4: The Bazaar
14 cots were installed with 32 beds also a convalescent room and sun room. In the January 1893 AGM Infirmary minutes it states:
'The happiness of the children under treatment in the hospital impressed upon the minds of everybody who went through and the manner in which they were nursed, cared for and supplied with such happy surroundings contributed greatly to well being of the children and the chairman of the committee would be glad if the ladies of the district would take the trouble to go up and look around for themselves. By doing so it would induce some either jointly or severally to contribute in the manner in which Mrs. Summers and Miss Bertha Mason had done for the maintenance of a cot and thus have their names inscribed at the head of the cot. They (the Committee) did not want the Children's hospital to be too heavy a burden upon the Institution.'
Well, quite. They are only children after all, not workers.
It was stated that a child's cot would cost £1000 to endow and £25/30 per annum to maintain. On the 8th February 1893 the first cot was paid for by Ada Summers in memory of her brother William, followed soon by another in memory of another brother Alfred. Then Bertha Mason jumped onto the bandwagon and funded the third one in memory of her father Hugh. Ada Summers was the widow of the ironmaster John Summers of Stalybridge. She would much later in widowhood become the Liberal Mayoress of Stalybridge. Bertha Mason was the daughter of the cotton master of the town of Ashton Under Lyne, Hugh Mason, the one time Liberal MP. Both extremely wealthy women but their monies made on the backs of the working men of Ashton and Stalybridge. They just wrote a cheque so to speak.
Cousin Maggie made her monies the hard way. She had, from the start, asked the children in her column to send gifts to the patients in the hospital. She used to collect flowers from her Little Cousins in her own home in Chester Square on Saturdays and take them up to the hospital. It is noted in the Hospital AGM minutes in 1894 Cousin Maggie donated an invalid carriage, 3 dolls, old hats, a suit of boy's clothes (which our beloved author H V Morton had worn?), apples and the fare to Southport for someone, perhaps a parent. Southport was where the children's convalescent home was.
In the Hospital AGM minutes of 1897 it states Cousin Maggie had donated another invalid carriage and over the year in the minutes I noticed she had often sent flowers - true, probably donated by members of the Kind Hearted Band, but nevertheless she organised them being distributed to the hospital.
In her interview given in November 1897 to her husband the editor, Maggie explains:
Years ago, as everybody knows, the KHB had a Bazaar (IN Ashton Town Hall) and were enabled to pay all the expenses and £30 to the Infirmary and to invest £300 in Ashton Corporation. For that Bazaar many difficulties had to be overcome. I was then somewhat, a stranger in a foreign land. I was not known and perhaps not trusted. The people of the town and district to all events had little experience of my methods.
I think it was April 17th 1893 - many of the ladies came to me in a body and said "Cousin Maggie, are you satisfied?"
I replied "Yes, for the first venture; may I count on your help again?"
They said "Yes, indeed you may and not only that but if anything should happen to take you away from Ashton we will try to finish the endowment."
Three of these ladies have gone alas to a silent land Mrs.--- etc. The rest of them took their stand firmly beside me and induced others, their personal friends, to help them. But I felt the first Bazaar, though individually supported by Stalybridge and Dukinfield was, with the exception of Mrs. Machell, (Who I now realise was her boss's wife) who managed the refreshment stall (Well Mr. Machell was, amongst other things, the proprietor of the Railway station refreshment bars in both Ashton and Stalybridge) mainly an Ashton effort.
I also felt that very little effort was needed to secure the cooperation of Stalybridge and Dukinfield. And that indeed in the end proved the case.
One by one I had to drop the those who were too sensitive to withstand mental or moral sirocco or who held very decided views and wished me to submit my judgment to theirs. I did not want to have any judgment in the matter at all.
But even with such limits, if not more tact and care, were necessary to banish the feeling of suspicion which my connection with a Conservative paper gave the movement than I was first aware of. However, I at length resolved to speculate a few pounds in circulars and postage stamps; I called a meeting in the Mayor's Parlour in Ashton.
"And with what results?" prompts Joseph.
"Many Ashton ladies - steadfast and true - attended the meeting. There was, however ,only one lady from Stalybridge (Mrs. Machell wanting to know what Maggie proposes to do with her hubby's name / money?) and one from Dukinfield (Mrs. Clarke, ancestor of our own Lord Coe of Olympic fame).
From the beginning the Stalybridge and Dukinfield stalls were slowly developed. Mrs. Machell mainly confined her attention to the refreshment stall but she was always proved herself to be a steadfast ally.
