VAD Atkinson Sisters

Voluntary Aid Detachment page

Red Cross, St John Ambulance Brigade and Royal Army Medical Corpsbadges

Edith, Mary Emily and Hannah Elisabeth Atkinson
Edith – Nursing, St. John Ambulance Brigade
Mary Emily – Nursing, St. John Ambulance Brigade
Hannah Elizabeth – Nursing, St. John Ambulance Brigade

Edith, Mary and Hannah were the three daughters of John Barraclough Atkinson and Mary Ann Atkinson nee Greenwood. They had married in Keighley in 1872. Hannah was born 1st November 1872, Edith 31st December 1879 and Mary Emily 1st March 1883. Census records show them being born in Oxenhope or Keighley.

In 1881 the family lived at 26 Uppertown, Oxenhope, and John was employed as a turner and gas fitter.

John died at the age of 36/37 in 1884, his death registered in the second quarter of that year in Keighley. Mary Ann remarried in the last quarter of 1889, to a man called Joseph Rushworth who was employed as a cloth warp dresser. In 1891 they lived at 22 Exley Head with Joseph’s 20 year old son Tom (a loom fitter). Hannah is described as a stuff weaver, and 11 year old Edith is a mill girl.

The 1891 Census showing the three sisters

The 1901 census shows the family at 22/26 Exley Head. Edith and Mary were both worsted rovers. Hannah had married Arthur Redman in 1896 and they lived at 40 Wheathead Lane, where they would live for the rest of their lives.

By 1911 Mary Ann Rushworth had been widowed for a second time. Edith was working as a cloth weaver and Mary a drawer, both remained unmarried and lived with their mother at 42 Exley Head. Hannah and Arthur Redman had three children – Clarissa (9), John Atkinson (7) and William (2), Arthur worked as a foreman warp twister.

In 1915 the families, living next door to each other, began working part time, including some night duties, in the war hospitals. The women worked in nursing through St. John’s Ambulance Brigade – Mary discontinued in 1918, Edith and Hannah continued for another year. Arthur worked for the same period undertaking hospital duties and convoys.

Mary Ann Rushworth died in 1925 in Keighley.

The 1939 Register shows the two households, still next door to each other at 40 and 42 Wheathead Lane. Hannah and Arthur’s son William lived at 38 with his wife Fannie. Edith and Mary, now aged 60 and 56 respectively, were both rovers at a worsted spinning mill. Hannah is described as a housewife and Arthur retired from worsted warper twister work.

The 1939 Register shows the three households next door to each other

BMD records indicate possible deaths for the women – Hannah in 1958, Edith in 1961 and Mary in 1966; and Arthur in 1950, all in Keighley.


England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915

England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915

1881 England Census

1891 England Census

1901 England Census

1911 England Census

1939 England and Wales Register

West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962

England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1837-1915

England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007

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