Florence Howiss, nee Powell
My grandmother Florence Howiss nee Powell was the daughter of farmer Sam Powell of Debdale Hall Farm. She was born in 1877, I think at Westfield Lodge Farm on Westfield Lane, roughly where the new Catholic school now is. She was educated at the Thompson and Brunts School just off Toothill Lane, I think the building might still be there. She used to tell me quite a lot about the Mansfield of her youth.
One particular incident she related to that she witnessed was sometime around the turn of the 19th and 20th century, there could have been local or national unrest, there were mounted soldiers in the Market Place and quite a few groups of men standing around talking. When one of the soldiers rode over to a group of four or five men to speak to them one of the men took flight up the alleyway that ran between the first and second shops on Church Street up a long flight of stone steps, turned left and came out half way up Leeming Street, (I can remember this alleyway in the late 1960s). The soldier rode up the steps after him, whether or not he was caught grandmother didn’t know. I’d like to know why the soldiers were there at that time, please leave a comment if you know.
Another incident she told me of was a murder at a house in Commercial Street quite near the police station. This is documented in a book I think is titled Murders In Nottinghanshire. A man working in the butchery trade was living with a woman and her children in Commercial Street, and he murdered them, I can’t recall the motive. At that time my great grandfather had a milk round, my grandmother being young helped him on his round in the early morning and they delivered to several houses in Commercial Street. They arrived on the morning of the murder to find police everywhere.They were allowed to deliver to the houses that had the same access as the house where the murder was commited. My grandmother saw what a lot of the public didn’t. Does anyone know any more about this nasty bit of Mansfield’s history?