Tag Archives: 1900s

Countdown to At Home in WWI Exhibition: 5 days to go!

One of the things that our project looks at is housing development and conditions in the western suburbs of Derby during the late 19th and early 20th century, so we’ll be displaying a few maps showing changes. Part of this investigation includes looking at the impact of travel amenities upon the development of estates on the outskirts of town in the years running up to WWI. On Saturday we’ll do this by exhibiting a few early photos and maps that show these changes, and material culture that relates to domestic electricity at this time. We’ll also consider how those without a fridge – most households – managed food storage on hot days, in over-crowded vermin-infested housing…

cockroach

 

Countdown to At Home in WWI Exhibition: 7 days to go!

Less than a week to go now until the exhibition! Still lots to do, but we have more to show now after the preparations began in March.

We hope to include information on Mr Grundy – after whom the pub ‘next door’ to our exhibition venue is named, where this WW1 soldier lived after the war. One of our volunteers is working on a display that brings together the information already gathered by staff on Mr Grundy – to whom we’re very grateful for his kindness in not only sharing this information with us, but also for going to the trouble of getting copies ready for us.

We also hope to provide displays on a few local people – some ancestors of those involved with the exhibition – who served in the Great war; we are fortunate in being permitted to display some *fantastic* photos from the period, which I really look forward to seeing printed out, as well as other mementos and keepsakes.

Countdown to At Home in WWI Exhibition: 8 days to go!

Our exhibition is a week tomorrow, so we’re starting to pull things together – although work continues on some of the displays.

Today the study area and historic maps have been printed out, to go with information on the project – what we’re doing, and how we do it! – and on how members of the public can take part.

We’ll also be displaying historic photos – thanks to Derek Palmer – and oral history, to other perspectives on life in the western suburbs of Derby in the early 20th century. So far, this has focused on housing, and sanitation – not a savoury topic, but an important source of archaeological finds!

Our sanitation artefact display will include objects that will be familiar to anyone who – like our project director – has lived in a house without an indoor toilet!

Back tomorrow with another round-up of preparations for our forthcoming exhibition.

Countdown to At Home in WWI Exhibition: 9 days to go!

With 9 days to go until our WWI centenary event, exhibits that we’re currently working on include clothing and dress accessories at the outbreak of the war. We will have have a beautiful 1910s dress bodice on display, and will be exhibiting a number of ‘small finds’ of the era (including a sweet little boot-button-cum-teddy-bear-eye!) that commonly turn up in excavations, and as surface finds – with info on ‘what you might find in the garden’. And we have information on corsets in wartime!

For more on the exhibition, follow this link

Countdown to At Home in WWI Exhibition: 10 days to go!

In 10 days (19 July) LIPCAP will be holding an exhibition – ‘At Home in WWI‘ – as part of the annual CBA Festival of Archaeology. We’re using domestic material culture (household objects and housing), alongside photos, maps, oral history, and written sources (such as newspapers and trade directories) to look at home life in Derby at the outbreak of war. We’ll use the run-up to the exhibition to introduce some of the objects and topics we’ll have on display.

One theme of the exhibition is the ‘Material World at War’. The section displays different materials used in the home during the WWI era, touching upon some of the technological developments, and cultural changes at this time, and the impact of innovations on the material environment of the home. This has involved looking at the some of the natural materials (such as bone, horn and ivory) that had long been used for household objects, and the replacement of these organic materials with the introduction of early plastics into the home. 

So why not come along to the exhibition and see if you can tell early plastics from the ‘genuine article’ – can YOU spot a early fake?!  

More tomorrow on what we have done for At Home in WWI!

Public participation: LIPCAP Study Areas

The LIPCAP study areas are illustrated below (for larger versions of the maps, click on the images). Residents of old houses (dating to or before the late Victorian period and early 20th century) within these areas – in the listed streets (thanks very much to Dave and Louise for this) – can take take part in the project.

