David Taggart Henderson (1894-1917)

WWI Plaque David Taggart Henderson 001When we cleared out my mother’s house back in 1999 we found an object in her cupboard which we were unsure about. Since neither of us lives in England, this was packed away in a box in my brother’s house and didn’t see the light of day for a while. When we dug it out again our curiosity was piqued and we decided to investigate what it was. It turned out be a “widow’s penny” given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in World War One. This discovery set us off on the next quest. Who was this David Henderson and why did we have this wonderful memento? He was clearly a relative of my maternal grandmother, born Margaret Jane Henderson, but his name had never been mentioned before.

Further investigation showed him to be my granny’s cousin, David Taggart Henderson, son of her uncle John Henderson, born (1860-1898). Cousin David was only about 5 years older than my granny Meggy, so I assume there were quite close when they were growing up. John Henderson and his wife Mary lost another child in infancy, then Mary went on to marry John Baston and have a second family.

David T. Henderson can be found on the Amble War Memorial. He was an Able Seaman in the RNVR Hood Divsion and you can read more about him at this record on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There is also a slightly damaged headstone cross memorial to him, his parents and his baby brother in Amble East Cemetery. I will add that to the blog another time.

Co-operative Wholesale Society (Coop)

Amble CoopHow many of you remember being sent to the “The Store” to pick up some shopping for your mother in your childhood? The Store was the term we used for the local CWS (Co-operative Wholesale Society) shop. They had grocery shops, hardware shops and more.

The Coop was founded by consumers who clubbed together to enable bulk purchasing. This was a way to avoid the extortionate pricing in company owned shops, e.g. those run by mine owners where workers only had one option for where to buy their produce. By paying a minimal sum to become a Coop member, people had the opportunity to buy their groceries at an acceptable price and also earn a dividend (which we referred to as the divi). The amount paid for purchases was recorded on a “cheque” after giving your 4-digit cheque number and the dividend was paid out annually. As children we all had our mother’s cheque number firmly implanted in our minds and rolled it out regularly with every loaf of bread, quarter of bacon or bag of flour we were sent to purchase.

The photograph shows Amble Harbour Coop on the left (beside where the women are walking). This Coop was managed by my Dad’s cousin, Ralphy Tweddle, until his retirement in the 1980s. Until reminded today by Ralphy’s son Les, I had forgotten that this was one of the first shops in Northumberland to introduce a self-service system, back in 1964. Just imagine the shock to the average Amble housewife of being able to pick her own goods directly off the shelf rather than stand in a queue and ask for each individual item with her neighbours listening to what she was buying. The Coop management were clearly men of vision, ahead of their time, as they were prepared to invest in training their staff in the new system and take the risk of losing customers with such a challenging innovation as self-service.

Ralphy actually gave me a kick-start on my family history research as he told me the names of the dozen Cracketts in the banner photo on my blog. One of the girls is his mother Dorothy Ann and the couple in the middle were his grandparents, Leonard Cracket and Mary Parkinson.

Granny Crackett had full overview

Back door Granny CMy Granny and Granda Crackett had a rather unusual house. The front door was on Church St. and the back door was on Wellwood St. and the ground floor corner of the property was a shop (not theirs).

This photo (courtesy of Stan on facebook group “Old Amble in Photographs”) shows her back door. Opposite the Congregational church. Just past the crossroads and before the traffic sign. Those of you who grew up in Amble in the 50s. 60s and 70s may remember granny. Often to be seen at the back door. Knitting needles in hand and ball of wool in pinny pocket. And if you dared to sit on the Congs church wall she would chase you. She also sold Longstaffe’s bus tickets and vegetables from the allotment from her kitchen.

My problem as a child was that from this central position she had a full view of every possible way to go up or down through the town. Even on my bike I couldn’t whizz past her fast enough for her not to see which way I was going and ask me the next day where I had been !!

