Beniston family

John Beniston commented (Nov 2nd 2013)…

I am currently researching Hill & Beniston coach builder of Bath Street c1920 also known as Borough Coachworks.

Admin replied (Nov 4th 2013)…

Last month I can across an article in the Ilkeston Advertiser of Sept 10th 1881.
It was headed ‘Primitive Methodist Chapel, Ilkeston’ and concerned a lecture at the Schoolroom there for the benefit of the Building Fund.
“After tea, as announced, a lecture on ‘Indian life and its teaching’ was given by Mr. Thomas Beniston who was able to speak from experience in consequence of having passed three years of his life in the land of Juggernaut.
“Mr. Beniston’s remarks were listened to with great interest, especially as he is a native of Ilkeston and well known to many of his audience. The lecture dwelt on the various castes of the Indian race, and the peculiar customs which distinguish them from one another. He also described the religious bodies of the country, and the festivities which were celebrated under their auspices at certain stated periods.
“Mr. Beniston announced his intention of returning to India for another period of three years, and promised that if he was spared to return he would bring much from abroad to interest further the people of his native place.
“His lecture was illustrated by an excellent display of Indian curiosities.
“Mr. T Shaw presided in a most humorous manner. At the close of the meeting a vote of thanks was heartily accorded to Mr. Beniston for his kindness in giving such an interesting lecture”.

£5 was raised by the lecture!!

This Thomas may have been born in Basford about 1855, son of William and Eliza (nee Chambers) … the family lived in Extension St and then Albert St.
If it is this Thomas, then he had a brother William (sorry … should be Arthur!), born in 1850 in Basford, who married Louisa Grimley in 1872… and they too made their way to India, to Tardeo, Bombay (Mumbai)

John Beniston commented (edited) (Nov 11th 2013)…

Wiliiam bn 1819 Heanor was my Great Great Grandfather, Thomas bn 1855 & Arthur bn 1849 were his sons and the brother of my Great Grandfather James bn 1863. I have not been able to find the death of Arthur, he may have died abroad. The following from may be of interest…

Written by Chris Laycock, re TOM BENISTON

Tom Beniston and his Brother Arthur were in the Hosiery business.
I have a letter written by Tom Beniston from India 5 Dec 1879

It would be apparent that Arthur stayed out in India with his family for some years, but Tom came home more often. Indeed Tom may have also perhaps later been away on business we think to Russia and South America as well as New Zealand.

Perhaps he was working for a Mr H.. ; and perhaps he did a few for himself.

Of the same period we have 2 photographs – perhaps about 1893 – one of the Beniston children alone – and another with Tom (note the full set) and his first wife Jane – with Alvina, William, “Kitty” Eliza Jane, Edith, and Nellie, but there is no Gertrude.

We do also have a letter of Feb 22 1887 to “my dear Gerty” from Nellie at Station Road.
There had obviously been some celebration in the town that day.

We have the front page of a Bible given to Miss Nellie Beniston in 1902 – but not the rest of the bible.

The first picture we have of Tom’s 2nd wife Sarah J was taken in Blackpool 1902.
and We have another picture of William, Kitty, Alvina, Nellie and Edith.

And then its 1912 and the marriage of Charles Henry Green and Eliza Jane Beniston. With 2 Beniston sisters and Tom and his 2nd wife, plus lots and lots of Benistons – not many Greens. It seems like all the Great and good of Ilkeston are assembled in this hall – but which hall is it?

