Saturday 17 February 1900: John Paine died John Paine of South Shore died on 17 February 1900, aged 38 years, according to the headstone inscription on his grave. In The Cooper Diaries, on 3 June 1996, I recorded that my Mum told me:
[Her] Grandad, my Grandad Paine’s father, was a plumber, and he died of lead poisoning when my Grandad was two.
But, in fact, my Grandad was only ca. 8 months old when his father died.
In my grandfather John Edward Paine’s hand: “Taken after the death of my Father
[i.e. the above-mentioned late John Paine], who was only 38 years. Right, my Mother & I (baby); behind, Aunt Lavenia & Uncle
Will; from left Sisters Muriel Edith Grandmother Preece & Brother Harry.”
Mum told me that “Preece” was the maiden name of my Grandad Paine’s
mother (obviously, his father’s surname was “Paine”). His older
Muriel, who married
a man called Jack.
died of tuberculosis when she was perhaps in her 30s. My Mum remembers
Aunt Edith as kind, sitting on the stairs while she went up to the
toilet, till she had finished. For she was frightened of going upstairs
in the dark; there was only a light fitting downstairs.
contracted tuberculosis during World War I. He passed it on to Jack,
with whom he was lodging.
He had a younger
half-sister Anne, for his mother remarried. Anne too contracted
tuberculosis, and wouldn’t have children because of this.
In my grandfather John Edward Paine’s hand: “Grandfather & Grandmother Paine
[i.e. the parents of the above-mentioned late John Paine] taken in the back garden of 10 Miller St. South Shore about 1902”
John Paine’s widow, Mary Ann Paine, married again, to Frederick Taylor, and they had a daughter, Anne.
Note, presumably in Anne’s hand: “Yours Lovingly, Nibbo”
Note in my Mum’s hand: “My Aunt Anne, Dad’s youngest sister”
Since the photo has come down to my Mum, Anne may have given or sent it to her half-brother John Edward, my Mum’s father, using the pet-name “Nibbo”.
records According to Wikipedia, the census in 1901 was conducted on 31
171 Granville Street, Sheffield Elizabeth Cooper
— Head — Widow — 54 — b.Yorks.
— b.Sheffield George Arthur Cooper
— Son — Single — 23 — Tram Rail Pointsman — Worker — b.Yorks.
— b.Sheffield Gertrude Cooper —
Daughter — Single — 20 — Warehousewoman [Cutler] — Worker — b.Yorks.
— b.Sheffield Joseph Fox Cooper
— Son — Single — 17 — Engraver on Silver [White] — Worker — b.Yorks.
— b.Sheffield Herbert Cooper —
Son — Single — 14 — Cutlery Whitler — Worker — b.Yorks.
— b.Sheffield [my grandfather]
So, contrary to my
Dad’s statement below, “Uncle Joe” (Joseph) was not the oldest; he was the second youngest. And George Arthur was older than
“Aunt Gertie” (Gertrude). Millicent Annie and Alfred Ernest are missing from the list, and had presumably
“flown the nest” in 1901.
9 Thirza Street, Nether Hallam, Sheffield Alexander Osborne
— Head — Married — 43 — Corporation Labourer — Worker — b.Glouces'r.
— b.Bristol Elizabeth Osborne
— Wife — Married — 36 — b.Glouces'r.
— b.Bristol Emma R. Osborne —
Daughter — Single — 15 — Silver Burnisher — Worker — b.Glam'n.
— b.Cardiff William J. Osborne
— Son — Single — 14 — Grocers Errand Boy — Worker — b.Glam'n.
— b.Cardiff Charles Osborne —
Son — Single — 13 — Grocers Errand Boy — Worker — b.Glouces'r.
— b.Bristol Elizabeth Osborne
— Daughter — Single — 11 — b.Lancs.
— b.Manchester Henry Osborne —
Son — Single — 9 — b.Lancs. —
b.Manchester Lucy Osborne — Daughter
— Single — 7 — b.Yorks. — b.Sheffield [Louisa Osborne: my grandmother] Edith Osborne
— Daughter — Single — 5 — b.Yorks.
— b.Sheffield John Wilson —
Boarder — Single — 38 — Corporation Labourer — Worker — b.Notts.
Everyone mentioned by my Dad is listed here. Contrary to my
Dad’s statement below, though, “Uncle Bill” (William) was not the oldest;
“Aunt Emma” was older than he. And “Aunt Dolly” (Elizabeth, Jr.) was younger than, not only
“Uncle Bill” (William), but “Uncle Charlie” (Charles) as well. But Dad never knew her; she died nearly ten years before he was born.
“Uncle Harry” (Henry) was not born between his mother Louisa (“Lucy” in the Census list) and
“Aunt Edith”, as he implied in 2000.
6 Duke Street, Blackpool Mary Ann Paine
— Head — Married — 29 — b.Herefordshire Muriel N. Paine
— Daughter — 8 — b.Lancs. — b.Blackpool Edith M. Paine
— Daughter — 6 — b.Lancs. — b.Blackpool Harry Paine
— Son — 4 — b.Lancs. — b.Blackpool John E. Paine
— Son — 1 — b.Lancs. — b.Blackpool [my grandfather]
John Foulks — Boarder — 30 — Joiner Carp. —
Worker — b.Lancs. — b.Blackpool
Although Mary Ann Paine is shown as
“married”, not “widowed”, her husband John had died the previous year.
1 Cranage Street, Newton Heath, Manchester Charles Henry Hindley
— Head — Married — 34 — Mechanical [Fitter] Iron Turner — Worker —
b.Lancs. — b.Oldham Eleanor Hindley
— Wife — Married — 32 — b.Lancs.
— b.Oldham Florence Hindley —
Daughter — Single — 14 — b.Lancs.
— b.Oldham Elizabeth Ellen Hindley
— Daughter — Single — 7 — b.Lancs.
— b.Oldham Edith Annie Hindley
— Daughter — Single — 2 — b.Lancs.
