Friday, 7 October 2011

Carters & Coal Merchants - 3 Generations: Workaday Wednesday

The Oldham family of Blackpool, Lancashire  were carters and coal merchants for   three generations - Joseph Prince Oldham (1855-1921), his son John William Oldham (1880-1939) and his granddaughter Elsie Smith, nee Oldham (1906-1989),

The business was founded  around 1890, steadily became prosperous and in 1905 moved to near North Station, in a house with a large yard, hay loft, tack room. and stabling for around 7 horses.

in the 1901 census Joseph (right)  was descibed as a self-employed carter and coal merchant with his son John a coal wagon driver. An accident at the coal sidings resulted in Joseph  being blinded and he died in 1921, with his will, signed with his "mark". 

Shortly before his death Joseph had purchased the first vehicle (below)  which was used alongside the horses and carts. until the 1930's when two new vehicles were bought.  May Day and the dressing of the horses  with brasses was a colourful event remembered by the family.

The first Oldham road vehicle
bought in 1921.

In 1921 son John William took over the business where workers included  his brother-in-law George Butler (married to Sarah Oldham)  and Arthur Edward Stuart Smith who went on to marry John 's daughter Elsie.   

On the death in 1939 of John William Oldham (right)  his daughter Elsie (below)  took the helm and saw the business through the difficult wartime years, combining it with her own hairdressing concern run from the family home.  The coal merchant business was eventually sold around  1948 to another local firm, thus ending over 50 years of the family concern.   

Elsie Oldham
With thanks to Elsie's son, Stuart (my third cousin)  for these photographs and family history.  

For more photographs and stories of the Oldham family, see:
Finding a Third Cousin
And Dolly Came To
Bobbing, Shingling and Marcel Waves

Workaday Wednesday is a blogging prompt from to encourage writers to record aspects of their family history  

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