When did we become obsessed with time?

So today is the day we put the clocks back and marks the start of the shorter days of winter. But this is a relatively new phenomenon as is standardised time and what changes in time keeping did our ancestors experience?

From Ancient Egyptian obelisks dating back to around 3500BC and sundials to around 1500BC the latest digital ‘gadgets’ of today, to the latest time has always been measured in one way or another. But I doubt our ancestors were so aware of time as we are today.

Until the mid to late 19th century, time was set locally rather than nationally or internationally. Our ancestors largely kept time by the sun – an organic system known as local mean time. How did this work? In each town across the country the time of day was decided, firstly, by consulting a sun dial and then by the creation of local time.

With the introduction and development of the railways there came a need to standardise time and the UK was the first country to set a standard time when it established the Greenwich Mean Time standard in the 1840s (initially known as “railway time”). As Greenwich, due to the presence of the Royal Observatory, was the national centre for time and had been since 1675, the choice was obvious. .

Most railways used this time by 1847 however our ancestors day to day life was still governed by local mean time and so arose the situation where the town railway station h kept one time, and the town itself kept another! Very confusing! And by 1845 railway timetables had to point out that there was a difference between “town” time and “railway” time. Some stations even had two clocks, one for local time and one for railway time!

Clearly the situation could not last and by 1855, most public clocks in Britain were set to GMT, although some had two minute hands, one for local time and one for GMT. However it was not until 2 August 1880 that GMT was adopted officially by Parliament

I wonder how this affected our ancestors lives?

Would it have made their lives easier? It would have certainly made travel easier and time less confusing! Was this the beginning of our ‘obsession’ with time?

What do you think?




The future starts here

Whilst I  started writing my own family history and  set up this website to run a business in genealogy, I came to the conclusion that the only way to progress any career in this field is to get that all important qualification. So I did some research into courses – what was available, the costs, how long it would take, home study or institute study, the qualification to be attained and its acceptance by professional associations.

With two preschool children to look after my ‘free’ time is precious and I wanted something that would fit around the children and of course my home with my husband, who has been very supportive in my venture. I wanted a home study course which was not time limited and provided a suitable qualification to enable me to join AGRA (Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives).

After reading reviews of various courses in April 2018’s edition of “Who Do You Think Yo are?” magazine I made my decision, spoke to my husband about the cost, which had a monthly payment option – perfect, manageable!

So, I signed up! I chose Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies Correspondence Course in Genealogy which will lead me to a Higher Certificate in Genealogy and hopefully onto a Diploma in Genealogy. I only signed up on 8th April but have already submitted and had my first assignment marked. It is some time since I did any academic work and therefore was quite nervous as I submitted the completed assignment and even more nervous when I received the email with my first assessment mark. I have to say it was with relief that I had obtained an excellent mark, an “A”. A great start to my studies, lets hope I can keep it up.

Studying whilst being a full time mum of a three and a half year old and a 19 month old is not going to be easy, but with the eldest in nursery/pre-school three days a week and the youngest still having a daytime nap (and praying that continues…..), I have my daytime window of opportunity along with evenings and weekends. I am happy to say I am not finding studying as hard as I thought I might….well at least so far, no doubt it may get harder! The beauty is the course can take me as long as I need, but I am keen to get going on my new career!

Like many careers, to get ahead, as well as obtaining a qualification, I need to build up a portfolio to be able to apply for membership to one AGRA. My business therefore starts here and I am looking for willing “guinea pigs” to start building up that portfolio.

So if you’re interested why not contact me, its not very often we get anything from free in this life.

Writing my Family History

I have now completed draft mini biographies of maternal grandfather and his direct ancestors back to my great (x3) grandfather, which put together form the beginnings of my family history. I say ‘drafts’ as these are by no means the final article! There is further information and documentation to obtain and I am sure there is more out their to be found on the lives of those individuals. I will blog some extracts  to provide taster.

You may be wondering how I started out with my research; what documents I had and how I came about them in order to be able to even start to write an ancestors mini biography.

