cowling

Postcard Fair

I recently decided I wanted to add some postcards to my collection of family history material.  We saw a postcard fair advertised at Pudsey Civic Hall so went along this morning to see what we could find.  I had been looking on eBay for a while but hadn’t bought anything so was quite excited at the prospect of coming home with some purchases.

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of traders there and the huge selection of postcards available.  There was no trouble finding what we were looking for as they were all arranged either geographically or by subject.  I was looking for postcards of Cowling, West Yorkshire and Jayne was looking for postcards of Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe in Lincolnshire.

I came home with five purchases and Jayne came back empty handed.  My search was somewhat easier as I was looking for any village scenes but Jayne was searching for more specific images.  Her parents and grandparents had shops in Sutton on Sea and Mablethorpe so she was hoping to find some pictures featuring the premises.

I’m happy with the postcards I found and will get them scanned and posted in my blog over the next few weeks.  There are a couple still on eBay that I didn’t see at the fair today so I might invest a bit more money in those.  This is an interesting change of direction for me – away from just researching individual ancestors and looking more at where they lived.

The postcard fairs in Pudsey are every couple of months and I’m sure we will be going again and spending more money.

Tombstone Tuesday – Tale of Two Sisters

This gravestone marks the resting place of two sisters who were born within three years of each other but who died nearly half a century apart.

Mary Ellen Gawthrop (nee Snowden) was born about 1869 in Cowling, West Yorkshire and her sister Leah was born about 1872, also in Cowling.

Mary Ellen is the wife of my 1st cousin 3x removed.

On the 1881 UK census Mary Ellen and Leah were living with their parents John (48) and Ann Snowden (44) and  their seven other siblings

Alice (19)

Annie (19)

John (16)

Emily (14)

Selina (10)

Dinah (6)

James (4)

The family is living at Fold Lane, Cowling.  The father is working as a weaving overlooker at a worsted factory.  The four oldest children are working as worsted weavers and the remaining children are recorded as scholars.

Mary Ellen married Joseph Gawthrop sometime in Q3 of 1889.  In the 1891 UK census they are living at 7 Gladstone Terrace, Trawden, Lancashire.  Jospeh’s occupation is cotton weaving overlooker and Mary Ellen is working as a cotton winder.

The following year their son, Wilfred, was born and his birth is registered at Burnley, Lancashire in Q3 1892.

I have no other information about Mary Ellen until her death on 29th April 1897.

Joseph married Selina Bannister in 1898 and they had twin boys the following year, John Elvin and Joseph Arthur.

In 1891 the UK census shows Leah Snowden living with her widowed mother Ann and still at Fold Lane, Cowling.  Also still living at home are siblings Emily (24), Selina (20), Dinah (16) and James (14).  All the children are working as cotton weavers.

In 1901 the family are still together and still living in Fold Lane and still working as cotton weavers.

In 1911 Leah remains living at home with her mother and three siblings – Emily (44), Selina (40), and James (35).

I have no other information about Leah until her death on 1st June 1944.  And I find it really interesting that sisters were buried together after so much time between their deaths.

Tombstone Tuesday – Alice Gawthrop

Here’s a rather understated tombstone and I think that the family gave quite a lot of thought to it with the little scroll effect at the bottom.

In Loving Memory of

Alice

wife of Isaac Gawthrop

of Crow Nest Farm, Colne

Died Jany. 16th 1922

Aged 60 years

At Rest

Alice Gawthrop (nee Snowden) is the wife of my first cousin 3x removed.

She was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire sometime in 1862.  As yet I don’t have any information about Alice’s parents.  To be honest I haven’t looked – it isn’t one of the priorities on my to do list.

Alice married Isaac Gawthrop in the first quarter of 1885 and the marriage was registered at Skipton in North Yorkshire.

The first time that they appear on a census together is 1891.  They had moved to Trawden in Lancashire – only a short distance away.  Isaac is shown as a farmer.  Sometime over the next ten years they moved to 28 Market Street, Colne, still in Lancashire and Isaac is now working as a stonemason.

Between 1887 and 1898 Alice and Isaac had four children

- Johnny (c1887)
- Edith Ann (c1890)
- Joseph (c1892)
- Ida (c1898)

    Given the six year gap between Joseph and Ida I have wondered if there was at least one other child who didn’t survive – but I haven’t looked at the death records to try and confirm this.

    Alice’s tombstone suggests that sometime after 1901 they had moved again and that perhaps Isaac was farming at Crow Nest Farm.

     

    Tenuous link to a Viscount

    Philip Snowden was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire on 18 July 1864.  I will go so far as to say that he is perhaps the most famous “son” of Cowling – although others may have a different opinion.  He was the     son of a weaver and his parents were devout Methodists.

    Never heard of him?

    Well, Philip became interested in local politics at an early age and joined the Keighley Liberal Club.  While researching the dangers of socialism he became converted to this new ideology and left the Liberal   Party to join the local branch of the Independent Labour Party.

