Thomas W Crosland and Elizabeth Crosland of Bradford and Darlington
Thomas and Elizabeth Crosland of Bradford and Darlington
Thomas William Crosland was born on 26 April 1843 in Bradford, Yorkshire. His father was Robert Crosland (1812 – 1855) who owned the Union foundry in Manchester Rd, Bradford. His mother was Tabitha Crosland (nee Parkinson 1814 – 1849). His mother died when Thomas was 6 years old and his father died when he was 12 years old. At the 1851 census Thomas’s aunt Ann Crosland is living with her brother Robert to help him raise his six motherless children. They also had a governess and 3 servants living with them.
Thomas inherited the Union Foundry. He married Elizabeth Swann (born in Bradford on 17 April 1844, died 1929) in The Registers Office, Bradford, 8 February 1865. His occupation and address were listed as, “engineer living at 5 Ashgrove, Horton, Bradford” when he married Elizabeth. They had 4 sons and a daughter:
1. Robert George Crosland born in Bradford (1866 – 1916)
2. William Howard Crosland born in Leeds (b. 1868)
3. Ernest Crosland born in Leeds (1871 – 1904)
4. George A. Crosland born in Bradford (b. 1874)
5. Ethel Crosland born in Darlington (b. 1876).
After 10 years of marriage in 1875 they were living at Darlington with their five children when his foundry business failed and he left his Elizabeth and the five children. His mother-in-law, Rebecca Swann wrote in her ‘Recollections etc of my life’ about how Thomas met, married and then abandoned Elizabeth:
“He was brought up amongst the Society of Friends but found his way among ‘Brethren’ while residing in Birmingham. When he returned to Bradford he attended the same meeting with us, and not infrequently visited at our house. He was young and inexperienced but possessed of means and at the time engaged at the Foundry which his father had owned (Father and Mother were both deceased) that there seemed no valid reason why they should not be married, but I think had we been judicious, we should have counselled a somewhat longer delay, but we cannot tell.
The union did not prove such a happy one as we had fondly hoped, and in about 10 years poor dear Lillie had to apply for a legal separation which was at once granted; they were then living at Darlington. Bitter as was the experience, the result was, I venture to think, a merciful deliverance from a life-long thraldom. It was not of her own choosing and there was but one course open to her. TW Crosland had made an assignment, the officers were in the house preparatory to a sale of their effects, and he left her (original emphasis) with their 5 children without any means of support.”
Robert George Crosland left England at about 18 yrs of age to sail to Australia. His sister Ethel remembered saying good-bye to him when she was very young and how sad it was for all the family as they were afraid they would never see him again, and she never did. He didn't come back to England to visit and she lost contact with him. He married Susannah Jordan in New South Wales. They had 3 sons and 3 daughters: Howard Crosland; Sydney Sharp Crosland; Clarice Sarah Crosland; Edith Mabel Crosland; Robert George Crosland and Edna Ethel Crosland born in 1899.
He became Harbourmaster at Newcastle, NSW and died in 1916.
William Howard Crosland, known as Howard, was born in Leeds 1868. He was recorded at Darlington in the 1881 census. He married Nelly and they had a son, John Crosland. He died in Sutton in 1953. The following obituary appeared in the Sutton and Cheam Herald on 18 December 1953.
“The cremation took place at Streatham Crematorium on Tuesday afternoon of Mr William Howard Crosland, a former Alderman and Mayor of Sutton and Cheam who died at his home, The Gallop, Sutton, on Friday. He was 85. Mr Crosland was first elected to the old Urban Council in 1920, was Chairman five years later and was one of the first Aldermen to be elected when the town was created a borough in 1934. He became Mayor in 1941-2 and retired from the Council in 1948. Mr Crosland was a chemist and until his retirement many years ago, owned two shops in the town, one in Grove Road, and another one in the High Street. He was also a former chairman of Cuddington Hospital Board, and one of the oldest members of Sutton Bowls Club. Mr Crosland was extremely active for a man of his age, and was still driving his car up to 6 weeks before his death, which followed a short illness.” His son John Crosland became a doctor with a practice in Harley Street, London.
Ernest Crosland was born in Leeds 1870. He was recorded at Darlington in the 1881 census.
He was a science teacher at Watford Grammar School and according to his sister Ethel, was highly regarded. He married Nelly Richards (1877 – 1900) and they had a son, Alan Crosland, born 27 May 1900. Nelly died shortly after giving birth to Alan. Ernest’s sister, Ethel Crosland remembered how Ernest got sick and died. He had been riding a motor bike which broke down on his way home. He became very hot pushing it up hill, then caught a chill which turned into pneumonia and he died.
George A Crosland was born in Bradford 1873. He is recorded living at Darlington in the 1881 census.
He married Laura …? They had two sons and one daughter: George Crosland born in 1893; Robert Crosland born in 1901and Margaret. Margaret married Vicar Head. George’s business was running a group of laundries. He used to carry around a photo of Princess Alexandra - he thought her the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen!
Ethel Crosland was born in Darlington 1876. She is recorded as living at Darlington in the 1881 census.
