Here I hope to share my adventures in family history with family, friends and interested parties! Hopefully you'll find something here of interest, I would love to hear your views.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

My female ancestors - Muriel Singleton 1926 - 1997

I have always been interested in tracing my female ancestors as well as the direct line of my Green male line. I find the lives our female ancestors lived to be very interesting, and often, misleading due to the fact that we don't always know what occupation they had outside the family home; as these occupations were usually not recorded on census entries, marriage certificates etc. We know they worked hard in the home, this in the days before domestic appliances made housework easier, in the days before electricity when all work had to be done either in daylight or by candle or lamplight. We have programmes like Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm to thank for giving us an insight into the daily lives of our female ancestors and these programmes bring to life what it must have been like to work a long day in the house, up at 6am and often not getting to bed before midnight. So the next few blog entries are a homage to all my female ancestors. 

Starting of course, with my wonderful Mam, Muriel Singleton born 5 September 1926 the third child and oldest daughter of my grandparents Jack and Nancy Singleton, joining Chris born 1920 and Jim born 1922, she was born on the Isle of Walney, Barrow in Furness in Lancashire. When she was 12, the family moved to Hull in East Yorkshire, moving into 120 Lomond Road, Spring Bank where they were to stay until my Nana moved out of there in the 1970s.

 Mam taken during towards the end of the War

Two days before Mam's 13th birthday on 5th September 1939 war was declared as World War II got under way. By this time the family had expanded to include Jack born in 1930 and Jean born 1937,  baby Evelyn the youngest child of my grandparents was born on 3 October 1939. During the war, Jean was sent to family at Keswick, but Evelyn remained with the family. Both the oldest boys joined up, Chris into the navy and Jim the army. For Muriel it must have been a hard time, helping her mam with the new baby, coping with missing her brothers and her younger sister, and a year later aged 14, starting her first job with Hull Printer's as an Assistant Compositor. She was to work here for the following six years until she left in August 1946 to marry my Dad, Derek Alexander Green.
I remember mam telling me about using gravy thinned down with water on her legs with a line drawn up the back with an eyeliner pencil to mimic the look of stockings. Of turning up to work one day during the war to find that the printers had been bombed during the night and there was just the ruins left. Hull Printers survived and moved into temporary premises for the rest of the war. At a dance in late 1944 early 1945, when she was 18, she met my Dad - she told me that it was a Ladies Ask Me dance, a chance for the women to choose who they wanted to dance with, not the other way round - Mam chose Dad and the rest as they say is history. 

In the summer of 1945 Mam spent some time at the Northcliffe convalescent home in Filey after an operation to remove kidney stones - she was to suffer with kidney problems for several years. That visit was to trigger a lifelong love of Filey in my Mam and we spent several happy family holidays there in later years. After she returned to Hull, she began courting Derek, his 1946 diary tells of meeting her off the bus as she came home from work, going to the pictures, dancing, into town and eventually their engagement early in 1946.

On 3 August 1946 she got married at St Martin's Church Hull

This photo shows from left to right, my Nana Green, Ethel holding Dad's youngest brother Peter, my Granddad Green, Marcus, Uncle Ron, Dad's older brother and best man - Dad, Mam, Aunt Nancy, Dad's sister, Granddad Singleton, Jack and Nancy my Nana Singleton, with Uncle Chris in his navy uniform. At the front are my aunts Jean and Evelyn.

Mum and Dad honeymooned in Keswick in the Lake District and the next photo was taken on their honeymoon:

After her marriage, Muriel settled down to married life in rented rooms on Wistow Grove, Gipsyville - eventually they were to get a Corporation Prefab before moving into a house on Norton Grove on Gipsyville. Mam and Dad were to have five children, Christine born in 1948, Linda in 1950, Stephen in 1957, myself in 1960 and Robert in 1963. Mam returned to work when Steve, Robert and I were young - first working at Humbrol paint factory down Hedon Road in Hull and later after we'd moved to west Hull at Needler's sweet factory making boxes and finally at Zerny's Dry Cleaners; first in the canteen, then later in the sewing room.

Throught this time she worked part time, juggling bringing up a family with helping with the household income. There were hard times in the 1950s when Derek had to give up his job as a Sheet Metal Worker and retrain for office work, but they got through this time and still managed to get some family holidays at the seaside.

This photos shows me aged about seven, Mam, Robert about three and Stephen about ten on the beach at Filey, you can just make out the brig in the background.

Mam retired when she was 60 in 1986 and she and my father enjoyed coach holidays to Scotland. However, her health was not brilliant, she had been diagnosed with diabetes in the early 1980s and had high blood pressure; but it was in 1995 that she contracted bowel cancer and though an operation extended her life by nearly two years, she died on 24 March 1997. I will always remember how brave she was during her illness and I still do, and always will miss her.

Mum and Dad enjoying a dance on one of their holidays.