    In 1899 he was elected to Keighley Town Council and in 1903 became national chairman of the Independent Labour Party.

    The next obvious step was to try to get elected to the House of Commons.  After two failed attempts at Blackburn in the 1900 General Election and Wakefield in a 1902 by-election he  was eventually elected as the     Labour MP for Blackburn in the 1906 General Election.

    He developed a reputation as an expert on economic issues and advised David Lloyd George on his 1909 People’s Budget.

    Philip Snowden was a pacifist and opposed to Britain’s involvement in the First World War.  He joined various groups and organisations campaigning against the war.  Like other anti-war Labour MP’s he was defeated in the 1918 General Election.  However he was quickly forgiven and was elected four years later to represent Colne Valley.

    When Ramsay MacDonald formed the first Labour Government in January 1924 he appointed Philip Snowden as his Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Later that year Stanley Baldwin, the leader of the Conservative Party, became Prime Minister and Snowden’s period in office came to an end.

    Five years on Snowden became Chancellor of the Exchequer again in the Labour Government of 1929.  This coincided with an economic depression and Snowden’s main concern was to produce a balanced budget.  He managed to make changes to the tax system that resulted in the wealthy paying more and the poor paying less.  The economic situation continued to deteriorate and in 1931 Snowden suggested that the Labour government should introduce new measures including a reduction in unemployment pay.  Several ministers refused to accept the cuts in benefits and resigned from office.

    Ramsay MacDonald now formed a National Government with the Tories and Liberals.  Philip Snowden remained Chancellor and introduced the measures that had been rejected by the previous Labour Cabinet.  Labour MPs were furious with what MacDonald and Snowden had done, and both men were expelled from the Labour Party.

    Snowden did not stand in the 1931 General Election and instead accepted the title of Viscount Snowden which enabled him to sit in the House of Lords.

    Philip Snowden died on 15th May, 1937.

    Why have I spent my Sunday telling you this story?  Because I have just this morning been able to make a family connection – albeit tenuous with this controversial politician.  I have Snowden’s in my family tree but hadn’t tried to find a link before today.  Anyway I now know that Philip Snowden is the 2nd cousin 1x removed of the wife of my 2nd great grand uncle - William Dawson married Martha Langton Snowden in Q1 1850.

    OK, we’re only related by marriage – but that’s close enough for me.

    Here’s a couple more links with articles about him.

    Wikipedia

    The Bradford Antiquary

    Tombstone Tuesday – John Dawson (1812-1888)

    In Affectionate Remembrance of…..

    This gravestone marks the resting place of John Dawson, his wife Betty and two children who died in infancy.

    I spoke very briefly about John Dawson in November last year.  He was the second of three generations of John Dawson’s (a father, son and grandson) to look after the water wheel and engine at Ickornshaw Mill.

    John was born on 4th February 1812 in Cowling, West Yorkshire to John Dawson and Ann Watson.  He was the youngest of nine children.  Elizabeth (Betty) Benson was born 27th December 1812 but I don’t have any information about her parents.

    John and Elizabeth were married on 26th April 1834 at St. Andrews Parish Church, Kildwick, West Yorkshire.

    Between 1835 and 1853 they had seven children

    Ann – born about 1835

    John – born about 1838

    Elizabeth – born about 1841

    Alice – born about 1843

    Matthew – born about 1846

    Thomas – born about 1852

    Martha – born about 1853

    The two children who died young were Elizabeth (c 1850) and Alice (c1847).  I haven’t researched this family in much detail yet so I do not have any information about the cause of death.

    As mentioned above John was employed as an “engine tenter” for a number of years, eventually passing this role on to his own son John.  In the 1841 census his occupation is “weaver” and in 1881 he was working as a “clock dresser”.

    Elizabeth died on 5th July 1882 aged 69 and John on 29th February 1888 at the age of 76.  They are buried at Cowling Parish Church.

     

    Amanuensis Monday – John Dawson (1768-1832)

    Today I want to tell you about my 4xgreat grandfather John Dawson. He is the earliest Dawson relation I have found in Cowling, West Yorkshire. For a long time I believed that John was a local chap although I hadn’t been able to find any clues as to his birth or his parents.

    More recently I have discovered via other researchers that it is highly likely that John actually comes from Clitheroe in Lancashire. Now for someone who believed that his roots were firmly set in Yorkshire the idea that I might orginate from Lancashire has been hard to take. But it may well be an opportunity for a later post when I have looked at the information available for the Dawson’s of Clitheroe in the future.

    But for now I want to concentrate on John’s life in Cowling.

    According to the IGI John Dawson married Ann Watson on 3rd May 1792 in Kildwick, West Yorkshire. I have an IGI burial record for John dated 16th October 1832 at Kildwick Parish Church.

