Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Amelia Harlow nee Wyatt 1783-1853, wife of Robert Harlow 1779-1828.

Dear Alan

Tonight I found William Barnes's will, he died 1935. I have been looking for it for ages (for another reason) and had searched my Barnes/Ashbourne boxes a number of times. I suddenly remembered that it came from the USA cousins and had remained filed in that box. WB had left specific legacies of personal chattels to sons (or their issue) who had emigrated to Canada and USA.

Included is this extract:

A portrait of "Mrs Harlow" to his grandson Stanley Maitland Barnes.

I already told you that when Stanley's widow died a few years ago and the house was sold and cleared the family decided not to keep the portrait, but later when they saw the copy of the portrait still in possession of the Harlow family in Devon, and my own photo images by Robert Bull, per images below, they realised who it was.

This is another piece of evidence that it is Amelia  Harlow nee Wyatt 1783-1853, wife of Robert Harlow.



Amelia Harlow nee Wyatt 1783-1853, wife of Robert Harlow 1779-1828.

Dear John
Thank you.
Whilst writing I attach another image which I currently believe to be Amelia Harlow nee Wyatt 1783-1853, wife of Robert Harlow 1779-1828.
Its an ambrotype. She died in 1853 aged 70. Ambrotypes first appeared in the early 1850s so she was just in time to have an image done aged say 67-70. This woman does look that age.
Ambrotypes rarely have any clue to photographer/studio unless a label is inside the case, the side holding the image, in this case none.
She also does not fit any other person of the period I am likely to have inherited via my Ashbourne/Barnes roots.The image came to me also with an image of Thomas Barnes (her son in law) and the silhouettes.
A better image will be available for your files when firmer conclusions are reached.
If it is Amelia Harlow nee Wyatt 1783-1853, wife of Robert Harlow 1779-1828 we also have to match it with these images also thought to be her. Bear in mind that the one that is a cabinet card may not be a photo at all, it may be from a sketch when she was younger touched up by Robert Bull of Ashbourne, and the oil painting may also have been commissioned after her death from a drawing or from the oil painting. It is less likely that the Robert Bull cabinet card is done from the oil painting in my view.
For details regarding Robert Bull please see: from which the following details are an extract courtesy of Brett Payne author of that site: Robert Bull was born c. 1839 at Ashbourne, Derbyshire, the third of six children (and eldest son) of Robert Fletcher Bull senior (c. 1807-1886) and his wife Helen (c. 1811-1857), a joiner, cabinet maker and builder from nearby Compton. As a young man he followed his father - and grandfather before him - into the carpentry trade, and was listed with his younger brother Henry as a "joiner & cabinet maker" in the April 1871 Census. By 1874 however, when Wright's trade directory gave the listing, "Bull Rt. joiner and bldr, and newsagt, Sturston rd. Ashbourne", they had obviously opened up a shop. Adamson (1997) shows Robert Bull, presumably Robert junior, working from premises in Sturston road from 1876 to 1878, so he seems to have started the photographic sideline in 1876.
-----Original Message-----
From: John Robey
Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2017 11:47 AM
To: LAWRIE, Alan ; Aspdin Nigel
Subject: Harlow
Alan & Nigel
Though she is not a direct ancester, you may be interested in Sam Harlow's 2nd wife. It ties up a loose end
Hannah Holmes born 1748 or 1749 at Duffield, nr Derby. There are two christenings, do not know which one is her, but fromher age at death gives 1747.
Married John Howard 31 July 1768 at Ashbourne. She would be 20, he 33 from age at death, cannot find his birth.
They had John (b1769-d 1792) & Benjamin (b1772-d1807, brazier in his will, but not seen this).
Married for 28 yrs until John Howard  buried 6 Oct 1796, aged 61, brazier (Derby Mercury).
Hannah Howard, widow, married Sam Halow widower 21 May 1800. The licence gives both as 40 but she was actually c52, he 49. Married for 23 years
Hannah Harlow buried 7 Jan 1825 aged 78.
I suspect that John Howard (& his son Ben) were Harlow employees, so Sam married the widow of one of his workers.

Friday, November 6, 2015

T. G. Green & Co Ltd, pottery and Sherwood Foresters

I am writing this post simply to publish some photographs  which readers interested in T.G. Green and Co. Ltd and the Sherwood Foresters regiment, specifically the 5th Battalion, will enjoy.

