Elizabeth was born in Grampound in 1848 and was six years older than Anne. The 1861 Census shows that she was working (age 13) as a house servant at the home of a 64-year-old widow, Mary Hernage in Grampound, who was a proprietor of houses. She married Jacob Nicholls in 1869. Elizabeth already had a child, Mary Ann, when she married Jacob.

The Western Morning News Plymouth Thursday October 7th 1869.

NICHOLLS – OSBORNE – At Probus, October 2, Mr. Jacob Nicholls, to Miss E. Osborne.

Including Mary Ann, there were twelve children in the family. This number includes a Mary Ann Searl who is included in the 1991 Census as an adopted daughter age 15. Tragically, three of their children died, Annie Ellen in 1881,age 3 years 7 months, twins Emma and Sarah in 1879, age two and three months. I have not been able to find any information on this tragic event. Sydney, Fred and Ernest served  in WW1 in France. Sydney was killed 2 Sep 1918.

Jacob died in the spring of 1899; Elizabeth re-married to William Want, a brick maker labourer in the Autumn of 1901. At some time during this period Elizabeth opened a shop in the front room of her house to supplement her income. There was a very close lifelong relationship between Elizabeth and Anne, and their children; Anne had many photographs of the Nicholls family in her album, including one of the shop.

Elizabeth was one of the founding members of the “Temperance” movement, the following articles show some of this:

 The Burnley Express, Saturday August 29th 1891.

The Bridge Inn Gannow (extract from hearing).
Thomas Hawthorn of the Bridge Inn, Gannow, applied for a wine and spirit on or off licence …… etc.

……… Mr Hodgson explained that this was a beer house, licensed before May, 1869, and in respect to which the Magistrates had only a limited control. If the spirit license were granted they would have full control over it.- Mr. Waddington opposed the application on the ground that there was no need for it. Last year they were treated to a learned discourse from Mr. Hudson on the duties of a license victualler, and he asked the Magistrates to consider that now. With regard to the noise made about the signature of the vicar of the parish, he pointed out that they had a general memorial signed by the Rector. – Mr. Hodgson raised an objection to this, and Mr. Waddington put in a memorial signed by the ratepayers of Lowerhouse Ward against the application. – Elizabeth Nichols said she had procured the signatures to the memorial. – Mr. Hodgson; You are a teetotaler? – Yes. In your opinion there is no room for a single licensed house in this town? – I don’t think we are so prejudiced as that. Are you in favor one? – No. Are you in favor of a single license house in the country? No; I have suffered too much through drink. (Hear, hear, and laughter). – George Smith said he was the chairman of the meeting held in Gannow Lane at which the resolution asking the Magistrates to refuse the application, was passed unanimously. – Mr Hodgson; Was this meeting at temperance meeting? No; It was a ratepayers meeting. Who called the meeting? – I, as the representative of the Blue Ribbon Union, connected with the Smurthwaite Mission Room. (Laughter). And you call that a ratepayers meeting? – The ratepayers were a present…… .


Letter from Elizabeth to Annie and Frederick Shorthouse, 1914
The following letter was received from Elizabeth around Christmas time 1914; it is reproduced exactly as it was written without any corrections. A second letter written in 1916 after the death of her nephew Joseph Shorthouse is shown further on in this text.

37 Sunderland Street
Rose Grove (Burnley Lancs.)

My Dear Sister and Brother

I was glad to receive your letter and I should have rote to you one if I had not got yours because I always like to tell you all at the end of the old year as it is almost gone never to return again and I was wondring how we have all

spent this year have we done wat we could in every way to make this world better then it was last year when we look back we can see many things paraps wich and where we might have done more but we have miess our oppertunaties and they are gone never to return again God give us Grace and strength in the coming year if we are spared to see it to do more this year I do thank God he as spared my life so long sorry to tell you Will is vey bad he as being in bed a month he is a lot worse then he was I trust you are both keeping middling and that Fred is better then he was and it must be hard for you to loose the boys as you have like me you have never had much good from your children but we must make the best of things under the curconestances I was surprised to see about Tom and Lizey in the paper we did not know one word until we saw it in the papers how is he gone on and how is Little Hilda and anie and how is Nellie I should like to hear from her My Dear how are you gone on with these times arnt they dreadful now of our lads as gone to the war but there factory as being stoped 10 weaks things are awful hear our Janes son Welford is out in Egypt he as being away ever since the war started he was in the Teretorls before the war started so he was called up at the beging and aunt Philippa as her two sons gone and 3 of her daughters husbands and she is left by her self as all the girls are married so you can see you are not by yourself in our family Lizey in Wales got her youngest son gone so you can see we are all getting a share now my Dear we are all middling in health but low in pocket I have kept my bit of shop goin if I hadn’t that I don’t know wat we should have done but God as being good to me and I do thank him so long his power as kept me shure it will leed me on all the children are well and Joe and Jensey thay often come down now I don’t know of much more only wish you a much happer new year 1915 than wat 1914 has being and that the war will soon be over and that our dear ones will be spared to come home safe to us all at the end O that we could tell when that will be so now I will say good night with kind love to all and don’t leave me long without righting and thank you for your card love to little Hilda for I love the child from your loving sister. L Want X X X X


The following note was scribbled at the top of the page:

I should tease about wonder at my not righting oftener when you see my bad righting Mary and Ernie get on well together and send there love to you all

 The Burnley News Wednesday November 2nd 1921.  
LOSS TO TEMPERANCE CAUSE. The Burnley United Temperance Society has lost one of its oldest and most faithful workers by the death of Miss Elizabeth Want (formerly Mrs. Nichols), which occurred at her home, 19 Godley-street, last Monday. She was one of the first to sign the pledge in the Great Blue Ribbon Mission some forty years ago, and since then she has been a devoted adherent to the cause, and an inspiration to others. The late Mrs. Want was the oldest member of the mothers’ meeting, and was also a member of the N. B. W. T. A. Committee. A thoughtful reader and the capable speaker, she was in much demand and her cheering words won for her a wide circle of friends, as was evidenced by the large number who attended the funeral on Friday last. The services were conducted by Mister Sugden Lund who on Sunday afternoon preached and memorial sermon at the Temperance Hall Rooms, in the course of which he paid a high tribute to Mrs. Want’s work in the cause of temperance. Mr. Clarkson and Mr. Charles Bray also eulogized her services.

When Elizabeth died in 1921, a memorial silk (like a bookmark) was made and sent to family and friends.  The information on this silk was as follows:

In Loving Memory
Elizabeth Want,

OCTOBER 25TH, 1921,
Aged 73 Years;
And was interred at
the Burnley Cemetery
Oct. 28th.

What she suffered heaven knows,
Now she’s free from all he woes;
She’s passed through Jordan’s swelling flood,
And landed safe with Christ her God.

The Burnley Express and Advertiser October 28th 1922.

WANT – In loving memory of our dear mother,
Elizabeth Want, who died October 24th. 1921.
A loving mother, kind and true.
From her loving Daughters Minnie and Janey,
16 and 70  Gannow Lane.


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