Monday 7 January 2019

Hilda Heywood and the tragic death of her daughter

My great aunt Hilda Heywood was born in October 1909 in Bolton to Ellen Eliza Hindley and Ernest Heywood. She was their eldest child.

In April 1911, at the time of the Census, she was living with her parents in Burnley, but by the time she was five, at the birth of her brother George Ernest Heywood (my grandfather) in 1914, she was living in Liverpool.

Over the coming few years, she had three brothers, Harold, William, and Leslie, and a sister Emily, all die in their infancy. Another sister, Gladys, was born in 1924, and lived until 1997, and another brother Alfred, born in 1928, survived until 1977.

At the age of 21, in 1930, Hilda married Joseph Devine, a hotel worker. They had two children, both of whom died young, and a third child, Muriel in 1931.

In February 1938, Muriel had dressed in an old dancing dress and a paper head dress to show off as Mae West to her grandmother (probably Ellen but possibly Joseph's mother). She then sat down to write a letter to her mother. Newspaper reports from the time state that after writing "I love you" she dropped her pencil, and when she went to pick it up off the floor, her headdress caught the open fire, and soon her whole outfit was alight. Hilda wrapped her in a rug, injuring her leg. Sadly Muriel died of her injuries and shock on Saturday 19 February 1938, aged just seven years old.

Above, taken from Daily Mirror, 23 February 1938.
Below, taken from Liverpool Echo, 22 February 1938.

Hilda divorced Joseph in October 1939.

She is pictured below with her second husband William Smith (married September 1940).

William and Hilda had two daughters, Sandra Hilda Smith (1944- ) and Linda Elizabeth Smith (1949-2009, marrying William E Jones in Sep 1971)

Both daughters emigrated to Australia, but Linda must have come back as she died in Birkenhead.

William Smith was born in Liverpool in 1910, his parents were William Barker Smith (born 31 Dec 1880) and his wife (married 5 Aug 1907 at St Mary the Virgin West Derby) Henrietta Dures (whose father was Thomas William Dures, a wood turner).

William Barker Smith was the eldest son (second child) of George Barker Smith (1846-before 1907) and Sarah Annie Smith (born 1846). His siblings were Emily E Smith (born 1879 Aintree), Thomas B Smith (born 1883 Liverpool), Valera Margaret Smith (born 1886 Walton), and Daisy G Smith (born 1889 Liverpool).

Any information on anyone mentioned above gratefully received, in Particular the death dates of William (possibly 1975) and Hilda. Thank you.

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