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I've recently added my 2x Great Uncle Percival Richardson to Lives of the First World War . I've already posted a few posts abo...

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Saturday, 17 September 2011


Robert Richardson 1855-1934



My great-great grandfather, Robert Richardson was born in 1855 in Staithes, North Yorkshire.  The youngest of four illegitimate children of Hannah Richardson; his father was possibly John Harrison, an ostler, with whom Hannah as lived as a housekeeper between c1846 and 1857.

Staithes 2005

Hannah died on the 10th February 1857 in Staithes; she had been suffering from tuberculosis for eight years, an illness probably exacerbated by living in a coastal fishing port.  Staithes is a great place for a visit, full of quaint cottages tumbling down a steep hill towards the sea, but at time of Hannah’s death it was much less picturesque. Staithes late 19th C
Robert & his elder brother John were admitted to the workhouse in Guisborough on July 8th 1858, charged to the parish of Liverton.  In August they were taken out by their father, but unfortunately, are back in the workhouse in October 1858 this time with their elder sister Mary. They are described in the workhouse admissions register as ‘very dirty’.  Mary is removed by her father in the November & both boys are removed the following June, but are readmitted in July.

In the 1861 Census returns, Robert and John, aged nine and five respectively,  are still workhouse inmates and are now described as orphans.  Mary is living with her grandfather, John Richardson, in Liverton.  Unfortunately, the workhouse records for 1859 to 1866 are missing, so it’s impossible to discover what happened to them during these years, but by 1871 Robert is apprenticed to Thomas Armstrong, a joiner on Westgate in Guisborough.

Sarah Percival 1857-1897

Robert Richardson married Sarah Farnsworth (nee Percival) the widow of Frederick Farnsworth, in Harpurhay, Manchester in May 1880.   
The family story is that Robert worked his way down the country, finally settling in Nottingham, and by 1881 he and Sarah were living in Radford, Nottingham with their newborn son, Harold.  Also staying with them are John Richardson’s wife, Dorothy, and their two daughters, Mary and Ethel.
Robert and Sarah were still in Radford in the 1891 Census with their five sons; Harold, Robert F, William, Ernest and Percival.   Sadly, Sarah died in August 1897 also of tuberculosis.  Robert remarried the following year, to Emily Bell, described by my grandfather (Pop) as, “a simple soul.”  They had a son, Edward, known as Ted in 1906.
Three of Robert’s six sons Harold, Robert F and Percival followed him into the joinery trade.  William became a bricklayer and Ernest a stonemason.  Robert had his own joinery business throughout his years in Nottingham; he had business premises in Hyson Green and traded as “Richardson & Son” between 1912 and 1922.
The son he was in business with was possibly either Robert F or Percival.  His eldest son Harold was serving in the Northumberland Fusiliers by 1911.
I am still researching, but I believe Harold and William were both killed in action during World War One; Harold at the Somme on 3rd July 1917, and William at Herlies on 17th October 1914.
 Robert Richardson died aged 79 in 1934. 
I think he did good for a “workhouse kid.”  Despite his shaky start he was literate, had a trade and ran his own business; looking very smart and well-to-do, if the photo is anything to go by.   I wish I had asked my Pop about Robert, I would love to know more about him; was he strict, did he have an accent, did he talk about his childhood, his siblings, his apprenticeship,  etc etc.  So ASK your relatives while you still can!