— b.Oldham [my grandmother]
My grandmother’s younger brother Ernest must have been born after the 1901 Census.Genealogical information:
Family trees gained from a conversation with my Dad, Friday 18 August 1989, and ones from the early 1990s attempting to compile the information I then had to hand:
Dad’s mother’s side:
Charles Cooper: See the chart above for “Cooper”…: In fact, it is
below in this presentation.
Dad’s father’s side:
From conversation with Mum and Dad, Saturday 8 July 2000:
Dad’s mother’s side
Dad: …There was Uncle Bill; he was the
oldest. There was Aunt Dolly, who died just after childbirth. There was Aunt Emma who went a bit peculiar, and she was found dead in bed. She’d been dead three or four weeks when they found her. There was Uncle Charlie; there was my Mother; there was Uncle Harry; and there was Aunt Edith: seven of them altogether.
Uncle Bill Dad: …Uncle Bill lived in Wales, so we didn’t see much of him — except when he was short of money and he used to come tabbing off Grandad! I think Nancy kept in touch more than I did, but then she was five years older than me. One of Uncle Bill’s sons was burned to death at work. Mum: How awful! Well, wasn’t he so badly scalded, and then he died afterwards? Dad: I think so, yes. Mum: How awful! Me: So where was he working? Dad: I don’t know. You see, I was only very young when all this happened; it didn’t register.
“Uncle” and “Cousin” Charlie Dad: Have you ever met young Charlie, my cousin? Mum: No. No — I have, but I mean, John wouldn’t have done. Dad: We used to come together from Sheffield [on holiday to Blackpool]. My Uncle Charlie had the Bell Hotel on Fitzalan Square in Sheffield, and I used to go down there when the pub was closed, playing snooker with young Charlie. And we used to come on holidays together. Uncle Charlie used to bring us in his car and take us back home again. So we were— Me: Now who lived in West Drive? There was an “Uncle Charlie” in West Drive. Dad: Ah, that was the same Uncle Charlie that had the Bell Hotel in Fitzalan Square. When he retired he moved to Blackpool [more specifically, to Thornton Cleveleys], to West Drive.
Uncle Harry Dad: Uncle Harry had a pub in Rotherham. But he came to live in Blackpool as well. The whole family came here eventually, I think. Me: So who was Uncle Harry? Dad: He was my mother’s youngest brother.
Dad: And on my father’s side: There was Uncle Joe; he was the
oldest. You met Uncle Joe, didn’t you? Me: Yes. Dad: There was Aunt
Gertie. I don’t know if you met her, or not. Me: Yes, I remember. Dad: Yes, Aunt
Gertie. There was George Arthur, who was Monica’s father. There was Alfred Ernest— Me: At one time you couldn’t remember which of those two was Monica’s father. Dad: Well, I still can’t remember, really— Me: Right. Dad: —But I think it was George Arthur that was her father. Then there was Aunt Millicent; and then [there] was my father, he was the youngest. So there were six of them, seven of my Mother’s, so I’ve got cousins that I’ve never met. I can’t ever remember meeting Alfred Ernest or George Arthur; but I met Millicent, Joe, Gertie — oh, that’s it, isn’t it. But with so many, you couldn’t keep track of them all. I mean there were thirteen of them altogether! And most of them had kids, so I’ve cousins galore that I’ve never even known.
 Uncle Bill… was the oldest—not according to the
1901 Census information, though.  Uncle Joe… was the oldest—again, not according to the
1901 Census information.
Monday 29 April 1912: Elizabeth
“Dolly” Osborne married John Lunn Elizabeth “Dolly” Osborne
married John Lunn on 29 April 1912, according to the Marriage
Certificate. How the certificate, an original copy from the wedding day, passed down my
Dad’s branch of the family, I
March 1913 or shortly before that From notes from a conversation with my Dad, August 1989:
John Lunn was born and his mother died as a result, in the latter part of March 1913—though it has been said that her death was hastened by the fact that John Sr. “meddled with her” while she was still in bed ill. So John Lunn Jr. is about 10 years older than my Dad.
 This particular note is no longer extant. It does not appear in the diary write-up of conversations with my Dad in August; it does appear in the earliest versions of this
Family History. I would guess that “the latter part of March 1913”
is based on the documentary evidence, not the conversation.
Thursday 27 March 1913: Elizabeth
“Dolly” Lunn née Osborne’s funeral On 25 March 1913,
according to the Receipt issued at City Road Cemetery, Sheffield, John Lunn paid
£2 12s 0d (£2.60) for an “earthen grave” for the interment of Elizabeth
Lunn, aged 23. I’m guessing that the date on the Bill for Coffin and
“March 27 1913”, is the actual date of the funeral. On 26 April 1913,
according to the Receipt issued at City Road Cemetery, John Lunn paid one shilling and six pence for turf and
soil. Again, how these documents passed down my Dad’s branch of the family, I
1914–1918: World War I: Herbert Cooper
In World War I my paternal grandfather Herbert Cooper enlisted in the 3rd Border Regiment on 19 May 1916.
He was captured on Wednesday 10 April 1918 in Mesen (“Messines” in French),
West Flanders, Belgium, and was first taken to Hirson in northern France, about
100 miles distant. Around 7 July 1918 he was taken the ca. 240-mile
journey to the Mannschaftslager in Dülmen, Westfalen, Germany. [See 1914–1918: World War I: Herbert
inscription: “Mary Ann”
Sunday 6 June 1915: Mary Ann Taylor formerly Paine died My Mum’s paternal grandmother, Mary Ann Taylor formerly Paine, died on 6 June 1915, according to the
Death Certificate — 7 years before my Mum was born. Although after the death of her husband John Paine she married Frederick Taylor — this is indicated in the Death Certificate — she was buried in the same grave as her first husband, as shown on the Headstone Inscription.
1914–1918: World War I: John Edward Paine
Grandad Paine and a friend ran away from home to join the forces, though they were below the minimum age for enlistment. They went to Scotland, hoping to join a Highland regiment because they fancied wearing a kilt, but it was to the 3rd Battalion of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers that they were assigned, before not long afterwards their parents came and brought them back home. In 1917, still just shy of the legal age, Grandad Paine enlisted again. He underwent trench-warfare training at Kinmel Park, North Wales, from April or May 1917, and at the end of March 1918 he was recalled from leave to rejoin his regiment in France. He was wounded there and
hospitalised, before returning home in March 1919. [See 1914–1918: World War I: John Edward
Sunday 17 March 1918: Nancy Gillott born Nancy Gillott, my Dad’s cousin — the daughter of his mother’s sister — was born on 17 March 1918. I’ve forgotten what the source of this information is.