Maps that indicate the location of houses dating to this time, and details of the different ways to participate, will soon be posted.

If interested in taking part, but not living in an old house, there will be other ways to do so – details to follow soon.

Eligible streets (within the study area Boundaries depicted below)

Allestree Village Little Chester West End Friar Gate – Ashbourne Rd Area
Ashberry Court Alfreton Road Brick Street Arnold Street
Charterstone Lane Camp Street Bridge Street Ashbourne Road
Corn Hill Chester Green Road Brook Street Bass Street
Derwent Avenue City Road Cowley Street Bright Street
Duffield Road Derventio Close Eaton Court Brough Street
Gisborne Crescent Etruria Gardens Elms Street Campion Street
Kings Croft John Lombe Drive Kedleston Street Cecil Street
Lime Croft Kirk Street Kings Meade Close Cobden Street
Main Avenue Mansfield Road Leaper Street Colville Street
Mulberrys Court Mansfield Street Leyland Court Cooper Street
Park Lane Mapleback Court Leyland Gardens Cross Street
Park View Close Old Chester Road Leyland Street Etwall Street
Poplar Nook Seale Street Little Bridge Street Findern Street
Riddings Lodge Lane Frederick Street
Robin Croft Road Mackworth Road Friar Gate Court
Rydal Close Mill Street Granville Street
Siddals Lane Mundy Close Handford Street
St Edmunds Close Mundy Street Hawke Street
The Poplars Nuns Street Hayworth Street
West Bank Road Parker Close Howe Street
Parker Street James Close
Quarn Street Langley Street
Quarn Way Larges Street
Redshaw Street Leake Street
Searl Street Lloyd Street
St Helens Street MacKenzie Street
St Johns Terrace Manchester Street
Walter Street Markeaton Street
Watson Street Morley Street
Watson Street Napier Street
West Avenue Noel Street
White Cross Gardens Payne Street
White Cross Street Peach Street
William Street Peel Street
Willow Row Plimsole Street
Ponsonby Terrace
Pybus Street
Radbourne Street
Selwyn Street
Shaw Street
Sims Street
Slack Lane
Slater Avenue
South Street
Stable Street
Stanley Street
Stepping Close
Stepping Lane
Surrey Street
Uttoxeter Old Road
Vernon Street
Wild Street
Windmill Hill Lane
York Street

 Maps of project study areas:

Allestree Study Area

Study Area 1: Allestree Villge

Little Chester Study Area

Study Area 2: Little Chester (dot = case study ‘No. 8’)

West End Study Area

Study Area 3: West End

Friar Gate - Ashbourne Road Study Area

Study Area 4: Friar Gate – Ashbourne Road Area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No. 8: census returns and the families who lived here

The census records for No. 8 (Dec20 case study) and the street are still being processed, but here are a few preliminary snippets – for now, only regarding the families that occupied No. 8 (information on the families that occupied other houses in the street will be posted another time).

Although the 1891 record for the street records No. 1 as situated in the Parish of Little Chester, Derby, the other houses are recorded as falling within the Parish of St. Alkmund’s – a large area, containing many poorer houses, many of which were demolished during the 20th century.

1891: The Wildsmiths’

Name Relation Condition Sex Age Occupation / Disability
Wildsmith, Fred P. Head Married M 38
Eliza Wife Married F 36 Millwright
Joseph Son M 13 Scholar
Ernest Son M 12 Scholar
Phoebe Daughter F 11 Scholar
Fred Son M 7 Scholar
Albert Son M 4 Scholar
Sarah Daughter F 1

Work and leisure

Although no occupation is recorded for Mr. Wildsmith in the 1891 census, in the previous census he was recorded as a mechanic, and in the following census he is recorded as an engine fitter. It can be seen from the other census returns that, though built by Haslam for his workers (see an earlier post), not all occupants necessarily worked in his factory, it might be conjectured that the Wildsmith family gained the first tenancy due to Mr Wildsmith’s employment as a mechanic. It may not be possible to push the evidence so far (and more research into employment at this time is necessary), but it might be anticipated that Mr W was more likely out of work due to illness, rather than unemployment.

