This could turn into an addiction!

March 12th, 2014, 10pm

It was 7°C with no clouds detected. The breeze was light.

I was walking back to my office from a lunchtime meeting in another university building today and happened to be taking a route past the Hotel Russell, which was looking as splendid as ever in the glorious Spring sunshine, so I just had to take a photo.

It just so happened that my most recent postcard acquisition was another one from this Hotel, sent 110 years ago - a lovely (albeit brief!) note from a father to his son. Here is what it says:

19th Oct 1904. 6.45pm

Dear Aubrey,
We have just returned
from the Exhibition + are
going out for the evening.
With love from

What is impressive is that the card is postmarked 7.30pm that same evening! Nowadays if you wrote a card at 6.45pm it would be the next day before it would be picked up and processed. The exhibition referred to was probably the exhibition at Earls Court, although I need to do a bit more research to confirm that.

The address on the other side of the card is:

Master Aubrey Crowther
Knowl Grove

A James Aubrey Thornton Crowther is shown in birth and baptism records as having been born in Mirfield on 30 April 1897, so he would have been 7 years old at the time he would have received this card. And we learn that his father’s name was Fred Jackson Crowther, so that’s the Daddy who wrote the postcard. Fred was a Maltster - one who prepared malt for brewing purposes - although the fact that he was staying at the Hotel Russell may well indicate that he was a business owner and not just a lowly worker!

I don’t know whether our Aubrey fought in the First World War but he would have been old enough to do so by May 1915. If he did fight, he clearly survived, as marriage records show that he wed a Margaret Jane Marriott on 25 October 1922, while living at Little Moor House in Mirfield. And death records show that he died on 21 June 1955, while living in Marmaville, Mirfield, aged 58. Loyal to the end to his place of birth!

Another delightful discovery: the road where he lived in 1904 - Knowl Grove - now lies off Crowther Road, presumably a tribute to an important family long associated with the area.

Yes, this kind of research has definitely become an addiction!

Maria, Arushi, David Wade, Vivien and 10 others said thanks.

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Adrian Tribe

A follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and father, a Kentish Man (not a Man of Kent), a commuter to London

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