Well I began researching my family tree a number of years ago and found my great, great grandparents with relative ease, particularly on my paternal side and maternal grandfathers’ side. My maternal grandmothers’ side was not so easy. Initially my research was conducted by speaking to family members and subscribing to I have since also subscribed to and the Genealogist as well. I have also used (trial version) and

I started by setting out myself and my parents who are both still living and all their essential information (birth, marriage) are within my own knowledge. I was also lucky enough to know both my maternal grandparents and my paternal grandmother until I was into my late 20’s. I therefore knew their essential information in terms of birth and death. My paternal grandfather died the year before I was born, however his grave is in the local churchyard where I grew up and I knew his date of birth and death. What I did not know, were the dates of my grandparents respective marriages. I don’t ever remember enquiring about my paternal grandparents’ marriage but I do remember enquiring about my maternal grandparents’ marriage which they were always elusive about. That intrigued me. I also knew that my maternal great grandfather never knew his father and this was a mystery which I wanted to pursue.

Save for my maternal grandmothers family, I have managed to trace my direct ancestors back for several generations, potentially in some lines back to the 13th century although I have not gone about corroborating any of that information as yet, it is largely information gained from other ancestry trees so is very questionable at this stage.

There are some dates of births, marriage and deaths for which I only have the details from the indexes. Some of those gaps were filled in from the 1939 Register (dates of birth) although these should of course be used with some caution and where I have been unable to find copies of documents online the next step would be to purchase copy documents from the General Register Office. At this stage I have not gone that far due to the number of dates I have missing and therefore the cost.

My maternal family required more research. What I knew before starting my research, from my grandfather, was that his family originated from Cambridgeshire, it was his grandfather who moved to Yorkshire, closely followed by all but two of his siblings and his mother. I knew something of the life of my great grandfather who was a publican. My mother and particularly my Aunt and great maternal Aunt, have able to provide some details of my great grandfather’s life although he died before either my mum or aunt were born.

As less was known about my maternal ancestors in some cases I used wider search details, such as searching siblings which often provided more information for my pedigree ancestors. I will detail these searches when I come to those ancestors below.

I knew my grandfather’s basic details save for his date of marriage to my grandmother, Mary. It was only when my maternal grandmother died and my mother was looking through her papers that their marriage certificate was found. It must have caused a bit of a scandal at the time and now we know why it was never mentioned, my grandmother was six months pregnant with my maternal aunt when they were married!
We also found my maternal grandparents birth certificates amongst the papers. There was also the birth certificate, death certificate and marriage certificate for my maternal grandmothers’ father. At this stage the rest of my research has been conducted and information gathered online from a variety of websites.

One thing I have learnt is that research into your ancestry will never be complete. There is always more to find. New records are being released all the time, new resources are made available and who know what I will when I get the time to attend the various record offices and search physical archives. Its exciting!

So my research continues, my family history writing continues as I expand on the Huddlestone ancestors and start write about my other ancestors – the Oldfield family (my maternal grandmother); the Richardson family (my paternal grandfather) and the Sayner family (my paternal grandmother); and I am sure one day my writings will expand beyond these direct ancestors! You never know it may all even end up in a book one day!


My Great (x3) Grandad James

A couple of excerpt from my mini biography of James Huddlestone, who became a publican in Thirplow, Cambridge and was the last of my Huddlestone ancestors to both live and die in Cambrigeshire and lived though the Victoria era

“James married Elizabeth Flanders on 25 August 1850 at St Lawrence Church in Foxton, Cambridgeshire where they both lived at the time according to the marriage certificate. Elizabeth was born in about 1828 and was the third child of Zachariah Flanders and Susannah Flanders (previous married name Albon nee Pitt/Pett). Elizabeth had three older half-sisters (from her mothers’ first marriage), two older full sisters, two younger full sisters and two younger full brothers. I obtained a copy of their marriage certificate as I was unsure I had the correct details for James’ father, but it confirmed I did have the correct details.

At the time of marriage James is described as a “minor” that being he was under 21 years of age and was working as a “jobber” as was his father. It may be that they worked together although I have no evidence to confirm this. By the time the 1851 census was conducted on 30 March 1851 James and Elizabeth were living at Foxton Street, Foxton. James is described as 19 years of age and Elizabeth as 22, thus James was either 18 or 19 when they got married. He is also by this time working as an agricultural labourer. The census also shows that they had one son, George, living with them by this time who is said to have been 1 month old, having therefore been born late February or early March. Given they were married in August the previous year you can deduce that Elizabeth was in fact about 3 month pregnant when they were married. This is becoming something of a common theme in my family – in the four generations I have research so far, three out of the four were expecting their first child when they got married! I wonder therefore whether this really would have been such a scandal????

