Thomas and Eleanor (Henry’s great grandparents)

Thomas and Eleanor were Henry’s great grandparents. The 1841 one census shows Thomas aged 55 and Eleanor aged 36, living with their children Anne, Eleanor, Frank, Edward, Elizabeth and Mary in Stockton. On the 1851 census Eleanor, aged 46, can be found living at High Street, Stockton, Durham, England with daughters Elizabeth, Mary, Emma and Caroline. She is described as a widow and her occupation is given as Annuitant. In 1871 Eleanor is recorded as a widow aged 66, still living in Stockton with her daughters Mary Grey Faber and Caroline Grey Faber. On the 1881 census, Eleanor can again be found, now living only with her daughter Caroline.

The ages I have gathered from searches of census returns I have undertaken, do do correspond with the information from the Hamilton Stanley Faber papers, so this page is a work in progress.

Images of Thomas and Eleanor Faber.
Family tree showing Eleanor Grey married to Thomas henry Faber.

Henry Grey Faber (Henry’s grandfather)

Henry’s grandfather was also called  Henry Grey Faber. Henry was the first son of Thomas Henry and Eleanor Faber, born 30 November 1829 and baptised on 1 December 1829.

Henry can be found on the 1841 census, aged 11, at Shincliffe, St Oswald, Durham and Lanchester, Durham, England which appears to be a school. In 1851 aged 21 Henry can be found lodging in the household of George and Hannah Harrision at Church Street, Guisborough, Yorkshire & Yorkshire (North Riding), England and employed as a Solicitor’s Articled Clerk.  In 1871 he can be found aged 41 residing with the Moore family.

Further information can be found in the papers of Hamilton Stanley Faber in which the family are referred to as ‘Branch 1 – The Stockton (Eeles) branch of the Grey Fabers’ and in which Eleanor is recorded as the daughter of John Grey Esq of Norton.

Thomas Faber (Henry’s father)

Henry’s father was Thomas H Faber, born 1861. Thomas can be found on the 1871 census at Middleton One Row, Middleton St George, Darlington, Durham, England, aged 10, with his parents Henry Grey Faber, aged 41 (born 1830 in Durham) and Elizabeth Faber, aged 38 (born 1833 in Durham). Also four brothers and two sisters – Eleanor J Faber, Elizabeth S Faber, Frank S Faber, Charles E Faber, Frederic William Faber and John G Faber. The Faber family are recorded as visitors to Sarah Moore aged 75 and her daughter Mary A Moore aged 37.

On the 1891 census, Thomas, aged 30, is recorded as living with his wife Ada C Faber and his sons Henry G Faber and Frank S Faber. Thomas is recorded as a solicitor. On the 1901 census, Thomas and Ada can again be found.  They have five daughters named Ada, Helen, Lorna, Culeen and Olive. And in 1911 the family can be found at 100 High Street, Norton On Tees. Henry Grey Faber, aged 24, is again living with them and father and son are both recorded as solicitors.

This information is also corroborated in the Hamilton Stanley Faber papers, which displays a family tree in which the family are referred to as Branch 1 – The Stockton (Eeles) branch of the Grey Fabers.)

Family tree showing the Stockton (Eeles) branch of the grey Fabers.
Family tree showing the Stockton (Eeles) branch of the grey Fabers.

Squaddie graffiti

I stumbled across this story when researching Henry Grey Faber.  An article in the Yorkshire Evening post dated 29 June 1950 reports on regimental badges in the Sudan, in the hills near Atbara. The article states these badges reminded the writer of the Kilburn white horse and displays an image of the West Yorkshire Regiment badge on a hillside in the Sudan.

The article explains how the badges are made and goes on to quote Henry Faber of Leeds who spent nine months in the Sudan with the Green Howards as saying ‘the patch of hillside is first cleared and then the badge is carefully mapped out. The rocks are manhandled by the troops and gradually the badge takes shape. Most of the Green Howards’ badge was built on free afternoons and it was mighty hot work.’ I do not believe the Henry Faber quoted in the article is the one I have researched on this website but the story fascinated me, so I wanted to include it here.

Yorkshire Evening Post: 29 June 1950

David Love

Further investigation found a blog post on the Love Adventures website by David Love, a British adventurer, mountaineer and expedition leader.  In the post, David describes going in search of a British Army Memorial, built by the last serving unit in Sudan before the country gained independence in 1956.

Turning to satellite imagery to study the area around Gebeit did not reveal any possible locations of the lost memorial but did find some very odd looking images on a nearby rocky hillside, blurry effigies which seemed to resemble old military insignia.  If David wanted to find the memorial, he would need to go to Gebeit.

Leaving Khartoum and heading north along the River Nile, David reached the rocky foothills at the edge of the remote village of Gebeit in Northern Sudan, at the fringes of the Sahara desert, where he had previously identified the blurry effigies on satellite imagery and saw, towering some 200ft above him what he describes as 130 year old Squaddie graffiti but on a totally epic scale.