In September each year, in England, we have Heritage Open Days which were established in 1994 as England’s contribution to the European Heritage Days. One of the key requirements is to offer free access to all properties taking part in the European Heritage Days.

This year Sharpes Pottery Museum in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, had organised a talk on the history of the pottery works of T. G. Green & Co Ltd in adjoining Church Gresley, which is now a sad and derelict site, followed by a walk around the perimeter of the site. So along I went.

The reason is that I had in my possession a number of ashtrays made by the company in the 1950s and 60s with Sherwood Forester colours and badges. My father Lt. Col Geoffrey S. Aspdin was the last commanding officer of the 5th Battalion. He had taken over command from Lt. Col. Henry W.King in the late 1950s. Col. King was a director of T.G.Green. 

Col.King obviously had them made for gifts etc. I decided that the time had come to return them to the local pottery museum in Swadlincote, from whence they came, so now I have now done so.

Below I publish some photographs of Col. King when he was commanding the 5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. To the keen Sherwood Forester reader, note the green rectangular back patch, one on the first ashtray above, irrefutably associating that ashtray as made for the 5th Battalion specifically, and also appearing as worn (by some) as a tradition on the back of their jacket as in the last photo below.

Lt Col Henry W King and ex Colour Sergeant Holland

Lt Col Henry W King and Lt General Chatteris R.M.

Lt Colonel Henry W King, standing third from left. Major Geoffrey S. Aspdin, my father, standing left, Major Nicklin, seated left, Lt Colonel Brian Duncan Shaw, seated right.

Col. King was also a personal friend of my father and in the 1960s and early 1970s they used to shoot together at a rough shoot they organised in the land around Staunton Harold Hall on the Derbyshire Leicestershire border near Melbourne. As a child I would invariably be there as a beater. Col. King was a charming man, always interested in what I was up to and full of good advice and encouragement.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

‘Bernard’ in the Lancashire Fusiliers, 1915. Horner, Ellison, Richmond, Vores, Hawksey, Gill, Hartley

This officer is a Second Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers in 1915. I do not know who it is, but it is likely that he was a family friend or cousin/nephew etc. of my ancestors.  The photo was in my grandmother’s collection, and my grandmother and her parents came from Manchester, where they were connected with family names Wright, Gould, Atherton and of course others for whom I do not have family names.

I have this good quality photo, but no other knowledge of him was ever passed to me from my grandmother or mother. It suggests, but not conclusively, that he may have died in 1914-18.

Research I have carried out show that the following Lancashire Fusilier Lieutenants had the given name ‘Bernard’, and there is a reasonable possibility that this Bernard is one of them. 3 of them have strong Manchester connections from their birth registration districts.

Lieutenant Bernard Horner   (Died March 5 1917) 
Second Lieutenant John Bernard Rowland Ellison
Second Lieutenant Cecil Bernard Richmond
Second Lieutenant Geoffrey Bernard Vores   (Died June 4 1915)
Lieutenant Bernard Richard Hawksey   (Died September 28 1918)
Second Lieutenant Maurice Bernard Gill 

I have posted this on line in the outside hope that one day you may chance across this post when researching one of these men. If you do please contact me. My email is aspdin@gmail.com or you will easily track me down with a search of ‘aspdin’ and ‘derby’

Many thanks.


**Update 1 May 30 2014

 After information received today, I have to add the following to the list:

Second Lieutenant (later Captain) Bernard Harold Hartley (Died November 4, 1916)

I have discovered that we share the same ancestry which goes back to Robert Harlow of Ashbourne, (c.1779-1828), my great-great-great-grandfather, probably the great-great-grandfather of Bernard Harold Hartley. His mother was born Eleanor Kinch Harlow, circa 1866.

In view of this link, and other links that now fall into place, in particular photographs in my grandmother's album of a house named 'Ashleigh' at 134 Stockport Road, Marple, where census returns show Bernard to have been resident at the 1901 census, it seems it is almost certain that this is the Bernard in the photograph, and explains why the photograph of Bernard was in my grandmother's papers, as they were distant cousins. I also have other miscellaneous material relating to the Harlow family retained by my grandmother.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lieutenant Vivian Donald Berry Collins

Lieutenant Vivian Donald Berry Collins   

What we do know about you

You were a friend of my family, my ancestors the Slater family of 19, Vernon Street, Derby, and the Smith family of Highfield Road, Derby. We have your photograph in a family album, the album of Charles Sydney Smith, but we no longer know anything of your family.