As an agricultural labourer in the 1850’s James would not have been well paid. They were usually amongst the poorest in a village, with work being on a day to day basis. However I have not found James and Elizabeth in any poor relief records and by the 1861 census James was working as a “Dealer” and they were living on the High Street in Foxton. By this time they had four sons, George, Charles born c. March 1855 (baptised 15 April 1855), Frederick (my great great grandfather – see his separate blog) born c. December 1856 (Baptised 14 December 1856) and Arthur born c. June 1859 (baptised 26 June 1859).

In fact checking back to the 1851 and 1861 censuses they were at that time also living next to James’ parents, but his father was described as a “Butcher” in 1851 and a “Dealer” in 1861. I suspect what is described as “Foxton Street” in the 1851 census was in fact the “High Street” as named in the 1861 census. So it appears that by 1851 the whole family had moved to Foxton. It is further interesting to note that in the 1871 census James’ father is still living at the same address and is once again described as a “Butcher”. It is therefore very likely that they worked together and whilst I have not found out any more details as to what they were dealers in my suspicion is that they dealt in meat (hence the description of Butcher) and other food supplies.”

Foxton is described in the 1869 Post Office Directory of Cambridgeshire as “a village, parish, and station [opened in 1851 ], on the Great Northern Railway, 52 miles from London, about 7 south from Cambridge, 6 north from Royston, and 9 west from Linton, in the hundred of Thriplow, union and county court district of Royston, rural deanery of Barton, archdeaconry and diocese of Ely”. They had not moved far. The population in 1861 was 405.

However by this time (1969) James and his family were living in Thriplow. He is in fact listed in the 1864 Post Office Directory of Cambridgeshire as the publican of The Green Man public house in Thriplow. In fact I suspect James became the publican at The Green Man some time before this, as their son, Albert Henry (aka Henry) was born c.1863 being baptised on 30 August 1863 in Thriplow, his baptism record describes his father, James, as a publican. It would be interesting to know how and why James made the jump from “Dealer” to “Publican”.”

“The earliest records of the Green Man are that the property originally belonged to Barenton’s Manor and in 1657 is described as “1 messuage with orchard and garden and 3½ acres arable land”. The first record of it being a public house are of it being called the Garden and Spade in 1788 changing its name to the Gardener’s Spade in 1794 and to the Gardener’s Arms in 1798. It then changed its name back to the Gardener’s Spade in 1800 and eventually to the Green Man in 1822.

Their time at the Green Man was not with objection. In 1878 James appears in the Herts & Cambs Reporter where the following report appears under the Melbourn Petty sessions section, in an application for renewal of the annual licence for The Green Man, Thriplow :

“In the case of the license of the above house at Thriplow, held by James Huddlestone, Mr. Stretten had given notice to the holder of the license of an objection being made at the present meeting against his license being renewed. The notice set forth that Huddlestone was an unfit person to hold the license from his having when goods were offered to him at very much under value by one Walter Morley, and which there was every reason to believe might have been stolen, expressed his willingness to purchase the same, and would have done so except for the interference of his wife; and also that he concealed and denied that the said goods had been offered to him until he was informed the one of the persons had confessed the robbery, and that he (Huddlestone) had offered to purchase the goods.

Mr. C.W. Palmer, solicitor of Cambridge, appeared for Huddlestone, and submitted that the notice was bad in law. The objection, however, was eventually waived, and Mr. Stretten, in support of the facts stated on the notice, called Police-sergeant Levitt, of Chesterton, who said that in February last he received information of a robbery from Thriplow of a quantity of wheat. He went to Duxford and found the men suspected and charged them with stealing it. From what was said to him by the prisoners he called upon James Huddlestone, of the Green Man, Thriplow and told him that he (witness) was informed that a sack of wheat had been stolen from Mr Webster’s premises at Thriplow and that the wheat had changed hands at or near his (Huddlestone’s) house. He replied that he saw nor heard nothing of the wheat. In company with Huddlestone witness looked round the yard but saw nothing of any corn. On the following day February 25th, witness had further communication with the prisoners, and from what they said he went to Thriplow and saw Huddlestone again. He said to Huddlestone then, ‘These prisoners have made a very strong Implication against you. One of them said it was offered to you for sale by Walter Morley.’ Witness told him he thought as he was a licensed man he had better tell him the truth about it. He replied that he would do so, and said that Walter Morley came to him as he was drawing beer in his cellar and asked if he would buy a sack of wheat, to which he (Huddlestone) replied, “I have made up my mind to buy anything worth the money.’’

