When planning a summer-long bridal tour to the U. K. after his marriage in South Africa in 1907, might Oupa (Arthur Henry POOLE) have been guided by the following passage from the Old Testament?
When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken. Deuteronomy 24:5
Practices had changed considerably since the arranged marriages of the Old Testament, so Oupa probably wouldn’t have needed a year to “cheer up” his wife. But, having married so far from Wales, he must have wanted enough time to introduce his new bride, Letitia Selina MINNAAR, to his family and friends and to show her the places he had known while growing up. Also, considering the many miles that separated South Africa from Wales, he might have realized that this opportunity would not present itself again for many years, if ever, and that he and his wife should take full advantage of it.
In the absence of any photos, letters or other firsthand accounts of their trip, I’ve turned to the censuses for Wales for 1901 and 1911 to determine the likely status of Oupa’s parents and siblings in 1907.
Ten children had been born to Herbert Brooker POOLE and Mary JONES, three of whom had probably died in infancy since none of them appear in any census. The oldest, Herbert William (b. 24 Jul 1867), had died in the latter part of 1901. The six children still living in 1907 are listed below with their birth dates.
Perceval — 6 Aug 1869
Mary Laurina — 1st qtr. 1871
Charles Edwin — 3rd qtr. 1873
Arthur Henry — 6 Oct 1875
Drusilla — 20 Dec 1880
Louisa — 1st qtr. 1883
According to the 1901 census, Herbert Brooker and Mary had retired from their Swansea textile-dyeing and dry-cleaning business. They were living at 2 Richmond Villas on Ffynone Road in Uplands, a suburb about a mile west of Swansea’s city center. According to city and county records for the now-listed building, it was one of a group of eight two-story villas built ca. 1860. It would appear that it was a comfortable house of some size, probably with four bedrooms on the second floor, sufficient to accommodate five adults.
Still living with Herbert Brooker and Mary in 1901 were Charles Edwin, an assistant schoolmaster, and Drusilla, an assistant schoolmistress, both unmarried. Louisa was probably also living at home at the time although she is listed as a visitor in another household in Swansea (unmarried, no occupation given).
Herbert W., a textile dyer, had married Marian WITHERS in 1898; their Swansea household in 1901 included an 18-month-old son, Harold.
Perceval, a schoolmaster, unmarried, was a lodger in a household in Newport, Monmouthshire.
Mary Laurina, a trained district nurse, unmarried, was boarding with two other nurses in a private home in Llanelly, Carmarthenshire.
Ten years later, at the time of the 1911 census, Herbert and Mary were living alone at 21 Trafalgar Terrace; they listed their dwelling as having three rooms, including the kitchen.
Marian WITHERS, the widow of Herbert W., had remarried in 1905 to Alfred A. BROOKES, a textile dyer and cleaner. It is likely that Marian had inherited her late husband’s business and continued to run it with her second husband, since her address was the same as in 1901. A second son, Leslie, had been born a little over a month before his father’s death, and appears for the first time on this census. Marian’s older son, Harold, and Alfred’s 15-year-old son from a previous marriage, Clifford Owen BROOKES, were also part of the household.
Perceval had married Ethel Elizabeth TYSON in 1904. In 1911, he was a schoolmaster in a Newport, Monmouthshire, council school. He and Ethel had two young sons, Percy John, 5, and Harry, 1.
Mary Laurina, a “professional nurse” working at a hospital, was boarding with a family in Oystermouth, just west of Swansea.
Drusilla, a “certificated elementary school teacher” was boarding with a family in Newport, Monmouthshire.
Louisa, a hospital sister, worked at the Lady Forester Hospital in Broseley, Shropshire, England. Given the high staff-to-patient ratio as shown on the census, it appears that the nursing sisters and servants might have been resident at the hospital.
Looking at all of the above data, it would appear that most, if not all, of Oupa’s siblings had moved out of their parents’ home by 1907. Given the difference in size between the homes at 2 Richmond Villas and 21 Trafalgar Terrace, it seems reasonable to assume that Herbert Brooker and Mary were still living at the first address and that the newly married couple would have stayed with them during much of their visit.
In a future article, we’ll consider the sights they might have seen during their visit.
“Oupa” and “Ouma” are Afrikaans for “Grandpa” and “Grandma.”
The quote from Deuteronomy is taken from the King James Version of the Bible as found on http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+24%3A5&version=KJV.
The 1911 census states that Mary had had ten children of whom six were still living. However, only seven children appear in any census records, so I assume that the other three died as infants or young children.
The instructions for the U. K. census asked the householder to record who was in the household during the specific night of the census. Visitors would be listed in the household of their hosts, while persons who were away for the night would not be listed in the household where they normally resided.
To see an aerial photo of the house, search for <No 2 Richmond Villas> at www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk, select from the list of addresses on Ffynone Road, then click on the Bing Bird’s Eye View tab. No. 2 is second from the left in the row of eight villas. According to this site, “A listed building in the United Kingdom is a building which has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. … A listed building may not be demolished, extended or altered without special permission from the local planning authority… For a building to be included on the list, it must be a man-made structure that survives in something at least approaching its original state.” 2 Richmond Villas is a Grade II listed building; “Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*.… Owners of listed buildings are, in some circumstances, compelled to repair and maintain them and can face criminal prosecution if they fail to do so or if they perform unauthorised alterations. When alterations are permitted, or when listed buildings are repaired or maintained, the owners are often compelled to use specific (and potentially expensive) materials or techniques. This, in turn, increases the cost of insuring the building. Listing can also limit the options available for significant expansion or improvement.”