The weather was very unsettled throughout the U.K. in June 1947. There was unusually hot weather to start the month and higher than average rainfall later on plus frequent thunderstorms, severe at times.
When the weather was good Doreen and her friends made the most of it. She wrote in her diary:
1st June Sunday
Got up early.
Biked to Roundhay Park [about 20 miles from Royston on the outskirts of Leeds].
Lovely day until Sheila had accident.
She was taken to infirmary [Leeds General Infirmary, a large hospital in the centre of Leeds].
We got home 10.30pm.
But Doreen still had to go to work the next day and went to see Sheila later:
2nd June Monday
Biked to work.
Lovely day, scorching hot.
Went to see Sheila at night.
She is not feeling too bad.
3rd June Tuesday
Went on the bus to-day.
Still quite warm.
Went to Night school.
Terrific storm at night.
5th June Thursday
Went to work not feeling quite so miserable.
The weather has definitely broken. It is cold and raining.
Went to see Sheila straight from work with Joyce.
6th June Friday
Went to work.
Finished W.E.A. classes.
Went to see Sheila.
The W.E.A. (Workers' Educational Association) was founded in 1903 by Albert Mansbridge who was initially employed as a clerk at the Co-op. He borrowed 2/6 from his wife's housekeeping money to set up the organisation because he believed that a more equal, democratic and just world would come through education. The organisation made links with university and college tutors and expanded rapidly. In the 1930s it helped a group of miners from the North East of England to learn how to paint and they became the celebrated Pitmen Painters.
The W.E.A. campaigned vigorously for educational opportunities for all and was influential in the development of the 1944 Education Act. Many supporters and activists were involved with the Labour Party in the founding of the Welfare State in the post war era.
The W.E.A. continues to this day working under the slogan of: “A better world - equal, democratic and just; through adult education the W.E.A. challenges and inspires individuals, communities and society.”
Bike Ride to Langsett Reservoir
As the month went on, Doreen continued to play tennis at every opportunity and seems to have enjoyed the weather whenever it was sunny.
22nd June Sunday
Got up and helped mother.
Had dinner early, biked to Langsett.
Had a lovely time, got home 9.30pm.
Langsett Reservoir is about 15 miles from Royston. It was constructed between 1898 and 1904 to supply water to Sheffield and Barnsley. It has an area of 125 acres, is 97 feet deep and holds 1,408 million gallons of water.
Looks like they had a lovely day out!
Visit to Bridlington
This photo is taken in the grounds of Sewerby Hall near Bridlington, a seaside resort on the east coast of Yorkshire. On the reverse, Doreen has written that she was there with her co-workers for a Library Association meeting. So, even though she enjoyed the day out, it appears that it was something to do with her employment in the Library Service.
26th June Thursday
Went to work.
Set off for Bridlington at 10.
Had a smashing time.
Went down to auntie’s to sleep.
"Auntie" was her mother's older sister Sarah who moved house at regular intervals for most of her adult life between Bridlington and Wakefield.
By the end of June Doreen had stopped writing in her diary and the pages remaining for the rest of 1947 are blank. Why this should be I don't know for sure but I can make a good guess.............
On July 6th 1877 my great grandparents, Joseph Smith and Eliza Anne Hall, were married in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
Joseph Smith (1849 - 1923)
Joseph was the oldest child of John and Eliza Smith who had eight children altogether. Joseph was born on 18th March 1849 at Wintersett in Yorkshire where his father was employed as an agricultural labourer. With the development of the canals, John moved his family to Monk Bretton and became a canal labourer. Joseph also became a canal labourer and he lived in his parents' home at Burton Bridge, Monk Bretton. By 1877,however, Joseph had moved to live at Old Mill Wharf on the Barnsley Canal.
Eliza Anne Hall (1856 - 1931)
Eliza was the oldest child of George Henry Hall and his wife Elizabeth. She was born in 1856 at Clayton West, Yorkshire where her father was a corn miller. She had two sisters and one brother. By the 1870s George had re-located his family to Burton Bridge, Monk Bretton where Eliza lived until her wedding.
Marriage 6th July 1877
The marriage was solemnized at the United Methodist Free Church in Barnsley on July 6th 1877.
After their marriage, Joseph and Eliza lived at 51, Old Mill Wharf in Barnsley and Joseph continued to work for the Barnsley Canal Company.
Within nine months their first child, Edith, was born on March 2nd 1878.
Joseph was clearly ambitious because by 1881 he had got himself promoted to a Canal Foreman job with a new home for his family at Bridge House adjacent to the canal in Royston, a few miles from Barnsley. Ten years later he had become the Canal Inspector for that section of the canal. However, the census of 1901 records him as a Canal Foreman again and additionally describes him as a "navvy" which is a shortened version of the term "navigator" used to describe those employed in manual work on engineering projects (canals then railways). 1911 sees Joseph recorded once again as a Canal Inspector working for The Aire and Calder Navigation Company.
The Barnsley Canal was built to connect some of the South Yorkshire coalfields to the Aire and Calder canals network for onward distribution. Construction commenced in 1793 and despite a very chequered history the canal remained functional and profitable until 1942. One of the main problems was the effect of subsidence on the canals caused by the coal mining underneath. Presumably part of Joseph's job was to check for any problems and undertake repairs.
Joseph and Eliza had six children: Edith (1878 - 1919); Anne (1881 - 1926); John (1882 - 1970); Ethel (1883 - 1884); Elsie (1885 - 1952); Beatrice (1885 - 1962).
