Wednesday, August 15, 2018

70 Florence Street, West Hartlepool. England

     70 Florence Street, Longhill, West Hartlepool, England.  A few "bits and bobs" I found in the Hartlepool, England newspaper along with a regurgitation and compilation of other Flipside blogs pulling it all together on this house that is no longer standing.

Mary Ann Storey Hughes
Standing in front of the Hughes Green Grocer Shop
70 Florence Street, Longhill, West Hartlepool, England

     I promise that this will be the final time I post this  To be fair, it is the only photo of my paternal 2x great grandmother and the Hughes shop that seems to have survived AND I recently saw that the booklet that I quote from extensively, Reflections beneath the "Wagga Moon" by Edward Powell has appropriated it for the cover of one edition.  I do not remember any email asking permission.  Hopefully at a minimum Mary Ann is identified.

Red box at about the location of the Longhill streets

     These photos give a much better idea of the Longhill area of West Hartlepool and its proximity to the Iron and Steel Works. No wonder the air was filled with smoke, noise and chemicals.  Certainly not an ideal section of town.  
     George and Mary Ann Hughes moved from 61 Hill Street in Longhill to 70 Florence Street, Longhill sometime between 1899-1900. Various documents that I have access to have shown me that they decided to become green grocers and move a street away to a location that was designed to be a shop of some sort. I believe that George also decided to devote his time to running the shop and to no longer work in one of the local factories.  A retirement of sorts.  He would have been age forty eight at this time.

     Found in a 1884 West Hartlepool newspaper, Lot # 2, 70 Florence Street in Longhill was up for sale.  This was a decade plus before George Henry Hughes purchased the unit.  Listed as a corner house and shop with a basement and cellar on the ground floor, a spacious shop, front kitchen and one in back with three rooms above.  Company's water laid on and every convenience--I wonder what that means?  Inside running water?  Were there toilets or an out house in the back?

     Census reports from 1901 and 1911 provide insight into which family members were still living with George Henry and Mary Ann Storey Hughes.  My paternal great grandfather (John George Hughes) was married and living with his wife and son before 1901. 

In 1901:
  1. Samuel Hughes, age 24, coal hawker
  2. Mary Alice Hughes age 19, domestic service
  3. Joshua (Joseph) Hill Hughes, age 16, coal hawker
  4. Thomas Henry Hughes, age 15, coal hawker
  5. Elizabeth Hughes, age 15, dressmaker
  6. William A. Hughes, age 12
  7. Aidan Hughes, age 6 

In 1911:
  1. Thomas Hughes, age 24, coal hawker
  2. Aidan Hughes, age 16, coal hawker
  3. Eli Marsh, age 35, tool fitter
  4. Mary Alice Hughes Marsh, age 29
  5. Albert Marsh, under 1 month
In 1930:

     To date the UK census reports open to the public end with 1911; however I did find an electoral roll polling data sheet on ancestry with lists the members of the voting Hughes Family members residing at 70 Florence Street in 1930.

     Along with the usual groceries sold in early 1900 UK green grocery shops, Mary Ann Hughes, also referred to an Annie, sold her baked goods to customers anxious to taste her bakery.  Edward Powell, in his booklet, Reflections beneath the "Wagga Moon", has mentioned the Hughes shop twice in his remembrance of the Longhill area.  Mary Ann's talent must have been well regarded in the neighborhood if this author remembers her name over the years.  I thank him for giving me an insight into my paternal great great grandmother's skill in the kitchen. 

     The son's of George and Mary Ann spent some of their working years as coal hawkers, carrying coal up and down West Hartlepool streets in a horse drawn cart.  As early as 1911, there are  newspaper articles in the local newspaper listing cart horses for sale by Thomas Hughes and he gives 70 Florence Street as the address.  

     Following Mary Ann's death in 1935, Hughes family members continued to live at 70 Florence Street.  There are several articles listing pigs for sale by Thomas Hughes.  I understand at this time many UK families housed a piggery behind their house.  Apparently the Hughes family did too.

     The demolition of the streets in the Longhill area began around 1937-1938.  The newspaper article articulates the living conditions far better than I.  The adult Hughes children were either married or living in another house by this time and the Marsh family, who lived at 70 Florence Street until it was demolished, moved to Borrowdale Street in West Hartlepool.  

          George and Mary Ann Hughes lived the majority of their married life in the Longhill area.  Perhaps when it was first designed it was somewhat more livable than in later years; however from most written material I have read, the area was always deplorable.  Why did they stay there?  Not enough money to rent or purchase a better living condition?  Even if their house was larger and kept up, they still had to contend with the other houses and streets.  No answers.....only questions.

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