From The Cooper Diaries, written during a visit to Mum and Dad, Monday 7 September 1992:
Nancy is some 16 years older than her brother David, and 5 years older than my Dad. When they lived in Sheffield she was like a big sister to him, used to take him to school. Then they moved to Blackpool, and some time later my Dad and his parents moved there.
Saturday 2 August 1919: Edith Annie Hindley comes of age
Till 1970 the age of majority in the United Kingdom was 21, and my maternal grandmother Edith Annie Hundley reached that age on 2 August 1919.
An undated birthday card to her “from your ever loving sweetheart Jack” (my maternal grandfather John Edward Paine) might come from this date, for it expresses the wish, “May happier and peaceful days be yours…” — in contrast to days of unhappiness and conflict in World War I, only just ended the previous November.
However, there is another card from
“Jack”, postmarked “BLACKPOOL 5. 45
PM, 1 AUG 19”.
John Edward Paine
Note in my Mum’s hand: “My Mum aged about 19 (1917) — Edith Annie Hindley. She was lovely.”
Discussion with my Mum ca. 2012 provided the following information:
The siblings were: Florry, Elizabeth (called Cis), Edith, and Ernest. Edith (my Mum’s mother) had all her teeth out in December 1920, because they were crossed at the front, and she wore dentures. She visited several dentists before she found one who was willing to perform the procedure, because her teeth were in perfect condition.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “My Mother on the right with her sister Elizabeth but called
Wednesday 8 December 1920: John Edward Paine married Edith Annie Hindley My
Mum’s father and mother John Edward Paine and Edith Annie née Hindley were
married on 8 December 1920, according to the Marriage
“With Love to Annie
From Edith & Ted”
Who is “Annie”? John Edward Paine’s sister Anne? — though if so, they have used “Annie” as the pet-name not “Nibbo” (see the photo of Anne,
above). “Ted” is a common contraction of Edward, and perhaps that was the pet-name used for him by Anne.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Wedding of Mum & Dad in 1920: Mr. John Edward Paine, Mrs. Edith Annie Paine née Hindley”
“Love to Ernest
for a Happy Xmas
from Edith & Jack”
Note in my Mum’s hand: “The wedding of my parents in 1920, John Edward Paine to Edith Annie Hindley”
The wedding was on Wednesday 8 December 1920, and their first son John Edward (“Jack”) was born six months later, Monday 6 June 1921, so he was “on the way” when his parents were married.
Monday 6 June 1921: John Edward Paine Jr. born My Mum’s elder brother Jack (John Edward Paine) was born on 6 June 1921.
Wednesday 7 June 1922: Marjorie Elizabeth Paine born The birth of my Mum Marjorie Elizabeth née Paine on 7 June 1922, a year and a day after the birth of her elder brother Jack, proved the notion — that one couldn’t get pregnant while one was breast-feeding — to be just an old wives’ tale, with no basis in fact.
Indeed, when my Mum’s mother was told that she was pregnant, she fainted!
Note in my Mum’s hand: “My Aunt Edith and me taken in 1923”
Edith Mary Paine, died seven years later. Mum told
me that she only had a vague memory of her, with curly red hair. She was
Mum’s father’s older sister.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “My father John Edward Paine with my brother John Paine and me Marjorie Elizabeth Paine taken on the sandhills Blackpool about 1925”
Monday 15 January 1923: Charles Cooper born My Dad Charles Cooper was born on 15 January 1923.
Card, postmarked “SHEFFIELD, 9 [?]0PM, 15 JAN 23”
From notes from a conversation with him, August 1989:
15 January 1923 When my Dad was born he nearly killed my Grandma so she didn’t try having children again.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Charles with his parents at Bridlington 1923”
He looks somewhat older than just a few months, though, so perhaps 1924
Ca. October 1923: Joyce Cooper born My
Dad’s cousin Joyce Cooper was born nine months after he was. From conversation with Mum and Dad, Saturday 8 July 2000:
Dad: …I think, next to Nancy, Joyce was the one I had most dealings with as a child, you know. Me: How old was Joyce, then, relative to you? Dad: She was just nine months younger than me. Apparently, Uncle Joe and his wife came to see me when I was born; and they went home that night, and she must have conceived because Joyce was born just nine months after. Mum: Well, he’d been married before, if you remember, and his wife had died in childbirth; so they decided— He didn’t want to risk his second wife dying, so they decided— Me: What happened to that child? Did that die as well? Mum and Dad: Yes. Mum: I think it probably was— Mum and Dad: —Stillborn— Dad: —And she died. But then, as I say, his next wife— They came to see me… just after I was born, and— Mum: —They decided to risk it. Dad: —They were so taken that they decided they’d try for a family themselves; so Joyce was born just nine months after. Me: Well, I remember Uncle Joe, and I remember Joyce. I don’t remember him having a wife; so had she—? Dad: No, she died. She died, yes.… He was a widower for a long time. Mum: I can’t remember her at all. Dad: I can’t remember her. He was a widower for a long time. But Joyce was very bright: she was a school-teacher; and she was very musical, she used to conduct choirs. Mum: —When they had the massed choirs in the park at Whitsuntide. Dad: At Whitsuntide, all the Sunday Schools used to mass in the Norfolk Park, in Sheffield, and they’d have a big orchestra there; and she’d conduct the lot. She was brilliant, actually — a lot cleverer than I am.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Charles aged about 4 or 5 at Bridlington”
Monday 13 February 1928: Ronald Paine born My Mum’s brother Ronald Paine (my Uncle Ronnie) was born nearly six years after she was, so he
was always regarded as the “baby brother”. My Mum wrote in a letter, July 2014:
He’s 86, older than [your] Dad was when he died, but he’s always been my “little brother”. I can remember him as a baby in my Mum’s arms — it is so vivid a memory. He was always a cheeky, witty child. My Dad, though christened John, was always called Jack, and I remember when Ronnie was about five being scolded for some misdemeanour, saying to my Dad, “Come on Jack, keep your hair on.” My Dad could not help but laugh.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “My Dad (John Edward Paine) and me (Marjorie Elizabeth Paine) taken about 1926”
When Mum and I discussed the above photo, she thought it was taken in Llangollen. The aqueduct there has cast-iron arches, though, not brick and/or masonry, and the date is wrong. My Mum’s mother was unwell after giving birth to Ronnie (Monday 13 February 1928), and in the July they went on holiday to Cefn Mawr near Llangollen. They went there the year after that as well. There were little houses across the valley, and my Mum exclaimed to her mother, “Look at all those dolls’ houses!”