David writes ‘As I edged backwards to take in more of the landscape, I began to make out even more of what was instantly recognisable as military insignia.  In total there were 18 massive images covering an area roughly two kilometres in length across the face of the hillsides. On closer inspection, the incredibly detailed images were made from piles of different coloured rocks from the surrounding foothills.’

Memories from Sudan

Other recollections in the Yorkshire Evening post article included Mr Butterill who described how white stone from the surrounding hills was built up gradually in a pattern of a badge. The work was done after sundown and in the early  morning he recalled.

And Mr P Addison who spent 24 years in the Sudan said the badges in the hills at Gebeit are some 200 miles from Atbara, on the railway line to Port Sudan. They are not cut out of the hillside he explained but are made of white stones set close together. Most of them date  immediately to a period immediately after world war one. Gebeit is nearly 3,000 feet above sea level and in the summer has a more agreeable climate than Khartoum or Atbata. It was the custom to send all detachments of British garrison troops to camp at Gebeit to have a few weeks change from the summer heat and sandstorms of the Sudan.  It became the fashion for these detached units to occupy their leisure in constructing their regimental badges on the hillside. Each is carefully set out and contains many hundreds of stones.

Other examples of badges

The badges in the Sudan are not the only examples of regimental badges.

The Fovant Badges

The Fovant badges are a set of regimental badges on the Downs of Wiltshire at Fovant. During World War I there was a need to establish training camps for troops engaged in the battlefields of France and one of the areas chosen was at the village of Fovant.

The church of St George in the village of Fovant has rows of war graves of British and Australian soldiers and in memory of those who had died, regimental badges were carved by their comrades. Many of the original carvings failed to survive the elements and at the end of world war I there were 20 identifiable badges.

During World War II, the badges were allowed to overgrow in order that they could not be used as landmarks by enemy aircraft. Following the end of the war the local Home Guard formed themselves into an Old Comrades Association and took on the arduous task of restoration. In the years 1948 – 1951 two Wilshire badges were cut and in 1970 a Royal Signals Badge was added.

Cherat badges

Cherat, located in the Peshawar District of India, was a hill a military garrison and sanatorium for British troops stationed in the Peshawar Valley. Many of the troops sent there, carved and painted their regimental insignia on to nearby rock faces to mark their service on the frontier.

Further information and sources

Dorothy and Henry

Dorothy Faber or aunt Dorothy as I knew her was my great aunt (my grandmother’s sister on my fathers side). In 1960 she married Henry (Hal) Grey Faber. Dorothy was Henry’s second wife and the couple were married at  Holy Trinity Church, Micklegate, York in 1960.

Dorothy and Hal lived in the village of Husthwaite in Yorkshire which is situated about 17 miles north of York. Husthwaite is an ancient settlement, one of the oldest buildings being St Nicholas’ Parish Church dating from the twelfth century, which, with the village green, forms the centre of the village. The village is a designated conservation area and is adjacent to the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.

They lived in a house called Little Worsall, situated between the Methodist Chapel, a newer house and The Manor House which was once a farm.  However, until I came to write this piece I never knew the name of the property or the house number.  Letters were addressed simply to Mrs D M Faber,  Husthwaite, York.  ‘The postman knows the house’, my parents were told.

Dorothy and Hal lived at Little Worsall for six years. Henry died in 1966 before I was born but Dorothy continued to live there, with her sister Molly until 1994, then alone until her own death in 1998.

Dorothy and Molly.

Worsall Grange

The 1939 register records Henry living at Worsall Grange, Stokesley, Yorkshire (North Riding), England, working as a solicitor and living with his wife Ellen G Faber and daughter Elizabeth H F Faber. Living with them are two domestic servants, Bridget Dowd and Madelaine Nugent

Copy of the 1939 register showing Henry Faber.

Today Worsall Grange is a listed building, described in estate agent particulars as a delightful grade II listed detached country house set in 2.44 acres approx, between the villages of Low Worsall and Kirklevington, well placed for the thriving market town of Yarm and with a small paddock laid to grass that extends to 18 acres.

The Cleveland and Teeside History Society record the place name Low Worsall as ‘Modern English low + place-name Wercesal, Wirceshel, Werchesal(e) 1086 Wi- Wyrkesale 1285-1367, Wirsal (1316) 16th, 1369, Parva Worsall“Little Worsall” 1483.’

Little Worsall

It seems that when Henry moved to Husthwaite, his new home was named after Worsall Grange.  The Husthwaite History Society records the following information about Little Worsall.

In the seventeenth century the property described here had 4½ acres at the back, stretching down to Elphin Lane. Later this tract was farmed as part of the Manor House land and by 1841 some rearrangement of boundaries had taken place. The tenants of the early eighteenth century were called Wood and survival of the fieldnames Wood Garths suggests a reconstruction.  This leads to the conclusion that the frontage of the old tenement would have extended from Little Worsall to Colton House.

Several facts about this property in the early seventeenth century suggest that it was of importance in the management of the manor. It lay alongside the Hall and Hall Garths. It belonged to the family who held the lease and hence lordship of the manor. It had a dovecote (the only one known in Husthwaite), a privilege of manorial lords.

