Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Elizabeth Taylor (Rushworth) - Part 5

William and Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth and William spent their remaining years at 9 Duke street Colne. In their retirement they continued to be involved with their local Parish Church.

Elizabeth's ill health prevented her from continuing to work with the St John's Ambulance and she was no longer well enought to be involved in the fund raising projects she worked so hard on in her younger years.

Their surviving children lived close by and their eldest daughter Mathilda who didn't marry continued to live with them.  They were in contact with their son Richard who had now established himself as a stone mason in Sydney, Australia.  During WWI, two of Richards sons, Richard and William were members of the Australian Army and when they were stationed in England were able to finally meet their grandparents.

Elizabeth Taylor in Nurses Uniform
On the 31 January 1927 Elizabeth sadly passed away and in the following year, 30 May 1928 William joined her.  The following tribute was posted in the Colne Times following Elizabeth's funeral.


Tribute by the Rector

"On Sunday morning the private mourners who were present at the funeral of the late Mrs Taylor of Duke Street, Colne - the veteran ambulance worker whose death we recorded last week - attended the service at the Colne Parish Church.  As a tribute of respect to the deceased lady a large number of members of the St. John Ambulance association and the Nursing Division in Colne were also present, and they were accompanied by representatives from Nelson, Brierfield, Burnley, Trawden, foulridge, Earby and Barnoldswick.  They were under the command of Corps Supt. W. Heap, with whom was Reserve Supt. E. Scott, the Lady Corps Supt, Miss Hartley.  As the Girl Guides were also present at their usual monthly parade, there was a large congregation, the Church was well filled.

"Our Mother"

The Rector made an appropriate reference to the late Mrs Taylor, and said that last week had been the departure of one of the most familiar figures in the town.  Although he was not very well acquainted with her ambulance work, he thought it was fitting that he should say something about her.  Continuing, he remarked, 

"The presence with us this morning of the St. John Ambulance Association, gathered in such large numbers from so many districts, is an eloquent reminder to us of the deep respect in which she was held.  Their presence here is no mere post mortem terabyte to her usefulness, for she was he first lady in Colne to be made - many years ago - an Honorary Serving Sister of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England, and it was with a common feeling of reality that we named her in the funeral service last Thursday, not "This our sister" but "This our mother", for she was indeed the mother of this noble  Order in this town of Colne. Of her work with the Colne Auxiliary Military Hospital during the war she often loved to speak, and judging from the number of doctors under who she served - long before the day of District Nurses - she seems to have had the world as her parish.

Our sympathy is with her family and her many friends, and especially with her aged husband, who is still with us after a married life of over 68 years.  I can only conclude this short tribute to her by saying to you all the words with which the Parable of the Good Samaritan concludes: "Go and do thou likewise".

During the Service the hymn "The King of Love my Shepherd is" was sung.

After the Service the members of the Ambulance Association and Nursing Division returned to the Ambulance hall, where lunch was served to those from a distance."

As I type the last few words of Elizabeths story, I have come to the realisation that she was a pioneer in her times, caring for the ill and needy in their homes long before the concept of district  nurses was even thought of.  Her journal lists the names of 29 doctors from the districts of Rossendale, Burnley, Barroford, Boothfold, Waterfoot, Rawtenstall, Newchurch, Colne, Nelson to name a few.   Some of the ailments that she tended were: injury by lightening, maternity, stroke, Brights Disease, typhoid fever, dislocated elbow, tumor on big toe, senile decay, change of life, mild fever, dog bite, cancer.

I hope readers have enjoyed the short summary of Elizabeths life and if any reader can add to this story, either with informtion about the St Johns Ambulance, the district of Colne and Barnoldswick or the Taylor and Rushworth families, I would love to hear from them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Elizabeth Taylor (Rushworth) - Part 4

William and Elizabeth Taylor - 1918

Diamond Wedding Anniversary and  Honorary Serving Sister of St John

The year 0f 1918 was a big year for the residence of No. 9 Duke Street, Colne.  On 17th July William and Elizabeth celebrated 60 years of marriage and just prior to this celebration Elizabeth received the honor of being awarded the Honorary Serving Sister of St John of Jerusalem. Elizabeth describes this auspicious occasion with a little excitement in her journal. 
To start with she talks about receiving a medal for 15 years service in 1909 with a number of other nurses.

