The Story of my Four Branches
with some twigs, nuts, deep roots and many little leaves

The headline in a newspaper - Richard Jackson

Crumpsall Workhouse

Isabella Parson's father-in-law caused more tears.

Richard Jackson (born about 1819 in Aldgate, Middlesex in the UK) had been with the love of his life for more than 55 years. Theirs was truly a love story!

They had met in Newington, in London in 1838. The parish of Newington St Mary was part of the Brixton Hundred of Surrey and this contained all of the manor of Walworth.

He married Elizabeth Hall in St Mary's parish church(the very same church her parents had married) on 11 Apr 1841. Their son, Richard Matthew (born before they were married in July 1839) had been registered at birth by his maternal grandmother Sarah Hall née Morley (his story can be found here).

The couple do not seem to have had any other children, although one child does seem unusual for the time period.

In approximately 1869, they made their way "up north" to Manchester, along with their son, Richard Matthew and his wife Isabella (her story is here) and their 3 young children.


On the 1871, 1881 and 1891 census Richard gives his trade as a "Tobacco Pipe maker" which fits with everything I have ever been told. From the latter census details, it seems life was not easy for the couple. Their son died in 1881 at the age of 41 years. Their daughter-in-law had to go into the workhouse with one of her sons, and the couple found themselves giving a home to their two older grandchildren, Richard Henry and Elizabeth. The experience of Isabella must have left a mark on the couple, and eventually would end tragically.

So what caused my tears?

Richard at the age of 74 became ill. Okay, I know that even now that is to be expected in older people, however back then for the people like Richard who were poor and without the NHS to fall back on, the ONLY option was to be admitted to the workhouse hospital. Isabella's experiences must surely have surfaced for poor Richard.

Richard's condition improved slightly, and it seems the medical officer on duty suggested that Richard should be admitted to the "infirm ward". Richard refused to go. He stayed for another night in the hospital, then discharged himself. He was found by a policeman leaning against a windowsill on Hendham Vale, near Queen's Park that very same evening. Imagine how frightened he must have been. Alone, struggling for breath and wanting to be with his beloved Elizabeth. The police took him home on a "litter" - which was basically what we would call a stretcher today. It seems the illness took it's toll and Richard died on the Saturday. Elizabeth said she had told him off for leaving the workhouse, but his reply to her was that he had "come home to die".

From the newspaper report it seems that the couple had been surviving on two shillings and sixpence from the parish, which had to pay their rent for the room they occupied; but this money had stopped once Richard had been taken to the workhouse. They had eaten nothing but bread, butter and tea since then, all supplied by kindly neighbours. Elizabeth then aged 72 years had been advised to go to the workhouse at the same time, but she wouldn’t go; I think perhaps she was afraid she would never get out. The relieving officer had it seems come to the conclusion that their abode was not fit for habitation. Unfortunately this was the case for many of Manchester's poor and elderly inhabitants.

The coroner concluded that Richard had died from natural causes. He also made point of mentioning that in the case of older couples, the workhouses should make exception and allow them to remain together. I thoroughly agree with him!

The newspaper article is so very upsetting even now. This is the transcript of the newspaper article... news-report-Richard-Jackson

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