Williamson Spencer Hind

This biography was written by Victoria Doran

Williamson Spencer Hind

Williamson Spencer Hind was born on 11 Feb 1877 at Levenshulme, Manchester, the fourth son of the five surviving children of John Hind (1841-1916) and Anne Spencer (1843-1922). On the only occasion when he completed information, he called himself William, but as it is not known how he was called by his family, these notes will call him Williamson. 

Williamson is one of the men commemorated in various places in West Kirby who may possibly never have visited the place. He does not, however, seem to be commemorated anywhere else in England. His only known connection with West Kirby is that his parents retired there sometime between 1901 and 1911, living at Beaconsfield, 6 Church Road. 

All that is known about his mother, Anne Spencer, is that she was born in North Wales, and in 1861 she was working as one of 3 domestic servants for the Rector of Harpurhey, Manchester. His father, John Hind, was the eldest of the 5 children of Thomas and Nancy Hind. Thomas Hind was a joiner, but unfortunately he died in January 1850, with son Ebenezer Ralph being buried 10 days after his father just before his 5th birthday, leaving Nancy to bring up 4 children under the age of 10 alone. 

The only subsequent record found for Nancy is in 1861, when she is working in Hulme, Manchester as housekeeper for a father and son, both called William J Smith, both widowers, and both woollen merchants. Unusually her eldest daughter Frances is living in the same house as a servant, as is youngest son Joseph, an 11 year old office boy.

There is no trace of John Hind until, at his marriage on 16 Sep 1867 to Anne Spencer, he is living at Parsonage, Manchester and is described as a book keeper. Sister Barbara also disappears from the records. In 1871 John and Anne are living in Davenport Place, Newton, Manchester and he is clerk to an auctioneer. Eldest son Ralph is now part of the family. The following details about Artingstall & Hind Auctioneers were obtained from here.

Established in Manchester in 1874, Artingstall & Hind are one of England’s oldest firms of auctioneers. In more recent years we have become one of the fastest growing auction houses in Southern California, with offices and auctions conducted in Beverly Hills. We specialize in oriental art, furniture, paintings, silver, lighting, clocks, ceramics, glass and sculpture; featuring 17th to early 20th century fine arts, furnishings, and decorative works of art.

Clearly someone thought well of John Hind to assist in his education and to help him start a business in 1874 from such a difficult start as a child. His youngest brother Joseph, and son Ralph also joined the firm. By the time John Hind died in 1916 he was able to leave nearly £9,000. 

Eldest son, Ralph Hind, also became an auctioneer, marrying in middle age a wealthy childless widow (daughter of an architect), living in Stafford House, Rusholme, Manchester and having another home in Southport. He died childless in 1954. Daughter Gertrude Anne (the youngest in the family), married Percy Shaw a hydraulic engineer and had 2 daughters. After Percy died at the age of 58, Gertrude and her spinster daughters moved to Anglesey were they all died at advanced ages. Her daughters seem to have inherited all the family wealth, from both John and Ralph Hind. 

This leaves the fates of the other 3 brothers, who all seem to have either fallen out with their father, or at the very least, failed to live up to his expectations.

Williamson was sent to boarding school in Wigton, Cumberland, where he is recorded at the 1891 census, so it is probable that his brothers also attended boarding schools.

Fred Percy Hind (1872-1918) worked at the auction house until at least 1901. By 1911, he had emigrated to Canada and was working as a carpenter at Boardy Car, Winnipeg Beach. In November 1914 he married an English girl, Ada Scriven, and had 2 children, the daughter dying in infancy. At the 1916 census he was working as a packer. He died of Spanish ‘Flu in October 1918, described as a messenger. He certainly did not improve his prospects by emigration. 

Meanwhile Harold Hind (1874-1902) started by working in the auction house, but before Queen Victoria died he had joined the 16th  Queens Lancers as a private to fight in the Boer War. He had medal clasps for Johannesburg, Diamond Hill, Witteberg and the Relief of Kimberley as well as South Africa 1901 & 1902. He died in 1902 in Capetown, and is commemorated at St Bridget, West Kirby on the same memorial as his brother Williamson, on the grave of their parents. This is known from the Memorial Inscriptions for St Bridget recorded by the Wallasey group of the Family History Society of Cheshire several years ago. The inscriptions on the obelisk are no longer easily readable, and the grave is neglected. 

Memorial Obelisk in St. Bridget's Church Yard

Memorial Obelisk in St. Bridget’s Church Yard

It is not known if Williamson ever worked at the auction house, but on 15 Jan 1900 he enlisted in the Plymouth Division of the Royal Marines Light Infantry as Private 10156.

Royal Marines Light Infantry Cap Badge

Royal Marines Light Infantry Cap Badge

Nothing is known of his service, but he probably enlisted for 6 years. In January 1907 he married Bertha Jane Parry (1878-1944) in Chorlton, Manchester. Bertha was the illegitimate daughter of Charles John Parry and Sarah Ann Fletcher. Her parents subsequently married, and her father is shown on her baptism record. Her father was hydraulic packer, who had a period of ill health, spending time in Southport Convalescent Hospital. The family were not well off, and he only left £17 when he died in 1925.

By 1911, Williamson and Bertha were living in a 9 bedroom house at 3 Wasnidge Street, Hulme, Manchester. Williamson was working as a warehouseman, and they had a son John Ralph Hind (1907–1962), having also lost another child as an infant. They also had two boarders and one of her brothers living with them. It seems unlikely that they could have afforded a nine bedroom house on a warehouseman’s wages, so possibly John Hind bought them the house. When Bertha died in 1944 she left a few hundred pounds, which is commensurate with the value of a house. There is no probate record for Williamson. Son John Ralph was a welder at the time of his mother’s death, and when he died, apparently single, he also left a similar sum. The wealth created by John Hind and his son Ralph clearly never reached Williamson’s widow and son.

Williamson’s military record has not survived, so we do not know when he rejoined the army, though presumably he was on the military reserve. He joined the 1/7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. As he was only entitled to the Victory and British War medals, he must have remained in England until 1916, probably training new recruits. 

Manchester Regiment Cap Badge

Manchester Regiment Cap Badge

When he died on 25 August 1916 he was serving in Egypt. From the Manchester Regiment website, the 1/7th Battalion moved back to Romani on 14th August, continuing training and receiving a draft of men from England, until the 7th September. It is not clear exactly how Williamson died. 

His father died in October 1916. When Anne Spencer Williamson ordered the Memorial for his grave, she included both her lost soldier sons in the inscriptions. 

Birth: 11 Feb 1877 at Levenshulme, Manchester
Death: 25 Aug 1916 in Egypt
Addresses: Church Road, Urmston, Manchester (81); 5 Market Hill, Wigton, Cumberland (91); 3 Wasnidge Street, Hulme, Manchester (11)
Occupation: Soldier, Warehouseman
Units: Royal Marines Light infantry; 1/7th battalion Manchester Regiment
Numbers and Rank: 10156, Private; 4361, Private
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: GH, WK, Egypt : Kantara War Memorial Cemetery
Sources: BR CWGC, SDGW, SR, MC, Census: 81, 91, 11, PR, BR, Prob


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