Elizabeth Maud Howell - Hewitt

(1892 - 1980)

Elizabeth Hewitt was a strong independent-minded woman. She ruled her family with a rod of iron, and carefully managed all of the household affairs, steering the family through two World Wars and the Great Depression. She gave birth to three daughters and a son, and adopted the daughter of her younger brother when he sadly lost his wife just after she was born. She lived to see all of her offspring marry and have children of their own. She welcomed ten grandchildren into her life and saw seven great grandchildren during her lifetime - those born in Australia she did not get to see.

Sadly she was widowed at the age of 60, losing her husband of almost forty years to pneumonia. She also lost her eldest brother in the Battle of the Somme and two of her children died before she did.

4th July 1892 Birth

Elizabeth always said she was born in Ladymoor, Staffordshire, England. 'Ladymoor' and 'Broad Lanes' were listed as separate hamlets in the 1860s, but by the ninties they would have probably merged into a village. Both settlements were built along the route between Bilston and Wolverhampton. The area as classed as Ettingshall, Coseley, Broad Lanes and Ladymoor - even Bilston, Wolverhampton or Sedgley - it all depends on which source you look at - but my nan liked to say she came from Ladymoor!

This is an older map - from the mid 1800s. On this you can see two distict clusters of homes.


Age 3

Birth of Brother Thomas Howell (1895–1954) Ladymoor Sedgley


Age 6

Birth of Sister Christiana Howell (1898–1979) Ladymoor Sedgley


Age 8

Birth of Brother Frederick Howell (1901–1957) was born in Broad Lanes, Sedgley, Staffordshire


Age 9


Elizabeth was 9 years old at the time of the Census.

In 1901 her father Thomas Howell was working as a wheelwright's labourer, he was 39 years old. His wife Ada was 38. His eldest son James was 15 and working as a crane driver. Elizabeth's other siblings were still scholars: Leonard Howell was 13, Teresa Howell was 11, (George) Thomas Howell was 6 and Christiana Howell was 3.

They were living at 54, Broad Lanes. Her Grandfather was living in Swan Row Ettingshall with his daughter's family - with Elizabeth's Aunt Louisa (Wright - she later moved to Stoke-on-Trent where she lived until she died in 1954).


Age 12

Birth of Brother Arthur Howell (1904–1970) was born in Broad Lanes, Sedgley, Staffordshire
2nd April 1911 Census

Residence at the Forge Hammer Inn, Coseley, Staffordshire, England.

Marital Status: Single - age 19

Relation to Head of House: Servant

'Lizzy' was in service at the Forge Hammer. Her duties involved getting up very early, before 6 o'clock, to light the fires. She would help to prepare meals, wash up, do the cleaning and help in the bar. It was hard work - pubs closed at 11 o'clock at night and she would then have to help clear up and bank up the fires.

She got on very well with John and Maria Fellows and maintained a friendship with them for many years.

The Springvale Furnaces Ltd and the Staffordshire Steel and Iron Ingot Co amalgamated in 1897 to become Alfred Hickman Ltd together with "adjacent collieries and brickworks", this later became part of Stewarts and Lloyds who were a principle employer in Wolverhampton in the twentieth century. Hundreds of mem would have worked in the area in the early part of the twentieth century - hard, thirsty work!


Age 19

Death of her mother Ada Howell died in the early part of 1912. She was only just 49 years of age.

July-Sept 1913

Age 21


Marriage to George Hewitt. The exact date is unknown - but it was during the third quarter.

George worked in a steel rolling mill. He probably worked at the Manor Sheet Rolling Mills and frequented the Forgehammer. This is probably how he met 'Lizzy'. She told me tales of canoodling with George 'under the bridge'... so she must have met up with him under the canal bridges around there in her free time.

This romance led to marriage, family life and a house on the Parkfield Road.

