Margaret Burwin YMCA

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

Margaret Ann Burwin

YMCA volunteer

Margaret Ann Burwin out riding her horse, probably on Slaymaker Lane in Oakworth. Photo courtesy of Keighley Library archives.

Margaret was born on March 11, 1869, her birth was registered in Keighley by her parents Joseph and Margaret Ann Scaife née Carr.
Her father Joseph was a heald and reed maker. She was baptised Margaret Ann Scaife at St Andrew's Church in Keighley on May 2 of the same year. They were living at Adelaide Street in Keighley. Her mother Margaret Ann died around the same time, possibly as a result of birth complications. She was just 23 years old.
In the 1871 census she was two and still at Adelaide Street. Her maternal grandmother Sarah Carr was living with them. Her father Joseph had changed his occupation to Livery Stable Manager and Sarah was a retired refreshment room keeper.
By 1881 Margaret was twelve and living at 68, Mornington Street in Keighley with grandmother Sarah Carr (described as a retired confectioner.) Scholar. Her father had also died aged just 36, so she was now an orphan and reliant on her grandmother Sarah.
In 1886 aged only 17 years and a few months, Margaret married shuttle maker David Burwin who was 31 years old and their marriage was registered in Keighley. By the time of the 1891 census, Margaret was 22 years old and they were living at Throstle Nest house on Lidget in Oakworth with her husband David Burwin and grandmother Sarah Carr. Also shuttle maker Thomas Burwin and housekeeper Betty Roberts.
By 1901 Margaret was 32, and with her husband David and grandmother Sarah had moved next door to Bank House. Her grandmother Sarah Carr died aged 76 in 1903.
In 1910, Margaret was the registered owner of several properties which she rented out, notably on Market Street in Keighley, possibly bought as property investments with her husband.

David and Margaret were closely involved with the choir at Slack Lane Baptist Church, Margaret in particular was a noted soprano and they were both members of the Keighley Musical Union. In 1911 Margaret was selected for the famous 'Sheffield Choir' which toured the world to great acclaim and was reported in the newspapers of the day. David accompanied her on this trip of a lifetime.
David sadly died at the age of 61 on September 18, 1915. He left £7900 in his will to Margaret. He is buried in Slack Lane Baptist Chapel graveyard.

Margaret served with the Young Men's Christian Association during the Great War and the newspaper states that she travelled with the YMCA to Italy and France to serve drinks and food to serving soldiers, as part of the large support network of wooden huts and comfort provided by supporters of our armed forces in the conflict. She is listed in the 1919 Electoral Rolls as an absent voter under the qualification 'NM' meaning Naval/Military so her absent voter status was classed under military service.

Margaret's life came to an end in tragic circumstances and she was last seen alive on July 27, 1920. Her body was found on August 10 by a concerned neighbour and she had committed suicide. Margaret was 51 and buried with David at Slack Lane. She left £5600 in her will to George Scaife. In her newspaper obituary, she was said to have been a noted horsewoman around the village and had given local talks about her travels overseas, so she was able to share her experiences. Keighley Library archives hold a recipe book and one photograph of her on horseback on Slaymaker Lane in Oakworth.


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