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by Graham Woodward
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Horace Arthur Woodward and Annie Johnson (1887-1979)

Horace was the eldest child of Arthur John Woodward and Joice Jeffrey. He was born in Smethwick, Birmingham in 1887, married in Selby, Yorkshire in 1911 and died in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire in 1966. His wife, Annie, died in Burton in 1979.

Horace Woodward Horace was born at 38 Cape Hill, Smethwick, Birmingham (right), on 29 June 1887. He was baptised in Wilmcote Church, Warwickshire, on 31 July 1887, his father's home village.

Horace's father originally worked in a stone quarry in Wilmcote, but by the time of the 1881 census he was a cooper (barrel maker) working in Oldbury, near Smethwick, with his brother, Henry, who lived in Vicarage Road, Oldbury.

Horace had one sister and five brothers: Elsie May, born 1890; Leslie Bernard, born 1892; Lawrence Roy, born 1894; Cecil Frank, born 1896; Evelyn Vale, born 1898; and Dennis Jeffrey, born 1902.

Smethwick, Worcs

Burton on Trent

in 1891 Horace's parents moved to Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, where his father went to work at Bass's Brewery, at that time the largest brewery in the World. Horace's uncle, Henry Woodward, also moved to Burton at the same time, and he too worked at the brewery along with two of his sons, Louis and William Woodward. In 1897 Henry left Burton and returned to Oldbury near Smethwick.

On arrival in Burton, Horace's parents lived in a rented house at 188 Branston Road, but later moved to 36 Hunter Street, Horninglow. Horace went to the local school and sang in the choir at St Chads Church, Horninglow - his mother was a staunch church-goer. Catherine Baker, the mother of his future daughter in law, Vera Baker, also attended St Chads Church and she and Horace became friends. By 1911 the family were living in an eight-room house at 106 Sydney Street, Horninglow, Burton.

Bass's Brewery (now Coors)

Horace joined Bass's Brewery as an apprentice cooper on 12 January 1903, aged 15 years, apprenticed to his father. Coopers were usually self employed and apprentices were paid by their master, in Horace's case his father, rather than by the brewery. When coopers qualified the event was usually 'celebrated' by the apprentice being thrown into a barrel, doused in beer and wood chippings and rolled across the cooperage yard.

Bass's records show that Horace signed on at the brewery four times during his working life. He worked his first period at the brewery until August 1914 by which time he was well established as a fully fledged articled cooper. The job paid good money - almost £3.50 per week at the outbreak of the First World War, against an average of  just over £1 per week for general labourers. He left the brewery and volunteered for army service in 1914, despite coopering being an exempt occupation, but was rejected on medical grounds as he was found to have a double hernia. His younger brother, Frank, joined the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders, and was killed at Delville Wood, France during the first battle of the Somme in July 1916. His body was never found and his name is engraved on the Thiepval Memorial, France, along with that of 72,000 other soldiers missing in action presumed dead. Horace's brother, Bernard, was a cavalry officer in the Royal Horse Guards during the war, and returned home un-injured.

Horace rejoined Bass's in early 1915, but left again in January 1917, this time to work in a chemical factory in Selby, Yorkshire, as part of the war effort, and it was here (Selby) that he met his future wife, Annie Johnson.

Annie Johnson (1897-1979)

Annie was born in York on 19 February 1897, the fourth child of John Edward Johnson and Annie Elizabeth Jones.

Annie Johnson
(Above) Annie Johnson at Scarborough, Yorkshire, 1930s.
John and Annie had four daughters and a son: Gertrude (born 1893), Mabel (1894), John (1896), Annie (1897), Hilda (1899) and Phyllis (1916). Annie's father came from South Milford, near Sherburn, Yorkshire, where he was born in 1864. Her mother came from Sowerby near Thirsk, Yorkshire, and was John's second wife. His first wife, Elizabeth Tuningley, whom he married in 1885, died between 1885 and 1891.

The 1871 census shows Annie's father, age 7, living at South Milford with his grandparents and his uncle and aunt, Richard and Elizabeth Johnson. The 1881 census shows John living at South Street, South Milford, aged 17, unmarried, an agricultural farm labourer, living with Richard aged 33 and his grandfather, John Johnson aged 70, a widower. On the 1891 census Annie's father is shown living alone at Garfield Terrace, York, a widower aged 27, a 'locomotive engine stoker' (fireman). 
the Johnson family in Yorkshire
(Above) The Johnson family in 1909. Annie is the girl on the far left.

John Edward Johnsons' father, Annie's grandfather, is unknown but his mother, Jemima Johnson, married Robert Kendell in South Milford when John was six years old. Jemima's parents (Annie's great grandparents) were John Johnson and Sarah Johnson (formerly Hartley), who both came from Liverpool but had their children in Sherburn - this John is shown on the 1871 census as a retired butcher, aged 60, born Liverpool. His father was also called John, born 1780 in Liverpool. By 1901 John Edward Johnson had married Annie's mother, Annie Elizabeth Jones, and they lived in York; John was now an engine driver. By the time of the 1911 census the family were living at the Grey Horse Inn, Gowthorpe, Selby, Yorkshire. John is described as a publican, but he also worked for the railway company part time.

