I had booked a stand-up comedy gig in Hull many months ago, not just because it looked fun to do but also because I realised it could conveniently help fund a family research trip, as my grandfather and great uncle were born in that city.
As the months have gone on the focus of my research has turned more towards Scarborough, where both my great uncles lived before they went off to serve in World War 1. So Scarborough was now going to be the main destination for the second half of the weekend, conveniently placed on one of the routes back home.
The gig was last night and it gave me all of today to do some research as well as make the required trip back to Fife. In the time I gave myself I managed to locate my parents’, grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ graves, as well as that of Anne Bronte’s, across three different cemeteries.
I called in at the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Museum behind the seafront and spent a fruitless hour looking up information on lifeboats and trawlers, the main problem being that much of the wealth of information they have gathered or been donated hasn’t (yet) been indexed effectively.
I also visited the Oliver’s Mount memorial where both my great uncles are commemorated amongst those of the fallen of Scarborough (see photo of Fred Cowling's name), and the church where many of my ancestors got married, St. Mary’s, including William Cammish. Unfortunately the church was locked so I couldn’t see the panel inside which also commemorates his war service.
I did locate some dwellings behind the seafront where my ancestors had lived, on Quay Street (see photo of 54 Quay Street) and at Long Greece Steps, houses which remarkably were not amongst those demolished in the last century.
Also no.3 Sandside, which used to be the family home. This latter property recently changed hands after my uncle died and the ground floor shop has now completely changed as it has been absorbed into the adjoining one next door.
On my return trip to Scotland I found and drove through the village of Ferryhill, conveniently placed close to the A1, stopping briefly to locate and take a photo of the house where Fred Cowling and his young family lived for a number of years leading up to 1914.
I also saw the village war memorial, which did not have his name on it. Perhaps he didn't live there long enough to be deemed a local resident, perhaps the family had moved away by August 1914 after his wife died, or possibly even his pre-war bankruptcy had a (negative) bearing on things.
All in all I was very pleased with all the different sites I had managed to visit in a single long day.