 "I was appointed Lady Superintendent in 1894 and resigned in 1922.  In 1909 for 15 years service a medal that was pinned me by the Hon. Prince of Wales, now King George the 5th.  After this ceremony, I with other Ladies, who attended Head Quarters for the same purpose had a first class lunch and a Waggonetee drive to view the principle sights of London.

On being made an Honorary Serving Sister of St John of Jerusalem, in 1918 I was met by the Chaplain, who Prayed, and went through all the Services appropriate for the occasion"

Her rather formal summary of what must have been two amazing experiences makes me smile.
I think I shall finish this blog by sharing with you an article that was posted in the Colne Times on the occasion of William and Elizabeth's Diamond Wedding anniversary.

"Hearty Congratulations will be extended this week by many people in Colne and district, and particularly by those connected with the ambulance movement, to Mr and Mrs William Taylor of 9 Duke Street, Colne, who celebrated their diamond wedding on Wednesday.  Both Mr and Mrs Taylor are well-known and highly-respected in the town, in which they have lived for about 32 years. 

The aged couple were married at Gill Church, Barnoldswick on July 17th 1858, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. J.C. Miller.  Mrs Taylor was born Greenbank, Barnoldswick and was the daughter of the late George Rushworth, of Whitemoor, Barnoldswick.  Mr Taylor was born at Burnley and is the son of the late Mr Richard Taylor of Lower Hood House, Burnley.  Mr and Mrs Taylor have had 16 children, six of whom are still living and they also have nine grandchildren.  Mr Taylor is now 85 years of age and his wife is 77.  They have been connected with the Colne Parish Church and the Mission Churches - St James, Waterside and St George's, Alkincoates - since they came to Colne and it is an interesting link to the past to recall the fact that Mrs Taylor's parents were married in the Colne Parish Church over 100 years ago.

Despite their advanced ages Mr and Mrs Taylor both enjoy fairly good health and although the later has recently had a severe illness we are pleased to state  that she has now recovered.  Mr Taylor was formerly in the employ of the Colne Corporation and prior to the incorporation of the borough, of the old Colne Local Board as Building and Streets Inspector. He held that position for a period of about 20 years, retiring about 10 years ago.

Mrs Taylor worked for the ambulance movement in Colne - of which fuller particulars will be found below - is well-known.  She has been connected with the association for 28 years  and for 20 years has been lady superintendent of the Nursing Division. 

Mr and Mrs Taylor will entertain a number of relatives and friends in the Ambulance Hall tomorrow, when a social evening will be held to celebrate the notable event.  we feel sure our readers will join with us in wishing Mr and Mrs Taylor a happy and pleasant time during the remaining years of their married life.


It is surely a happy coincidence that we are able to announce Mrs Taylor has received a well deserved ambulance honour at the same time as we record the 60th anniversary of Mr and Mrs Taylor's wedding anniversary.  The secretary of the Colne Ambulance Association has received information that Mrs Taylor has been elected an Honorary Serving Sister of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England, which is one of the highest honours that can be granted for Ambulance work.  It will be remembered that Alderman Hewitt-Dean, President of the Colne Association and Mr  E. Scott, the superintendent of the Brigade were elected Honorary  Serving Brothers of the Order sometime ago.   Some years since, Dr Dickey was elected an Honorary Associate of the Order, so that it will be seen that the Colne Centre of the St Johns Ambulance Association has been highly honoured by the recognition given by the headquarters of the Association to the valuable work done for the movement by several  local stalwarts.

