Catherine Lamin (Kate) 1876 -1948

Harry’s sister Kate was born on 22nd April 1876, the year after the family sold the “New Farm” at Annesley, about 8 miles (5km) North of Awsworth. On the birth certificate, her father, Henry, still recorded his occupation as a farmer, but by the 1881 census he had accepted the status of farm labourer. Catherine was the fourth child as far as records show. John was the oldest, 7 years older, followed by Mary Esther and Sarah Anne at 2 year intervals. Catherine was identified as a “scholar”. As she was only 4 years old, this may have been an error.

We can see at the 1881 census that the family was living with Harry’s grandmother, the widow Sarah Brown (evidently she must have lost two husbands).

In the 1891 census, the family, now having lost their mother, was still living in Awsworth in Towsons Row. (Farmer Towson – farmer of 54 acres - lives at number 1). Catherine, called Kate on the census, has no recorded occupation but, at 14, was probably occupied in looking after 3 year old Harry.

I have no further information about Kate until the 1901 census. In the intervening time, she would have been helping to bring up Harry and will have endured the loss of her elder sister Mary Esther who was 17 when she died in 1889.

By 1901, Kate was living with her father in a different house, this time in Kimberly Lane Awsworth. We know that Annie was in service and Harry was living with brother Jack, now a school teacher in Oxford. She has no recorded occupation. Her father Henry, was a chemical labourer.

Still nothing more that I can find until 1910 when Connie was born. Catherine’s occupation was recorded on the birth certificate as a school teacher. I had always assumed that Connie was the result of some youthful indiscretion – or perhaps some “gentleman” had taken advantage of her youthful inexperience. Of course, at 34 years of age, neither was the case. Connie was born at 145 Nottingham Road Ilkeston, I believe it was where sister Annie lived later, maybe then. The only clue as to the father’s identity is Connie’s middle name - Constance Wilkinson Lamin.

By 1913, Kate had moved to London and had become a qualified midwife. I have no information about what happened to Connie. Ethel and Harry weren’t married until March the next year. 24th January 1913, “Kate Lamin entered the service of the Guardians of the Poor of the Parishes of St GILES-IN-THE FIELDS AND ST GEORGE, BLOOMSBURY, as Midwife”. She was described as “A qualified and certificated midwife. Kind and considerate to her patients.

Her employer changed their name on amalgamation to the Holborn Union. In November 1916 became Kate became a Health Visitor, becoming qualified as an “Inspector of Nuisances” by taking an examination mentioned by Jack in a letter to her at that time. (Coincidently written on the same day that Harry took his first examination as a front line soldier at the battle of Messines Ridge.)

A testimonial written in October 1917 confirms that she resigned from the London job and moved 200 miles North to Leeds in Yorkshire. I’m not too sure about the detail, but the family story is that she worked at Leeds Infirmary and, eventually, became a Matron there. Maybe. She certainly left Connie behind with Ethel and Harry in Ilkeston.

Then we lose track of her. She appeared for Connie’s funeral in 1929, as she registered her death. We can see her at Willie and Nancy’s Wedding at Greenodd, North Lancashire (now Cumbria) in 1941. Her last will and testament was signed in 1946, before her death in July 1948 aged 70. She was buried in the same grave as her daughter Connie in Ilkeston Cemetery.

The family always referred to her in quite respectful terms. I got the impression that she was quite well off, if not wealthy. My sister Anita, who hadn’t quite reached her fifth birthday when Kate died, can remember her. She recalls “a formidable woman.”

Pictures (Click on any picture to enlarge) From the top.
1. The poster for the farm sale 1875.
2. Kate's cross-stitch sampler produced at Awsworth Board School.
3. Funeral cards for Harry's mother and sister, Mary Esther.
4. Employment record for her London job.
5. Wonderful velum certificate "Inspector of Nuisances".
6. A studio photograph of Kate in her nurse's uniform.
7. On holiday in Blackpool in 1925. (Actually, on holiday in front of a picture of Blackpool!)
8. Kate at Willie's wedding to Nancy 1941.

Final word - my daughter was named Catherine, after my great Aunt Kate. She is now a school teacher in London - quite successful, it appears. BL

Next Post, Jack.

More news.

Marek VaĊĦut has approached me asking if I would mind if he produced a Czech version of Harry's Blog. Mind? I'm delighted.

Marek has made a start and his initial efforts can be found  Here

Finding that the current version of audio book is not available outside the European Union, I am recording readings of each of Harry's letters. This, rather than an audio version of the whole book, could act as a companion to the book.

I should have the right sort of accent as I was born and brought up in the same town as Harry. Watch this space for details and availability.