Our December 2006 talk - reviewed by Mary Champion

On Sunday afternoon, 3rd December 2006, Adrian Wood came to speak to the Gateacre Society. He has traced his family back to the seventeenth century in Woolton, using Church records and Census returns.

At the time of the 1841 Census, Peter Blackburne was married to Mary (née Holland) and had one son. Their daughter, Margaret Blackburne - Adrian Wood's grandmother - was born in 1846 in Woolton Street, and in 1848 the family moved to premises at the bottom of Gateacre Brow as butchers. By the 1851 Census there is no mention of Peter, and Mary is shown as head of the household. Adrian showed us a tapestry worked by Margaret in 1857. This sampler made its way to Sweden through marriage, and was returned to the Wood family only recently.

The 1861 Census showed John Blackburne, the eldest son, as a butcher in Woolton Street with his sister and a younger brother. He moved his premises back to Gateacre (Belle Vale Road/Halewood Road) about 1868. Meanwhile Margaret had married Alexander Bibby Wood in 1865, when she was 19. She had a number of children - of whom 7 survived. In 1868 she and Alexander opened a grocers shop in Woolton Street, probably in the same premises as the previous butchers, and in 1871 they moved to Quarry Street where the Census described Alexander as 'coachman and beerseller'. He later joined Evan Davies, and they traded for many years as Davies & Wood, Carriage Proprietors. Alexander also drove horse trams from Liverpool to Wavertree.

In 1874 Alexander fought a bare-fisted boxing contest on a field in Church Road, Wavertree. He won and a grateful sponsor offered him the choice of three public-houses. Alexander and Margaret chose the Railway Inn in Rose Lane (on the site of the present Rose of Mossley). They stayed there for 25 years and then moved into one of a pair of houses they had built at the top of Rose Lane (where Tesco's car park is today). Alexander died in 1909, but Margaret lived in this house with unmarried members of her family until she died, aged 88, in 1934.

Adrian concluded his talk by listing the sources of information which are available to family history researchers in the Liverpool Record Office, and also some which he had been able to consult in the University Library. He had a number of examples on display, and answered many questions from the appreciative audience.

Margaret Blackburne's sampler was illustrated
in our November 2006

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