13th March 2019
The Bousfield family at home at Albemarle Road
The Bousfield family at West House, Albemarle Road c 1907. Left to right: John Stanley Bousfield; Janet Bousfield; Sarah Bousfield; Matthew Bousfield; John Bousfield; Colin Bousfield; Elsie Bousfield
Group member Anne Houson writes about her researches into these most interesting photos of a local family at home. Our next talk on 29 March features another house history, with advice on researching your own house.
We are very pleased to share two beautiful photos of the Bousfield family, taken in about 1907, on Albemarle Road. They have been kindly passed to us from the YAYAS Hanstock Collection by Sandra Garside-Neville. Locals may recognise the house as West House on Albemarle Road, a fine looking house, built in the 1890’s and overlooking the Knavesmire. However at the time the photo was taken, the road was called South Bank Road. West House was built on land originally belonging to Mill Mount House in the late 1890’s and the Bousfield family moved to the house just after it was built. They lived there until around 1913.
Thomas Hanstock (1871-1942) was a York commercial photographer. His collection, bequeathed to YAYAS by Peter Hanstock, comprises portraits, group shots, wedding photos, events, and postcard images, including those of York Minster, churches, and villages just outside York. He also worked for local businesses, photographing their wares and shops for advertising purposes. He often photographed subjects with a view to selling them to the local newspapers.
Dating the photographs
The photos were taken between 1906 and 1908. We have been able to date this so precisely because the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain have kindly helped us to date the family car.
The family car
The car and family outside West House.
The family car was probably a 30-horse power Beeston Humber. New, it cost over £560 in 1907. Research into the driving and vehicle licensing records shows that there were fewer than 12 individuals licensed to drive in the South Bank, Knavesmire and Clementhorpe area in 1907, so this car was something of an expensive novelty.
Matthew Bousfield, 1837-1916
Matthew, standing at the top of the steps on the photograph was the head of the family and the original source of the family’s income. When the photographs were taken he was on a visit to York, as by then he lived in Leeds. He had founded the family business, Bar Works in Micklegate, in the 1860’s. By the 1870’s Matthew’s Bar Works was described in trade directories as a whitesmiths and bell hangers, but by 1881 the business had diversified. It still worked metals, and produced and finished items such as metal fences, but it also installed and repaired cooking ranges, and did locksmith work. Matthew passed the business on to his son John in 1886 and died in Leeds in 1916
What remains of the Bar Works in 2019, formerly 52 Micklegate, now renumbered.
John Bousfield, 1860-1938
John, Matthew’s son, moved into West House in the late 1890’s, probably when the house was new. By the time our photographs were taken he was 47 years old, and Bar Works was a very different business from the one his father Matthew had started. Although John had been apprenticed, like his father, as a whitesmith, and worked in the family business from an early age, his interest seems to have been in bicycles and cars. Cycling as a recreational pursuit started to take hold of the population in the 1870’s. By 1884 Bar Works was advertised as the official agent for the Cyclists Touring Club. It looks as though John picked up on, and maybe was an enthusiast for the bicycling craze, which peaked in the 1890’s. By 1895 John was describing himself as a ‘cycle maker’ at Bar Works.
John and his wife Sarah remained at West House until about 1913, when they moved to 100 The Mount, and then retired to Scarborough. It is unclear what happened to Bar Works after John’s death in 1938. The family business was still functioning in York in 1938, but was then called Bar Ironworks and had relocated to Cromwell Road. Wilson, Myers and Bousfield were listed in Cromwell Road in 1955 and in 1965.
Addition: One of our readers has provided the following information "I remember Bousfields being on Cromwell Road in the 1950's. They were at the corner of Cromwell Road and Falkland Street. I used to look into the open front door when I passed by as a kid. It always looked a very dark gloomy interior full of machinery (and maybe a blazing forge?) I never knew what they did but it was clearly metal work and engineering. Something reminds me that the building was probably built of asbestos sheeting. It always had that 'temporary' look. On the other corner of the street (lower down the hill) was the Rolyat Tank Company (Rolyat was Taylor spelt backwards) and they used to make water tanks - not the military kind."
