Each week, Alan Burnett of News From Nowhere randomly dips into his collection of vintage postcards and investigates what comes up.
This week's treasure was by Charles Dana Gibson, creator of the Gibson Girl.
This card, however, did not feature a Gibson Girl.
It was postmarked 1903 and addressed to a Fred Beckett in Worksop (in Nottinghamshire), apparently following a visit to his mother, who'd posted the card at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire.
Send me a Program of the Bazaar when they are out.
I will do something for it with love from Mother".
to find the answer to Alan's burning question:
Who was Fred Beckett?
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UK censuses reveal that in 1901, 16 yr-old Frederick E. Beckett was a student and boarder (street address not given) in St Cuthbert's College District, Worksop.
St. Cuthbert's wasn't a college per se, but a boarding school for 13-18 yr olds. Even though the census data was two years old, we can assume Fred was still there in 1903.
The census gave "Oughty Bridge, Yorks" [Yorkshire] as his birthplace. The correct spelling is Oughtibridge (or Oughtybridge), and it's a village near Sheffield, Yorks.
Because "Fred (or Frederick) Beckett" is a rather common name in the UK, Oughtibridge and the middle initial "E" would be the keys to tracking "our" Fred.
In the 1891 census, he was a 6-yr-old at home with his parents, John and Catherine Beckett, at 33 Elmore Road, Nether Hallam, a "borough" of Sheffield, Yorks, much like Brooklyn or Manhattan is to New York City.
John's occupation was "commercial traveller", and he and Catherine were born in Sheffield, as were all of Fred's siblings. Apparently Fred was the only child to enter the world in Oughtibridge, in the Dec Quarter (Oct-Nov-Dec) of 1884.
Luckily for us, Fred's older brother, John Smith Beckett, was still living at home in 1891. By 1901 he had left home.
In the 1911 census, Fred is shown as a 27-yr-old boarder in the home of widow Esther Jane Mortimer at 75 West St, Erith, Kent. We also learn his middle name is Ellis, that he's still single, and employed as an "engineer's fitter" (whatever that was).
Notice Frederick Ellis Beckett's birthplace is Oughtybridge!
At 27, a fellow is probably thinking about marriage, right?
The next stop was the BMD (Birth Marriage Death Index), which showed that in the Mar Q 1916 (Jan-Feb-Mar) a Frederick E. Beckett had wed Annie J. Lait in St Olave's Bermondsey, part of Southwark, London.
Kent being not far from London, Fred could've moved to London in the 5 years since the census...
Good thing I didn't assume this Fred was our Fred and stop there. A bit more digging revealed Annie Jane Lait had married Frederick Ernest Beckett.
A private named F.E. Beckett had entered the army in Mar 1916, survived combat in France and mustered out in 1919. But his post-service home address was Camberwell, a section of Southwark, meaning this was also "Fred Ernest", Annie's husband.
in the BMD either...so where was he?
Well, ever since Oct 1919, farming in Canada of course.
(I didn't see that one coming either!)
Specifically, on R.R. No. 2, Puslinch, Ontario,
with his brother, John Smith Beckett.
visiting England. He sailed from Southampton on 3rd Nov.
The passenger manifest is two side-by-side pages, so
I had to split them up. Click to view full-size.
He went to England on the Empress of Australia, sailing
from Quebec on 31st Aug 1927, arr Southampton 7th Sep.
His address while in England was to be
"c/o Mrs. Beckett, The Haven, Flamborough, England".
Flamborough is a village on the coast of East Yorkshire.
I'm assuming "Mrs. Beckett" was Fred's mother Catherine,
then 77, and this was the last time he would see her.
Fred's brother, John Smith Beckett, had emigrated to Canada
in 1903, landing at Montreal from Liverpool on 5th June.
The following year, on 16 Nov 1904, he married Mary Minerva
Ruddell in Wellington Co, Ontario. He was 28 and she 19.
The marriage record stated he was the son of John Beckett
and "Kate" (Catherine) Smith. By 1911, John and Mary were
parents of two children, Frederick Joseph and Catherine.
As of 1927, "our" Fred Beckett had never married.
More of Alan Burnett's delightful musings.
Have a great day!