Nearly-Midnight The genealogy website relating to the family. A tangled web of people all related to one another, explore!
Robert Clark The Father of Henry Martyn-Clark - A missionary out in the North-West Frontier of India. One of the first Europeans to set foot in Afganistan
Affetside Census
A small village north of Bury, Lancashire, I can trace many of my immediate ancestors from there. On the Roman Road, Watling Street
Andrew Martyn-Clark My Father and his part in my World. Also my mother and his parents too.
Henry Martyn-Clark My Great Grandfather, his roots and his achievements. Discusses malaria but also his confrontations with Islam.


Many photographs have been added! home page lists them Please copy and reuse them - a link to LazylikeSunday will be much appreciated!

Monday 23 January 2012

John Arnold Parkinson

This memorial caught my eye. Really close to the Polish graves as well as the other servicemen. He demands respect. A wonderfully carved memorial. The lead lettering is peeling - in a few years it will be indecipherable.

A selfless act
Arnold Parkinson 1875 - 1911

BORN AUG 27TH 1875
DIED DEC 20TH 1911


I believe there must be pictures of the crew. He will be about 36 at the time of his death. Family about perhaps. It would be nice to find reports and even find the name of the Bath Engineer who also seems to have died. Now there also seems to be a reference to "Jack" John Parkinson on Wikipedia here. Although the date and death and the events that surround it seem the same there are fundamental differences in the information that need to be sorted out. However the Wikipedia article gives some references that can be followed up.

It appears from the 1881 Census he lived at 4 York Street, Blackpool with his parents John and Mary Ann. York Street is 400 yards from the lifeboat I think. This would either be the seafront or the lifeboat house. I will visit.

The Lifeboat inn on Foxhall Road. Looking North

Lifeboat Inn, Looking down Yorkshire Street on the left.

The Old Lifeboat house.
Before it was a youth centre it was an amusement arcade

Painted red for some reason.
The roof must have been renewed fairly recently

Looking down Bolton street (South),
from the back of the Lifeboat house.

View across Lytham Road. The beach is literally 200 yards to the right
The tram tracks are just visible. The red and white post support the electrics

From the Lancashire Parish Clerk project:

Marriage: 21 Nov 1910 Christ Church, Blackpool, Lancashire, England
John Arnold Parkinson - Full Age Boatman Bachelor of 21 Ibbison Street
Ada Bessie Delaham - Full Age Spinster of 3 Cocker Street
    Groom's Father: John Parkinson, Deceased, Boatman
    Bride's Father: George Delaham, Carpenter
    Witness: Henry Lewtas; Emma Louisa Lewtas
    Married by Banns by: J Edwards. Vicar
    Register: Marriages 1898 - 1913, Page 203, Entry 413
    Source: LDS Film 1849646

Samuel  Laycock dedicated one of his "Warblin's" to John Parkinson Senior. His early death did seem to affect him greatly. Samuel Laycock is buried in a Blackpool Cemetery too. But as Samuel died in 1893 this must have been dedicated to John Parkinson senior, John Parkinson the father of John Arnold. Samuel Laycock lived at 48 Foxhall Road - literally yards from York Street.

This is the crew of the Blackpool Lifeboat "Charles Biggs" in 1886. from a record of the lifeboat services. I am currently working with, Louise Timms, a direct descendent of one of the crew of the St Annes Lifeboat.

This is the crew of the CHARLES BIGGS 1886


                     JOHN PARKINSON, (Senior)

GOOD-BYE a bit, John; we shall meet ogen soon;
    Aw shall noan be long after, tha'll see;
So aw want thee—when settled i' th' mansions aboon,
    To look eawt for a place for me.
Tha'll know what'll suit me—a bit ov a spot
    Aw con ceawer in, an' feel 'at it's mine;
Just a few simple fleawers reawnd a plain-lookin' cot,
    An' let it be nearish to thine.

As a naybur an' friend, John, aw feawnd tha wur true;
    When tha piped aw wur tempted to dance;
An' aw think we could manage Eternity throo'—
    That is—iv we'd nobbut th' chance.
Aw went to thi berrin'! an', dear-a-me, John,
    Sich a seet aw've but seldom seen!
There wur theawsands o' foalks stood watchin' it, mon,
    An' they'd th' mooast on 'em tears i' their een!

