. I wasn’t tall enough to reach the pedal, so she would sit me on her knee and she would operate the treadle while I guided the fabric under the needle. When I was about 7 she started teaching me embroidery and when I was 8 I was entering competitions run by the local Methodist church. I don’t think I ever won, but when I cleared out my mother’s house I found some of the work I had done, and I had difficulty believing I had been so young when I did it.

I learnt to knit in my early teens, and to crochet while I was a student. There aren’t many yarn or fabric crafts I haven’t had a go at. When my children were small I made a lot of their clothes, and they must have felt they were OK because 3 of them asked me to make their wedding dresses. In the event I only made 2, because the 3rd was having quite a short engagement and with my mother being very ill we decided time was too short.

I used to knit for my grandchildren, but now they are older they don’t really like handknits anymore! However, a few years ago one of them insisted in saving up any damaged to toys for my visits because she was sure “Grandma can fix it”

Now there is hardly a day goes by that I don’t get at my sewing machine, usually making patchwork quilts. All the family have several, and I make them for Project Linus, who give them to “Children in need of a hug”. In the evenings while watching TV I usually have either a crochet hook or knitting needles in my hands. During lockdown I gave a number of handmade blankets to people who had lost loved ones. I called them “woolly hugs” because I couldn’t give them the hug they really needed.”

Images: Photograph. Ruth and Tony Willmore. 07 June 2008. Tan-y-Bwlch station, Ffestiniog Railway, Maentwrog. [photographer unknown] Private collection of Ruth and Tony Willmore.
Embroidered by Vera Hopkinson, aged 8.

Other posts about this family

Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 48 – Strength

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 should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I will do so as soon as possible.

I initially planned to use this prompt to write someone who demonstrated great strength of character. But I just couldn’t choose anyone, and kept coming back to my 2nd great granduncle, Samuel Fisher, who was an iron puddler. I thought this must have been a job which required great strength. His father, Jessie had been an iron bundler which I am yet to investigate.

From previous reading when I first came across the occupation of iron puddler, I knew it was to do with making cast iron, working with furnaces and so on. I have been intending to visit the museums at Ironbridge to find out more, but well, Covid. I really must get there.

Samuel Fisher was born in about 1849 and lived in Topton, Staffordshire. It was on the 1871 Census[1] that he was a puddler, and two of his younger brothers were puddler’s assistants.

In planning this blog post I googled “iron puddler” which took me to a page on Wikipedia[2] where I learned that puddling was a process for converting pig iron into wrought iron boiling out the silicon, sulphur and phosphorus. A puddler and his assistant would produce about 1.5 tons of iron in a shift. It was hard, hot work with toxic fumes leading to a life expectancy under 40 years. Samuel lived to almost 80 years old[3], he must have been one of the lucky ones.

The Wikipedia page mentioned that U.S. Senator James. J. Davis had written a book[4] about his early experiences of being an iron puddler. He was younger than Samuel Fisher, born in 1873[5] but he was working in the iron mill by the age of 12, so I felt I had to read the book to learn more about the working conditions Samuel would have experienced.

Davis describes a housewife sweating over a batch of biscuits, how the oven makes her hot and bothered. He explains how his job was similar,

“There were five bakings every day and this meant the shoveling in of nearly two tons of coal. In summer I was stripped tot he waist and panting while the sweat poured down across my heaving muscles. My palms and fingers, scorched by the heat, became hardened like goat hoofs, while my skin took on a coat of tan that it will wear forever.

What time I was not stoking the fire, I was stirring the charge with a long iron rabble that weighed some twenty-five pounds. Strap an Oregon boot to your arm and then do calisthenics ten hours in a room so hot it melts your eyebrows and you will know what it is like to be a puddler.”

Davis, James J. (2019) The Iron Puddler : My life in the rolling mills and what came of it. [Kindle version] CAIMAN. https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07V7H6KH2 : accessed 18 January 2022. p.48

Well, I was right about iron puddling being an occupation for a strong person.

Iron puddlers at work

I didn’t finish the book I’m afraid, it got really rather political, in a time where eugenics and communism where widely supported.

Other posts about this family



References
  1. Census records. England. Tipton, Staffordshire. 02 April 1871. FISHER, Jessie (head) RD: Tipton. RG10/3000. FL 52. p. 45. ED. 16. http://www.ancestry.co.uk : accessed 21 November 2020.
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2021) ‘Iron puddler’, In: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Iron_puddler&oldid=1051665209 : accessed 22 January 2022
  3. Deaths index. England. RD Dudley. 1st Qtr. 1928. FISHER, Samuel. Vol. 6b. p. 978. https://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl : accessed 21 November 2020.
  4. Davis, James J. (2019) The Iron Puddler : My life in the rolling mills and what came of it. [Kindle version] CAIMAN. https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07V7H6KH2 : accessed 18 January 2022.
  5. Wikipedia contributors. (2021) ‘James J. Davis’, In: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=James_J._Davis&oldid=1023190926 : accessed 22 January 2022

Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 47 – Thankful

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 should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I will do so as soon as possible.

