Hamish Lonsdale wrote the following about his immediate family and his transcription of his father's (Leslie Gordon Wrathall) document on the descendants of Henry Lonsdale Wrathall, which follows this preface:
Well, that was a labour of love with no debate at all. The original had been typed on thin paper on a machine that had no respect for the 'line', which caused a re-think of our OCR solution. Paperport Pro in conjunction with an HP Scanjet 4P could make little sense of it, so we decided to re-enter it direct into Word. We have tried to be intellectually honest, and duplicate the original perfectly, but I admit that the temptation of modern formatting and typo correction was too hard to resist. The 'we' includes my wife Jeannie, who did the copying.

It is interesting that although we have had Pop's document in the filing cabinet for years, we have never paid it much attention. Even less have we tried to analyse it until this last week. It has been worth the effort, though, as we have been able to visit our ancestors and hand on an account to our children. Sorry about Susan. No birth date, but you might be able to get documentation from the record of her marriage to Lambert Brown. Let me know if you succeed.

I will write up an account of the Lonsdale-Wrathalls in Australia, and forward it to you in due course. A digest would record that Hamish met Jean Mary Thornton (what a coincidence!), a 5th generation Australian born but with Yorkshire roots, in 1972. They married in 1973 in Victoria, and have two daughters, Janet and Helen. Hamish is a Systems Engineer, (B.A., A.A.I.M.), and Company Director. Jeannie (B.A.(Ed), G.D.S.E (Melb.), T.P.T.C., M.A.C.E.) is a Special School teacher working with children who have Autism, Downes Syndrome etc. Janet (B.A.) is a journalist, as yet unmarried, working in Melbourne. Helen (B.A.) is a curator, also unmarried and currently in London.


As the last survivor of my generation of the Wrathall family, I think that a few notes of the family’s history may possibly be of interest in the years to come to some of the younger generation.

For the sake of brevity I will use initials only in respect of some of the members of the family, as follows:

  H.L.W. Henry Lonsdale Wrathall
  M.A.W. Mary Alice Wrathall
  L.E.W. Leon Earl Wrathall
  C.M.L.W. Constance Mary Lonsdale Wrathall
  B.E.W. Blanche Evelyn Wrathall
  R.J.W. Reginald John Wrathall
  L.G.W. Leslie Gordon Wrathall
There are I am afraid many gaps and omissions in this summary but such facts as I remember are as follows:

Henry Lonsdale Wrathall was born at Blackburn on March 15th 1863, the only son of Susan Wrathall (generally referred to as Mam), the daughter of small farmers living in the vicinity of Westhouse, near Ingleton. She was apparently a somewhat wayward young woman who ran away from home with some member of the family of the Lonsdales of Lowther. Although I am not sure of this, my Grandfather’s identity I understand was that he was either a younger brother or a cousin of the famous Lord Lonsdale. The same was known as the Yellow Earl, famous for his interest in sports such as boxing and horses and the donor of the Lonsdale Belt. How long Susan Wrathall and my grandfather remained together I do not know, but I understand that she and H.L.W. came to Liverpool around 1880, but frequently returned to Susan’s parents and H.L.W. received most of his early education at Westhouse School.

I do not know whether Susan Wrathall had any sisters but she must have had a brother who moved South at some time, as H.L.W. had 2 cousins in Gloucestershire around 1880 / 1890. One of these being Harry Wrathall who became a professional cricketer and played for Gloucestershire and England for a good many years in the days of W.G. Grace. His sister Fanny Wrathall (later known as Aunt Fanny) who married a school master Arthur Wheeler. This couple had 3 children, Arthur, Cyril and Nora, who were all brought up in Cheltenham.

At sometime around 1880 H.L.W. was employed in Liverpool by the firm of E.C. Thin & Co. (also known as Thin & Sinclair) where he fairly quickly became the personal assistant of Mr Thin. The firm were ship owners in a small way and also importers and chemical merchants and brokers. Mr Thin whose business methods were not above reproach, subsequently became a very wealthy man. H.L.W. was his right hand man until he left the firm in 1882 and started business on his own account.

