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Matlock: Slater and Brunt of Matlock Bank
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The Allen Family of Dimple Farm



Allens Garage




Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers



The photograph of the house in Pope Carr, seen above, was probably taken in the mid-1870s. The little lean-to on the left of the ground floor window would almost certainly have been used for storing coal. This was then the home of the Slater family, parents John and Ann and their two surviving children Ann and George[1]. John and Ann (nee Bunting) married at St. Giles' on 23 May 1836[2] and lived on Matlock Bank for all their married life. John Slater had started his working life as an agricultural labourer but with the coming of the railway in the late 1840s he became a platelayer. The couple had four children, though the elder two, John[3] and Hannah[4], died young. In 1861 the family were living near the Primitive Methodist Chapel and by 1871 had moved to Pope Carr[5]. John died here in 1873 and his wife passed away almost three years later, in 1876[6]. Their daughter Ann Slater continued to live here after her parents died although her younger brother, George, married and moved in next door within months of his mother's death[7].


Mrs. Ann Slater, nee Bunting (1814- 1876).


Photograph probably taken about 1864 by John Clark of Matlock Bath to mark her 50th birthday[7].


Ann Slater (1849-1930), daughter of John & Ann Slater, before her marriage.


1. Ann Slater c. 1866, by John Clark of Matlock
Bath. Probably a coming of age photo[7].

2. Ann Slater in her twenties - mid-1870s?[7]

3. Ann Slater as a lady's maid 1881 - taken at
217 Lord Street, Southport by Silas Eastham[7].

4. Ann Brunt and her daughter Edith c.1886,
by David Sherwood Jones of Matlock Bath[7].
There is another photograph of Ann, taken about 1888. See Photographers, William Godber


Ann joined the staff at Smedley's Hydro in the 1870s, assisting its wealthy guests with a variety of water treatments. She worked alongside the sisters Elizabeth and Sarah Spencer (the latter became Joseph Allen's second wife) and the three women became close friends, attending the Primitive Methodist Chapel on Bank Road together.

Ann's life was to change when she met John Wood, a guest at Smedley's Hydro, probably in the summer of 1880[8]. John was a wealthy engineer and owner of the Victoria Foundry in Bolton, making stationary engines for the cotton mills; he employed nearly 500 workers[9]. Ann was persuaded to leave Smedley's and become a lady's maid for Sarah Wood, John's second wife[10]. The couple had recently taken up residence at Egerton Lodge, Bolton[7]. In April 1881 the Woods, plus Ann, were staying in a boarding house at 269 Lord Street in Southport[11]. It is possible they were there following the death of Sarah's elderly cousin, the Bolton cotton spinner Edmund Ashworth, a few weeks earlier[12]. It was during this seaside break that the photograph of Ann (see image 3 above) was taken at a photographer's studio further down the street from where she and John and Sarah Wood were staying[7].

Shortly afterwards Ann became pregnant and her daughter, Edith, was born early the following year. Years afterwards, neither Ann nor Edith would divulge the name of Edith's father to their family although Ann's friends Elizabeth and Sarah Spencer knew who he was and one of them even had a photograph of him. Nevertheless, Ann's grand children were given several clues to his identity. They knew that Edith Slater's father was a guest at Smedley's Hydro and had taken Ann from there into employment in the Bolton area. It was the publication of the 1881 census, almost a hundred years later, that finally added the last piece to the jigsaw for Ann's descendants[7].

John Wood was a rich man, leaving an estate of £62,754 (gross) when he died at Egerton Lodge on 16th May 1889; today his estate would be worth around £18 million[13]. His wife Sarah received an annuity of £1,000 for life and his residual estate was divided into three, shared by his three surviving children by his first wife - Edward Hall Wood, Henry Wood and Emily Frances Wood[14]. He had already sold and conveyed the Victoria Works by deed to his sons, although they still owed him most of the money. John mentioned neither Sarah's surviving son by her first husband[15] nor Edith Slater in his Will. This did not mean that Edith was not provided for. When Ann Slater returned to the Matlock district not long after Edith's christening, she was in possession of 50 ordinary shares in the London Assurance, shares still held by Edith in 1941[7]. It is difficult to prove that these were given to Ann by John Wood, but the inference was that they were given to her by Edith's father and it is the most sensible explanation. It is also possible that other financial support was given at the time as Ann seems to have not been without means[16].