Little Worsall
Image of Little Worsall and information about the people who lived there.

Little Worsall


Dorothy Margaret Clarke was born in Northamptonshire in 1904. She was the daughter of Louisa Jane Shortland and  Albert Edward William Clarke,  a police sergeant in the Northamptonshire Constabulary. She had one brother named Edward Alexander and three sisters, Cecily Mary (known as Molly who lived with her at Little Worsall from 1966 – 1994), Kitty Alexandra and my grandmother Delia Eileen.

Louisa Jane Clarke (nee Shortland) and daughters.

The 1939 register shows Dorothy, working as a school teacher, living in the Morrison household at Faceby Manor, Faceby, Stokesley R.D., Yorkshire (North Riding), England. Today Faceby Manor Lodge is a Grade II listed building.

1939 register entry showing Dorothy Clarke.

It also appears that Dorothy worked as a governess. One of the most interesting things Dorothy sent to me was the letter below from a Miss Lennox-Carr of Piccadilly (according to the biography of the historical novelist Georgette Heyer, Miss Lennox-Carr ran a registry office for governesses), recommending Dorothy for the post of governess to the young King of Iraq. I don’t believe that Dorothy took up the offer but nevertheless it is a lovely piece of family history.


In January 2022 I was contacted by Tony Walker who had seen this blog. He had come across a document for Miss Carr’s agency when sorting through some some historical papers and asked if I would like a copy. The document can be viewed below.

Terms and conditions for Miss Lennox-Carr's Ladies' Employment and School Agency.

The things I remember about Dorothy are firstly her two dogs, Otter and Toby – sausage dogs, one smooth haired and one wired haired.  The second, the incredible view from her garden of the Kilburn white horse, one of the most famous landmarks in North Yorkshire and one of the most northerly turf-cut figures in Britain. Dating from 1857, the outline of the horse was marked out by the Kilburn village schoolmaster and his pupils. Finally, the way she encouraged my interest in my family from a young age, with letters, stories and photos. Dorothy is hugely responsible for my love of history today..

Henry in uniform.

Henry G Faber in uniform.


Henry Grey Faber was a solicitor. His occupation is recorded in census returns and I have also found mentions of Henry’s legal career in the Gazette newspaper.

The 1891 census shows a Henry  G Faber was born in Durham in 1887, to Thomas Faber, aged 30 (born 1861 in Durham) and Ada Faber  aged 29 (born 1862 in Wimbledon, Surrey). A younger brother and sister, Frank S and Ada L are recorded too.  Aged 14 in 1901, Henry appears to have been a boarder at a school in Harrogate and in 1911, aged 24, he is recorded as being a solicitor, living again with his parents Thomas and Ada and with more sisters and a brother.

The North Yorkshire history website records Henry as ‘Admitted Oct 1911.  Member of Faber, Fawcett & Faber, of Stockton-on-Tees.  Mobilised Aug 1914 as Capt., 5th Batt. Durham Light Infantry, promoted Major June 1916.  Once mentioned in Dispatches.  Served at Home and in Flanders and France.  Wounded May 24, 1915.’

I believe Henry married his first wife Ellen Holberton in Totnes, Devon in 1916. Their daughter Elizabeth was born in Knaresborough in 1917 and in 1939 her  occupation is shown as VAD, which I have learned stands for Voluntary Aid Detachment, a voluntary unit of civilians providing nursing care for military personnel in the United Kingdom and various other countries in the British Empire. Searching for Henry Grey Faber on the Find My past website, I found details of his service, medals and awards and his first world war record.  Ellen it seems also served in the army as a staff nurse.

Thomas Faber (Henry’s father)

Henry’s father was Thomas H Faber, born 1861, He can be found on the 1871 census at Middleton One Row, Middleton St George, Darlington, Durham, England, aged 10, with his parents Henry Grey Faber, aged 41 (born 1830 in Durham) and Elizabeth Faber, aged 38 (born 1833 in Durham). Also four brothers and two sisters – Eleanor J Faber, Elizabeth S Faber, Frank S Faber, Charles E Faber, Frederic William Faber and John G Faber. The Faber family are all recorded as visitors to Sarah Moore aged 75 and her daughter Mary A Moore aged 37.

On the 1891 census, Thomas, aged 30, is recorded as living with his wife Ada C Faber and his sons Henry G Faber and Frank S Faber. Thomas is recorded as a solicitor. On the 1901 census, Thomas and Ada can again be found.  They have five daughters named Ada, Helen, Lorna, Culeen and Olive. And in 1911 the family can be found at 100 High Street, Norton On Tees. Henry Grey Faber, aged 24, is again living with them and father and son are both recorded as solicitors.

This information is also confirmed in the documents of Hamilton Stanley Faber in which the family are referred to as ‘Branch 1 – The Stockton (Eeles) branch of the Grey Fabers.)

