24. Maurice Charles Billson [scrapbook] "Ricky to the family and Dick to the outside world." was born 11 Sep 1874 in Nottingham, England. He died 29 Nov 1948 and was buried Nov 1948 in Bulwell Cem, Nottingham.. Ricky to the family and Dick to the outside world. married 1 Alice Knott on 1905. [Parents]
Writen by Eric Billson (Maurice's son) for Nevin Billson (Eric's son). Where * appears facts are known to be inaccurate.
Grandad Billson (Maurice Charles).
Born 1874 - Died 1984
Born on Waterloo Cresent Nottm. Poor Family - No trace of his father*. He had one brother and one sister. His brother (My uncle Harry) was manager of the Co -Op shop in Sherwood. His sister lived most of her life in France*.
Although he had very little schooling as it costing one old penny a week which his mother could not always afford. He had a natural ability to learn and before joining the army and going to the Boar war in South Africa in 1899, he was a proficient Pitman's shorthand writer / typist and highly skilled in arithmatic. Before returning to England in 1902 he was captain 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters. He married my mother in 1906 after returning to England from South Africa he worked for the Raleigh Cycle Co. and later became the east middlands area manager of "The Sun Insurance Co" In 1920 he formed his own insurance company known as "The Allied Traders Assurance Co" becoming it's general manager on £60 per week when the average wage was 30/= per week. At this time I was 3yrs old. He sent 3 sons and his eldest daughter (Your aunty Kitty) to a boarding school in France and later when I was 5 I was sent to private school. Also in 1918 (when I was 1yrs) he bought the house known as 296 Mansfield Road Nottm. Which is now the Savoy Hotel.
In 1924 his company suffered a take-over and he was so angry that he refused to take a senior position with the new company and left without compensation. He took an insurance inspectors job with the Licences & General Insurance Co. at £5 per week plus 30/= per week expenses. That was a good income in 1924 but of course it was nothing compared to £60 per week. You can imagin debts built up month by month until in 1930 his debtors went to court and got permission to take over all his assets. They cleared the house of all contents and permission to sell the house in June 1930. Within days father and 2 of my brothers and your Aunty Kitty, who were also at work, were in lodgings in Nottingham. My mother, myself at this time 13 yrs) uncle Ted and your aunty Jean (who at this time was 7 yrs old) all went to Chapel St Leonards until October - living in tents, and furnished rooms in various cottages, my mother having to feed us on what could be sent weekly from Nottm. and my brother Edgar and myself did odd jobs and potatoe piking for any farmer or shop who wanted anything doing that boys were capable of doing, and we accepted milk, eggs or vegatables from the farmers in payment. This is obviously why I have such an attachment to the place and why, even today, I still know some of the older residents.
We returned to Nottm in October to a rented house in Mapperley Park Drive off Magdale Road. Houses to rent were very plentyful in those days. We later moved to Burford Road in Forest Fields area.
It was from 95 Burford Rd That I left school and went to work for a transport co. as an invoice typst - three or 4 other jobs followed and in 1938 my mother died and in 1939 the war was declared -
This is an extract from his son's, Maurice junior, momoirs. For the complete document see under the author's name:
Maurice Charles the elder was born on the eleventh September 1874, the eldest child of Alfred and Elizabeth Billson. Alfred's occupation is shewn as 'groom' on his elder's son's birth certificate. Alfred died at the age of thirty - five as the result (according to family tradition) of being kicked by a horse, though his death certificate shows the cause of death as "Asthma - four years." This event took place on the 12th July 1885 when his son, the elder Maurice Billson, was in his eleventh year. Alfred and Elizabeth broke with family tradition when they named their first son Maurice. For generations the eldest Billson son had been christened Charles: little is known about this break with tradition. That little concerns one of Elizabeth's sisters. Mary known in the family of the authors as Great Aunt Polly, who had married a Harry Francis, a member of a Bristol family of Hoteliers, who owned a chain of hotels in the West Country. Polly's husband had French connections and, apparently, Elizabeth named her first child after one of Polly's husband's friends. Not only did Elizabeth give her son a French name but within the family they used a distinctly French nickname - Ricky. This gave rise to his being known as 'Dick' to the outside world; presumably the soubriquet 'Ricky' was equated with 'Dicky' by the world at large. Be that as it may, the elder Maurice was known as 'Dick' outside his family circle so that when he met the girl who was to become his wife he must have been introduced to her as 'Dick' since the author never heard her use any other name when addressing him.