Mary Alice Medcalfe, born June 20th 1860, was one of a fairly large family, also of small farmers around the Westhouse district, but of her parents I know little. She had an elder brother, Thomas Medcalfe, who was head gardener to a large estate some where around the Arnside district and he was, among other things, responsible for the laying out and planting of the very lovely cemetery attached to Arnside Church. M.A.W. also had a brother who was lost at sea in a ship which vanished without trace between England and South Africa. She also had 2 sisters, Eleanor and Kathrine, known to my generation as Aunt Eleanor and Aunt Kate respectively. Eleanor married a man named Illingworth and they lived first at Denhome near Bradford and subsequently moved to Leicester. The Whitttakers had 3 children, Harold, a commercial artist, and Ron who emigrated to America, probably about 1905/08. The daughter, Doris, married a Syd Needham, a sales representative in the boot and shoe trade. He died about 1929 and she subsequently re-married Ben Alexander who also died some years ago, but she is still alive (1967).

Aunt Kate suffered very poor health through most of her life, particularly from asthma although this was greatly relieved by her spending some months at Rhyl, where the sea air apparently had a permanent beneficial effect on her trouble. She never married and used to spend about two thirds of the year at Leicester and one third at Huyton, after the Wrathall family moved there in 1906. She was probably the best read and most intelligent of the three Medcalfe sisters, though of a rather nervous temperament. I cannot remember the year that she died but think that this was about 1935.

At this point I should add that my Grandmother, Susan Wrathall, subsequently married Lambert Brown, but I do not know in what year, probably around 1895 /1900. He worked for L.N.W.R. Railway and was a kind, gentle, big man with a simple and affectionate nature who never rose to any great height in the world and I fear that his wife led him a rather difficult existence. He died in 1915 or 1916 of Cancer of the Throat, after a long and rather painful illness. After his death my Grandmother (“Mam”) became a rather difficult person to deal with and took to religion and alcohol in about equal quantities. She died following a fall downstairs at her home in Portman Road (off Smithdown Road) in 1924 or 25. I think that her death was rather a relief to everyone including H.L.W.

I must now also make mention of H.L.W’s great boyhood friend, Benjamin Wildman Browne (Uncle Ben – no relation to the afore mentioned Lambert Brown). He was some kind of relation to H.L.W. and they grew up together until he emigrated to America as quite a young man, settling in Cleveland, Ohio. He went into the oil business and founded a company called The Great Eastern Oil Company, which was subsequently bought out by the Standard Oli Company. Although he became a wealthy man, he continued in business until he died around 1930. He married an American girl named Maud Goodrich (Aunty Maud) who always claimed her family originally came from Goodrich Castle, which is somewhere in Herefordshire, although I have some doubts about this story. She was a very capable, kind but dominating woman and was very proud of her English connections. She and Uncle Ben had 2 sons, Stewart and Ralph. Both have died in the last 3 years. Aunt Maud died about 1950.

Mary Alice Medcalfe was brought up largely by her aunt Agnes Shaw (generally known as Grandma) and her husband Thomas Shaw as her own parents died when she was quite young. The Shaws, I think were also farmers and were quite strict Quakers, but Mary Alice was apparently a favourite of the then vicar of Thornton-in –Lonsdale and she was therefore brought up largely under Church of England influence. From the time that she left the local school, presumably about the age of 16, she was, although unqualified, a teacher in a school at Thornton and, I think at Westhouse. Although she was some three years older than H.L.W. she and he were apparently childhood friends and it seems to have been generally accepted by them both as they grew up that they would eventually marry. This they did at Thornton Church on September 30th 1885. Their honeymoon was spent partly at Furness Abbey and partly in the Isle of Man. After their marriage I am not sure what their first Liverpool address was, but I think they lived in several houses in and around the Edge lane district of Liverpool as their family increased. Their last two addresses in Liverpool were 223 Edge Lane and 247 Edge Lane, where I was born. In 1906 they moved out to Huyton, which was then of course considered as being in the country and was one of the more select Liverpool residential districts.