When Joseph retired from the Canal Company he and Eliza went to live at 30, Church Hill, Royston. Their home at Bridge House probably went with the job.
Joseph died in 1923 and Eliza died a few years later in 1931. They were buried in the churchyard of the parish church of St. John in Royston. Somewhere along the way they appear to have changed from Methodist to Anglican.
After Joseph's burial, the vicar wrote in the Church Magazine for that month:
Around 1850 Christopher Buckle of Sinderby in North Yorkshire re-located to Harthill on the Yorkshire / Nottinghamshire borders.
He married Harriet Unwin of Harthill and they had four children. The family remained in Harthill for over fifty years.
I've started collecting images of Harthill on a Pinterest Board. The photographs I've found are dated 1910 by which time the Buckles would have left Harthill and moved to Royston. However, as it was only about thirty miles away I dare say they went back to visit Harriet's family occasionally.
The photograph I've pinned of "The Walkers" is interesting. In 1881 there were six families in Harthill who shared the surname "Walker" made up of thirty individuals altogether. A Trades Directory from the period lists Harriet's father, William, alongside a farmer named "Walker".
I've pinned an oil painting by Stanley Royle painted in 1949 which shows Harthill as an idyllic rural village. This contrasts considerably with a 1979 painting by Peter Watson of Kiveton Park Colliery. This was the pit which opened in the 1860s where my great grandfather, John Henry Buckle, worked and where my grandfather, Sidney Henry Buckle, was a pit pony lad when he first went underground.
My Harthill Pinterest Board is at
http://www.pinterest.com/magbrit/harthill-yorkshire/ if you want to take a look.
On July 2nd 1927 my grandparents, Minnie Barratt and
Horace Ashworth were married in Wakefield Cathedral.
Minnie Barratt (1906 - 1991)
Minnie was the third child of Thomas and Harriett Barratt. She was born on 12th November 1906 at 120, Brickhouse Lane, West Bromwich in Staffordshire. Her father, Thomas Barratt, was employed as a haulier.
By the time of the 1911 census Thomas was working as a labourer and there were five children in the family. They continued to live in West Bromwich but by 1914 the family had re-located to Wakefield in Yorkshire and Thomas had become a coal miner. They lived at 28, Picadilly, Westgate in Wakefield.
Minnie was employed as a shop-girl and at the time of her wedding in 1927 she was still living in the family home. This was now 38, Picadilly and her father was once again working as a labourer. Minnie had nine siblings: Sarah (1902 - 1996) and Thomas (1904 - 1953) were older. The younger ones were: Edith (1909 - 1966); Annie (1911 - 1913); John (1914 - 1914); Mary (1915 - 1987); Celia (1919 - 2006); Edmund (1921 - 1966); Dorothy (1923 - 1941).
Horace Ashworth (1905 - 1984)
Horace was the youngest child of John Thomas and Emma Jane Ashworth. He was born on 20th January 1905 at 27, Scotland Road, Nelson in Lancashire. His father, John Thomas Ashworth, was employed as a Master Butcher.
By the time of the 1911 census John Thomas was employed as a Butcher's Manager for the River Plate Meat Company and had re-located to Normanton near Wakefield in Yorkshire. There were six children in the family and they lived at 12, Altofts Road, Normanton.
Horace worked on the railways and by 1927 had progressed as far as becoming a Railway Fireman. For those who were employed on the railway a strict hierarchy was enforced to ensure that the drivers of locomotives were the crème de la crème of the industry. Everyone started off as an Engine Cleaner charged with cleaning all the parts of the huge steam locomotives. Promotion to a Passed Cleaner followed for those who stayed the course which allowed the individual to fire the locomotive in the absence of the regular fireman. This led to becoming a Booked Fireman followed by a Passed Fireman after which if both oral and practical examinations were passed successfully the man could become a relief driver and eventually a full driver. The only way to get a promotion was to have served time and to be in the right place at the right time when a vacancy occurred. It could take fifteen years to progress to the top and take charge of one of the mighty Leviathans of steam.
It can only have helped Horace that his older brother Arthur had been working on the railways since Horace was a schoolboy.
At the time of the wedding, Horace still lived in the family home at 12, Altofts Road but his father was by then employed as a night watchman. Horace had five siblings: Richard, Arthur, Frank, Tom and Fred.
Marriage 2nd July 1927
The marriage took place on July 2nd 1927 at Wakefield Cathedral. This seems to be a wonderfully grand venue but presumably the cathedral was the parish church for the area of Wakefield where Minnie's family lived.
After the wedding they went for a few days holiday in the country at the home of Horace's brother, Tom.
After they were married Minnie and Horace set up home together at 33, Favell Avenue, Normanton near Wakefield. Five months later their first child, Doreen, was born.
By 1933 they had re-located to Royston, near Barnsley in Yorkshire. Minnie and Horace had two more children and Horace reached the pinnacle of his career and became a railway engine driver.
Minnie and Horace continued to live at Cross Lane for nearly fifty years.
I'm a former primary school head teacher now enjoying family history, e-publishing and gardening. I'm the author of "Cabbage and Semolina: Memories of a 1950s Childhood" and was delighted when the book became an Amazon 2015 bestseller in the Social History category. I'm the founder of Spurwing Ebooks which is at http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com for book details and information about new releases and special offers. Details of my books are at https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-Murray/e/B009R7CRVC and the other books I've published are at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Michael-Murray/e/B007AQZMZK