Welcome to the Gateshead Brattons page
Thanks to collaboration between Jon, Alan, Malcolm, Bob, Julia and Lorna we have pulled most of the strands together
ROBERT BRATTON b 1855
The Robert Jnr Bratton( b 25.9.1876 d 12.3.1954) side
Stephen b 1965
George Vernon b 1.7.1931
Raymond b 27.1.1934
Mavis b 2.5.1941
Martin b 1963
Stephen b 1961
Daren b 1969
Robert David (Bob) b 27.3.1944,
Andrew b 1972
Malcolm John b 1.4.1940
Sarah b 1965
Erika b 1968
Pamela b 1971
Lynn Hardie b 1971
Nicholas b 1976
is Malcolm and Jon in the famous Black Horse where they rendezvoused on
22nd March 2006 during Malcolm's Nostalgia Trip to Ol' Blighty
After a swift half we went to Newcastle to meet up with Rob for a spot of lunch and a 40 year catch-up
Rob and Malcolm at The Gate where we lunched
So much to say...so little time
This is the first meeting between different branches from the same tree. We can recommend it so
let's have more of it
The Joseph Herbert Bratton (b 1882 d 1953) side
Sylvia b 26.7.37
John b 29.4.44
Alan b 12.8.46
Jon Joseph b 8.10.48
Gary b 27.10.76
Lesley b 25.6.79
Robert b 5.8.53
James b 19.4.57
WILLIAM BRATTON (b 1865 d 1936)
The Mary Ann side
Daughter of Alan Stephenson
The Louisa side
Margaret b 1928
Julia b 1964
The Elizabeth Noel side
Joan b 1934
Christine b 1956
Jacques b 1993
Lynne b 1958
Lorna b 1983
Sarah b 1985
Julia b 1970
here's what binds us all together...
Bratton, our mutual great great (great) grandfather, a Mattress
Maker/Upholsterer (b 1833) met and wed Louisa Horton, a woman 6 years
older than himself (b 1827) in Wolverhampton where both were born. Son
Robert was born in 1855 then John in 1858 and Herbert followed in 1860
Within a few years they moved to Gateshead, for reasons we know not but
suspect because of the burgeoning Railway Industry . Charlotte was born
in 1863, then William in 1865, then Louisa in 1867, the last three after
they had moved North.
[Robert's father and mother were Thomas
Bratton, a Crate Maker & Chapel keeper, originally from Bethnal
Green, London, b 1797 and Charlotte from Shropshire b 1794 ( note wife 3
years older) living at 5 Darlington Str. (how spooky is that?)
Wolverhampton. Also there were Robert's elder brothers Thomas J., a
Groom/Manservant b 1828 and Charles a steel toymaker b 1830
father and mother were William Horton, a Master key maker b 1801 and
Charlotte b 1806 living at B**** Street (can't read) Wolverhampton.
Louisa had a younger brother William b 1831.
Robert's Dad Thomas
remarried..don't know what happened to Charlotte but by 1861 when he
was 64 he was married to 64 year old Elizabeth
brother Thomas J married a woman 5 years his senior, Ann, from
Cheltenham. They lived in Tottenhall Road Wolverhampton, then moved to
Cheltenham. Their offspring were Henry J. b 1859, William J. b 1860,
Julia A. b 1862 and Charlotte b 1864. Don't know what happened to wife
Ann but by 1881 Thomas had moved to Gloucester and got himself a younger
model, Ann Eliza, one year younger than him and he also had living with
him Edward Stephens, his stepson
Robert's other older brother
Charles followed the same pattern. He married Jane, 2 years his senior
and had James D. b 1865 and Hannah b 1868 living in Bromley Street,
Wolverhampton. Don't know what happened to Jane but in 1878 Charles at
48 years old married 34 year old Eliza, moved to 44 Vauxhall Middle,
Wolverhampton and then added Harry b 1878, Jessie b 1879 and Charlotte b
Now back to Robert and Louisa and their
offspring Robert, John, Herbert, Charlotte, William and Louisa in
Gateshead in about 1862
What was Gateshead like then?...see Gateshead History
and Louisa lived at 58 Worcester Street, Gateshead. They were there at
the time of the 1881 census and Herbert then 21 years old was the only
one shown to be living at home. Young Robert and John had each wed and
left home. Charlotte 18 and William 16 weren't there, presumably working
and lodged elsewhere. We know William returned to Gateshead and his
branch of the family tree is set out in full later. Young Louisa 14
wasn't there because she had gone to live with the Smiths, her Aunt
Sarah Ann and Uncle John, along with cousins Alice, Harry, William and
Eliza at 19 St John's Hill, Shrewsbury ( Sarah Ann of Wolverhampton,
presumably a Bratton, had married John Smith of Newport )
the 1881 census and that of 1891 Louisa (Senior) died because the 1891
census shows that Robert was now a 58 year old widower and living with
son Robert and family. Unlike his Dad and brothers Robert did not
This map shows Worcester Street, Chichester Street, Lichfield Street and Alfred Street.