When I saw this prompt I immediately thought of harvest festivals. I clearly remember as a child both school and church celebrations where I made up small hampers of food which were given to those in need. I now realise that in the affluent village in which I grew up, where as the vicar’s kids we were definitely the least well off, I have absolutely no idea where that food ended up.

I remember the flower arranging ladies going to town for harvest festival services, filling the church with displays of fruit and vegetables. It was a farming community and we often celebrated later than other churches, as the farmers would not celebrate until the harvest was all gathered in. You can see some pictures of the church here: https://www.stcatherinebirtles.org.uk/gallery.htm

This is just how I remember it, fruit and vegetables everywhere. Photograph reproduced with kind permission of Reverend Jon Hale, the Rector of the Benefice of Alderley & Birtles.


Images: Photograph. Harvest festival. (c. 2000-2020) St. Catherines, Birtles, Over Alderley, Cheshire. Photographer unknown. https://www.stcatherinebirtles.org.uk/gallery.htm : accessed 12 January 2022.

Harvest festivals have been celebrated for centuries and so it was not surprising to find that the Stewardson family living in Tansley in 1904 would have witnessed a harvest festival.

Derbyshire Advertiser and Journal Friday 30 September 1904 page 6f https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0001084/19040930/149/0006 Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Robert Stewardson and Maria Batterley had married in Tansley Parish Church in 1896 and their eldest daughter was baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel the following year. I think it is a safe assumption that they would have attended at least one of the numerous harvest festivals in the district and witnessed the great abundance of fruit and flowers.

It is lovely to know that they experienced an Indian Summer that September.

Other posts about this family


Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 46 – Birthdays

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 should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I will do so as soon as possible.

On 2nd September 2006 my Grandmother Bessie Tomlinson turned 90 years old. To celebrate the occasion her daughter and four grandchildren visited. We arrived the evening before and had booked a visit to a professional photographer that morning. We dressed up to please Grandma.

At the time I was too broke to afford to buy prints. One hung on Grandma’s wall from then onwards though.

We returned to Grandma’s house for lunch, prepared by our partners. Grandma was a little disappointed that we hadn’t taken her out to lunch, but we explained that we didn’t know how long we would be at the photographers.

As we finished eating the doorbell rang, and Grandma was pleased to have some surprise visitors on her birthday. Now pleased that we hadn’t gone out to lunch she settled in for a chat with her visitors. But the doorbell rang again, and some other friends had arrived, and then again and some more distant relatives arrived.

While she was delighted that so many people had thought to visit her on birthday, as the consummate hostess Grandma started to get worried and started asking one or more of us to slip out to the shops to get something for tea.

More and more friends and family arrived, and Grandma was getting very worried about feeding everyone. She was very confused as we started bringing cold bags out of our cars and setting out a buffet.

Eventually we had to let on that we had invited everyone.

Grandma was delighted by her surprise birthday party.

A friend of Mum’s had made a beautiful cake.

Other posts about this family


Categories
My family

52 Ancestors: Week 45 – Stormy Weather

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 should have completed all 52 prompts by now, but I will do so as soon as possible.

When I first saw this prompt I didn’t know what I would write about. I don’t recall any stories of my ancestors involving stormy weather. Then I decided to look at the newspapers. I found a story about an accident near Gosforth Railway station in which someone was killed in a storm, but eventually realised that was Gosforth near Durham, not the one in Westmorland, now Cumbria, where my ancestor Matthew Stewardson was living.

After that false start I tried again, this time finding a report of a severe storm which affected Kendal and the entire Lake District between Christmas and New Year at the end of 1908.[1] As I’ve written previously Matthew and his family were living at Rainors Farm at Gosforth at this time.[2,3] and would have experience the storm that I found.

The newspaper report that there had been signs of a snow storm on Monday evening and between 2 and 3am Tuesday morning a powdery snow began to fall. It was accompanied by high winds which caused deep snow drifts. Snow blew under some front doors leaving a inch of snow on doormats.
There does not appear to have been any damage to speak of, and the roads remained open.

The report goes on to mention that the temperature remained around -7 degrees below freezing point throughout Tuesday, so nothing would have melted.

As a farming family the Stewardson’s may have had to go out to in the blizzard to check on the livestock. I do hope they did not have to stay out long.

Even if our ancestors are not mentioned in the newspapers they can still tell us about their lives.

Oak tree viewed from bedroom windows at Rainors Farm. (c) https://www.rainorsfarm.co.uk/

Other posts about this family


References
  1. Westmorland Gazette. (1909) A Christmas Blizzard. Roads Blocked : Trains Snowed up. Severe Storm in Kendal and the Lake District. Westmorland Gazette. 02 January. p5e https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000399/19090102/135/0005: accessed 04 January 2022.
  2. Census records. England. Gosforth, Whitehaven, Cumberland. 31 March 1901. STEWARDSON, Matthew. RG13_Pc-4897_Fo-60_Pg-4. http://ancestry.co.uk
  3. Census records. Englamd. Whitehaven, Cumberland. 02 April 1991. STEWARDSON. Matthew. RG14PN31523 RG78PN1810 RD577 SD3 ED15 SN35. http://www.findmypast.co.uk : accessed 29 May 2010.