Monday, 25 May 2015

Orange Street - Annitsford

In May 1916 the Northumbrian and Tyneside newspapers reported on the death of Mr Robert Orange of Annitsford. Mr Orange was aged 74 and was quite a prominent figure in his local community.

"The death or Mr. Robert Orange, which took place at his residence, Front Street, Annitsford, on Saturday, removes one of the oldest tradesmen in the district. The deceased, who was 74 years old, was a native of Lucker, and for over forty years carried on a successful general business at Annitsford, which he gave up about three years ago. For over thirty years Mr. Orange took a deep interest in sheep farming. He owned considerable property at Annitsford. He leaves two sons and one daughter to mourn his loss."

Robert Orange was born in 1842 at Lucker, Northumberland to John and Elizabeth Orange. His father was a master tailor. 

When he was around 27 years of age, Robert went to the US. He had returned within the next decade, and moved to Annitsford, Northumberland and opened a provision shop. It is possible that Robert made a little money while living in the US. In 1877 Robert was a witness to a stabbing case in the village.

On 19 January 1879, he married Mary Jane Cowen at St Nicholas, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Soon after this St Nicholas' church was elevated to Cathedral status. Soon after marriage, Mary Jane gave birth to a little girl. She was named Elizabeth to honour her paternal grandmother. Around this time Mary Jane's younger sister Ellen moved in with the family, often helping out by working in the shop.

In 1881 a middle-aged woman named Elizabeth Armstrong came into the shop, and "obtained [through] false pretences" a quarter of a pound of butter from Ellen Cowen, who was helping in Orange's shop that day. The butter was worth 5 1/2d. For this Elizabeth Armstrong was sentenced to fourteen days hard labour. As well as selling everyday groceries, Robert had a few horses and traps to take people to and from distant towns and villages.

It was also around this time that Robert Orange either acquired, or had built a street of houses which were known as Orange's Buildings.

From the Alnwick Mercury, published on
22 October 1881.

In the same year, Robert and Mary Jane had a second child, a son who they named John. Sadly baby John died the same year. In 1882 the Oranges welcomed a second son, who they named Robert. The Oranges went on to have three more sons after this; Henry Walter who died in infancy, a second John and another Henry Walter, who also died like his namesake. 

In 1888 the Oranges had their final child, a little girl named Ellen Cowen Orange, obviously named after her maternal aunt. Sadly, Mary Jane Orange died soon after giving birth to Ellen. Robert was now aged 46, a widower and a father of four young children. Only two years later, his eldest daughter Elizabeth sadly died aged just 10.

On 9 January 1895 Robert remarried at Chatton, Northumberland to Mary Orange, the daughter of his first cousin.

From the Newcastle Courant.
Robert then tried to better his business, wanting an "on and off licence" for his shop in Annitsford. However the nearest licensed premises were only a quarter of a mile away and some locals, in particular John Belshaw objected and the application was refused. Soon after Robert did manage to acquire a 'beer-off' license. 

In 1900 he applied for a 'beer-on' license. The local publican, Henry Clarke of the Bridge Inn objected, John Belshaw did for a second time. Again his application was refused.

The following year Robert was appointed as an Overseer by the Weetslade Urban District Council.

In March 1902 Robert submitted a plan for eight houses to be built on some of his land at Annitsford, but this was rejected. 

Exactly one year later Robert submitted yet another plan for eight self-contained houses on the same strip of land in Annitsford. This plan was again rejected. One month later an Robert submitted an amended plan to the council. This time the yard space had been increased to 306 square feet. This appeared to be good enough for the council, and finally Robert's plan of eight self-contained houses was accepted, and Orange Street was built in the same year.

In 1904 Robert had the water main and drains installed into his properties, with a tap in each yard. 

Even after he had the eight houses built, Robert still owned substantial land in Annitsford and the surrounding area. In 1909 he lent one of his fields to the recently built St John's Roman Catholic Church, for the annual gala to take place on. Between 300 and 400 people were in attendance.

In 1912, Robert's second wife Mary Orange died aged 60. 

