William Goodman 1861 – 1944

William Goodman 1861 - 1944

William Goodman was to be found on the census return of 1871, having just missed the 1861 return by a whisker… well a few months. He was 9 and living with his parents in Marsh Wood, Wistanstow, Shropshire. He and his siblings – Thomas, John and Elizabeth were at school while little Ann was still at home.

He was just 15 in 1876 when his mother died, which must have been difficult for Thomas, his father, having such young children, Anne and Sarah, to bring up. However, by 1881 William had left home and was in lodgings at 4 Springfield Terrace, Shrewsbury with the Cox family. He was working as a telegraph clerk in the Civil Service. He was to continue as a telegraphist for the remainder of his life.

He and Alice Lea married on 12 Oct 1887 at the parish church in Clive whilst William was living at Castle Fields, Shrewsbury and Alice living in Clive.

Throughout his marriage to Alice William worked as a telegraphist until his retirement remaining married to her until his death in 1945. Of their children Frank remained a bachelor throughout his life whilst the girls married and had children of their own. However, Fred also remained single, the oldest of his children died on 14 Nov 1937 (aged 48). He was clearly still living at home and left £1,182-6s-5d in his will that his father, William, administered. How sad, to have to deal with the estate of one’s child. I don’t know what the cause of death was.

The final house in which they lived, ‘Clive House’ named by William after Clive of India a particular hero of William and someone who came from Shrewsbury. It was a substantial property indicating that William had done well in his work and had attained a good enough rank for an excellent pension.

Bill Goodman’s observations on his grandparent’s house:
“Clive House was a detached house built about the turn of the century, 1900. Built to order, it was a very roomy house, evidence of someone in a high position at work. In fact he had been a Superintendent with the Post Office, and some measure of his position could be judged in that he received a pension from them of £5.00.00d a week, double the average wage then. There were four rooms downstairs, the front parlour which, in common with practice from long before I was born, was only used for special occasions; the “middle” room, which was a huge dining room and I have known fourteen of us to sit in comfort around the massive dining table. Next was the living room which might be called a breakfast room today, but it was too large for that. When we visited seven or eight would always sit around that table for meals. It had a beautiful range with a central fire and ovens on both sides. The top could be used for cooking if you wished, but was never without a large cast iron kettle with water ready to make a pot of tea. Projecting over that was a rack of polished rods on which clothes could be warmed or aired ready for use. The complete range was set into the chimney breast with only a matching fender in front to prevent damage should any ember fall from the fire. Grandma used much elbow grease and black lead to keep the black areas in pristine condition and polished the steel rails and edges until they shone. She did most of her baking and roasting in this stove, rather than the gas stove she had in the scullery (kitchen) which was the next room. The scullery itself was larger than my lounge and had the copper in the corner, though the mangle (wringer) was in a lean-to outside. Her pantry opened off the scullery, and that was in keeping with the rest of the house for size.

Grandma’s favourite chair was an old rocking chair to the side of her range. After dinner there was a quiet hour for her when she went to sleep in that chair. She had a fear of thunderstorms and would go round the house draping dark cloths over all mirrors before settling in her chair, pulling her apron up over her head and rocking back and forth until the storm had passed. The living room curtains would be drawn so she should not see the flashes from the lightning. That fear is probably why she would not have electricity in the house, sticking to the old gas lighting.”

He died in 1944 just before the end of the war and so never saw his grandson, Bill, return from the war.

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