VAD Agnes and Sarah Whitehead

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Agnes and Sarah Whitehead

Agnes and Sarah Ann were the only children of Joshua Yeadon Whitehead of Keighley and Jeanne/Jeannie Whitehead nee Adam, originally from Paisley in Scotland. They had married in 1884 at Richmond Terrace Chapel in Bradford.

Joshua was a leather currier in what was a family business, his father was James Whitehead who, along with his brother Thomas had built a reasonably prominent firm in the 19th and early 20th century. Their home and currier shop was in High Street, Keighley.

Agnes was born 11th March 1886 and Sarah Ann followed on 10th November 1887. They lived at 122 Highfield Lane at the time of the 1891 and 1901 census. In 1901 Joshua's nephew Albert Whitehead, age 25, lived with them and was also a currier, presumably with the family business. By 1911 the family, minus Albert who had by now married, had moved to 11 Sunny Mount. Agnes was working as a book keeper.

The sisters both appear on the Red Cross records as working at the military hospital. Agnes as a nurse with some night duties from 1917 until May 1919, and Sarah as a clerk from 22nd July 1916 until 3rd June 1919 at Morton Banks.

Neither sister ever married and they appear to have lived together throughout their lives. In 1939 they are together at 11 Sunny Mount. Agnes is described as a director in the leather trade while Sarah has unpaid domestic duties. I assume the family business was still running, their cousin Albert is described on the1939 Register as Managing Director of a Gentile Leather Works.

The 1939 Register entry

Sarah died on 5th April 1971, and Agnes the following year on 19th June at Beech Croft Nursing Home in Sutton in Craven.

The Whitehead's leather business was sold to Charles Walker & Co Ltd which was then taken over by Habasit (UK) Ltd.

1871 England Census
West Yorkshire, Non-Conformist Records, 1646-1985
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
UK, City and County Directories, 1746-1946 - Kelly's Directory 1927
1939 England & Wales Register
England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
Keighley News, Jan 30th 2021, Memory Lane: 'Leather creates a belting trade for Keighley firms' by Alistair Shand

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