old Robert arrived in Gateshead some time between 1860 and 1865
Worcester Street and all the other streets on this map, with two
exceptions, must have been newly built.. the map of Gateshead in 1862
shows this area to be fields except for Woodbine Place and Woodbine Tce.
Check it out www.old-maps.co.uk
The story continues under sections for each offspring
Robert Bratton b 1855
Now to Robert & Louisa Bratton's eldest son Robert, born 1855
Sometime before reaching 22 years old Robert ( a Locomotive Stoker/
Fireman ) met and married Jane Boag, one year his junior (b 1856) Jane was the daughter of
and Mary Boag (b 1833 & 1836 respectively) of 21 Alfred Street,
Gateshead and older sister to Sarah (b 1864), William (b 1867) and John
Thomas (b 1869)
The descendants of William and Mary Boag via eldest son William may be found by clicking the link
Robert and Jane moved into the next street to her parents, 26 Arthur Street..
and had sons Robert (25.9.1876 ) and William Boag (1879 ) At the 1881
census they were living at 11 Chichester Street, Gateshead
years on, at the time of the 1891 census Robert and Jane had moved to
63 Lichfield Str. William Boag would have been 12 but he is not
mentioned, nor is he mentioned in the 1901 census. It may be assumed
that he died between 2 to 12 years of age, since the name William is
"re-used". Meantime, Joseph Herbert (b 1882) Edith M (b 1884) Alice (b
1886) and William J (b 1899) were now the owners of the pattering feet.
Son Robert was 14 and left school, earning a bob or three as a
commercial clerk . On that subject, there were now 3 Bobs in the house (
as said before, the old original Gateshead-pioneering Robert had moved
in ) How confusing must that have been.
the time of the 1901 census, the family were living at 35 West Str.
Gateshead. 6 year old Ethel (b 1895) was on the scene but widow Jane was
now the Head of the Household. That means Robert must have died
sometime between Ethel being conceived, say 1894, and the census of
1901....39-46 years old. Son Robert had married Margaret Ellen Warrier
and had 2 sons but the 1901 census shows young Robert to be a widower.
Margaret had died and so too had old original Robert. Here's the 1901
Jane, widow, head of household, 45 years old, (therefore born 1856 +/- 1 year)
widower, son of Jane, 24 years old ( born 25.9.1876 ) occupation :
Locomotive Fitter (Bob and Malcolm et als' Grandfather )
two baby twin boys Robert and Joseph, 5 months old ( their mother,
Margaret Ellen had died in 1900; it may be surmised from giving birth to
the twins )
Joseph Herbert, son, 19 years old (therefore born 1882 ) occupation : Locomotive cleaner.( The other lots' Grandfather )
Edith, single, daughter, 17 years old, occupation : domestic servant
Alice, single, daughter, 15 years old.
this is Alice
William, single, son, 12 years old
Ethel, single , daughter, 6 years old
is thought that Robert died young because of alcohol abuse. Mother said
to Jon recently that Grandad (Joseph Herbert) was a strict teetotaller
because his father was most certainly not. )
Robert, widower, son of Jane, 24 years old ( born 25.9.1876 ) occupation : Locomotive Fitter (Bob and Malcolm et als' Grandfather )
Robert's two baby twin boys Robert and Joseph, 5 months old ( their mother, Margaret Ellen had died in 1900; it may be surmised from giving birth to the twins )
Young Robert and his twin boys left Mummsie's house, at 35 West St., and got themselves a wife and step mother .
This is Robert aged 45
This is a tin plate photo in the possession of the Boag family. Does this look like Robert ?
Robert (25) and Rebecca Howells Sweet (23) of Willington married on 25.6.1902. Their children were George Sweet b 1903 d 1966, William Boag (Bill) b1905, Arthur Carilef b 1907, Richard Wiseman Eastwood (Dick) b1910 d 1975, Vincent Theodore b 1916 and finally a girl, Alice Theodora b 1912.
* Twin Bob b 1900 emigrated to Canada and did not marry till late in life to a French-Canadian, Lucille & was childless.