    On the 1841 census I found Ann indexed under the name of Davson. The IGI shows her burial also at Kildwick Parish Church on 9th July 1846.

    John and Ann had nine children – Priscilla (1793); John (1795); James (1797); Thomas (1799); Alice (c1802); Elizabeth (c1804); William (c1806); Watson (c1808) and John (c1812).

    The first John born on 31st May 1795 died the following year in July 1796.

    The village of Cowling has had a number of textile mills over the years and this could be the subject of a post all on it’s own. However I want to talk about Ickornshaw Mill which was built in 1791. There is a very interesting story about John Dawson in connection with this mill. The following extract is from a book called Cowling A Moorland Parish written by the Cowling Local History Society and published in 1980.

    Ickornshaw Mill

    Ickornshaw Mill is the oldest mill still in use in Cowling, being built in 1791, on land bought by John Dehane of Kildwick from Hugh Smith, a yeoman farmer of Cowling who owned Upper Summer House Farm.

    The mill was built in three months and a waterwheel was installed by Mr Dawson of Clitheroe who lodged at the public house in Ickornshaw. Here he fell in love with the barmaid whom he married, but as his family disinherited him, he stayed on in Cowling and acted as “engine tenter”, blacksmith and mill mechanic. His son and grandson followed in his footsteps tending the wheel for one hundred and ten years. The wheel was capable of 50-60 horse power, running 150-180 looms with the engine completely stopped. In 1910 the wheel was overhauled, after 119 years free of any major repairs, a fine testimony to the quality and craftmannship.

    The mill whistle had to be blown at 5.30am to rouse the workers, and as the engine tenter thought this was an unearthly hour to get up, Mr Dawson having an inventive mind, built a contraption from old clocks, picking bands, a weaver’s beam, pieces of wire and a few loom weights which would perform the duty for him whilst he slumbered a little longer. He tried out his invention several times, but always being on hand in case it failed, and at last decided that there was no point in him having his “brainchild” working and being present himself. So, the following morning he decided to listen to his invention operating on its own. It started off at the correct time, but Mr Dawson quickly realised that it was not going to stop. However, it did bring the hands to work earlier that morning, anxious to see what all the noise was about. The contraption worked well for some considerable time, and was only terminated when Messrs. John Binns and Son took over the responsibility of rousing the neighbourhood with their own much louder whistle.

    I really like this story and have a great fondness for John Dawson.

    As mentioned in the extract above his son, John, took over from him. In the 1851 census this John Dawson’s occupation is shown as “mechanic”. In 1861 and 1871 he is described as “engine tenter”.

    This John Dawson’s son…..also called John, took over from his father and continued to look after the wheel and the engine. I have found him on the 1871, 1881 and 1891 census records described as “engine tenter” – but so far I haven’t been able to find him in 1901. In 1881 and 1891 this John was living in Nelson and Barrowford respectively – about nine miles from Cowling – so he had a bit of journey in those days to get to the mill.

    I am not the only Dawson to have found the story and the history really interesting. Here is a letter from Jas Dawson dated 3rd December 1937 published in the Craven Herald & Pioneer and reproduced here by Cowling Moonrakers. Jas seems to be the son of the last John Dawson to look after the wheel and engine. The letter was written shortly after the waterwheel had been dismanted and gives more history and information.

    Tombstone Tuesday – Thomas’s Tale

    I guess there is nothing remarkable about this tombstone.  It’s not especially grand or pretentious in any way.  The tombstone is at the grave of Thomas Dawson and his wife Sarah (Cowgill).

    There isn’t any glowing eulogy – just a simple message In Memory of.  Is anything else really necessary?

    As you will see from the photograph (apologies for the poor quality) Thomas was born in 1863 in the village of Cowling, West Yorkshire.  He is my 2nd cousin 3x removed.  He had a sister, Sarah born c1857.  Their mother was Priscilla Dawson.  I haven’t been able to find any evidence of who the father was.

    Thomas worked in the local mill as a cotton warp dresser and his sister Sarah worked as a cotton weaver.

    In 1888 at the age of about 25 Thomas married Sarah Cowgill, a local girl from the same village.  They had two sons, Watson (named after his great grandfather) born c1892 and Ernest born c1896.

    I get a real sense that this little family unit stuck together and relied on each other.  The census returns show that right up to 1901 Thomas, his wife and two sons, and sister Sarah were living with Priscilla.

    Within seven years three of them would die.

    Priscilla died in 1903 about a year after her daughter Sarah.  Thomas passed away in 1908 at the age of 45 and after only 20 years of marriage.

    The remarkable thing about this story for me is that Sarah lived a further 42 years until 1950 and died at the age of about 86.

    I hadn’t bothered to get a copy of Thomas’s death certificate but writing this post has persuaded me to send off for it.  I am interested to see what caused his death at such a young age.  I know times were hard in those days yet Sarah lived a long life and, I assume, raised two sons on her own.