You have to give it to Maggie she was a smart operator. Keep the boss's missus onside and occupied then she can't get up to mischief. In the interview she goes on to explain just how she recruited and used nearly all the well to do ladies of the town, i.e. Miss Mellor's forte was obviously flowers, and anyway she had volunteered, so she got the flower stall.
Much later in the interview Maggie explains, albeit inadvertently, just why she ruffled feathers. She didn't like committees, and, as it is well known, the Victorians practically invented them. Maggie liked things done her way. Joseph prompts:
So much for the arrangements and the workers. Now Cousin Maggie, I should like to ask a question. It is this: "Why did you not have a committee?"
"Why should I?" (I wish he added in just what tone this was asked but he doesn't so we shall have to surmise)
"Well I have heard one or two dissatisfied people on this subject."
"So have I, but I should like to ask these people now if then can call my judgment an error. I should also like to ask them personally what a committee could have done for me that I could not do for myself, at less expense?
Another thing; when I know I have to do a thing I know whether it is done or not done. And my experience is that when others have had work entrusted to them in many important cases I had, after all, to do it myself at the eleventh hour; and all my worry over it wondering whether it would be done or not was so much waste of nerve tissue.
Practically speaking, the whole body of workers and the workers at every stall constituted a general committee. Moreover at the very onset I was asked at one of the meetings if I thought a committee could help me in any way. I said if it was quite the same to the meeting I would rather not be saddled with a committee and gave the very reason I have just given to you. I could not guarantee to work satisfactorily with a committee of ladies.
The meeting agreed with me, and I went a step further. I spoke openly and everyone who did not agree with my views had the opportunity of withdrawing. So now I am not a little amused that dissatisfied people should endeavour to peck me on that ground. But some folk must peck and when they are pecking me they are letting someone else alone.
Maggie's "first venture", the bazaar in the Town Hall, had been a success. Her annual treats in the Skating Rink were amazing and, with regards the numbers of children turning up, perhaps a little too successful, but her Bazaar in November 1896 was to prove her piece de resistance.
The Town Hall was being refurbished and therefore a new venue was needed and the architect of the children's hospital, John Eaton, was a great admirer of Cousin Maggie. He was also the Colonel of the volunteer militia force and they had a brand new building just across the road from the Herald offices - the Armoury which he willingly offered. This proved to be an excellent setting for Maggie's grandiose ideas.
Architect's Drawing of the Proposed Drill Hall
The revue in the Herald is very long and detailed but the Bazaar was so successful it merited several columns. Indeed Cousin Maggie's name itself (although they didn't go so far as to explain she was the wife of the Editor of the rival newspaper) was mentioned in the Ashton Reporter. The key to the success was who she invited - she went to the very top and asked the future Queen Mary's mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Teck, a granddaughter of George III.
She didn't come but:- she did respond to the invitation and allegedly sent the following:
...a small box of useful and beautiful articles from the Duchess of Teck adorned this stall on the second day of the bazaar," (it ran for an amazing three days) "and these and other things may be instanced as specimens of the wide and kindly interest taken in the work of 'Cousin Maggie' Among her Royal Highness's contributions were two crochet d'oyles worked by herself, two ostrich eggs, beautifully painted, a white wood photo frame, two blotting books, a satin paper rack, small painting on an easel, a fan, metal flower pot, a pair of small trays, two dolls, egg basket with cosies for the eggs etc. These things conveyed her Royal Highness's good wishes and were accompanied by the following card which Cousin Maggie had framed and placed predominantly on the stall.
Maggie being Maggie also got her public digs in to those who were invited and didn't come to the Bazaar during her interview;- Joseph prompts:
"Did you write to the Countess of Stamford and Warrington?"
"Yes, that is also true."
"What did she say?"
"Nothing. She never replied at all. Mr Henry Hall (the local agent of the Stamford estate) did his best to get a reply for me but he was as successful as I."
Maggie recruited all her gentlemen cohorts and their wives from her Treat days to assist her in the Bazaar; The Armoury / drill hall is a large building and she seems to have utilised every inch of it. She roped in her old friend, Councillor Joe Fisher, to decorate the place because, as is reported:
There was only a certain frigid military aspect in the surroundings to be got rid of, and under the artistic treatment of Mr. Joe Fisher this has been admirably accomplished. A most casual peep beyond the inner portals of the building shows the transformation to be complete. It is as though a magician's wand had been passed around the interior and evolved a wealth of colour from bare monotony, beauty from common place and brightness from everything.