Huddlestone: “’In a straightforward way,’’ I said. Witness (continuing) said Huddlestone told him that he asked Morley the price of wheat and he said 7s. and that he should have bought it only his wife came up and he should not buy it for anybody. He never saw the wheat.

The Clerk, referring to the circumstances of the robbery, said he believed the prisoners were brought up to that bench and dealt with summarily, and that no charge was preferred against Huddlestone. Sergeant Levitt said that was so, Huddlestone was called as a witness by Deputy Chief Constable Stretten: Huddlestone did not say anything to me about it until I told him that the prisoners had confessed to stealing it and to offering it to Huddlestone for sale.

Mr. Palmer: were you present when the prisoners were convicted? Witness: I was, they pleaded guilty.

Mr. Palmer: There was not a single word said against Huddlestone upon that matter in Court-they made no statement in the Court against the applicant at all? Witness: No. I have resided in this (Melbourn) district for several years. I am not aware that any complaint has been made against Huddlestone.

Mr. Palmer said there was no proof that “he would have purchased it” as set forth in notice, and he took it that the clause in the notice was abandoned by Mr. Stretten.
Mr. Stretten said he did not abandon it at all. If a man offered to do a thing it was a matter of inference as to whether he would do it, and that must be left to the Bench to decide.

Mr. Palmer submitted to the Bench with confidence that there was nothing in the evidence adduced to justify them in withdrawing this man’s certificate. These prisoners plead guilty of having stolen the corn. They did in all probability offer it to his Client, but he did not purchase it; and the prosecution was so satisfied with his respectability that they actually would have called him as a witness to prove the case against these men had not they pleaded guilty. While as to the statement of the corn changing hands at Huddlestone’s, the witness searched the premises and could find no traces of having been the case. Then they had to look at the character of a man who had conducted his house for 17 years in a respectable manner, and never had any charges brought against him. Upon this matter coming to the knowledge of the Messers. Phillips, the owners of his house, they gave him (Huddlestone) notice to quit, but upon subsequent inquires they considered him a proper man to conduct the house, and therefore, subject to the magistrates decision now, did not propose to put the notice into force. In addition to this he had a testimonial from the clergyman of the parish as to the character of his client, which, utterly unsolicited, was sent to the owners of the house in consequence of the notice to quit.

Mr. Palmer then read a letter from the Rev. J. Watkins, Vicar of Thriplow, in which that gentleman stated that from what he had seen and heard of him (Huddlestone) during the last 4 years he considered them to be very respectable and hard working. They conducted their business-which as well-known was always a difficult one-in as honest and straight forward a way as was possible among people who were to drunkenness, as Thriplow people unfortunately were. (laughter). With regard to the question of the corn he (the writer) believed them to be entirely innocent. He should be the last to defend a publican against whom he knew any real ground of the complaint; and it was in the interests of justice both to tenant and to the owners of the house that he had written a letter. Mr. Stretten said he admitted all that had been said, and would go even further in speaking of the good character borne by the applicant during the time he had conducted his house, but it was his duty to lay the facts concerning the conduct of the houses in the division before the magistrates from year to year, and that was his only object in bringing the case before them.

The magistrates then retired, and on their return the chairman said they were unanimously of the opinion that there was no case to justify them in withholding the license, and that it was the opinion of the whole parish of all ranks that he was a most respectable man as publican. At the same time it was the duty of the police not to refuse any information they could get. The license was granted as usual.”

This report is also interesting as it confirms the Green Man public house was owned at this time by Messrs Phillips. This was the brewery known at that time as Phillips Bros, previously known as Royston Brewery and later known as J and J E Phillips Ltd and then Phillips of Royston.

I suspect James was quite a colourful character. I have found further reference to him in the Herts and Cambs Report on 28 October 1892 under the hearing “A Publican Fine” which reports

“James Huddlestone, publican and farmer, of the Green Man, Thriplow, was charged with having being drunk whilst in charge of a horse and cart at Hartson, on October 15th. The defendant pleaded guilty, and, evidence having been given by P.c. Huckle, he was fined 5s and costs”.

