Great-grandfather Frank

Frank Marsden was born in 1871 to Jonathan Marsden (1843-1889) and Jane Marsden (Smithson, 1847-1913). In the 1871 census they were living at in 3 Church Gate, Brighouse, Yorkshire.


In the 1891 census, Frank was a corn miller. He later became a greengrocer, and by 1937 had a shop at 56 King Cross Street, Halifax (tel. Hx 4602!)

He married Sarah Helliwell (1871 – 1947) in 1893, at Halifax Parish Church, now known as the Minster.

They had seven children, my grandma Hilda, 5 great-aunts and a great-uncle, more of whom anon, all being well.

Lily b 1895
Willie b 1899
Dora b 1902
Hilda b 1904
Florrie b 1906
Amy b 1913
Lena b 1916

Frank lived variously in Spring Bank House, Elland Rd, Hipperholme, (1881) 62 Lister Lane, Halifax (1901) which is pretty much where Burdock Way now crosses and splits Lister Lane in two, 38 St Mary St. Halifax (1911), and in the 1939 register is listed in the family home for many years, 41 Stirling St, Halifax.

Here’s the family with the first 3 children, so presumably in 1902, as Dora is a baby. I don’t know anything about the Foster family also pictured, other than names and now census details. Frank is on the left, Sarah middle front, holding Dora. The names are written above. The Fosters lived at 38 King Cross St. in 1901, and John listed as a greengrocer, living with Evelyn, Lister (then 6) and Doris (4). Whether the connection was just via the trade, friendship or family remains to be unearthed. Which house this is I don’t know, Lister Lane or King Cross St – or indeed, somewhere else entirely. I do know, however, that an E. Gregson, photographer, took a photo of baby Willie in 1899 for Frank and Sarah, and his studio was at 70 Lister Lane, so perhaps he popped along the road to no 62 to do this one, too?

Marsdens and Listers.

Frank would go regularly with his wagon to the glorious Piece Hall when it was rather less grand, serving as the wholesale fruit and vegetable market. His grandson, my uncle, fondly recalled the memory of going with him and remembered the flickering yellow gas lamps there on winter mornings.

I have yet to ascertain whether Marsden & Furniss, trading from the Market Hall, are connected, and to discover when Frank took on the shop. In 1905/6 it’s a James James running a greengrocery business there, and in the 1920s and 30s directories I’ve looked at there is no entry for the shop, just Marsden & Furniss. He’s listed as a Greengrocer & Employer in the 1911 census.

As Frank died some years before I was born, I never knew him other than through family tales and snippets. I know Stirling Street held very fond memories for my mum, aunt and uncle, and it saw family parties and gatherings aplenty, whence the tradition of daft games and family traditions that I grew up with. The family gatherings continued in various venues and were highlights of my childhood. I recall mum saying he liked his Christmas cake not only served with cheese, in good Yorkshire style, but buttered, too!

The family were stalwarts of Wesley Chapel. Here’s a newspaper cutting (Halifax Courier) dutifully kept over the years, capturing a moment of stage glory for Frank!

Courtesy of Halifax Courier, a clipping in a family album. Unsure of year.

Frank died in November 1950 at Stirling Street, so the picture I have of him at mum and dad’s wedding in May of that year must be one of his last.

Granddad Marsden

Frank is buried at Christ Church, King Cross Wesleyan with Sarah (picture courtesy of Calderdale Family History Society) and her sister Lily Helliwell, who had died in 1934.

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