It's not merely th' public 'at's mournin' their loss,
    But it's thoose 'at's lost husband an' dad;
Th' poor mother wur fairly weighed deawn wi' her cross,
    An' th' childer wur just as bad.
Th' tall, wasted form 'at tha left behind,
    We reverently put into th' greawnd;
Feelin' certain at dear Mother Earth 'll be kind,
    An' thi sleep undisturbed an' seawnd.

This isn't to th' dead husk, but to th' livin' grain;
    Aw'm speakin' to John hissel!
To th' spirit, an' not to th' lifeless brain;
    To th' kernel, an' not to th' shell!
Aw'm aware these 'll strike some as strangish views;
    An' one's lots o' times yeard it said
'At nobody but idiots an' crazy foo's
    Would pretend to converse wi' th' dead.

Well, they may be reet, an' th' writer wrong;
    We're none of us feawnd o'er breet;
But these are mi thowts, an' they're put i' mi song,
    Becose aw believe 'em reet.
Shall aw get a response?   Well, it's hard to say;
    But supposin' aw don't get a word,—
Must silence be ta'en as a proof 'at mi lay
    Has noather been read or heard?

Well, good-bye a bit, John; we shall meet ogen soon,
    Wheer th' sun never hides his rays;
Wheer there's never a veil o'er th' face o' th' moon,
    Nor gloomy November days.
Wheer tha's cast anchor on th' gowden strand,
    There'll be no storms to brave;
No oars to grasp, no boats to be man'd,
    Nor shipwrecked foalk to save!

 I carried out further research at the library, this is a copy of the microfiche held there referring to these events recorded by the local paper.
Accident at Baths
Superintendent and Attendant
Immersed in Hot-Water Tank

Last evening a very serious accident occurred at the Blackpool Corporation Baths, Cocker street, by which Superintendant Parkinson and an attendant, Isaac Howcroft, were severly scalded as the result of falling into a large tank of almost boiling water, owing to a platform giving way.

A tank about 12 feet by 9 feet and 6 feet deep is used for heating the salt water used for the baths, and as there had been water drawn off recently, the contents were almost at boiling point. The top of the tank is closed with a platform, and on this Howcroft went at about five o'clock this evening to close off the valve. Whilst doing this, part of the platform collapsed and Howcroft fell about four feet into about four feet of water. He was unable to extricate himself and his cries for help attracted Superintendant Parkinson and his wife who at once went to the rescue. Parkinson succeeded in dragging Howcroft out, when the portion of the staging that Parkinson stood gave way and he was precipitated int the hot water. His wife held onto Howcroft and as Parkinson gripped onto the woodwork to pull himself up he lost his hold and he fell back to be immersed a second time. He then made a desparate leap and gaining the side of a boiler he managed to scramble into safety. Both men were able to get down the steps, and were immediately divested of their clothing. Dr Johnson was telephoned for, and he found both men in a pitiful plight, the skin falling to shreds from the lower part of their limbs. Parkinson was the worst, as in addition to being scalded, his arms up to his elbows had similarily suffered. The doctor gave them every attention, and they were put to bed at the baths, it was deemed inadvisable to to remove the men in the cold weather in their then condition to the hospital.

Seen late last evening by our representative, both men were comfortable and comparitively easy, and in good spirits under the circumstances, Superintendent Parkinson is the well-known centre half of the Blackpool Football team and before our representative left him he said, “ I would a lot sooner be playing centre half than lying here.” He has for many years been a member of the Blackpool Lifeboat crew, and was with the boat the whole of Sunday night a month ago, when they went out to the wreck of the “ Rosaleen” at St. Annes.

Howcroft is a married man living in Moinster road, Blackpool and has been engaged at the baths for about three years as an engineer.

Parkinson deserves the highest commendation for his promptitude in resuing Howcroft, for it is questionable whether he would have been able to get out of the tank without assistance.

This is the preamble and the arrangements to Jack Parkinson's funeral immediately preceding the coroner's report in the paper.

