How did Ellen Yates travel to work in Birkenhead from her home in Croft?
Those who have read the sad story of Ellen Yates will know that she was employed as a mill hand in Birkenhead, according to her death certificate.
I had assumed she must have travelled there by horseback, or even walking. Somebody else suggested that she may have had lodgings in Birkenhead, which is also possible.
It is unlikely we will ever know for certain how she travelled to work and how often, but I wanted to look further into it.
I came across an advertisement in a copy of the Leigh Chronicle from 1856 showing train times and prices.
Leigh would probably still have been too far out for her to walk, though she did have family in Leigh at the time.
Culcheth Station wasn’t opened until 1884, after her death, which ruled out her travelling from there. I then found that another local station, Kenyon Junction Station, had been open to the public from 1831.
An estimate of the distance from where she lived (Hop Pole Farm) to Kenyon Junction is about two and a half miles, which she could have easily walked.
The train journey took one hour and forty minutes, meaning a long day for her if this was the method she used.
The Kenyon Junction Station was on the Liverpool to Manchester Line and there were many routes to Birkenhead mills available from Liverpool Crown Street Station.
WAR GRAVES WEEK 2022
War Graves at Croft Unitarian Chapel
Rifleman Harold Houghton
Harold Houghton was born in 1890 in Croft when his father, Thomas, was 31 and his mother, Mary, was 28. He had four brothers and four sisters.
In 1911 he lived at The Old Noggin Inn, Risley with his parents, his brother and two of his sisters
He worked at the Albion Ironworks in Leigh.
On 2nd September 1914 he joined the 5th Rifle Brigade, A Company, 2nd Battalion
On 24 March 1915 he died of his wounds from the battle of Neuve Chapelle, aged 25.
He was buried at Croft Unitarian Chapel, the grave stone stating
‘He Died for his Country’s Honour’.
Private George Daintith
When George Daintith was born on 24 February 1892 in Culcheth, his father, Thomas, was 25 and his mother, Mary, was 21. He was christened at Newchurch on 17th April the same year.
His mother Mary passed away in 1906 and his father remarried in 1907. He had seven brothers and two sisters.
In 1911 he lived with his father, stepmother and four of his brothers at The Old Noggin Inn, Risley.
In April 1915, he joined Kitchener’s Army, enlisting in the 1st King’s Liverpool Regiment. After about a year’s training he was sent to the Front and was attached to the 251st Company Royal Engineers. He was killed in action on June 25th, 1916, in the ‘great push’ near Albert.
Captain Hansen, R.E., in expressing his sympathy with his parents said:
‘Your son met his death on the night of June 25th while doing his duty, and I cannot speak too highly of his behaviour on this occasion, and ever since he joined this Company. I cannot say how deeply I felt his loss to my section, as he was one of my best men and could always be depended upon. He was a typical example of a true British Soldier, and died doing his duty to his King and Country and so great a cause. Your son was buried last night, and I have taken steps to have a cross placed upon his grave.’
A memorial service was held at Newchurch Parish Church on Sunday 23rd July 1916.
George is buried in Cambrin Military Cemetery.
Harold Houghton’s parents had a stone erected at Croft Unitarian Chapel in Harold’s grave space saying
'Private. George Daintith. In memory of Harold's comrade of the Liverpool Regiment, killed in France 25/06/1916'.
Lance Corporal William Whittle
When William Whittle was born in 1889 in Culcheth, his father, William, was 29 and his mother, Ellen, was 21. He had two brothers.
In 1911 he lived and worked at Oakwood Farm, Risley with his parents and brothers.
He died on 14 June 1918 in France at the age of 29 and is buried at Terlincthun British Cemetery, Wimille.
He is remembered on the family grave at Croft Unitarian Chapel, the stone stating
‘Duty Nobly Done’.
War Graves at Christ Church, Croft
Gunner Samuel Yates
Royal Garrison Artillery. Died on 9th July 1920, aged 42.
Son of Samuel and Mary Yates; husband of Lizzie Hankin Yates, of Longford Cottages, Longford, Warrington.
Private William Clarke
South Lancashire Regiment, transferred to as Private 584377, Labour Corps.
On 19th December 1918 he was admitted to the Military Hospital, Warrington with influenza and pneumonia. He passed away at 16:50 hours on the 26th November 1918. His history was of being unwell after he was gassed by mustard gas in France four months prior and he had chest trouble ever since.
