Arthur Shortland and Frances Milbah Polle

Arthur Shortland was one of 12 children born to Richard and Eliza Shortland.  Further information about Richard and Eliza can be found below.

The information below was give to me by Linden Kilby who is the great great grandson of Arthur Shortland and Frances Polle.

Arthur Shortland  Frances Shortland.

Linden told me:

The details you have provided about Richard Shortland pretty much match with the details of what I know about him. He was in the army and stayed on in Australia. He ran a successful freight operation in Sydney, his company would transport goods by dray from the ships in Circular Quay to the warehouses in the city from what I know.

Eventually, as the younger generations took over, the business was forced to fold. However, the children didn’t do too badly either. I believe one was a judge and another owned a music shop.

My great great grandfather was Arthur Shortland. He was born in Sydney on 10 February 1867 and he was married to Frances Polle who was born on 29 February 1868 in Redfern. They married on 23 April 1900 at St. James Church, Sydney. Arthur died in Turramurra on 21 June 1945 and Frances in Hornsby on 30 August 1955.

The Shortlands were not a close family, so not all that much is known about them. For Frances this would have been a big difference, because the Polles were a very close family. It is known that Arthur was a quiet man whose occupation was a draftsman – he was listed as a Government Official on the Electoral Rolls..

Arthur and Frances had three children, Milbah born in 1901, Arthur born in 1902  and Elma born in 1909. Milbah was the family member who everyone admired, for she won honours at Sydney Girls’ High and completed two University degrees. She matriculated with honours, graduated BA, Dip. Ed. from Sydney University and entered teaching at Cootamundra. Stan and Milbah had five children. In order of birth they were Helen, born 1927, Ruth, born 1928, Stanislaus, born 1930, Patricia, born 1931 and Denis, born 1936.

Arthur and  Frances were reasonably wealthy and when Stan Riley married Milbah, the wedding was held in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.  Milbah was forced to resign from teaching at this time as married women were not employed  in those days. However, during world war two, with most men at the war, women were re-employed. She became a French teacher at Cooks Hill High School (Newcastle), then Wollongong.

At age 80, Milbah became interested in music and because she couldn’t understand the names or lyrics of German Classical songs, learnt German and in one year was conversing and corresponding fluently with German nationals.

At age 82, Milbah was diagnosed with stomach cancer and rather than die a slow, painful death, she starved herself to death. She died peacefully at home with all her children in attendance.

A brilliant woman, who due to the customs of her time who never reached her full potential.

 

Pam Taylor (nee Shortland)

Pam Shortland is the daughter of Percy Douglas Shortland. Percy was born in 1880 and married Edith Ramsay in 1919. The couple had three children, Pam, John and Judith. Percy died in 1954 and is buried in Rookwood cemetery, Sydney.

Pam’s grandparents were John Shortland and Louisa Douglass who were married in Richmond, New South Wales in 1878. John is thought to have been the fourth son of Richard Shortland who came to Australia from England in 1841 and married Eliza Butts.

Pam told me:

‘Eliza Butts came from England when the spinning industry went bankrupt and proceeded to have I am told 12 children. Richard must have worked hard because he succeeded in buying up many houses and hotels which he left to his children although the girls seem to have been provided with money. The story I heard was John raised his family on the rent he collected from his houses. Richard died in 1887 or there abouts. The family talked about these aunts and uncles but I can’t remember meeting them.’

‘After a fair amount of research I haven’t been able to go much further except to discover Richard’s father was the eldest of the family and he joined the army when his father died at quite a young age leaving a number of dependant children. His father was also called Richard and Richard’s wife was Mary. I cannot recall her surname.’

Stories about both Richard and Eliza can be found on this website.

Shortland shoemakers

In papers given to me by my great aunt Dorothy, she noted that John Shortland (the brother of my great great grandfather William Shortland) had started a shoe firm in Irthinglingborough, Northamptonshire, so I set out to investigate.

I had always known that Northamptonshire was famous for making shoes and boots and that it was likely my ancestors had been involved but I never expected to find them involved to the extent I did.

Information about the firm Dorothy referred to was initially located on The Rushden Heritage website which indicated the firm was actually started by John’s father, also called William.

