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Exhibition details for 43208 - Bill Hall's family story
Bill Hall's family story
Uploaded by Janette Gollan
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Bill Hall's family story
Bill Hall is a keen family historian. Born in 1946, Bill has lived most of his life in Edinburgh.

Bill's mother Mary was the custodian of the family archive and shared her memories with Bill. The photographs in this exhibition depict various members of Bill's family and we meet relatives on both his father and mother's sides going back as far as the late 1800s.

Mary Clark was born in 1911 and she lived in Albion Road, attending Albion Road School. During the summer she visited relatives in Ratho, Tranent and Cockenzie. Fantastic photographs show groups taken at fish sales in Port Seton.

Alexander Clark, Bill's (great-great-grandfather) was born about 1813 in Linlithgow and worked as a carter carrying stone. He gave this up to become a canal banksman moving to Wilkie's Basin, near Ratho. A banksman's job was to maintain the canal ensuring it was kept in good order. They dredged the canal and kept it clear of weeds and debris for the traffic that travelled along the canal.

Mary Clark and John Henderson were Bill's maternal great-grandparents. John worked as a stoker on the railways and was a member of the Society of Railway Servants which was a forerunner of the National Union of Railways. In the 1891 Census, they were living at 3 Sunnybank Place in Edinburgh, where all three children were born. By 1911 they had moved to 89 Albert Street.

Bill's father Joseph was born in 1911. A postcard shows Joseph aged about 3, taken on Christmas Eve 1914. The postcards was a gift for his father William, who was off to the front, and the message read, "Love to Daddy from Joe". Sadly, William died of wounds on 8th April 1916. When he grew up, Joseph worked as a draughtsmen at Bertrams which included a six year apprenticeship from 1928-1943. He died in 1956 when Bill was 10 years old.

David Henderson Bill's great-uncle, was born in 1886. In 1909 David sailed from Liverpool, bound for New York. The 1910 U.S. Census, finds him as a lodger in Manhattan and working as a chauffeur. In 1912 he married Bessie who had lived in the next street from him in Edinburgh. The exhibition includes photos he sent back to his family to show them the Delaunay-Belleville car left to him by his employer when she died and which set him up for life.

David's brother Alexander Henderson, born in 1890, was employed by St Cuthbert's Co-operative as an assistant grocer and played in their football team. When World War One broke out, he joined the Seaforth Highlanders. It's possible he joined a 'pals battalion', a group of men from the same workplace or football team who enlisted together. After training, he landed in Boulogne in May 1915. He died of wounds at the Battle of Loos on 12th October 1915 aged 25.

Archie Tait, Bill's paternal great-uncle, had been a ploughman at Wilkie's Basin in Ratho before joining Edinburgh City Police in 1914. He served with The Lovat Scouts Mounted Division during WW1. They saw service on the Western Front, at Gallipoli and in Egypt and Macedonia. Archie returned to Edinburgh City Police in 1919 as a mounted policeman and on his retirement from the police in 1945, worked as a doorman at Register House.

When Bill left school, he started working at Bertram's Ltd in Sciennes, a papermaking machine engineers. Very much a family orientated workplace, it was common to find several members of the same family working alongside each other. Bill recalls that his uncle's word was good enough to enable him to start his working career there too.

You can also browse the Bertram Limited, Sciennes exhibition to see more of Bill Hall's family mementos and history.