John Walter Brunt (1858-1938) and his wife Ann, nee Slater.

She turned to her close friends William and Elizabeth Rouse (nee Spencer) for support and went to live with them. It is striking just how much this bond of friendship with fellow church members helped Ann to rebuild her life. The Rouse home was at Darley and it was there that Ann met her future husband, John Walter Brunt. He was 9 years her junior. William Rouse was an engine driver for the Midland railway on the sidings at Rowsley and John Walter worked as his fireman. Ann and John Walter married at the Primitive Methodist Church on Matlock Bank on 23 December 1885[17]. Elizabeth Rouse and Ann's brother George were witnesses[7]. At first they lived at the Meadows, Darley Dale where Ann gave birth to their son, John, later moving to 2 Richmond Terrace, New Street, not far from her brother's home[18]. In 1891 Mrs. Sarah Wood was staying at Smedley's Hydro once more[19]. Whether she and Ann, her former maid, met again is not known.

John Walter and Ann Brunt, photographed by A and G Taylor of Sheffield.
Probably taken for their 5th wedding anniversary in 1890[7].


John Walter worked on the Skipton to Carlisle railway line from 1895 onwards, joining the Skipton branch of the NUR in that year having been promoted to engine driver. The Brunt family remained in Skipton until about 1911 when, shortly after his son's wedding, John Walter was forced to retire through ill-health[7]. His train had become stuck in snow; he and his fireman attempted to dig it out but they could not continue their journey so returned, wet through, to Carlisle for the night. The following morning they donned their soaking clothes for the journey home. Unluckily John Walter contracted bronchitis, which ended his railway career, and was sent to the Sea Bathing Infirmary on Scarborough's sea front to recuperate[20].

He and Ann settled in Scarborough - their daughter, Edith, married William Allen in Scarborough in November 1914. Unfortunately, their retirement was shattered on Wednesday 16th December 1914 when two German battlecruisers fired over 500 shells into the quiet seaside town. Eighteen innocent civilians were killed and many buildings were destroyed. John Walter Brunt had a narrow escape as, round 8.10 a.m., "he was shaking a mat in the backyard (of 75 Highfield) when a fragment of a shell just missed him". Like many others in shock following the attack, the Brunts left Scarborough and returned to Ann's home town[7].



John and Ann Brunt, about 1895 - New Street?


For the next 10 years the couple lived at 56 New Street, Matlock. Their house was near to both Ann's brother George and also handy for her daughter's family on Hurd's Hollow. Their grand daughter, Ethel May Allen, recalled that she and her brother spent a lot of time with them, frequently staying overnight. "Grandad Brunt used to sit in his rocking chair nursing me, singing 'Grandfather's Clock' and nursery rhymes. He pushed me out most days in my push chair ... "[21].

They decided to return to Scarborough around 1924 as they wished to be near their son's family, and bought their final home in Park Street[7]. Ann died there on the 5th April 1930[16], aged 80, and John Walter passed away on 2 December 1938, also aged 80[22].


"He was a very forthright man, a big trade
unionist ... and an ardent tea totaller ...
he was a very liberal thinker
"[21].
A family story recounts that he sold Sheffield
pen knives from his railway engine[17].
"Grandma taught me to sew, darn socks
and knit
... ".
"Grandma took us to
the Primitive Methodist Sunday School
"[21].
These pictures were taken about 1905.