Leon Earl Wrathall, their eldest son, was born on July 20th 1886, and after going to a local school he went as a boarder to Elmhurst School, Croydon, which he disliked very much. He then went to Merchant Taylors School, Crosby and finally to the Liverpool Institute, after which he entered the family firm of Wrathall & Co. In 1912 he married Evelyn Linstead Downham, daughter of the Rev. Frederick Linstead and Mrs. Downham of Ainfield, where Mr Downham was the first vicar of St Simon and St Jude’s Church. They started housekeeping at Ingleton, Broadgreen, where all their children were born and subsequently moved to Torrisholme, Blundellsands in 1923. Their children (apart from one who died in infancy) were:
  1. Evelyn Constance Irene Wrathall, born June 6th 1913, who married Sidney Richards and had one son and two daughters.
  2. Donald Earl Wrathall, born 13th December 1914. He was educated at Merchant Taylors School, Crosby and in 1935 married Jane Muriel Phillips of Blundellsands. He became an antique and furniture dealer and they subsequently lived at Kentmere near Kendal and they had a family of five, Anthony, Martyn, Carolin, Penelope and Philippa. He served in the R.A.F. during the War and not long after his discharge the whole family emigrated to Australia. They did not find it to their liking and subsequently came back to this country. He was unfortunately killed in a motor accident in 1954. [see also 1954 Burton News]
  3. Henry Linstead Wrathall, born September 6th 1917. He also was educated at Merchant Taylors School, Crosby. When he left school he joined Wrathall & Co from which he was called up as a Territorial in the R.A.S.C. at the outbreak of War in 1939. He went out to France in the autumn of that year and rather distinguished himself as an N.C.O. when most of his superior officers had disappeared in the Dunkirk evacuation. As a result of which he was given the equivalent of a field commission without the usual preliminaries of O.C.T.U. etc. In 1941 he married Kathleen O’Reilly of Blundellsands, daughter of Mr and Mrs W.A. O’Reilly. They had a son who died in infancy and subsequently a daughter, Virginia. Kathleen unfortunately died as a result of injuries in a motor car accident in 1949. After his discharge from the Army after the end of the war he did not return to Wrathall & Co. as trade prospects at that time were far from good. Two companies with which Mr O’Reilly was associated, Harry B. Wood & Co of Manchester and The Garston Bottle Co of Garston employed him. After Kathleen’s unfortunate death some friction arose with the O’Reillys, mainly on religious grounds and the upbringing of Virginia. Lyn subsequently came back to Wrathall & Co. He remarried in 1952 to Beryl McMorine and there were 3 children of this marriage, Elizabeth Ann, Vivian Louise and David Charles, born 1955, 1960 and 1962 respectively. Lyn, who had started the war with the rank of private, finally left the Army as a major and was actually acting Lieutenant Colonel.
  4. Kenneth David Lonsdale Wrathall was born on July 8th 1921 and educated at Merchant Taylors School, Crosby. He went straight from school to the army and went to France shortly after ‘D’ Day in June 1944 in the Royal Tank Regiment, North Hampshire Yeomanry. He was taken prisoner at Vire in July and spent about a year as a P.OW. in Germany until he was repatriated. He joined Leyland Motors Ltd as a trainee where he had the misfortune to lose a finger in a machine and thereafter was transferred to the Buying Department. He married Agnes Bamber of Preston in 1952 and lived at Clayton-le-Woods near Chorley. They have 4 children named Angela, Janet, Stephen and Margaret respectively, but I am not sure of the date of their births. They moved to Hoghton near Preston.
  5. Leon Shirley Wrathall was born on 14th January 1923 and was also educated at Merchant Taylors School, Crosby, from which he went straight into the Navy. He took part in the Normanby landings in 1944, by which time he had obtained a commission and finally became a Lieutenant R.N.V.R. like his father before him and he had command of a tank landing craft. On leaving the Navy hestudied to become a surveyor etc. with the firm of Williams & Sutcliffe of Liverpool. In 1951 he married Eileen Newton of Stockport and they went to live first at Portland and then Dorchester, Dorset were he was with a firm of estate agents etc., Messrs Jukes. They had 3 children, Verity, Andrew and Timothy. Unfortunately their marriage ultimately ended in a divorce. He subsequently re-married this time to Nina, by whom he has a son Oliver, and they now live in Tettenhall near Wolverhampton where he is a senior official of the Ministry of Agriculture.