Robert died in 1954 and Rebecca in 1960
Joseph And Lily's Wedding
* Twin Joseph (b 1900 d 1949) married Lily Gibson and had Avril and Vincent
Avril married William Snowball and has Stephen b 1965
Vincent didn't marry
George married Valerie Prince and has Gillian and Christine, Gillian married Archie and has Dianne, Lynn and Neil. Christine married Iain Scoular and has Mark and Claire
Raymond married Mary
William Boag Bratton and daughter Mavis
* William Boag (Bill) married Marguerita (Rita) Redpath & had one daughter, Mavis b 1941.
Mavis married Kenneth Atkinson and has Stephen b 1961, Martin b 1963, Daren b 1969
* Arthur Carilef married..
Bessie Layton b 1913
... & had a daughter Alice Theodora, b 8.2.1939 who died in infancy, 31.7.1941
& a son Robert David (Bob) b 27.3.1944.
Bob married Marjorie Hindle b 16.6. 1943
They have a son Andrew David b 19.9.1972
Andrew David married Colette
* Richard (Dick) met Edith Mitchelson b 1910 who was from Lichfield Street, the same street Dick's father and grandfather had lived in. He married her on 23.1.1937 & had two sons, Malcolm John ( b 1.4.1940) & Denis Richard (b 2.8.1941).
Young Dick at about 20
L to R Denis aged 13 Malcolm 14 Edith & Dick aged 44
Dick and Edith, aged 57
Malcolm emigrated to Canada. He married Dorothy Carrole Wilson and have 3 daughters Sarah Elizabeth b 29.12.1965, Erika Louise b 27.3.1968 and Pamela Marie b 7.10.1971
Here are Malcolm and Carrole with the 3 girls L to R Erika, Sarah & Pamela in 1984 at the Ceremony where they gained USA Citizenship. They now live in Oceanside, California
Sarah married Craig Ryan and have a daughter and twin boys...Katelyn and Jake & Dirk
Erika married Gordon Descutner in 1967 and have Kade & Kiefer
Pamela married John Bonderewicz in 1968 and have Logan and Dawson
Denis married Delyse Noel and have Sheryl b 1960, Corinne b 1961, Verne b 1965 and Lynn Katherine b 1971. Denis died on 5.6.1992
Lynne married Roger Hardie and has 3 children Mareena, and twins Gabriella and Abigail
See bottom of this page for more of Dick and Edith's family pics
* Vincent Theodore b 1916 married Elsie Reynolds & had one son, Michael. Michael married Anne Schneller and has Nicholas b 1976 and Emily
*Alice Theodora b 1912 didn't marry
A few more pics
Dick in 1939
Dick and Edith's Wedding
Joseph Herbert Bratton
This is General John Bratton of the American Civil War..a striking likeness, I think, particularly the heavy lidded eyes
This is Joseph Herbert, Isabel and grandson John Dixon outside their home 9 St Thomas Street, Low Fell about 1947
Joseph Herbert left his mother Jane's home when he met and married Isabella Steel.This is them attending a wedding...many years later
At the time of the 1891 census they were living at 17 St. James' Road, East Gateshead (off Sunderland Road)
By 1901 they had moved to nearby 45/47 Moore Street. It must have been relatively recently built because that street is an open field in the OS map of 1894. One of the unmarried girls had a son John Thomas b 1899
"ROCKCLIFF, a parish in the ward and county of Cumberland, 4½ miles N.W. of Carlisle, its post town.
St Mary's Church, Rockcliff
It is a station on the Carlisle section of the Caledonian railway. The parish includes the townships of Churchtown and Rockcliffe Castle, and the small village of Rockcliffe, situated to the E. of Port Carlisle. It is bounded on the N. by the river Esk, on the N.W. by the Solway Frith, and on the S.W. by the navigable river Eden." [Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)
Joseph H was a loco cleaner at 19, according to the census, but was a baker when he wed Isabella, who worked at the Laundry Shop in Blaydon belonging to the Provincial Laundries, Engine Lane, Low Fell, Gateshead. Shortly thereafter Joseph, no doubt, thro' unashamed nepotism, went to work at the Laundry in Engine Lane and remained there for the rest of his working life
They lived in North Tyne Street near to Isabella's folks...
..and they also at one point lived in Rosebery Ave over on the other side of Mount Pleasant
According to Joseph Herbert's Driving Licence they lived at 1, Wigham Street, Felling in 1932
By 1939 they had moved to 9 St. Thomas Street, Low Fell, Gateshead where they remained for the rest of their lives. The 1946/47 Licence, which Jon has, is the last as Joseph Herbert retired in 1947 aged 65 years
All siblings, without exception, worked at Provincial Laundries. This is Joe, resplendent in his Plus- Fours, which, allegedly he wore off duty, as well
Let's do the offspring one at a time
Jane (Jenny) ...