Ann Slater's children.
Edith Slater Brunt, photographed about 1886.
Born in Accrington on 28 January 1882.
She was baptised at St. Gabriel's, Hulme on 19th March. Her mother's employment was given as Nurse and her abode was Egerton Lodge, Bolton[23].
John Brunt, son of John Walter and Ann Brunt.
Born on 6 February 1887 in Darley Dale.
Christened on 1 March 1887 at the Primitive Methodist Church, Matlock Bank.
This photograph, by Brownsworth of Skipton, dates from about 1908[7].

John Brunt married Ethel Kilby Field on 18 April 1911 at Skipton, Yorkshire.
The photograph shows, from the left:
John Brunt (groom), Ethel Field (bride), Edith Slater Brunt (groom's sister) Charles Field (bride's brother)[7].
At the time of his marriage John was working as an Iron Moulder in a Foundry[24]
but by the time of his mother's death in the early 1930s he was an insurance agent[16].
He died on 10 Aug 1962 in Sandybed Lane, Scarborough. His home at 13 Park Street was a few doors
away from where his parents had lived. Ethel survived him, passing away on 24 January 1971.
She was then living at 71 Green Lane, Newby, Scarborough[22].


Three generations, 1927.

Ann and John Walter Brunt are seated.
Their son-in-law, William Allen, and granddaughter, Ethel May Allen, are standing behind them.
The photograph was taken in the backyard of the Brunts' home in Scarborough - 8 Park Street.
Ethel May was to write about John Walter: "My mother never forgot the debt she owed him
for giving her a name and all the love a real father could have given her
"[21].
[In the 1930s] "he (John Walter) told me she (Ann) was his best friend and mother rolled into one".
She added: "My earliest memories of Grandma Brunt was the love and care for us after
my brother was born - how she enlisted my help in rocking the cradle,
fetching and carrying nappies, helping me bath him
... " [21].

George Slater (1854-1929), son of John and Ann Slater.

George Slater, about 1910.
 

George Slater, Ann Brunt's brother, lived in Matlock all his life - just as his father had done before him[25]. He was born on 8 July 1854 and christened at St. Giles' on 13 August[1]. He was apprenticed as a joiner when he was a teenager and worked for the Wildgoose family[7]. He would have witnessed Matlock's rapid expansion first hand and his joinery skills would have been used in the homes, hydros and shops that were built on the Bank.

His first wife was Elizabeth Crossley, whom he married at the Congregational Chapel on Matlock Bank in 1877. The couple had three children; their second son, George Frederick, was born in 1882 but did not survive infancy and was buried at St. Giles' on 19 May 1885. His mother was buried in an adjacent grave on 13 January 1897[26].

George married for the second time on 10 November 1897 at Ashover. His new wife was Elizabeth Ellen, daughter of Peter Kiddy.

After living in Pope Carr for a number of years, he and his family moved to New Street some time before 1891[25]. In 1911 he gave his address as 3 Clifton Cottages.

George died in 1929. His second wife pre-deceased him as she died in 1918. Both were buried and commemorated at St. Giles'[26].


George Slater's children.

John William (Jack) Slater, born in 1878. He was the eldest son of George and Elizabeth (nee Crossley). He served an apprentice for Mr. H. B. Askew for six years but his indenture was cancelled when, as an eighteen year old, he joined the Hussars of the Line (13th Hussars). He fought in the Second Boer War between 1899 and 1902 and was subsequently Discharged by Purchase and transferred to the Army Reserve. He had been awarded the South African Medal (1899-1902), the Queen's Medal with Clasps, the Orange Free State, Transvaal, Relief of Ladysmith & Laing's Nek, Kings S.A. Medal with Clasps, S.A. 1901 & S.A. 1902[27].
He married Gertrude Gessey at All Saints' on 14 October 1904[28].
He became a joiner in the railway company's carriage works in Derby[24]. John, Gertrude and their two sons emigrated to Australia in 1912, travelling separately to Perth where they set up home in a house they called Matlock.
 

