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Elizabeth Ann Palfrey


Elizabeth Ann Palfrey

  Details

Born 6 MAR 1886
Proven
Birth Certificate : 6 MAR 1886
Featherstone, West Yorkshire
Christened ? -
Died 15 AUG 1962
Proven
Death Certificate : 15 AUG 1962
Rothwell, West Yorkshire
Buried 18 AUG 1962
Proven
Grave Site
Hunslet, West Yorkshire
Father William PALFREY  
Mother Mary Ellen LEAK  

Family

Details for Sydney HIRST

Event Date Location
Married 2 OCT 1909
Proven
Marriage Certificate : 2 OCT 1909
Methley, West Yorkshire


Children

Name Born Location
Ethel 20 OCT 1910 Hunslet, West Yorkshire
Elsie 28 FEB 1914 Leeds, West Yorkshire
Arthur 22 DEC 1915 Leeds, West Yorkshire

Elizabeth Ann Palfrey

Details

Born 6 MAR 1886
Christened ?
Died 15 AUG 1962
Buried 18 AUG 1962
Father William PALFREY
Mother Mary Ellen LEAK

Family

Details for Sydney HIRST

Event Date
Married 2 OCT 1909

Children

Name Born
Ethel 20 OCT 1910
Elsie 28 FEB 1914
Arthur 22 DEC 1915

Elizabeth's Story


Elizabeth Ann Palfrey was born on the 6th of March 1886 in Featherstone, West Yorkshire. Her father, William Palfrey, had moved up to Yorkshire from Suffolk sometime around 1876/1877 in order to find a more reliable and better paid type of work. This he found in the coal mines of Yorkshire. It was here also that he met and married Mary Ellen Leak, Elizabeth's mother.

After leaving school at the age of 14, Elizabeth started working as a 'Machine Hand' in a local paper mill in Hunslet, close to Leeds in West Yorkshire. At that time Elizabeth, along with her parents, William and Mary and her three, Violet, Herbert and Lily, were living at 9 Belmont Road in Hunslet.

According to the 1901 Census, William was a 'Coal Miner' (Hewer) digging coal from deep underground in one of the many local mines in the area. Elizabeth, was the only other member of the family working at that time as her siblings were all younger than her and thus still at school. Consequently the money she brought into the family was extremely important and helped support them in the two-up two-down house they all lived in.

Sometime, after 1901, Elizabeth had a new job, now she was "in service" in the Methley area, this was some 6 miles from the family home, and thus, due to the nature of her work, probably meant that she would "live in" rather than going home every night.

According to family members, she either worked at "The Cedars" or "Methley Hall". The Cedars still stands by the main road through Methley opposite St. Oswald's Church, though it is now a residential home for the elderly. Methley Hall was a much grander building and would definitely have needed lots of staff to cover all the work involved in it's running on a daily basis. The hall was featured in the 1907 edition of Country Life and was eventually demolished in 1964.

Methley Hall (circa 1907)

It was whilst working in (and presumably living in) Methley that she first met and then in 1909 married Sydney (or Sidney, both spellings appear on his documents) Hirst. Sydney was a 'Pit Labourer' working at one of the local coal mines owned by the Saville family, who also owned and lived in Methley Hall.

Just before they got married, Elizabeth's sister, Lily, took her to one side and told her "You do realise you could have a hard life as he is deaf and this could make it difficult for him to find work in the long term". This was true, Sydney was partially deaf and this only got worse in later life. In fact his deafness led him to be injured whilst working at one of the local mines when he failed to hear a train and was knocked down and badly injured his leg. This injury would eventually cause him to lose his job and be registered as "incapacitated". However, that was some way in the future and Elizabeth was very much in love with Sydney and so the marriage went ahead and took place at St. Oswald's Church.

Shortly after getting married they moved back to the Hunslet and Stourton areas of Leeds, either to be nearer to Elizabeth's family or has a result of Sydney changing jobs.

It was around this time that Elizabeth went to work at the Queens Hotel in Leeds. She had been taught how to iron and fold men's shirts in a particular way and was very skilled at this. So much so, that when the renowned pianist, Alberto Semprini, was playing at Leeds, he always stayed at the Queens Hotel and asked for Elizabeth to iron his shirts for him.

Elizabeth Ann Palfrey (Date unknown)

Over the next six years Elizabeth and Sydney would have three children, Ethel (b1910 - Hunslet), Elsie (b1914 - Stourton) and Arthur (b1915 - Stourton).