Saturday December 23  1911

Accident at Baths
The terrible scalding accident at the Blackpool Corporation Baths, Cocker Street, last Tuesday week, by which J. Parkinson, the superintendent, and Isaac Howcroft, attendant , received serious injuries, has resulted in the death of the superintendent, which took place at five o’ clock on Wednesday evening. The attendant was able to be returned to his home in Moister road on Tuesday.

The baths superintendent was best known locally as “Jack” Parkinson, he having been a popular lifeboat man and a member of the Blackpool Football Club team in the Lancashire League days. Parkinson played centre forward for the Blackpool team, on the Raikes Hall ground, and his form was such as to induce Liverpool to secure his services, where he remained for two or three years, only to return to his native town’s club in 1900, for which he played centre half up to last season. His long service with the Seaside club entitled him to the “benefit” he received  , and as he was one of the most genial and steady of fellows he was liked wherever he went, and was very popular not only with the public, but amongst all his colleagues. His death under such distressing circumstances is deeply deplored.

His connection with the lifeboat service has been continued from his youth up, for as a local boatman he was well qualified to be a member of the of the crew, and throughout the country he was known as the sailor-footballer. He last went out in the in the lifeboat to the wreck of the “Rosaleen” at St Annes a few weeks ago. He has only been married a little over a year, his wife having been assistant manageress at the baths for several years previously.

The funeral has been arranged to take place today (Saturday) and the Corporation Baths Committee are attending it.

The cortege is timed to leave the house at 1.30, proceeding first of all to Christ Church, where Parkinson was married about a year ago. The Rev J Edwards, vicar – who with the Rev S Gamble-Walker, constantly visited Parkinson during his illness – will conduct the service, The Rev S Gamble-Walker reading the lessons.

In addition to the baths committee, the local Blackpool Lifeboat Committee and the local lifeboat crew will be represented: and the lifeboat band will play from Christ church to the Cemetery.  Mr C. Noden will marshall the procession, which will no doubt include many of the deceased’s footballer friends, the Lancashire Football Association being specially represented by one of the executive committee, and the Blackpool Football Club by Coun. J Wells one of the directors.

Instead of a hearse, the coffin will will be placed in the deceased own boat “The Union Star” the vessel being drawn on its own carriage by a number of his former comrades

Howcroft, who was removed to his home on Tuesday, has been very ill during the last few days, and was not out of danger yesterday.

With respect to Parkinson and the Carneigie Hero Fund, the Mayor (Coun. Collins J.P.) sent the appeal decided upon by by the highway committee on Monday, but Parkinson having died died on Wednesday, the Mayor sent a further communication on Thursday asking that some recognition of Parkinson’s conduct be granted to his widow.

This is the report of the Coroners inquiry that was reported in the local paper dated Saturday December the 23rd 1911.