The pub also has a colourful history. There are newspaper reports of inquests being held at the pub. During James’ time as publican I have found the following reports:

On Thursday 20th. April 1882 an inquest was held at the Green Man and reported in the Cambridge Chronicle on the death of Elizabeth Fuller aged 2 yrs and 7 months.

On 23 June 1883 again in the Cambridge Chronical it is report “On Tuesday, at the Green Man public house, Mr. C. W. Palmer, County Coroner, held an inquest touching the death of Wm. Bush, aged 70, bailiff to Mr. Perkins.- It appeared that the deceased, since the death of his wife, 2 years ago, had lived by himself. For a fortnight or so prior to Friday, the April 8th, he had been in a depressed state of mind. During Friday, the deceased had some refreshments at a neighbours house, where he said his poor head was very bad, and when it was suggested to him that the Doctor should be call on him, he said that “there was no telling where he should be”. He was missed from his home on Friday evening, and on the Saturday was found lying in a neighbouring field. A four chambered revolver, with 2 chambers empty, was lying close by, and the deceased had apparently shot himself. He was however, alive. After being taken home he admitted he had done wrong, but assigned no reason. He had been in the habit of keeping the revolver by his bedside. He died on Monday last-Mr. Earle, surgeon, give evidence showing that the death resulted from a bullet wound in the head, and said that judging from the position of the wound and the state of the ear, he believed the wound was self-inflicted.- Verdict, “suicide while of unsound mind”.

On 20 September 1890 the Cambridge Independent Press reports “An Old Man’s Presentiment – An inquest was held at the Green Man, Thriplow, on Tuesday, before the county coroner (Mr C. W. Palmer), concerning the death of Nathan Ison, aged 60 years, shepherd – Sarah Ison, the widow, said she was sent for on Monday morning to go home. When she arrived there she found her husband in bed. He complained of being unwell when he went to work, and said he could no live. A doctor was sent for, but her husband died before he arrived – James Huddlestone, publican, of Thriplow, deposed that on Monday morning he saw the deceased reeling about the road. Ison said to him “James, I am a dead man; help me home”. He took the deceased home , and assisted him to bed – Mr H. S. Reynolds, a medical gentleman living in Melbourn, state that he had made post-mortem examination. The cause of death was syncope, consequence upon fatty degeneration of the heart – Verdict accordingly”

On 29 May 1891 there is a report in the Royston Weekly News that quotes an inquiry that was held in the Green Man on the death of Emily Hannah Freeman aged 4½ who had died from scald caused by pulling a frying pan over herself. The jury found the verdict of “Accidental Death”.”

greenman wth saracen's Head on right (1847-late 1870's)

This is a painting of The Green Man with the Saracen’s Head public house on the right which operated from 1847 to the 1870’s, so during the early days of James being the publican at the Green Man. It is interesting that the Saracen’s Head closed in the 1870’s as this is following the introduction of the Licensing Act 1872 (parts of which still remains in force today) which:
• “for the first time gave magistrates the power to issue licenses to public houses; where it was thought that there were too many of these, magistrates were able to close down some of them;
• public houses now had to close in towns at midnight and at 11 p.m. in the countryside – so that agricultural labourers could walk home and arrive before midnight;
• the adulteration of beer was made illegal: it was common for salt to be added to it, to make the consumers thirsty and so drink more.”
The 1874 Licensing Act provided for longer opening hours.
It may be that the Saracen’s Head was closed by the magistrates. There were in fact at this time five public houses in Thriplow. As well as the Green Man and Saracen’s Head, there was The Fox in Church Street which burnt down in 1920; the Red Lion in Middle Street which burnt down in 1941; and the Shoulder of Mutton which closed c. 1915. It is nice to know that the Green Man is the only pub remaining in Thriplow; after a few turbulent years the pub is now a community owned pub .

The green man today
The Green Man today

It would be nice to think that his children celebrated their marriages with a wedding breakfast at the Green Man. All of his children were married during James’ lifetime and his time as the publican at the Green Man. However only three of his children, George, Charles and Ruth, were married in Cambridge.”