18th January 1914

Birth of Son

Thomas Hewitt (1914–1977)

4 August 1914 Britain is at war England declared war. Elizabeth's husband was in a profession (iron and steel worker) that required him not to be in the armed services but to produce armaments. But Elizabeth's brothers were in the armed services.
27th May 1915 Birth of twin daughters Olive Maude Hewitt (1915–1955) and Dorothy (Dolly) May Hewitt (1915–2000)
27th September 1917 Death of Brother On the 27th September 1917 Albert Leonard Howell was killed at the Battle of Ypres. He left a widow and two small children.
11th November 1918 End of World War 1  
24th September 1920 Birth of Daughter Vera Elizabeth Hewitt (1920–2004)
September 1922 Death of Father-in-law Thomas Job Hewitt (1864–1922)
1931 Adoption of Daughter Margaret Rose Hewitt (1930–2018)
1938 Marriage of a daughter Dorothy May (Dolly) Hewitt (2015 - 2000) married Jack Phillips (1920 - 1999) at Parkfield Road Chapel.
1938 Silver Wedding Anniversay  
Second Quarter 1939 Marriage of a daughter Olive Maude Hewitt (1915 - 1955) married Samuel Albert Jarvis (1913 - 1991)
3rd September 1939 Outbreak of War At 11-15 BST the Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, announced the British deadline for the withdrawal of German troops from Poland had expired and Britain declares war on Germany - start of WW2 for England.
Last Quarter 1939 Marriage of son Thomas married Dorothy Winifrid Kidson (1903–1961)
Dec 1940 Death of Brother-in-law Albert Hewitt (1893–1940)
26th September 1941 Birth of a grandson George Anthony Jarvis (known as Tony) was born to daughter Olive.
1942 Birth of a grandson Thomas Stanley Phillips was born - a son for daughter Dolly
1944 Marriage of daughter Vera Hewitt (1920 - 2004) married Thomas Tuckley (1920 -2000)
1944 Birth of a granddaughter Geraldine K. Hewitt was born - a daughter for son Thomas
8th May 1945 VE Day End of the war in Europe - Victory in Europe
15th August 1945 VJ Day End of war in the Pacifc - Victory over Japan
1st October 1945 Birth of a granddaughter Helen Elizabeth Phillips was born - a daughter for daughter Dolly
1947 Death of a sister Elizabeth's sister Ada Theresa (1890 - 1947) died in the summer of 1947 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. I heard tales of Great Aunty Ada - that she lived life to the full! Apparently my nan never saw her with the same hair colour or style twice - changing from a flaming red to deep auburn and many different shades in between as the fancy took her - and she wore very dramatic clothes, hairstyles and jewellery and loved hats. Towards the end of her life she favoured soft shoes - 'pumps' even - perhaps all of that outrageous clothing had affected her feet. She was very outgoing and my mother, Margaret used to hide if she came into Woolworths looking for her when she was working. She married three times and my nan said that her last husband died of a broken heart after her passing. I would have loved to have met her. She sounds like a wonderful charismatic character.
1948 Birth of a granddaughter Sylvia Olive Jarvis was born - a daughter for daughter Olive
1948 Brith of a grandson David Victor Tuckley was born - a son for daughter Vera
1949 Daughter emigrates to South Africa Vera emigrated with her husband, son and parents-in-law.
13th February 1952 Brother-in-law and his wife emigrate

Thomas Hewitt and his wife Bridget emigrated to Sydney Australia - both at the age of 60. They travelled on the Mooltan P&O Ship. By that time Thomas was a Mill Superintendant. That is a very high paid job and he would have been very much in demand in Australia at the time.

He had been living in Villiers Street, Bilston before he emigrated - a large semi-detached.

23rd February 1952 Marriage of adopted daughter Margaret married her Polish soldier groom, Alojzy, at St. Peter and Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Wolverhampton. The reception was held at 215, Parkfield Road, catered for by Margaret and herself. Despite ration restrictions they put on a wonderful spread for the marriage meal - including individual trifles and and a three tier iced wedding cake! That involved a lot of careful saving of sugar coupons, but Elizabeth was a very careful household manager.