As already mentioned, L.E. Wrathall and his wife Evelyn after their marriage in 1902 lived at Broadgreen where all their children were born. They moved to ‘Torrisholme’ Blundellsands in 1923.

In 1915, L.E.W. who had always been very fond of the sea and a keen yachtsman (he and his brother Reg and their friend, Bert Bamber, shared ownership of yacht named ‘Kea’ which they sailed with some success for the Rock Ferry Yacht Club) joined the R.N.V.R. as a sub lieutenant and after preliminary training ta Greenwich Royal Naval College etc. He served in the Motor Launch section of the Navy. He subsequently commanded M.K. 488 and 201 and was stationed, amongst other places, at Lossiemouth, Weymouth and Holyhead. He was demobilised from the R.N.V.R. in 1919 with the rank of lieutenant.

In 1927 after the death of his father H.L.W. he became the principal of Wrathall & co. and the senior partner to his brother L.G.W. in accordance with the terms of his father’s will. He died very suddenly of coronary thrombosis (like his father before him) on March 31st, 1955 and was buried at Thornton Garden of Rest.

After his death his widow, Evelyn, continued to live at ‘Torrisholme’, Blundellsands, although the house was really a good deal too large for her, as by this time all her family were married and had their own homes. She began to suffer increasingly from blood pressure and this culminated in a stroke at New Year 1965 and she passed away on January 6th of that year and was also buried at Thornton Garden of Rest.

Constance Mary Lonsdale-Wrathall, generally known as Lons, was born September 6th 1887. She was educated at Brae Street School and Blackburn House Lliverpool, and subsequently at the school of Madame Bedell, Vincennes, Paris. She had no occupation other than domestic duties (as was customary for young ladies in those days) until shortly after the outbreak of the 1914 War, when she came to Wrathall & Co. to act as cashier in the place of her brother, Reg who had joined the Army.
On September 17th 1918 she married at Windermere Parish Church, James Christie Coull, the son of Mr and Mrs Coull of Cullercoats of Northumberland. The Coulls were ship owners and marine engineers. Her married life to James Coull was a very short one, as almost immediately after his demobilisation at the end of 1918, James Coull died of pneumonia on February 13th 1919 in the Great Influenza Wave which struck the country at the time. Lons very nearly died of the same complaint and in fact it was six weeks after her husband’s death that the doctors first allowed her to know of it.
In the summer of 1921 she remarried, this time to Arthur Worthington of Bolton, who was a chemical manufacturer and managing director of the firm of John Smith Junior & Co. Ltd., Manufacturers of sulphuric acid. Arthur Worthington was a widower, his wife Florrie having died of heart trouble a year or two earlier. Lons never liked Bolton or it people very much and I do not think that on the whole she had a very happy time there, although she was greatly devoted to her husband and her two sons, Arthur Gordon Lonsdale, born 1922 and James Bryan Lonsdale, born 1924. These two boys were educated at a prep school at St Annes-on-Sea and subsequently at Radley. Arthur Worthington was badly injured by being knocked down by a car in Manchester in 1935 and from that time onwards never really regained his health. He spent much of his time in nursing homes etc. He died in 1957 by which time Gordon had married a London girl, Margery Goodall and Bryan married Joan Eaden shortly after his father’s death.
Lons Worthington moved from her former rather large house, which had become somewhat dilapidated about 1960. Her health, worn out by work and worry, began to fail shortly after and she subsequently died of cancer of the gullet early in August 1962. She had spent most of the previous 12 months living at ‘Frenchwood’ Huyton. This seemed to be the only place where she appeared to be finally happy and which she always referred to as being her real home. I feel that her life was to a great extent a wasted one as she had a first class brain, which she never had much opportunity of using except perhaps when she was at Wrathall & Co. during the First War. She was certainly never really appreciated by her second husband, Arthur Worthington or by her sons (whom she spoiled, or rather smothered) who simply took her for granted.