..married Hughie Devine
it is believed that after living in London for a spell, they settled in
Low Fell, Gateshead at 49 Dean Str. just around the corner from their
Ma/Ma-in-law's house. They had no children
In her sixties, after Hughie had died. Jenny developed Alzheimer's Disease which progressed to her not knowing anyone. She died in Bensham Hospital
...this was taken on their wedding day...
They were blessed with this little bundle of joy. Sylvia Bratton.
She is also seen below with her mother and as a young adult
and they have one daughter
Lesley, married to Iain Fenton. They have a son and daughter, Stuart and Kate. For recent photos of the six of them, see below
Jean died when Sylvia was about 21 years old and eventually Joe married Ethel, who had 2 children from her first marriage Evelyn and Pamela
Edie, b May 1915, married Matty Dixon, b March 1915, and had one child John Dixon b 29/4/1945, who you have already met with his Grandad and Grandma.
John has remained single.
For 20 odd years he worked at Provincial Laundries and for the next 20 odd years he has been a Bus Driver
This is John, July 2005, taken in Sutherland's where Rob and Jon have recently met up with John and his drinking buddy, over a Sunday morning pint
John Steel and Eva are dealt with in detail in the Jack & Eva section
Nellie met Arthur Patterson who was from Barnsley but at the time was a soldier billeted in Mr Kells former house on Kells Lane, Low Fell (there's a picture of the house in the Gateshead history section) They married, returned to Barnsley and had one daughter Linda. Linda has not married
This is Nellie and Arthur's wedding..
After Arthur died Nellie developed Alzheimer's Disease and Linda cared for her mother for the rest of her mother's life. Linda is still closely associated with the Alzheimer's group in Barnsley
Mother and Daughters taken at Kenmir Str, Felling, the Dixons home for many years
This is Sylvia, about the time she met Don, with her Uncle John Steel(Jack) in the back garden of St Thomas Str
As described elsewhere John Steel, the third out of five siblings, also developed severe Alzheimer's
And here's Isabella in the famous 'Smartie' dress
So Jenny was childless, Joe had a girl who had a girl, Edie had a boy who never married, and Nellie had a girl who never married so this line of the Bratton name would have died but for the stalwart efforts of John Steel and Eva who churned out Alan, Jon, Robert and Jim who have produced 6 boys between them. None of these boys have married, (in fairness two are still too young) nor as yet have any of them shown any sign of producing children. Indeed Jack and Eva were 50 and 43 respectively when they became grandparents whereas Alan 59, Jon 57, Rob 52 and Jim 47 are still waiting. Fortunately the gene pool, tho' not the name, is continuing through Sylvia & Don's family
Sylvia & Don Ivison, Joe Bratton
L to R front
Lesley Fenton (nee Ivison) Ethel (Joe's second wife) Edie Dixon and Pamela (Ethel's daughter)
L to R
These get-togethers happen very infrequently because of geographical separation... after all this visit took a car journey lasting....11 minutes. Fortunately the brief get-together lasted 3.5 hours
Iain & Lesley Fenton. A handsome couple. They live in Northamptonshire and both are in the travel profession.
Update: Lesley married Keith Millward July 2012
And Lesley and Iain's offspring....
Stuart and Kate, or rather their photograph, enjoying a bright but chilly early March airing in Granny and Gran'pa's splendid back garden in Dunston, which to these "Southern Softies" must feel like it borders Iceland. You may be Fentons and you, Kate will likely carry another name, but never forget your maternal roots...You owe it to Great Grandad Joe, who was fiercely proud of being a Bratton, and deserves to be remembered with pride
and you, Kate, are presently the generational pioneers, the sole gene-carriers, way out in front.
All I know is that Charlotte (Robert and Louisa's oldest daughter) (18) was not at home in Gateshead in 1881
and Louisa's youngest son William (b 1865 d 15 Jan 1936), who was a
Plate Iron Shipbuilder, married Margaret Slater (b 1868 d 31 Jan 1924)
and at the time of the 1891 census they were living at 11 Hardwick Tce,
Gatehead 8 with son William Foster (b 1888) and daughter Mary Ann (b
By the time of the 1901 census they had moved to 6 Hardwick Tce and had added two more girls Louisa (b 1897) and
Elizabeth Noel (b 25th Dec 1899 d 7 July 1983) They also happened to have a 19 year old lodger by the name of Andrew Hughes.
