Saturday, 16 June 2018

In search of George and Nellie Davison ....... places they lived

Now George Garnel Davison is someone I have got to know well over the last few years.

The Davison family, 1916
He was born in 1886 and died on the Western Front exactly a century ago, tomorrow.

I have read many of the letters he wrote to his wife, both before and after they were married and I have followed him during the Great War, from Burnley to London, and on to Ireland and then finally France.

He also appears in the book* I wrote about Manchester during that conflict and written extensively about him on the blog. **

And finally there is a very personal reason why I am drawn to him, because at the beginning of the 20th century he was staying at a house in Chorlton where I live, and in 1918 was living with a family in Eltham in south east London just a few minute’s walk away from where I grew up.

So today I have begun a search for all the places he lived.

The Chorlton home, 2018
His home in Chorlton still stands, but the Eltham property was demolished in the 1930s to make way for a cinema.

In time I will go looking in Harpurhey, where he was born, Hulme where he spent his first years of married life and Burnley where he enlisted.

Sadly I suspect some will have vanished under clearance schemes or the grand plans of developers while a few may prove very difficult to locate.

Of these the Burnley one will be fascinating because it may help explain why he was not at the family home in Romiley in 1914.  He could of course have been visiting, but we know he was in the Burnley Volunteer Force in that year which would suggest it was more than just a flying visit.

But I will start with the Romiley cottage where they were by 1911, and where Mrs Davison and her son were in the 1950s.

David Harrop who is the custodian of the George Davison collection has gone looking for the property, and today I looked up the OS maps for the area in 1870 and 1910.

Looking for the family home in Romiley, 1910
I have got close; the later map shows Barlow Fold Cottage and Birch Vale Farm both of which were near to where they lived.

All we need now is access the directories and election registers and we should be able to make a match.

Location; the places Mr and Mrs Davison lived

Pictures; the Davison family, 1916, and the home in Chorlton, 2018, courtesy of David Harrop and Birch Vale Farm, 1910 from the OS for Cheshire, 1910, courtesy of Digital Archives Association, http://digitalarchives.co.uk/

*Manchester Remembering 1914-18, Andrew Simpson, 2106 The History Press

**George Davison, https://chorltonhistory.blogspot.com/search/label/George%20Davison

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