He was the son of John and was the husband of Bertha, remarried to Andrews, of Little Town, Croft. He had two children, Thomas and Vera.
Newchurch War Graves
PRIVATE F FAULKNER
South Lancashire Regiment
Died 16th March 1918
SERGEANT CYRIL WHITTLE
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died 23rd April 1944
PRIVATE JOHN CLARK PICK
Died 31st May 1940
PRIVATE JOSHUE RICHARD CLEWORTH
King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
Died 25th November 1918
DRUMMER G LOCKE
Died 8th May 1920
PRIVATE ARTHUR MONKS
Royal Army Service Corps
Died 18th January 1921
GUARDSMAN HUGH ARTHUR WOOD
Died 29 August 1921
St. Oswald's War Graves
PRIVATE W B MIDDLETON
Died 29th March 1921
SERJEANT JOHN BUCHANAN
Royal Army Medical Corps
Died 27th October 1918
LEST WE FORGET
Who was Sammy Buttercup?
George Newbrook, better known under his nom de plume of ‘Sammy Buttercup’ was a prolific writer of Lancashire Sketches. His humorous productions appeared in newspapers and literary supplements week by week up to the time of his death.
Over 130 of his Lancashire Sketches were printed in the Leigh Chronicle, including ‘Grond Dooins at Croft’ and ‘Little Billy’ as well as a series under the title ‘Th’ Jubilee Debatin’ Club’ which also appeared in the Liverpool Weekly Post.
Sammy was in great request for recitations and comic sketches at local parties and social gatherings where his ready wit but quiet and unassuming manner made him invariably a universal favourite.
He sadly died on 20th February 1890. After his burial the Liverpool Daily Post wrote –
Yesterday, the mortal remains of George Newbrook, better known throughout Lancashire, and, indeed, the whole of the United Kingdom, as Sammy Buttercup, were interred in the churchyard of Croft, near Warrington.
Sammy has been ailing for a considerable time, the first symptoms of what has proved to be a fatal illness showing themselves so long ago as September last. He continued to grow weaker, and gradually lost the use of his eyesight, and became unable to read or write. He rallied somewhat towards the end of January, but catching cold early in the present month, he relapsed, and died on the 20th inst.
Sammy was born in Manchester on the 5th March 1835, and had thus almost completed his fifty-fifth year. He is survived by a widow and a grown-up family.
Widely known as Sammy’s writings were, few could claim to have a personal acquaintance with him; indeed, his personality was a mystery to many. A quiet, unassuming man, one would not readily suppose that his was the hand that wrote so many mirth-provoking tales.
In the small cottage at Croft where Sammy spent the latter days of his life, he composed some of the wittiest anecdotes. Brimful of that humour which pleases best of all, because it came naturally and without any apparent effort, Sammy’s favourite couplet
“Grief to our coffin adds a nail, no doubt;
Whilst every grin, so merry, draws one out.”
Expresses in small compass his own genial and lovable disposition. He was a great reader, and thought much on what he read; yet this passion for reading and writing with which he was possessed contributed in no small degree to his untimely death.
He moved in a very lowly sphere of life, and thus it is that his writings will endear him in the memory of that class in particular. He was not lacking in conversational powers, as an hour’s conversation with him would amply testify. His mind was stored with a large amount of general knowledge, from which he could draw to an unlimited extent.
Our Croft correspondent writes: - “A well-known person has been removed by the band of death from amongst the inhabitants of Croft, Mr. George Newbrook, the original “Sammy Buttercup” and Lancashire sketch writer, having died at his residence at Millhouse Brow, Croft, about 20 minutes past 11 o’clock on Thursday morning last, at the age of 54 years. Some months ago he broke a blood vessel, and was confined to his house for a short time, and was attended to by Dr. Sephton, of Culcheth, when he recovered a little, though he has never been in very good health since. He was, however, taken worse a few weeks ago, and gradually became weaker, and died as stated.
He was a man of very quiet disposition, and will be regretted by a large circle of friends amongst whom he visited. His funeral took place at Christ Church, Croft, on Sunday afternoon last, the ceremony being performed by the rector, the Rev. T. P. Kirkman. Several friends from Leigh and Croft were present to witness the funeral ceremony at the church.
LEIGH CHRONICLE & WEEKLY DISTRICT ADVERTISER
Cheyvonne Bower is a local historian with a passion for the past.