Neighbours Hithersay, Brand and Raynes

Adeline now moves on in her description to “the houses and shop opposite (to Wheatley’s Yard and the noisy Irish) which were built later.  The shop was occupied by Mr. James Hithersay, junior”

James Hithersay junior

James Hithersay, son of James and Ann (nee Bancroft), was a grocer like his father and was at 7  Nottingham Road by 1871. This was at the top of Nottingham Road, on the northern side of what we could call White Lion Square.
In March 1864 he married Mary Whitehead, the eldest child of Hassock Lane blacksmith Richard and Emma (nee Glazebrook).
The Hithersay’s eldest child was Richard Benjamin who has provided us with a few contributions already as RBH.
We shall meet elder daughter Ann shortly.
Second daughter Renee Kirkby –whose name was derived from James’s maternal grandparents Joseph Bancroft and Elizabeth (nee Kirkby) —  was to marry grocer’s assistant Albert Henry Whitmore in 1890.

In the late 1870’s James developed a nervous condition, possibly depression, which led him to stay indoors during the daytime and to go for prolonged and solitary walks at night, sometimes by the side of water, where he would occasionally stop, stoop down and bathe his face. His appetite diminished, reducing him to ’a mere skeleton’.
On Saturday, September 3rd 1881, between the hours of nine and ten at night, James left his house at 7 Nottingham Road and was seen about an hour later near his house, as if he had been round the town. However when he did not return home, his family became concerned and organised an unsuccessful search to find him.
Early on Sunday morning, about 8.30am, Samuel Syson of Trowell, a young errand boy, was crossing the Nottingham Canal at Trowell Bridge when he saw a body in the water. He raised the alarm, the body was quickly recovered and identified — by his aunt Martha Daykin? —  as that of James. He was wearing his slippers, had a purse in his pocket and his billycock hat buttoned inside his waistcoat, possibly to use to bathe his head.
Had he not been engaged in another criminal case –  A Study in Scarlet — and had he been visiting Ilkeston at the time, Sherlock Holmes may have looked upon the battered billycock as ‘an intellectual problem’.
He may have deduced from an examination of the hat that its owner was a grocer of middle-age, ‘fairly well-to-do within the last three years, although he has now fallen upon evil days. He has foresight, but has less than formerly’, pointing to a mental retrogression. He was a man who leads a sedentary life, ’goes out in the evening, is out of training entirely, has grizzled hair which he has cut within the last few days, and which he anoints with lime cream. And, by the way, it is extremely improbable that he has gas laid on in his house’. (adapted from The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle)
The coroner at the subsequent inquest the following afternoon — at Trowell schoolroom — could offer no such insights.
Nothing was revealed to suggest foul play and the coroner felt unable to decide between suicide and accidental death.
The jury verdict therefore was ‘found drowned’.


Henry Brand and family

Adeline now leads us to “the next house of Mr. Brand, chemist” … at 6 Nottingham Road.

Son of Richard and Elizabeth (nee Pridgen?) and born about 1811, Henry Brand of Wellingore, just east of Newark in Lincolnshire, left that area about 1850 to appear as a gamekeeper at West Hallam village. With him came his wife Lucy Emma (nee Morley, whom he had married on November 16th, 1835) and several children.

By 1870 he was trading as a chemist in Bath Street and by 1871 was in the White Lion Square area where he died in 1876.

In January of 1874 their oldest child, Harry Morley Brand (born 1839), resigned as Secretary of the Ilkeston and Shipley Floral and Horticultural Society when he was appointed as Collector to the Ilkeston Waterworks. He was already Collector to the Gas Company.
By the time of his marriage in May 1875 to Catherine Beardsley, youngest daughter of Bath Street grocer/baker/draper John and Kitty (nee Skevington), he was living at 6 Queen Street, and shortly after this the couple moved to the Spring Cottage Inn, replacing Griffin Wagstaff. He was then described as a ‘house agent’ and ‘licensed victualler’.
In January 1887 Harry Morley Brand was appointed to the office of hall-keeper to the Local Board, at a wage of 18s per week.

The 1881 Census shows Henry’s youngest son, commercial traveller George William (born in 1852) on remand without bail, banged up in a police cell at Heanor Police Station on Mansfield Road. He had sold Bath Street tobacconist Rupert Francis Keeling some tobacco manufacturing machinery which he didn’t own, and had taken money for it. The next eight months were also spent in a cell, with hard labour.

Similarly son Alfred (born in 1846) found himself in trouble with the law in November 1898. He was employed as a gardener for William Small & son at their Lawn nurseries in Lawn Road, and was accused of working a horse while it was in an unfit state. P.C. Kilmartin spotted the gelding attached to a cart but very lame in the two near legs and alerted Alfred who, initially seemed unconcerned. The animal was later examined by Inspector Robinson of the R.S.P.C.A. and then a vet who found it worn out and suffering from navicular disease. Alfred swore that the horse was previously healthy, had developed the limps only when working on hard surfaces, and this was supported by a number of other witnesses. All of this cast doubt in the case, such that Alfred (and his employers) were given the benefit of the doubt.


The Raynes family

” and then Mrs. Raynes, dressmaker”.… at 5 Nottingham Road.

Dressmaker Mrs Elizabeth Raynes (nee Wild) was widowed in 1871 when her husband of 20 years, Joseph, a worker at Stanton ironworks, died.

We shall meet this family shortly as we walk along the east side of South Street.


But not before we visit Samuel Rice and others.