The Herald played its part in ensuring that there was a good attendance by announcing it as a forthcoming event for several weeks ahead and this was crowned by Maggie bursting forth into verse again.
An Appeal for the Kind Hearted Band Bazaar
To be held in the Armoury Ashton under Lyne
November the 6th and 7th and 8th 1896
Wanted £800 to complete the endowment of a cot in the Children's Hospital of the Ashton and Stalybridge Infirmary.
(apologies to Lord Tennyson)
Half a month, half a month
Half a month onward
Into the Armoury,
To raise the eight hundred.
Forward the K H B;
Surrounded by friends are we! -
Into the Armoury
To raise the eight hundred.
Forward Kind Brigade!
Be not mind dismay'd!
I hope the plans are laid
Wisely - not blunder'd
Ours but to make you buy
But pay cheerfully
Knowing to what charity
Goes the eight hundred.
Kind hearts to the right of us,
Kind hearts to the left of us.
Kind Hearts in front of us.
Our hopes outnumber'd
Bravely we'll work and well
Cheerfully talk and sell
Until the sum we swell
Up the eight hundred.
We shall attain our aim
If by you aided.
Bring back to faces pale
Roses now faded:
Into a mother's heart
Sweet gladness bring.
While round a mother's neck
Soft finger's cling;
Your's shall the victory be,
Grant we it cheerily.
If from the gates of death
Bring we out faltering breath
With the eight hundred.
Kind hearts to the right of us,
Kind hearts to the left of us,
Kind hearts in the front of us.
Our hopes outnumbered,
Come then to our bazaar
Shout, shout the news afar
That we expecting are
Fully eight hundred.
Signed, Cousin Maggie
Apparently it worked, they came in droves.
It was to be a Floral Bazaar - you have to admire Maggie. This was Ashton under Lyne in November but...
It is a floral bazaar however and the floral idea is carried out not only in the nomenclature of the stalls but by the introduction of a separate and distinctive floral element into the embellishments of each. The central idea of the decorations is colour and much pains and great good taste have been displayed in the general arrangement and grouping of colours on various stalls.
It is doubtful whether the Armoury ever looked anything like so charming in the whole course of its useful existence as it does at the present time under the wealth of drapery and tasteful decoration.
The monies to pay for this initial outlay had been obtained by a Benefit performance at the Theatre Royal some months previously where Maggie had been the principal guest. The report on that in the Herald makes very interesting reading it was rather like a Britian's Got Talent show, Ashton style, although perhaps not so politically correct, with "Negro minstrels, etc."
Monies had also been raised at a musical evening held at St Peter's church where Maggie had been the guest celeb again. They raised enough monies for Mr. Fisher to use in creating the ultimate bazaar:
The material employed is art muslin, the colours of which vary to harmonise with the title and character of the stall. - Under the apex at the front of each stall a flowing garland of artificial flowers is suspended while the particular blooms from which the stalls severally derive their names are conspicuously displayed at other points the flowers in this case being natural.
Each stall was named after a flower; - Rose, Carnation, Lily of the Valley, Poppy, etc. and also delegated to the various districts Ashton, Dukinfield, Hurst, etc. She seems to have got her way as she explains in her interview and coerced folk from every area in the district to support her cause.
In the huge report of the Bazaar in the Herald every stall holder and their goods are mentioned and what industrious and creative people these Victorians were, for example:
"A small table and smoking cabinet chastely carved by Miss Gwendoline Mellor. A sofa blanket and bedspread worked in South Kensington design by Mrs. A E Mellor. A couple of framed etchings by Miss Judson, and two painted tambourines by Miss Marland of Old Street, Ashton. There was also a handsome sofa rug worked by Miss Gibson, a sofa cushion by Miss Louise Warhurst and painting on easel by Miss Dearnaley, some chrystoleum paintings by Mrs. E A Clark; a sofa blanket and pair of antimacassars to match; a pretty eider down quilt and hand painted fire screen table centre by Mrs. Underwood.
Our attention was drawn to a handsome medicine bracket in the shape of miniature sideboard with bevelled glass doors and a bevelled back mirror, presented by Mr. Boyes, cabinetmaker of Ashton.