Family Bible evidence it appears that between Mary Ann and Louisa 1890 -
1897 there were two boys Luke and John who must have died in their
infancy since they were not there by the time of the 1901 census
Foster Bratton was a commercial clerk and lived at 30 Holly Ave,
Jesmond, Newcastle. He was wheelchair bound and was a member of the
Christian Scientist Church. He died 8th June 1940
married John (Jack) Stephenson and lived in Westerhope, Newcastle. They
had a son Alan b 1919 d 1993. Alan and his wife had a daughter
married Thomas Bacon b ? d 1964 from London during the first world war.
They had a daughter Margaret b 1928. During WWII they came to Newcastle
to escape the London Blitz. Margaret married Edgar Fell b 1934 d 2000,
who was from The Lake District and came to Newcastle in 1952 to attend
University. He fell in love with Margaret and Newcastle United and
that's not surprising cos the Toon had a magnificent side in the mid
50's... and no doubt Margaret was bonny too. They had daughter Julia b
1964, who has supplied much of the information in this section. Margaret
trained to be a teacher in Sunderland and went on to teach junior
school and also music.
Elizabeth Noel married Lionel McAughtry
((b 31 March 1896 d 20 Jan 1970) and living at 23 Kells Lane, Low Fell,
had four daughters
Peggy (b 1924),
Fay (b 2 Nov 1931 d 28 Feb 2004)
and twins Joan (b 1934) and Betty (b 1934 d 1988) .
Peggy married Mr Laurence and had daughter Ann. Ann then married Brian
and they have 2 daughters Angie and Jackie and a son Terry
Angie is now Angie Blackman and has 3 children and 1 granddaughter
Jackie has 2 boys
Terry has 1 boy
On 28 May 1952, Fay, at Denewell Ave Pres Church, Low Fell, married
Sunderland born Stanley Walton Edward (b 6 Sept 1924 d 28 Mar 1994) and
had 3 daughters Christine Fay (b 1956) Lynne Patricia (b 1958) Julia
Carole (b 1970)
Christine Fay on 4 Sept 1976
at St Helen's Church married Geoffrey Henderson. They split and in 1984
she married Fred Hardy and they have son Jacques Frederick (b 1993 in
Lynne Patricia married Thomas Culverwell
(b 1956) on 17 April 1982 at St Helen's Church, Low Fell. They have two
daughters Christine Lorna (b 1983) and Sarah Lynn (b 1985)
Julia Carole in 1994 married Craig Freeman (b 1969)
* Joan married Brian Douglas Lyle (b 1931) and have no children
*Betty married David...then John Lumby and had Alene
Louisa ( Robert
and Louisa's youngest daughter) left the North East in 1881, at 14 year
old to live with the Smiths, her aunt and uncle and family at 19 St
John's Hill in Shrewsbury. She was still there 10 years later, living
with her, now widowed, aunt (59) and unmarried cousins Harry (34) and
William (30) as well as her cousin, Eliza Williams (27) and her baby
Alice Williams (6 months)... all per the 1891 census
(Robert and Louisa's third son) was a Blacksmith and he married Jane b
1863 and they lived at 17 Hector Street, Gateshead where they had
Elizabeth b 1887 and Louisa b 1889. They moved to Hilltop Garden
Cottages near St John's Church and had Ethel b 1892
John Bratton b 1858
(Robert and Louisa's second son) was a bedding upholsterer and he
married Newcastle born Margaret Isabella b1840. In 1881 they were at 58
Chichester Street, Gateshead but by 1891 they had moved to 102 Tamworth
Road, Elswick (Arthur's Hill) Newcastle and had William Wallace Bratton b
1885, Maud b 1887 and Elizabeth b 1890. By 1901 they had moved to 70
Lavender Gardens, Jesmond Newcastle and had John b 1896 and Louisa b
Interesting little aside when Dad John was 23 Mum Isabella was 2
years younger at 21. In the 1891 census Dad was 33 but Mum was now 3
years younger at 30. In 1901 Dad was 43 and Mum was now 4 years younger
at 39. It took a long time Isabella but we now know you were telling
porkies about your age to the census man
Jack and Eva
On 15th March 1940 he became T169093 a Driver in the RASC. After intensive training using broomshanks for weapons he set off for war ( 4th Light Field Ambulance supporting the Royal Medical Corps )and by Christmas 1940 he was in Egypt
This is him in Egypt in early 1941. From there he went to Greece. Captured on Crete he spent the next 4 years or so as a POW in Austris
The story of Jack's War
On release in 1945 Dad returned to Old Blighty and in a relatively short period of time met and married Mam, Eva Loxley
This is a pic of their wedding
Left to right is best man Jack Cordner, Sylvia Bratton, Eva & Jack, Freda Loxley and Betty Loxley
The wedding was on 26th January 1946 at St Helen's Church, Low Fell
Dad worked at the Laundries from leaving school, spent 5 years in the army during WW2 then the next 20 years or so, back at the Laundries
He eventually gave up working outside when Bronchitis, acquired while a POW during WW2, made the Winter extremely difficult. He did factory work, had a spell unemployed but eventually became a Civil Servant at the DHSS in Longbenton, doing internal mail deliveries. He retired a little ahead of time as Alzheimers was kicking in and affecting his work
Jack and Eva spent their first few years of marriage living in at their parents homes. Alan was born on 12 Aug 1946 at QE Hospital, Low Fell,
This is Eva Bratton with baby Alan
Jon was next born on 8 Oct 1948 at the QE Hospital.
