Whilst we have featured The Nine Houses separately under ‘Buildings’ on the Toolbar, Chris Frost contacted us from Anglesey with some very personal information regarding his relatives who had lived in one of these houses on our High Street. Moreover, one of those relatives, Fred Frost, had died in the Second World War. We have decided, therefore, to feature ‘The Nine Houses’ on the cusp of WWII using individual contributions as well as the 1939 National Register.
In December 1938 it was announced in the House of Commons that in the event of war, a National Register would be taken that listed the personal details of every civilian in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This Register was to be a critical tool in co-ordinating the war effort at home. It would be used to issue identity cards, organise rationing and more.
Following the invasion of Poland, Britain declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939. National Registration Day was announced and was held on 29 September. Registration forms were distributed to more than 41 million people and the enumerators were charged with the task of visiting every household in Great Britain and Northern Ireland to collect the names, addresses, marital statuses and other key details of every civilian in the country, issuing identity cards on the spot.
So, who was living in The Nine Houses on the cusp of war?
The Frost Family – Herbert and Emma Frost occupied one of The Nine Houses. Herbert was a house joiner by profession and we know from his surviving grandson (Chris Frost) that he had a cage in the back garden of the house and bred ‘mules’ there – a cross between a canary and a goldfinch. The couple (both in their 60s by 1939) had five children, four of whom were listed as single and living at The Nine Houses on Registration Day. The couple’s eldest daughter, Gertrude ‘Moore’ (who had married in the early 1930s), died in the spring of 1939, aged 34. She is buried in Tattenhall Churchyard. The eldest son, George, was a GPO Postman Van Driver; Fred, like his father, was a joiner by profession; Herbert was a Bootshop Manager and Lilian, like her mother, was listed as undertaking ‘unpaid domestic duties’. The family were active in Tattenhall – George was in the Tattenhall Cricket Club team and was an enthusiastic photographer. He was a friend of local professional photographer, Donald Good. Herbert (the younger) was a bell ringer at the Church of St Alban’s. Fred Frost is one of Tattenhall’s known casualties of WWII – he joined the Royal Artillery and was Killed in Action on 11 September 1944 – his story can be read by clicking here.
The Weedon Family – Horace Weedon, a widower and retired Insurance Agent, also lived at The Nine Houses in 1939 together with Thomas Weedon, a Draper’s Traveller; Margaret Weedon, a Hospital Nurse; Joseph Bosley, a Motor Lorry Driver and Ethel Bosley (nee Weedon) who is listed as undertaking ‘unpaid domestic duties’. Although The Nine Houses were never individually numbered by the enumerators, rather they were simply referred to as ‘The Nine Houses’, we can confirm that the Weedon family actually lived in the end house (currently property 9A), next to the Boot Store (currently Pluto House) since we have a photograph of the Weedon family sitting on the wall of the property during the marriage celebrations of their daughter Ethel to Joseph Bosley. Ethel’s younger brother, Gunner Horace Weedon, was also to die in WWII – click here to read his story.
James and Edith Viggor – James was a Boiler Foreman at the Creamery in Tattenhall and Edith undertook ‘unpaid domestic duties’.
Thomas Harding and Emily Harding – Thomas was a Corn Miller and Emily undertook ‘unpaid domestic duties’.
It is likely that both James Viggor and Thomas Harding worked in the centre of the village at Mill Lane (currently Old Mill Place) which was a hub of activity with a multiplicity of allied occupations – The Corn Mill, Smithy, Cheese Factory, Creamery and the Tattenhall Gas and Coke Company Limited were all located on Mill Lane. Click here to be directed to this area of the website.
John Davenport and Alice Davenport – John was a Motor Lorry Driver and Alice undertook ‘unpaid domestic duties’. Also listed on the 1939 National Register at this property was Robert Owen who was ‘at school’.
Sidney and Daisy Griffiths – Sidney was a Baker and Van Driver and Daisy undertook ‘unpaid domestic duties’.
Edward and Nora Jones – Edward was a Painter and Decorator and Nora undertook ‘unpaid domestic duties’. A Doreen Assheton is also listed at this property ‘at school’.
Alice Woollam – Alice appears to have lived alone and was an ‘unpaid domestic servant’.
You will see that we have listed only 8 families at The Nine Houses in 1939. This may be an error by the enumerator – it seems likely that James and Sarah Leech were the ninth family – James was a Grocery Manager and Sarah undertook ‘unpaid domestic duties’.
In addition, some entries are recorded as ‘closed’ on the Register. Records of people younger than 100 and still alive, or who died after 1991, are officially closed.
We know that John Neville Bosley, for example, was born in property 9A on 11 February 1938 and in his recollections he states …. I have vivid memories of the dreaded ‘Telegram’ arriving, informing my mother (Ethel) of the death of her younger brother who had been killed in North Africa and how she read and re-read the contents, sobbing inconsolably.
Whilst we have a broad understanding of the residents of The Nine Houses in 1939, therefore, our list may not be completely exhaustive. That said, we hope you have found this interesting not least because the 1931 Census was destroyed during WWII and because no Census was undertaken during 1941 whilst the country was at war. The use of the 1939 National Register, therefore, is an excellent tool to assist us in our understanding of Tattenhall.
Our thanks to Christopher (Chris) Frost and John Bosley in allowing us to reproduce family archives on this webpage.