Ari's Derbyshire ancestors in 1921

The release of the 1921 census has given us a glimpse into the lives of some of Ari's ancestors, but some are still proving elusive. I'll go through the branches of his tree separately, starting with his mother's father's side, from Derbyshire.


The Spencer family were living at 29 Mill Street in Belper, the address given on Henry Spencer's marriage certificate in 1928.


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In the house were Ari's 3x great grandfather David Spencer, aged 57, who was working as a cotton warehouseman for the English Sewing Company on Bridge Street. Elizabeth Spencer, his wife, was 51 and lists her occupation as "home duties". Their daughter Mary Ann, 22, was working as a hosiery linker at George Brettle & Co., Chapel St. Elizabeth, 21 was a cotton doubler at the English Sewing Company. Henry, 19 (Ari's great-grandfather) was a cotton overlooker at the same company, and David, 17, was a cotton packer there too. Also living with them was Elizabeth's mother Mary Ann (Brewell) Pearson, aged 77 (Ari's 4x great-grandmother), who had been widowed in 1911.


Looking at their occupations, a hosiery linker would have operated a linking machine, which "joins two portions of hose or other knitted goods; places two fabrics to be joined, side by side and loop by loop on a circle of needle points which travel slowly round and finally pass into stitching zone where loops are connected by chain stitching" (A Dictionary of Occupational Terms Based on the Classification of Occupations used in the Census of Population, 1921). A cotton doubler operates a machine which twists two or more strands of cotton fibre together to form a thread. An overlooker was someone who examined finished work and sometimes also does clerical work in the factory.


Ari's 3x great-grandmother Elizabeth (Phipps) Sims was 44 in 1921. Her husband Fred had died of Spanish flu in 1918, so she was the head of the household. They were living at Town St, Holbrook (no house number given). Her daughter Emily was 21 and working as a silk winder at Milford Silk Mill. (A winder is "an operative who minds any type of winding frame, winding thrown silk or spun silk yarn; threads ends of strand from skeins through guides of machine to winding-on bobbin, cop, pirn, etc.; stops machine and mends broken strands by twisting-in; replaces full bobbins with empty ones and vice versa; in winding from several small bobbins to one large bobbin, pieces lengths of yarn as necessary"). George William Sims (below) was 17 and out of work, although he gives Drury Lowe, Denby as the place where he wasn't working! (I assume this is the colliery there.)


Then we have Ethel May who is 15 and says that she has "left service and [is] now at home". Louisa is 13 and a home help. Horace, Ari's great-great-grandfather, is 11. Joseph is 10, Walter is 6, Mary Ellen is 4 and Leslie is 3. None of the children are listed as being at school.


Mary Ann (Bunting) Wheeldon, Ari's 4x great-grandmother, was living at Yew Tree View, Holloway with her husband Samuel. They were both 69. Samuel was "unable to work", and died at the same address the following year, of a chronic progressing disease of the nervous system.


Their son, John Edgar Pearson Wheeldon (Ari's 3x great-grandfather) was living at 189 Nottingham Road in Belper.