In and around 91 Watson Road My Mum's mother and father, and two brothers, lived at 91 Watson Road, South Shore, Blackpool. They were not well off. Grandad Paine worked for a firm of tailors, or worked for a tailor, then set up in business on his own. He built up a loyal clientèle. Then the war came, when one had to be in “gainful employment”; and after the war, some of the older clients had died off, and the new soft suits came into fashion as opposed to the “costumes” Grandad used to make. So Grandad got a job as night watchman for the Tower company. (My Dad’s family in Sheffield was better off: Grandad Cooper was a foreman for the cutlery manufacturers Joseph Rodgers & Sons. For example, they regularly ate chicken, which was more expensive than beef then.)
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Outside 91 Watson Road taken about 1930”
Revisit on Saturday 8 July 2000
The Biddy Horner Incident
Uncle Jack says he doesn't remember this. I am not sure when I first heard the
story, but I first recorded it in The Cooper
Diaries on Monday
3rd June 1996:
…Mum told the Biddy Horner story. When Uncle Jack was a
little boy, the Horners had the shop across the road; and Uncle Jack, Biddy
Horner and perhaps others were outside there. Did Mum witness the event; was
she there, too? Biddy Horner had a tricycle (loosely called a “bike”), and
Uncle Jack wanted a turn at riding it. “Let me have a go on your bike, Biddy
Horner,” he said, but she wouldn’t let him. “Let me have a go on your
bike, Biddy Horner,” he repeated, but she still refused. “If you don’t
let me have a go on your bike, Biddy Horner, I’ll pee on you.” But she
persisted in her refusal, so he hitched up the leg of his short pants and peed
Later retellings reveal that it was a little red tricycle with
pedals on the front wheel, and that the above account of the location is not
quite accurate: the incident occurred outside the "Handy Stores" (in
the 2011 photo, below, a private house, no longer a shop),…
…but the Horners lived a few doors down at what was also a
shop (2011 photo, below).
Conversation with my Mum, Thursday 10 November 2011
—reminiscing about people and events in Watson Road
Walking from the bus stop to Watson Road
Walking along Watson Road
Ronnie pinches a ten bob note to treat his pals to sweets at the Co-op
The “posh” side and the “council” side
Location of the Co-op
Mr. Fitzgerald, with gooseberry bushes in his garden
Peggy Murrow: well off (they had a motor bike and sidecar!)
Living in one of the council houses on the main road was better than
living on the council estate at the back of them.
Betty Walker, and my Mum’s first taste of cream
Mrs. Singleton at No. 105, her daughters Marjorie and Mary
“Our establishment”, No. 91
Mrs. Whittaker’s house, No. 95, by the side of the ginnel, where Mum
took Ronnie when she was frightened of a thunderstorm
The Handy Stores
Biddy Horner’s shop, with a large storage area suitable for
Mrs. Marsh, who tried to shoo them away when they played on the green, who
had a handicapped child
Jimmy Bradshaw, killed by a car near the railway bridge over Watson Road
(“He’s gone to heaven,” Mum’s mother told her.)
Watson Court, formerly green (an allotment?)
The Hennessys (Patrick and Michael). Uncle Jack made a canoe; but when Pat
Hennessy did the same, his capsised!
The "migration" to Blackpool From conversation with Mum and Dad, Saturday 8 July 2000:
“Grandma” and “Grandad” Me: So who migrated to Blackpool first? Who came to Blackpool first? Dad: Grandma and Grandad [Alexander and Elizabeth Osborne]. And then— Me: They lived in 11 Watson Road? Mum: No. Dad: No, they went to Withnell Road first of all. And then, when they retired, they went to Severn Road, and then from Severn Road they went to Watson Road. Me: What brought them to Blackpool? Did they have a boarding house? Dad: Yes, in Withnell Road.… They used to live on Talbot Gardens in Sheffield. And their house backed into the same yard as ours when we were in Stafford Street. There were one, two, three in one yard, and then over the wall there were two houses; and all five houses belonged to Grandma.…
Nos.26 and 28 Withnell Road [We were travelling along Withnell Road as we spoke.] Dad: Twenty-six, was Grandma’s old house, and twenty— Of course, they’ve knocked them all into one now. Twenty-eight— That was twenty-six; twenty-eight was Aunt Edith’s. Mum: It’s flats now, isn’t it.…
Uncle Harry Dad: Uncle Harry had a pub in Rotherham. But he came to live in Blackpool as well. The whole family came here eventually, I think.
From notes from a conversation with my Dad, August 1989:
Around 1927 John Lunn [Jr.] was 14 when they moved to Blackpool to run the boarding house at 28 Withnell Road (“Grandad’s”, i.e. my great-grandfather Alexander Osborne’s, was 24 Withnell
Road). My Dad remembers that John Lunn was always a bit of a “rum ’un”. He remembers that John rigged up some sort of telephone device that plugged into the mains so he could spy on his
Mum and Dad’s conversation in the next room. And once upon a time John was looking after my Dad who was then still only small, and they were walking along the street when John said, “Wait here, I’m just going in there for a minute.” “There” was the door of a restaurant. Apparently the restaurateur owed someone something and John was going in to collect. The owner refused to listen to him, and when John started with threats he called the police. So John Lunn was dragged out by the police and my Dad was left all on his own. My great-aunt Edith and John fell out before he married his wife Liz (who incidentally died just before Christmas 1988): he wanted himself and Liz to move in and look after “Grandad”. I assume that “Grandad” had by now moved to the house at 11 Watson Road (on the last block before the railway and Pleasure Beach—the house that would later (within my memory) be occupied by Edith), and that at that time Edith was looking after him.
