Sadly I only really knew, as a child, my mother's father, so grandparents did not play a significant part in my life.
My blog has concentrated very much on my mother's Danson and Rawcliffe family in Lancashire, largely I think because I grew up with my mother's relatives and regard Poulton-le-Fylde as my spiritual home. Also the collection of old photographs at my grandfather's house was a great stimulus to finding out more about the people who featured in them. If the best family histories should be "rich in detail "my Lancashire ancestors fitted the bill.
Grandfather Weston was born in West Bromwich. Stafrodshire in 1876, the son of John Thomas Weston, an agricultural labourer and Sarah Ann Jones. In the 1901 census he was described as en "engine driver stationary" at 24 years old living at home with his parents - his father was then a bAcksman in a colliery.
In 1903 Albert married Mary Barbara Matthews.
The 1911 census listed the young Weston family living at 33 Lunt Lane, Lunt Gardens, Bilston, Staffordshire. In the household was 34 year old Albert Ernest , a stationary engine driver, born in West Bromwich, his wife Mary aged 34, born Bilston, son Frederick Harry aged 5 , daughter Madeleine (always known as Madge) 1 year old, both born Bilston and Albert's brother Charles Henry, at 26 a boiler rivetter, born Wolverhampton.
My father was born a year later in 1912 and a younger son Eric Charles three years later.
The address of Lunt "Gardens" seemed to be a of a misnomer, as Wolverhampton Archives identified it as the site of the Sewerage Works. Bilston was a heavily industrialised area. In 1897 John Batholmew's "Gazetteer of the British Isles" described it as a
"great centre of hardware trade -- iron and brass castings, tin and japanned wares, &c., with extensive iron foundries and smelting works, and potteries. In vicinity are productive coal and ironstone mines, also an abundance of fine sand for casting, and a very hard stone suitable for grindstones."
The Weston family seemed to move around the Midlands a lot, presumably with Albert's work, living in Leamington Spa, Stockton, near Rugby (1915 when Charles was born), Broseley in Shropshire (1919), back to Wolverhampton (1930) and then Leicester(1932). I recall Nana Weston claiming she had lived in 17 houses.
|The famous bridge opened in 1779, across the River Severn .|
linking Broseley and Ironbridge,
My paternal grandmother (known as Nana) - Mary Barbara Matthews - below a lovely portrait of her as a handsome young woman.
In the 1881 census, Mary was 5 years old living with her parents (above) and sisters Alice and Fanny and brothers John and Arthur. Ten years on there were three more children in the family - Annie, Samuel and Harry, with 15year old Mary described as "helping in shop". Her father was an insurance agent and mother a shopkeeper.
By 1901 another son James completed the family and 25 year old Mary was now working as "barmaid in a café". Two years later she married Albert Weston.
After the death of her husband in 1945, Nana made her home with her daughter, my Auntie Madge. On our annual family holidays to the south coast, we always stopped overnight to visit Nana, but I must admit my memory of her is very sketchy. She died in 1958 at the age of 82.
And that sums up what a know about my paternal grandparents - sad that in many ways I know so little about them, as they are part of me, and I surely must have inherited some of their characteristics.