2.6 – George Hollinrake

George’s brother in law John Mitchell lies just a few plots away, and we saw the connection while researching John’s story. John was married to George’s sister Grace and died a year before George, in 1915. Who was George?

George’s story starts with his parents (as do most people’s stories). Joseph and Charlotte (Rawson) Hollinrake married in Rochdale in 1845 and would have seven children over the course of the next 24 years. George was the second to last child, born in 1860. The Hollinrakes were almost all weavers and at as young as 10 years old George was a half-timer and had an occupation on the census – that of doffer. Doffers would remove the bobbins which had filled up with spun fiber and replace them with empty ones. Doffers had to be small and quick, and speed was rewarded by being able to quickly go back to larking around while the spinning then continued. By 1881 he was too big to be a doffer and had graduated to weaver.

George was a devoted Methodist and a talented singer and performer, and combined his two loves by performing at bazaars, gala events, and other social evenings at Salem Primitive Methodist Chapel. In 1889 he married Elizabeth Greenwood of Hollins, a year his junior, at Salem. Later it would be more commonly known as Knowlwood Methodist and George appears in newspaper articles as a regular performer and singer linked to the chapel. As early as 1889 he was also the secretary of their Band of Hope Union, ie. a committed teetotaller. Later he would also be part of the Sunday School Union commitee, possibly in a teaching capacity. A busy man, on top of his weaving!

Todmorden District News, February 23rd 1900

The Hollinrakes settled at Butcher Hill, and later Knowlwood Road. The pair had a lovely happy marriage from what we see later on, but they never had any children of their own. One of George’s siblings had several children out of wedlock (likely one of his sisters given all three children had the Hollinrake surname) and one, Clara Williams Hollinrake, went to live with the pair at some point before 1901. Because she didn’t have children to look after Elizabeth was free to (or at least, able to) work, and worked as a cotton winder. Clara worked as a weaver and after her marriage to Thomas Forbes in 1906 brought George and Elizabeth to the marriage with her. In 1911 Clara, Thomas, George, Elizabeth, and George’s sister Mary Jane lived as a family unit at 3 Danholme (part of what is now Gauxholme Fold).

Thomas and Clara’s marriage certificate – George is one of their witnesses

George died here at Danholme on April 5th 1916. Elizabeth must have missed him dearly as her in memoriam a year later is uniquely worded, and making reference to his fondness for singing.

Having said that, Elizabeth’s in memoriam was in April 1917, and her second marriage took place in June 1917! She married Alfred Eastwood, a fellow cotton weaver and fellow bereaved soul, at Springside Wesleyan. Alfred’s first wife and their son are buried at 2.41, just under the cedar tree in the corner where the graveyard, school, and Burnley Road meet. Alfred himself is also buried there, having died in 1941. Where’s Elizabeth? There are two Elizabeth Eastwoods whose deaths happen at the right age to be her – one in 1930, one in 1942. The 1942 one is buried here but we don’t know where, and we don’t know where the 1930 one is. Either she rests with her parents somewhere, or she’s buried with either George or Alfred and the burial not recorded.

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  1. Pingback:10.7 – Clara and Leslie Forbes – F.O.C.C.T.

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