The Family of Agnes Ellen Brown, formerly West or Johnson of Ironville, Rotherham and Sheffield

She was born 15 September 1878 (father’s name not given) at 16 Furnace Row, Ironville, a daughter of Elizabeth West formerly Baines (she later married George Johnson).  She was baptised at Christchurch Ironville, 10 July 1879 a daughter of William (engineer) and Elizabeth West, of Ironville.

In 1881 she was at home with her parents, at Prospect Place, Normanton, Yorks., aged 2 and born at Normanton (as Agnes E. Johnson).


In 1891, living at 25 Newcastle Street, Hucknall under Huthwaite, Sutton in Ashfield, Notts, she was living with her mother, (as Johnson, rather than West), aged 12 and born in Ironville, Derbys.


In the 1901 census there is an Agnes Johnson, aged 23, a visitor at the Kings Arms, Commercial Road, Sheffield, a barmaid, born at Codnor Park.  This may well be Agnes West, using her stepfather’s name or possibly her real father’s name, as George could have been her father before he and Elizabeth were married.


She married Wilson Henry Brown (the family knew that she had married Wilson Brown and that she lived in Sheffield).  Wilson Brown was said to have been a member of the Brown family of the Firth and Brown Steel Company.  The marriage was by licence, in the parish church of Wicker (most probably Holy Trinity), Sheffield on 27 June 1903 (Sheffield 9c 1022).  Agnes was aged 24, a spinster of Holmes, Rotherham.  Her father was stated to be George Johnson (deceased) a boot maker!  He should have been a miner but perhaps Agnes was wishing to overlook this.  George’s mother, Elizabeth was a shoe maker in the 1871 census, so perhaps George also made boots when he was not working as a miner?  She signed her name as Agnes Elaine Johnson, but she may never have had a birth certificate and may have confused Ellen with Elaine.  Alternatively the registrar of Ironville may have made the mistake when the birth was registered.  There is sufficient correct detail recorded to confirm that this is the right certificate.  Wilson Henry Brown was a bachelor aged 36 of 15 Burngreave Road, a manager.  His father was William Brown (deceased), a slate merchant.  The witnesses were William Henry Dewick and A L (or S) Mackintosh.  In 1881 William H Dewick aged 40 was an engine tenter at an iron works and living in Brightside Bierlow with his family – he (or his son, William H. A. Dewick, a commercial clerk in 1901 aged 29 and living in Brightside Bierlow) was probably the witness.  The Holmes is an area of Rotherham bounded on the northern side by Ferham Road, Cavendish Street is in the middle of it.  Wicker is central Sheffield and Burngreave Road is just north of the centre.


Wilson Brown was living at home with his mother Sarah and brothers and sisters in 1881, at 139 Elles Road, Brightside Bierlow, Sheffield, aged 16, a mechanical engineer, born in Sheffield.  In 1901 he was aged 35, an assistant manager at a steel works and living in Brightside Bierlow. 


In 1911 at 15 Stair Road, Sheffield, in 7 rooms were Agnes Elaine aged 32, Wilson Henry aged 46, Winifred aged 4 and Harold Wilson aged 2.  Agnes and Wilson had been married for 7 years and had had three children of whom one had died.  Wilson was a forge manager at a steel works and born in Sheffield as were his children.  Agnes was born in Codnor Park.


According to the electoral register of Sheffield between 1921 and 1925 they were living at 15, Stair Road, Burngreave.


In the 1939 register at 81 Moorview Road, Sheffield CB, Agnes E. Brown with the correct date of birth, unpaid domestic duties, was living with Wilson H Brown, date of birth 3 June 1865, forge manager retired in the Frith household, comprising John A.S. Frith date of birth 19 April 1908 a motor mechanic filter/fitter, steel w(orks?) heavy worker and Winifred Frith date of birth 1 July 1907.


Agnes died of cancer and her death was registered in the June quarter of 1940, in the registration district of Sheffield (9c 1133).  Apparently, when her brother, George Winfield William Johnson, visited her when she was dying, he was bending down to listen to what she was saying, with his back to the fire, and burned the backs of his trouser legs. 


Wilson Henry Brown died 3 January 1951 at 2 Herries Road, Sheffield 5.  Administration of his estate was granted at Wakefield (17 March 1951) to Winifred Frith, wife of John Alfred Sidney Frith.  Wilson was of 81 Moorview Road, Sheffield 8 and his effects were valued at £355 1s. 4d.  2 Herries Road was the address that referred to the Fir Vale Workhouse, which then became a hospital.  The Workhouse regime came to an end in the 1930s.  The site was already in two halves, so the City General Hospital took care of the sick and the Fir Vale Infirmary dealt with poor relief and the care of the aged and infirm.  The entrance to the Infirmary was at 2 Herries Road.  It seems they didn't come together as one establishment until 1967, when they became the Northern General Hospital, which exists on the same site in some of the original buildings.


Wilson lived with John A.S. Frith and Winifred Frith at 81,Moorview Road, Woodseats (the opposite end of Sheffield to Burngreave) from 1945 to 1949 inclusive.  The Friths continued to live there until the 1962-3 electoral roll.  There were no electoral rolls for the war years and the previous one was for 1933-4 when Moorview Road finished at number 77.


Agnes and Wilson’s two children were: 

Winifred Brown (1907 – 1986), born about 1906/7 and date of birth 1 July 1907 (1939 register).  She married (John Alfred) Sidney Frith.  In 1939 (register) they lived in Sheffield CB and had Agnes and Wilson with them.  They lived at 81, Moorview Road, Woodseats (the opposite end of Sheffield to Burngreave) during 1945 to 1949 inclusive.  He had to have both legs amputated because of gangrene as he was severely diabetic.  He died of a heart attack at home in Plymouth.  Winifred returned to the Sheffield area and is thought to have died in 1987.  They had no children.

Winifred Frith’s death was registered in November 1986 in Sheffield with a date of birth of 1 July 1907.

Harold Wilson Brown (1909 – 1988), born 1909 and registered in the June quarter 1909 in the Sheffield district.  He married Ruth Spink (Sheffield district, September quarter 1938), who died in 1985 a few years after suffering a stroke which left her disabled. 

In the 1939 register, at 48 Elmfield Avenue, Sheffield, Harold W Brown had a birth date of 25 March 1909 and was a maintenance electrical fitter heavy wo(rks).  Ruth Brown had a date of birth of 14 August 1909, unpaid domestic duties.

Harold worked for Firth and Brown..  He died on 21 December 1988 and was of 48 Elmfield Avenue, Sheffield.  Probate was granted at Leeds 4 May 1989 and his estate was not exceeding £70,000.

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Posted October 2016