Anyone who was anyone had participated in some way and were mentioned and Maggie even had her old adversary Bertha Mason working on the Violet Flower stall along with the lady Mayoress Mrs. Andrew and Doctor Hamilton's (of Chester Square) wife. The Misses Heginbottom and Raynors were also on that stall;- sectarian lines again. They weren't credited with having made anything in the Herald report and the stall was placed well away from Cousin Maggie's Chrysanthemum stall and the framed citation from the Princess of Teck.
Maggie had also used the Bazaar to enable companies to participate and advertise and sell their goods with a cut for her obviously;-
A bed and pillow filled with 'Elvo', also a lace web spring mattress specialty made for the K H B cot in the Children's Hospital was presented by Mr. J Platt of Stalybridge, on behalf of the 'Elvo' Flock Company and the Lace Web Spring Mattress Company, Mr. Platt being the district representative of both companies. The mattress patented is superior to either a water or air bed and is thus invaluable for invalids, whilst the 'Elvo' flock will never mat together and is always loose, lofty and clean as the best white flocked or feather.
Once again Mrs Machell had the refreshment stall named Marquerite and:
The refreshment department covers rather more cubic space than either individual sections. There is a large tea room at the bottom of the west side decorated to representing Indian veranda the colours of yellow and white. The enclosure is qualified to accommodate a considerable number of customers and is easily furnished and well provided. The refreshment headquarters is in close proximity.
The draperies here again are yellow and white. To describe the contents of this stall would be superfluous and it is scarcely necessary to add that the menu is generous and everything eatable and drinkable of the choicest and best.
And, interestingly, Mrs. Jeffrey Grime amongst others who assisted her.
Jeffrey Grime ran the Wheel of Fortune and seems to have been hidden behind a screen just inside the foyer so as not to offend the people who disapproved of gambling.
Herein Mr. Grimes is ensconced - by him all raffle books are dispensed and, to him, the proceeds are duly accounted for.
The raffling at this Bazaar is carried on systematic principles and Mr. Jeffrey Grime has this department of the business in hand.
So that is alright then. The 'hidden' gambling rule seems to have also covered two ladies coming from London to run the Heather stall ( a shooting Jungle).
Opposite Mr. Grimes in the foyer was a little garden:
...with an improvised rustic bridge covered with ivy and other creepers. From this rustic bridge disciples of Isaac Walton may angle in a silver pond beneath for fish may be had for catching.
at a price of course.
Two Manchester friends of the Machells also ran the Gypsy Tent.
The presiding 'divinities' are Misses 'Becca and Vida Habib of Manchester in which many fortunes good, bad and indifferent have been related during the last two days to the entertainment if not in every case to the satisfaction of clients desirous of peeping into their respective futures.
Maggie in her interview after the Bazaar said:
I must not forget the mention two friends who worked very hard for us and I'm afraid told more fibs than all of us put together, Miss 'Becca and Miss Vida Habib, who as cleverly fascinated us with their palmistry and fortune telling.
I wonder what future they foresaw for Maggie.
What was very much of its period was an oyster stall. Maggie's old friend (he of the hot pot and plum puddings fame at the Treats), John Moss "did great execution among a host of oysters and he was largely patronised." Oysters were apparently a staple diet in Victorian times so would have given much sustenance over the three day period.
But what was really amazing, considering all the work she obviously put in organising this event, was the amount of stuff Maggie made on her stall:
First and most prominent is a large Persian bedstead with spring mattress presented by Mrs. Vickers of Stamford Street. The appointment and furnishings of the bedstead as it appears completely made up are the handiwork and contribution of 'Cousin Maggie'. The needlework back displays a group of dahlias worked with arascene; the bedspread is of blue linen elaborately worked with white silk and finished with cluny lace and insertion. A pretty feature of the stall are a number of framed crystoleum pictures painted and presented by the same lady including such well known subjects as 'The Peacemaker', 'The Doctor', and 'The Village Wedding'. Her contributions also included a beautiful tablecloth finished with real lace, a box ottoman with plush centre outlined with gold thread and two large groups of single dahlias worked with arascene.
Wouldn't it be wonderful for H. V. Morton aficionados if any of these named crystoleum pictures had survived anywhere?
