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The Thurlows at Boulby Barns Farm

Boulby Barns Farm is on the old road, near the top of the bank, between Skinningrove and Staithes. The Thurlow family gathered there for a special occasion in about 1907. Even the little girls are wearing wonderful hats. Can anyone tell us what the occasion was, or name any other members of the family?

Mrs. Wilson’s grandmother, Georgina Thurlow is third from the left on the back row. Two of her sisters, Lucy and Sarah are standing in the doorway. The other four sisters and their mother are sitting on the chairs, (from left), …2.Mary Ann with Marjorie, 3.Bessie with Lucy, ……5.Isabel Thurlow (their mother), 6.Barbara, and Ada with Billy at the end. As Owen says: “Amy (a grandchild) is the young girl standing between Barbara and Ada.”

Thanks to Owen Rooks for the following information: ”I believe that the girl (wearing the rather fetching large white hat) standing second from right on the front row is Amy Thurlow. Amy became a close friend of my mother in about 1920 when for a time they were neighbours at Boulby- my mother (before she married) may have worked at Boulby Barns. Many years later, Amy shared a home in Park Terrace, Loftus; with Florence (Flo) Fletcher and they both shared a life long friendship with my mother who died in 1973. In the late 1940’s, Amy and Flo ran a corner shop in Tees Street, East Loftus.”

Joan Johnson tells us: ”I think that Mary Ann must have been known as Polly. She married John Maine and had two children Marjory and John and they lived in Penrith after she married. I don’t really remember Georgina, but know that I did visit her as a child when she was known to me as Aunt Georgie. My grandmother was Ada and Billy was my uncle.” Diane Crosby-Browne tell us: ”Thomas was my Great, Great, Great, Great Uncle. Thank you for the information.” Paul Boden commented: “My Great Great Grandmother Mary Boden (nee Garbutt) was born in Boulby Barns in 1821 as was her sister Margaret, born in 1829. They were both baptised at Easington Parish church. Their father was John Garbutt. On both the Baptism records it states he was an Epsom Salts Maker. My question is was Boulby Barns a farm in 1821. If it was did the farmer have tenants?”

Peter Appleton added additional information with: “Some of the following information may not be new to those who are descended from the Thurlows but it all may be of interest to a wider audience.
Members of the Thurlow family were involved in the manufacture of alum at Boulby Alum Works. In the 1851 census we can see Robert Thurlow, aged 45 and a widower who is “Employed in the manufacture of Alum”. So is Thomas, aged 36 and married, and George, aged 27 and married. Ten years later, Thomas has become the Alum Agent’s Clerk and George is now a “Labourer in the Alum Works”. George’s son, John, aged 14, is an “Alum miner”. In 1871 Thomas is now a widower and is the Alum manufacturer.
George’s son, John, would have been employed in the quarry, using a pickaxe to break the alum shale away from the quarry face and a wheelbarrow to trundle it off along a trackway of metal plates to the clamp where it would be added to the existing pile of burning shale.
Thomas’s job as Alum Agent’s Clerk indicates that he was both literate and numerate. His job could have involved such aspects as copying outgoing business letters into the letter copy book, and keeping the financial records up to date in the many different ledgers that the works used. By 1871 (just a few months before the works finally closed) he had become the Alum manufacturer. This was, arguably the most important role in an alum works. In today’s terminology he would be something like the chief chemical engineer or chief industrial scientist.”

Image courtesy of Mrs. J. Wilson, with thanks to Owen Rooks, Joan Johnson, Anne Hindmarsh, Gordon Main, Peter Appleton, Diane Crosby-Browne and Paul Boden for the updates.

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