My Great (x2) Grandad Frederick

An excerpt from the mini biography of Frederick James Huddlestone who brought my Huddlestone ancestors (pedigree lineage) to Yorkshire from Cambridge

“Throughout the Victorian era farming faced a number of challenges (see blog on James Huddlestone for more details). In the 1870’s there began an agricultural depression resulting from the industrial revolution; a series of bad harvests due to poor weather; technological advances in farming machinery reducing the amount of labourers needed; and the increase of cheap American imports (post the American Civil war (1861 to 1865)) reducing the price of home grown crops. The repeal of the Corn Laws (which had imposed tariffs on imported grain) in 1846 had led to free trade. Ultimately this agricultural depression led to the Board of Agriculture (now the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) being set up in 1889. This was the period when Benjamin Disreali (1874 to 1880) was Prime Minister. There were a number of other technological advances and inventions during this period including the Gasoline Carburettor, Telephone and Phonograph in 1876; .Microphone in 1877; the Lightbulb in 1879; the electric iron in 1882; the Motorcycle in 1885; and the Automobile in 1886.

Pay for agricultural labourers was generally poor but especially low in the south where there was little competition from the lure of the new, industrial areas of the Midlands, North West and West Yorkshire, where wages were higher. There are stories of whole families packing up and leaving Cambridgeshire for a new life in these areas with examples of agents actively negotiating with Parish officials in Cambridgeshire to arrange for workers to be shipped to the mill towns in Lancashire because this took them off parish relief.

It appear that Frederick was attracted by the ‘lure of the north’. By 1878 Frederick was living in Cridling Stubbs in the Parish of Womersley in the lower division of the Wapentake (also known as Hundred in other parts of the country) of Osgoldcross in the West Riding of Yorkshire; marrying Mary Elizabeth Turner on the 4 December 1878 at The Parish Church in the Parish of Womersley, and working as a Blacksmith. Mary was the youngest child and only daughter of John Turner and Martha Turner (nee Heap) born 12 April 1859 in Burton Salmon, Yorkshire. Her father was a shopkeeper and according to the 1871 census he described himself as a grocer and beer dealer.

In the Directory and Topography of Sheffield 1826, Cridling Stubbs is described as “a scattered township, 4 miles E. of Pontefract, contains 1,380 acres of land, and in 1861 had 127 inhabitants. Rateable value, £1,500. William W. Chafey, Esq., and Sidney College, Cambridge, are the principal owners; the former is also lord of the manor”. Sidney College bought Cridling Park, part of the manor of Cridling Stubbs from the Earl of Monmouth in 1634 for £2,670 after Sir John Brereton, one of the first scholars of Sidney College, who died in 1626, left one-half of his estate for such purposes as would be for the good of the College.

I have not found any particular reason why Frederick chose Cridling Stubbs to move to from Foxton nor when he actually moved but this is interesting because two of his brothers moved to the area around the same time, working as chemical labourers at Whitwood and ultimately four of his six siblings moved to the surrounding area. It would have been relatively easy to travel to the area following the completion of the great north railway in 1850 (London to Doncaster with a connection to York) to which there was a link from Foxton Station via the Hitchin and Cambridge branch line of the great northern railway. The line also continued to Edinburgh (line from Doncaster to Edinburgh was completed in 1846) and London to York direct was available from 1871″


My Great Grandad Arthur 1879 – 1937

A couple of excerpts from my mini biography of Arthur Turner Huddlestone spent most of his life as a publican 

“I am not sure that Arthur’s trade would be greatly affected by the First World War. Farmers played an important part during the war, in particular arable farmers which helped to stave off famine in Britain, despite a food shortage and it is therefore doubtful he had a shortage of customers. In fact the national trend was an increasing concern as to the level of drinking during the early part of the First World War due to increasingly demanding work and increasing wages. Public houses had traditionally been the place for men not women, but interestingly because more women were working to support the war effort (with so many men away at the front) women found themselves with more disposable income and freed from many domestic restraints. In increasing numbers, they flocked to pubs and drank alcohol in greater quantities than before. This national trend did lead to changes in licensing laws which would have affected Arthur’s business.
In 1915, the then Minister for Munitions, Lloyd George, declared that; “We are fighting Germans, Austrians and drink, and so far as I can see the greatest of these deadly foes is drink”. The concerns were that this increase in alcohol consumption would have a negative impact on the war effort. New licensing laws were therefore introduced restricting opening hours for licensed premises to lunch (12:00 to 14:00) and later to supper (18:30 to 21:30). Before this, public houses could open from 5 o’clock in the morning to 1230 at night!