When Rob was born on 5 Aug 1953 at the Bensham Hospital they had managed to get a Council flat on the
newly built Springwell Estate.
Shortly after that they moved to 1a Dean Street, Low Fell.
On 19 April 1957 Jim was born at the QE Hospital.
This is Rob in 1957
All four went to Kells Lane Primary School and then Alan and Jon went to Gateshead Grammar
Rob went to Elgin Secondary Technical. Jim went to Greenwell and then Dryden Rd Senior High
This is Jon Bratton and Alan Bratton shortly after they joined the US Cavalry
Alan Bratton met and married Pauline Kirton (b 23.1.48) at Denewell Ave Pres Church on 17 Sept 1966
Alan and Pauline emigrated to Canada in Sept 1966. They have two sons John Alan b 15.5.67 and Scott David b 25.8.70
Jon Bratton married Liz Stobbs (b 21.8.46) on 11 Oct 1969 at St Andrews Church, Fewster Square, Leam Lane
This is Susan and Derek Coulson presenting a bouquet
Jon and Liz have son Gary Jon born 27 Oct 1976 and daughter Lesley Anne born 25 June 1979.
They all spent 7 years in Saudi Arabia from 1983 to 1990
Rob Bratton married Margaret Scott on 23rd March ? at St Cuthbert's Church Bensham
(Sir Walter Scott penned these words, allegedly
I swear by Almighty God
As sure as I 've got my hat on
I shall not rest until a Scott
Get's married to a Bratton
Said at the wedding by me, the best man)
Rob and Marg emigrated to Canada in 1976. They had son Peter Robert b 22.8.80 there..
and son David James b 21.12.87 on their return to England
Jim Bratton married Erica Penwright (b 19.1.?) at St Helen's Church, Low Fell on 19th January 1987
Jim and Erica have daughter Michelle Carole b 25.2.89 and son Lee James b 7.3.91
All four lads are separated from their respective wives, one is now divorced the first three after 27 years apiece, that's coincidence, not a rule, and Jim after a meagre 17 years
This is Eva, aged 46, when she came 2nd in the Glamorous Grandma Competition at Butlins in 1970
And now for a brief explanation as to why the domain names is www.39steps.com
39 steps was so important to this family as the kids were growing up. Dad liked to go to the local pub, The Black Horse, and he always said that it was 39 steps to the pub from our house, 1A Dean Street. As kids we believed him but it was in fact about 100 steps...but 100 steps has no literary significance
Dad never read a novel in his life, but he did see the movie, Hitchcock's 18th and reputedly his favourite, made in 1935, starring Robert Donat and based very loosley on John Buchan's novel of 1915
We could have lived in a beautiful detached house but it was never considered because it was more than 39 steps from the Black Horse. Dad never missed a day at the pub in var nye 40 years, not even when he was bad .The photo below, which is proof positive, was taken by a bloke called Reg Smythe
There's a Catherine Cookson style novel right there just waiting to be written...and I'm the bloke to write it.
Now this is a bit spooky because that book, my book, would be tracking a family from Springwell to Dean Street, (and ultimately to Kellfied Road) with The Black Horse featuring more highly than it should. Well, you wouldn't credit it, but such a book has already been written by a bloke living in Normandy...only those paying the closest of attention to this website will spot that extra bit of spookiness
Because it completely steals my thunder, I ought not to give it any publicity but, unfortunately, it's beautifully written, and more particularly, remembered in a detail that would have escaped me. Written by Robert Rowell, the Nick Hornby of Dean Street, 'Back Lanes and Muddy Pitches' is very funny and yet pulls no punches..at least one former Dean Street resident will, undoubtedly, be suing for defamation ....of trousers.