Coroner’s Enquiry
An inquest regarding the death of Mr. Parkinson was held last night when a verdict of “Accidental Death, “ was returned.
Coroner J. Parker conducted the inquiry. Mr J.W.P. Loftos, deputy town clerk, and Mr J,S. Brodie Borough Surveyor represented the Corporation, and Mr H. Butcher, solicitor appeared for the widow.
Ada Bessie Parkinson, widow of the deceased, said her husband had been appointed Superintendent of the baths on April 6th last. On the afternoon of the 12th inst. She saw Isaac Howcroft the engineer of the baths, go to turn of f the valve of the hot salt-water tank. A few minutes later she she heard cries for help and she and her husband ran to the tank room. She helped deceased to get Howcroft out of the water and when Howcroft had been got on to the flooring boards covering the tank he helped deceased to take his boots off. Whilst this was being done, the covering boards of the tank collapsed and deceased fell backwards into the water. He sprang up again onto the boards onto the boards and caught hold of the remaining portion of the flooring, when this gave way, and he fell into the water a second time. The water in the tank was nearly at boiling point, and it was 3 feet deep. Deceased once more sprang out of the water, gaining a hold at the side of the boiler. Witness assisted Howcroft into a bedroom, and she had to cut the clothing off him. He was scalded about the legs, back arms and shoulders. Deceased went into the bedrooms and undressed himself. Witness sent for Dr. Johnson, who came at once, and attended to both men who were conscious. Deceased appeared to improve slightly at first, and proceeded nicely until last Sunday evening when she noticed a change. His heart never got strong after the shock. He was a strong man. Death occurred last Wednesday afternoon. Questioned by the coroner as to the construction of the flooring boards over the water tank, witness said there was a centre joist spanning the tank, and others to which the covering boards were nailed fast. There was no trap door or opening into the tank. One quarter of the covering gave way first, and Howcroft appeared wedged by the stomach between the cold water pipe and the steps leading to the roof. Whilst in that position a small portion had given way and he had fallen through the hole, about two feet by three. 
In answer to Mr Loftos, witness said Howcroft had been at the baths twelve months as engineer-in-charge. The covering boards were not broken, but had become misplaced. They were sound and were in the same condition as when the corporation had took over the baths. It was necessary for Howcroft to get to the tank in the manner that he did.
Answering the foreman, witness said that the tank was newly boarded three years ago. Acting Sergeant Burrows deposed to examining the dead body of the deceased on Wednesday night. There were raw wounds on the legs and body up to the shoulders. Witness afterwards visited the salt water tank at the baths. It was about thirteen feet square and five feet deep in size. It was difficult to measure it, as there was no gas and he had to use a lighted candle.
Mrs. Parkinson, recalled, said there were no lights when she went to the tank room at the time of the mishap. There was a gas that Howcroft might have turned on if he had wished. She added that Howcroft was accustomed to to gong to the tank room and knew his way about. It was a momentary job turning the valve.
Have you ever seen him up before without a light? – No
He would know his way about without a light? – Yes
Acting Sergeant Burrows resumed his evidence and said there were two ways  of getting to the tank. One was by going up a “cat” ladder attached to a wall and the other led from the seconfd floor. It was not possible to get to the tank without going over the covering boards. There were seven joists and the majority of the covering boards were loose. The joists were all scattered about like sticks, and the ends rested on the edge of the tank, projecting only about an inch. Witness was of the opinion that the joists gave way, and he produced two or three pices of wood that he had broken off the other end of the joist with his hands
The coroner, examining the pieces of wood, observed that they were very much decayed.
Witness added that the ends of  three of the joists had fallen into the tank.
Frederick George Wolstenholme, assistant engineer  in the employ of the Blackpool Corporation, was called and in answer to Mr Loftos said he was familiar with the baths. There was a gas jet , he said , which could have been turned on if necessary. There were two ways of getting to the valve without stepping on to the covering boards. One was by stepping across from one flight of steps directly to the other. It was quite an easy stretch and he had done it himself many times. The other way was by walking along a brick wall nine inches wide, which ran alongside the tank.
The coroner:  It does not seem to me that either of these two suggested methods is desirable. I mean it is a sort of way that an acrobat would do – first walking on a nine inch wall and then stepping across from one ladder to another – one of them being a cat ladder.
In answer to further questions, witness said the two ladders were certainly not more than a yard apart. He had examined the boards and found them sound. “The joists just seem to be rotten if this is a fair sample,” said the Coroner, producing the bits of wood broken from the boards.
Witness, further questioned said the joists projected over the edge of the tank two or three inches, which he considered sufficient. The method of reaching the valve was a safe and sound one in his opinion for a man like Howcroft. He could not say if the boards had ever been examined. It was the intention of the Corporation in the reconstruction of the baths to make certain alterations.
Witness said that neither Howcroft or the deceased had made any complaints as to the condition of the boards.
Mr Loftos said the Corporation were contemplating general alterations to the baths. The coroner said he did not propose to address the jury. Deceased had died from the injuries, and he had no doubt that the jury would find that the man came by his death accidentally.
After a brief consultation in private, the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death” adding that they were of the opinion that the joists should have been examined by a competent person when the baths were taken over by the Corporation.
Mr Loftos remarked that the joists and flooring boards were examined by a competent person
The Coroner said it was irregular for Mr Loftos to say this. He had given him every opportunity, but considered it was not fair for him to make such a statement after the inquiry.
Mr Loftos and the jury then expressed sympathy with the widow, and Mr. Butcher acknowledged the expression of condolences.

I contacted the Andrew Carnegie Heroes fund and this is the information that I received from them:
Andrew Carnegie Hero's Medal

Front Page of the Roll of Honour

John A Parkinson  
This is the excerpt from their information:



“John Arnold Parkinson (35), superintendent, Corporation Baths, Cocker Street, Blackpool, on 12th December 1911, died as the result of efforts to rescue an attendant who had fallen through the timber covering of a hot water tank. 