Robert formerly retired from his business in July 1914 and his wares were auctioned off from his home at 12 Front Street, Annitsford. When Robert died in 1916 he still had a great number in his possession.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Bullets and Bairns

My Great Grandmother Minnie Metcalf Storey was born in 1893 at East Stanley, Co. Durham. Her father Joseph was a sinker in the pits, and his work took him to different collieries in both Co. Durham and Northumberland. The family eventually ended up in Morpeth, where Joseph was promoted to deputy, and later went on to run the Masons Arms public house. 

A young Minnie Metcalf

Growing up in the coal fields of Northumberland and Co. Durham, the Metcalf family spoke with the accent of the area - Geordie, with some hints of 'Pitmatic' in which sweets are known as 'bullets', and as in some parts of Scotland, children are referred to as 'bairns.' 

When Minnie married Robert Storey in 1919, she was thrown in the deep end as he longed to return to his beloved Australia which they did the following year. Minnie was not very keen on the weather in Australia, only ever being used to the wet and rain of her homeland. 

Although many coal miners from the North East emigrated to New South Wales, a lot didn't speak the dialect which Minnie was used to, which she found out when she had children of her own. 

The Storeys had moved to Weston, and on one occasion Minnie had went to the shop to buy some groceries, taking her children with her. As they were leaving, Minnie added that she would also like "some bullets for the bairns." The shopkeeper had no idea what she was talking about, and genuinely thought she was attempting to buy some bullets for her children.

Minnie and Robert returned to Northumberland in 1934, after receiving word that Minnie's mother was unwell.

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Election of 1936

In 1936 there was a vote to elect a new councillor in the Newbiggin Urban District Council. The seat was currently being held by Councillor Thomas Middleton, who had been on the council for the past eight years. Thomas Middleton was a member of the Labour party.

"He has lived in Newbiggin 24 years, and during the whole of the time has been actively identified with colliery trade union work, especially in connection with the local branch of the Deputies' Association. A staunch and devoted Methodist of the old school, Mr. Middleton has been a local preacher for 36 years."

Middleton's only competitor was my Great Grandfather, Robert Mavin Storey who had returned from Australia only two years before. Robert was an Independent candidate.

"Thus it will be seen that Mr. Storey is tackling a formidable opponent, but the challenger in the contest bears an honoured name in Newbiggin, as he is the son of Mr. Adam Storey, who has rendered yeoman service to the community of the fishing village as secretary to the Newbiggin Freeholders. 

The candidate, Mr. R. M. Storey, was educated at Newbiggin, and previous to leaving this country for Australia in 1913, took an active part in the life of the village. As a young man he was closely identified with all forms of healthy sport, and for several seasons shouldered the duties of secretary to Newbiggin Athletic Football Club.

During the Great War he saw active service with the Australian Forces, and since his return to his native place, has interested himself in many of the activities associated with the local branch of the British Legion, and kindred movements designated to look after the interests of ex-servicemen. When in Australia he was director of a co-operative store, and, along with his experience in the building trade, gained a very practical knowledge into the needs of present-day affairs."

Sadly my Great Grandfather lost the election, only gaining 194 votes to Thomas Middleton's 358.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Matron of Morpeth Workhouse

The first child of John and Elizabeth Mavin was a daughter named Margaret, born on 29 December 1806 at North Shields. Both John and Elizabeth were natives of Widdrington, Northumberland. When Margaret was just over one years old, she was baptised at Christ Church, Tynemouth. 

Margaret's baptism.
From the Durham Bishop's Transcripts.
John and Elizabeth had more children and soon returned to Widdrington. The next mention of Margaret is on 10 December 1836, when she married William Brown at All Saints, Newcastle upon Tyne. Together Margaret and William had three children; Elizabeth, John and Henry.

The marriage entry of William Brown and Margaret Mavin.
Note the spelling - 'Maving'
Margaret's father John died three years later. Now a widow, Elizabeth Mavin moved in with her daughter, who now resided at Morpeth at Grange House Cottage. On 21 February 1852 Elizabeth Mavin died, and soon after William and Margaret became Master and Matron of the Morpeth Union Workhouse, respectively.

