Harold Edmondson

15th August 1889 - 18th October 1957

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Norah remembers about her father, Harold Edmondson:

Dad's parents were Hunter Edmondson and Amelia Maddrell.

I don't recall Dad talking much about his parents to us. As his mother was illegitimate and also in an asylum you can understand why. Dad was 11, so Uncle Syd would have been 13 and the girls Edith and Dorothy a bit older in their teens when their mother went away to an asylum in Preston.

The girls married quite young and a neighbouring lady helped Hunter and the boys. Later, her daughter, Annie, became Hunter's housekeeper. Annie married a soldier during the Great War named Squire or Square from the Channel Islands and later moved there. She visited us in the mid-twenties.

I don't know if Dad visited his mother in Preston before the war but he and Mam visited her during the twenties and went to her funeral in 1929. Amelia did not recognise Dad as her son, she still thought of him as a young boy.

Hunter was 68 when he died in 1919. Amelia was the same age as Hunter so she would have been 78 when she died. I recall a photograph of Hunter and Amelia, I thought she was plain looking but he looked quite handsome and military.

I don't know how old he was when Dad first went to sea. He was a wine steward in First Class and knew many of the business men who traveled to Canada before the TITANIC was built. The CEO of the Canadian Pacific Railway said he would give him a job if he went to Canada. Dad had a fiancee at the time and he paid her fare to go to Canada with her mother intending to follow her. She met another guy when she got over there.

Dad's ship was the MEGANTIC. If she had been on course she would have been at the TITANIC before the CARPATHIA. However, when they got the iceberg warning they headed south as usual. When they got the SOS from the TITANIC they went there. They saw debris but the survivors had been picked up.

Dad didn't do too many trips after the TITANIC disaster. It happened in April 1912. By the summer of 1913 Gangy had had his train accident and it seemed that Mum and Dad had known each other for some time as Dad paid the fare for Mam and Nanny to go to Scotland to see Gangy (I cannot remember if Dad went). I know a doctor came back on the train with them but I do not know if it was Dr Martin who was the family doctor for many years.

Sometime after the TITANIC sank Dad was back in Liverpool and went to see a friend. He had two friends that I know by name. One was Harry Massey who must have been older than Dad and Harold Adelsberg, who must have been about the same age as Dad and lived at home with his parents. Dad went to see him and his mother told him that Dad was at Helsby Hall practicing with the band. Dad went there to see him and saw Mam walk through the hall and up the stairs - they must have lived upstairs at the time. They didn't later in the 1920s as I can remember the big fireplace in which Father Xmas came down the chimney and also going upstairs to bed.

Harold Adelsberg's parents were German and during the Great War Harold was in the British forces but his father was interned in the Isle of Man. I don't know about his mother. One of Dads friends was a goldsmith - I think it was Harold. Harry Massey was a cabinet maker and with his wife and two children emigrated to Canada during the early part of the century. English people were not too happy in Canada then. Some had gotten the English a bad name, so Harry borrowed the money to send his wife and children home to Liverpool and worked his own passage home on a cattle boat. He made a very nice table for Man and Dad as his wedding present (it was stolen from Mount Farm) and Gangy paid him to make that cabinet that is around somewhere as his and Nanny's present with the piano.

Anyway, Dad met Mam the next night and she liked his purple socks as they were different and also he was blonde. Over the winter Uncle willy met Mam's sister Florrie. After his accident Gangy became short-tempered. They had wanted to amputate his foot in Scotland but he would not let them do it. He suffered as lot of pain and drank a lot of rum (that finished him with the teetotalers). At night Dad and Uncle Willie waited on the opposite of Netherfield Road where they could watch for a signal from the girls if Gangy became extra-violent. The signal came one night and they rushed over. Helsby Hall had a semi-circular staircase and Gangy was threatening yo throw Nanny over. The guys almost threw Gangy over. After that Gangy settled down and by the January of 1914 Nanny and Gangy had decided to go away for a holiday.