Henry Faber (Henry’s grandfather)

Henry’s grandfather was also called  Henry Grey Faber. He was the first son of Thomas Henry and Eleanor Faber and was baptised on 1 December 1829 in Durham.  This information is again confirmed in the documents of Hamilton Stanley Faber in which the family are referred to as ‘Branch 1 – The Stockton (Eeles) branch of the Grey Fabers and in which Eleanor is recorded as the daughter of John Grey Esq of Norton.

Henry can be found on the 1841 census, aged 11, at Shincliffe, St Oswald, Durham and Lanchester, Durham, England which appears to be a school. In 1851 aged 21 Henry can be found lodging in the household of George and Hannah Harrision at Church Street, Guisborough, Yorkshire & Yorkshire (North Riding), England and employed as a Solicitor’s Articled Clerk.  In 1871 he can be found aged 41 residing with the Moore family as described above.

The papers of Hamilton Stanley Faber advise the following about Henry.

Henry Grey Faber Esq was a solicitor and town clerk of Stockton. Eldest son of Thomas Henry Faber Esq of Stockton. Born at Stockton 30 November 1829. Baptised by the Rev: Jno: Cundell next day. Christened by the Rev: Geo: Stanley Faber at Stockton church 11 October 1830.

He was educated at Rugby and matriculated at University College Oxon 29 March 1848 at 18. He married at Holy Trinity Stockton-on-Tees 15 December 1859 Elizabeth Eeles daughter of John Eeles, Mayor of Stockton 1847/8/9 (by Elizabeth Colpitts. his wife. cousin of Colpitts Grainger Esq sometime MP for Durham) and grandfather of Jeremiah Eeles of Stockton-on-Tees.

Mr H G Faber did 5 February 1885 was was buried at the Stockton cemetery. He left issue:

1. Thomas Henry Faber of Norton

Solicitor born 18 September 1860, educated at Malvern College and married 1885 Ada Cotton daughter of Alfred Giles of Cosford, Surrey Esq. MP for Southampton and Jane Emily Coppard his wife.

Mr T H Faber had issue.

  • Henry Grey Faber born 1886.
  • Frank Stanley Faber born 1887/1888.
  • Ada Mary Faber born 1890.
  • Helen Margaret Faber born 1891.
  • Lorna Kathleen Fabert born 1894.
  • Aileen Coppard born 1895.
  • Olive Faber born 1899.

2. Frank Stanley Faber

Born 14 May 1864. Died unmarried in the USA of typhoid fever in 1890.

3. Charles Edward Faber

Egglescliffe Yam-on-Tees, solicitor partner with his brother in the firm of Faber Fawcetts and Faber of Stockton-on-Tees. Born 12 January 1855.

Origin of the names Faber and Grey

Information about the origin of the Faber and Grey surnames can be found on the website.

I am interested to learn more about the surnames Faber and Grey, as the name Grey appears to have been used as a middle name by many people with the surname Faber, both male and female, including Henry and Edward, largely in Stockton on Tees. However, I have also found the name connected to  Dorset, London, Middlesex and Essex and would very much like to know more about this.

Further information and sources

Make menopause matter

The Oxford English Dictionary describes menopause as ‘the ceasing of menstruation’ and menstruation as ‘the process in a woman of discharging blood and other material from the lining of the uterus at intervals of about one lunar month from puberty until menopause, except during pregnancy.’

Over 60% of women going through the menopause experience symptoms resulting in behaviour changes which can last up to fifteen years and one in four women will experience severe debilitating symptoms. The Local Government Association estimate that over 13 million people in the UK are either menopausal or perimenopausal, yet until relatively recently no one really talked about it. Menopause usually occurs between 45 and 55 years of age, as a woman’s oestrogen levels decline. In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 51.

My experience

My periods have been erratic for a number of years now. I was fully aware of the reasons why but aside from the nuisance of going from having periods like clockwork to having, what I thought were an increased number of periods, I felt I was managing well with ‘the change’. However, in June 2021, my periods stopped (a day I had looked forward to for almost 40 years) and soon afterwards I began to experience other symptoms. Definitely a case of be careful what you wish for and better the devil you know.

Following a heatwave, I noticed I was still feeling incredibly hot, even though the temperature had dropped. The heat I soon realised was multiple hot flushes and night sweats. Initially, I thought I could manage these too. ‘Don’t be a baby, you’re just a bit hot’ I told myself. However, for six weeks I didn’t sleep through a single night without waking multiple times feeling that I needed to be wrung out, or have a single day without multiple hot flushes, which started as a tingling sensation around my eyes and cheek bones and quickly crept around my whole body, as if the heat was trying to escape, leaving me feeling so hot I felt as if was going to pass out. If that was not bad enough, I watched, as my hair, which had become incredibly dry, disappeared down the plug hole every time I washed it and pulled masses of it out of my hair brush. Hair loss and hair thinning was not something I was at all prepared for. Beginning to feel rather miserable, I decided it wasn’t funny any more and I needed to seek help.


The  symptoms I have been experiencing for a few years now, I now know are what is called the perimenopause, that is when a women experiences symptoms due to hormone changes but still has periods that are changing in nature or frequency. 