As a family, they certainly seemed to move around a lot, shortly after Arthur's birth they were living at Ouzlewell Green, Lofthouse. They would stay here for a few years bfore moving to "The Nook" near "Lingwell Gate" (between Lofthouse and Thorpe) where their children would have a very happy childhood, with both Elsie and Arthur fondly remembering it and talking about it in the latter years of their lives.

In the late 1920s, they left The Nook and moved to a house on Longthorpe Lane, Lofthouse. It was whilst they were living here that they saw Rothwell Grammar School being built. Little did they know at the time, that one day one of Elizabeth's grandsons, my father Brian, and her two great-grandsons, myself and my brother, Steven, would eventually go to that school.

In the early 1930's, they moved yet again, this time back to Hunslet and a house at 9 Ebor Terrace. The reason for the move was the fact that Ethel and Elsie now both had jobs in Leeds and this would make their journeys to and from work much easier.

It was whilst living here that tragedy would strike when one day Ethel, whilst working at home, fell and struck her head against a cupboard door. She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where on the 10th of March she died due to a cerebral compression caused by a subdural haematoma. The family were devastated, Ethel was just 21 years old.

By the time the Second World War broke out Elizabeth and Sydney were living at 7 Sandon View in Hunslet with their son Arthur, as Elsie had married my Grandfather, Frank Richardson in 1936 after a long courtship. They now lived at 6 Sherwood Green, Robin Hood along with their two young sons.

In August of 1949, Elizabeth's beloved husband, Sydney, died, they had been married for almost forty years. Shortly after, in 1951, due to health problems, Elizabeth moved for the last time, going to live with her daughter Elsie and her family at 7 Spibey Crescent, Rothwell. It was here that she shared a room with her grand-daughter, Eileen, with whom she became especially close. On the 15th of August, Elizabeth suffered a heart attack and died. She was laid to rest, alongside her husband in Hunslet Cemetery on the 18th of August.


Recollections of a Favourite Grandma by Eileen Parker

Whenever I think of Grandma I remember her as being neat and tidy. She always seemed to wear black leather lace up shoes with a small heel, she said flat shoes made her ankles ache. She favoured dresses and cardigans, although she sometimes wore a skirt and blouse.

He hair was iron grey which she curled with old fashioned metal curlers. She sometimes went to bed in them which must have been torture. She never wore make-up and said she kept her eyebrows dark by smearing Vaseline on them each night. Gran was never very fond of jewellery, only wearing the odd brooch and of course her wedding ring.

Wrap around pinafores were the order of the day to keep her clothes clean. Clothes were precious and I don't remember her buying many at all - clothes had to last in those days.

Sometimes Grandma would take me to visit her sisters and brother who all lived in the Leeds area. Violet and Herbert in Hunslet and Lily in Middleton.

We would catch the bus from the bottom of Spibey Lane and get off at Swan Junction in Hunslet, then catch the tram for Middleton to go and see Lily. She lived in a nice semi with her second husband, George. They had a beautiful garden and at the bottom was a greenhouse full of tomatoes in the summer. I used to love the warmth in there and the smell of fresh growing tomatoes was delicious.

Violet lived in a long street full of terrace houses and I was fascinated with the lines of washing hung high in the air right across the street as I had only ever seen washing on a line in the garden. Violet never had any children of her own and she made a lot of me, usually giving me a small gift when we left to go home.

We didn't visit Herbert and his family quite as much, but I remember their house being a warm, lovely place. His wife, Ada, was very nice and always kind to me.

One day when we had been visiting, we were waiting for a bus home, but every bus went straight past us at the bus stop. It was freezing cold standing there for what seemed like forever, but my lovely Gran unbuttoned her coat and wrapped it round me to help keep me warm. A lady who had passed us a couple of times stopped to tell us that the bus stop had been moved to further down the road and at last when we walked down there a bus finally stopped for us. We were so relieved to get back home and into the warmth of the house. I would have about seven at the time, but I vividly remember it and the kindness and care of my Grandmother.

As Grandma got a little older she decided to stay in bed every Sunday as she said it gave us all some family time together. It then became my job to take her lunch up to the bedroom. Yorkshire Pudding first with vinegar and sugar on instead of gravy, I loved that time with her just chatting while she carried on eating. Then, I would take her the main course and leave her to it while I went downstairs to have mine.

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