You were a lieutenant in the 2nd or 13th Battalion The Sherwood Foresters in March 1915, and you were killed on May 9th 1915 when leading an attack near Richebourg. You remain in France with no known grave, and are commemorated at Le Touret Memorial. You were 30 at the time. You were the son of William Andrew and Emma Collins.

We know you were at one time in the King Edwards Own Gurka Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles). We are not sure if this was an attachment made in 1915 from the Sherwood Foresters, or if you had joined The Sirmoor Rifles before your return from the Indian sub-continent in 1914-15.

Before the war you were a member of The Survey of India. In 1911 you surveyed the Siachen Glacier and Mountains Of East Karakoram and Teram Kangri , and you also wrote a paper “The Triangulation up the Hunza River and Gorge"

Your Derby friend Major Charles Sydney Smith MC, Sherwood Foresters and Machine Gun Corps, survived the great war but died of influenza in November 1918. His only son Victor Sydney Smith was born in July 1919. His younger brother ( Lt. in 1915) Frank Wooley Smith OBE, DFC, Sherwood Foresters and Royal Flying Corps, survived the war and served in WW2 in The Assam Light Horse, on the Ledo Road  and related airlift operations. His elder brother, Private Joseph Arthur (alias “Pete”) Smith, joined the Canadian Engineers, 259th Battalion, in Ontario in 1918, and served in the Canadian Siberian Expedition.

If any descendant or family member or researcher reads this post and knows anything about this special friend of my ancestors, please get in touch with me.

Nigel S. Aspdin
19 Vernon Street
Derby DE1 1FT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1332-345342 *
Mobile Tel: +44 (0)7751-278376 *
* Please use voicemail if unavailable
Email: aspdin@gmail.com


Monday, April 7, 2014

Alan Lindsay Bull (1918-1992) RAAF

This post is being updated with relevant developments, last update January 9th 2015, see end.
Originally from Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia.

41 Squadron RAF, June-August 1941.

Sergeant Alan Lindsay Bull. RAAF.
41 Squadron. RAF. Photo July 27th 1941.

What is this post?

This post is written just to catch the attention of any family of Alan Bull, in the hope they may be interested in contacting me if Alan was their father or grandfather, uncle, or just a friend. However although I have been told that he did marry, a June Harding (elder daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Harding. Bairnsdale) in 1946, I do not know the extent of his descendants, if any.

Why am I interested?

I know from my late mother's papers that Alan was shot down over France in August 1941, and from there he corresponded with my  mother whilst he was a prisoner. They had been friends for a short time in 1941 when they were both posted at the same RAF base in England. I have photographs and other material that would almost certainly interest Alan Bull's descendants and which they may have never seen.

Mary Lavender Wallis (married name Aspdin) 1920-2010

Letter from Alan Bull in POW camp

Update. January 7th 2015

I was contacted by Andrew Brockett, of Neutral Bay, NSW, Australia, who is a collector of postal history, an interest that I share with him but do not pursue so enthusiastically nowadays. He had acquired a cover for his collection some time ago, a returned letter, and had only just got round to trying to research it. He was lucky. As soon as he Googled Alan Bull he found this post and so got in touch with me and I have been able to share with him all my material. He has kindly allowed me to post the cover in this blog, and you will see that it is from a letter posted on June 18 1941 by a Bairnsdale resident now established to be Alan's contemporary Albert Richard Kyle (b.1917) from Bairnsdale VIC, to Alan Bull in England. It never got to him as Alan had been shot down over France in August 1941. By the time it arrived in England he was a POW in Stalag IIIE in Kirchhain. The letter was returned to sender at 335 Main Street Bairnsdale, arriving back in late December 1941.

Letter cover from NR (or NA) Kyle of Bairnsdale NSW, sent to Alan Bull June 18 1941 and returned to sender

Letter cover from NR (or NA) Kyle of Bairnsdale NSW, sent to Alan Bull June 18 1941 and returned to sender

Albert Richard Kyle, the writer of the letter to Alan Bull,
from his WWII army attestation papers. January 1942.
Courtesy of National Archives of Australia

Update. January 9th 2015

Matters are moving along nicely, perhaps as someone kindly posted my search on a local Facebook page.  

