The Woman My Father Married

A Memory of Blyth

I don't know a lot about Blyth, Northumberland, only that for some strange reason I visited an awful lot during my life but thought nothing of it. My current fiancee and I would sit for long periods on the old docks at the bottom of Ridley Street area, eating locally purchased cheeseburgers etc.
I remember once booking a romantic table for two in Blyth, but it was a waste of time - she only potted 3 reds!
Much later in my life I learned that my grandfather, James Barns Chilvers, was lost at sea after leaving Blyth harbour on 25th November 1925, on a collier named Galleon, bound for London. She never made it. Only wreckage of the ship was found. He was born in Hull on the 16th June 1855. He married my grandmother, Dorothy Rose Chilvers, nee Burns, on March 11th 1901, in Gateshead Registry Office.
My grandmother's side of the family goes back hundreds of years and includes Rabbi Burns, the famed Scottish poet. This is probably why my poetry is so well publicised in public arena's - well in gents toilets anyway. An example of my work in the Saltwell Park urinal is....

Land of hope and glory
Mother of the free
I don't like your taxes
Canada for me.

They don't write them like that anymore
It was with some shock that I learned just yesterday that my maternal grandparents lived in Ridley Street, Blyth, in the early 1900s, giving birth to the woman my father married. It left me with an extremely uncanny feeling of the supernatural. How extra-ordinary!
My birth-mother's name was Isabella Gattis Chilvers, born on the 1st March 1916, in Ridley Street Blyth, yards from where I would sit during my life, not knowing any close family ties with this area at all, but that I just wanted to "be there".
Other siblings of the Chilvers family were Ruth Chilvers who died in 1921, Mabel Barnes Chilvers, who married William Parkin at Gateshead Registry Office on the 11th March 1931, Elizabeth Barnes Chilvers who married Hugh Mc Kenna at Gateshead Registry Office on the 8th January 1936, and Edward Burns Chilvers who married Caroline Rutherford on the 6th May 1939.
My maternal grandmother was born Dorothy Tulip Burns on Felling Shore, Gateshead in 1881. She married James Chilvers and then having been widowed she married Patrick Mc Caully, (Paddy), who worked for many years as an engine driver at the Gas Works in the Teams, Gateshead.
Last night I re-visted Ridley Street in Blyth with my sister. It's still there but not as it was. The old school building still stands in an adjacent street, but I could not find any of the old housing stock of Ridley Street.
I doubt now if anyone still lives that remembers my maternal side of the family in relation to Ridley street. But, if there is I would appreciate contact in order to help me record my family history.

A memory shared by Alan Bull , on Apr 11th, 2008.

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