 24 Withnell Road: This was 26, according to the conversation of 8 July 2000. Nos.24, 26 and 28 Withnell Road were all part of one building.  His Mum—presumably, his step-mother. His mother died shortly after he was born.
Monday 7 April 1930:
Edith Mary Paine died —aged 35 years. She was my Mum's aunt, and died when Mum was only 7.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Charles with his parents about 1930”
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Charles as a lad”
Dad’s holidays in Blackpool From conversation with Mum and Dad, Saturday 8 July 2000:
1960s postcard showing the Metropole Hotel (then a "Butlins" hotel) and the nearby colonnade
Guest Week Me: Wasn’t there a story about somewhere round here — the Metropole? Dad: Well, do you know when I talked about the colonnades, taking your railway ticket to get a Guest Ticket? It was down there. Me: Yes. Oh, that’s right. Dad: They used to have a Guest Week, and you used to get this book of tickets with free rides on the tram, and free rides on the Pleasure Beach, and cheap seats in the shows. Me: I didn’t remember that there was a colonnade until I just saw it, as we passed.… So you used to come to Blackpool from Sheffield—? Dad: Yes. Well, I had relations here, you see, so when I had my summer holidays from school I used to come to— Well, first of all, I used to come to Grandma’s; and then when Auntie [Edith] moved here, I used to go to my Aunt’s. I’d have five weeks in the summer. Me: So, they were next door to each other in Withnell— Dad: No. No, by that time Grandma had retired and gone to live in Severn Road, and then just shortly after that she went to live in Watson Road. And then of course when Grandma died, Auntie packed up the boarding house in Withnell Road and went to look after Grandad in Watson Road. And I still used to go there for my holidays.
“Uncle” and “Cousin” Charlie Dad: Have you ever met young Charlie, my cousin? Mum: No. No — I have, but I mean, John wouldn’t have done. Dad: We used to come together from Sheffield. My Uncle Charlie had the Bell Hotel on Fitzalan Square in Sheffield, and I used to go down there when the pub was closed, playing snooker with young Charlie. And we used to come on holidays together. Uncle Charlie used to bring us in his car and take us back home again. So we were— Me: Now who lived in West Drive? There was an “Uncle Charlie” in West Drive. Dad: Ah, that was the same Uncle Charlie that had the Bell Hotel in Fitzalan Square. When he retired he moved to Blackpool, to West Drive.
1937: The Coopers join the "migration" From notes from a conversation with my Dad, August 1989:
1937 My Dad and his Mum and Dad moved to Blackpool around 1937, so that would make my Dad 14. (Have I confused the story of John Lunn with that of my Dad, then? For I’ve already reported John as being 14 when they moved.) They moved to 11 Napier Avenue, which was a boarding house called The Haven with a capacity of 22. The next-door house was number 15 (they were superstitious about the number 13). Between the two houses they could share a full coach-load. Campbell’s from Scotland used to bring people for the weekend to see the Illuminations and they would all get in to No’s 11 and 15. To make use of every bit of available space my Gran had a 5ft 6in-long bed made which would just fit in the alcove left between the airing cupboard and the opposite wall; this bed is still in my Gran’s old bedroom at my Mum and Dad’s in Thornton.
From conversation with Mum and Dad, Saturday 8 July 2000:
The Haven Dad: It’s still called “The Haven”. Just think: Sixty-three years ago, that was built. Me: Built? Dad: Yes. It was new when we went in, in 1937. Mum: I wonder if any of them have en suite facilities these days? Dad: I don’t know. Only two of the bedrooms were big enough to have en suite modifications. The others, there was just enough room for a wardrobe and a bed. Oh, there was a wash-basin in each one; and there was a toilet on the top floor, and a toilet on the first floor [US: second
1937–the War: The Haven fares well till the War From notes from a conversation with my Dad, August 1989:
From 1937 to the War This was the situation in the summer of 1937, 1938 and 1939 and they were doing quite well; but then the war came, and from then on expectant mothers, civil servants—fairly high-ranking ones from the India Office—and British and Polish airmen were billeted there, and they only got a pittance for them—£1 a week for accommodation, including breakfast and tea. They had to pay extra if they wanted supper. That’s when rationing started, but there was a wholesaler who used to stay with them, who would sometimes let them have a ham or a sack of sugar.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Mum & me in the back garden of 91 Watson Rd Blackpool taken in 1937 when I was 15”
Ca. September 1939: The Blackout Club From The Cooper Diaries, written during a visit to Mum and Dad, Wednesday 9 September 1992:
My Dad met my Mum at ——’s dance hall shortly after the outbreak of war, September 1939, for the blackout had started. He could dance because he and Nancy used to go to —— at ——. His mate at work told where he’d been that Saturday, asked my Dad if he wanted to go, and he said, “Aye, all right.”
Additional information from The Cooper Diaries:
In 1939 there was the Blackout Club, upstairs above the Lido swimming pool in South Shore, and that’s where Dad met Mum. He didn’t like her at first, but she was a good dancing partner. My Mum and Dad were part of a group or gang of about a dozen, who used to hang around together, go for walks, etc. Among them, and the only ones they kept in touch with, were “Uncle” Roland and “Auntie” Connie
Gray. (He has died now.) Dad recalled that what attracted him to Mum was her walk. When they all went out in a group, the girls would walk on ahead and the boys behind. That’s when he noticed. Mum’s father was a tailor and made suits for her, but insisted on suitable poise and walk from her when she wore them. Dad went out with her, then they split up, then they went together again.
 “Uncle” Roland and “Auntie” Connie Gray: They are mentioned in I am christened.
