Category Archives: Gasworks

52 Ancestors – William Booth, fancy weaver, weaver or bobbin winder

William Booth is my 4 x Great Grandfather, he was christened at Cumberworth St Nicholas, near Huddersfield 23 September 1792 son of John Booth and Charlotte Lockwood.

St Nicholas Cumberworth

He married Mary Barrowclough on 3 January 1819 at Kirkburton All Hallows witnesses were JI (?) Booth, John Shaw and Jonathan Barrowclough.


By 1841 he is widowed (Mary died in 1838) and he is living with sons Jabez and William plus married daughter Elizabeth and her husband Seth Shaw (my G x 3 Grandparents, he is described as a Fancy Weaver and living in Lower Cumberworth.

A fancy weaver as the name suggests would be skilled enough to weave patterns in colour. They worked on looms fitted with a Jacquard system.

The purpose of the Jacquard was to bring the selected colour to the surface of the cloth during the weaving process, to produce patterns which the Jacquard slats did by means of programmed pins. The Fancy Weavers were better paid but it seems that they suffered more during financial crises and were involved in industrial action.

In 1846 William Booth marries widow Sarah Crossland (nee Gill) at Kirkburton All Hallows, his occupation is given as weaver (maybe he gave up the fancy work), witnesses at the wedding were William Fitton and Jonathan Gill (Sarah’s brother).

By 1851 William is again widowed and with an addition to his family, son John Gill aged 1 (I think Sarah died in childbirth). This census is confusing as the “ditto” marks imply that he (and most of the street) are bobbin winders. I am not sure if this means his career has gone further downhill.

By the 1861 census William has died, I am not sure when, there are several William Booths in the area that died between 1851 and 1861.

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Posted by on January 4, 2015 in family history, Gasworks, genealogy


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52 Ancestors George James Archer Walker

George James Archer Walker was my GGreat Grandfather he was born in Welney Cambridgeshire the son of a carpenter James Walker and his wife Sarah Earl.

Birth certificate George James Archer Walker

Birth certificate George James Archer Walker

He moved to West Yorkshire presumably for work, he married a Doncaster woman, Elizabeth Gillett and had a family with her, his sons, grandson and great grandson all worked in the gas industry which is why I like to have a gas cooker! He was a gas stoker which meant that he stoked the fire at the gas works to make the gas.

Gas stoker

Gas stoker

Known as James on all the censuses, his mother has died before the 1861 census and he is living with his sisters Eleanor, a dressmaker  and Rosamond and Rachel who are both still at school (like him). Almost all the Walker children have several names and are usually known by the second one:

Harriet Eleanor Earl

Harriet Rachel

Mary Ann Rosamond

Brother Francis Earl and sisters Rebecca and Augusta Sarah die as children.

The names Rosamond and Augusta recur in this branch of the tree, but I don’t know where they come from.

In 1871 James is living with Eleanor and her husband Beales Lee a shoemaker. For some reason this makes me think of Great Expectations, I hope Eleanor was kinder to James than Pip’s sister was! James is 16 by this stage but no occupation is given, I think this is probably an oversight.

By 1881 James is married with three children and living in Barnsley, his wife is Elizabeth Gillett, four years his senior and from Doncaster. He is now working as a gas stoker.

George James Archer Walker Elizabeth Gillott marriage certificate

1891 shows him in the same occupation but now with six children. James, my Great Grandfather who is already working, Alfred, Herbert, Elizabeth, Edith and Harriett.

By 1901 his son James (my Great Grandfather Walker) has left home and young Elizabeth has died, Alfred is also a gas stoker and Edith an apprentice dressmaker, the family are now living in Wheatley near Doncaster.

The 1911 census shows that James and Elizabeth had had eight children in total and that only six are still living, (they must have had a child who was born and died between censuses). Their youngest daughter Harriett had an early death from a flu epidemic in her early twenties.

James died in North Bierley in 1914 aged 60.


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