The attendant was caught by his arms from going to the bottom of the tank, being suspended and up to the knees in scalding water.  On Parkinson groping over the already broken timber covering, it further gave way with him twice, precipitating him bodily into the hot water, and it was only on the third attempt, with the assistance of Mrs Parkinson – who had appeared on the scene – that Parkinson was successful in rescuing the attendant from his perilous position. 

Unfortunately, as the result of their injuries, both men succumbed. 

Parkinson left a widow, who was awarded a memorial medallion, and a weekly allowance.”

The 1901 Census finds an Isaac Howcroft, born in Hyde, Cheshire, living at 18 Lonsdale Road with his wife Nancy 2 daughters Elizabeth and May as well as a younger son Frank. Seems he was 31 at the time. the Census says he was a general labourer according to the census. Lonsdale Road is in the Foxhall area of Blackpool too. Sadly an Isaac Howcroft's death is registered in the Fylde District in Oct/Nov/Dec 1911 aged 42. My guess is a death certificate would confirm this.

I also include Census documents which I have recovered from Ancestry:

I found this picture on the internet. Pretty sure it belongs to someone. I know this is Cocker Street baths. It was flattened in 1974. I did swim here, as did my wife in the late 60's
The model of the baths was very similar to many of this generation. I worked in Bury Baths as a teenager. They were very similar.

Finally a copyof the 1911 Census insert for Isaac Howcroft:

Isaac Howcroft
Age in 1911:
Estimated Birth Year:
abt 1869
Relation to Head:
Birth Place:
Hyde Borough, Penn
Civil parish:
Street Address:
47 Moister Road
Marital Status:
Years Married:
Estimated Marriage Year:
Stationary Engineman
Registration district:
Registration District Number:
Sub-registration district:
ED, institution, or vessel:
Household schedule number:
Household Members:

I leave "Jack" Parkinson for now. Humbler and wiser too. Mysteries solved to a degree, curiosity satisfied (perhaps)..
But most certainly not forgotten! I salute you!

If you have read this far Thanks! This blog was trapped by another blog here which has even more Jack Parkinson information. I am indebted to the link - If you are a Liverpool FC fan - this is one site you really must visit!



  1. Thank you for this very interesting article. John Arnold Parkinson was a distant ancestor.
    I have other ancestors in Blackpool who were also on the lifeboats so if you ever come across any 'Craven' life boat members I would be interested to hear.
    Thanks again
    Ann Lewis (nee Craven)

    1. The Mexico disaster will be covered photographically. There are actually 3 memorials dedicated to the crew. A direct descendent of the Timms family is a close friend.

  2. My Grandmother, Ada Bessie DelaHaye, not DelaHem, was married to John Arnold Parkinson at the time of his death. They were married only for a short time. They had no children. Mr. Parkinson was awarded a lifesaving medal for his actions. After Mr. Parkinson's death Ada Bessie met and married John Cleaver. They had three daughters, Dorothy, Dewis and Marjorie. Marjorie is my mother who will be 91 years old on August 5, 2012. Sometime after Ada Bessie's death the lifesaving medal was given to the lifesaving museum in Bath.

    John Hein
    Winchester, Tennessee, USA

    1. I have a correction. The bravery medal is on loan to the museum in Blackpool.

      John Hein

    2. Thankyou very much - interesting to hunt down and try and display as an addition to this post.

    3. The info from the Parish Clerk Project was displayed - Something has obviously gone awry. Your update is very much appreciated! Very surprised at the interest. Hopefully the images are of interest too. Much of this area of Blackpool is due for renovation...

  3. Hello .. I see you've listed the crew of the 'Charles Biggs' lifeboat who went to the assistance of the 'Mexico' in 1886. John Whiteside was my This was the LYTHAM lifeboat. The Southport and St.Annes lifeboats also went out , these two lifeboats were lost with 27 lives .... The 'Charles Biggs' brought the 12 crew of the 'Mexico' ashore. .... The BLACKPOOL lifeboat was NOT involved on this occasion. .. I hope you can edit your text to correct the facts. .. thanks wishes ... c.waring.