Gertrude May Slater, known as May, was born on 1 June 1888.
By 1911 she was employed as a nurse and living at the Nurses Institute, Tor View, Matlock. The property was the sleeping quarters for nurses employed by Smedley's Hydropathic Establishment[24]. May emigrated to Canada in 1920 to join and marry Harry Wrigley in Saskatchewan[29]. They returned to the U.K. to live in Derby, moving to Rowsley in 1936 to open a business as a newsagent and confectioner on Chatsworth Road. The premises were owned by William Allen. The business was short lived and the couple returned to Derby. May was 99 years old when she died.
This photograph was also taken by W. N. Statham; the seat May is sitting on is the same as appears in a photo of Kathleen Potter (4th image).
 

Edith Helen Slater, was born in 1899.
She was the only child of George and Elizabeth Ellen (nee Kiddy).
She married Herbert Ellis of Tansley in 1920 and the couple had two sons. They later moved to Mickleover. Helen passed away in 1959.




Many of this wonderful series of photographs were kept in a photo album
produced by the Matlock photographer William Nathan Statham. It dates from around 1895
and is believed to have been given to Ann and John Walter Brunt
by William and Elizabeth Rouse as a leaving present.



This final picture shows a beautifully decorated page from the album.
It would have been designed by Mr. Statham.


Based on the extensive © notes and research of David Midgley, and includes passages from papers he prepared for family members.
Images supplied by and Copyright © David Midgley collection.
Additional research and written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] Both Ann and her brother George were baptised at St. Giles in 1854 - see transcript of Parish Register. Ann's birth was registered in 1849, so it seems the transcript of the Parish Register entry for her birth is incorrect. The 1849 birth is also consistent with census return entries.

[2] See the marriage for John Slater and Ann Bunting, Matlock Marriages, Surnames S. No baptism has been found for Ann Bunting to date. John Slater was christened at St. Giles' in 1814 - see transcript of Parish Register.

[3] John Slater, son of John and Ann, was christened at St. Giles on 4 September 1837 and buried there on 29 April 1839. See his christening | burial.

[4] Hannah Slater, daughter of John and Ann, was christened at St. Giles on 20 Oct 1839 and buried there on 27 Mar 1843. See her christening | burial.

[5] The Slater family appear in several census returns: the 1841 census | the 1851 census | the 1861 census | the 1871 census.

[6] Matlock's parish register (St. Giles') records that John Slater of Pope Carr was buried on 3 December 1873, aged 59. His widow, Ann, was buried on 8 September 1876, aged 62. There is no MI for John and Ann.

[7] Information from David Midgley.

[8] "Derbyshire Times", Wednesday, 9 June 1880. List of Visitors at MatlockBath, Bank and Bridge shows four members of the Wood family of Bolton staying at Smedley's Hydro; Mr. and Mrs. Wood; Mrs John Wood; Mr. H. Wood. See note [14] below.

[9] John Wood was the son of Edward and Alice Wood and born at Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire where he was christened on 17th October 1821. His company, begun in 1837, was initially called Knight and Wood but became J. & E. Wood of Garside Street in the 1860s when his elder son joined the firm. In 1867 there was a patent petition by Edward Wood, of the firm of John and Edward Wood, of Bolton, in the county of Lancaster, Engineers, in respect of the invention of "improvements in steam engines".
John had married his first wife Lucy Hall at St. John's, Broughton, Salford in Q3 1849 and the couple's eldest child was a daughter, Lucy Anne (b.1850), who would not survive childhood. They then had two sons, Edward Hall and Henry, and a second daughter, Emily Frances. All four children were christened at All Saints', Little Bolton; their father's occupation was variously recorded as both Iron Founder and Gentleman.
By 1851 John was already employing 120 men in his engineering business. The number of his employees had increased by 1861 (125 men, 25 boys) and the business had further expanded by 1871 (186 men, 17 boys). Lucy Wood died in 1872. On 8 Apr 1874 John married for the second time at Holy Trinity, Southport, Lancashire. His bride was Sarah Stewart a 52 year old widow. In the church register John Wood gave his age as 52, his occupation as Engineer, his marital status as Widower and his abode as Farnworth W. Kersley. He also declared that his father was Edward Wood, who was deceased.