What I must say at this stage is that Tim Bull M.P. is not connected, I had established that some time ago, and I should have mentioned it as I think he will be getting quite bored now with people sending him the link and obvious question. It does say one good thing about the local MP, at least he responds and does respond quickly to constituents!

The best progress is an email this morning  from Robyn Smith in Seymour VIC. I am not sure how she came to see my blog,but she writes to tell me that she is Alan Bull's niece (by marriage), and that Alan had a daughter and two grandsons. Now that sounds like the connection may be made, and I am excited that I may hear from them soon.

Photo received by my mother from Alan's mother Alice Bull, say  in 1942,
 showing her  with her daughter Evelyn* and son Alan, probably about 1938-9.
(* married name Alice Evelyn Birkensleigh d.April 18th 2004 ,
 late of  Maroochydore)


I am very grateful for assistance I have received so far from Steve Brew, historian of 41 Squadron and author of Blood, Sweat and Courage, 41 Squadron RAF, 1939-1942 and Blood Sweat and Valour covering 1942-1945 His great uncle Sergeant Pilot William A Brew was a close friend of Alan Bull, a fellow 41 Squadron pilot, also shot down, a fellow POW, a fellow escaper and fellow survivor. As Blood Sweat and Courage was actually published last, in December 2014, it includes a photograph of Alan Bull sent by me to the author.


I am also grateful to Andrew Brockett for allowing me to post the interesting returned letter cover from his collection, and many other email correspondents, Alan's cousins nephews and nieces etc, in Australia,  now too many to mention.

Contact me

Please contact me by email preferably at aspdin@gmail.com

Nigel S. Aspdin
19 Vernon Street
Derby DE1 1FT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1332-345342 *
Mobile Tel: +44 (0)7751-278376 *
* Please use voicemail if unavailable


Other search words connected to Alan Bull:
This colourless text below is intentionally left to be indexed by search engine web crawlers:

BIRKENSLEIGH - Alice Evelyn (Evelyn) on 18th April 2004, late of
Maroochydore. In her 85th Year. Beloved Wife of Bickley (Dec'd). Loved
Mother and Mother-in-Law of Alan and Sandra, and Max. Much loved Grandma
to Adrian, Tanya, Kylie, Natalie, Andrea, Ryan and Rhys. Senior G.G. to
Lachlan, Tyler and Noah. Fondly remembered by Jenni Phillips. Family and
Friends of Evelyn are invited to attend Her Funeral Service to be held
in the West Chapel of Northern Suburbs Crematorium on Friday 23rd April
2004 at 11.45am. T.J. ANDREWS FUNERAL SERVICES 180 Pacific Highway,
Hornsby Phone (02) 9477 3272
Publication Date: 21/04/04

SGT A.L. BULL (AUS. 400219)


POW. Stalag III. Stalag IIIe. Stalag IIIE. Stalag 3e. Stalag Luft III. Sagan. Żagań 

Searches of the internet suggest that Alan's father was named Robert Bull, living in
Chisholm, Victoria in 1949, Higgins Victoria 1963-1972.

Mother: Alice Evelyn Bull,

Bairnsdale High School

(Hey guys at Bairnsdale Secondary College....you will be the first to have found this post on a search; send the link to your history teacher and friends and make it a project to track Alan Bull's descendants !!)
East Bairnsdale

Royal Australian Air Force

R.A.A.F.   RAAF.
Steve Brew
41 Sqn RAF
41 Squadron RAF


Friday, February 1, 2013

Sepia Saturday-162. Bicycles etc

Introduction, for a first post in a new blog

For a long time I have been following the blogs of my friend Brett Payne at Photo Sleuth, and more recently his posts for Sepia Saturday. I have lots of old photos, not as a collector, but just as a lucky series of inheritances. As and when time permits I like to go digging to explain the unexplained, and over the years Brett has helped me and taught me a thing or two.

Now is the time to have a crack at blogging some of my material as I have always been conscious that whilst I rely enormously on what others have blogged, much of what I discover I never share. I want to start to put that right.

This Saturday the Sepia Saturday theme is:

so here goes !!!!

The Harris Cycle Co Ltd, Coventry, England

A few years ago, from my late father's papers, I unearthed this old trade catalogue, with a strange manuscript message on the front cover.

