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Derby branch



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This page sets out information that we have found about the Derby branch of Fairholm in England - which extended to Canada in the early part of the 20th century.

So far, we have 514 people on this tree.

We have use the following abbreviations on the tree:

b : birth
c : christening or baptism
m : marriage
d : death
bu : burial.




John Fairholm - moves to Derby but dies back in Nottingham


Base map Corel Corporation


"death from injuries sustained on the
Midland Railway"

Inquest into the death of John Fairholm

This branch is headed by John and Elizabeth Fairholm. They married in 1831 at Radford, Nottinghamshire, but had moved to Derby by 1840. Elizabeth's maiden name was Carrington. They had three children. Their only son, William, married four times and had six children. Of his sons, William (jnr) remained in Derby and Ernest moved to Rugby. His third son, Joseph, had a career in the army and eventually emigrated to Canada as a farmer.

John was a stockinger when he arrived at Derby and later a silk glover and a labourer. When he died aged 66 in an accident in 1875 he was a ganger on the Midland Railway.  He was emptying ballast from wagons when the engine was moved and he fell between the wagons.  It seems that had missed the signal for the engine to move due to the noise from the emptying of the ballast and from a passing passenger train.  He was taken to the General Hospital with a lacerated leg and other injuries, but died nineteen days later.  An inquest was held on 25.3.1875 and 30.3.1875 under Mr. Browne, coroner for Nottingham.



William Fairholm & his glass eye


William Fairholm (junior) was in a butcher's shop as a young boy when the butcher raised his cleaver over his shoulder and hit William in the face. He lost his left eye and for several years he wore a glass one. William worked in the metal industries and his job descriptions include metalsmith, plate metal worker and iron fitter.  His son, Percy, was gassed during World War 1 and when he returned home he continued to be unwell. His doctor recommended recuperation by the sea and the family moved to Ingoldmells, near Skegness. One day, whilst limewashing pigsties, some lime got onto William's damaged eye socket. He was never able to use his glass eye comfortably again and wore a patch instead.


The photograph shows him in later life with his wife, Emma, and their youngest daughter, Grace Constance.



Joseph Fairholm - soldier, tea merchant, baker, farmer, ferryman


This photograph was shared by Mark Townsend
Joseph married four times. The descendants of Joseph are the most numerous on this branch - partly as a result of having seventeen children. His wives were:

Annie Webster Married 1890 Derby - Divorced 1896 Derby

Maud Dickson Married 1896 Ceylon - Died 1900 Ceylon

Amy Beatrice Robinson Married 1901 Ceylon - Died 1920 Canada

Florence Ethel Rose Robinson ("Queenie") Married 192? Canada - Divorced 1931

Joseph's first marriage took place in Derby only two days before he was due to embark for India as a soldier in the British Army.  He married without the consent of his commanding officer and so Annie could not accompany him abroad. The divorce made the News of the World, as well as the more local newspapers - divorce was a unusual event at the time and the circumstances made for a racy story. The grounds for the divorce were infidelity on the part of Annie with Henry Coxon and John Banks. From the various reports and the court papers it seems that Joseph's elder brother, William, was deeply involved in the case, in his brother's absence in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Joseph served with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in India, Singapore and Hong Kong and Ceylon.  Later he was a Sergeant Major in the Ceylon Volunteers Corps before returning to England.  Back home he became a tea merchant (selling tea from a plantation in Ceylon) and then a Master Baker in Birmingham.  The family had a comfortable lifestyle, but in 1913 Joseph and the family sold up and migrated to Canada to become farmers.  According to the life story of Amy Mona, (Joseph's eldest daughter) it was a hard life.  In later years, Joseph ran the ferry across the McLeod River.

The photograph shows Joseph (centre) and his two eldest sons, Joseph Goldie (right) and Bertam Noel (left) after they had signed up for the Canadian Expeditionary Force in World War 1.  All three survived the war and returned to Canada.  A diary written by Joseph Goldie during his time posted to Western Europe has been discovered in Wales.  It was returned to the family in Canada in August 2014. The diary covers the period from 30 November 1916 to 19 November 1917 and decribes details of Joseph Goldie's experiences as a machine gunner and runner. There is an article about it on the website ww1.canada.com (the link will launch a new window).




Maud Simpson (nee Fairholm) & Elk Lake


This photograph was shared by Clifford Simpson


Base map Corel Corporation
Tom Reuben Simpson went to work in Canada in 1912.  His girlfriend, Maud Fairholm, joined him in 1913 and they married at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan later that year.

They had moved to Vancouver by 1919, where Tom had  a car workshop.  In 1924 he joined a subsidiary for the Consolidated Mining & Smelting Company and the family moved to Vancouver Island.  Tom was in charge of installing and maintaining equipment for prospective boring for copper ore near Elk Lake (now Benson Lake).