[10] Sarah Wood was a daughter of Edmund Ashworth (1776-1856) and his wife, Mary. She was born at The Oaks, Turton on 24 Dec 1821 and baptised as a Quaker. On 31 May 1848 she married Robert Stewart, a Scotsman born in 1811, at St Peter's, Bolton. Robert Stewart was Mayor of Clitheroe in 1851, where he worked as an accountant, but the family moved to Little Bolton later that year. Robert passed away on 17 January 1868 at Green Mount, Harpurhey. In the 1871 census Sarah Stuart [sic] was living No.1 Green Mount Place, Rochdale Road, Manchester and working as a housekeeper (condition, servant) for Frederick Andrew, a master dyer with 1600 hands. Her elder son, Edmund Ashworth Stewart is assumed to have died about 1870. An E. A. [or G. A.] Stewart died in the Rangoon River in 1870.

[11] The census entry for Ann Slater as a lady's maid in 1881 is listed in Strays, Surnames S.

[12] "Preston Chronicle", 26 March 1881. "On the 21st inst., at Southport, Edmund Ashworth of Bolton le Moors, in his 81st year". He was a wealthy cotton spinner, leaving £47,215 in his Will. The Probate records show that although he died at Southport his home was at Egerton Lodge. He had been a witness at the marriage of John and Sarah Wood a few years before.

[13] From the Will of John Wood late of Egerton Lodge near Bolton in the County of Lancaster Gentleman which was proved at Manchester on 28 June 1889. His executors were Sarah Wood and a family friend, Peter Kervan, who was a chartered accountant. The Will was written and witnessed on 26th March 1886; there were no codicils. Accounts indicate that John had been ill for some years before he died.
Edward Hall Wood and Henry Wood had paid for the shares in the business with "a promissory note dated the twenty fifth day of March instant payable on demand for the sum of £60,027 : 8 : 7 carrying interest at four per cent per annum". When he wrote his Will, their father recognised that such a large sum might still be owing at his decease.
With thanks to David Midgley for allowing me to see his copy of this Will. To discover the value of John Wood's estate today the price converter on http://safalra.com/other/historical-uk-inflation-price-conversion/ was used (note: this link will open in a new tab).
John Wood was buried in a family vault at Harwood church, alongside his first wife and elder daughter.

[14] John and Lucy Wood's children were:
i. Edward Hall Wood (1852-14 December 1919): educated Zurich University (1875-8) - this from "Grace's Guide to British Industrial History"; Steam Engine Maker & Ironfounder (1901 census); Mechanical Engineering And Iron Founding (1911 census); married Ellen Louisa Appleton (1884); 1 son - Edward Bertram Appleton Wood; he "was responsible for many improvements in the efficiency of the reciprocating steam-engine".
ii. Emily Frances Wood (1858-23 Apr 1947[?]), Gentlewoman Philanthropic Worker Unpaid Private Means (1911 census), living in Bournemouth; of Southsea at death.
iii. Henry Wood (1860-15 August 1931): Millwright & Iron Founder (1891 census); Iron And Brass Founder Engineer And Millwright (1911 census); Wife Cecile Eudura Bertha Helen Thevenard (mar 1893), 3 children.
The family business closed in 1912 as steam engines were increasingly replaced by electric powered engines.