There were also restrictions regarding alcohol content; Beer in particular was ordered to be ‘watered down’ to make it less potent and reduce drunkenness. Additionally it became illegal to buy drinks for other people, thus ending the tradition of buying alcohol in rounds. Interestingly there were no measures specifically targeted at women despite there being a moral outrage among regarding women drinking in public houses.

Arthur managed to avoid conscription in the First World War, with only his younger brother, Albert, joining up. The Military Service Act was introduced in 1916 and initially he would not have been eligible because he was a married man, although that rule changed in June 1916. The Act thereafter made all men aged 18 to 40 years old were liable to be called up for military service unless they were widowed with children or ministers of a religion. There was a system of Military Service Tribunals to adjudicate upon claims for exemption upon the grounds of performing civilian work of national importance, domestic hardship, health, and conscientious objection and it may be that Arthur and his siblings became exempt because of they were farmers. Although Arthur was a publican, in the 1911 census he was also listed as a land owner and farmer and he continued to own farm land throughout his life.”

dav    Jolly Miller Station Hotel as was
The Station Hotel c.1920 the pub Arthur ran from c. 1922 until his death
Later re-named the Jolly Miller


I imagine the pub would be quite a bustling place given the trade that would have been passing at that time on the canal and railway. The opening of the canal coincided with the opening of new docks at Goole on 20 July 1826. The new section of canal was 18.7 miles (30.1 km) long, with locks at Ferrybridge, Whitley, Pollington and Goole. Goole became an official port in 1827, when it gained its own Customs facilities. The transportation of coal was one of the main cargos on the canal. Although by the time Arthur was running the Stain Hotel the railway was probably much busier than the canal. The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway had the largest fleet of all the railway companies in the early 1900’s before railway companies began amalgamating. Amongst others, in 1905 they took over the Goole Steam Shipping Company. By 1913, among others, they not only ran the trains passing through Whitley Bridge to Goole by also ran steam ships between Goole and many continental ports including Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Rotterdam.

I have not been able to find out at this stage which brewery the pub belonged to, possibly Bentleys Yorkshire Brewery’s Limited. There were two other local pubs at the time, The Horse and Jockey at Hut Green, Eggborough which was and remains a Tetley’s Brewery pub and the George and Dragon at Whitley was and remains a John Smiths Brewery pub.
The Station Hotel must have been a successful business because by 1927 Arthur was also listed in Kelly’s trade directory as a “motor engineer; petrol, oils, tyres & accessories stocked; repairs a specialty”. He had bought the Station Garage across the road from his pub, where he also continued to be the publican. I am told by family members that the pub was known for “lock ins” which were often with the full knowledge and participation of the local police. This may explain an article I have found in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph dated 15 October 1924 stating

“Arthur Turner Huddlestone, licensee of the Station Hotel Whitley Bridge, appealed against a conviction at the Snaith Court for supplying beer during prohibited hours. The appeal was dismissed with costs”

This is also the period in history when women were given the right to vote. It would be interesting to know what Arthur and his family thought of the suffragettes and whether, being a business women as landlady, Annie supported the movement or was part of any local movement. The right to vote was given to certain women, those over the age of 30 who either owned property or was married to a man who did, in 1918, in the first general election post the First World War. In 1928 the voting right was extended to all women over the age of 21. Annie was amongst those women who qualified and I have found Annie listed on the West Yorkshire electoral register in 1918.

This was also a time when the punishment of hanging was still available for the severest of crimes and I am told that the infamous hangman Thomas Pierrepoint (hangman from 1906 to 1946) was a regular guest at the Station Hotel. Thomas assisted at 35 executions and carried out 203 civilian hangings in England and Wales and four in Scotland. And was the official executioner for Irish Republic after it gained independence from England in 1923 carrying out 28 executions at Dublin’s Mountjoy prison between 1921 and 1944, plus four in Belfast.

He was also appointed by the US Military in Europe, being responsible for the hangings of 16 US servicemen at Shepton Mallet prison during World War II, assisted by his nephew, Albert in at least six of the hangings at Shepton Mallet. He was flown over to Normandy in France in August 1944 to hang a US serviceman, who had been convicted of rape.”

My Grandad Horace

Claude, William, Grandpa, unknown, Grandpa

An excerpt from him mini biography

“In 1937, grandpa married my maternal grandmother (known as Nannie), Mary Oldfield, whom he had originally met at school, he had started his own coal merchant and haulage business from the Station Garage which was owned by his father and directly across the road from his parents’ pub. There was also a bicycle shop. This was also the year Neville Chamberlain became the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister who led the country into the Second World War.