Horace and Annie

Horace probably met Annie during his stay in Selby when he worked for ICI, but returned to Bass's in Burton on 21 May 1919. He was back in Yorkshire by the 19 August that year when he married Annie at Selby Abbey. Witnesses at the wedding were Hilda Johnson, Annie's sister, and Leslie Bernard Woodward, Horace's brother. The reception was held at the Grey Horse Inn, a pub in the town run by Annie's parents. Horace was 31 years old and Annie was 22 years old.

Horace & Annie's wedding (Left) This photograph was taken following the wedding of Horace and Annie at Selby Abbey, Yorkshire on 19 August 1919. The picture was taken in the yard of the Grey Horse Inn.

Back row (left to right) is Henry Smith (Mabel Johnson's husband); Mabel Smith (Annie's sister); Leslie Bernard Woodward (Horace's brother); Gertrude Cole (Annie's sister) and Alf Cole (Gerty's husband). Middle row (left to right) is Annie Elizabeth Johnson (Annie's mother); Hilda Johnson (Annie's sister); Annie Johnson and Horace Woodward; May Woodward (Horace's sister) and Joice Woodward (Horace's mother). The child on the right of the front row may be Phyllis Johnson, Annie's youngest sister (age 3). The names of the other children are unknown.

(Right) The site of the Grey Horse now, no longer a pub.
Grey Horse pub

Horace and Annie's first child, Geoffrey Paul Bernard Woodward, was born in Scarborough, Yorkshire, in July 1920. A member of Annie's family had an hotel in Scarborough and the town became the family holiday resort for many years. Horace didn't leave Bass's in Burton officially until December that year but the family returned to Burton in June 1922 when Horace signed on again at Bass's, now as a Foreman Cooper; ie. in charge of a group of coopers. By the time Horace returned to Burton, his brother, Leslie Bernard, had established himself as the national manager of the licensed houses (pubs) owned by Bass's. Another brother, Roy, worked in the accounts department at the brewery, and his younger brother, Dennis, worked as a cooper in what was known as the Middle Yard.

Eton Road, Burton On returning to Burton, Horace and Annie bought a house at 102 Eton Road, Horninglow (left) with one hundred pounds borrowed from Annie's mother. Horace repaid the loan at the rate of £1 a week.

The picture below shows a group of Bass's coopers in 1934 about to embark on one of the regular trips to another brewery. Horace is the man standing in the middle at the front, wearing the flat cap. His brother, Bernard, is the tall man standing by the door of the bus with a raincoat slung over his arm. Their youngest brother, Dennis, can just be seen peering over the shoulder of a man to the right of Horace in the photo. Finally, Horace's brother Roy is the man standing on the far right in the photo with a flower in his lapel.

Cooper's Outing

Horace and Annie's second child, Gordon Arthur Woodward, was born at 102 Eton Road on 26 March 1923, and the family lived there until 1952. Horace's relatively high weekly wage allowed them to live a comfortable life, although his work at the brewery was physically demanding. His father died in 1928, six years after retiring from the brewery, and his mother, Joice, then moved from her house at 36 Eton Road to a bungalow at Stretton, near Burton, where she lived with her daughter May. Joice died in 1957, aged 96.

In 1940, following the death of her mother, Annie Woodward became very depressed. She became confused after going alone by train to her mother's funeral in Scarborough and was involved in an incident at the pub next to Burton Station after consuming several gin and tonics. She was arrested and taken to Bretby Hospital, Burton on Trent where she was admitted. When the resident phychiatrist at the hospital died in 1957 all his patients' were re-assessed. They told Annie's son Gordon that his mother should only have been in the hospital for a few weeks, not seventeen years! She was released and went to live with Gordon. When she came out, Horace had sold the house on Eton Road and invested the money in a detached house on Rolleston Road, Horninglow, Burton with his son Gordon and his daughter in law, Vera. They all lived together until 1959 when Horace and Annie moved to Stretton to live with Horace's sister, May, who had to have a leg amputated and needed constant care. When she died in 1963 the bungalow was sold and they went to live in a rented house in Park Street, Burton.

Horace suffered poor circulation in his legs. He injured his leg with a spade whilst digging in the garden, and contracted gangrene. In 1964, like his father and sister before him, he had the leg amputated. He never walked again but Annie managed to push him across the road in a wheelchair to the local pub for his regular pint of beer. Despite working at Bass's for over fifty years, he would never drink their beer, instead preferring to drink Marstons. Right up until his death he loved beer, and once refused to consider a house move to Foston near Tutbury, Staffordshire, as he said the beer at the local pub (Offilers Ale) was like 'dishwater'.

Horace died at Park Street, Burton, on 20 November 1966 aged 79. He fell from his chair whilst poking the fire and hit his head on the fireplace. He didn't go to hospital and died soon afterwards from Pneumonia. He was cremated at Derby. Annie lived alone after Horace's death, but was lost without him. She died on 2 November 1979 at Stapenhill, Burton, and was cremated at Bretby just outside Burton.

Compiled by Graham Woodward, Nottingham, England (UK).