Beyond Our Ken

My parents acquired our first television in 1959 and it became a family tradition on FA Cup Final day to close the curtains so that we could concentrate on the biggest match of the year. I haven’t watched a televised match played with a round or oval ball for years. Maybe if Kenneth Wolstenholme had been commentating today I would have tuned in.

His was the voice of my formative years that brings back the best of memories. (Not just “they think it’s all over”.) So, given my current obsessions, I turned to FamilySearch to see if he has a place on the Shared Tree. I was astonished to find a sister, Edna, but not him, nor his other siblings. I did a bit of hunting, to check the pedigree as presented and perhaps fill in some gaps – and found that all was not well with the online Wolstenholmes.

False grandpa Robert has 15 sources – and some of these clearly challenge his paternity where Thomas is concerned. A census source names his wife as “Alice Ann”. Here is her marriage and the registration of Thomas’ birth. (Sources: Free BMD & GRO Births Index.)

And “just Alice” of the FamilySearch screenshot with her firstborn, Ernest.

Euphemia’s parents look right but our Ken’s pedigree is disappointingly curtailed. He deserves better.

I looked in newspapers for some uplifting information about English footie’s greatest commentator (arguably) and found that, when he was ten years old his dad was hauled off to jail.

Thomas appears to have recovered from this setback. The 1939 Register shows him with Euphemia and Kenneth at 200 Eccles Old Road, Salford, his occupation not fully legible but including the words “Managing Director” and “Silk Merchant”. Kenneth’s status is equally unclear but indicates his imminent service with the RAF. The young man flew many sorties over Germany and was perhaps fortunate to live long enough to marry in 1944.

Kenneth and Joan had two daughters. Joan died in 1997 and Kenneth in 2002, aged 81.

World Cup Final 1966

FA Cup Final 2021

Rock 30 · Red Cliffs

Cayton Bay

Three In A Row

The stone cross remembers Alfred Bird STATHERS, the son of Alfred and Mary Jane nee BIRD (middle stone) and the grandson of Robert Bird (left). It also brings into the family Annie Elizabeth “Nancie” BULMER, and you can see her place in the genealogical scheme of things on the Shared Tree.

There are representatives of the three families ‘at rest’ elsewhere in the churchyard. I will introduce them to you over the next few weeks.

Path 130 · Country Park

North Pampletine Cliffs to Arndale

Stathers the Chemist

The Scarborough Gazette Directory of 1905 places Alfred STATHERS, dispensing chemist, at 3 Union Street, Filey. At the census four years earlier, he was resident at this address, above the shop, with his unmarried son, Alfred Bird Stathers, 30, and a Housekeeper, Hannah POOL, age 26 and single. Alfred senior had been a widower for over twenty years, since his wife Mary Jane died in March 1879. Mary Jane was the daughter of Robert BIRD, the subject of last Friday’s post. You may recall that Robert and wife Ruth employed Elizabeth Stathers to help with the running of their London home (1871 census). I speculated that Elizabeth was Mary Jane’s sister in law, and Alfred Stathers was indeed her brother. The relationship of the two women would appear to have been much deeper than mistress and servant, or sisters.

In affectionate remembrance of ELIZABETH STATHERS, late of Malton, who departed this life Dec 27th 1878, aged 49 years.

‘Thy will be done’

Also of MARY JANE STATHERS, the beloved wife of ALFRED STATHERS, who died March 12th 1879, aged 44 years.

‘Nearer my God to Thee

Nearer to Thee’

Also of ALFRED STATHERS M.P.S., who died Sep 3rd 1905, aged 73 years.

‘His end was peace’

This stone is next to that of Robert and Ruth Bird, and if the street numbers have not changed in the last hundred years, Alfred’s chemist shop has morphed into Frothies.

Union Street, Filey

I have united previously unconnected elements of the Bird and Stathers families on the FamilySearch Tree. There is more work to be done – and another stone to present, to make a family group of three.

Path 128 · Church Walk

Migrating Birds

Robert BIRD ran a successful business as a tailor and woollen draper in Queen Street, Filey, for a quarter of a century or more. He seems to have had only two children with Ruth nee POSGATE; Mary Jane born in 1835 and Samuel Robert who arrived twelve years later. Both were with their parents when the 1861 census was taken. Mary Jane married in 1864 and built a nest with Alfred STATHERS. Robert retired from business not long afterwards and flew south to London where the enumerator found him in Hungerford Road, Islington, with Ruth and Samuel Robert, 24, who was working as a junior clerk in the Public Record Office. The trio had a lodger, a commercial traveller in the woollen trade called Adolph WEPPLER, who had been blown across the German Ocean by the winds of fate. The live-in servant, Elizabeth STATHERS, aged 40 and unmarried, was most probably Mary Jane Bird’s sister in law.

The older Birds may have tired of the Great Wen because ten years later they are enumerated in Westcott, just outside Dorking. They are living at The Lodge – and I want to believe they had a few contented years in this small property –

Nowadays, you would have to hand over about £600,000 to acquire ownership but, hey, it is only a couple of hundred metres from Nirvana Cycles.

Robert died in January 1885 and the homing instinct in Ruth was too strong to keep her in Surrey. She is buried in Filey – and her stone remembers Robert. I have put a photograph of it on the Shared Tree.

Path 127 · Headland Way

to Speeton Sands