                                Grandpa and Nannie from a school photo c1924

I am told his dad, Arthur, used to refer to Nannie as ‘that blond over the bridge’; No one’s really sure why he didn’t really approve of Nannie, other than the fact she came from a large family (Nannie had 3 older brothers; 3 younger brothers and 5 younger sisters, making her one of 12 children!) although Arthur was himself from a large family (being the eldest of 14 children). It may also have been the case that Oldfield family were seen by him as ”not good enough” because they did not have their own business, land etc. Nannies father, Fred Sheard Oldfield, was a General Labourer. Perhaps there was a bit of social hierarchical snobbery!

Nannie was a year younger than Grandpa having been born on 30th August 1915 and worked as a housekeeper prior to marriage. Details of their early relationship are a bit patchy at present however what I do know is that they must have caused a bit of a scandal at the time as they were married on 27th February 1937 and their first daughter (my maternal aunt) was born just over 4 months later! We only discovered this when Nannie died in 2012 and my mum found their marriage certificate. It suddenly became clear why, when I asked nannie a number of times how long they had been married and she would always say she couldn’t remember! I am sure this was not the case, particularly so as it was only 5 days after their wedding that grandpa’s father sadly died at the age of 57 leaving everything to his wife, Annie, grandpa’s mum. This fact however may not have helped Arthur’s opinion of Nannie!

Once married Nannie and Grandpa lived at 7 Graysfields, Eggborough. A semi-detached council house, which was brand new when they moved in and in which they lived all their lives. Nannie gave birth to my maternal aunt on 9th June 1937 just less than three months before the outbreak of World War 2. The 1939 Register which was essentially a population count ‘census’ carried out on 29th September 1939 to help with recruitment to the armed forces, shows grandpa as a Coal Merchant Haulage Contractor and nannie an ‘unpaid domestic duties’. Grandpa was age 25 at the start of the war and was subject to conscription under The National Service (Armed Forces) Act 1939 which was enacted by Parliament on 3 September 1939, the day the United Kingdom declared war on Germany at the start of the Second World War.

There were exemptions to conscription and a man could apply to defer being called up, which is exactly what grandpa did on the grounds of his self-employment as a coal merchant. In a letter to grandpa from the Ministry of Transport dated 9th November 1940 (after the start of the Battle of Britain which began on 10 July 1940), which states
“the Minister has recommended that enlistment should be deferred in your case in order to afford you an opportunity of finding a substitute or otherwise of meeting the position which would result from immediate calling up”

His official notice from the Minister of Labour and National Service dated 18th September 1941 states that he would not be called-up before 15th March 1942. It was probably hoped that the war would have ended by this time! However it was shortly after this, on 7 December 1941 that Japan invaded Pearl Harbour with Britain and America declaring was on Japan the following day.

In the meantime he took his turn at incendiary duty during local air raids. There is one story that on one of his duties on Eggborough Hill with another local man, he had taken his rifle with him to shoot some rabbits. The local policeman turned up, who although he knew grandpa well, insisted on seeing his gun licence which of course grandpa did not have on him. The policeman escorted grandpa home, in the middle of his incendiary duty, to see his licence. When they got home, I’m not quite sure what happened but the story goes that grandpa offered the policeman a drink (alcohol of course!) and started chatting, but the time they had finished the policeman had forgotten all about the gun licence and never did see it…I’m sure grandpa had one though!

Grandpa was called-up on 16th July 1942 into the Royal Engineers or ‘Sappers’. He completed his military training on 15th September 1942 and Military Transport Training on 12th November 1942. Grandpa was due to be posted to Japan but as he was boarding the ship to leave England he collapsed with nerves and was admitted to hospital in Glasgow for a number of months before he was well enough to continue his service. As a result he was then posted to Gairloch in Northern Scotland serving in the 910 Stevedore Company where he worked as a driver loading and unloading ships in secret locations. He was extremely lucky as he had friends and acquaintances that were posted to Japan and ended up in Japanese prisoner of war camps, which would no doubt have been my grandpa’s fate had he boarded that ship. I doubt he would then have been the same man I knew and loved. Victory in Japan took place on 2 August 1945 after the invention of the atomic bomb earlier that year which was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945 and Nagasaki on 9 August 1945.”