It comes highly recommended at £6.99 from Waterstones.
I have a real soft spot for the Rowells (e.g.Ellen of my youth... having a pint, in my non-youth, outside the BH, waving at Margaret and Mam going to the Wesleyan... watching Harry, only a couple of years back, in my wise years, felling trees and fixing fences at Kellfield Road... in his eighties but acting like a 40 year old and, curiously, whistling 'Oh I do like to be beside the seaside' -what's that all about?) but I have to say this. Scoring a goal every time against the Toon, and worse yet, celebrating with gusto, is ne way te gan on and brings shame on the Rowells. You know who you are, SS.Seriously, well done Robert, and good luck with the sales. When negotiating film rights, diven't let them give the lead to a Californian.
John Steel Bratton diesHis
quality of life at zero through advanced Alzheimer's, John Steel
Bratton died on 17th March 1992 in St Mary's Mental Hospital,
Stannington (built in 1910 as an asylum for Gateshead's lunatic
I resented registering his death at Morpeth when he had lived all his life in Gateshead and was only there because, although the 21st Century was just around the corner, Gateshead still shipped it's loonies out the borough
This is Eva at 80. The photo was taken on Christmas Day 2004, only days after she had moved from her 3 storeyed house Maple Cottage, 11 Kellfield Road into a one bedroomed flat in Central Low Fell, in a block occupied by many of her long standing friends. At any age, a house move is traumatic and the strain shows on her face
Jack and Rob standing at the door of the now famous 1A Dean Street, now merely one of several famous Dean Street front doors, thanks to one of them Authors
L to R Dad, Robert Alan, Jim, Mam, Jon, Nana. This was taken 1966
This is 20 years on fom the first photo, in about 1986
L to R Alan Bratton, Jon Bratton, Rob Bratton, Jim Bratton
in 2006 we are 20 years
You can see them now....balding and beer-bellied but by God's good grace the balding one is slim and the fat one has a full head of hair.
The other two are defying the ageing process by being retired...and some Grecian 2000, I'll be bound .
Here's Eva Bratton as a young looking 82 year old
This is Alan Bratton nowadays, taken during his visit to the UK in August 2006
He has been retired from General Motors for several years now and he winters in Florida, where he has bought a home, and summers in Canada where he shares a home with his partner Cathy
He is a keen boatsman and follows NUFC via TV and Internet
This is a recent picture of Jon Bratton, fat, but with hair.
Jon is in a family business, comprising Liz and Gary and Lesley operating three framing and craft shops plus an eShop. Because he says he is efficient and has perfected the art of delegation he is in semi retirement dividing his extended leisure time between developing this and other websites, golf and beer/red wine drinking.
Here's Rob Bratton taken only yesterday in the pub. It could have been the day before yesterday or the day before that and it would still have been the pub. Rob is retired, early on medical grounds, from The Prison Service and divides his time between developing his website, which is about pubs, and drinking in the pub. He also does a lot of walking ..around Gateshead...photographing...pubs
This is Jim.Bratton. He's been in Prison for so long they've made him a Governor. He was part of the management team at Durham, but because of suicidal tendencies (not his, obviously) his career's gone south...... to Stockton. Because of other commitments, Jim's been forced to give up his beloved car booting and he's also swapped supping for singing...instead of suffering headaches, he now inflicts 'em.
UPDATE: Now married, and retired
And here is Alan Bratton with partner Cathy
As you can see, Cathy is sporting a fetching, if not overstated, floral hat
Or is she merely standing beneath a hanging basket outside the Vic...you decide
Here's Jon Bratton with partner Margaret, separated by Mumsie and Cathy
Here's Jim with then partner Karen, now wife, standing outside the Vic. From the wistful look on Jim's face, not to mention the restraining hands of Karen, he is clearly wishing that she'd let him go inside the pub, like in the old days
Here's the next generation. This is clearly a montage as there are about 24 years separating John, the oldest from Lee, the youngest. They were also, at this age, separated on three different continents
L to R back Michelle, Peter, David, John, Lee L to R front Lesley, Scott, Gary
Currently awaiting recent picture of John
Lesley Bratton, taken on Boxing Day 2004
Lesley is engaged to Stuart...wedding 2009. She is 29 years old and is in teacher training. She lives with Stuart in Havant.
