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Thursday, 17 February 2011

Grandfather William Danson

My grandparents William Danson and Alice Engluih

Alice with Edith, Kathleen, Harry
and baby Billy, c.1916.
My grandfather William Danson (1885-1963) was the fifth of ten sons and one daughter of James Danson and Maria Rawcliffe of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire.  In 1907 as a 22 year old labourer, he married Alice English and then went on to have six children - Edith, Kathleen (my mother), George (who only survived six weeks), Harry, Billy and  after the First World War Peggy. 

Grandad won the Military Medal at Givenchy and sent back from Flanders a wonderful collection of postcards that remain among my family treasures and feature on many of my blog postings. 

In 1924 the family moved from a small terraced house in the  centre of Poulton  to a new 3 bedroomed semi-detached house, bought on the deposit of  £67 - I have the receipt.  It looks quite big, but, with only three small bedrooms, it must have still been a squash for parents, 3 daughters and two sons who all lived at home until they married. The front door had a round stained glass window which I thought was very posh.  Half way up the side wall was a small door which revealed the coal shute where the coal men emptied  their sacks down into a small cellar under the stairs.  The side trellised gate was later taken down and a driveway created to take my uncle's car.  The former hen house at the back then became the garage.  The large gardens were my grandfather's and later uncle's joy - with floral displays in the  front and vegetables and fruit  grown at the back.  There was one surprising feature about the house, though - it did not have electricity until the late 1950's, because my grandfather refused to have it installed. I remember my aunt standing on a chair to light the ceiling gas lights, and ironing with a heated flat iron, and the flames from the gas cooker frightened me.

Grandad was a country man at heart, and before the land around him was turned over to housing, I remember him taking my brother and I out on a Sunday afternoon down lanes and across fields, showing us rabbit burrows and helping me collect items for the Nature Table at school.  Our Sunday treat from him was a bag of pear drops.

Of his children - creative, talented and good-looking would be a good description.  

Kathleen and Edith Danson

Eldest daughter Edith (left)  was the only one of the family to go to a Grammar School. and later became head of an infant school at Burn Naze, Thornton.  She remained at home looking after her father and brother.  She was a feisty lady with lots of anecdotes about her teachibng days, and widely travelled , including a trip to Russia in the days of the Iron Curtain.  Like my mother she was a great craftswoman, with a particular interest in painting and Jacobean embroidery. She married for the first ime at the age of 73 a friend of my parents.   She was someone who left behind an indelible mark - you could not forget her and she lives on in our memories.

More about second daughter (my mother) Kathleen in a separate blog.  I showcased her life in "Happiness is Stitching - Talented Tursday" in December 2010.

Son Harry Rawliffe (right)  took his middle name from his grandmother Maria and like his grandfather James  became a joiner.  I remember him making me some little doll's house furniture and itnroducing me to stamp colelcting.   He was part of the large army rescued at Dunkirk, arriving home days later still in the clothes in which he entered the sea.  He loved ballroom dancing  (so living near Blackpool with its famous ballrooms was ideal), and was growing his own fruit and vegetables well into his 80's. 

Uncle Billy, (left)  was named after his father, and I knew him the least of the family.   He served in the navy duirng the war and later went to live in Evesham Worcestershire.

Peggy was the baby of the family, born after the First World War, so 12-13 years younger than her two older sisters.  Shortly after her marriage she emigrated to Australia

Edith, Peggy, Wiliam, Alice, Harry and Kathleen Danson
with just son Billy missing from the  family group c.1940

To follow - My Great Grandfather James Danson  (1852-1906)

See Also:  http://www.dansonfamilyhistory.co.uk/

Copyright © 2011 · Susan Donaldson.  All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. Darren Kellett10 July 2012 at 20:18

    Hi, your GrandFather would have probably known my Great GrandFather Thomas Kellett. He was 3 years older than your GrandFather but will have gone to war with him. I noticed on the medals R. Lancs R, which I believe is the Royal Lancaster Regiment of the Kings own, which is who my Great GrandFather served with in the 7th battalion. Unfortunately he died in the battle of Passchendaele on the 24th September 1917, his name is on the cenotaph in Poulton square. I would love to see any old photo's or any correspondence that may tell me anything about my hero Private 24489 Thomas Kellett.
    My email address is dk2002@onetel.com
    Kindest regards.
    Darren Kellett


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