Donation Of The Month – A Family’s Story

tvr-gkeq_400x400We were absolutely thrilled to be approached by Michael,  a life long Bury man, who wondered if his own family’s story would be of any interest to the Archive. Michael’s wonderful photographs and documents give us an insight in to a local family who have been resident in Bury for many generations. Although at this time Michael is not ready to part with the original documents, we are still able to capture this valuable information as fantastic digitalised copies; so all of this wonderful local and family history is being gathered and preserved for the future.


Michael was kind enough to tell his story here:

The history of the local families in Bury Lancashire from past times

Why I have chosen to donate pictures to the Bury Libraries Archives? It is because I wish for the past times to be shared with people who have a real passion for research, learning and the history of men who served in the Wold Wars and their families, such as my descendants, my Great Grandparents, second Uncles and Aunts and Grandparents.

My Great Grandfather Thomas Read, who was a private in the 2nd and 5th Fusilier’s, was one of the many from his battalion who went into battle in France and suffered the drastic effects of the Battle of the Somme.  He, and others from the British military who experienced the gassing in the Somme, suffered serious lung damage and consequently endured respiratory effects throughout the rest of his life.  In my donation to The Borough Archive I have included a picture which shows Thomas Read and men from the 2nd and 5th Fusilier Battalion.  I have also included a picture of my great grandfather Thomas Read who was promoted to a sergeant in the 2nd and 5th regiment of fusiliers.  He is among all the other men who served in the Great World One who need to be remembered for their gallant and loyal characters.  My great grandfather was given a full military funeral when he passed away later in life. I am unclear as to what age he was when he died, as I do not have the exact date of his death, but he was born in 1876 and died in the late 1940’s.  I am aware of his wife, Isabella who was born in 1879 and lived into the age of 92 years old and passed away in 1971.  I have also included the picture that shows Isabella, in her nineties outside her doorstep with her pet dog, Prince.  At the time that picture was taken Isabella lived in Franklin Street Bury, Lancashire, with her son Tom Read.  My great grandparents both worked, Thomas was a labourer and enjoyed carpentry and I have included a picture of him when he was dressed for this pastime. Isabella was a factory worker and was a weaver in a local mill within the town of Bury, Lancashire.

I have included a picture of Thomas and Isabella on their wedding day which was at Holy Trinity church in 1911.  In the donation, there is also a painted picture of their two children, Florence and Eddward, alongside their mother on a holiday.  People who read this information will be aware of how hard life within a World War would have been, unfortunately, the family faced their own tragedy when Eddie was killed tragically in 1915.  I have also donated a birthday card that was sent to the young Eddie whilst his father was away in France involved in the Great World War 1.  The card is written to ‘Dear Eddie happy birthday from mama papa and Florence’.  I have also included other birthday cards that were sent to Florence and other members of the family.  They reflect the social history of the times which was very religious, however, some of the birthday cards are of film stars of the time.

The pictures, photographs and other documents relating to the Read and Shorrock branches of my family, that I have donated, are going to be left in place at Bury Libraries Archives for any member of the public with an interest in the past or any remaining family members who wish to learn something about our descendants.  I genuinely hope these records and the historic detail that I have submitted will be of some help to them.

Armed with some Ancestry information, and inspired by Michael’s visit, I tracked down the newspaper report that details Edward’s accident. The following article was published in the Bury times on Saturday October 2nd 1915:

Bury Times Newspaper Article 'Killed While At Play'

This is exactly the type of local history that we love to capture. History is not, and should not, just be made up of the stories of ‘the rich and famous’; it is the stories of the every day people of the Borough that paint the richest and truest picture.

A huge thank you to Michael. If you have any documents that you feel help to capture the history of the Borough and it’s residents please contact us:



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