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Author Archives: Margaret McAlpine

Bath – the headquarters of Satan?

While I have been enjoying the current vogue for the Georgians, it does seem to be very gentry and metropolitan focussed.  Far from everyone at this time experienced either grinding poverty or, if wealthy, had a pragmatic secular outlook and engaged in frivolous pastimes like dancing, card games and music.  The trading and nascent industrial … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Housing shortages – post WW2

Where did we post-war baby boomers live during the early years of our lives?  There was a big shortage of housing when the war ended in 1945 – and not just in Britain – due to bomb damage, population growth, lack of investment during the war and restrictions on materials and skilled labour.  The answer … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Who is going to read this?

There may be many reasons why we begin to research our family history but what we all do with our findings is a big unknown.  Some of us may be content simply to learn facts?  Many of us will want to record what we have discovered for others to read.  But who are these others?  … Continue reading »

Categories: How we write, Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Wealth gained and lost in two generations

My grandmother, Mabel Harrison, was brought up in a large villa, Parkhill, in West Hartlepool, County Durham.  It had been built for her solicitor father, Matthew Harrison, in 1890.  I do not know how many bedrooms the new house had, but there were seven children and a live-in cook/domestic.  It looks imposing with a croquet … Continue reading »

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Gomersal Mills and the outbreak of World War One

The outbreak of the First World War would prove profitable for some textile businesses in the West Riding, as wars had in earlier centuries.  They had supplied uniforms and other items for military use to this country, most of Europe, the Middle East and overseas territories for several hundred years previously.  I think they clothed … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce, World War One | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Shell-shock and James Gordon Burnley

James Gordon Burnley enlisted in the Leicestershire Yeomanry in February 1915, with a reference from the august owner of Saltaire (the Salt family’s successor), Sir James Roberts, stating he was distinctly soldier-brained and would make an excellent officer.   Seldom was a man more mistaken.  James Gordon was a little above average height at five foot … Continue reading »

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The Royal Flying Corps in WW1 – dangers and accidents

Early in 1915 my grandfather, Frank Oswald Burnley, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the 16th (Service Battalion) of West Yorkshire Regiment, after some three months in the Territorials (the Reserve Army Service Corps).  This was a Bradford brigade.  The following year, paid for privately I suspect, he gained his Aviator’s Certificate on a … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce, World War One | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

First World War ancestors

One hundred years ago, early in 1914 my grandfather and his two cousins, young men only 20 years old were beginning their working lives in wool textile manufacturing, as at least four generations of their forebears had done.  Frank Oswald Burnley, my paternal grandfather, had been an apprentice dryer in worsted yarn and was preparing … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce, World War One | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Those round robin Christmas letters

I don’t know when the habit of round robin Christmas letters began but I recently found our first one, from 1996.    The cause of this phenomenon is clear from our opening sentence – ‘since we now have a [another] new computer complete with laser printer, we thought we might celebrate by telling everybody about … Continue reading »

Categories: Festivals and Customs, Legacies | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Two Victorian funerals

Funerals were very important events in Victorian/Edwardian England and, fortunately for family history researchers, were often written up at length in the local press.  My ancestors, brothers Frank and Thomas-William Burnley, who died in 1889 and 1906 respectively had a grand send off – befitting their social status.  As was customary in the West Riding … Continue reading »

Categories: Men of God, and of Commerce | Tags: , , | 1 Comment