The 1901 photograph of the Batson’s outside The Travellers Rest Griffydam has almost certainly has been commissioned and staged by the Batsons to demonstrate their rise in status. We can assume a bearded William Batson is sitting proudly on the left hand side of the table with his wife in the flowered blouse behind him. His name can be seen on the board between the two top windows.
William Batson was born in 1850 in the rural village of Hardwick Buckinghamshire, 9 miles north of Aylesbury where the major land holder was New College Oxford. His parents John and Jane Batson had lived in the area all their lives. The majority of the men in the village were Agricultural labourers, the major source of employment for most men. Women and children supplemented the family income by straw-plaiting for hats and bonnets.
Photograph Courtesy Of Coalville Heritage Society
On the 8th of May 1870 William married Susannah Luff born in 1850 in Gedney, Lincs. Her father born in Gedney near Spalding, was a Builders Labourer and a Beerhouse Keeper on Castle Street Aylesbury. Her mother Jemima was from Aylesbury and she ran the Beerhouse in the daytime with the help of Jane once she became old enough.
The family’s movements can be seen from the children’s birthplaces, in addition their employment when they left home has been added.
at 18 a Servant to a Baker on Charnwood Rd Shepshed
at 16 a Servant to E Serres Head Osgathorpe Grammar School
at 14 a Tailoress self employed at home
1901 Boarder at Coalville, Hewer at Coal Face Snibstone.
1911 Married. Hewer living at Thringstone
Died last quarter of 1900 aged 17
1909 Married George Arthur Badcock
Living with William at Thringstone, Hewer at Coal Face
Died last quarter 1895 aged 6
The 1881 census shows the Batson’s living on Lower Brand, William was working as a Lime Kiln Labourer and would be expected to empty the hot lime from the kiln, with very little protection from alkaline burns. In 1891 and 1901 he is working as Hewer at the Coal Face in the local mines.
The Batson’s took over the tenancy of Rising Sun Public House at the top of the Tentas in 1886 to 1893, from 1897 to 1905 they took the tenancy of the Travellers Rest. In the Kelly’s directory for 1895 and 1899 he is listed as a Beer retailer. Susannah would run the Pub in the day time and her experience from being raised in a Beer House may have directed them to the pub trade.
The Batson story demonstrates how in the Victorian Period people are moving throughout the country in order to better themselves. Susannah died in Griffydam in 1908 at the age of 58. By 1911 at the age of 23, Charles was living in Talbot Street, Whitwick with his brother William and Belgian born wife Elizabeth.
Further information about the Batson family can be found in Samuel T Stewart's publication on the 'Traveller's Rest & Rising Sun Beerhouses at Griffydam'