THOMAS EDWARD GREEN - HORBURY'S PHOTOGRAPHY PIONEER

Thomas Edward GreenThomas Edward Green was born on the 27th March 1862, to parents George Green and Mary (nee Stringer). Their address at his time was Elmwood Street, Leeds, although Thomas Edward was baptised in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Wakefield.

One month old Thomas is recorded on the 1861 census, along with his siblings, Martha 14, Sarah 12 and George William 3. The census of 1871 shows a move to High Field, Horbury.

George Green was a carpet merchant and farmer of 4 acres of land. The census shows that Thomas had other siblings not recorded at the same address in 1861, Fanny 20, Maria 18 and John Henry 15. He also had a sister Mary born in 1862, who died the following year. The next census in 1881 shows the family actually lived at Highfield House, Highfield Road, Horbury. 20 year-old Thomas is described as a warehouseman.

The 1891 census shows 30 year-old Thomas is still single and living with his parents. His father George is now a woollen manufacturer and Thomas is working for his father as a travelling salesman.

In the spring of 1895, Thomas Edward married Lillie Miers, in the Wetherby district. Lillie was the daughter of John Miers, oil manufacturer and his wife Jane. The 1871 census shows them living at Grove House, Leeds Road, Scarcroft, Leeds. The 1881 census reveals that Lillie and her sisters were educated at a boarding school in Toxteth Park, Liverpool.

The 1901 census shows Thomas and Lillie living at Willow Grove, Cluntergate. They had two sons by this time, Edward Valentine aged 3 and Alan Roy aged 2. By the time of the 1911 census, Thomas and Lillie also have a daughter, Florence Maris aged 6 years. This census paints a picture of an affluent family. Willow Grove has nine rooms and the family employs two live-in staff, Nora Wild 18, a cook and Emma Jowett 16, a housemaid.

Thomas and Lillie's eldest son, Edward Valentine Green served in the Army Service Corps (Mechanical Transport) in Salonica (Greece) during WW1. Edward Valentine survived the war, but Thomas’ nephew, Geoffrey George Miers-Green (George William and Fanny’s only son) was not so fortunate. A Lieutenant with the West Yorkshire Regiment attached to the 5th Battalion, KOYLI, he was killed in action near Bucquoy, France on 28th March 1918. He is remembered on the family grave, which reveals George William Green lived at Elm Lodge, further down Cluntergate from Thomas Edward.

After suffering failing health for a couple of years, Thomas Edward Green passed away at Willow Grove on the 29th November 1943, aged 81. The "Ossett Observer" dated 4th December that year, published his obituary, which described him as 'much travelled and well read with many interests in life, he was an excellent raconteur and instructive companion, while in his younger days his smart appearance and charm of manner were freely recognised.'

They went on to inform the reader that T. E. Green had been involved with the Horbury Literary Society and had arranged all the lectures for the Wakefield Mechanics’ Institute and the Co-operative Societies of Barnsley, Thurnscoe and Lytham, coming into contact with most of the leading lights of exploration and drama of the day.

He also had a keen interest in archaeology. One of his projects involved reconstructing, single-handedly, the huge stone urn which fell from St Peter’s Church spire and broke into 25 pieces in 1866. He displayed the urn outside his Willow Grove home, in full view of passers-by so that everyone could appreciate it.

A life member of the Paxton Society, he was a devoted gardener, producing a rare geranium which bears his name.

Green Graves

Above: Top Left: Horbury cemetery memorial for Geoffrey George Miers-Green, Thomas Green's nephew, who died during WW1. Top Right: Highfield House, Horbury, home of the Green family. Bottom Left: Thomas Green's grave in Horbury Cemetery and Bottom Right: the reconstructed urn that fell from St. Peter's Church spire in 1866 at Green's Willow Grove home. Grave pictures by Helen Bickerdike.

Willow Grove

Above: Willow Grove, off Cluntergate, Horbury as it looked when the home of Thomas E. Green. Picture postcard circa 1910.

Willow Grove 2017

Above: Willow Grove as it looks in 2017 from Google Earth.

In the final years of his life he became a little reclusive. His funeral took place at Horbury Methodist Church, followed by interment in the family vault in Horbury Cemetery, where he joined his parents and sister.

T E Green took an abundance of photos of Horbury during the early 1900s, many of which were produced as postcards. Historians owe a debt of thanks to this local photographic pioneer .

References:

1. "Ancestry.co.uk"

2. "Ossett Observer", 4th December 1943

Helen Bickerdike, June 2018