Ethel’s mother, Lillie, ran a little school at her home and in this way managed to make enough income to bring up her children. This must have been how Ethel became a teacher, probably helping her mother and then going out to teach on her own before eventually running her own school for girls. Ethel was a keen teacher before becoming a probation officer.
Ethel felt very close to her brother Ernest’s son, Alan Crosland because Ethel and her mother, Lillie Crosland had raised him from a baby after Ethel’s sister-in-law, Nelly Richards, died following childbirth.
During the bombing of London in the Second World War Ethel went to live with her nephew, Alan Crosland, whom she had helped to raise. Alan and his wife Biddy had three children Elizabeth, Richard and Sarah at ‘Weston Hall’, an old farm house at Foxearth in Suffolk. Ethel was a great aunt to the children and they called her 'Granty'. She passed down many stories about the family to them during the War.
Elizabeth remembers Ethel ran the parole department in London and was based at Scotland Yard Police Headquarters. Elizabeth remembers going with her mother, Biddy, to visit Ethel in her very nice office in the old Scotland Yard building which overlooked the Thames river. Ethel was on the plump side, but well dressed and had quite an air of authority about her. Ethel used to talk to Elizabeth about her work in prisons and how inhumane the conditions were for prisoners confined in very small cells. She was very keen on prison reform and as a probation officer was instrumental in bringing about some improvements. She was also very friendly with the lady (Elinor Wilkins ?) who organised the march and marched at the head of thousands of people marching from the north of England to London during the General Strike of 1926).
Elizabeth Crosland remembers, "My most vivid memory of Granty is of her playing the piano, which she did beautifully. She had been almost concert standard when young and had been taught by Tobias Matte, who was a well known piano teacher and only taught students who showed real promise of being concert standard. At the farm we often had percussion evenings with Granty at the piano, Richard, Sarah and myself playing, drum, cymbal or tambourine. She also taught the us to sing. I'm sure she was very influential in bringing out the musical side of Richard. Granty used to sew beautifully and she taught me to knit. She used to sew dresses mostly in Vyella for my sister, Sarah, and me, often with smocking, but most of this stopped during the war ( 1939-45) because clothes and clothing materials were rationed and it was possible only to have what was absolutely necessary - mostly school uniforms, a pair of grey flannel shorts and 2 or 3 jumpers for winter and in summer old school dresses for messing about in at home. While Granty stayed with us at Weston Hall she was always given breakfast in bed, partly because she didn't like getting up early and partly because I think my mother liked to have an hour or two without her in the mornings! It's only now that I realise it must have been difficult for my parents always having her around. I rarely remember any feelings of tension. One day Richard and I were picking hazelnuts behind a hedge along one of the country lanes around Weston Hall, when we heard Granty coming along the road. We waited till she had just gone past and then jumped out at her from behind. She threw up her arms and staggered backwards, sinking into the long grass beside the road. She looked shakey and didn't seem to be responding very well. I was sure she'd had a heart attack. I left Richard with her and ran home to get my mother, terrified of what she would say to us. However, I was quite surprised when I found her and told her what had happened, that she almost dismissed the incident and I had to be persuaded to come and see Granty. She obviously felt Granty was putting it on a bit, and taking advantage of the situation! I think my mother was right, Granty managed to walk home and didn't seem to suffer as a result. I think she was sent to bed to rest and we weren't punished at all !"
After the war, Ethel moved to her flat in Shortlands in Kent, near London, but was unable to manage on her own. She became very depressed, was admitted to a psychiatric unit in Peckham, London, where she received electro-shock treatment. Ethel was eventually transferred to another hospital in Colchester, to be near Biddy and Alan Crosland. Biddy Crosland visited her regularly.
She had never married and died in 1957 at 81 years of age.
Thomas William Crosland’s Life after 1875
Elizabeth and their children never heard from T.W. Crosland again after he left in 1875. However, after a year or two his family did contribute 25 Pounds a year for three years to help Lillie and the children.
In an 1876 Directory of Darlington Thomas was an agent to C. Davidson and Sons, paper manufacturers of Aberdeen. He was then living at Woodlands Terrace.
At the 1881 census T.W. Crosland is a lodger living in York whose occupation is described as “Commercial Traveller in Tea and Coffee”.
On 31 October 1882 T.W. Crosland arrived in Quebec, Canada on the ‘Circassian’ from Liverpool.
T.W. Crosland married Emma Eva Brown who was also English.
On 4 June 1886 their daughter Ella Eva Crosland is born in Windsor, Essex, Ontario, Canada. His occupation is listed as “Brass finisher”
In 1887 Thomas, Emma and Ella migrated south to the United States.
At the 1900 US census they are living in Detroit, Michigan and his occupation is again listed as “Brass finisher”.
At the 1910 US census they are living in Main St, Los Angeles, California. Thomas is listed as a “Helper” in an “RR Shop” and Ella is a saleswoman in a clothing shop.
At the 1920 US census Thomas and Emma are living on San Raphael in Burbank California. His occupation is listed as “Gardener” for “Private Homes”.
At the 1930 US census Emma Crosland is a widow living with her daughter Ella and son-in-law, Leroy Bradley (1882 – 1950).