Census Sunday – the Manchester Percivals

Up until last weekend I  hadn’t been able to find my 3x Great-Grandparents and their family in the 1851 census.  I had been looking for George Percival and his wife Sarah and possibly their daughter Alice who was born in 1851 in Manchester.

All that remains of Holbrook Street (2011)

I knew that a whole set of Manchester census records had been damaged in a flood whilst in storage at the Home Office and were considered to be ‘unfilmable’. So I am very grateful for the hard work of the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society who have spent years deciphering and transcribing the entries. More recently, new technology has allowed a further batch of records to be deciphered.

I have now found the family’s 1851 census return at Find My Past; they were living at 8 Holbrook Street, which fits nicely with the birth certificate I have for my 2x Great Grandmother Sarah in 1857.

Unfortunately what doesn’t fit nicely are the ages of George and Sarah.  In the 1861 census, George is 63 and Sarah 43. In the 1851 George is 35 and Sarah 29. I’ve enlarged the water damaged image on Ancestry and it does seem to show Sarah as 29, whereas George’s age looks more like 45. Their marriage certificate from December 1841 shows them both as ‘full age’, so that doesn’t help much either!

I do have a census return for George in 1841, but I have never been convinced I had found the right one. The new possible year of his birth could help with that – or it could just hinder my search even more, especially as the ages in the 1841 census are rounded to the nearest five.

There are also other Percivals in Manchester at this time, so I look like slowly having to pick them apart till I find the right ones, which is going to take some time!  If anyone has any hints or tips on how to narrow it down so I can pinpoint George’s & Sarah’s (nee Annett) births I would be very grateful.

Other Manchester Percival posts:
The Manchester Percivals
Wedding Wednesday – George Percival & Sarah Annett
Mappy Monday – The Manchester Percivals. Part II

Mappy Monday – The Manchester Percivals. Part II

To follow up from my earlier post, I have tracked down my 4x Great-grandfather George Percival in the 1841 census.

He was 55 and living at 4 Chadwick Street, off London Road in Manchester, with Hannah Percival, probably his wife, and Samuel Percival, most likely their son.

Chadwick Street no longer exists, but London Road is still there, part of it is the A6 which runs through the centre of Manchester, past the main railway station.  It’s a stone’s throw away from Holbrook Street, behind The Lass O’Gowrie, where George’s son, also George (Jnr), was living in 1861 with his wife Sarah and young family.

Map from Google Maps

The Percivals appeared to move in and around Chadwick Street; George (Jnr) was married from No. 15 in December 1841, although in the census earlier in the year he was living in the Union Workhouse.  In the 1851 census he was in Holbrook Street, but in 1861 he was back in Chadwick St, at No. 12a. I know from researching my previous post what a run down and deprived area this was in this time.

Now I’ve found the 1841 census for George and Hannah, I’ll look for more details of their lives. It’ll be more difficult to find George, as the 1841 census reveals that he wasn’t born in the county of Lancashire.  I also have the Annett side of this family to research further.

Wedding Wednesday – George Percival & Sarah Annett

I recently received a copy of my 3xGreatGrandparents’ marriage certificate. George Percival and Sarah Annett were married on the 14th December 1841 in Manchester.

 

It has helped me confirm that Sarah’s surname was definitely Annett. I’d found her in the 1841 census, but wasn’t sure whether her surname was Hannett or Annett.

The certificate has also helped me go back another generation with this family, that George’s father was also called George and that they were both carters.  Sarah’s father was James. His occupation is difficult to read but I am almost sure he was a fustian cutter. Fustian was a coarse cloth made from flax and cotton and a cutter would have cut the loops in the threads as the fabric was stretched.

 

Picture Credit: http://www.waltonsfamilyhistory.co.uk/knapper.html

My next steps with this side of my family would be to find the two fathers in the census which could provide details of their wives and then to look for parish records of their marriage.  I’ll also have a look at online street maps to give me an idea of the area they lived in and possibly the name of the church on the marriage cert as I’ve been unable to decipher it.

 

Update:  After posting my query on Roots Chat it looks like the marriage took place at the Collegiate, the original parish Church of Manchester, now the Cathedral.

The Manchester Percivals

Last summer my daughter and I spent a day in Manchester with my good friend Julie.  While we were there I wanted to have a look at the street where my great-great-grandmother, Sarah Percival, was born.

Sarah was born at 8 Holbrook Street on 24th January 1857, her parents were George and his wife Sarah (nee Hannett or Annett) and she had two younger sisters, Alice and Mary.
She married Frederick Farnsworth, a warehouseman, in February 1878, but was widowed in June of the same year.  Frederick died of meningitis and typhoid which was endemic in the area.
Sarah married my great-great-grandfather, Robert, see here, in May 1880, and moved to Nottingham, where they had five sons.