Centre stage however is taken by 2 younger children, who we see again in a picture with 4 Beniston sisters and Sarah J (Toms 2nd wife), and is this the lost Gertrude?
They are again pictured aboard ship with Tom Sarah J and Alvina in the Tasman sea en-route to New Zealand where the picture of Alvina was taken. The younger Gentleman – I’m sure my Grandmother said it was a “Mr Allen”.
But of all the sisters, we think only Alvina ever went with Tom on his travels. Unfortunately many artefacts went missing from Balmatta during her later years when she was alone in Balmatta

Other pictures include; –

A few more pics of Tom
James Green – died 1888
GGreen is I think our Granny Green – James 2nd wife dressed like Queen Victoria – as they did.
And one of Granny Green and Auntie Nelly Green

So Balmatta – 21 Gregory St – did get its name from India.
Balmatta had the latest in coal fired central heating (apparently it did not work very well)
The front room of one of Tom’s houses was indeed Ilkeston’s first Telephone Exchange. I have a Postcard of 1909 addressed to Mr T Beniston at “the Telephone Exchange … Street”, (can you please decrypt the address). I think Tom may have been interested in a quicker way to India. So perhaps it was not “Balmatta”.
But Charles was by then a telephone engineer, we have his address in Bath Street in 1910, and that is perhaps how Charles and Eliza Jane met.
The other family house my mother could just remember was I think in Station Road by the canal
I’m sure we spent 1 Christmas with Auntie Edith at Bath Street – and my sister remembers staying overnight at Balmatta

So my grandpa’ Charlie remained for a few years in Kirby Rd Ilkeston, and remained close to the Benistons and Woolleys, even after being posted to Barnsley – another chapter. But on his retirement he moved to Lenton Abbey, – close enough to Ilkeston without being too close. So I have a few quotations; –

Jo Woolley – “ I’m going to kill a cow now, Charlie, are you coming ?”. – well Jo had many out buildings – perhaps his own abattoir in a few out buildings at the back of the shop and apparently killed his own livestock; (I don’t know if Charlie went). He would be out in Bath Street selling his meat until late in the evening, in the days before even the butcher had a refrigerator.
“Let’s sing that one again !” he would say at church – and they probably did.
“Eeh Mrs Woolley – my back fair opens and shuts !!” –attributed to an Aunt Lizzie Crute
Mrs Woolley – to one or more or the children – “ Go to so and sos and get some … , Tell them its for Mrs Woolley and it will be alright “ , and also “ go and tell Mrs … to come and do the washing up for us “ . –
My mother thought it must be wonderful to go shopping without any money, and get Mrs …. to do the washing up !
She thought it must have been wonderful to travel half way round the world on the Bibby Line, and really wanted to ask Grandpa Tom all about it, but never could.
When the whole family was at home they had the biggest game of cards. A version of communal patience called “Donkey”. When my mother was just old enough to play, she was in awe and played with great trepidation -very careful not to make a mistake. Imagine if Jo Woolley spotted a mistake his shout of “Fob” would wake the whole of Ilkeston.

Nellie Beniston worked for many years for the Singer Sewing Machine company, in their large shop at Sheffield, demonstrating, and perhaps also selling them. She was certainly an ace with all the fancy stitching, and would sell some of her handy-work as well !

When my mother lived in Barnsley they would always pay her a visit in the shop and went to Sheffield often. We called her Auntie Nellie Beniston the distinguish her from Auntie Nellie Green who we called Auntie Nellie Boscombe, because she lived at Boscombe I have assumed that this was a nickname used for Charles’s younger Sister “Ada Margaret”, but maybe not as we have a Diary of Charlies from 1893 – still reading.

I have many more photos from 1916-1920 mostly taken around Christchurch (even on the priory roof !) and Bournemouth. Granny Green was living in Bournemouth by then. But I am sure that many of these photos include some Benistons.

Admin replied (Nov 11th) 2013)…

Thanks so much for all this information … and for taking the time and finding the motivation to send it through.
I think we may need an extra/supplementary page on the Benistons.

