Mystery Post Card

Crown Farm Colliery & Forest Town

By Nicholas Wheatley

The postcard was sent to 'Miss L Dunsby' who was my grandmother's youngest sibling, and she was born in 1903.  The card mentions 'Olive and Hilda' who were twins and cousins of my grandmother (Maggie May Dunsby) and Lillian Dunsby, the addressee of the card.  I believe Olive and Hilda were about the same age as Lillian, but I've not yet been able to establish their exact birthday. The card was written by 'Aunt H', who was Hilda Sheppard, Olive and Hilda's mother.  The fact that she wrote the card, rather than her daughters, suggests that the children were all quite young at the time, which is the only clue I have as to when the card was written.  It appears not to have been posted, as there is no stamp or evidence that one was ever put on the card.  Sadly there is no other date on the card itself. Does anyone recognise the names or the address?

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Mystery Post Card' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Mystery Post Card' page
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Mystery Post Card' page
This page was added on 28/07/2017.
Comments about this page

Hello Nicholas.This is a bit of a puzzle. I have had a look into the  Dunsby & Sheppard families of your Grandmother & her siblings but I am unable to find any twins named Olive and Hilda from anyone in the Dunsby or Sheppard connection.

What I have found though may be of some interest to you or possibly it's just pure coincidence.

Mansfield Crown farm colliery was  just a little more than a stone throw away from 48 Clipstone road, Forest town where Aunt H was staying in the shop that she mentions where Olive & Hilda are serving/weighing toffee.

In the 1911 census just around the corner from Clipstone road is a family living in number 28 seventh avenue, Forest Town.( the housing estate for Crown Farm Colliery).

The head of this family was Philip Barker and his wife Sarah Hannah Barker both from the Rotherham area of south Yorks. With them are their two 9 year old daughters Olive & Hilda who appear to be twins born in Shirebrook Derbys in 1901, both registered the December quarter Mansfield 1901. 

Also in the 1911 census 48 Clipstone road appears to be a grocers shop run by Frederick & Rose Whiteoak who were from the Thirsk area Yorks.

Can you explain who were the parents of the Olive & Hilda that you mention ?

Samuel Dunsby (your grandmother Maggie May's father) had a sister named Harriet Dunsby, she married Albert Cross in 1883 and they had a daughter named Hilda Cross b c1895 .

Does anything I have said ring any bells ?

By Simon Leivers
On 02/08/2017

The Forest Town School Registers reveal that Olive and Hilda Sheppard went to Forest Town School for one month in 1917. The school had an infants department and a mixed department from where children left to start work or move elsewhere.

Olive and Hilda's date of birth is given as 24/4/1905. They started in
the mixed Department  on the 14/11/1917, their address was given as 48 Clipstone Road and their parent/guardian was Richard Henry Sheppard. Their previous school was given as Willesdene, and they left on the 14/12/1917  to go to Willesdene.

Could Olive and Hilda's father have been in the army during WW1? if so he may have been stationed at the nearby Clipstone Camp. It is known that some soldiers families came to stay with local people to be near them while they were at the camp. Could this be why Hilda and her daughters were here in 1917,  why they went to school for one month and helped out in the shop?

By Pauline Marples
On 03/08/2017

That sounds good Pauline.

Maggie May & Lillian Dunsbys mother was Caroline Sheppard.

Caroline had a brother Richard Henry Sheppard b 1874 Brentford, Middlesex. Richard and his wife Alice appear in the 1911 census at 86A Gladstone ave, Noel Park, Wood Green Middlesex with their two daughters Hilda Violet May Sheppard and Olive Geraldine Sheppard both aged 5.

Richard is a Soldier Sgt Drumr.

I think your right Pauline that Richard was possibly stationed at Clipstone army camp for training during 1917.

Army Records for Richard indicate that Olive and Hilda were born at Finsbury barracks 24 April 1904 to his wife Alice.

There is an excellent photograph available to view of Richard, Alice and the two twins who look to be around age 13 ,on the Ancestry site.

 

By Simon Leivers
On 04/08/2017

In my haste I see that I have given the wrong birth dates for Hilda & Olive from the army records of their father Richard. Their birthday was as Pauline states ....24 April 1905 not 1904 as I previously said.

1904 was the date that Richard & Alice were married...that was my confusion.

There is some interesting reading through the many pages of Richards army records. He joined up when he was only 14.

By Simon Leivers
On 04/08/2017

Thanks to Pauline and Simon for your respective contributions. Yes, Olive and Hilda were the twin daughters of Richard (Dick) Henry Sheppard who was one of several brothers of my great-grandmother, Caroline Hannah, nee Sheppard, wife of Samuel Dunsby. Richard's wife was called Alice, but I've seen several instances where she's signed herself 'Hilda'.  Richard did indeed join up at 14, I have the originals of his joining up papers, and he seems to have become a Chelsea Pensioner in later life, dying in 1951.  Olive died in 1960 and Hilda in 1973, sadly in a mental hospital in London.  I doubt they ever visited Mansfield again after their stay in 1917, but looking into why this postcard of Crown Farm colliery was sent has opened up some interesting family history.  Simon- are you a family history researcher or do you have  a link with the Sheppard/Dunsby families? 

By Nicolas Wheatley
On 12/08/2017

Hi Nicholas.

I'm not related to the Dunsby/Sheppard families at all.

I am a family history researcher yes. It's something I enjoy as an interest. My own tree is vast and has just about reached as far back as it can for now, so I enjoy finding information for others if I can help.

Ive met many new friends doing research over the years and have been succssesful in reuniting a lady with her biological mother she never knew from birth. That was my most satisfying moment.

What a coincidence though about the other twins Olive and Hilda that also lived in Forest town in 1911. It's only a small old mining village. Being an ex miner also gives me an interest in mining history. The mine on the post card was known as "Crownie" to Mansfield folk. I'm pleased you have got the birthdates that you asked about for your twins. You probably already have seen the photo of Richard in his army uniform, Alice and the twins have you ? , he was a short stocky chap with a moustache 

By Simon Leivers
On 14/08/2017

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.