The family went from Vancouver City by supply boat, which called in at small settlements and lumber camps up the eastern side of Vancouver Island, until they reached Jeune Landing on the north-western edge.  It took over 4 days to complete the journey of approximately 200 miles. From there, they went on horseback or walked along rough gravel tracks to reach Alice Lake, which they crossed by boat. A further track took them to Kathleen Lake and another boat crossing. The final stage was another track that took them to Elk Lake and the site that was to be their home for almost 8 years.  The total distance from Jeune Landing was about 13 miles, of which 6 miles was by boat.  The first time they under took the trip, their children were 3, 5 and 9 years old.  It was a trip that Maud and the children completed many times when they returned to Derby for holidays.

The facilities were extremely basic. They lived in a wooden shack with wood burning stove and range, but there was electricity for lighting from the company's water powered generator.  In winter snow falls could be 90cm (3ft) deep and summers as hot as 32oC (90oF).  A school was built in 1926, but there was no doctor or nurse all the time they lived there.  Supplies were delivered by boat to Jeune Landing approximately every three weeks, but as this could not be guaranteed, Christmas presents usually arrived in October and were hidden away.  All the supplies were dragged along on horse-drawn sleds called go-devils. Rough or boggy parts of the tracks were covered with split tree trunks and others formed kerbs and helped to keep the sleds on track.

After almost nine years the prospecting was not viable commercially and the operation was closed in 1932.  The family returned to England and settled in Derby.




Derby - Near the Royal Infirmary


Reproduced courtesy of Nottingham City Council Local Studies Library / www.picturethepast.org.uk
Picture the Past provides access to a large collection of photographs of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire for viewing on-line and for purchase.

When the family first moved to Derby they lived in the area bounded by the Royal Infirmary, the railway station and the Derby Canal.  This map from 1901 shows the area.  It has now been redeveloped and, although some of the road names remain, some of the road layout has been altered.  John and Elizabeth lived at 10 Bradshaw Street (at the Northern end of the Royal Infirmary) and later at Litchurch Street (just off the map at the bottom of the infirmary) from at least 1840 to at least 1851.

William (senior) lived at John Street (centre right), 3 Hope Street (centre left) and 28 Copeland Street (centre top) between at least 1863 and 1868.  In 1869 through to at least 1877 the family was settled at 70 Liversage Street (centre left).  The photograph shows part of Liversage Street in 1970 - shortly before demolition.

When Joseph married Annie in 1890 his marriage certificate states that they were both living at Eagle Street (top left corner) - he at No 70 and she at Court 5, House 5.

The map shows a mix of residential, industrial activities, although the uses of the industrial properties changed between the time that the family lived there and the date of the map.  For part of his working life John was a silk glover and William (senior) was in the metal work industry.  It is very likely that they worked in the area in which they lived, but not necessarily at the silk mills or the iron works shown on the map.  It is interesting to note that there are four schools on the map, five places of worship - and eighteen inns, taverns or public houses.


OS Map 1914. Image produced from the www.old-maps.co.uk service with permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd and Ordnance Survey



Derby - New Normanton

This map from 1914 shows part of the area where members of the Derby branch lived from the early 1880s until into the 1920s. The houses would have been relatively new at the time.  William (senior) and Mary Ann Fairholm lived on St. James Road (top middle of the map) from at least 1891 until their deaths in 1915 and 1916. William (junior) and Emma Fairholm and their family lived on Crewe Street (centre of the map) from at least 1894 to at least 1897 and then on Joseph Street (bottom right of map and top photograph) from at least 1899 to at least 1906. Later they moved to Porter Road (just off the left hand side of the map towards the top), where they ran a shop (bottom photograph). Joseph and his family lived on Joseph Street in 1905, after they returned to England from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

This area is much more residential than the area near the Royal Infirmary - there is only one mill and one public house.


OS Map 1914. Image produced from the www.old-maps.co.uk service with permission of Landmark Information Group Ltd and Ordnance Survey




More family photographs



On the left is a photograph of William Fairholm, his wife Emma (nee Clements) and their youngest son, Haydn Vincent. It was taken at a studio, we guess, sometime around 1912.

The middle left photograph is undated, but is probably taken in 1935 or 1936 outside the house on Chellaston Road, Derby. From left to right are Haydn V. Fairholm, his sister, Grace Constance (seated), his father, William (junior), his mother, Emma (nee Clements) and his son, Peter (in her arms).

The middle right photograph shows Edgar Howard Fairholm (the second youngest son of William (junior)) and his wife Clara (nee Green). It was probably taken after 1927.

On the right is a photograph that we believe to be of Percy Fairholm.



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