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.