A simple query…..


This is the story of a simple query from a visitor on 1st April. It didn’t prove to be quite that simple, but is a good example of the detailed research that can be done by our Volunteers.


This enquiry was made by a lady from Market Drayton regarding 2, Burton Street, where she had lived with her parents as a little girl. She said that she thought that the two houses, Burton St. 1 & 2, were younger than those further up the street. She had a recollection of a cottage at the bottom of their garden, wherein lived a kind old lady whom she used to visit. The lady gave her drinks of fruit juice, and – the real attraction – showed her the lovely doll’s house which had pride of place in the old cottage. The doll’s house had beautiful furniture and fittings.

The resident of the cottage had a right of way to Burton St. through the garden of 2 Burton St. and the bin-men used to use that pathway to empty the bin of the old lady.

The Market Drayton lady’s family were a bit unusual too. The 1960 directory showed Arthur Parr as occupier of 2 Burton St. and she said that was her father. Mr Parr was a builder who, with his wife, had been all set to be ‘Ten Pound Poms’. They were going to Australia on this assisted passage migration scheme, (started in 1945 and ended 1982) to take up residence in a hostel at first. The Australian government arranged for assisted passages to Australia on chartered ships and aircraft. Mr Parr planned to build a house in Australia, sell it, and invest the proceeds in materials to build two houses, in one of which he and his wife would live. So they sold up all their possessions, except clothes, and were actually on board the ship ready to sail when Mrs Parr decided she just couldn’t go through with it. So they got off and went (first) to Scotland, before arriving in Tutbury.

So surely she couldn’t have dreamt all this up, about the old lady and her dolls house?

The 1960 electoral roll seemed good proof of veracity, but maps showed no cottages behind nos. 1 & 2 B. St.

However Google Earth allowed us to decide that maybe the old lady was at a cottage to the rear of the Oddfellows Hall.

Burton Street

Burton Street (ex.Google Maps)

Data in the High St file showed that, for several years Miss Susan Eggleton was a shopkeeper at 38 High St, (see directories 1930s &1940) following on from George Bennett. Mr Bennett was another mystery; aged 55 then 65 he was described as a Master blacksmith, but then, at 75, a career change put him as a shopkeeper (at 38 High St.)

So, who was Miss Eggleton?

Born 9.11.1877, the 1881 census shows her as living at Burton Street, with her widowed mother Eliza (milliner, aged 36) and 3 big brothers.

By 1901 Susan was working as a servant to Dr. Crerar at 35, High St.

Around 1891, Susan’s mother Eliza had married George Bennett, blacksmith at 38, High St and 1911 census describes Susan Elizabeth, single, aged 34, keeping house for the Bennetts. The Bennetts died in 1922/26.

Miss Susan eventually moved to Park Lane (no 71) but when she died left money for a tombstone to be erected in her memory, so ‘Miss Parr’s recollection of the doll’s house being of good quality was probably not misplaced.

A very satisfying paper-chase which appeared to confirm an unusual memory – that’s what helping at the Museum is all about.

But then it all went pear shaped! It was April fool’s Day after all!

In the Burton Street file, the 1911 census data shows George Henry Eggleton, joiner, aged 38 living at 1 Burton St with his wife Esther Eliza and son.

In 1916 it is noted that the property (1 Burton St.) belonged to the Oddfellows, and by 1921census George Henry E. describes himself as a 48 yr old Wheelwright.

In 1937 receipts were issued by Owens and Wilsons to the Oddfellows for work done at No 1 Burton St., where the tenant was Miss Eggleton!