In Stanley Park, Blackpool
In Stanley Park, Blackpool
Outside 91 Watson Road, South Shore, Blackpool
Outside 91 Watson Road, South Shore, Blackpool
1939–1945: World War II
Grandad Paine (John Edward Paine Sr.) was in the Home Guard in World War II.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “My father (back right) in the Home Guard taken during the 1939–1945 war”
This cap badge was perhaps Uncle Jack’s (John Edward Paine Jr.):
Cap badge: “R—E—M—E”
“…The Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers was formed on the 1st October 1942.… After some interim designs, the badge of the Corps was formalised in June 1943 for use as the cap-badge, collar-badge, and on the buttons. It consisted of an oval Royally Crowned laurel wreath; on the wreath were four small shields at the compass points, each shield bearing one of the letters of ‘REME’. Within the wreath was a pair of callipers” —
Wikipedia. 1943: Dad is called up to military service From notes from a conversation with my Dad, August 1989:
1943 My Dad wasn’t “called up” till he was 20, by which time people in the street and on buses were starting to whisper about him. Unbeknown to him at the time the Post Office for whom he worked had got exemption. Mum and he got engaged, then he had to go for training. The “square bashing” was done at Skegness [the Butlins holiday camp there was taken over for military use, 1939–1946], then he went on a Radio Mechanics course in Newcastle-upon-Tyne for 4 months. Thence to HMS Ariel, Warrington, for 3 months, where he was promoted to Leading Hand. Thence to Whales Camp, Inskip.
 Mum told me in 2016, “He was teaching women to do his job.” Most job rôles tended to be rigidly designated “male” and “female” in those days; but with men being called up to join the armed forces, women were being recruited to replace them.
Dad in a Rating uniform
Dad, in a Rating uniform, and Mum outside his home, 11 Napier Avenue, South Shore, Blackpool
Saturday 4 December 1943: Mum and Dad married From notes from a conversation with my Dad, August 1989:
Saturday 4 December 1943 Then he and Mum got married. It nearly didn’t happen, because all leave was cancelled. He appealed to his superior officer, who refused to give him permission; so he went over his head and applied to the Commanding Officer of the outfit. This time he got it. My Dad and the first chap didn’t see eye to eye after that. My Uncle Jack was going to be best man, but his leave was cancelled, so best man was just one of my Dad’s comrades-in-arms.
Wedding at the Unitarian Church, Lytham Road, Blackpool, Saturday 4 December 1943
They had no religious leanings, Mum told me; they were married there because the Unitarian Church had dances on Saturday nights that they went to.
The Bridesmaid is Betty Owen, and Best Man is someone surnamed Bashforth, one of my Dad’s comrades-in-arms. Mum’s brother, my Uncle Jack, was supposed to be Best Man, but he couldn’t get leave from the army. The lad in front is David Gillott, Nancy’s younger brother (see
Sunday 17 March 1918).
My Mum and Dad went on honeymoon in Windsor. The journey there—that was some journey! because the train kept being diverted into sidings to let troop trains and such like pass.
 I originally wrote “London” here, but Mum told me in June 2016 that their honeymoon was in fact in Windsor, at the Castle Hotel, which overlooked Windsor Castle. Theirs was a large room: Room 19. The booking had been made by telephone by Grandma Cooper. Initially, she’d been told that there was no room, but she’d protested that her son was in the forces and was on leave to get married. The wedding night itself was spent at the Coopers’ boarding house in Napier
Avenue…. The train journey the next day took a long time because the train kept being halted in sidings to let troop trains pass. As for the photo taken in Trafalgar Square, London (below), they went by train to London a number of times. The coat and the “costume” (as one called a matching skirt and jacket), which she was wearing when the photo was taken, were made by her dad.
Trafalgar Square, London
1943–1945: Dad's war service
Dad, bearded, in a Petty Officer’s uniform
Dad, bearded, in a Petty Officer’s uniform
From notes from a conversation with my Dad, August 1989:
Then my Dad was posted to America. He became ill, and by the time he was better the ship he should have boarded had gone. So for a time he worked on the railroad. He went on a course in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to learn about the Yankee equipment operated on the ships. This included actually working on the assembly line in the Collins factory. [A note here says:] South… [the meaning of which in this context I have forgotten. The note goes on to say:] Mrs. Douglas with imbecile son [which is the name of someone he was a guest of.] My Dad was also once the guest of someone else who as a “special treat” provided at great cost clam chowder, which my Dad found horrible; he could hardly bear to eat it. From there he went to Brunswick, Maine, where he picked up a HelldiverCorsair squadron which used the equipment. [The deleted “Helldiver” could refer to the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver, a carrier-based dive bomber aircraft, or perhaps the Grumman F6F Hellcat. The Hellcat and the Vought F4U Corsair were both aircraft-carrier based fighter aircraft.
Encyclopædia Britannica (1955 edition), vol. 1, page 450a, mentions that “the U.S. navy equipped carrier-type Hellcats and Corsairs with instruments for night fighting…”—is that the equipment my Dad was referring to?] Then he went to Virginia, where he picked up a ship, the Puncher, which was sailing to England.
[Dates relevant to this story, for the HMS Puncher, as given by Naval-History.net, are: 30 August 1944: Embarked Corsair aircraft at Norfolk, Virginia, for transport to UK. 8 September 1944: Joined US tanker Convoy CU38 for passage to UK. 15 September 1944: Arrived in Clyde. 18 September 1944: Landed aircraft in Belfast.] Because of an IRA scare he was posted to Londonderry. By now he was a Petty Officer; and as such he found himself guard commander. After he had set the guard one night he heard the guard’s challenge: “Halt! Who goes there?”; and a second time: “Halt, or I’ll shoot!”—and the hapless guard shot a cow! My Dad spent some time in Dunfermline. He was on three ships, the Puncher, the Striker and the Slinger, which were banana boats converted into aircraft carriers by having a flight deck welded on. [HMS Puncher, HMS Striker and HMS Slinger were under construction as merchant ships (not specifically "banana boats") when requisitioned by the US Navy for conversion into escort aircraft carriers, then were transferred to the Royal Navy under the lease-lend programme. Dad's being on HMS Puncher has been dealt with above. So the question is: Which of the other two was he on during the events, below? Dates relevant to the voyage to Australia, as given by
HMS Striker 6 October 1944: Under repair of defects in Clyde shipyard. Nominated for service with 30th Aircraft Carrier Squadron, British Pacific Fleet and to be deployed as a Replenishment Carrier. 31 October 1944: Took passage to Australia to join Squadron. November 1944: Passage in Atlantic and Mediterranean. Transit of Suez Canal. December 1944: Passage in Indian Ocean. 7 January 1945: On arrival at Sydney allocated for service in Fleet Train (Task Force 112). Prepared for service as a Replenishment Carrier.
