Yesterday I write a blogpost about the funeral of my great grandmother, Harriett Barratt (James). The story is made especially poignant because the next day would have been her 45th wedding anniversary.
Harriett was married to Thomas Barratt on 26th January 1902 at the parish church in Tipton, Staffordshire.
The marriage certificate doesn't identify the church by name but St. Martin's and St. Paul's is the nearest church to the canal area where they lived.
[Photograph: © Copyright Gordon Griffiths and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence]
Thomas was just twenty years old when he married and Harriett was twenty one. Thomas' father had been a haulier but he'd already died by the time of the marriage. Harriett's father was a furnaceman and they all lived at Dudley Port in Tipton (not actually Dudley as the name would suggest). Dudley Port developed in the nineteenth century with large wharves and warehouses around the canal serving the nearby industrial towns. Judging by these images it was a very intensely industrialised place with railways passing through as well: Dudley Port ironworks in the 1860s and the Gasworks.
Thomas and Harriett had ten children including my grandmother, Minnie, born in 1906. The others were: Sarah (1902); Thomas (1904); Edith (1909); Annie (1911); John (1914); Mary (1915); Celia (1919); Edmund (1920); and Dorothy (1923).
In 1906 the family lived at Brickhouse Lane in West Bromwich and Thomas was employed as a haulier and a couple of years later as a labourer in an ironworks. However when he was enlisted into the army on 28th August 1914 his employment was recorded as coal miner and he and his family had moved to 28, Piccadilly, Wakefield, Yorkshire.
Thomas was sent to Aldershot for army training having been allocated to the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry but in October 1914 he was discharged on health grounds which were likely to prevent him "becoming an efficient soldier". This was under King's Regulation 392 (iii) c: "Recruit within three months of enlistment considered unfit for service". His discharge papers state that his trade was a coal miner so presumably it was his intention to resume work down the pit.
The family moved to 38, Piccadilly later in 1914 and they were still living there in 1927 when Minnie got married.
By then Thomas was employed as a labourer but in 1924 when Sarah was married he was working as a brick setter. He certainly changed his job with considerable regularity!
Of their ten children, Annie and John died in childhood and Dorothy was only eighteen when she died. The four women in the photograph (taken in the 1980s) were the longest living of Thomas and Harriett's children. Minnie my grandmother (1906 - 1991), is standing on the right next to Celia and behind Sarah who is sitting next to Mary.
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