During perimenopause, because hormone levels are fluctuating, women may have a normal period one month, then it can be heavier or missed altogether, before going back to normal for a time and the odd excess periods that I experienced, I now know courtesy of a friend, are not periods at all, but ‘breakthrough bleeding’ that occurs when a woman starts having less periods. Essentially, she explained to me, when you ovulate, a follicle releases an egg, after which the follicle ‘collapses’ in on itself and becomes a gland.  The gland releases progesterone, a hormone that stops the lining of the womb from thickening, preparing the womb to receive and implant the egg. However, without progesterone to stop the lining from thickening, the thickening keeps on going until it has to stop because it sort of ‘can’t take any more’ and this causes ‘breakthrough bleeding’, with the womb lining coming away in the absence of egg production and therefore not producing progesterone.  

So, rather than menopause being a short sharp event, it is actually the culmination of a gradual process which begins with perimenopause and ends with menopause, when a woman has not had a period for twelve months.


Pre menopause the hormones oestrogen and progesterone work together to regulate menstrual cycles and the production of eggs, however a lack of oestrogen can trigger a range of symptoms and as humans have hormone receptors in cells all over our bodies, changes in hormones can affect many parts of our body, even those we wouldn’t expect. The Greene Climacteric Scale (GCS) tracks a list of twenty one symptoms that are often associated with the menopause, these are:

  • Heart beating quickly or strongly
  • Feeling tense or nervous
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Excitable
  • Attacks or anxiety, panic
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Feeling tired or lacking energy
  • Loss of interest in most things
  • Feeling unhappy or depressed
  • Crying spells
  • Irritability
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Pressure or tightness in the head
  • Parts of the body feeling numb
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Loss of feeling in hands or feet
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Hot flushes
  • Sweating at night
  • Loss of interest in sex

I have experienced many of the symptoms on the list but it is not exhaustive and there can be many other symptoms too. One thing I have learned about the menopause is there doesn’t seem to be a ‘normal’ at all, with women having both similar but individual menopause experiences. It should however be possible to diagnose the menopause on symptoms alone and before I saw my doctor, I completed a symptom checker document which can be downloaded from websites that provide information about menopause.

The importance of oestrogen

Oestrogen is important in various ways. Firstly, it provides lubrication for joints and prevents inflammation, it can also affect the texture of hair, with a lack of oestrogen leaving it prone to breaking. As oestrogen declines, androgens (a collective term for male hormones) sometimes become more prominent. This imbalance of hormones shrinks hair follicles making hair fine and it is also responsible for facial hair.

Oestrogen helps protect against osteoporosis. Around 10 per cent of a woman’s bone is lost in the first five years of the menopause and this increases the risk of osteoporosis which weakens bones and makes them more likely to break. Until we are around 30 we normally build more bone than we lose, however during menopause bone breakdown occurs at a faster rate than bone build up, resulting in a loss of bone mass. Oestrogen also protects against other long terms health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia.

While hot flushes are one of the most well known symptoms of the menopause, the reason for these is not really known. Some believe falling progesterone levels affect noradrenaline, another hormone that regulates our body temperature. Oestrogen also directly affects the thermoregulatory areas of our brain. There is no normal number, frequency or duration for these. In my case, from the time I started experiencing these symptoms, I didn’t go a day without hot flushes or night sweats and they happened multiple times a day. On particularly bad days, they were as little as 50 minutes apart and lasted for around a minute at a time.

Here and now

At the time of writing this post I am two and a half way weeks into taking HRT. This is not a decision I ever thought I would make and I was anxious about starting the treatment but I appear to be tolerating it and I am seeing signs of improvement. The past couple of months have felt overwhelming both in terms of the physical symptoms I have been experiencing but also because of all the learning I suddenly found myself needing to do. However my current mood is cautiously hopeful. Writing this post has partly been about me trying to understand what is happening to my body, while wanting to raise awareness and encourage women to educate themselves about the menopause before it happens to them but it really only touches the surface of all things menopause.

I feel very fortunate, that at the time I am going through this, people are beginning to think differently about menopause and rather than it being a taboo subject, are now talking about it openly. I am grateful for not going through this even thirty years ago, to have a couple of friends who were happy to talk to me when I was feeling at my worst and for a lovely and understanding doctor, which I know is not everyone’s experience.

Since 2011, World Menopause Day has taken place in October each year and as a result of campaigning, from September 2020, menopause was added to the RSE curriculum in England. The Make Menopause Matter campaign is calling for all GPs to receive mandatory menopause training and for a mandatory menopause module to be taught at every medical school, meaning that women in the future will be much more informed than I was. And on 29 October a second reading of the MP Support for Private Members’ Bill: Menopause (Support and Services) will take place. This is an important opportunity for women and families as it aims to improve the support and services given to those experiencing Menopause in the UK, including, crucially, the exemption of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) from National Health Service prescription charges.

Further information

The Balance website and The Balance App have been an enormous help to me. The website has a fabulous search function so you can search for specific symptoms and find articles, factsheets and videos relating to these, while the app allows users to journal their symptoms. The book Preparing for the Perimenopause and Menopause was a big help to me too.