Meanwhile, Mam and Dad were engaged and Harry Massey advised them to get married while Nanny and Gangy were away. A house next to Harry was empty so Mam and Dad decided to take it and made their plans. On 31st January after Nanny and Gangy were on the train Mam told them the news. She didn't know if he would through her under the train. In the event they got off the train. He bought the piano and ordered the cabinet. Later he took both presents off them, gave them the piano back and Mam didn't get the cabinet back until after Nanny died - I guess she liked it. He also turned up for the wedding in his top hat.

I do not know if Dad went straight in to "the Cotton", as the industry was called, after he left the MEGANTIC. On my birth certificate he was a "Cotton Brokers Freight Clerk". Hunter was in the Cotton as well. Dad was away in the Army when Bun was born. I presume he went back to the Cotton for a short time after the Army - he came bqack when his father died in 1919 - Gangy pulled a few strings to get him home. Then when they had the shop they were doing so well he was going to give up his job then everything in Liverpool crashed with the Cotton - fashions changed and women preferred silk to cotton stockings for example.

Dad went back to his alcohol skills and was assistant manager at a big pub in Everton Valley. The manager was a woman. Later he was offered a manager's job in a pub in Scotland Road. He was expected to live over the pub, but Mam said "No, we are not going to live there". So he was transferred to another pub which they closed down and he was unemployed for three days. At the time Gangy was a School Attendance Officer and he had Dad's name down for a similar position. He could not get that because there were so many men unemployed. However, he could get him a school Caretaker job which he grabbed in a hurry.

It worked out OK as he earned double the regular wages with all the bookings in the evenings, boys clubs, girls clubs, etc. He had his mornings and afternoons at home after he had closed and opened the school gates and doors. He had women to do the cleaning. He did of course have to keep the school boilers going in the winter, although as he got older he had an assistant so he probably did not have to do the boilers. Some of the men Dad knew with good jobs in the Cotton never worked again. Their kids had to be taken out of private schools, etc.

When they had the shop in the early 20s Bun and I spent a lot of time with Gangy there while Nanny helped Mam in the shop. Gangy would take us up to the attic and he and Bun would climb out on the roof from a balcony and I would stay on the balcony and watch the ships on the Mersey, and I decided I wanted to go on one then.

We had holidays each summer, mainly to Wales but we also managed the Isle of Man and Morecombe Bay. Before the Great War Gangy and Nanny had sometimes rented a cottage at Hope, north of Wrexham in Wales for the family summer holiday. (Gangy's father, William Davies cane from Coedpoeth, a few miles away, to the west of Wrexham.)

During the 20s, Dad and Mam also used to take us children on holidays to the same area to stay in rented bungalows. When I was 14 (about 1930) Mam and Dad bought a wooden bungalow from one of the places they had themselves been on holiday, possibly Morton or Leasewe, and had the bungalow moved to a site on a farm in Vagol Lane in Hope. Harold and Ronald went to the bungalow with the furniture and Alice and the girls came down with the bedding later on during the day. When Harold and Ronald arrived at the farm the farmer told them they could not leave the bungalow where it had been erected because the site was liable to flood during the winter. Harold and Ronald (who was 12½ at the time) dismantled the bungalow and moved it to higher ground, but were only part way through when the ladies arrived.

Before marrying Dad, Mam had had a boyfriend, the son of the village store keeper, she had met on holiday at Hope. That holiday Mam went into the village store and introduced herself to the lady storekeeper. It was still the same family running the store and the lady was the mother of the boy that Alice had known. He had been killed during the Great War but the mother went and fetched a tie to show them that Mam had bought the son when they were courting.

The bungalow was called "Harron" (Harold + Ronald), (the same name used for 112 Marina Crescent). It was sold in 1935 (Norah says "when I was 19") when Mam and Dad bought the house in Netherton.

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