17.13 – Thomas and Mary Forbes, and Samuel and Amy Grindrod

Samuel Grindrod was last seen being mentioned in the story of Clara and Leslie Forbes – the wife and son of Thomas Forbes junior. What’s his connection to the Forbes family? And who were they?

Thomas Forbes (senior) was born in Salford, Manchester in 1842. His parents John and Elizabeth (Allen) Forbes had lived in Manchester for some time – John originally hailed from Scotland, and Elizabeth was from Besses o’th’ Barn, near Bury. Thomas was their fourth child and they would have four more after him. John was described on the 1851 Census as a “brass founder journeyman”…it seems strange to think of travelling smelters, but there we go. You went where the work was, and there was plenty of work for metalworkers of all varieties in Manchester in the 1830s. The Industrial Revolution was strong and the railways were expanding rapidly, so someone willing to move around and find work had plenty of opportunities, even if they weren’t likely to get rich off of it. For all that these workers were needed, they were still workers.

John died before 1861, and at that point we find most of the Forbes children having left home. Only Thomas, sister Mary and brother John are still there. Thomas was now working as a roller coverer – covering the mechanical rollers used for spinning yarn. In 1867 he married Ellen Grundy, a fellow Mancunian. They continued to live at Salford and started their own family.

Thomas slowly moved away from working in mills as a wire roller and became a dealer in wire rollers and other hardware. This allowed the Forbeses to move out of the working classes a little and established Thomas as a small business owner, essentially. The family now lived at Greengate along with other lower middle class business owners – butchers, provision dealers, rates collectors and shopkeepers, and their servants. Greengate is described as the historical heart of Salford, but ironically, Greengate itself as a road is completely clear of all traces of that – look on Google Street View now and it’s nothing but fancy high rises and carparks. Their time in Salford was nearing an end though, as Ellen died there in 1886.

The family was thrown into disarray. The 1891 Census shows Thomas and his daughter Ellen living in Walsden at Butcher Hill, Thomas boarding with a retired draper named Alice Sutcliffe and her family and other boarders. The other children are nowhere to be found. Many would soon follow though – Elizabeth Ann would marry Fred Lapish in Walsden in 1899, and they are buried at 14.43; Thomas junior we already know about, marrying in 1906; Mary (more on her later) would appear in the 1901 Census; and Amy would marry Samuel Grindrod in Walsden in 1907. In 1891 Thomas is no longer a hardware dealer but is a spinning reed maker. He also begins to appear in the Todmorden newspapers in connection to the local Conservative Club.

Todmorden Advertiser, September 22nd 1893

In 1901 the Forbes family were established at 289 Rochdale Road – the two Thomases, Mary, Ellen and Amy. Mary was at home keeping house and Amy was a cotton weaver. Mary’s presence at home could be because she was the eldest daughter left in the home, or it could have been a signal that her health didn’t allow her to work at a manual trade like her sisters. She died in February 1905. Two years later Amy married Samuel Grindrod, as we mentioned before.

Samuel Grindrod was born in 1883, the same year as his future wife, in Todmorden, the son of Joseph Henry and Elizabeth (Livesey) Grindrod. Joseph was a music teacher and Samuel was one of thirteen children, most of whom were engaged in manual trades rather than the intellectual life. One is almost tempted to think the children were subsidising Joseph’s career somewhat! In 1901 the children remaining at home (home now being Stansfield Road) who aren’t too young to work are working as a fustian tailoress, an iron moulder, a mechanic, a cabinet maker, and a cotton weaver. Samuel was clearly a young man who wanted to do his own thing, and from 1903 he is named here and there as a Private in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. He was lucky to not join earlier and end up in South Africa!

Samuel and Amy’s marriage moved them both out from their family homes and the couple settled at White Platts Street, not far away. In the meantime Thomas Forbes senior’s health had begun to fail, and he died in 1909 at the family home on Pellon Street in Walsden. The Grindrods had no children of their own and indeed, in 1911, had Amy’s nephew Dennis (Thomas junior and Clara’s son) staying with them briefly. Samuel’s mother Elizabeth died in late 1914 and we learn from her obituary that her two unmarried sons, at that point, were both in the army. Samuel wasn’t the only one who was lured by the excitement of it…but Samuel didn’t go, in the end. No record of an exemption for him can be found in the local newspapers but it could be that the search function isn’t picking his name up. We know he survived, because for most of the rest of their lives he and Amy lived at 26 Joshua Street, appearing there on multiple electoral registers for the Sowerby constituency.

Samuel died first, in 1938, and Amy followed in 1949. The final line on this gravestone is “re-united”.

One Comment

  1. Pingback:12.10 – Sarah and Doris Grindrod – F.O.C.C.T.

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