genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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John McTear (1872 - 1939)

John's parents had come south over the border into Whitehaven, Cumberland in about 1878 to find work in the blast furnaces of Scotch Street and John would take his family much further south.

John was born in Mochrum, Dumfriesshire in 1872, three weeks after his parents married.  He was the oldest of three boys and two girls.  When he was about 6, his parents brought them over the border to Whitehaven in order to find work in the blast iron furnaces.  His mother died when he was just 17.  Two months later on 23rd April 1890, when he had just turned 18, John married 17 year old Catherine Ann Wilkins in Whitehaven Methodist Church.


John was a tanner by profession (certainly between 1890 and 1925).  There was Walkers Tannery in Scotch Street, Whitehaven "with an impressive chimney and a double decker bridge … echoed to the sound of the marching clogs of the tanners within the works. No trace of the tannery remains, nor does the rich smell of the new leather or the stink of the raw, fatty hides being hauled into the factory on a grab-chain.” ( I have not found evidence of his employment there, but it is most likely. 


Sometime between 1901 and 1904 the family all moved south to Redhill in Surrey.  They had 2 sons and 4 daughters :

It was Amy, my grandmother, who married John William Musgrove (Jack) in 1925.  By then, the family were living at 83 High Street, Gosport.

When Amy was born in May 1904 the family were living at 93 Cromwell Road, Redhill.  The 1911 census show them all living at Siguirville, 18 Tanyard Lane.  John is a "Beam Man in Tanyard", as is his son William, with James a "Labourer in Tanyard".  Kelly's Directory shows a tannery, Samuel Barrow & Brother of Tanyard Lane. In the History of Reigate Borough Fire Brigade book it reports that in 1912 :

Tanyard Lane has been renamed as Oakdene Road. In the 17th century the tannery was owned by the Blatt family and by 1864 by the Bermondsey based Barrow and sons. It closed in 1961 when it was owed by Messrs, Bacon. The site is now housing. (Reference : Edith's Streets - an interesting history of streets in London and what happened to them).  The business continues today in the form of Barrow & Gale who provide the ministerial red boxes and is supplier of bespoke attaché cases to the Queen.  

Linked toJohn McTear; Catherine Ann Wilkins

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