William and Margaret seemed to be quite kind to the inmates of the workhouse, which would probably not be expected of the time. In particular the inmates enjoyed Christmas, where they were served with roast beef, mutton and plum pudding. Local breweries often gave ale, and the Board of Guardians bought tobacco and snuff as gifts for the inmates. The children were given oranges. William Brown would decorate the dining room himself, with Christmas trees and other evergreens, banners and Chinese lanterns. Easter was a similar occasion.

The children were taken on annual trips to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. Major Brumell, clerk to the Board of Guardians would pay for the ticket fares. The inhabitants of Newbiggin commended William Brown on the children's "good, orderly behaviour; their clean, tidy appearance; and their fresh, healthy faces.

Sadly Margaret Mavin Brown died on 4 November 1877, having served as Matron of Morpeth Workhouse for 24 years. In her death notice it was said Margaret was "highly respected, and is deeply lamented."
Margaret Mavin Brown's death notice, appearing
in the Morpeth Herald.
Now that Morpeth Workhouse was short of a Matron, the board's next task was finding a replacement. Margaret and William's granddaughter, Margaret Alice Marshall was put forward for consideration. Margaret Alice had helped her grandmother in her role for quite a while before her death. Margaret Alice was called in to a meeting of the Board of Guardians, where she answered a few questions, stating she was only seventeen years of age! The Board knew William Brown to be a responsible Master and with that voted, all in agreement that the post should be filled by Margaret Alice Marshall

To celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, Margaret Alice taught the inmate children to sing the Jubilee Hymn and 'God Save The Queen.' The workhouse inmates were treated to a brilliant dinner, and oranges were handed out to the children. As a treat all those who were able were allowed to go out and take part in the amusements in town. 

In February of the following year, William Brown resigned from his post as Master of Morpeth Union Workhouse. He was fairly old, now in his seventies and could not carry on working to the ability he wished he could. His granddaughter's contract ended when he ceased work, meaning Margaret Alice would have to leave also. 

William Brown's resignation letter.
William and Margaret Alice ended their terms in June, and in July of the same year Margaret Alice married. Her husband was a man named Robert Curry and together the couple went on to have three children. They moved to North Shields, and Margaret Alice's grandfather William moved in with the family. It was here that William Brown died, at around the age of eighty-five. He was buried with his wife, Margaret Mavin at St Mary the Virgin, Morpeth.
Margaret and William Brown's headstone
at Morpeth.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

A Royal Name

The Royal baby name was announced yesterday to be Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge.

This far I have found no Charlottes in my direct ancestry, nor any Dianas. Elizabeth is a fairly common name so everyone is bound to have at least one. 

Like today, Royal names often found themselves into common families, and my Rudd family appeared to follow this trend. In 1892 Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale and second in line to the throne died. His death is said to have shocked the nation and my ancestor's native Tyneside. 

From the Shields Daily Gazette.
My 2x Great Grandparents William James and Jane Rudd named their tenth and penultimate child, Albert Victor. From then on Albert Victor became a popular name in the family, with seven other boys having the name. My own Grandfather was named Albert Victor Quinnin, after his maternal uncle, Albert Victor Rudd

Friday, 1 May 2015

On This Day - The Leslie Wedding

On this day in 1853 Patrick Leslie and Margaret Galligan, my 3x Great Grandparents were married in Barony, Lanarkshire, Scotland. They were both natives of Ireland, but had recently moved to the Tollcross area. The couple went on to have three children; Catherine, John and Charles.

The marriage entry.
This event was the first recorded mention of my Leslie family in Scotland.

Patrick, who was also known as Peter had three known siblings; Edward, Margaret and James

Peter died on 8 January 1896, ending his days in the notorious Barnhill Poorhouse, Glasgow, although sadly it appears no records survive of his stay there. He died of bronchitis. Margaret died on 10 February 1902 at St Joseph's Home for the Poor at Garngadhill, simply of 'debility'. The fact that the couple were both institutionalised speaks for how poor the family were. The couple were buried at Dalbeth Cemetery, in common ground.