My grandfather married my grandmother, Gertrude Percival, in 1896 in the old St Vincent’s Church in New Street, Altrincham, when he was 22 and she was 19. She was the daughter of Robert Percival of Altrincham and Annie Williams of Moelfre, Anglesey.
They set up home in Paradise Street, Altrincham, and the 1901 census shows them living there with their daughter, Annie, who was born on 2nd October 1897 and their son, who was born on 21st September 1899 and was of course named Andrew after his father and grandfather. At some time between 1901 and 1911 they moved into a small cottage in Victoria Street, formerly Well Lane - it had been renamed to commemorate Queen Victoria’s accession. Agnes May was born on 16th May 1901, Thomas on 26th April 1905, Sydney William on 14th January 1908 and Joseph on 28th March 1909.
The 1911 census shows all eight members of the family living in Victoria Street, plus William Percival, Gertrude’s brother, who is listed as a lodger. One can only imagine the difficulties the family all faced in the cramped conditions.
On 18th April 1911 Andrew, my grandfather, died and was buried in the churchyard at St Mary’s church, Bowdon. Some time after that, Gertrude started a relationship with Frederick Ardern who was two years younger than her. He was the son of James and Martha Ardern of Oakfield Road, Altrincham. Out of this relationship a boy was born on 2nd October 1912, who was called Frederick, after his father. A second child, Lillian, was born on 7th January 1914 and and towards the end of the same year, Gertrude and Fred were married at St George’s church, Altrincham, prior to Fred joining up to fight in World War One. On 16th February 1915 the child, Frederick, died and on 24th March 1915, Fred was killed fighting at Ypres in Belgium. He is buried in Dranouter Churchyard, Heuvelland, Belgium. In the space of five weeks, Gertrude had lost her youngest son and her new husband. In 1916 Gertrude married Frank Ardern, Fred Ardern’s cousin, at St George’s church and the family continued to live in Victoria Street, certainly up to at least 6th March 1928 as we have a certificate for the right of burial in grave No.377 at Hale Cemetery, which Frank bought on that date. Frank was a stoker at Altrincham Gasworks and as such he qualified to rent one of the ‘new’ houses built by the Altrincham Gas Company and so the family moved from Victoria Street to number 74 Moss Lane. There were no children born to Gertrude and Frank, but between them they successfully raised all the children of Andrew and Fred, and Frank was much loved and appreciated by all the children. Gertrude and Frank continued to live at no. 74 until their deaths, Gertrude on 23rd October 1959 and Frank on 2nd January 1961.