The Shorthouse Children (3)

Burnley Express and Advertiser. July 30th. 1924. 



There was only one case for consideration by the Burnley magistrates (Alderman Emmett in the chair) on Monday, when William Thomas Shorthouse (44), who belongs to Wigan, and who stated that he was a music hall artiste, and was now in charge of a pierot troupe at Hastings, was brought upon a warrant in respect to maintenance arrears amounting to £100-8s- 6d. due to his wife, Elizabeth A. Shorthouse, living at 23 Queen Victoria Road, Burnley.

Replying to the magistrates Clerk, defendant said during the last two months he had only earned 23s. or 24s. per week. Before that he was working for a week and was out for three or four weeks at a stretch. Asked what he did on the music hall stage, defendant said he was a conjuror.

Mr. Waddington, junr. Who appeared for the wife, stated that the parties were married in December, 1910, and an order was made at that Court on the 4th. November, 1914.The ground of that order was that defendant had not provided reasonable maintenance for his wife, and that she had on that account had to leave him. Under the order defendant had to pay his wife 8s. a week, but he was brought up before the Court for arrears in 1916 and a committal order was made to be suspended as long as he paid 10s. a week. Shortly afterward defendant joined the Army, and whilst with the colours his wife received a separation allowance. Since defendant came out of the Army in 1918, for five-and-a-half years he has paid nothing under the order, and it was not until a month ago that his wife found his whereabouts, and he was then with another man in charge of a pierot troupe in Hastings. There were no children, said Mr. Waddington.

Formally a Foundry Worker.
The wife giving evidence ststed that she was at present unemployed, and that she had not been working since the holidays. Defendant had not kept up his payments under the original order, or under the order in respect of the arreas in 1916.

By the Clerk: And he is now in arrears to the extent of over £100?
Witness: Yes.
And you have not known where he has been? – No.
That is the reason why the arrears are as heavy? – Yes.
With regard with what he says as to his earnings, do you understand that has been anything like what he did earn? – I have no idea what he did earn.
When were you married? – I December 1910.

Answering further questions, witness said defendant was working in a foundry at that time. He took up his occupation on the music hall stage before he left her in 1913. She did not know how much her husband earned as a music hall artiste. They had not lived together since the order was made.

  • The Clerk (to defendant).Have you anything to say to show cause why you shouldn’t be committed to prison?
  • Defendant: No I will pay her 10s. per week.
  • The Clerk suggested to defendant that he might have done something like that before so preventing the arrears from accumulating.
  • Supt. Fairclough said defendant had nothing on him when arrested, and it had cost £5 to bring him from Hastings.
  • The Clerk (to defendant): Are you prepared, if you have another chance, to find some of this money.
  • Defendant said he could not promise anything.
  • Alderman Emmett: You will be committed to prison for three months. If you can pay £20 down you will be released, but if you don’t pay that you will have to go to prison.
  • The Clerk: If you pay this money or get someone else to pay it whilst you are in prison you will be released.


Lizzie died 1932 in Burnley and later that year Tom married Florence Callcot in Newcastle upon Tyne. He died in 1967. Death Cert. 4 July 1967, Newcastle General Hospital, 86yrs, Residence 2 Ponds Cottages, Greenside. Informant F.Shorthouse, Widow. Florence died in Newcastle in 1993.

SHORTHOUSE (2 Ponds Cottages Greenside)
In loving memory of my dear husband Tom, died July 4, 1967.
One year ago today. God came and stood beside your bed.
We never said goodbye love, God willed it not to be.
For I could never have said goodbye to the one so dear to me.
Your memory is a ray of light that brightens up my darkest nights.
As I journey through the years, I will remember you love with heartaches and tears. Loved and longed for by his loving wife Florence.


Recollections of W T Kell nephew.

“Did not see uncle Tom many times, usually short visits lasting about half an hour. He would come into the kitchen and stand with his back to the open fire rocking back and forth on his heels with hands in pocket while he talked usually about his wife. He always wore country style clothes, sports jacket with plus fours and a flat cloth cap. He was an accomplished musician and occasionally would play jigs and reels on the fiddle with sister Nellie. He started as a barman in Hartlepool, was a music hall artist, soldier and finished his career as a hotel bar manager in Newcastle upon Tyne.”

Tom’s daughter Hilda was Married 1 June 1929 To Stanley Thornton (Colliery Blacksmith) Of No 1 Block, Northside, Trimdon Grange, Father Richard Deafty Thornton. Residence 36 Station Road, Deaf Hill, Trimdon Station. Witnesses George Craggs And Nicholas Thornton.

Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail June 3rd. 1929.

Wedding. – The marriage of Miss Hilda Shorthouse, granddaughter of Mrs. Shorthouse, Station Lane, Deaf Hill, and Mr. S .Thornton, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. R. Thornton, of Trimdon Grange, was solemnized in the Wesleyan Church, Trimdon Station, on Saturday, the Rev. J.C. Whiting, of Wingate, officiating. The bride, who was dressed in ivory silk, with crinoline hat to match and silver shoes, was given away by her uncle, Mr. G, Craggs, West Hartlepool, and was attended by Miss L. Coulthard, of Westgate-in-Weardale, who wore a dress of shell pink celanese satin, with crinoline hat to match and silver shoes. The duties of best man were carried out by Mr. N. Thornton, brother of the bridegroom. The bride carried a bouquet of carnations, while the bridesmaid had one of sweet peas. The couple left for Harrogate later in the day, the bride’s going-away dress being of pale blue silk, with fawn coat, hat and shoes.

Hilda was a quiet person and had a lifetime close relationship with her aunt Annie Shorthouse. She and Stan emigrated to Australia in the 1950’s where Stan had work in the mines at Bulli. They left Southampton on the “S.S. Australia” which traveled the 13000 miles via Port Said, Suez Canal, Aden, Colombo, Freemantle, Melbourne and final destination was Sydney.


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