8th April 1953

Age 60

Death of husband


George died of pneumonia, aged 63, just before their Ruby Wedding Anniversary. Elizabeth had just reached pensionable age.
13 May 1953 Probate leaving the house and contents to Elizabeth
Name George Hewitt
Death Date 3 Apr 1953
Death Place Wolverhampton
Probate Date 13 May 1953
Registry Birmingham, England

The executor was their son Thomas.

1954 Daughter returns from South Africa Vera was homesick in South Africa. She never got used to the 'colonial' way of life. She was unhappy with the apatheid situation, the stark difference in people's lifestyle and prospects simply due to the colour of their skin made her very uncomfortable. She feared that the terrible way that all non-white people were treated would lead to violence, and did not want her son to grow up over there. The death of her father was a terrible blow that emphasised the distance from home.
1954 - springtime Daughter diagnosed with breast cancer Olive found a small lump in her breast - unfortunately it was a very rapidly spreading type of cancer, and despite deep X-ray treatment she died at the age of 39.
18th December 1954 Birth of a granddaughter Margaret gave birth to a daughter. Lynda Olive (named for Margaret's favourite sister who was so sick at the time) was born at 9:30 on a Saturday night - one week before Christmas.
2nd January 1955 Death of a daughter Olive died on the 2nd January and was buried in the churchyard of St Bartholomer's Church, Penn.
First quarter 1956 Son-in-law widower remarries Samuel Jarvis marries Kathleen H Davies
January 1957 Birth of a step-granddaughter Kathleen A Jarvis - a half-sister for Tony and Sylvia.
23rd March 1958 Birth of a grandson Margaret gave birth to a son, Stephan Jan.
First Quarter 1961 Death of daughter-in-law Death of son's wife Dorothy Winifrid Kidson (1903–1961)
Last Quarter 1962 Widower son remarries Tom marries Maureen Wilkes
First Quarter 1963 Marriage of a grandson Thomas, Dolly's son, married Muriel Arrowsmith
Second Quarter 1963 Birth of Granddaughter Daughter for Tom and Maureen - Sarah Wilkes Hewitt
30th May 1964 Grandson's marriage Tony, Olive's son, marries Valerie Irene Roth. Shortly after marrying they emigrated to Melbourne Australia with Valerie's parents.
Last quarter 1964 Birth of a Great-Grandson Dolly's son Thomas has a son and calls him Duncan.
26th May 1965 Birth of Grandson Son for Tom and Maureen - James Wilkes Hewitt
Third Quarter 1969 Marriage of Granddaughter Helen, Dolly's daughter, marries David Cox.
30th May 1970 Birth of a Great-Granddaughter Rachel - born to Dolly's son Thomas.
First quarter 1972 Marriage of a grandson David, Vera's son, marries Marlene C Richards
Second quarter 1973 Birth of a Great-Grandson Birth of a son to Helen, Dolly's daughter - Andrew David Cox
Second Quarter 1976 Birth of a Great-Grandson Birth of a son to Helen, Dolly's daughter - Stephen Jonathan Cox
26th June 1976 Granddaughter gets married Lynda marries Peter Jones at St Jude's Church, Tettenhall.
19th July 1976 Son-in-law dies Alojzy, Margaret's husband and Lynda's father, dies of a heart attack at the age of 51.
September 1977 Death of son Tom dies aged 63.
First quarter 1978 Death of grandson's wife Thomas's wife Muriel fell down stairs and broke her neck - age 36
First Quarter 1978 Birth of a Great-Granddaughter Jennie Tuckley was born to David - Vera's son
6th February 1980 Birth of a Great-Grandson Andrew John Richard Jones - a son to Lynda and a grandson to Margaret. Elizabeth saw and held Andrew on her 88th birthday at the home of her daughter Vera - although perported to be suffering of dementia at the time - she was quite coherent when I spoke to her and held him for a photo, despite Vera's objections, saying she had 'held more babbies than Vera had had hot dinners'!
22nd November 1980 Died aged 88 For the last year or so of her life Elizabeth lived with her daughter and her husband in Wordsley. The last few months were not easy. She was admitted to Wordsley Hospital with gangrene and needed to have her leg removed.
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