Donated by Freda Potts who told us “I believe Joseph Hanson was my grandmother’s stepfather, she was one of six children born to his second wife before they married.
Her name was Sophia Keighley, she married Mark Busfield.
I think New Row and Union Street were in the Towngate area of Guiseley”.
The newspaper article reads : “Guiseley Worker Who Left A Little Fortune”
A remarkable example of thrift and hard work is disclosed by the will of Joseph Hanson of Church Street, Guiseley, an ex-gas stoker who died recently and left £1,379.
Inquiries in the township today elicited no romantic story of sudden wealth bequeathed by rich relatives, there was unfolded a drab picture of a life-long struggle.
Until he was 76 years of age Mr Hanson was employed as a gas stoker for the Yeadon and Guiseley Gas Co.
He was twice married, his first wife died comparatively young having no children.
He married again, this time to a widow with six children.
In order to add to their livelihood his second wife made meals for the workmen employed on the branch railway lines just then being pushed forward in the Wharfedale district.
Four more children were born and with a family of six boys and four girls he and his wife found it difficult to make ends meet.
As they grew up the children were sent to work, at a time when children nowadays are just entering upon their life at school.
A small confectioners shop had been started under Mrs Hanson’s supervision but Hanson himself continued his occupation at the gasworks working seven days a week, year in and year out.
Hanson was the oldest member of the Rosebud Lodge at Menston and avoided extravagance of every kind “He has worked his finger-ends off to save money” observed a daughter-in-law, ” he was a good father and used to feed the children on milk and porridge, on washing day there was a big pasty and a bowl of milk for us.
When he applied for an old age pension” she added ” this was refused because he had enough money of his own to live on.
It is a shame I reckon and does not give encouragement to people to be thrifty”.
Mr Hanson left all his property to his wife Mrs Ann Hanson, for life and then £10 to each child of his wife’s daughter Mary Hannah Walker, £10 to his wife’s granddaughter Edith Skillington, a house in Church Street, Guiseley, to Benjamin Keighley, a house in Union Street to Joseph Hanson Keighley, a house in New Row to Abraham Hanson and all other property to his children and those of his wife”.
Further text by Christine Lovedale:
The 1908 Pensions Act is said to be the foundation stone of the present welfare state, it was introduced by David Lloyd George.
From 1909 all those over 70 could apply for a pension of 5 shillings per week or seven shilling and sixpence for a married couple.
To qualify they had to have earnings of less or the equivalent of £31. 10s a year, this would be the reason Mr Hanson was not considered for a pension.
Consolidated by Jack Brayshaw. 24 July 2022.
Last updated: 24 July 2022.