VAD Mary Ann Brayshaw

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

Mary Ann Brayshaw
Bed making and ward duties

Mary Ann was one of eight children born  to William Edwin or Edward and Mary Brayshaw, on 17th April 1878. She was baptised on 31st March 1882 at St. Stephen's Church, Steeton. William worked in a wood bobbin mill throughout his working life, as did several of his children. This may have been John Dixon and Sons which was established in 1844 and at its peak employed 350 people. It closed in 1985 and was demolished, by which time it was believed to be the last bobbin mill in the world.

John Dixon and Sons Bobbin Mill, Steeton. Photo courtesy of

In 1881 William and Mary lived at 9 Croft Street, Steeton with daughters Elizabeth (4) and Mary Ann (3) and seven month old son John. By 1891 they lived at 1 Chapel Houses in Steeton. Elizabeth, Mary Ann and John were by now aged 14, 12 and 10 and worked as labourers in the bobbin mill. Younger siblings were Jane (9), Frank (4) and Willie (one month).

In 1901 they lived at 41 or 43 High Street and Mary Ann was now a varnisher at the bobbin mill. There is another younger brother, Herbert, aged four and a nephew, 17 year old John Francis Laycock. In 1911 the family lived at 12 Ash Grove and Mary Ann was a bobbin polisher.

Mary Ann became a VAD worker during World War One, undertaking bed making and ward duties at Morton Banks from 7th October 1916 until November 1918. It is noted on her record that she worked there voluntarily in her spare time, totting up 870 hours, and paid her own rail, laundry and uniform expenses.

Other than electoral registers which show that Mary Ann continued to live with her parents I have not found other information. At the time of the 1939 Register of England and Wales, Mary Ann and her mother, now widowed, lived at 37 High Street and Mary Ann was still working in the bobbin mill as a painter and polisher.

At the age of 63 Mary Ann got married, to George Brodrick, in the third quarter of 1941. I believe he was a widower who, on the 1939 Register has his occupation as an iron plater. Sadly both Mary Ann and George died in the first quarter of 1945, their deaths registered in Keighley.


England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1935
1881 England Census
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
1939 England and Wales Register
England and Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2007
Memories of Lost Industry, 22 November 2012, Keighley News - Ian Dewhirst

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