Ormskirk Market Day

W Lancs coat of arms

News update


Next meeting...

Wednesday 24th July 2024

Inns and Beerhouses of Ormskirk

Dot Broady-Hawkes

Guide Hut, Moorgate, Ormskirk (Opposite Hesford's) L39 4RU

Doors open 7pm, AGM starts 7.30pm

Refreshments available, all welcome

 Next Ormskirk Library Family History Helpdesk

Monday 5th Agust 2024

10.30 a.m.- 11.30 a.m.

See "Events" and "Meetings" pages for details of upcoming events.

Rothwell family of Sandy Lane, Skelmersdale

The following photographs were donated to the ODFHS Library, if you would like further information about the Rothwell family please contact the society

Alfred Rothwell


Alfred Rothwell 1

Alfred Rothwell 2

Alfred was born in Rainford around 1871, the son of Richard and Elizabeth Rothwell. By the 1880s the family were living in Skelmersdale. Alfred, his father and brothers were coal miners. In April 1899 he married Florence Alice Newsham in the "licensed Vicarage Room" at Skelmersdale, the parish church being closed at the time. Alfred worked at White Moss coal mine where by 1911 he had become colliery undermanager. The Rothwell family lived for many years at 85 Sandy Lane, Skelmersdale, where Alfred died in June 1931.

Florence Alice Rothwell (Nee Newsham)


 Florence Rothwell 1Florence Rothwell 2

Florence was born in Town Green around 1873. Her father, Robert Newsham, was a butcher, originally from Preston. Shortly after Florence's birth the family moved to Sandy Lane, Skelmersdale which is where her younger siblings were born. The family were still at an address in Sandy Lane in the 1891 census. After her marriage to Alfred Rothwell in 1899, the couple went on to have five daughters May, Edna, Vera, Ruby and Millicent. Millicent was born on 25th March 1912, a week later Florence died aged 38.

Florence Alice Rothwell with one of her daughters...

Florence Alice Rothwell with one of her daughters

Florence Alice Newsham (seated, far right) ca. 1898...

Florence Alice Newsham c. 1898


Rothwell sisters 1912 resized

May, Edna, Vera and Ruby Rothwell 1912

This photograph shows four of the five daughters of Alfred and Florence Rothwell. It belonged to Edna, the second daughter (standing at the back), who has annotated the picture to show who's who. She was at pains to point out the context of the photograph and that the fifth daughter, Millicent, is not present. At the top of the photograph Edna has noted that the picture was taken in April 1912 "soon after mother's funeral" which explains why Millicent (or Millie as Edna refers to her), is missing. At the bottom of the photograph Edna has written "Millie born when mother died". This context explains why the three older girls are wearing dark dresses and the sombre feel of the picture. Could they also be wearing pieces of their mother's jewellery? The loss of their mother at such an early age must have had a devastating effect on the young family as demonstrated by the number of times Edna refers to it in annotations on this photograph and others in her collection.








May Irene Elizabeth Rothwell
May Rothwell IMG 3600
Born on 25th March 1900, May was the eldest of the five Rothwell sisters.  She was a talented musician and won many prestigious prizes for her violin playing as this article from the Ormskirk Advertiser of 26th March 1925 attests:
Successful violinist
It is pleasing to note that the rising young violin virtuoso May Irene Elizabeth Rothwell of Skelmersdale, has won another bronze medal for violin playing.  It will be remembered that this young lady carried off the bronze medal offered by the International Union of Musicians in 1923.  She has now succeeded in winning the bronze medal for violin playing of the National College of Music.  Miss Rothwell has also received the graduate diploma for violin playing of the National College of Music, with the highest marks for this particular examination of any candidate for the past two years in the north of England.  Miss Rothwell is also the holder of numerous certificates for violin playing from the International Union of Musicians, Trinity College of Music, College of Violinists etc.  
May's sister Edna kept a letter from their father Alfred which shows how proud Alfred was of his daughter's musical talents and how much he encouraged her. The letter is dated 19th February 1924;
"May is keeping on with her practice of music.  She is going in for her next exam and I hope she will stick to it for her Cap and Gown, but she says the music is very difficult.
I really want her to keep on with her music as I think she will make a fine "artiste" and I think it would be a nice living for her, don't you?"
May Rothwell 1921May Rothwell solo violinist resized
Despite her father's optimism, the letter suggests all has not been well with May in the recent past and that she has to be encouraged to practice her music; 
"She is more herself now, and more happy and lively...she can see her mistake about service and she finds out now that home is much better...You know I have to encourage her a lot, but sometimes I think I do it a little too much...We play dominoes at night and she has won the price of the pictures off me for twice a week...(she is) so jolly because she wins"
May Rothwell taken at Woolwich 1928 IMG 3599
It has not been possible to find any evidence to suggest that May followed a musical career after 1925.  She never married and continued to live at 85 Sandy Lane, for many years accompanied by her sister Vera.  In June 1945 tragedy struck when Vera found May unconscious at their home, she was taken to Ormskirk County Hospital, but died the following day aged 45.  Her funeral was held at Skelmersdale Parish Church where the chief mourners were her sisters Vera, Ruby and Millie.  Also in attendance were May's brothers-in-law Ted (Farrington) and Billie (Rigby), her Uncle, Benjamin Rothwell and Sergt. Leonard Rothwell of the U.S.A. Air Force.