Account reported by Jean Alice Potter, Maurice senior's daughter.
He was a student of the Blue Coats School* in Nottingham and was reported to have been a friend of Jessie Boot, later to be the founder of Boots Pharmaceuticals. By his mother's persuation, he studied and became proficient at shorthand and typing after leaving school and became "Articled to an Architect" (Brights on Bridlesmith Gate). Brights had two offices nextdoor to each other one was a solicitors and the other an Architechs, He left this to join the army when the Boar War started and because of his shorthand skills became "Aid de Camp to Comander Smith Dorian. He made rapid promotion and stayed in the army as Adjutant after the war where he was to become a Major based at the barracks in York.
Jean recals an occassion when she as a young child joind her father to the Harley Smith wine lodge in Pepper St Nottm. She sat legs not reaching the floor, while Maurice entered into a disscusion with the propritor about insuring a large vat of wine in the cellars. The discussion culminated in him being invited to view the vat, when he declined because he had his daughter with him the propritor said bring her with you. Jean remembers going deep into the sandstone caves under Nottm. to see this huge wooden container of wine.
She also recalls at their home Beeston Lodge in Beeston which backed on to the railway station, her father having had a gate put into the fence at the bottom of the garden so that he could catch his train into Nottingham at the very lastminute; it is reported that on occasions when he was late the train had waited for him. The family moved to a house at 296 Mansfield Rd. Nottingham (opposite the Grovenor Pub), the house was given the name "Clumber House" although this was seldom used. There was small station walking distance from the house on the corner of Mansfield Rd and Gregory Boulevard, from where he would catch the train to London.
He was apparently a close friend of (?) who developed the company "Charnos" which made the original net curtains from a material derived from nettles, hence the name netting. When Nylon was invented he moved into making nylon stockings. Maurice had the task of having to make a stock value assessment following a fire at the factory. It was the first time anyone had to carry out such a job with a stock of material that left little evidence to go by, as there was nothing left of the nylon.
* Blue Coats School was founded in 1706 as a charity school in High Pavement Nottingham. It later was moved to Mansfield Road by the charity trust for a sum of 2000.
25. Alice Knott [scrapbook] was born 1881 in St Marys Islington. She died 23 May 1938. [Parents]
26. James White [scrapbook] "Gentleman Jim" was born 1881 in Dublin. He died c 1958. Gentleman Jim married Catherine Wilson on approx 1900 in Cathedral??. [Parents]
Sargent Major home on leave from the 14-18 war for the birth of son Frank. Daughter Mary Billson sat on Jims knee, account of the photograph being taken was that she rembered climing narrow and high stairs to get to the studio where the photgraph was taken. The long strides for such a small young girl caused the elastic to snap in her dress. She was very concious that her nikers would show on the photo and she can be seen holding down her dress with her left hand.
Very popular with the folk at the local pub. His daughter remebers him wanting to borrow just enough for the first drink as he would pay for the others from the proceeds of his card card playing.
Was sent to the USA to build lace making machines and took his family out there. His daughter Doris was born out there.
Lost an arm in lace making machinery, alegedly trying to put back into place a driving belt that had come off the pully while the drive was still running in order to prevent having to shut down the whole of the plant.
Used to baby sit for Andrew, Mary & William Billson's son. On these occassions he would teach Andrew to play cards.
27. Catherine Wilson [scrapbook] was born 27 Dec 1882 in Mansfield. [Parents]
Described by the priest at her funeral as an angel from heaven.
According to her daughter Mary she was
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