Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sepia Saturday 12 : Kate The Barmaid


My picture this week is of my maternal grandmother, Kate Kellam. Kate was born in the smallest of the English counties, Rutland in 1877, the second daughter of Albert Kellam and his wife Catherine Moody. For whatever reason, Albert seemed to move around the country with a degree of frequency that was unusual in the nineteenth century. By the beginning of the 1890s he and his wife and their two daughters had a grocers' shop in South Wales. And then, in 1891 at the age of just 38 Albert died. Catherine married again (to a splendidly named gentleman called J. Robinson Thickpenny) and the family's perambulations started again. By the time of the 1901 census, Mr and Mrs Thickpenny were living in Middlesborough, North Yorkshire and their daughter Kate was a live-in waitress at a coffee shop in the same town. Shortly afterwards she found her way to Keighley in West Yorkshire where she was working as a barmaid in the Queens' Head Tavern in Cavandish Street. How she finished up in Keighley is a bit of a mystery but there was some family story about her having been "adopted" by the landlord of the Queens' Head. If so, it would have been a strange adoption as she would have been in her mid-twenties at the time. However she got there, it was in Keighley that she met my grandfather, Albert Beanland, and they were married in either 1902 or 1903. Their first daughter, Amy, was born in 1904 and my mother Gladys followed in 1911. As regular readers of News From Nowhere will know, I have declared this week "Save The British Pub Week".  So at the end of the week it is most appropriate that I celebrate Kate the barmaid in my Sepia Saturday post. Alas, the Queens Head in Keighley is long gone.

For other Sepia Saturday posts go to the Sepia Saturday Blog

24 comments:

  1. Never realised Middlesbrough at one time was in N Yorkshire. One lives and learns.

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  2. thats an intruiging story - oh, wouldn't one like to know?

    and some fancy bodice!

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  3. The adoption story is a bit strange. Did she continue her work as a barmaid after her marriage to Albert?

    Also, I'm intrigued by the footer on the photograph. 'American Art Studio'?

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  4. Great photo to have - and an interesting trip round places I know quite well.

    Should we point out for non-locals that Keighley is pronounced "Keithley"? (Just as Sowerby Bridge, just down the road, is "Sorby Bridge"?) :)

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  5. This might go a long way to explaining your fascination for pubs and potent potables.

    Not only a "Kate", I see, but your grandmother also.

    The adoption certainly is a curious one.

    Thanks to Dominic for the correct pronunciations. I definitely like to be aware of those.

    Kat

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  6. Fascinating story and the adoption bit is intriguing.

    Its always nice to have a bit of mystery in a family story.

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  7. Rutland, a county I knew well as a boy. My father was in the RAF so we were at North Luffenham. We used to cycle through the valley that is now Rutland Water after it was flooded. We used to watch the steam trains through Manton Station and I went to Oakham school for 3 years until 1962. Seems an age ago.

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  8. Curious about the adoption, I wonder if the mystery will ever be solved. Am enjoyable post Alan, and so many dates - did it involve a lot of research?

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  9. The names in your story are so intriguing. Wonder what the origin of "Thickpenny" as a surname is. And was "adoption" a euphemism for an affair? Or could it just mean that the owner took an interest in this young woman and acted as her mentor and protector?

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  10. A Taylor's House I Guess?
    Its strange how little we Brits move around this Island compared with our cousins in America who have always tended to Move Around The Shop A Lot!
    She Looks A Fine Pretty Lass.

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  11. What a neat story! And what a wonderful name Thickpenny is! I've never heard that one!

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  12. Oooh intrigue! Mysterious adoptions and pubs. I love it.

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  13. Wonderful story, as always, & your grandmother was quite a fetching young woman I think. I suspect Meri's right about the "adoption," but we were all young once, eh?

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  14. what a fabulous story! I think it's great that you know so much about your family.

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  15. wonderful story!

    hopefully living as a live-in waitress didn't mean poor kate was always on call!

    love the names not only thickpenny but beanland too!

    I'll be raising a pint to you and kate tonight! just brought home a seasonal brew from our local microbrew - conway's irish ale which is described as: "A malty Irish Ale with a notable toasty flavor derived from lightly roasted malt." very delightful!

    another wonderful s.s. post alan!!

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  16. I'll drink to Kate. A wonderful intriguing story. Sepia Saturday is so much fun!

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  17. Hi.
    Just want to tell you that I have nominated you for the Berautiful Blogger Award. Sorry there wasn't one called Most Handsome Blogger or Most Macho etc. Oh well.....ya takes what you can get.
    Love your blog.

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  18. Great story! And Sepia Saturday seems like such fun. Maybe next week I will give it a go.

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  19. Superb way you tied this in, sir! And may I say that's a most beautiful lady there :)

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  20. Alan,
    A great chain of events here in you family history. My mother was also a live-in maid and house cook during her high school years. Her employees were her future husband's, my dad's cousins. So now we know how you are in N Yorshire area. Great post! And also a great ending to your writings on the English Pubs! :)
    The Bach

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  21. She is a lovely woman...I love the name Kate. Hope you're having a great weekend.

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  22. J. Robinson Thickpenny - fabulous name. Indeed your story was a perfect tie in for "Save The British Pub Week". Cheers!

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  23. Lovely photo, and fascinating details. I love the name Thickpenny!

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