Rothwell sisters Aberystwyth 1923The Rothwell Sisters - Aberystwyth 1923

Left to right Edna May Alfred and Ruby Rothwell 1930

The Rothwell family photographed in 1930.  Left to right, Edna, May, Alfred and Ruby


Edna Ethel Rothwell
The second daughter of Alfred and Florence Rothwell, Edna was born on 27th August 1901.  She became a teacher and taught in schools in Essex including Grafton Road School, and Beacontree Heath School both in Dagenham until her retirement in 1959.  Edna never married and died in Ilford Essex in September 1976.  
Amongst Edna's photographs and keep-sakes was a newspaper clipping of a letter she wrote to The Advertiser of 20th August 1970.  It provides a fascinating insight into Edna's life and interests:
I read with great interest about the Percy Bilton Fund, and the proposal to construct a learner's swimming pool in Greetby Hill School, for which I am enclosing a small cheque.
Born in Skelmersdale when it was noted for its several coal mines, of which my father was manager of one, then trained at Ormskirk Grammar School, and Gypsy Hill College in London - now in Kingston-on-Thames, as a teacher of young children.  I am still naturally very interested in Ormskirk, where I have relations and friends.
Having lived in Greater London for many years and taught hundreds of young children, many classes with over fifty for some years, I think the project is excellent.  Many people spend much time at the sea-side, and travel abroad, so all young children should learn to swim, for their own safety as well as for pleasure.  Young children thoroughly enjoy water, from nursery age, so that if swimming is encouraged, as they grow up, they may be able to help save lives, or train for the Olympic Games.
I was interested to learn that Mr. Percy Bilton was born in Ormskirk, and wonder if he is the same person whose name is often seen in Essex.  Only a few weeks ago I was travelling near Ilford when I noticed that name in very large letters on a roundabout.
How very kind of him to donate such a big sum, and I do hope the amount needed will soon be forthcoming, so that the learners of the future will be able to begin soon.
With every success to the scheme
I am, yours very sincerely, 
Edna E. Rothwell (Miss).  
29 Woodlands Road, Ilford, Essex.
Here are more photographs from Edna's personal collection donated to ODFHS in 2022.
Edna Rothwell piano
A young Edna playing the piano
Edna Rothwell with college friends 1924
Edna Rothwell (far right) with college friends, London, 1924
Edna Rothwell London 1928
Edna Rothwell, London 1928


Mrs. Birch Enid Rigby Joyce and Edna Rothwell 1934 1

Mrs. Birch, Enid Rigby (niece), Joyce (niece) and Edna, 1934


                           Edna Rothwell         Edna Rothwell July 1945

Edna, 1940s



Edna Rothwell Beacontree Infants School

Edna Rothwell at Beacontree Infants' School

Edna Rothwell at home in Ilford Essex 1976

Edna Rothwell at home in Ilford, Essex, 1976



Some newspaper cuttings:

Rothwell clipping 1

 Leonard Rothwell of the American Air Force

Leonard Rothwell of the American Air Force

Rothwell clipping 2

Rothwell clipping 3

Ormskirk Church
Ormskirk Parish

Ormskirk railwaymen 1908
Ormskirk Station

Scarisbrick Hall 1815
Scarisbrick Hall

Skelmersdale Station

Moor Street market
Moor Street