Esther Ward was born at Unstone, baptised at Dronfield, married at Chesterfield, and died at Chesterfield at the age of 73. As a child she lived at Unstone but as a teenager in 1861 she was living in Cavendish Square, Newbold. Here she would marry, bear ten children and lose four of them as well as her husband Robert.
Her life was circumscribed within an area of four or five miles (six to eight kilometres) and most of it was lived in The Square. In 1911 she was taking in lodgers to help keep herself and her family, whose only wage came from her fifteen year old grandson working as a labourer in the foundry.
To my great delight, some of her lodgers were from the Bryan family. “Diver” Bryan was a friend of my dad’s and I actually remember going to his house in Chesterfield in the 1950’s. It was a palace compared to the terrace houses we knew in Bradford, with its own large garden and a porch! A far cry from The Square, where eleven people from four different families were living in five rooms.
The more things change …
This census story sent a nasty cold shiver down my spine. Esther was a widow aged 69 living with her widowed daughter aged 45, almost the same ages as myself and my widowed daughter. We are just planning our spring trip to the Algarve. It will give my girl a welcome break from the university, where she lectures and is studying for her doctorate. We both own our own homes and I am comfortably retired. How different our lives are from theirs and yet…
Baptised Esther Ward on 28 May 1843 in Dronfield, Derbyshire
Married Robert Cameron on 16 November 1863
Died December 1917