Amongst these Mrs Taylor, along with Superintendent Scott and Miss Hartley, has played a prominent part.  she joined the ambulance movement in Colne in 1891, and has an unbroken membership down to the present.  She has passed all the inspections and re-examinations.  She served in the capacity of First Officer and Inspector of Stores for two or three years before she was appointed Lady Superintendent in 1898.  She has held that position since and had taken a prominent part in the development of the movement in Colne, including the organising of work and collection of funds for the new Hall in Swan Croft, and in all the social efforts arranged by the Association for the purpose of raising funds to carry on its work.

Since the opening of the Colne Military Hospital,  Mrs Taylor has done much useful work in connection with that institution, and has done a great deal to make the lot of the patients as happy and pleasant as possible during their stay in the town.  During her ambulance career Mrs Taylor has rendered first aid in over 100 cases, some of which were very serious.  In onc instance the promptitude and skill of Mrs Taylor and Drill Sergeant Burrell of the Colne Association undoubtedly saved the life of a boy at Morecambe who had his arm run over by tramear, and who would probably have bled to death but for their timely assistance.  

The honour accorded to Mrs Taylor is certainly well merited, and reflects credit not only on herself, but also on the organisation with which she has been connect so long."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Elizabeth Rushworth 1841-1927 - Part 3

Elizabeth Taylor in Nurses Uniform
At the beginning of the 20th Century, William and Elizabeth Taylor lived at 9 Duke Street Colne with five of their six surviving children, William, Lucy, Elizabeth, Matilda and Joseph.  The girls were all employed as cotton weavers and William Jr worked in an iron foundry.  William Snr enjoyed a position of clerk to the Colne Corporation Yard ( or local council).
 Their elder son Richard had emigrated to Sydney, Australia in the sometime in the 1880's. We can only assume that he decided to seek his fortune in a new country having heard about life in Australia from his uncle and Elizabeth brother Joshua Rushworth (who had moved to Australia with his wife and family in the early 1860's).

 Richard married Marion Millar McNair a native of Torphichen, West Lothian, Scotland, in 1891 and William and Elizabeth's first grandchild  William  was born on the other side of the world in 1892 in St Peters, Sydney, Australia.  This must have seen such a long way away to Elizabeth.  We do however know that they family kept in touch as a number of family letters written by William Taylor senior in his beautiful script have survived to this day. 

The Australian Connection- Richard and Marion Taylor and children
Elizabeth continued with her work with the St John's amulance, supporting local doctors, delivering babies and caring for the sick and old.  She continually played her part in seeking donations to support the Ambulance.  One paper article recalls:

"She has taken a prominent part in the development of the movement in Colne including the organising and collection of funds for the new hall in Swan Croft, and in all the social efforts arranged by the association (St Johns Ambulance) for the purpose of raising funds to carry on its work."

When War broke out on the 4 August in 1914 the menfolk were quick to volunteer to join the armed forces while at home the women were drawn into working more and more into the mills, taking over the position previously held by the men.*  The Colne Military Hospital was established in Albert Rd in 1915 and Elizabeth played an important part in its establishment and resourcing equipment for the Hospital. There is a wonderful picture on the web site of  The Lancashire Lantern which shows the nurses outside of the Colne Military Hospital and if you click to enlarge this photo you will see Elizabeth Taylor in her Superintendant Uniform on the left hand side of the picture.  She does give an imposing presence. 

Nurses and patients infont of the Colne Military Hospital near the end of WWI
This wonderful battered photo has been passed down through the family and shows nurses, doctors, and recovering soldiers in front of the Colne Military Hospital. Elizabeth Taylor is sitting on the left hand side of the Mayor (man with chain) in the front row.

This picture would have been taken around the time of the end of WWI and Elizabeth at the age of 77 was still working hard organising the collection of funds to enable the continued service to the community of the St Johns Ambulance in Colne. The young woman who became interested in nursing through caring for her family and friends had come along way.  In her own words, she writes:

"I became interested in nursing when I was 19 years of age, amongst my own Famly, Relatives and Friends, by whom I was almost considered to be the Family Nurse, which was mostly gratuitous up to about two years after coming to reside at Colne in 1886" .
* Harrison, D. 1988, The History of Colne, Pendle Heritage Centre, pp.65-68.