Maggie cleverly organised a local celebrity to open each day of the Bazaar starting with Mrs. Herbert Whiteley, wife of the MP. Mrs. Whiteley must have been delighted (she said she was) to drive in a carriage from Blackburn on a November morning. Mr. Whiteley tried to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, by making an official visit to the Infirmary and Children's hospital at the same time. On the Friday Maggie enlisted Mrs. T H Sidebottom, the Member for Stalybridge's wife, and on the Saturday Miss Angela Reyner 'consented to perform the duty'. Maggie had tried to get Mrs. Crawley of Heaton Hall to do the deed on the third day but as she explained in her interview; -
"Is it true that you asked Mrs Crawley to open the Bazaar on the third day?"
"Yes quite true. I went to Heaton Park and I shall always have a nasty feeling about the place because it rained from the time I started until I returned in the evening."
"But she refused?"
"Yes, she was compelled to refuse on account of Mr Crawley's ill- health."
These openings were accompanied by lots of the local great and the good making speeches from the platform, all of which were reported verbatim in the Herald and none of which mentioned Cousin Maggie and the Kind Hearted Band directly except Colonel Eaton on the middle day - the Friday. Councillor James Carter of Stalybridge had moved a motion to thank Mrs. Sidebottom for kindness in coming to open the Bazaar and "for the help she had always been ready to give in all cases of charity and other noble work and he was quite sure that everybody present would share that feeling." !
And, to add insult to injury, he said of Cousin Maggie;-"He was sure Mrs. Morton would feel grateful that she had been able to enlist the combined forces of the ladies of Ashton under Lyne, Stalybridge and Dukinfield to assist her in trying to carry a successful issue the noble work she was so desirous to accomplish."
But no direct thanks to her or the said ladies. Colonel Eaton stood up and seconded the motion and then finally named Maggie by saying "a vote of thanks for Cousin Maggie and the Kind Hearted Band". And that was all the mention they got from the platform.
But the next week in her column Cousin Maggie was most embarrassed to announce that she had been sent a gift as a way of thanks for organising the very successful Bazaar. And what a gift, a Brooch -
Now I have to tell you about the very greatest surprise that I ever got in my life. Last Saturday evening I received a gift which I shall always look upon as one of my dearest possessions. It was a solid gold and diamond brooch. In the centre of a broad bar of gold there is a solid circle also of gold on which the letters "K H B" are in diamonds, worked in the form of a monogram. On the bar itself - on each side of the centre piece - are the words "Cousin Maggie" cut in the gold. Beautiful twists of gold ropes and little gold knobs finish off a lovely artistic brooch. The letter which accompanied this handsome gift I give you to read. It gives me too much praise. Indeed it does! At the very most I only occupied the post of a general leading his army to battle, but unlike a few generals, I led my soldiers to victory, not through any exceptional merit in the general, please remember, but on account of the excellent sterling quality of the soldiers.
The letter accompanying the broach was published below:
Along with this note you will receive a brooch with the name upon it that is dear to all your admirers. The Brooch presented to you by -------------- to commemorate the successful termination of a great and good work that you have accomplished in our native town, and we therefore consider that it is worthy of a slight recognition, although you entered upon it without any hope or thought of reward.
Had it not been so we would have been the last to send a tribute of respect; but knowing that the work has sprung from the kindness of your own heart, we wish to be the first to give a small testimonial to you in recognition of your arduous labours on behalf of those that cannot help themselves.
I hope you will oblige us by accepting this gift in the same spirit as it is tendered to you and cherish it, not as a gift from the sender, but as a memento of a great work admirably accomplished ----- a work that you can always look back upon with pride and joy.
I am, yours faithfully
But it wasn't signed - well at least not in the newspaper. Who from her band of gentlemen followers was it from? If it was Mr. Machell, the owner of the newspaper, - it was a very public gift and Mrs. M kept her eye on him, and Maggie being a presence at her meetings and functions.
I like the look of Colonel Eaton, a very handsome man in the southern states, gentleman vogue and very rich - And her reference to being a general in charge of troops -- but it is all conjecture. I don't know if it still exists in the Morton family vaults - do they ever look upon it and wonder who or what is "K H B"?
But, as she explains in the interview after the event, Maggie achieved what she had set out to do - namely pay for and set up for the future an endowment for the cot in Doctor Kershaw's hospital. They raised £1221 - 16 shillings and 3½ pennies - an enormous sum in 1896. She had only needed £800.
Maggie had all the accounts printed out in the Herald on December 12th 1896. It showed among other things, the bill posting, Herald's printing, Mr. Fisher charged £26 - 5 shillings for his decorations, Mr. Crossland charged for the use of his pianos (for the first time) - all four of them and the loan of chairs the princely sum of £1.19s 6d. There was even two sandwich men parading up and down Old Street and Stamford Street and around the town. Mr. C. E. Revill of the Theatre Royal had lent the costumes and boards. "Were they not comical? They had the whole town laughing."and a night watchman was of course necessary.
