Rotherham

RMS Cumberland – Postcard #19

Here is a very battered , torn and creased postcard which has been in my family for almost 70 years.  The card shows RMS Cumberland at Barrow in Furness

There is no publisher or printer information.

The postcard was sent from Barrow on 13 July 1942 to my grandparents, Mr & Mrs J Dawson, 7 Ellis Street, Brinsworth, Rotherham, Yorkshire.

Unfortunately I have no idea who sent the card. You will see that there are only some initials to indicate who wrote to my grandparents – they could have been friends or relatives, I simply don’t know.

The message says

Dear A & J

Everyone landed here OK and quite happy to be together. Sorry to say it looks like rain but hoping for better weather later as  the tide goes out.

All the best.

C. G. TD & MO

The message is intriguing. And I also wonder whether or not the RMS Cumberland is more important to the story than just appearing on the front of the postcard.

Does the use of the word ‘landed’ suggest that perhaps they travelled to Barrow in Furness on the RMS Cumberland?  Does the phrase ‘quite happy to be together’ suggest that before they arrived in Barrow then they were not together. Does ‘everyone’ mean a larger group of people than just C. G. TD and MO?

I did wonder if ‘they’ had been evacuated from Rotherham – but then I thought Barrow, with its shipyard, was probably not a place people were evacuated to. However this link on Wikipedia – Barrow Blitz – suggests that the last bombs of the blitz fell on Barrow in January 1942 and the last air-raid siren was sounded on 25 March 1942.

Also further research suggests that Rotherham did not loom large on German maps and only suffered two serious raids – both in August 1940. Maybe C. G. TD and MO came from somewhere else.

Anyway, I could go on trying to imagine the story behind the message on the postcard, but I need to just accept it as a piece of family history and leave it there.

Wedding Wednesday – Who’s that girl?

This is a photograph from my own collection.  I have to admit up front that I don’t know the happy couple.  Well, what I mean is that I know who the groom is but I never met either him or the bride (as far as I know) and I am not related to them.

The photograph is in one of those little fold over covers that you get from photographers.  There is a description on the cover written by my dad – it says

‘Harold Crossland’s wedding.  Dad’s best friend from Rotherham’

The ‘dad’ referred to in the description is my granddad – Joseph Dawson.  He is the chap second from the left – I am guessing that he was ‘best man’.

So I did a search on Find My Past and came up with a couple of possibilities.

There is a marriage in the December quarter of 1943 between Harold Crossland and Marian Jenkinson  in the Rother Valley registration district.

There is also a marriage in the June quarter of 1947 between Harold Crossland and Marian Smith in the Sheffield registration district.

For those who don’t know the area Rotherham and Sheffield are not a million miles apart.  I know that my grandparents lived in Brinsworth (part of Rotherham) for a while and I guess that this is where Joseph made friends with Harold.

Of course the wedding could have been held somewhere else completely and I am way off the mark.

My granddad was born in 1903, so, if I am right then he would be either 40 or 44 when these photographs were taken.  I am really bad at trying to estimate ages – what do you think?

Are there any clues from the style of clothes?

Leave a comment if you think you can help.

Married 88 years ago today

On 14 November 1922 my paternal grandparents were married at the Parish Church of Cononley in Yorkshire.

St John's Church, Cononley, North Yorkshire

Joseph Dawson was 19 and Alice Hurtley was 22.

Joseph’s occupation is listed as “engine cleaner”. His father James Dawson (see photograph in my gallery) was a “warp dresser”. There is no occupation shown for Alice and her father, James Hurtley is shown as a “farmer”.

The witnesses were James Dawson (Joseph’s brother) and Maggie Hurtley (Alice’s sister).

Joseph and Alice had two sons – Harry and Graham (my dad).

Grandad Joe and his work mates

As far as I know Joseph (or Joe as he was known) spent all his working life on the railway. As the marriage certificate shows he was an “engine cleaner” which is probably how he started. He worked on the railway during the golden age of steam and I know he was a fireman and a driver.

In the photograph Joe is standing up with his arms folded.  I don’t know when, where or why this photograph was taken – but I like it.

At some point Joe and Alice moved away from the Keighley area of West Yorkshire to Rotherham in South Yorkshire. That’s where my dad was born. They moved there because of Joe’s work on the railway. He worked for the London Midland & Scottish Railway company and then for British Rail after the railway was nationalised at the end of 1947.

Eventually Joe and Alice moved back to West Yorkshire and lived in Leeds.

Joe retired from the railway in the late 1960′s. I haven’t been able to track down his employment records yet – that’s on my “to do list”.

I’m not too sure about Alice’s working life. I do remember that she worked in the local newsagents / post office for many years on the estate where they lived in Leeds.

After retirement from the railway Joe had a part time job working sweeping up in the cloth room of the John Collier factory in Leeds. At that time in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s John Collier was still a big name in the clothing industry of West Yorkshire and was famous for made to measure men’s suits.

My first job after leaving school in 1969 was working in that same cloth room with my grandad. My job at the tender age of sixteen was hauling the rolls of cloth from the shelves and taking them to the “cutters” to cut out the suit lengths and taking the roll of cloth back to the storage shelves.

Joe passed away in July 1978 and Alice in May 1987.

Happy anniversary Joe and Alice.