Blanche Evelyn Wrathall was born on September 17th, 1889 and was educated at Blackburn house, Liverpool and at Madame Bedell’s School, Vincennes, Paris, which she left about 1907/8. She was not particularly clever but had a sweet nature and was definitely the beauty of the family and had a host of admirers. She never had a job of any sort but was highly domesticated, of which M.A.W. took full advantage. After having many boy friends she ultimately married Robert Norman Cook (also of Huyton) in the summer of 1920, not I think because she liked him better than any of her other admirers but simply because he would not take ‘No’ for an answer. On account of the great housing shortage at that time they lived first in a caravan in the garden of the Appleby’s house at Moore Lane, Crosby, and then in a house at Green Lane, Freshfield bought for them by H.L.W.
Norman Cook was a captain in the 5th South Lancs. Regiment and spent many months or years in France in World War 1, returning to the U.K. in 1916 or 1917 with shell shock. He was an inspector and subsequently branch manager with the Edinburgh Insurance Co. and a very good and likeable fellow but a little on the mean side – probably because he had many calls made on him by his own family which was both numerous and shiftless. His father was a solicitor in St Helens (with a fondness for the bottle) and his mother, a much harassed woman with too large a family.

B.E.W. had no children and in 1924 developed T.B. allegedly first contracted when she was helping to nurse Lons up at Newcastle in 1919. She spent various spells in and out of Llanbedr Hall Sanatorium at Ruthin during 1925 and was apparently making some steps towards recovery, or at any rate holding her own, when her condition suddenly took a turn for the worse and she died on 29th March 1926. She was buried at Roby. Norman cook subsequently re-married Eileen Riley of Crosby and had two children. Norman Cook died in 1964 or 1965.

Reginald John Wrathall was born on January 12th 1891, and was educated at Elmhirst School Croydon, Merchant Taylors Crosby, and Liverpool University. There he studied engineering and played Rugger for the First XV. He unfortunately failed his Final, and came to Wrathall and Co as cashier instead.
Shortly after the outbreak of War in 1914, he tried to enlist in the Army but was turned down as he had a knot of varicose veins in his side above the hip (he had already had an operation for this trouble as a by when about 7 or 8). He was promised entry into the Inns of Court O.T.C. (about the best way at the time of obtaining a Commission) if he had another operation on these veins, and this he did in a nursing home in Gambier Terrace in 1915. After her recovered from this, he joined the O.T.C. in London, staying at the Ivanhoe Hotel.
He had for some time been attached to Christine Beecham, youngest daughter of Sir Joseph Beecham, Bart, (and sister of Sir Thomas Beecham, the Conductor) who lived at Ewanville, Huyton and 9 Arkwright Road, Hampstead.
Sir Joseph, although he quite liked Reg., would not agree to an engagement as he was not sure enough of Reg’s prospects. His sudden death in 1916 altered matters and Reg and Chris soon announced their engagement. They were married in London in March 27th, 1917.
By this time Reg had been moved from the London Depot of the Inns of Court O.T.C. to the main unit at Berkhamstead, so he and Chris took a succession of nice furnished houses there and lived in some style. Reg’s side started to give trouble owing to the wearing of a Sam Browne belt, which irritated it, and the O.T.C. wanted to invalide him out. However, he was not keen on returning at this time to civilian life, so a kind of permanent job was found for him as Assistant Armourer to the Battallion.
There he spent his days in a cosy wooden hut on the bank of the Canal, and they entertained the Colonel and other Officers in their elegant home in the evenings!
This pleasant state of affairs continued until the autumn of 1918 when the great wave of influenza or whatever it was struck the Country. Poor Reg. fell a victim to it and died of pneumonia in a few days, on October 30th 1918, and was buried in Roby Churchyard.
Chris married again a few years later to a man called Rex Walker and took up breeding Alsatians at Warren Row near Henley. They also took to 30/98 Vauxhall cars, of which they had one each known as the Fire Engine and the Tank respectively, but their marriage did not last very long and a few years later Rex Walker died. Chris now lives at Virginia Water.
[For futher information on Reginald, see the page concerning Reginald John Wrathall.]

Between the birth of R.J.W in 1891 and that of L.G.W. in 1904, an interval of 13 years, three baby sons were born to H.L.W and M.A.W. None of these lived to be more than one year old, and I do not know the dates of their births. From the “birth pattern” of their elder brothers and sisters I would imagine these were about 1893, 1895, and 1897. The first two were given the name of Sidney, and the third Landon.

