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The Powell family of Lydney, Gloucestershire.

Ernest Powell and family

Left photo: Back- Ernest James Powell, Front - Edith Anice Powell (nee Morse), Royston Leslie Powell.

Right photo: Edith Anice Powell, the baby is David James Powell.

David wrote: "Ernest James Powell (my father) ... was born in Lydney on 13th October 1923. He had one brother, Royston Leslie Powell, born 23rd October 1936 in Lydney. My father was an Engineer all his life. He started, I believe, as an apprentice at Watts’ Garage. During the war he was an engineer serving on Motor Torpedo Boats in the Norwegian Fiords, operating out of a base in Scotland, and Portsmouth. It was in the latter that he met my mother who was a WREN. They married on the 1st September 1945 and moved back to Lydney after the war, living with his mother (Edith) who was a widow, at Naas Crossing Cottage. ... (left) is ... my father (in Naval Uniform) with Edith and his brother, Royston (I think it was taken in the garden at Naas Cottage). ... (right) is of me, at 6 months old, on my grandmothers’ lap, at Naas Cottage in 1951. The young girl was the subject of a search via a local newspaper several decades ago (to identify her in an old photo taken at Naas Railway crossing)"

"In the early 50’s my mother and father moved into, what was then, a council house at 11 Springfield Road, Lydney. He continued to work at Watt’s Garage (mainly on Lorries), but also helped a friend, Harry Head, who owned a Barge which transported mainly stone, up & down the River & Canals in the area. (He helped maintain the engine). Harry Head lived in Kimberley Drive, Lydney. Similarly he helped out on the Beachley car ferry. In the latter 1950’s he was an Engineering Instructor at Beachley Army Camp. Despite his profession, my father never drove a car! ..."

"Meanwhile I would enjoy myself during school holidays, either playing in the Forest (which was about a hundred yards from our front door), or up on Primrose Hill, or down on Lydney Main Train Station, on my own, collecting Engine numbers of the trains that went between Gloucester and South Wales. I spent many hours there, as well as crossing the bridge over the marshalling yards between the main station and Lydney Junction to watch the passenger trains that went from the Town Station to Sharpness or the goods trains that went up into the Forest to collect coal from the mines or timber or quarry stone."


A presentation in Springfield Methodist Church"As a family we attended Springfield Methodist Church. Next are copies of two photographs taken for a newspaper at the time, one taken on 14th November 1953 (left)

Back: Rev, Brown and Rev. Musgrove.
Front: 1, 2 David Powell, 3 Julie Hancock ,4.

14. November 1953.


Springfield Methodist Church ... and the other one year later (left), where I was involved in giving some sort of floral presentation ... I don’t know what the occasions were, but I was obviously not happy to hand over the ‘posy’ in the 2nd photograph and I don’t think I was ever asked to do it again. Dr Brambell was my first Doctor and I attended Lydney Infants School in Naas lane".

L-R: 1Mr Rivers, 2 David Powell, 3, 4, 5 Rev Musgrove, 5.


David is looking to fill in gaps in his family history research of which a synopsis for the Powell line follows:

My Grandfather was Ernest William Powell born 2nd September 1888 in Lydney, Baptised 14th October 1888 in Lydney ‘Primitive Methodist Chapel, Married Edith Anice Morse July 1915 and died in Lydney aged 48 of an inherited Kidney problem 16th January 1937 (when my father was about 14). I have no knowledge about what he did during his working life. He and his wife are buried in St. Mary’s Churchyard on the West side of Church Road.

Royston Leslie Powell is also buried there, having died on 15th September 1980, aged 43, after his body rejected a new Kidney, following a Kidney Transplant operation in Bristol Frenchay Hospital. (I have photos of their graves but not included with this letter). My father was 17 years on a Kidney Dialysis machine before his death in Portsmouth on 31st December 1995.

My Great Grandfather was John Henry Powell born 1849/50 and Baptised 6th January 1850 in Lydney. He married Alice Schmidt, in 1873, who was the daughter of Jacob Schmidt who fled with his family to Goole in Yorkshire 11th November 1845, from Germany to avoid being conscripted into Bismarck’s Army. (At least one of Jacobs’ descendants changed his name by Deed pole during the First World War to avoid being persecuted as a German). In the 1861 Census Jacob was described as a Musician, but by the next Census he was a Photographer.
John Henry Powell had a very successful Blacksmiths business in Albert Street, Lydney where he lived and worked. One of his sons, Albert (born Sept 1878), worked for him. His other children included: - Jacob (born 15 Sept 1893), Dora (born about 1897), Esther (born about 1877), Ada (born about 1882), Margarate (born about 1884), George (born 1875), Ruth (born about 1896), Donald (born about 1898), Muriel (born about 1899) & my Grandfather Ernest William.
I am intrigued to know how John Henry Powell, who lived, worked & died in Lydney managed to meet & marry a girl born & living in Yorkshire!

My Great Great Grandfather was Joseph Powell born 4th January 1805 & baptised 17th February 1805 in Blakeney, married Eliza Moorehead and had the following children (in addition to John Henry): - Joseph William (born 4th May 1843), Martha (born 1845), Mary Jane (born 1848) & James (born 1839). Joseph Powell also ran a successful Blacksmiths’ business, employing Charles Jones as an apprentice and Fanny Brocks as a House Servant and advertising in Kelly’s Guide as ‘Powell Brothers, Blacksmiths, Newerne’. My Great, Great, Great Grandfather was John Powell (born about 1780 in Blakeney) and married to Mary Matthews. As far as I have been able to find, they seem to have had just the one son".

Can anyone help David with this?. David will also find info on the Forest of Dean Family History Trust website. If anyone can help David, his email address is: pwlldavid3ATgmailDOTcom

Peter Essex added: "... Mr Rivers in the 1954 photo is W.C. Rivers (known to many as "Old Man Rivers" to distinguish him from his son Les. The Rivers family owned Parkend Sawmills. Mr Rivers can also be seen on this site in photographs of Lydney choirs at around this time. The Minister in the photos must have been the predecessor of the Revd Albert Simpkins whose son Russell has also posted on this site. I should imagine David Powell might remember my grandparents Frank and Frances Essex who were also stalwarts of Springfield church until their deaths in 1961 and 1957 respectively. He might also connect with May Powell who lived in Forest Road, whom my grandfather was helping to full up some forms when he suddenly died. A Powell family also lived in Forest Road near my grandparents who were at No. 42. The Powell connection with Naas Lane Crossing also interested me when I saw it in the last batch of latest additions. I used to be taken on walks between Tutnalls and the Docks via that crossing, and I thought I could remember a signal box near there as I could have sworn I was allowed into the box to see the signalman work the levers during such a walk, but there's no signal box in the recent Naas Lane Crossing photos".

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