Joe and Mary Ellen went from grocers to motor cycle dealers and ran their business from James St in Burnley. In 1955 they had retired and the business had been taken over by three of their four sons.
HAROLD HEBDEN (b 1906) and FRANK HEBDEN(b 1907) ran the motor cycle dealership in James St, whilst JOHN HAROLD HEBDEN, the eldest son born in 1896, ran a toy shop on Nelson Road.
JOHN HAROLD married twice. His first marriage was to MARJORIE and from this marriage were produced two children, JOHN REID HEBDEN and JUNE. His second marriage to DINAH MILNER(Auntie Cissie) was childless.
John Harold was my favourite great uncle and a really nice man. I only knew his second wife and she was a lovely, warm lady. I used to thoroughly enjoy my visits to their house which were always fun and you always got the impression that they liked children.. My brother and I also were always given a couple of “bob” to nip to the sweet shop on the corner for an ice cream or some pop.
HAROLD married EVA MCDADE and lived on Reedley Road, Reedley. They had one daughter, MARGARET who was born in 1934.
My main memories of Uncle Harry center on times when I visited the shop that he ran with my grandfather. He was a nice man but always a little dour and not desperately approachable like his brother John Harold. Eva was a very smart woman, always smart and also quite formal. I remember one visit to their house when I was about 12 and she kindly gave me Margaret’s old hockey stick. However, my over-riding memory was that the house was very “posh” and impeccably tidy. I was so scared of knocking anything over or making a mess.
The fourth son, JOSEPH ALBERT HEBDENwho was born in 1899 and died in 1978, did not enter into the family business. He married ENA and had two daughters, SHEILA and BARBARA.
My grandfather was the youngest son, FRANK HEBDEN and was born March 22, 1907 in Burnley Lancashire, and died January 21, 1978 in 38 Keighley Rd, Colne Lancashire. Grandpa married three times in total. His first marriage was to my grandmother ELIZABETH THORPE (Granny Bet) on November 26, 1929 at St Pauls Church, Little Marsden. The witnesses at their wedding were Joseph Hebden (Franks father), Lily Thorpe (Bet’s aunt) and Alan Aldersley (the best man).
They had two sons, THOMAS PETER1930-1994 (my father) and JOSEPH MICHAEL who were brought up on Briercliffe Road, Burnley, where Bet eventually died of breast cancer in 1960.
Two years later, Frank married Bet’s cousin, a widow GLADYS WATSON who was known as “Grandma Gladys”. Witnesses at this wedding were Uncle Harry and Constance Riley, who was Grandma Gladys’s sister.
She was a lovely lady and I have warm childhood memories of her. Gladys died a few years later, very suddenly. She woke one night suffering from cramp in her calf. Grandpa massaged her leg to ease the pain.
Unfortunately, it hadn’t been cramp but a thrombosis and within two minutes, she was dead.
Constance Riley, her sister, was known as Auntie Connie and her husband was Uncle Lol. Auntie Connie owned a little flower shop opposite Nelson library, near the old market and she would keep a little white wicker basket there for me. Every “Whit walk” she would fill it with flowers for me to carry as I walked along in a little white dress.
Grandpa wasn’t very good at being single and by 1970 he had married again to EVELYN LAYCOCK, another widow. She always seemed to try to be nice but, as a child, I was never able to take to her. There was just something about her that I didn’t like.
Evelyn outlived grandpa who died in 1978, from a coronary thrombosis and he died quietly in his chair infront of the television.
Many people would say that my grandfather was a cold man but, as a child, I had some wonderful memories of times spent with him. I would tend to think that he wasn’t a very warm person but not because he didn’t know how to feel but rather than he didn’t really know how to show it. He wasn’t a happy man and never enjoyed working in the family business. He loved motorbikes but hated selling them but didn’t have a very good head for business and it eventually went bust.
Of the children of the four brothers, there are further descendants though only one line keeps the Hebden name as the majority of grandchildren and great grandchildren produced have been girls. Fortunately though the ACCRINGTON ROAD HEBDENS have produced a fair number of boys so the descendants of the STALLING BUSK HEBDENS will continue with the name.