A GENTLEMAN who I’ve never known but who has appeared in my thoughts often throughout my life is that of my mother’s father, Edgar Orbit Houldsworth. An unusual name that is for sure and a great help for an accomplished geneologist I’d easily imagine.
Edgar was born in Hucknall Torkard in Nottinghamshire to Thomas and Charlotte Houldsworth and later lived on Annesley Road in Hucknall, as the town name became shortened to. There, he fathered ten children , my mother, Marian, being one of five girls along with five boys.
An online ancestry link informs that he was a ‘dairyman’. I can only conclude that this was his occupation as a very young man as other occupations were to follow. That may be a very young man indeed as it was noted that Edgar unfortunately received little schooling. Not that this held back his later to be discovered talent.
Edgar died prematurely of illness aged 51 in 1937 when my mother was a young girl. She latterly talked fondly of him as an ostler looking after the beautiful and loyal ponies at one of the Hucknall coal mines (pits), an honourable job indeed.
However, it was his musical ability that intrigued for Edgar Orbit was an accomplished professional pianist who played at the Hucknall Empire, which was but a minute’s stroll along Annesley Road for him from home. His task was described as playing the accompanying music to the silent movies that were shown at the Empire at the time.
His and the family’s former home which included a music shop on Annesley Road in Hucknall remains extant as a different type of business. It’s not clear where he practiced, giving his piano students the benefit of his talent but the family home was a large one consisting of three storeys. As a youngster, visiting there in the 1960s, musical instruments including a harmonium, an upright piano and so on still sat intriguingly in various parts of the home.
Edgar was a most kindly, likeable and agreeable man, loved by many. Betrothed to Ada Mary Woollatt, my grandmother who passed in 1967, their union produced ten offspring. Poor Ada in addition suffered several stillborn children and miscarriages as was not uncommon in those harder times. They both bestowed their large family with fond memories. I now convey some of them to the reader
Edgar Orbit Houldsworth: Born Hucknall Torkard, Nottinghamshire, 1885 – 1937