Remarkable woman who reported on the troops in France during Great War
RECENTLY there have been many appreciative comments regarding what I have researched and published in this feature.
Many thanks to those readers who took the time and trouble. Positive remarks are appreciated and in many cases add information to what has been published.
A close family friend who lives in Yorkshire remembers Charles Dennis, known as “Black Charlie,” who we featured recently.
In his email, which is normally followed up by a chat on the phone and is always interesting due to his amazing memories of Middleton, Les Lord said that at the time he knew him, he lived on the opposite side of the road to what was published at Wood Street, in the houses which were set back from the rest of the row.
Les remembers him sitting in a rocking chair, outside his front door when weather would allow, “at peace with the world, I think everyone who passed had a word with him.”
When Miss Joyce Cooper returned to Lancashire, she made contact with old friends and made many new ones too.
Her place of worship was Bamford Chapel, where she carried out some first class research. It was during one of her visits from Ferring that we both travelled around the cemeteries searching for her ancestors’ graves.
These were photographed, for which copies still exist in the Bygone archive. One name which came up on a number of occasions was that of Emily Boardman. Having the facts to hand made it easy to collate a snapshot of her life. What follows are my findings. This is further proof that we have had some talented people in Middleton.
Miss Boardman was born in Preston Street, Middleton, brought up at Tonge School and ultimately spent the best years of her life on the French Riviera. As a girl she was very delicate and after leaving school was unable to continue her work as a weaver for very long.
On the death of her mother she went home to look after her family.
On Sundays she taught in St Micheal’s Sunday school. In the spare time between her domestic duties she studied, and soon found that she had a flair for foreign languages.
Next she attended night schools and became a member of various literary societies.
As her mind matured, she discovered that she could write and that she could sell what she wrote.
Ultimately she secured a post as secretary to Dr Lockwood of Bournemouth. While in that town her health recovered. She studied hard and secured a certificate for her understanding of the French language.
She put theory into practice, sailed to France and travelled considerably. During the 1914-18 war she did a considerable amount of work for the French newspapers, reporting the arrival of British troops on the conti- nent and their transit over the channel.
It was during one of her visits home that she visited the Guardian office and the editor printed for her a book entitled, “Through Corsican Wilds in a carriage.” Ultimately she moved to Cannes and lived there for over 30 years, at the Villa les Cyeas.
It was noted that due to her spending so much time in France, she was more French than English. This was proved when she found that her native tongue did not come as easily to her as did French.
But she never severed her connections in Middleton. Her family consisted of two brothers and she would entertain her nieces and nephews in the south of France. The way of life, with the weather, scenery and food, was to have an impact on the children, because following a visit by a five year old, the child had almost forgotten how to speak English when she returned home. Another niece of hers who visited was confirmed by the Bishop of Gibraltar at Holy Trinity Church, Cannes, where her aunt was an old member of the congregation.
When Miss Boardman passed away at her brother’s home at Oldham Road, she was surrounded by paintings of water colours and oils reminiscent of that great artist, Edgar Wood. The paintings signify a great tragedy in Emily Boardman’s life.
During the Great War Mr Scott, to whom Miss Boardman was engaged, died as a consequence of the war. The paintings were his. They were left to her, which was one of her greatly prized possessions.
The other item was a beautiful object. The King of Italy presented Mr Scott an antique ring, which Emily cherished until the day she passed away, aged 71, which was on Christmas Day.
EPIC HALF-DAYS’ OUTING
Many positive comments have been received from those who have enjoyed reading the outings and picnics which we have recently related.
We now relate a half-day outing which entailed many hours of being on the road. It was during the 1930s that Johnson Bros commenced continental travel, maybe this was the inspiration for what follows.
One group of mechanics from a local mill decided to have a half-day trip to the Isle of White. This trip entailed being away from home for almost 32 hours.
The annual mechanics outing consisted of employee’s and friends of the Cromer Mill. The excursion took weeks to organise, and finance, and it was hoping that the weather would oblige otherwise a good time would not be had by all.
It was the first week of July when the party set off, leaving Middleton one Friday night at 10pm.
It was 10.15am when they arrived at Ryde on Saturday morning. A tour of the island by char-abanc followed immediately, time was short.
All the noted beauty spots were visited, including Ventnor, which we discover was “very much appreciated.” The return journey began from Ryde at 6.45pm on Saturday and it was 5.45am on Sunday morning when the party arrived back in town.
We find that the weather proved favourable during this marathon trip. The success of the excursion was down to the secretaries, Miss L Whitehead and Mr T Seal. When asked what was the likely destination of next year’s outing, France was mentioned. “Can it be done?” was asked, Who knows.
FEAR OF TAX INSPECTOR
Bowlee, 1843. Mr James Booth, shopkeeper and farmer, a resident of Bowlee, committed suicide by hanging himself in his bedroom. He was never married and was over 50 years of age. The neighbours state that he had been driven into a state of insanity for fear of having to pay the income tax demand. He should have appealed against the tax at Rochdale; a date was set to hear his appeal, which he exceeded prior to his death. MAN OF THE CLOTH December 1788. It was reported that at Middle-
Kay Street looking towards the town centre. The former coal yard is marked
Preston Street, birthplace of Emily Boardman.