Even the most unadventurous could not fail to follow the instruction, and this is what I found inside:

 "Mr Aspdin's Testimony"

Now...this "Mr Aspdin" is supposedly my grandfather, Bertie Dyche Aspdin (1871 to 1943). He died before I was born, and I only know him from photos. It certainly does look like him. But was this just a family joke? Did someone spot a Doppelgänger and send it to my grandfather? This needed a little more investigation.

Firstly...... a slightly better resolution of the model:

It certainly looks to me like a man of the right
 age group, in 1908 he would have been aged
 37, so I cannot discount him on age grounds.

My grandfather was no model. He was a bank clerk all his life, a one company man (ignoring later takeover by the Westminster Bank) rising from the bottom aged 17 in 1888, to be Chief cashier and Counter Clerk of The Derby and Derbyshire Banking Company Ltd at his retirement in 1936.

His appointment letter of June 1888.

He was a careful man. His first weeks wage was a half-sovereign. A full sovereign was GBP £1, a gold coin then. He did not spend it, and I still have it.

Back to some photo evidence..........

In my inherited photos I have an image on very thin photographic paper. I suspect that this is an unmounted image, as might be offered for sale at the time, at the most modest price to the public, by local publishers such as Richard Keene and his successors or perhaps by another local publisher. It is of the premises of the main branch of the The Derby and Derbyshire Banking Company Ltd in Corn Market, Derby, on the occasion of the visit to Derby of Queen Victoria on May 21, 1891.

The local publisher, Hobson "Advertiser" of Market Place, Derby,  describes the bank's decorations in its illustrated memorial volume of the visit as follows: The strong point of the Derby and Derbyshire Banking Co's, premises was its splendid series of crystal illuminations, in Messrs. Defries and Co's, best style, embracing a magnificent device of blue and white, with Royal initials in the centre, and surmounted with a ruby and amber crown. On either side were the letters "V.R." in huge white crystals, and above them were stars with red cross centres, encircled with the motto of the Order of the Garter, Honi soit qui mal y pense. Here, also, in addition to a noble shield of the Royal arms, was a most effective drapery of brown material, with a heavy fringing and tassels of amber quite the prettiest thing in this part of the thoroughfare.

Now what would a 20 year old counter clerk be doing on such a special day? Surely all the customers would be out on the street celebrating? Business was probably be slack. That's right, he would be peering out of the window watching the happenings in the street !!

So is this Bertie Aspdin? I do think so.


 Here are 3 photos that are definitely Bertie Aspdin, probably circa 1889, 1892 and 1901, the last being when he was about 30, and still about 7 years before the cycle photo.

Was Bertie a cyclist?

The answer to this is yes, at the turn of the century he was clearly a keen cyclist as he was a member of the Cyclists Touring Club for a number of years, and carefully kept his annual metal membership badges along with its silver holder. But I am afraid that is all I know about his cycling days. Its pretty conclusive that he took more than just a utility interest in cycling, and so could well have taken up the invitation from The Harris Cycle Co Ltd:

One more clue, and a salutary warning from Bertie's death certificate:


What do you think? Was the man in the catalogue Bertie Aspdin or a Doppelgänger ? Please vote in the comments.

Post Script (February 7, 2013)

The facade of the Derby and Derbyshire Banking Company Ltd bank building is now somewhat different, and I had wondered when it was re-modeled, the ground floor banking hall being extended towards the street marginally, and flush with the adjacent buildings.

The building ground floor is now occupied by The BookCafe.

I have to say that it looks very pleasant and comfortable,
but living so nearby I rarely frequent local restaurants
 and cafes, it seems an extravagance to me when I can
boil the kettle at home !

After I sent a link to my blog to Lisa at BookCafe, she too wondered about the extension, so I told her I would find out. Sure enough the excellent Derby Local Studies Library quickly came up with the answer. The remodeling was done circa 1926 at the order of Westminster Bank Ltd to a design by T.H. Thorpe R.I.B.A. of Derby.

Derby and Derbyshire Banking Company Ltd had been acquired by  Parr's Bank Ltd circa 1897, which in turn merged with London & Westminster Bank Ltd, later known as Westminster Bank Ltd from 1923.

The  1924 plans and below the 1926 architect's letter to the Derby Borough Surveyor