Sarah Bousfield, nee Sharpe 1859-1939, matriarch and milliner
You cannot fail to admire the wonderful hats in our photograph. Sarah Bousfield, John’s wife knew a thing or two about hats, as she was a milliner who had carried on her trade after she married John in 1882. She had premises near her husband’s business on Micklegate and clearly had staff working for her, as she advertised for a ‘first class milliner’ in 1891. She had a display window on Parliament Street as well as one on Micklegate, where she displayed ‘ladies mob caps and head-dresses’. Sarah ran her business while she was living over the family business in Micklegate with three young children. Her only domestic help at that time was her 20-year-old sister in law, Louisa. In 1896, around about the time the family moved to West House, her business was taken over by Miss Lily Verity, who had previously run a milliner’s from 77 Nunthorpe Road. Sarah and John had eight children, but only four survived childhood, Sarah died in Scarborough in 1939, only a year after her husband John.
Elsie Bousfield 1884-1934
Elsie lived at West House from the late 1890’s to around 1913. She became a nurse. She was only 50 years old when she died in 1934 in Scarborough and so predeceased her parents. She had spent some of her working life in Cradley Heath, Staffordshire, where she appears on the 1911 census.
John Stanley Bousfield 1889 -1946
It is obvious from the photograph that the family were keen on cars, and it's interesting that it is John’s son, young John Stanley, who is in the driving seat of the family car, and not John. At the time these photographs were taken John Stanley was single and only 17 years old. When he was 21 John married Ethel Powell and moved out of West House to live over the family business in Micklegate. He described himself as a motor engineer in the 1911 census. By then the garage at Micklegate housed four prestigious Belsize cars, which would probably have been available for hire. John Stanley had moved away from York by 1922, and became a proprietor of the Vista Cinema in Westbury, Wiltshire, and latterly a commercial traveller. He died in 1946 in Wiltshire.
Janet Bousfield 1890-1975
Janet Bousfield lived at West House from the late 1890’s to about 1911, when she moved to Micklegate to live with her brother and his new wife Ethel. She was a nurse by then, like her sister. During World War 1 she worked as a staff nurse at Stourbridge Military Hospital, near Birmingham. After she had worked there for over three years, she was granted sick leave on account of insomnia, debility, troubled dreams and headaches, which the medical authorities said had been brought on by the strain of working at a military hospital. Her matron describes her as a ‘painstaking and trustworthy nurse’. She continued her nursing career after she was demobilised and died in Scarborough in 1975
Colin Bousfield 1896-1924
Colin Bousfield was the youngest of the family. At the time the photographs were taken he was 10 or 11 years old. During World War One he served with the West Yorkshire Regiment and then joined the Royal Flying Corps. He married Ida Moule, from Reading in 1918. He remained with what had by then become the Royal Air Force after World War 1 and served in Egypt. He was killed on 2 Oct 1924 in a flying accident. Ida Bousfield did not remarry, and they had no children.
A very fine house
West House is only one of many houses in our area, including perhaps your own, which holds fascinating stories about its residents. They don't have to be grand, as it's possible to explore interesting stories about the lives of people living locally from many backgrounds. On 29 March 2019 Louise Wheatley is giving a talk for our group at Clements Hall about the research she did into her late husband’s house, at Wentworth Road just round the corner from West House. There will also be advice available on 29 March about how you might research the history of your house. We look forward to seeing you there.
Ancestry. co.uk – UK census returns.
British Newspaper Archive – York Herald, Yorkshire Gazette
Simon and Jacqui Freeman
The Hanstock Collection
The National Archive -War office records relating to service by Janet Bousfield in the Territorial Force Nursing Service
Vehicle licensing records at York Explore
Veteran Car Club of Great Britain
York Directories at York Explore