HMS Slinger March to September 1944: Under repair. 17 October 1944: Took passage to Clyde. There followed embarkation of aircraft and flying trials. December 1944: Nominated for service as replenishment carrier for support of British Pacific Fleet operations as part of Fleet Train. January 1945: Embarked aircraft of 1845 Squadron and personnel for passage to Australia. 11 January 1945: Sailed from Clyde with sister ships HMS Khedive and Speaker. Called at Gibraltar. 17 January 1945: During passage in Mediterranean with HMS Speaker both ships launched aircraft to carry our search for U-Boat off North African coast. Calls made at Port Said and Colombo, Ceylon. 11 February 1945: Diverted during passage to Sydney and deployed with HM Escort Carrier Speaker, US Frigate USS Hutchinson, Australian Corvettes Warrnambool and Castlemaine to carry out (unsuccessful) air search for two mercantiles off west coast of Australia. 22 February 1945: On arrival at Sydney joined HM Escort Aircraft Carriers Speaker, Ruler, Striker and Chaser in 30th Aircraft Carrier Squadron for service in Fleet Train.]
He saw action twice. The first time was in the Mediterranean, while heading out to the Far East. They sank a submarine, or at least there was oil found on the surface after attacking it. Then they proceeded through the Suez Canal and on to Bombay, where Sir Alwyn Ezra had his servicemen’s club where petite Indian girls were available to dance with the servicemen. Then to Ceylon. Each man had to decide how much he was going to drink, then buy beer tickets on board ship—they weren’t allowed to use money ashore—for what they called “tiger piss”. (Would this be Tiger-brand beer?) [A note says:] Convoy sunk, search area—only wreckage found. [Does this refer to the sinking of a convoy after which only wreckage could be found? or is it the sinking of the submarine, already referred to, by the convoy?] Then on to Sydney, where my Dad mentioned the wine bars. The Aussies used to pay a hefty sum for tobacco, which was scarce there in the war; the navy boys were quite willing to provide out of their rations. My Dad also used to sell his rum; officers were allowed to save their daily tots up, ratings had to drink each tot as they got it He tried twice to get to the Philippines. The first time, they hit some wreckage, broke a blade off a propeller and had to limp back to Sydney. The second time, they stripped some gears.
They were sailing to the Philippines, which were held by the Japanese at the time, running a blockade; they would sail between there [the island of Leyte in the Philippines, which the Americans had taken from the Japanese in October
1944], where they supplied the main fleet, and some other place [Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, where there was an Allied naval base supporting the British Pacific
Fleet], and Okinawa, where they would pick up the wounded. To do this, they would fire a hand line across, then rig up a rope-and-pulley affair, then while men heaved on the rope to keep the line in tension between the two ships heaving in the waves, the wounded would be winched across—in coffins! They were dying like flies, the wounded. It was around this time that my Dad saw action a second time. Or rather, he didn’t see anything. They were strafed in the Pacific; and my Dad’s action station was down below with the high octane fuel, manning the pump to keep the fuel cool in case of fire! He was battened down in there, so he couldn’t see what was going on. And all he could hear was the roar of guns—he couldn’t tell if they were ours or theirs—and the occasional commentary of the skipper over the tannoy. So that’s what they did for three months, then they would go back to rest in Sydney. It was in Sydney that he was invited to the home of a mad inventor, who had devices like a dish-cloth that would come out of the wall on a criss-cross support at the push of a button. Back at sea, if any of the planes had to be ditched, there was a mad scramble to get the gyrocompasses out, because they contained alcohol. Then certain aircraft had a radio beacon in the tail, and that involved a real struggle to remove a panel behind the pilot’s seat and squeeze all the way down to the tail section to get at this device, which could then easily be converted into a radio receiver. All this involved great speed because the planes were about to be thrown overboard. One time the hand line to an aircraft (? helicopter) got snarled and my Dad suggested to the senior officer a way to get it free. But he was ignored, and finally the line snapped, and the helicopter or whatever fell into the sea. All that the other said was, “You were right, petty officer.” [A note says:] Dawn patrol. Once, there was a typhoon, which was terrifying. All that one could do, was hold one’s course into it. The waves came over the bridge, that’s how high they were; so the dips between the crests were just as deep.
Then finally my Dad went home. He came home aboard the Stratheden, a passenger ship turned troop carrier. The voyage took six weeks. He got a crossing-the-line certificate, and underwent an “initiation” where he was shaved and ducked. He remembers the flying fish in the Red Sea, which would glide through the air a long time before falling back into the sea.
From left: The 1939–1945 Star; The Pacific Star; the Defence Medal; the War Medal 1935–1945
From right: The 1939–1945 Star; The Pacific Star; the Defence Medal; the War Medal 1935–1945
Evidently, my Dad told me some of this story when I was little. The picture seems to have started off as just being "At the Sea", with a sandcastle and a breakwater, but the location became the "Red Sea". The ship in the centre appears to be under threat from a whale with a devious grin. Has the ship to the right been sunk by a U-boat? I was disappointed, on finding this picture again after some years, that it does not depict any flying fish.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Taken at Stockghyll Force Ambleside 1946”
Note in my Mum’s hand: “The Lake District 1946”
Friday 13 February 1948: Steven Charles Cooper born —my brother
Friday 19 May 1950: John Edward Cooper born —me. See I am born. Monday 8 January 1951: Alexander Osborne died It was always a matter of family lore that
“Great Grandad” lived till he was 92, but this is confirmed by the Entry
of Death in the official Register Book. I don’t remember him at all — I
was less than eight months old when he died — but I am told that I was
frightened of him. He died at his home, 11 Watson Road — the home in my memory
of his daughter, “Auntie” (actually, great-aunt) Edith, and her husband,
“Uncle” Albert Gillott. His son-in-law Herbert Cooper (my grandfather) was
in attendance; and indeed it was he who took Dr. B. G. Kelly’s
death certificate, that same day, to inform Joseph Bootle, the Registrar. Two
weeks later, on Monday 22 January 1951, my grandmother Louisa Cooper went to the
Registry Office and paid Edith Marsland, Deputy Registrar, one shilling
[£0.05 or 5p in decimal currency] for a copy of the
“Entry of Death”.