There are other websites and books too. Some of these can be found below.

Treatment options

Campaign work

Training and education

National Institute for Healthcare Excellence

If you want to go on HRT but are struggling with getting this prescribed, guidelines to improve the consistency of support and information provided to women in menopause can be found on the National Institute for Healthcare Excellence website.

The graduate

In July 2021 I graduated from the Open University with a Bachelor of Science First Class Honours degree.


I had began studying with The Open University in 2002 and in June 2009 I graduated without Honours.  For someone who didn’t enjoy school and was painfully shy, never wanting to put her hand up in class to give an answer or ask a question, for fear of drawing attention to herself, this felt like a huge achievement.

I always tried hard in school but the grades I got for effort, never matched my attainment grades, which were often disappointingly low. I chose to leave school at 16 years of age having convinced myself it wasn’t the place for me but when I told my English teacher I was going out to work, she told me I could do better for myself than that. It was as I recall, a short exchange of words but it was the first time anyone had indicated they thought I could achieve anything and the words stayed with me, niggling way, until eventually I embarked on my first OU course, some 15 years after I left school.

Beginning with a short course about The Human Genome, a subject I was interested in because I am diagnosed with a genetic condition. The course was only for a few weeks long but it gave me a chance to get back into learning and also get into distance learning, which is quite different to studying in a classroom and requires much more discipline. My final course was titled ‘Innovation: designing for a sustainable future’ and was a project based course. The blog I created during the project can be viewed below.

Steps and a shiny floor are not a good combination for someone with a neuromuscular condition and as I watch the film my dad took of me graduating, it really shows but I was so proud of myself that day and even more so when I watch the film and hear my dad shouting as I collect my award – I didn’t hear that on the day, as we were sat miles apart, although I see me looking for him and having safely reached the foot of the stairs I remember turning and giving him a big wave, as I now knew he was sat somewhere up in the Gods.

Exhausted, having worked full time throughout, I decided to take a year out before completing my Honours year and that year turned into twelve. However, in late 2020, I found myself with the opportunity to finish what I started and I enrolled to complete my Honours year. When given the opportunity to write my own research question, I chose to write about the material and attitudinal barriers faced by people with disabilities and gained my second distinction. It was a tough year as I knew it would be, made tougher still by a global pandemic but in July 2021 I proudly accepted an offer of a First Class Honours degree, the same year that I turned fifty years old.

Toni’s graduation: 5 June 2009, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

More photos

The Dope Judies

During world war two, my grandmother, Delia Eileen Abram (nee Clarke) worked at Sywell Aerodrome in Northamptonshire, repairing the Irish linen skin covering on the bodywork of Wellington bombers.


The aerodrome  dates back to 1927 when local landowner, Mr Harold Brown agreed to let 55 acres of his land off the Holcot Lane, adjacent the Belman Gate, to the Northamptonshire Aero Club. Today it has evolved from a world war two RAF facility into general aviation airfields.

During the second world war activities at Sywell included the expansion of flying training, repairs to 1,841 of the RAF’s Wellington bombers and completion and flight testing of some 100 Lancaster mark two, four engined bombers. Brooklands Aviation Ltd oversaw the use of the ‘shadow factory scheme’ and saw two major sites used for aircraft overhaul and maintenance.

  • Site number one concentrated on Wellington repair and Lancaster construction.
  • Site number two site was based at Buttocks Booth in Moulton mainly for Wellington work.

Wellington Bombers flying in formation.Wellington Bombers flying in formation.

Other local engineering shops and businesses were subcontracted to undertake specific component repair too, including Earl’s Barton Motors (Abram’s garage) which was run by my great grandfather Joseph Charles Abram. A document from the Harrington Museum states:

‘The number or aircraft needing repair increased rapidly during 1940 and the accommodation at the main centre at Sywell was found to be inadequate. This together with the policy of dispersal and the benefit of taking work to the people instead of the reverse with consequent saving in travelling, led to premises being requisitioned including Abram’s Garage, Earls Barton – used for undercarriage and bomb beams.’

The full document can be viewed below.

Second World War recruitment poster.

Second World War recruitment poster.

Around 2,000 people worked for Brooklands either directly or indirectly during world war two. However, as the men were conscripted, much of the work fell to women to undertake, including driving the roof cranes that shifted wings and tail fins into position, installing electrics and stitching a planes linen carapace.

The women who recovered and stitched the linen on airframes were nicknamed ‘Dope Judies’.  The word dope referred to the layers of dope that formed the outer skin of the aircraft that the Irish linen was treated with.

Flight Mechanic website explains:

‘Fabric-covered aircraft play an important role in the history of aviation. The famous Wright Flyer utilized a fabric-covered wood frame in its design, and fabric covering continued to be used by many aircraft designers and builders during the early decades of production aircraft. The use of fabric covering on an aircraft offers one primary advantage: light weight. In contrast, fabric coverings have two disadvantages: flammability and lack of durability.Finely woven organic fabrics, such as Irish linen and cotton, were the original fabrics used for covering airframes, but their tendency to sag left the aircraft structure exposed to the elements. To counter this problem, builders began coating the fabrics with oils and varnishes. In 1916, a mixture of cellulose dissolved in nitric acid, called nitrate dope, came into use as an aircraft fabric coating. Nitrate dope protected the fabric, adhered to it well, and tautened it over the airframe. It also gave the fabric a smooth, durable finish when dried.’