Leslie Gordon Wrathall. Finally, after a considerable interval, L.G.W. was born at No 247 Edge Lane, Liverpool, on the 24th June 1904 and was apparently a somewhat frail child but managed to survive.
He was first educated at the kindergarten department of Huyton College, had a year away from school altogether on health reasons, and then at 10 went as a boarder to Holmwood School, Freshfield.
From there he went in January 1919 to Radley, to the ‘Social’ (or House) of first Mr H.A. Lowe and then to his successor Mr. W.R. Smale. His Radley career was not outstanding but he managed to get 6 or 7 Credits in School Cert, at 16, and into the 6th Form and was a House Prefect.
He also narrowly escaped the thankless task of becoming editor of the “Radleian”.
On leaving Radley in the summer of 1922 H.L.W. wanted him to go to Oxford but he was not keen on this and came into Wrathall and Co. instead, as his brother Reg. had done before.
After the death of H.L.W. in November 1927, he became a partner in Wrathall and Co. and continued to live with his mother at “Frenchwood”, Huyton.
In 1942 he joined the R.A.F. and was commissioned in February 1943 as an intelligence officer in Coastal Command.
L.G.W. served at Talbenny (Pembrokeshire), Predannack (Cornwall) and Pembroke Dock, all of these stations being concerned with anti-u-boat operations. In august 1943 he was posted out to West Africa and became Operations Intelligence Officer at Ikeja, Lagos. Contracted Tropical Dermatitis about February 1944 and was invalided back to the U.K, subsequently invalided out of the R.A.F. at the end of December 1944, and returned to business with Wrathall & Co.

On September 19th 1945 he married Olive Nicholson, youngest daughter of Robert Ford Nicholson, cotton broker who had died some years previously. Olive Nicholson had served in the W.R.N.S. on the Signals Staff of Captain “D” Liverpool.
Her home was at Wavetree Nook Road in Broadgreen. After their marriage they continued to live at ‘Frenchwood’ together with M.A.W, who was now much too old to be left to live alone. Their only child, Peter Hamish Ford Lonsdale-Wrathall, was born on June 25th 1947. He was educated first at Huyton College, then at Newborough School, Woolton, going as a boarder to Mostyn House School, Parkgate in September 1955. In September 1959 he went for a year to Hawkhurst Court, Sussex and in September 1960 to Abbotsholme School, Rocester, near Uttoxeter, which he left in July 1965, having gained 4 ‘A’ level exam results.
Shortly after leaving he became an articled clerk with Batesons & Co. Liverpool. After eighteen months he decided that the Law was not altogether to his liking and obtained a position as Management Trainee with Rubery Owen & Co., Walsall.

The above details summerise the children of and grand children of Henry Lonsdale Wrathall and Mary Alice Wrathall, to the best of my knowledge and recollection.

The outstanding figure of the family was without doubt H.L.W. who largely by his own efforts built up a successful and well-respected business and was a much loved man with a very large circle of friends. He and M.A.W. and their family moved out of Liverpool to ‘Frenchwood’, Huyton in July 1906, which was incidentally the same year as Wrathall & Co. moved into The Albany, Old Hall Street, Liverpool from the Bancroft Buildings next door. These were being demolished to make way for the new Liverpool Cotton Exchange. H.L.W. was interested in many charitable activities and was at the time of his death the Chairman of the Management Committee of the Royal Southern Hospital. He died on November 19th 1927 of a Coronary Thrombosis in the Waldorf Hotel, London where he was staying to attend the Annual Dinner of the Paper Trades Association. He was buried at St Bartholomew’s Church, Roby and his wide popularity could be judged by the fact that his funeral was said to be one of the most attended in Liverpool for some years. He was then aged only 64 but had accomplished a great deal during his lifetime.

Mary Alice Wrathall, who began to suffer somewhat severely from arthritis from 1926 onwards, survived him for over 20 years and also died as the result of thrombosis at ‘Frenchwood’ on August 30th 1948, aged 88. She was also buried at Roby Church. She was a woman of great determination and character, although in her latter years was not always a very easy or reasonable person to live with but was held in great affection and respect by her family.