This article appeared in Isuue 73 of Buckets & Spades Journal. Following an event at the Town Quarry in 2010, the Weston-super-Mare Family History Society decided to take a look at some of the men who worked there. Pat Hase produced this article which was initially featured in the Weston Civic Society's newsletter 'Weston View'
A pdf copy of this article is available for download using the link below.
At a recent event at the Town Quarry the Weston Family History decided to take a look at some of the men who had worked there. The quarry had been in operation for every census now available for research from 1841 to 1911.
In the 1881 census we found the following men with jobs relating to the Quarry
|Joseph ATHAY||married||35||born Shipham||a Quarry Labourer|
|Alfred BAKER||married||30||born Weston-s-Mare,||a quarryman (stone)|
|Fred BAKER||unmarried||14||born Weston-s-Mare,||a quarryman|
|Henry BAKER||married||29||born Weston-s-Mare,||a stone quarryman|
|Henry BAKER||married||36||born Weston-s-Mare,||a stone quarryman|
|William BAKER||married||56||born Ashcombe,||a quarryman (stone)|
|William BAKER||unmarried||21||born Weston-s-Mare ,||a stone quarryman|
|John COUNSELL||married||63||born Weston-s-Mare,||a stone quarryman|
|John DUNSCOMBE||married||63||born Weston-s-Mare||a stone quarryman|
|Fred VIAL (or VILE)||unmarried||28||born Taunton,||a Quarry Labourer|
|John SIMONS||married||76||born Bagborough,||a Stone Labourer (Quarryman)|
|Robert TREGO||married||30||born Wells,||a stone quarryman|
|William TREGO||married||36||born Weston-s-Mare,||a stone quarryman|
|James MADRICK||married||48||born Milton,||a Quarry Labourer|
|James WATTS||married||64||born Banwell||a Quarry Labourer|
Most of the men were living in the Carlton Street area except for John COUNSELL whose address was 36, South Road. In 1871 he was living at Quarry Road Lodge which suggests that he might have been the foreman at the Quarry at that time. John died in 1885; he is buried in the Cemetery with his wife Prudence but there is no memorial on the grave. In 1851 he was an Agricultural Labourer living in a cottage near Ashcombe Farm. John COUNSELL had married Prudence GOULD in 1849 both came from families long established in the area. It is possible that John was the grandson of Isaac COUNSELL, one of the Weston Worthies, whose portraits are in the Museum in Weston.
The BAKER family who feature in the list employed in the Quarry in 1881 have a long connection with the Quarry. The 56 year-old William BAKER listed above is the same person who was written about in this news item from the Bristol Mercury, September 1860.
Stan Baker, his great grandson, still lives in Weston and is a Life member of the Family History Society. When he saw the photo of quarrymen in the Exhibition Room at the Quarry he was quite sure that at least one of them was from his family. Is this the same man?
The features of the one on the right of this extract bear a remarkable similarity to his grandfather (see second picture). This would date the photograph at about 1895.
Or it might be his great uncle, Frederick Baker, (aged 14 in 1881) who worked at the quarry before being appointed as Superintendent of the Cemetery and living in the Lodge at the Bristol Road entrance.
If this dating of c1895 is correct then others in that photo might be members of the DAY family who lived in Holland Street. On the 1901 census there is James DAY aged 69, his son William aged 42 and grandson, Henry, aged 19 – all are quarrymen. Could that be Henry DAY in the centre of the extract from the photo with his father on the left? The DAY family had been connected with the Quarry for many years; a John DAY, aged 18, was killed at the Quarry in April 1844 and was buried in St John’s Churchyard.
Of the other quarrymen mentioned in 1881, William TREGO had married one of the BAKER family and Robert TREGO led a particularly eventful life, turning up several times as an inmate in Axbridge Workhouse. In 1891 he was there with his wife, Sophia, and 6 children. Presumably for some reason he was unable to work and had no alternative but to enter the workhouse with his family. In 1901 Robert & Sophia are living at Milton but by 1909 they are admitted to the Workhouse again and they went in and out several times during 1910. They are both there on the 1911 census and we think ill-health was now the problem, as at one point he is described in the Workhouse records as old and infirm. He died in 1914 and is buried in Weston Cemetery.
Fred VILE was killed in this accident in the quarry in February 1886. He had been lodging since a young lad with the COUNSELL family but had been born in Taunton.
On the 1881 census he is listed as blind – no doubt as a result of his injuries and he died in 1885.
There is a great deal more research which could be done to look at the lives of these men and their workmates. Their lives were hard but the contribution which they made to the development of this stone town is all around us.