Following sent to Carolyn by David’s son John who lives in Derby.
Recollections of G.W. Russell
(transcribed from a hand written document c:1937)
[NB Carolyn disputes the two sentences in bold as the documentary evidence does not back up GWR’s assertions. Have a feeling that GWR was a self made man but was trying to give his father and grandfather a greater part in his success than they probably deserved. More later!!] Found that Frederic Seebohan, a Quaker born 1834, living at 84 (old numbering) Bancroft was born in Bradford …
GWR’s Connection with Quakers
About 1840 Jacob Russell (Formerly of Dewsbury) came to work as a wool sorter at the business of Joseph Whiting who belonged to an old Yorkshire Quaker family. He was a victim of Cholera and lies buried in the St Mary’s Churchyard at the North side.
After that my father G.W.R, son of Jacob Russell left Hitchin for Isleworth , where I was born and my brother H.W.W.R too.
In 1859, my Father removed to Hitchin as manager of the Fellmongery business of Mr Joseph Whiting.
In 1866 Mr W transferred the business to H Featherstone & GWR, my father as Featherstone & Russell.
One of the buildings on the right hand side of the farm yard contained a quantity of Quaker books chiefly bearing the title “No Cross No Crown”
A part of this store was set aside for the Blue X Brigade, founded by Mr Arthur Latchmore and later by Mr Ransom. It was here that I first knew the Hon Ion Keith Falconer. A son of the Earl Kintore (1) Later he and I started the Hitchin Shorthand Writers Association- this in 1876.
It was my privilege to have many letters written by him . One of the earliest contained the verse ;-
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of Thy Youth”
It happens that I was senior in age to him !
(The Hon I.K.F went to Aden as a missionary and very soon succumbed to fever…and died)
In the year 1877, I was connected with the Hitchin District Liberals Association as joint secretary. committee contained the names of Lucas, Mr Ransom, Frank Tuke, Lawson Thompson, & F Seebohm. Sixty years afterwards (1937) I Hold office with sons or daughters of these or with grandsons except L Thompson who was unmarried’.
For several years I spent my Xmas days with the Whiting family up to well up to the 70’s . I always met there Frank Latchmore, a relative of the Whitings – another link with the Quakers.
In the year 1889 Mr Joseph Whiting & I exchanged houses, he going to Whinbush Road, & I to Bancroft.
In the year 1882 I bought of Mr Tuke the first part of the business premises of the firm now known as G W Russell & Son ltd. Adjoining the almshouses.
In 1885 I bought from Mr Whiting the house that he lived in with the business premises at the rear.
In 1902 I bought of Messrs Booth & Co, the premises formerly owned by Mr Joseph Whiting & in 1917 the house of Dr Grellet, formerly belonging to Quaker Families.
The Business of F & R was dissolved in 1886 & divided into two parts. Sixteen years later the portion was bought of Messrs Booth &co. and carried on as GWR & S ,first as a family business and later as a limited company.
After 66 years in the business the “Son” retired in 1935.