It appears that Mrs. Wildsmith was in 1891 working as a Millwright (probably in one of the many local industries – see the earlier post on the Historic Environment of No. 8) to support the family. Even in working class households at this time, this was not very common: with six children to look after, including a baby, she might supplement the income through some form of work from home; it might therefore be presumed that she was working through necessity, due to the absence of Mr. Wildsmith’s wage; it would be interesting to know something of the childcare arrangements.

Although not at first glance saying much about leisure, census returns can sometimes provide insights into daily life. From this census, we might anticipate that Mrs Wildsmith had very little time to spare. Regarding the children, it’s interesting to see from the census that both 13-year-old Joseph and 12-year-old Ernest are recorded as scholars (perhaps attending St Paul’s Primary school in nearby Mansfield Street, although more research is needed into this school). The Elementary Education Act of 1870 (Forster’s Education Act)and enhanced by the Elementary Education Act of 1880 (Mundella’s Act) – made education compulsory for children aged 5-10 (though there was some degree of flexibility if they were required to take part in certain types of work). Children between the age of 10 and 13 had to have attained a reasonable level of education if they were to work.

Street No. Age M/F Scholar Child’sWork Father’s Work Mother’s Work
Seale Street

1

12

F y   Servant waiter  

1

10

M y

2

13

F y   Signal-man Deceased

2

11

F y

3

13

M N Errand boy Railway Checker  

3

11

F Y

4

13

F U   Railway Goods Porter Part Deaf & Blind

5

12

F Y   Railway Porter  

5

10

F Y

8

13

M Y None Millwright

8

12

M Y

8

11

F Y

9

13

M N Gimper’s Assistant Iron Moulder  

9

11

F Y
St Paul’s Road

2

12

F Y   Engine Fitter  

2

11

M Y

4

14

F Y   Iron Turner  

4

11

M Y

5

11

M Y   Steam Engine Fitter  

7

11

M Y   Blacksmith  

8

13

F U   General Labourer  

8

11

M Y

11

12

F Y   Wheelwright  

11

10

M Y

17

11

M Y   Engine Fitter  

19

12

F Y   Boiler Maker  

19

11

F Y

20

12

M Y   Iron Moulder  

20

10

M Y

21

13

M Y   Iron Moulder  

21

11

M Y
Mansfield Street

7

11

F Y   Labourer Iron Works  

8

10

F Y   Cast Iron Dresser  

10

13

F U   Labourer Chemical Works  

13

11

M Y   Dressmaker  

17

10

M Y   Iron Dresser  

23

13

F N General Servant Domestic Joiner  

23

11

M Y

26

13

M Y   Certificated Teacher  

26

11

M Y

31

15

F Y     Licensed Victualler

31

13

F Y

32

12

M Y   Caretaker  

33

13

F U   Boiler Maker  

33

11

M Y

34

12

F Y   Circular Sawyer  

34

10

M Y

35

13

M Y   Blacksmith  

35

11

M Y

37

11

M Y   Iron Moulder  

39

12

G Y   Labourer Railway  

39

10

M Y

Education for over 10s in the street and neighbouring streets, 1891 (from census records)

On the evidence of No. 8 alone, it might be conjectured from this that Ernest remained in school as he had not having reached this level; however (unless both Joseph and Ernest had not reached the required standard), considering the continued presence of his older brother at school, this seems unlikely. It was not until 1899 that the school leaving age was raised to 13, and to 14, perhaps suggesting Mr. and Mrs. Wildsmith had hopes for their boys regarding future employment.[i] We can see from the subsequent census returns (see below: ‘Moving on’) that the family was upwardly mobile. However, by examining the census returns for other houses – of nearby St Paul’s Rd. (perhaps marginally higher status), and Mansfield Street (perhaps marginally lower status) – it can be seen that most 13 year olds within the immediate neighbourhood remained in school, though by the age of 14 were in employment. The exceptions include two 13-year-old boys within the same street (son’s of an Iron Moulder and a Railway Checker, respectively), and a girl of the same age in Mansfield Street, which were by this age in work. In addition, a 14 year old girl in St Paul’s Road (daughter of an Iron Turner), and a 15 year old girl in Mansfield Street (granddaughter of a pub landlady), were both still in education.

