I came across George while researching my Bean ancestors. In a family who often worked on the land or as domestic servants he stood out as someone with a different occupation. The 1891 census records him as a musician and I also found a record for him which described him as a bandsman on a ship. But before we get to that I would like to explain his relationship to me; George is my first cousin three times removed.
George was the third son of William Bean (b 1837) and Mary Askew (b 1832) and was baptised in the Chapel in Sowerby, Yorkshire on 10th July 1864. His father’s occupation was given as butler and their residence as Lower Brockwell. In the 1861 census George’s parents were both living in Sowerby but in different houses. William was a domestic servant in Mill House which was headed by William Henry Rawson, Deputy Lieutenant, Magistrate and woollen merchant. William’s wife Mary was living at nearby Stansfield Lodge with their first son Frederick Joshua Bean (1859-1869). In 1871 the family were at Brockwell house where William was the butler to the Rawson family (see annotated map). He was still a butler in 1881; George was then aged 15 and a wool teaser.
George enlisted in 21st Hussars as a private in 1882, served in Dublin, Ireland and arrived in Colchester, Essex on 15 July 1887. He married his wife Harriet Ann Wroe (1864-1942) on 19 September 1887 in Colchester. George went with his regiment to India and his military records show that he arrived there on 21 December 1887. Within a year he was in hospital in Bangalore. George served in the East Indies for just over two years and was back home by 19 December 1889. His military record shows that he had completed seven years’ service, and that in 1889 he was transferred to the Army Reserve and discharged in 1894. Unfortunately, the record does not confirm his occupation at the end of his military service, just that he had been a wool teaser when he enlisted. It’s George’s WWI enlistment record for the 2nd East Lancashire Brigade in 1915 which gave his occupation as a musician. It does seem possible that George became a musician during his military service with the 21st Hussars.
George and Harriet’s first two daughter, Gladys (1890-1926) and Marjorie (1892-1976), were born in Sowerby. By the 1891 census the family were living in Redcar, North Yorkshire when George was described as a musician and their address was No. 2 Beach Cottage. Between 1891 and 1901 George and Harriet had four more children, Esme (1893-1893) born in Yorkshire, and then Esme (1895-1986), George Frederick (1897-1985) and Kenneth William (1900-1901) born in Lancashire. In 1901 the family were living at 6 Molyneux Street, Levenshulme, South Manchester, Lancashire. George’s occupation was recorded as “musician orchestral”. A record for George in the 1911 census wasn’t found, but one for his wife Harriet was. She was living with four of their children at 26 Clare Road, Levenshulme. Harriet was described as an elementary school head teacher. It is possible that George was working away from home at the time of the 1911 census.
The next record I found for George was on the ship Oronsa’s crew list. His address was listed as 26 Clare Road and he had signed an agreement to board the ship on 11 July 1912 at 6am as a bandsman. His wages were £3 per month and he left the ship in Liverpool on 14 October 1912. The Oronsa was a steel hulled steam ship which had been built by Harland and Wolfe in Belfast in 1906. It was operated by the Pacific Steam Navigation Company on their Liverpool to Argentina route. During WW1 it what used as a cargo steamer; it was sunk by a U-Boat on 29 April 1918.
George re-enlisted in the army, the 2nd East Lancashire Brigade, in Manchester at the age of 50 on 16 March 1915. He was attached to the 2nd Reserve Battalion of the Royal Field Artillery as a gunner and served at “home” probably in the 190th Territorial Force Depot in Manchester. He was discharged from military service on 6 July 1917. His army pension papers include a note from 26 Clare St, Levenshulme, written on 15 February 1919, inquiring about his silver war badge which he later received.
George, Harriet and their four adult children left Levenshulme not long after WWI. George left London on 1 November 1919 and arrived in Melbourne, Australia on 12 December 1919 on the ship Orvieto; a cruise ship built in 1909 by Workman Clark, Belfast and owned by The Orient Company. The arrival of the ship was reported in a number of Australian newspapers as there were a number of returning soldiers and members of their families on it.
George and Harriet’s daughter Esme married Frank Unwin Simpson (1898-1964) on 11 December 1919. The witnesses to her marriage were her sister Marjorie and brother George. Her husband Frank left for Melbourne, Australia shortly after their wedding.
Harriet, their son George Frederick, his wife Louisa Durden (1901-1984), and daughters Gladys, Marjorie and Esme followed George and Frank to Australia. They left London for Melbourne on 17 June 1920 on the ship Beltana run by the P&O Branch Line Service and they all travelled third class.
It seems from electoral roll records that George, Harriet, their children and partners settled near Melbourne. Some of the family are buried in Box Hill Cemetery. Their son George and his wife Louisa are both buried in Drouin Cemetery in the shire of Baw Baw. Drouin is about 90 kilometres east of Melbourne.
I am interested in knowing more about what the Bean family did in Australia as I know very little about their lives there. Do contact me if you know more about them.
Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.
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