Wellingtons under construction, showing the geodetic airframe.
Wellington bombers under construction, showing the airframe.

Stitching  tightly with a curved needle, at a regulation eight stitches per inch, so the wind could not rip the seams open, the mostly female workforce worked 12 hour shifts, six days a week, in damp unheated hangars.  


Further information

The footman and the wharfinger

Please note: This page is a work in progress – if you can help write this story, please get in touch
This story came about after researching William Thompson, the father of my great grandfathers second wife. In researching William I came to learn about John Humphrey and his family and I wanted to record what I found.

John was born in St Olave’s Southwark in 1825. On the 1851 census, aged 24, he is living at 5, Cavendish Terrace, Clapham, Wandsworth, London and Surrey, England with his wife Emma. His occupation is given as Wharfinger (the term means keeper or owner of a wharf and is pronounced wor-fin-jer). Ten years later on the 1861, John and Emma can be found at the same address, now with eight children (Edmund, Mary, Henry, Ernest, Francis, Herbert, Stanley and Constance) and five servants, including a William Thompson, born in Dallington, Northamptonshire, (who I believe is possibly the father of my great grandfathers first wife), employed as a footman.

John Humphery and William Thompson on the 1861 census.

Baptised on 6 January 1826, in Bermondsey, St Olave, Southwark, John was the son of John and Mary Humphery who were living at Dean Street. On the baptism certificate the occupation of John’s father is given as Wharfinger too.

Baptism certificate of John Humphery.

On 5 October 1847
John married Emma Cubitt at St Leonard, Streatham, Lambeth, England. John’s profession is given as Squire, John’s father is named as John Humphrey, Alderman of London and Emma’s father is named as William Cubitt, Sheriff of London.
Marriage certificate for John Humphrey to Emma Cubbit.
After John’s death, it is possible to continue tracing Emma’s life via census returns. The 1871 census shows her aged 41, now the head of the family, living in Kensington with eight children. The 1881 census shows her living  in the Borough of Westminster at 63 Princes Gate with six children and nine servants and her living arrangements with a large number of servants remain similar in 1891 and 1901 too.

The Tallow Chandlers Association

On learning about John Humphery I contacted the Tallow Chandlers Association to see what more I could learn and they advised me as follows.

Between around 1760 and 1938 there were at least four John Humphery’s two of whom were Alderman. The first was John Humphery, a soap boiler from Shadwell and the first of the Humphery’s to become a member of the Tallow Chandlers’ Company – his father, William Humphery, was also in the tallow trade importing oil and fats to Hay’s Wharf in the 1960s.

The second John Humphery was the famous Alderman Sir John Humphery (1794 – 1863) who was MP for Southwark from 1832 to 1852, Sheriff of London and Middlesex in 1832, and Alderman for Aldgate in 1836. He was also Master of the Tallow Chandlers’ Company in 1838 and 1858. This John was in control of Hay’s Wharf from 1840 and commissioned William Cubitt (the father-in-law of two of his sons – John Humphery and Sir William Henry Humphery), to design and build new warehouses in 1856.

The third John Humphery (1825 – 1868) was one of six sons (that are have listed on the database) of Alderman Sir John Humphery and was known as John Humphery the younger on our records.

The fourth John was Lt. Col. Alderman Sir John Humphery (1872 – 1938). He was born to James Arthur Humphery (son of Alderman Sir John Humphery (1794 -1863) and brother of John Humphery the younger (1825 – 1868). Among his many accomplishments, this John was Sheriff of London in 1913, Alderman for Tower Ward and Master of the Tallow Chandlers’ Company in 1919 and 1926. He fought in the First World War and according to a comment on his record – was temporarily appointed Town-Mayor of Ypres when his regiment was divided into several independent squadrons and had no one left to command. He was also awarded various medals as a result of his service

British History Online

John Humphery and William Cubbitt are both recorded on the British History Online website as  aldermen in an entry about 1851 which reads: 
‘William Cubitt. An eminent builder and contractor, younger brother of Thomas Cubitt, the builder of South Belgravia. He was re-elected to the Mayoralty at the close of his first year of office, partly as a consolation for his defeat in the contest for the parliamentary representation of the City on the retirement of Lord John Russell. He started the Mansion House Lancashire Relief Fund while Lord Mayor. His son-in-law, Sir William Humphery (son of John Humphery, Lord Mayor 1842-3) succeeded him as M.P. for Andover. His re-election to the Presidency of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital after his resignation of his Aldermanry gave rise to litigation, which was not judicially decided till after his death, the office having hitherto been regarded as tenable only by an Alderman of London.’