How did they all fit in? Sleeping arrangements

Sleeping arrangements are important with regard to a number of topics surrounding domestic life in the past, and will be discussed in greater detail in a subsequent post (with examples from written and oral sources), but a few aspects will be introduced now, to contextualise the census records in relation to No. 8. It was common practice for several girls, or several boys to share a bed; sometimes this would include mixed sleeping. Concerns over whether this was acceptable practice seem to become most prominent when children reached 14 years. But not every family was able to arrange separate bedrooms:  rooms were sometimes partitioned by curtains, blankets, sheets, or clothes; this arrangement might also be adopted to separate adult lodgers or boarders from the children (of occasionally adults) of the resident family. Sometimes even room partitions were not possible, and teenage girls and boys had no alternative but to share beds, which was often seen as ‘shameful’. Different ways of avoiding this were put into practice: often there would only be two beds in a house, so the father would sleep in one bed with the boys, and the mother with the girls; in tenement housing (where many families had only one or two rooms), sometimes children slept in utility spaces (e.g. the scullery).

In this case, perhaps Joseph, Ernest, Fred, and Albert slept in the front or (perhaps more likely considering the decor, which will be discussed in a subsequent post) back bedroom, with Pheobe in the annex bedroom, and Sarah in with her parents; however, it’s possible that the boys and girls may not have yet been separated at this point. The provision of the room above the scullery at No. 8 provided relatively spacious accommodation in comparison to many nearby houses.

Moving on…

Cock Clod Street, Lancs. – previous home of the Wildsmiths’

It seems that this family, at the time of the previous census, lived in Radcliff, Lancs. – in the unusually named ‘Cock Clod’ Street (though had previously lived in the Derby area, and as it can be seen were born in nearby Little Eaton). The following (1901) census suggests that the family were a little better off financially (and had perhaps risen in status), as by this time they had moved around the corner to a house facing the Green – from a ‘street’, to a slightly higher status ‘road’. It’s possible that the move to a larger house (with attic accommodation) may relate to a pressing need to provide more private sleeping space for the children as they became teenagers.

The next house of the Wildsmiths’ – more Haslam houses

However, the apparent limited privacy at No. 8 – as the annex room had to be accessed through the back bedroom – may more reflect modern notions of privacy, than those of the past. (Personal experience indicates that some at least saw this arrangement as satisfactory in the 1950s; but by the 1980s – and perhaps before – some felt less comfortable in having to approach the third room – whether still a bedroom, or by now a bathroom – through the back bedroom. In some cases, this led the installation of permanent partitions. It might be speculated that the partition in the neighbouring house, No. 9, was fitted at some point during or after the 1960s. Although making the back bedroom much smaller – which was less important for the smaller families of the late 20th century family – this provided a corridor to reach the third room, which remained a bedroom at least into 2001). By 1911, it appears that the family were running a pub on Nottingham Road.

1901: the Eley family

The next census records a new family in No. 8:

Name Relation Condition Sex Age Occupation / Disability
Eley, Thomas Head Married M 35 Engine [Black-] Smiths Striker
Jane Wife Married F 33
Harry Son M 9
Selina Daughter F 8
Lily Daughter F 5
Jenny Daughter F 3
Rippin, William Step-son M 9