In 1875 the late Mr. William Shortland left his native Harrowden to seek work in the trade at Irthling-borough where he soon established himself and was one of the first to install a sewing and stitching machine. In 1891 he built the Tower factory where he and his sons, John and James, made shoes for the wholesale market. Eventually, John Shortland started business on his own account and in 1899 founded the Express Works, which during the past 59 years have been extended many times. On his death in 1934 the management passed into the hands of his son, Mr. Hugh Shortland. The development of the well-known “Wearra” fitting system, covering slim, medium and broad fittings in men’s, women’s and youths’, started in 1936.

Information about John Shortland Ltd was located on the National Archives website and about information about William and John Shortland on the Grace’s guide website where I discovered a large selection of adverts for William Shortland, John Shortland and Wearra Shoes.

I subsequently contacted the Irthlingborough History Society and Roy York and Philip Watts told me about Wearra shoes and the Express Works factory where the shoes were made.

The Shortland family I was told were ‘very important in the town employing many local people and Hugh Shortland’s name appears on the foundation stone of the local Methodist church. The hall, coincidentally, is where the history society holds it’s meetings. A reproduction of the giant plaque, on the now demolished Express Shoe factory, is being placed on the buildings of the new development being built at the moment on the large site in the centre of the town next to St. Peter’s church.’

The society also kindly sent me the photos that appear below which show William and John, photo three is believed to be James (John’s brother) and Hugh Shortland.

They also told me about a book titled ‘Clicking to Closing’ which contains information and memories about the work of my ancestors and it was lovely to read about the contribution they had made to the town and also to read they didn’t just run a successful business but appeared to care about the welfare of their staff too, boasting the axiom ‘The best use you can make of surplus profits is to invest them in the welfare of your employees’. In a strange coincidence, the book was printed and bound in the premises formally occupied by John Shortland Ltd – The Express Works in Church Street.

Sadly, the firm, which had become known as David Scott Shoes and was one of Irthlingborough’s largest employers, closed in 1982 with the loss of 320 jobs and today not one shoe manufacturer remains in Irthlingborough – in October 2002 R Griggs Ltd announced that production of Dr Martens in the town would cease, bringing to end, an industry with which the town had been associated for many hundreds of years. I feel incredibly fortunate however to have discovered such a wealth of information about my ancestors and the work they did and to be have been able to gather it here for my family and others to learn about them too.

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My Shortland ancestors

My Shortland ancestors originate from Northamptonshire. My great grandmother, Louisa Jane Shortland and my great great grandfather William Shortland were born in Weedon and my great great great grandfather, John Shortland was born in Flore.

Information about the name Shortland can be found on the Find My Past website below.

I have been able to trace my Shortland ancestors through census returns.  The 1881 census shows Louisa Jane, living in Weedon, aged three, with her father William (a widower) and his sister Emily, also Louisa’s brother Ernest and their grandparents.  The 1891 census shows Louisa is still at home with William in Weedon but he is now married to Alis and there is is a daughter Bessie. In 1901, Louisa is still in Weedon but now working as a parlour maid.

By 1911, Louisa has married my great grandfather Albert Edward William Clarke, a police sergeant and they are living together at Factory Row Police Station, Pottersbury.  Their two eldest children, Dorothy and  Edward who died aged four in October 1911,  are also shown, together with a visitor, Cecilia E Glenn, a certified midwife. The 1911 census doesn’t appear to coincide with the births of any of Louisa’s children that I can see but my father believes Louisa had a number of miscarriages, so that could be the reason.

It has also been possible to keep track of Louisa’s father William. In 1861 he is aged seven, living in Weedon with his parents John and Jane and siblings, Henry (recorded as an invalid), Richard, Sarah and Emily. In 1871 he is aged 17 and still living with his parents and sister Emily and but in 1881, William is recorded as a widower, living with his parents and sister, and his children Louisa and Ernest.  He remains a resident of Weedon on both the 1891 and 1901 censuses.

The census returns also show my great great grandfather John Shortland – aged 36 in 1851, he is married to Jane and living with children John, Richard, Sarah and Mary.  In 1861 William and another daughter, named Emily appear and Louisa Jane and her brother Ernest show on the 1881 census too.

He rode to war on a penny farthing

Ernest Henry Shortland was the brother of my great grandmother Louisa Jane. Born in Weedon, Northamptonshire in 1876, for most of his life he worked as a wheelwright.

Ernest and wife Laura outside the house Ernest built at Braefield

As a young man, Ernest joined the local section of the First Battalion, the Northamptonshire Volunteers and would travel with his colleagues on Penny Farthing bicycles to Daventry weekly, to take part in combined company drill and exercises. On arriving in Daventry, the cycling soldiers were greeted with shouts of ‘here come the mounted infantry’.

