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(nee SMITH)

Stockport; and Foleshill, Coventry

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Gertrude was born on the 27th Septenber 1876 at 34 York St, Cheadle Bulkeley, Stockport.

Her parents were:
Father: Not known
Mother: Mary Smith (nee Cort)

She married one time.

Mystery of her Early Life:
Born in Cheadle, Stockport, the first 4 years of Gertrude's life are still a mystery.
What happened to her between her Birth in Stockport until she appeared on a census aged 4, in Coventry with another family?

She was raised and adopted by James and Sarah CLARKE in Bell Green, Coventry, many miles from her Birthplace.

The story was that she was left with the Clarke's when her mother, a neighbour, went off to Cheshire? to meet the child's father, believed to be a sea captain by the name of Arthur Rawson. ( Hence the 2nd christian name).
The full facts cannot be verified so far.

What is known now is that her mother was a widow, having previously been married toThomas Smith. Shortly before Thomas's death from consumption (Tuberculosis) the couple had moved to Coventry to take up positions of Master and Matron at the new Foleshill Workhouse where it is presumed they lived in. After Thomas's death and burial at St.Laurence's, Foleshill, Coventry the movements of Mary Smith are not known. Gertrude was born 3 years later in Stockport, 100 miles from Coventry.

( More details of the research can be found on Mary’s file.)

Gertrude seems to have used the name CLARKE on one Census return but on her marriage details (Parish Register) she is shown as GERTRUDE RAWSTON SMITH, with an un-named father.
NB: On the 1881 Census she is shown as GERTRUDE RAWSTON SMITH (orphan) aged 4 , born in Preston, Lancashire.
On the 1891 Census she is Gertrude Clarke aged 13 born in Stockport.

On her Birth Certificate she is recorded at Stockport Registry Office as GERTRUDE RAWSON SMITH born to Thomas Smith and Mary Smith (nee Cort).
However it has been found that Thomas died 3 years before Gertrude was born.

Childhood: At the age of 4 she was living with the Clarke family at an address simply Bell Green.
In 1891 at the age of 13 she was working as a Weavers Shute Filler , and in 1901 she was a Machinist Filer. She lived at Bell Green next door to William Harrison whom she later married).

Marriage: She was married at 25 years of age to William Harrison on 26th April 1902 at St.Laurences Church, Foleshill.

Children: The couple had 8 children but suffered the loss of one of them, "Madge" at the young age of 8.

Walter Leonard 28th Nov 1903 'Len' marr. Mabel Ashcroft. One daughter, Jean
Ellen 20th Apr 1905 'Nell' marr. Norman French. Children Doreen and Graham.
Elsie 22nd Jan 1906 Elsie marr. George Cakebread... sons Ronald and Dennis
Hilda Gertrude 1909 Hilda marr.Sidney Alsop..dau. Dianne
Margery 1910 Died at age of 8 in Sep QTR 1918, reg at Coventry.
Charles William 1912 'Bill' marr. Edith Ison..children Clive, Maurice, Sylvia
Gertrude 29th Oct 1913 'Gert' mar. Edward Cooper...children David, Marion and James
Dorothy 1919 'Dolly' married Len Pittaway. One son James.

Known Places of Residence:

After their marriage the couple lived at 110 Church Lane, Bell Green in the district of Foleshill about 3 miles north of Coventry centre.
They stayed in Church Lane but had moved to number 68 from 1914-1927.
Her husband, William, lost an arm in the 1914-1918 Great War and this would have caused great hardship to the family.

By 1930 they had moved again to 6 Ordnance Road, much nearer to Coventry centre, where they stayed until William's death in 1937. In the 1940’s Gertrude moved back to the Bell Green district and resided at a tiny cottage, 300 Windmill Road.

In her later life Gertrude became Diabetic and later became blind. She went to live with her daughter Gertrude Cooper and her husband Edward ("Ted") with their young family David, Marion and James at Watersmeet Road, Stoke Heath, Coventry.

Gertrude died in 1953 in Stoke Heath,Coventry, at approximately 75 years of age.

Burial: She was buried on 5 Mar 1953 in Grave 42E at Windmill Road Cemetary. The grave is shared with her husband William, and their daughters Marjorie (8) and Dorothy (35).

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