Random Connections

I made an attempt to find Herbert SIDNEY, painter, on the FamilySearch Tree without immediate success.  So I turned instead to another of his subjects, John Woodall WOODALL, a Scarborian.

29_20180929WoodhallHousel2_6mWhen I took the photo of a Scarborough wave on Saturday, I had no idea that the former Woodall residence was in the frame. The family sold St Nicholas House to the Corporation in 1898 and it still functions as the Town Hall.

John WOODALL (1801 – 1879) married Mary Eleanor WOODALL, which explains why they gave their firstborn two helpings of the family name.

I found young John on FST as a single man. This seemed an unlikely state for a wealthy banker. The Sidney portrait reveals a fine looking fellow in what would prove to be his last year or two.

WOODALLjohnW_HerbSidney_ScarMus
Photo credit: Scarborough Museums Trust

I was surprised by the uniform and regalia but the 1901 census explains – giving his occupation as “Retired Banker, JP, and Hon Lt RNR” (Royal Navy Reserve). The salty side of his life took him beyond the defence of the realm (or expansion of empire), encompassing a serious concern with the fishing industry. He must have been one of the first men of some power and influence to question the dangers that trawlers posed to the nation’s food stocks. He was, in this respect at least, ahead of his time and would be bitterly disappointed with what has been done to our oceans.

An article by Paul and Anne and Paul Bayliss reproduced on the Scarborough Maritime Heritage website gives more details of his activities at sea.

He may have retired from public life in 1892 because of ill health but John was hale and hearty enough to woo the Widow COWPLAND and marry her in 1896. Louisa Catherine née CALVERT was about 13 years his junior and gave him two adult step-children, aged 29 and 17. The terms of John’s will suggest that he loved his wife and admired her children.

1905_WOODALLjohnw1_WILL

If £800 a year makes you think Louisa had to scrape by – it is about £80,000 in today’s loot. (Various historic  money value calculators may give different amounts.)

Find John W W on FamilySearch Tree.

In 1871, one of the ten servants living in at St Nicholas House was Rachel STOCKDALE, a 38-year-old single woman born in Filey. Her parents and some siblings are on FST but disconnected from each other. I’ll try to unite them over the next few days.

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