At the outbreak of war, Ernest volunteered for service but because of his age was advised to join the County Police and this is how he came to Braefield. As a war time police officer, he had many experiences, including chasing German prisoners of war who had escaped Pattishall Camp. who were located hiding in a a wood and escorted back to Northampton.

Ernest died in Braefield aged 91 and at that time was the villages oldest man.

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The railway man

The photo below was sent to me by my relative Keith Shortland – Keith is the great grandson of Ernest Shortland and I am the great grand daughter of Ernest’s sister Louisa Jane.  Our family comes from Northamptonshire but we are aware of Shortland’s in other places too.

Railway man

Neither of us know anything about the man in the photo but there are a number of clues that in time may help us discover who he is.

The man is wearing a uniform and his hat and jacket both read ‘L&NW’.  I have learned this is the uniform of the London and North Western Railway (L&NWR). It has been possible to date the photo as 1922 or earlier. This is because L&NWR was absorbed into the London Midland and Scottish railway (LMS) on 1 January 1922.

The chevrons on the man’s jacket are interesting too but looking at photos online, these don’t appear to have been part of the standard uniform and to date I have been unable to find out anything about these.

On his waistcoat the man appears to be wearing a pocket watch and I have found photos of pocket watches online, with L&NWR showing on the watch face. These were made by John Walker of London and I wondered if this is the same watch the man in the photo is wearing and whether the watch could have been a long service award.  I contacted Simon Turner at G.W. Railwayana Auctions about the pocket watches that are displayed on his website. Simon advised ‘none were given out as awards, some members of staff provided their own and some were issued official company marked watches ie. Guards.’

I have also learned that leaving the bottom waistcoat button undone was custom, because of Prince/King Edward being quite rotund and being unable to do it up, so everyone else followed suit and this is still the norm today.

The photo was taken by Pollard Graham and gives addresses in Derby, Wigan and Leigh.  A history of this photographer can be found below.

The company appears to have started business in Derby in 1878. The Photo-Sleuth website states that a portrait business was operated from premises at Rodney Chambers, Corn Market in August 1890 and that from 1903 until 1910, Pollard Graham also operated in other Midland towns, including Peterborough, Burnley, Leigh and Wigan. All photos from these branches were styled ‘Pollard Graham,’ with no suffix’ (as is the photo shown on this website), so it would seem likely that the photo was taken during this period, although Pollard Graham, continued to take portraits at Rodney Chambers, Corn Market from 1926 until his death in 1932.

The Shortland family

Below are some of the stories I know about my Shortland ancestors.

Albert and Louisa

Albert and Louisa were my great grandparents on my fathers side of the family.

Albert Edward William Clarke served with the Northamptonhire Constabulary from 1 December 1899 until he retired on 6 October 1931.  On joining the force he was described as a native of Welton, Northamptonshire and during his service he served at various stations in the county. On retirement he held the rank of Sergeant and was described as having an exemplary character.

The pulpit inside of St Martins Church, Welton was carved by a number of local people, including Albert. It was dedicated on St Michael and All Angels Day 1899. The vicar at the was Rev Edward Liddell.  A plaque appears on the wall next to the pulpit that reads ‘To the Glory and for the Love of Their Church’.

albert-clarke-4

The photo above is a postcard sent by Albert on 7 June 1911 to Mrs A E Clarke, Police Station, Pottersbury, Stony, Stratford, Bucks.  On the back it reads: ‘Dear Lou Hope you are all well pleased to say I am alright, not quite as busy as on Monday. I do not know yet if it will be Sunday or Monday we shall leave here with love to you all. Ted’

Louisa Jane was the daughter of William Thomas Shortland and Elizabeth Jelley and she had one brother, Ernest Henry. When Elizabeth died, William re-married Alis, who had a daughter called Maud. William and Alis, later had a child together called Bess.  The photo below shows the four children  (Ernest is pictured at the back, with his hand on Louisa’s shoulder) and William and Alis.

louisajangirl

william-and-alis

bess-clarke-will

Ernest lived to be 91 and Bess died a spinster, leaving thousands of pounds for charities in Northamptonshire. Before marrying, Louisa was in service, looking after three children in a family called Armitage. Albert and Louisa had six children – Dorothy Margaret, Edward Alexander, Cecily Mary (known as Molly), Kitty Alexandra and my grandmother Delia Eileen.

 

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