Having resigned myself to never finding the missing jigsaw pieces in Uncle Harry’s life, I quite fortuitously came across a Lincolnshire archives website showing, as “Document of the Month”, this letter:
It’s a character reference for Mr Harry Green, in support of his application for the licence of the Horse and Groom, Gainsborough. What a surprise! I also found the reference number of the application file containing this letter. And further research turned up a few more nuggets, so I have actually been able to fill in a lot of the blanks. Many thanks to the Sheffield Indexers, who have an enormous amount of information on their website.
I still haven’t found Uncle Harry and Aunt Hannah in the 1911 census, and I don’t know where they were between 1901 and 1910, when Harry returned from Peru. Nor do I know where they were or what they were doing in the next five years, but I did locate him in Sheffield, first running the Exchange Hotel, a beerhouse, in 1916,
and then landlord of the Napier Hotel in 1919. Mrs Hannah Green then took over the licence in 1920-21, and Harry returned in 1923. That fits in nicely with his trips to Chile.
The next little bit of information startled me, because it appears that the licence for this pub was taken over by Tom, my mother’s cousin on her father’s side, no relation to Harry or Hannah, another young man with itchy feet who took off to Australia for two years and then returned to take up his pub licence again. I have said it many times: find the answer to one question, and you raise several more! This cousin stayed in charge of the Napier Hotel until 1951, but my mother had no idea. I wonder if Tom and Harry met at my grandparents’ house? Both were regular visitors there.
The application for the Horse and Groom licence dates from January 1931, and since my great-grandmother died there in February 1931, I know the licence was granted. Where Harry and Hannah were between 1924 and 1931 is still unclear, but I imagine they had a pub somewhere either in Sheffield or Gainsborough. I was pleased to discover that Hannah was still around, and that my speculation about her dying first and Harry remarrying was totally wrong. They seem to have held the licence of the Horse and Groom throughout the 1930’s. In fact my information – not fully verified – is that they left Gainsborough when WWII broke out and returned to Sheffield. At any rate, Harry Green, publican, aged 65, died in March 1940 at the Hodgson’s Arms and is buried in the same cemetery as his mother.
In 1942 the licensee of the Hodgson’s Arms was Mrs Hannah Truelove. What a lovely name! I hope the 63-year-old widow Hannah Green did indeed find true love when she married Joseph Truelove in the first quarter of 1941. She continued as landlady until 1948, dying in March 1958, aged 81, and is buried with Harry Green. The pub was demolished in 1970.
Browsing through pub landlords called Green in Sheffield (and there are quite a few) I also came across a Frank Green who ran the Royal Standard from 1939 to 1951. Could this be the younger son of Harry and Hannah, following in the family tradition? Yet another trail to follow up.
Maybe there’s even yet a chance I’ll find out what Harry did in Peru and Chile.