Wednesday 31 December 1952 or Thursday 31 December 1953: New Year’s Eve celebration
Note in my Mum’s hand: “New Year’s Eve 1952 or 1953”
From the left: Dad; Uncle Ronnie, my Mum’s younger brother; Uncle Jack, my Mum’s older brother; Sally, Jack’s fiancée (or wife?); Margaret, Ronnie’s fiancée; and Mum.
Discussion with my Mum ca. 2012 provided the following information:
This was at the Baronial Hall, the Winter Gardens, Blackpool. Who was looking after Steven and me — Nanny and Grandad Cooper? And when did Mum and Dad come home? They would, presumably, “see the New Year in”, and sleep over at someone’s house in Blackpool, before returning to Preston perhaps, by bus or train, the next morning.
By this time we were living at 20 Fairfield Drive, Ashton, Preston, so Steven, aged nearly 5 or 6, and I, aged
ca. 2½ or 3½, would need a child-minder to come and stay overnight. The likely candidates for this rôle are my Grandma and Grandad Cooper, who would have to travel from 4 Neville Drive, Thornton, by bus in all likelihood. There was more reliance on public transport in those days; few people had cars.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Mum and Dad”
Note in my Mum’s hand: “My Dad acting potty in the back garden of 91 Watson Road”
Note in my Mum’s hand: “Uncle Ernest, my Mum, Aunt Cis and Aunt Florry taken in the back garden of 91 Watson Road
“Uncle Ernest” was Mum’s mother’s younger brother. Mum said they went to live in Colwyn Bay and had a
son (who was still alive, the last she knew). I
remember Christmas cards from “Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Hindley and Philip”. With this being such a formal expression, I
guess the cards must have been printed with their names.
“Aunt Cis” (also known as “the
Duchess” because she was very posh) was married to Bertie Langford, who
served in a senior position in the Diplomatic Service in various Consulates
and Embassies throughout the world. I definitely remember their printed
consular Christmas cards, with an embossed coat of arms on the front,
otherwise plain white, and the printed greeting on a folded paper insert
within, secured to the card by a blue ribbon.
“Aunt Florry” went blind, and my
only recollection of her, when I was a small child, is of her feeling my
face and my brother Steven’s, as her way of “looking” at us, when we
were all at 91 Watson Road.
Note in my Mum’s hand: “My Mum probably somewhere in Austria”
Herbert Died May 16th 1968 aged 81 Herbert Born March 25 / 1887
“Herbert Cooper”, “Louisa” and “Charles”
Thursday 16 May 1968: Herbert Cooper died At 4 Neville Drive, a bed had been brought down and set up in the front room; and Grandad was lying there, more or less in “lateral recumbent position”, in the end-stage, breathing rapidly, panting almost. Every time one checked, for hours, he was still in the same state. I can’t remember whether Mum and Dad had come and gone, but Grandma and I were alone in the back room. She kept going through, coming back, and sitting down, going through, coming back, and sitting down. But finally she went in, came out, and told me, “He’s gone.” This was the first time I had experienced a death. I thought, when the time came, I might sense the passing of his spirit; but no, I had no inkling that it had happened till Grandma told me. The Cooper Diaries say little, apart from focusing on my feeling of inadequacy:
Went Grandma's GRANDAD DIED! Tried to comfort her — she said "Go get Mum and Dad." I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I had not done things properly — although knew what else could I do?…
Write up in [the West Lancashire Evening] Gazette.…
COOPER — On May 16, at 4 Neville Drive, Thornton Herbert, aged 81 years, the beloved husband of Louisa Cooper, a loving father of Charles and Marjorie and grand- father of Steven and John. Service and interment at Carleton, on Monday, at 3-0 p.m. Co-operative Funeral Service. Tel. 25202.
“Edith Annie” and “John Edward Paine”
Friday 10 February 1978: Edith Annie Paine née Hindley died —my
Mum’s mother. On the same day her son John Paine (“Uncle Jack”) went and
registered the death [certificate].
Wednesday 5 August 1981: Louisa Cooper née Osborne died —my
Dad’s mother. Mum and Dad were away and she had gone to stay with her niece Nancy.
Because of these circumstances there had to be a post-mortem examination and the
cause of death had to be certified by the coroner. Dad registered the death on 7
August 1981 [certificate].
Dad expressed his disgust with the coroner, and distress, that the cut of the
post-mortem examination was visible on her chin. Wednesday 13 February 1985: John Edward Paine died —my Mum’s father.
Because he died in hospital (Rossall Hospital, Fleetwood)
there was a post-mortem examination and the cause of death was certified by the
coroner. Dad registered the death on 20 February 1985 [certificate].
Monday 4 August 2014: Ronald Paine died
—Uncle Ronnie, my Mum’s younger brother.
Ronald (Ronnie) Passed away peacefully in Blackpool Victoria Hospital on Monday 4th August 2014. Ron aged 86 years. Beloved husband of Margaret, cherished dad of Deborah, special brother of Jack and Marjorie, also a much loved father in law and uncle who will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him. “Always In Our Hearts” His funeral service will take place at Carleton Crematorium on Wednesday 13th August 2014 at 11.30am. Family flowers only, donations in lieu of flowers to MacMillan Cancer Support or Trinity Hospice. All further enquiries to The Co-operative Funeralcare, 97 Whitegate Drive, Blackpool, FY2 0NR. Tel 01253 301237.
The funeral was on Wednesday 13 August 2014.
Thursday 12 February 2015: John Edward Paine Jr. died —Uncle Jack, my Mum’s elder brother. The funeral was on Monday 9 March 2015.