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12 Jan 2012

primitive conditions and pins in Eyam

Although my great-great-grandmother died in 1901, she left a few clues.  Her estate wasn’t finally settled until 1976 and her photograph has recently emerged.  Also, her cousin survived until the edge of living memory, the 1940s.  This was Hannah Beresford - unexpected child of an elderly aunt who was soon an orphan.  I remembered that Hannah had a half-sister and wanted to follow her up.  She had gone up to Huddersfield in service and married a widower when she was 17, and later remarried in Manchester.  Fortunately the census keeps track of her, as she is reliably stated as being born in Eyam, every time.  Her only son from the second marriage was killed in the Great War.  But this unexpected record gives us the name of Hannah’s dwelling, ‘Corner Cottage’, in Eyam.   I believe the sisters moved back in together in old age.  Cousins remember going to visit this house and being startled at its basic living conditions.  Hannah has left me a puzzle.  She sends a postcard in the 1930s having put a pinprick next to her face in the crowd.  Smart girl! The postcard is hundreds of miles away and I have only the digital image - do you think I can find this pinprick?

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