Port of London Study Group

An article about Hay’s Wharf by Gillian Barton on the Port of London Study Group website writes about the the Humphery and Cubitt families too, stating:

In 1840 the wharf came under the control of John Humphrey Junior, an Alderman for the City of London, Master of the Tallow Chandler’s Company, Lord Mayor of London in 1842, MP for Southwark 1832-52 and proprietor of Hay’s wharf from 1838 – 1862. In 1856 he commissioned William Cubitt to design and build new warehouse accommodation. He created a small inland dock so barges could gain access from the river, with a five storey warehouse on each side of the new dock. Business was good, until the Great Fire of Tooley Street in 1861. Described as ‘the greatest spectacle since the Great Fire of 1666’, it destroyed the “best warehouses in the kingdom”. The fire started at Cotton’s Wharf, destroying 11 acres of land. London Bridge railway station also caught fire in the blaze. Most of the wharves were rebuilt in the late 1800s as a result of Humphrey’s partnership with Smith and Magniac (whose company later became Jardine Matheson).’

Other information

On 17 July 1846 John Humphery was awarded The Freedom of the City.  
Freedom of City document.
Freedom of the City Admission document for John Humphery.
John Clark from the group Historic Southwark: Camberwell, Southwark and Bermondsey explained ‘Originally you couldn’t carry on a trade or business in the City of London unless you were a ‘freeman’ of the City – that is, a ‘citizen’. Three main ways of becoming a freeman – apprenticeship (through one of the livery companies/trade guilds) (not very common these days); ‘redemption’ (paying a fee); or ‘patrimony’ (if your father was already a freeman when you were born).’
‘John’s freedom certificate shows it was by patrimony. His father the MP was ‘citizen and tallow chandler’ and the witnesses confirm that John Junior was his legitimate son.  A few hundred years earlier this would have meant that John Senior was a tallow chandler by trade, making candles out of tallow – but by the 19th century many of the livery companies had lost their links with the actual crafts and trades. But to become a freeman/citizen of London you had first to be a member (freeman) of one of the companies – so no obvious reason why John Senior opted for the tallow chandlers when making his first step to power and influence’.
The graves of two John Humphery’s can be found in Battersea Rise Cemetery and photos of these can be found on the Find a Grave website below.

The will of the second John Humphery recorded by the Tallow Chandlers Association was proved on 11 December 1868.

Will of John Humphrey.


John, Martha and Elizabeth Peach

I learned about John and Elizabeth Peach while researching the Thompson family, with their names appearing on the 1871 census together and with Lucy Munn’s described as Mother in Law. Elizabeth Peach also appears on the 1901 census, where she has a 21 year old servant named Lucy Thompson working 25 Margaret Street, Northampton. Elizabeth is described as a widow and ‘living on own means’.


In 1851 John Peach, aged 34 is recorded as a market gardener with one employee. Married to Martha, they are living at Gold Street, Northampton.


In 1861 John and Martha can be found living at 17 Gold Street. They have a six year old visitor called Selina Starmer and one servant.


In 1871 John and Martha are living alone at Billing Road, St Giles, Northampton. Aged 54 John is described as a retired market gardener.


Aged 64, John can now be found living at 8, Billing Road, Northampton. Again he is described as a retired market gardener but he is now married to Elizabeth Peach and Lucy Munns, described as mother in law, is living with them.


John Peach died in 1885 leaving a personal estate of £2.200.

Details of the will of John Peach.


The Northampton Mercury reported the auction of three highly desirable properties at Gold Street, Victoria Street and Billing Road Northampton.

Thompson, Munns and Peach families

Prior to marrying my great grandmother Milly May Bowers, my great grandfather Joseph Charles Abram was married to Lucy Thompson.  Although not an actual ancestor, I have discovered her  family to be very interesting, so their stories appear below.

George and Lucy Munns

I learned about George and Lucy Munns while researching the Thompson family. Lucy Munn’s name appeared on the 1871 and 1881 census returns along with William and Harriett Thompson.


George and Lucy Munns, both aged 35 can be found on the 1841 census, living at Todds Lane Johnsons Square, St Sepulchre, Northampton.


In 1851 George and Lucy are living at 1, Nelson Street Square, St Sepulchre Northampton, Both described as shoemakers, they have four daughters, including a daughter Harriett aged seven.


In 1861 George and Lucy are living at 27, Vernon Street, Priory of St Andrew, Northampton. Harriett aged 17 is employed as a shoe machine worker.


In 1871 a Lucy Manns is recorded as living with William and Harriett Thompson at Russell Street, Northampton. William is employed as a riveter, Harriett as a machinist and Lucy as a laundress.


In 1881 Lucy Munns is again recorded as living with William and Harriett, living at 42 Great Russell Street, Northampton. Interestingly though, Lucy Munns, a widow also aged 75 and described as Mother in Law can be found recorded at 8 Billing Road Northampton, living with John Peach (a retired Market Gardener) and his wife too.*

* The 1901 census shows Lucy Thompson aged 21, working as a servant for a widow, aged 73, named Elizabeth Peach, at 25 Margaret Street, Northampton. Elizabeth is described as ‘living on own means’.