Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Miss Winifred Rachel Blair of Hutton Rudby

In 2004 the Hutton Rudby History Society acquired three scrap books that had belonged to Miss Winifred Rachel Blair. 

The books convey a vivid picture of life in Hutton Rudby in the early 20th century and contain many local names, so are likely to be of interest to family historians.

A brief account of Winifred and her family:

Winifred's grandparents

Winifred's maternal grandfather George Young Blair (c1824-1894) had founded Blair & Co, which made marine engines in Stockton-on-Tees.  He and his second wife, Margaret Borrie, had four children: Peter, Mary (Winifred's mother), Florence and Margaret Amy.  Their mother died aged 52 and was buried at Hutton Rudby, where George had built his country house, Drumrauch Hall. 

Three years later he married Miss Marian Bower.  She was some thirty years his junior and died in 1943, having outlived most of her husband's family.

Margaret Borrie, like her husband, was from Scotland.  Miss Winifred's collection includes a cutting dating from 1840, which relates to Peter Borrie & Co of the Tay Foundry, Dundee, the firm that built the Forfarshire (whose crew were rescued by Grace Darling in 1838).  Margaret Borrie had a brother named Peter, and two nephews Albert and Walter Borrie. 

Winifred's paternal grandfather was Sir Samuel Sadler (1842-1911), the industrialist, Mayor of Middlesbrough and Member of Parliament.  Her father, Percy Alexander Field Sadler (1866-1906), was Sir Samuel's eldest son.
The scrap books include cuttings relating to various members of her father's family, including:  Sir Samuel's half brother Stanley Aubrey Sadler and his brother Alfred Edwin Sadler of the Ulverston works (c1857-1922); her uncles Gerard Gloag Sadler (killed in the First World War), Hereward Sadler (Lt Col 6th Dragoon Guards); Cecil James Sadler; and Basil Sadler of Lanchester and his daughter Margaret. 

Winifred's parents

Mary Young Blair was known in the family as "Minnie".  She was born c1867 and died in 1935.  Percy Sadler became the head of Blair & Co after his father-in-law's death.  He and his wife took the surname Blair, presumably to perpetuate the name after the death of his young brother-in-law, Peter Borrie Blair, who died of typhoid in 1891.  Percy himself died at the age of 40 and his only son was killed in the First World War. 

Mary and Percy lived at Linden Grove (now Linden Grange) in Hutton Rudby.

Mary's sister Florence Jean Blair (c1869-1917) never married.  She lived in Hutton Rudby.  The scrap books contain her obituary by Major Fairfax-Blakeborough. 

Mary's sister Margaret Amy Blair (c1870-1907) was known in the family as Amy.  In 1899 she married Smollett Clerk Thomson, sub-agent at the British Linen Company's Bank at Leith.  They had two children, Monica Margaret Amy Thomson and Alastair Blair Smollett Thomson.  Amy died eight years after her marriage and her husband died in 1915 at the age of 53.  As a consequence it seems that their Hutton Rudby aunts were of importance in their upbringing.  Alastair became a barrister and married in 1927 Beatrice Walton of Yarm.

Winifred and her siblings

Winifred Blair grew up at Linden Grove.  She was the eldest of five: Winifred, Margaret, George, Marian and Katharine.

Margaret Florence died in 1901 aged 9.

George Young Blair (named after his grandfather) died in 1915. 

Marian Elspeth Blair (known to her family as Elspeth or "Timmie") died in 1934 aged 35.  She was married to Maurice H Jones, whose parents lived at The Hollies, Stokesley.  She and Maurice lived Harrogate and had one son, Dan.

Katharine Mary Blair married Felix Temperley Roche in 1918 and had three children: George Campbell Adair Roche, who was killed in the Second World War; Daphne, who married Lady Dorman's son Basil Webster; and Susan, who became a nun.  Felix Temperley Roche died in South Africa; Katharine died in 1964 at the age of 67. 

Winifred herself never married.  The cuttings show her love of theatre (amateur and professional), music, Shakespeare, the Lake District, rugby and cricket, as well as her many voluntary and charitable works.  She died aged 60 in 1951.

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