John Beniston commented (Nov 12th 2013)…

It was reported within the Beniston family that Alvenor Street was named after Alvina Beniston. That area was developed by the Shaw family (Brick manufacturers and House Builders), who had a number of links with the Benistons toward the end of the 19th century. Other contiguous streets in the same area have boys` forenames. There was also a street BENISTON PLACE which not longer exists.
(from my late fathers notes)

John Beniston commented (Mar 13th 2014)…

Letter to newspaper. Florence Beniston (age 10) (Arthur Benistons daughter) and her family were from Ilkeston but lived in Bombay for a number years…..
From the CARDIFF TIMES 1 AUG 1885

Here is a charming little letter that has come to me all the way from India. I think my little correspondent must have a heart as warm as the climate, and am glad she does not mean to for sake me.

Mr dear Aunt Maggie.—I am sure you will think I have really forsaken you, but think you will forgive me when I tell you the reason why. Our friend in England has not sent us the proper newspaper for the last four months, but papa has sent to them about it and I was delighted when I saw the that the paper contained the Children’s Hour once more. I always open the paper so eagerly, and when papa told me the Children’s Hour had come, I jumped for joy to bear more about dear Aunt Maggie. I have plenty of things to tell you about, as I have had much time to think. The principal thing I have to tell you is that we have had a native Rajah and Rannee (that is King and Queen) living in the next bungalow to ours and he invited us in, and he put some oil on the back of our hands, and on papa’s neck he put a splendid garland and to mamma he gave a splendid bouquet, and he gave me a stick about half a yard long, covered with sweet smelling roses. He went away two days after we went to see him. I was quite interested in last week’s paper to read about white ants. My papa’s writing desk is all being eaten away by them, and the floor is all over little specks of wood. I have seen a great many ants, Bombay is full of them, and if you leave a glass on the table for a minute, that has had sweet stuff in it, by the time you comeback it will be full of ants. But we try to keep them away as well as we can. It was my sister’s birthday on the 30th of May. She was a year old. She is a good little dear and if she hurts herself she begins to grumble and beats the thing that has hurt her. She has only got four teeth, and if I am talking to mamma and papa., she will nearly bite my finger end off. Sometimes she bites so hard that I scream right out. It is very hot now and we have a punkah (fan) in our hand nearly all day, and if we hurry ourselves a little, jump or run, the perspiration runs down our forehead and I drops off at our nose end. I jump into the bath of cold water twice a day. Everybody that comes to see us say first thing, “Oh, isn’t it hot” or something like that. I should very much like to see you, and if papa was to come to England I could not rest till I had seen you. I know a pretty verse of poetry, it was on a card I that was sent from England to me, this is it :—
Though many miles between us lie,
A long and weary way,
My love hath wings, and fain would fly
To greet thee any day.
I think it is very, very pretty indeed. I am sure this is a very long, long letter indeed, and I have no more to say—From your known, but unseen friend FLORENCE ANNIE BENISTON. Bellasis Lodge, Yardee. Bombay, June 9th 1885

John Beniston commented (Mar 22nd 2014)…

Nottingham Evening Post
Tuesday 23 March 1937
Death of Mr T Beniston of Ilkeston
The death of Mr T Beniston , occurred suddenly at his home in Gregory Street Ilkeston, yesterday, at the age of 81.
Mr Beniston had had a remarkable career, and was a much travelled man.
At the age of 25 he went to Bombay to manage a hosiery factory for a Nottingham firm of manufacturers. For various other firms subsequently he went in a similar capacity to Russia, Italy, New Zealand, India, and Brazil, making more than a dozen voyages to Brazil.
In the course of his wanderings he learned many languages, and could converse in Hindustani, Kanarese, Russian, Portuguese, and Italian. Right up to the last he took an active interest in public matters and politics. In his earlier years he was a member of Ilkeston School Board, and was an old member of the Ilkeston Methodist Church Bath street Ilkeston.

Admin replied (Mar 24th 2014)…

Thanks for the continuing contributions. I have included them in the “Benistons” page.

John Beniston added (Dec 26th 2014)…

I have eventually found the death of ARTHUR BENISTON brother of Tom, father of Florence Annie Beniston, he died at Peille Alpes-Maritimes France on 19 November 1938.