An Untrue Story

In the post ‘Baltic’ and ‘Noran’ nine days ago, I said I would attempt to recover a memory of an amusing story involving the latter fisherman. As chance would have it, I met a relative of ‘Dick Noran’ on my early morning walk towards the end of last week. I told him the story as I remembered it.

Richard Duke ROBINSON was a friend of Mary Elinor PLACE, the only daughter of George Thomas Brown Place, a curate for a while at St Oswald’s. Mary ran a Café on Filey Brigg. Perhaps it was this one.

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Postcard courtesy of Christine Hayes

There were several generations of café, each having a few years of life before they were wrecked in storms. But surely only one had a proprietress as eccentric and inventive as Mary. If she ran out of ice-cream she would take a large white sheet around the corner of the Naze and weigh it down with rocks on the cliff face. This was a signal to Dick Noran to buy a large tub from Baker’s Café on the Landing and row it out to the Brigg in his coble.

I said to Dickie’s first cousin twice removed, “Is this true?” and without hesitation, he replied, “No”.

Aw, shucks. Tom did concede that “some people around town” said that Dickie and Mary had a relationship – and left it at that.

Dick was 17 years older than Mary but had been a widower for a long time when their friendship began. Mary didn’t marry. He died in 1969 aged 79, she in 1985 aged 78.

I went up to the churchyard this afternoon to see if I could get a better photograph of the stone remembering Dick and his parents. There is work for Paul and his gang because it has broken away from its base. Propped up at an angle it is in the early stages of being overwhelmed by vegetation.

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Dick and wife Mary Ellen named their first son Richard Duke. He survived for just four months, so they tried again with their third son. This Richard Duke Robinson joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and died in North Africa during the Battle for Tunisia. (Montgomery and his Eighth Army versus Erwin Rommel’s German-Italian Panzer Army.) I have no supporting documents for my surmise that Richard should have been safe at one of the British Hospitals, probably No.31 General in Oued Athmenia because he was initially buried in the Military Cemetery in that town. He may have succumbed to malaria. His body was exhumed the following year and re-buried at La Reunion War Cemetery in Bejaia. I have given him an ID and put him on the Shared Tree.

Richard Duke Junior was seven years old when his grandmother Mary Ellen died at 66 Queen Street. His elder sister Margaret was living at 68 Queen Street when she died in 1959. I photographed the cottages this afternoon.

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Beatrice Novelli

6_20170406WheelhouseHouseReflected1_6mThe houses on Cliff Top in Today’s Image, reflected in a Filey Sands tidepool, have been flipped and turned so that they “look right”. The tallest dwelling is the old Coastguard house at the end of Queen Street, named Cliff Point when retired surgeon Claudius Galen Wheelhouse lived there.

I have been researching the SOUTHWELL family for a post next week and found Cliff Point mentioned, so I’m taking the opportunity of the photo “anniversary” to introduce Beatrice.

Her birth was registered twice, in the December Quarter of 1855, and in the March Quarter of the following year. Her given names were Helen Beatrice. She died in 1923 and on her gravestone she is Beatrice Helen. It may have been a bureaucratic slip but perhaps her parents had a change of mind after registration because she is “Beatrice H”, aged 5 at the 1861 census. The family name was transcribed as NOVELLE that year, NOVELLI in 1871 and NOVELLO in 1881. Beatrice married into the SOUTHWELLs in 1888, a family that also fell prey to government clerks. Beatrice Helen and Harry Glanville had nine children and two of their sons were sacrificed in the mud of Flanders. One is not easily traced because the CWGC has him under a different name to the one his family preferred.

Augustin Novelli was born in Manchester and described as a “Counselling Physician” in 1871. He must have had a lucrative practice because his household that year contained eight servants and a governess.

The SOUTHWELL household in 1871 was also well populated with servants. Harry Glanville Senior, ten years younger than Augustin, had seven servants. Obviously, being a “Clergyman without care of souls” paid well. He died unexpectedly between an afternoon of rabbit shooting and an evening game of billiards. The Stamford Mercury reported on 11 July 1890 that he had…

…by his many estimable qualities of mind and heart, won for himself more than common esteem and affection from all classes.

Harry Glanville Junior, aged 19 in 1881, was enumerated in the village of his birth, Limber Magna in Lincolnshire, but was staying with relatives. He gave his occupation as “rabbit fancier”. He must subsequently have decided to get serious about a career. Ten years later he was a law student, married to Beatrice, a father of three, and an employer of seven domestic servants, including two stud horsemen and a groom. A fourth child was born in Caistor in 1892 and the fifth in South Hampstead the following year. The London adventure was short-lived and the last four children entered the world in Filey. In 1901 the family was living on the Crescent but in somewhat diminished circumstances. They only had two servants. Harry was now a solicitor but perhaps not a successful one. It isn’t clear what came first, marriage break-up or Harry’s fall into drug addiction, but in 1908, while living in London, he took an overdose of “veronol” and died. The coroner’s verdict was “suicide whilst temporarily insane”.

In 1911 Beatrice was living in a house named ‘Bohemia’, in Mitford Street, Filey. Her 21-year- old son, Edmund, a law student, was with her. When he left Filey, Beatrice moved into a bungalow at Cliff Point, where she was looked after by a housekeeper, Grace JENKINSON, who clearly became a good friend. In February 1923, Beatrice was staying with Grace, not many doors away at 93 Queen Street. She had her own room and on the evening of the 17th, while getting ready for bed, her nightdress was set alight by the gas fire. Her screams for help were quickly answered, the flames extinguished and Dr. SIMPSON called. Sadly the burns and shock were severe enough to cause her death three days later.

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To our dear mother, BEATRICE HELEN SOUTHWELL, born Oct 5 1855, died Feb 20 1923.