[15] Sarah Wood's second son by her first husband was Benjamin Ashworth Stewart, who was born in Bolton in 1851. He married Alexandrina Victoria Shaw (daur of John) at Astley-Bridge, LAN on 14 Feb 1878 and died in St. Petersburg Russia in 1905 (from GRO Consular Death Indices). He was a merchant. His wife (b. 1841) died in Abo (Nigeria) at the age of 85. Without concrete proof, we can assume that she would either have gone to live with one of her children in Nigeria or could possibly have been a missionary.

[16] Probate records for Ann Brunt of Scarborough, 1930. She left an estate twice the size of that of her husband, who died eight years later. Also from David.

[17] "Derbyshire Times and Chesterfield Herald", 2 January 1886.
"Brunt--Slater--Dec. 23rd. at the Congregational Church, Matlock Bank, by the Rev. Geo. Mitchell, Mr. John Walter Brunt, of Dale, to Miss Ann Slater, of Matlock Bank".
The pen knife story can be explained because John Walter Brunt was born in 1858 to a Sheffield steel melter, Charles Coe Brunt and his wife, Sarah.

[18] The Brunts were living at 2 Richmond Terrace in 1891.

[19] Sarah Wood was staying at Smedley's Hydro in 1891. She died in 1895. Her death was reported in the "Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser" of 18 May 1895: "Wood.--On the 17th inst., at Egerton Lodge. near Bolton, in her 74th year, Sarah, the widow of John Wood, of Egerton Lodge, and youngest daughter of the late Edmund Ashworth, of Folds, Bolton". The executors of her Will were her step son Henry Wood and Peter Kervan. Interestingly, she was baptised into the Church of England on 5 Aug 1885 at Christ Church, Walmsley. She provided full details of her parents, etc., and the vicar wrote a marginal note that she was "Wife of John Wood, Egerton Lodge".

[20] With grateful thanks to Mr. J. C. Brunt, a grandson of John and Ann.

[21] Ethel May Allen's recollections of her family, written for her children and grand children.

[22] Probate records for John Walter Brunt of Scarborough, 1938, John Brunt and Ethel Kilby Brunt.

[23] The Accrington address where Edith was born was occupied by Abraham Bates, a "Lab In Iron Wks", and his family in the 1881 census. His daughter Eliza, then Mrs. Gell, lived at 11, Dunn Street (off Moss Lane), Hulme and later at 6 Trafford Street (as Mrs. Eliza Bainbridge, widow, in 1891). It seems not unreasonable to assume that Abraham's family were still in the Accrington house when Edith was born the following January, with perhaps his unmarried daughter Mary acting as the midwife. Edith's birth certificate does not tell us that information, and it was her mother who registered the child's birth. It is quite probable that the Bates family might have had some influence on the choice of a church where Edith was christened as St. Gabriel's Church on Erskine Street, Hulme would not have been far from either address where Eliza, nee Bates, lived. Ann Slater would have been restricted by the rules then applying to English and Welsh birth certificates and could not include the name of Edith's father on her child's birth record, but she was able to provide some broad hints when she stated that her abode was Egerton Lodge, Bolton in the parish registers of St. Gabriel's when Edith was christened.

[24] 1911 census returns for England and Wales, available on Find My Past.

[25] George Slater and his family were living in Matlock in the 1881 census | the 1891 census | the 1901 census

[26] Extracts from Matlock Parish Register. Memorial inscriptions at St. Giles' show George Slater's family in the following graves: Grave E17 - George/Elizabeth Ellen; Grave N10 - George Frederick, George and Elizabeth; Grave 053 - George and Elizabeth. Transcripts for these memorials are available, but are not on this site. See Matlock MIs and Memorials, Surnames S.

[27] British Army Service Records, 1760-1915 - available on Find My Past. John William was recruited at Wirksworth in 1895.

[28] Gertrude Gessey and her family were living in Matlock at the time of the 1901 census.

[29] Harry Wrigley lived on Matlock Green as a boy and a young man - see the 1891 census | the 1901 census. He emigrated to Canada in 1914 and enlisted in the Canadian Amy in 1916. He died in Derby in 1951.