Work, leisure, and sleeping arrangements

Graffiti from the back yard

Again, it can be seen from the census that Mrs Eley had several children to care for (one of pre-school age), and it seems did not (at least regularly) work outside the home. The 1901 census neglects to mention which children were in education. It is interesting to note that the name of one child is ‘Jenny’. Although it is not possible to be certain, it might be questioned whether this girl is the graffiti artist responsible for the drawing of a house, in the back yard on the wall beside the window to the original kitchen. Beneath the drawing is the name ‘JE**Y’; however, the drawing and names may not be contemporaneous, and even if the name does read ‘Jenny’, this may not correlate with the child recorded within the census. The style of the house that’s been drawn is similar to the late 18th – 19th mill workers houses that fill the neighbouring areas. With regard to sleeping arrangements, it’s again possible that Harry and William slept apart (in the annex) from their sisters (perhaps in the back bedroom), but this isn’t certain.

Names beneath the graffiti

Moving on…

The family appear from the previous (1891) census to have moved from No. 5, 3 Court, Liversage Street, Derby (demolished during ‘slum clearances’ in the 1970s) – photos of the houses on this street prior to demolition can be seen here and here. At this time (1891) Thomas was married to a different woman (Lilly). It will be seen below that Lily is likely to be the mother of Harry and Selina. Birth, Marriage and Death records indicate that Thomas remarried to Mary Jane Rippen (or Rippin) in 1896; as daughter Lily was born in this year, she may be the daughter of either Lily or Mary Jane. However, the evidence given in the following and final census (1911) suggests that she was the daughter of Lily. It might be speculated that Thomas’ first wife died during the birth of this child (which perhaps accounts for her name, after her mother). Again considering the 1911 evidence (see below) – which provides years of marriage – it is probable that Mary Jane is the same person as the ‘Jane’ named as Thomas’ wife in the 1901 census. Her marriage to Thomas was also perhaps not her first, considering the presence of ‘step son’ William in No. 8.

1911

Name Relation Condition Sex Age Occupation / Disability
ELEY, Thomas Head Married M 45 Smith Striker(at Railway Loco. Dept.)
Maria Jane Wife Married F 43
RIPPIN, William Step-son Single M 19 Cotton Winder at Lace Manufacturer
Harry Son Single M 19 Fruiterer’s Salesman
Selina Daughter Single F 18 Cotton Winder (at Lace Works)
Lily Daughter F 14 Tent Maker Canvass (at Tent Works)
Jane Daughter F 3
Eva Daughter F 9
Mabel Daughter F 7
Doris Daughter F 1

The house is more crowded now, despite one daughter (Jenny) having left; her whereabouts of Jenny at this point in 1911 is unknown. (She does not appear within another census, and no certain records of her death have so far been found; investigation into this possibility, and into the possibility of her emigrations, will continue); she probably appears in the records again, marrying the boy next door – Arthur Braines, from No. 9 – in 1921, in Mansfield St. Methodist Chapel.) This census records that Mrs Eley had by 1911 given birth to 5 children (from this and the previous census, it can be seen were all girls: Jenny, Jane, Eva, Mabel, and Doris), all of which had survived. There is therefore a possibility that, for some time at least prior to the 1911 census No. 8 housed 11 people. This included the parents, two boys, and seven girls; considering the ages of the older children, the annex bedroom was perhaps very useful space (it might be supposed acting as the boys’ room, or less likely, the parents’ room) – with 5 or 6 girls sharing one bed.Work, leisure, and sleeping arrangements

Moving on…

Again, it is difficult to be certain whether the ‘Maria Jane’ is the same person as the ‘Jane’ of the 1901 census, and the ‘Mary Jane’ of the previous (1891) census. The 1911 census records more information than the previous records, and it is noted that she and Thomas had been married for 15 years duration, which (if they were not mistaken) would suggest they came together in 1896.

The value of the census

The census evidence clearly provides significant opportunities to further explore the ‘biography’ of No. 8, in conjunction with the range of historical evidence (archaeological data, other written sources, and social memories). By examining transformations in household composition at various points in time, and by tracing the changing situations of the families that lived in No.8, specific histories can be developed in relationship to general understandings of domestic life at this time.

Notes