On June 5th 1897 Maggie explained to the children in her column just what had happened to the monies raised. A meeting had been held in the Mayor's Parlour; -
The first item was to name the 'cot'. There was disposition on the part of the meeting not to change the name of the 'cot' which, as you know, bears the inscription "Cousin Maggie's Cot, maintained by members of the Kind Hearted Band and Friends." It was proposed that the word "maintained" should be changed to "endowed".
In a letter from Mrs. John Nield you will see she proposes the cot be called the "Kind Hearted Band Cot". This was seconded and carried.
Maggie is being quietly erased. She continues on:
The next item was a much more difficult one, namely to dispose of the balance. After ventilating our views on the subject pretty freely, it was decided that the bulk of the balance should go as the governors suggested and that a few small sums should be spent to give immediate relief to one or two very deserving cases.
This was amazing. Things like £4 for false legs for a child and paying of the debt of a piano in the nurses' lounge. The residue was given back to the Governors of the hospital to use as they thought best. Reading between the lines it would appear to have been a little acrimonious at the meeting and Cousin Maggie was definitely being sidelined as a result of the committee and its votes. Proof, if proof were needed by her ,that committees were not a good thing.
All this effort merits columns in the newspapers but in the hospital AGM minutes in the year ending 1897 it only states:
The Chairman announced that the governors had noticed with gratification that Mrs. Morton had continued her efforts until she had succeeded in raising £1000 to endow a cot.
By then Maggie and Joseph had long gone but it seems so sad how little she was appreciated.
There are photographs in Ashton Archives of the children's ward in the hospital and you make out the huge brass plaques pinned onto the cot head. Indeed the archives have many such brass plaques rescued from the hospital for safe keeping and I believe there may still be some lurking in the old hospital. But so far, unfortunately, I have not been able to find one labelled "the Kind hearted band", I dearly wish I could.
As I have said there was no Treat for the poor children in the January/March period of 1897, and no mention of it either, but Maggie continued on writing her Chats to Children with the usual collection of poems, stories, little homilies and observations. She set competitions for the children to write stories with prizes of books and paintings. She even passed comments of Canada's attitude of not taking anymore waifs and strays on March 20th 1897:
I see from a small leader in the Manchester Evening News of Wednesday that the world is growing too small for the poor little waifs of England. They have become a drag upon the markets, even the market of Canada, a place which a short time ago welcomed them heartily.
The authorities there are now passing a law, the intention of which is to regulate the importation of waifs in general - and English waifs in particular - into Ontario. Before they will accept these young settlers the children are to be inspected in their native country by an officer representing Ontario.
The various associations who have interested themselves in this matter will note that no child of defective intellect or suffering from disease or physical infirmity or from any other cause unable to follow a trade or calling, or of known criminal tendencies, or of pauper parentage can be brought into the province, under severe penalties.
And in her opinion:
Why pauper parentage I wonder? It has never been considered a disgrace in England to be poor. It is a misfortune always, and the cause which has made a person poor may be a disgrace; to them, but poverty itself is not a disgrace; therefore it does seem hard upon the poor children for it is surely not their fault that they are paupers or children of paupers.
Joseph wrote on July 26th advising the Americans not to vote for McKinley in the forthcoming election. McKinley was a Republican in favour of boycotting British goods. They didn't take his advice and he won anyway.
BUT the following week the Mortons were gone. No explanation, apology, thanks - anything. An 'Auntie Nan' wrote the Children's Column as if she had been in situ for years and never wrote of Cousin Maggie and what had happened to her. The readers must have been completely mystified.
As a coincidence it was Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee week and Cousin Maggie had written about the event in a very patriotic way, saying she had watched the parade put on in the town of Ashton sitting in an upstairs room in Stamford Street, hopefully with young Harry at her side.
Then she had taken a carriage ride around Monton, Prestwich and Manchester and had noted how lovely the town had looked with private and business buildings all decorated in red white and blue. I think this was a reccy for her new home. They settled in 334 Bury New Road Salford.
Nothing more was ever heard of Maggie again in Ashton but we do have a Blue Plaque erected to her son in Henry Square, so perhaps her ghost wanders about checking on it from time to time. I'd like to think so...
Researched by Marjorie Ross.