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My ancestor the Charwoman

September 25, 2017

 

My great grandmother Margaret Williams was born in Brymbo, North Wales in 1862. She was the daughter of a miner and had 3 brothers and 3 sisters.

She moved to Manchester when she was 19 or 20 to become a servant. It was here that she met William Nuttall, a stonemason and married him in January 1883. William's brother James by this time had set up a successful construction company and was rising in the world. James' son Edmund would go on to found a very successful construction company Nuttall Engineering. However things did not go smoothly for Margaret after giving birth to 2 daughter's, Ellen in 1888 and Margaret in 1890 William died. His death certificate records that he died from lung disease, probably caused by the dust from the stone he worked with. His daughter Margaret was only 4 months old and it was just days before the 1891 census which records Margaret as a widow.

Life became hard for Margaret and her 2 small daughters. She is listed in the 1901 census as a charwoman and is obviously doing what she can to keep her family together. Further tragedy struck the family when young Ellen (Nellie) fell from a cart and hit her head. She must have suffered some sort of brain damage and for the rest of her life she required looking after.

Margaret managed to keep her children out of the workhouse, she had at least 2 more children during this period but never remarried and was estranged from her husband's family.

One child William died shortly after birth the other John died at the age of 13 in the 1918 flu epidemic.  

A strong looking woman she did what she had to do to keep her family together. She died in 1934 with her daughter Margaret at her side.

 

 

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Margaret Thomas B.A (hons),

Ad Dip. Local History (Oxford University).

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