Amble High St. Methodist Church

Amble High St MethodistThis rather splendid building played a significant part in my childhood. It was here that my parents were married. Their wedding photo was taken on the steps at the front. I was christened here too. We went there every Sunday morning throughout my formative years. The chapel was upstairs and underneath was a hall and stage where, as a member of the Methodist Youth Group, I had my first stage performances. I have a very embarrassing photo of me in crepe paper, acting the part of a flower, which I am not planning to post here :)  I went on to become a Sunday School teacher in my teens. Many happy memories of people who had a big influence on me as I was growing up.

Unfortunately it no longer exists. It was demolished when I was in my teens and we moved to the other Methodist church in Percy St.

A big thanks to Stan from the facebook group “Amble in Old Photographs” for sharing this photo and being generous enough to allow others to use it to stir a few more memories.

Headstone: John Henderson & Harriet Miller Newton

IMG_0384 3For several years I hunted for a headstone for my 3rd great grandparents, John Henderson (1811-1894) and Harriet Miller Newton (1814-1893).

I acquired their death certificates and knew that John drowned at Lesbury in 1874 and Harriet died in Amble in 1893. They could not be buried with other Henderson relatives in Amble West Cemetery as that opened in 1905, but I still kept my eyes open to see if they might have been mentioned on a subsequent memorial there. The death dates made it possible for Harriet to be in Amble East Cemetery, but that opened a little too late for John. However, I still had a wander round the cemetery and checked an online list of burials. No luck there either. My next thought was Warkworth St. Lawrence’s Church. There were Hendersons there too, but not this couple.

Then finally the penny dropped. There was another cemetery in Warkworth too, on the road up to the beach. There they were, together with two of their boys: Henry Henderson (1846-1871)  and Archibald Henderson (1836-1874) – so easy to find once I finally got myself into the right place. TIt must have been tough on Harriet as she lost her son Archibald only 4 months after losing her husband.

130 years ago yesterday

Oops, missed the day. Should have posted this yesterday. My great grandparents, George Murray Turner of Amble and Sarah Ann Carr of Radcliffe, were married 8 July 1882. The ceremony took place in the Wesleyan Chapel at Alnwick in Northumberland by certificate. The certificate shows them both as age 21 which is in accordance with the information I have on their birth dates. Sarah was born in October 1860 and George in May 1861. Their fathers are recorded as William Robinson Turner, shoemaker, and Thomas Carr, miner. However, I now know George to be the illegitimate son of Barbara Murray who married William Robinson Turner in 1864. The witnesses to George and Sarah’s marriage were Sarah Elizabeth Rogers and Leonard Watson. I currently have no idea whether these were friends or relatives.

Family history through the alphabet – H is for history

H is for History

I started out focussing on the family element of family history, but have now progressed to considering the history aspect too. With the exception of Romans and Vikings I was never particularly interested in history as a subject at school, so my knowledge of the history of the past two or three centuries is seriously lacking. As I have added new people to my tree I have tried to find out more about the historical context in which they lived their lives. This has given me much more insight into the transition from an agricultural society to the industrial age and also the timeline of events in the first World War. One of the most interesting pieces of historical research has been looking into where the Northumberland Fusiliers served in 1915 and 1916 to track the path of my great uncle Edmund Webb from enlistment at Amble to his death in battle at Flers-Courcelette.

Moving on from history to genealogy I can claim four H-names in my pedigree. All four come from my mother’s half of the tree.

H is for Hall

First in the alphabet comes Hall. My Hall ancestors lived at Elsdon in Northumberland and I have been lucky enough to find good sources of information about them.

H is for Hedley

Another of my pedigree H lines is Hedley. I have not found quite so many of them. They too have lived in the Elsdon area and I found them by following up the Hall line.

H is for Henderson

The closest of my H pedigree lines is Henderson, to be found in Amble and Cullercoats. My maternal grandmother was a Henderson.

H is for Hunter

My final pedigree H is Hunter. Yet another Elsdon connection found by tracking back up the Hall line.

If you would like to know more about this alphabet challenge or read other bloggers’ H-contributions take a look at Family history through the alphabet.