UPDATE: Lesley Sparks and hubby Stuart have Sophie
Gary Bratton, taken in June 2005, on Fathers' Day
Gary is 32 and has his own business, on similar lines to his parents' business
His fiancee is Bailey who he is to marry in Aug 2012
Peeta Bratton, UK and Ireland Specialist, International Travel Consultant, Victoria BC V9A 7C5
UPDATE: Peter now lives in UK
This is David Bratton, taken on Boxing Day 2004 just shortly after his 17th birthday, on which he acquired a scooter, which he used for travelling to work and in and around Crawcrook and Low Fell.It is now no more. Car sought...David went to Canada, married and now has a son, Caden
This is Michelle Bratton, Sept 2005, with a whole bunch of recently acquired A's in GCSE's . A smart cookie with an X factor. Now at Loughborough University
UPDATE: Now a teacher at Bournemouth
This is Lee Bratton, a very nice lad, but with attitude. He is a young bloke, with some wayward ways, which hopefully he will outgrow very soon and make his old and frail Nana very proud
And this is Scott Bratton in 2006, along with his cousins Lesley, Gary and David. Scott is a partner in this business
Teddy Bears' Picnic Myth
"The Teddy Bears' Picnic" 1907 (John W Bratton & Jimmy Kennedy) is like "Happy Birthday to you" 1893 (Mildred and Patty Hill) inasmuch as it will be around forever
It has long been believed in our family that John William Bratton of Newcastle, North East England, my Grandfather's cousin was the composer of TBP and, according to family oral tradition he sold the rights to it, lock stock and barrel, which was not an uncommon practice for new composers, to a London publisher, Bert Feldman
IT IS NOW KNOWN THAT THIS IS NOT TRUE
Australian Sheet Music
The irony of all this will not escape the Geordie family members now that it is absolutely clear that it was composed by the American John Walter Bratton of New Castle, Delaware North East America, who wrote some 250 songs, using a lyricist more often than not, but occasionally writing his own lyrics. Surprisingly, to me anyway, he left TBP as an instrumental. Perhaps because it sold so well as sheet music he never felt the need to do anything else with it
Some 25 years on, Jimmy Kennedy, the very famous lyricist, but then relatively unknown, was working in London's Tin Pan Alley employed by Music Publisher Bert Feldman and was asked by his boss to write words to the instrumental for a pantomime. Henry Hall of The BBC Dance Orchestra became aware that the instrumental now had lyrics and he broadcast the song in the kiddies' section of his
popular radio show the very next day before it had been officially published. The publisher's office was deluged with requests for sheet music which did not exist. Kennedy was almost sacked and was punished by Bert Feldman by having his royalties withheld for the rest of Feldman's life...some 15 years or so. It was obvious from the listeners' reaction that this would be a hit and Henry Hall recorded it. The rest, they say, is history.
Correcting the myth that a Brit, a member of our family, wrote Teddy Bears' Picnic is due, in no small part, to the expertise and research of Perfessor Bill EdwARds of www.perfessorbill.com
As he was harnessing his best resources to establish the facts I was checking out the genealogy route, determined to find John Willie Bratton as my Grandma described him. Well, guess what.. there is no John Willie Bratton to be found in our family
Meantime Bill ascertained that the primary publisher was the NY company M. Witmark & Sons (Feldman was merely a selling agent for UK, British Dominions [other than Canada & Oz] and Continental Europe) and that in the copyright records John WALTER Bratton is spelled out in full. If that wasn't enough he sought consensus by sending out parts of his research on TBP, as well as information from this site, to eight others. Four of them are sheet music collector/historians - one in Australia, one in Canada, and two in the US so not just American biased - and four are ragtime performers - one from Sweden, one from Canada, and two from the U.S.
He did not reveal for them the middle name logged in the Witmark books ( found in NYPL archives), but a lot of the other information.
He heard back from six of them - all four of the sheet music experts and two of the pianists. The consensus is unanimous among the six, three of which have other Bratton instrumentals, that the American Bratton was the composer. They also look at things like cover art clues, copyrights (again, why would the British Bratton copyright a piece in the US under his name AND Witmarks, but nothing else, when the American did this consistently) All the experts give (and rightly as it seems) little credence to oral family history. So, in the light of the overwhelming evidence, I am embarrassed that I ever believed it but Grandma told me it every week from when I was 5 till I was 11
So Granny if you're looking down at this I hope you're proud of your multi generational hoax!!
Some people think I'm being hard on you but what gets me is that you told me, not that it was John William Bratton but John Willie Bratton; that's how urban myths are perpetuated. I put a lot of store by that
What it does show is the power of the internet. Generations have gone along with this myth and in a 3 week period, through internet resources, it has been exposed as a nonsense. I apologise to all those kids in school playgrounds that I, and many others, have bragged to, about our famous relative.
Now did you know that a Brattain won a Nobel Prize for inventing the transistor!!