This photograph from the chest is of Esther’s eldest son. He was named Frederick William Caswell (b. 04.11.1903, Pleasant View, Lanchester, Durham). He was called William (or Bill) day to day. I guess that it would have been confusing to have two Fredericks in the household (Esther’s husband was Frederick Caswell).
This beautiful little girl is Margaretta Caswell, she is the daughter of Esther Elizabeth Charlton and Frederick Henderson Caswell. She was born on the 2nd June 1908, in Villa Real Hospital, Leadgate, Co. Durham. Which seems quite unusual as most of her siblings are believed to have been born at home. A large portrait used to hang in the home of Esther – Balfour House, Medomsley Road, Consett – but alas it is no longer in the possession of the family.
She died on the 17th January 1914, my mum believes that the cause was diptheria, but she isn’t sure so I am going to have to investigate. Diptheria is an upper respiratory tract infection which typically affects the nose and throat. Today all of my children hve been vaccinated to help prevent them from contracting this devastating disease, but back in Margaretta’s time there was no such prevention available.
She was buried on the 21st January, 1914 in Medomsley churchyard, Consett. Esther had seven children in total (including a set of twins). Margaretta was the only one not to survive to adulthood.
This was her funeral card:
Within the chest is a tiny band of black ribbon with the initial ‘M’ threaded onto it. I have discovered that it is most likely an Edwardian mourning wrist band. I imagine that Esther had it made after the death of her precious daughter, so that she would always be with her.
This is a photograph of Leslie Caswell (b.1906), the third child of Esther Elizabeth Charlton and Frederick Caswell. He looks a little like ‘Little Lord Fauntleroy’ doesn’t he?
In his butcher’s garb
Family stories say that when he left school he got an apprenticeship to be an electrician at the Consett Iron Works. However, his father Fred Caswell was regularly drunk. It became impossible to bring friends over, because they never knew how Fred would behave. One day Fred came home rather the worse for drink and Esther locked him out. Bill and his brother Leslie helped ensure that Fred was put out of the house for good. He ended up at Lanchester Workhouse. This change in events meant that Fred was no longer running the butchers shop and reluctantly Leslie gave up his apprenticeship and took over the shop. That said he was a very good butcher and had the qualification of master butcher.
He sadly died in 1973 in Consett, County Durham.