Monday, 9 May 2016

Support for a Widow – Well Hall Estate

In November 1915 there was a bit of a local ‘to do’ about some remarks made by the curate at St John the Baptists. Because these remarks were critical of the residents of the estate and the hutments and resulted in a response from the Secretary of the Tenants Association, T.E. Morgan in the form of a letter in ‘The Pioneer’.
On October 20th an Arsenal worker from the estate – James Henry Jeffery of 162 Well Hall Road – had died as the result of an accident leaving a widow, Sarah Anne, and nine fatherless children. Not only did the Arsenal workers make a collection of £20 for the widow before the funeral, but a fund for her collected at the Arsenal later totalled £416. In addition residents on the estate collected some £13 which they asked to be used for clothing for the fatherless family. The Chairman of the Tenants Association states he also helped her to find a job which paid 28s (£1 40p) a week. No wonder The Tenants Association were affronted when the curate said from the pulpit that they had not assisted her calling this ‘abominable’. No wonder they insisted on an apology.
The nine children ranged in age from about sixteen to one year old. There were five boys
(including twins age about four) and four girls. On December 15th 1915 two of the children, May (13) and Olive (9) previously at the Gordon School were registered at Deansfield School at which point Sarah gives ‘ munitions worker’ for the parental occupation. Perhaps she had found employment at the Arsenal and perhaps too the oldest girls Linda Muriel (15) and Nellie (14) found work to supplement the income or were able to help by looking after the younger children – Bertie (7), John and Colin (5), Sydney (3) and William (1). Whatever else happened the family were able to go on living on the estate and were still there at start of the Second World War.

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