I knew she’d had a difficult start in life, her father had spent time in the Union Workhouse, but a quick bit of on line research revealed the dreadful conditions she was born into.

What’s left of Holbrook Street is now behind the Lass O’Gowrie pub on Charles Street, leading to an NCP car park on one side and the River Medlock on the other.

In 1854, the District Medical Officer, John Hatton, delivered a public lecture on the sanitary condition of Chorlton-Under-Medlock.  He draws attention to the poor housing and over-crowding; mentioning James Kerrigan occupying the cellar of, “8, Holbrook-street. Only one dwelling room, twelve persons sleeping therein; the back place filled with (wood) chips, and the front, in addition to the twelve people domiciled, crowded with clothes hung out to dry.”
Hatton adds; “Although this list of overcrowded houses bears sufficient testimony to the distressing extent to which this system is carried, even in this township, it is nothing when compared with some parts of Manchester. The immense moral evils, the utter neglect of the ordinary decencies of life, which is occasioned by the indiscriminate intermixture of the sexes, blunts all feelings of modesty, and quite undermines those of morality. I shall be able presently to prove that these dens of misery are redolent with fevers, cholera, and all manner of diseases. The ventilation of these over-crowded and back to back houses,
would most appropriately be introduced here; but as there is a subcommittee, appointed by the Sanitary Association, to inquire especially into this subject, it is unnecessary for me to occupy your time, but I cannot pass over the matter without remarking, that if this overcrowding of dwellings were done away with, the condition of the poor would be ameliorated, and a great hot-bed of infection entirely removed.”
The whole lecture can be read here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Just to make things worse – the family lived next to Manchester’s oldest ‘pissotiere’, which is exactly what the name suggests!

Robert Richardson 1855–1934


Robert Richardson 1855-1934



My great-great grandfather, Robert Richardson was born in 1855 in Staithes, North Yorkshire.  The youngest of four illegitimate children of Hannah Richardson; his father was possibly John Harrison, an ostler, with whom Hannah as lived as a housekeeper between c1846 and 1857.



Staithes 2005



Hannah died on the 10th February 1857 in Staithes; she had been suffering from tuberculosis for eight years, an illness probably exacerbated by living in a coastal fishing port.  Staithes is a great place for a visit, full of quaint cottages tumbling down a steep hill towards the sea, but at time of Hannah’s death it was much less picturesque. Staithes late 19th C
Robert & his elder brother John were admitted to the workhouse in Guisborough on July 8th 1858, charged to the parish of Liverton.  In August they were taken out by their father, but unfortunately, are back in the workhouse in October 1858 this time with their elder sister Mary. They are described in the workhouse admissions register as ‘very dirty’.  Mary is removed by her father in the November & both boys are removed the following June, but are readmitted in July.

In the 1861 Census returns, Robert and John, aged nine and five respectively,  are still workhouse inmates and are now described as orphans.  Mary is living with her grandfather, John Richardson, in Liverton.  Unfortunately, the workhouse records for 1859 to 1866 are missing, so it’s impossible to discover what happened to them during these years, but by 1871 Robert is apprenticed to Thomas Armstrong, a joiner on Westgate in Guisborough.



Sarah Percival 1857-1897



Robert Richardson married Sarah Farnsworth (nee Percival) the widow of Frederick Farnsworth, in Harpurhay, Manchester in May 1880.   
The family story is that Robert worked his way down the country, finally settling in Nottingham, and by 1881 he and Sarah were living in Radford, Nottingham with their newborn son, Harold.  Also staying with them are John Richardson’s wife, Dorothy, and their two daughters, Mary and Ethel.
Robert and Sarah were still in Radford in the 1891 Census with their five sons; Harold, Robert F, William, Ernest and Percival.   Sadly, Sarah died in August 1897 also of tuberculosis.  Robert remarried the following year, to Emily Bell, described by my grandfather (Pop) as, “a simple soul.”  They had a son, Edward, known as Ted in 1906.
Three of Robert’s six sons Harold, Robert F and Percival followed him into the joinery trade.  William became a bricklayer and Ernest a stonemason.  Robert had his own joinery business throughout his years in Nottingham; he had business premises in Hyson Green and traded as “Richardson & Son” between 1912 and 1922.
The son he was in business with was possibly either Robert F or Percival.  His eldest son Harold was serving in the Northumberland Fusiliers by 1911.
I am still researching, but I believe Harold and William were both killed in action during World War One; Harold at the Somme on 3rd July 1917, and William at Herlies on 17th October 1914.
 Robert Richardson died aged 79 in 1934. 
I think he did good for a “workhouse kid.”  Despite his shaky start he was literate, had a trade and ran his own business; looking very smart and well-to-do, if the photo is anything to go by.   I wish I had asked my Pop about Robert, I would love to know more about him; was he strict, did he have an accent, did he talk about his childhood, his siblings, his apprenticeship,  etc etc.  So ASK your relatives while you still can!