Posts posted by Myrtle's cook
Crane Driver wrote: Does the Liverpool Echo still have records of who wrote "Bee's Sports Notes" back in 1915? It would be wonderful if an archive of his notes survived, but I'm not holding my breath. A job for Myrtle's Cook, perhaps?
I'm onto it (but awaiting a reply to my call)! I have read back through a number of other 'Bee's Sports Notes' and they are often written in the same slightly exuberant and florid language. They provide quite a contrast to the detailed match reports. 'Bee' is often opinionated and sometimes there is a feeling of an 'in joke' being shared with his readership which is now quite lost on the contemporary reader. It has crossed my mind that JHM may have become in some way troublesome to Liverpool FC and its crowds, and perhaps, after several informal warnings, a witty sports journalist was asked to write a piece to help ensure he stayed away from the ground in future.
The [non] burial of JHM:
Following on from Andrew [Crane Driver’s] discovery of an obituary for JHM I have now searched through all the burial and cremation registers for Liverpool’s cemeteries and through the parish records for those churches where burials took place (all seem to be extant for the period). I have also been through the coroner’s records for the period. I have used search parameters of 1 October – 30 November 1915 in case either the obituarist was a little slow off the mark with his piece or there was some delay in burial. In addition I have also searched through the Liverpool Courier (which is not yet scanned onto the National Newspaper Archive) for the period October 10-19th. I have been unable to find any reference to JHM’s burial (or death). There are also no suitable unnamed male corpses found in alley ways or fished from the docks or the river Mersey for the period that could be JHM. The possibility remains that he did indeed die in October 1915 but was buried elsewhere.
I feel I owe Andrew an apology – my intention was to provide a little supporting information for his discovery and a full stop to the story in the form of a grave and possibly a headstone. Instead this seems to have achieved the opposite. It feels as if that old goat MacCann has slipped through our fingers again!
My congratulations too. I think some of the developments in terms of design ideas (including the hand rests) you have explored are very interesting, Whilst people will have their own opinions on these, traditional approaches and assumptions are there to be challenged and tested. Overall the work looks very clean and accomplished - and given that this is an initial prototype, quite frankly excellent!
I too would love to hear how this sounds. The shape makes me jump to simplistic and undoubtedly ill founded assumption that it might sound a little like a bandoneon.
Will be very interested to see your next production.
'Probably a few quid to the sports writer for a phony obit, and then off to the antipodes with yet another "wife." '
As I searched through the ninth roll of microfiched burial records the same thought was forming in terms of the obit, particularly given its most flattering terms for someone who would otherwise have been somewhat on the margins.
If JHM did skip the country then he managed to avoid being recorded in the passenger lists for the period - where I had previously sought him for this period (before we had found an indication of his passing). I understand that inward and outward bound travellers were coming under increasing scrutiny in this period as the wartime government clamped down on 'aliens'. The local papers for October 1915 are full of apparently innocent Belgians, Spanish etc being locked up under suspicion. The city had seen riots earlier in the year following the sinking of the Lusitinia with anything and everything remotely German being attacked across the City and this paranoia seems to have persisted. I think this would have made it rather more challenging to slip away under an assumed identity.
As a footnote to his obituary I would note that the journalist is being very specific in citing 'Liverpool football crowds'. As many Cnetters will know, Liverpool has two football teams, both top flight teams in the early 1900s and today. There is a strong and largely friendly local rivalry. You are either a 'red' (Liverpool FC) or a 'blue' (Everton FC), hybrids extraordinarily rare! Reading back through the Echo sports reports of 1915 this was very clearly the case then, so I think the writer of the obituary was being specific that it was Liverpool [FC] crowds. The Liverpool FC ground, Anfield, is the closer of the two to JHM's known addresses.
We now have a report of a death, but where is the body and the grave?
I have searched through the burial records for all the Liverpool cemeteries and the Liverpool Cremations register and have found no trace of JHM for the period 1 October 1915 (in case the Echo correspondent was reporting the news a little after the event) and to the end of the first week of November 1915 (in case burial had been delayed). I have found no mention of JHM, or any name remotely close, for these periods. There is a sad litany of the poor and destitute of all ages amongst these records, so his supposed impecunious state cannot be cited as a reason for absence.
It is just possible he was buried in one of the handful of the city’s older churches which have their own small graveyards. Most of these, however, were full by 1915 with the exception of family vaults/plots and a few of the city’s well to do and well connected who managed to shoehorn their way into any vacant slots in this period. I have worked my way through most of the parish records for the period and so far found no trace.
It is also possible that he died outside of Liverpool (the correspondent gives no place of death, although we might reasonably infer it was Liverpool) and was buried elsewhere. The most promising candidate is Bootle’s main cemetery (Walton Park Cemetery), to the north of Liverpool. I will be making a trip to sunny Boothill, as it is locally affectionately known, to follow this up.
The lack of a death certificate and a burial does throw up some speculative considerations:
- Did JHM die in an event that left no remains (swept out to sea/drowned, inferno etc). If so it is odd the Liverpool Echo and Mercury do not report this – both seem to rejoice in this sort of gore and misery!
- Die in circumstances requiring an inquest. No record of such an inquest in the local press, and if there had been an inquest then surely we would have a death certificate (unless there was something in the protocols for issuing an open verdict in the period that meant not)
- JHM did not in fact die (‘rumours of my death have been much exaggerated’…). We have the rather flowery eulogy in the sports column report, but that seems to be it.
Andrew - and 'well done', or should that be 'Bravo, sir!, from me.
After a week on holiday what interesting news to return to
Dan - good point diplomatically made, one which I quite overlooked in my enthusiasm to share my find! That would seem to rule out such a late time of death.
Still, a great mound of Liverpool Work house records and other similar documents still to plough through... ...fingers crossed.
Wes - apologies - I think it was me who was confused re brothers dying, your post is quite clear in hindsight.
Wes Williams wrote: But if his brother had already died......
Using 'Find my Past' I discovered that William H McCann died in 1936 in Plymouth (at the correct age!)
That's a really interesting lead Malcolm.
There is a scrap book for at least one of the Liverpool work houses (and some of these also doubled as hospitals for the less well heeled). It not indexed and arranged in approximate chronological order from memory, many of them reports of Board of Guardian meetings, but might well contain records of some of the lighter episodes of the institution's working lives. I will take a look when time permits.
Possible death record of John H Maccann:
Amongst the Catholic burial records is one for a John Maccann of 107 Rice Lance [Liverpool], aged 70, d. 29 July 1931, buried in Ford Cemetery.
The case against:
-JHM would have been 72 at this date
-We have no evidence that JHM adopted/converted to Catholicism (the church where he married Sarah, St Stephens the Martyr, was Church of England)
The case for:
-107 Rice Lane is the address of the West Derby Union Workhouse, at that time the principle work house for Liverpool (a fit with the account of him dying in great poverty)
-A rather unscientific quick scan of the pages of the Liverpool Catholic burial records indicates that a disproportionate number of those coming from 107 Rice Lance died aged 50, 60, 70 etc. Potentially due to the vagueness of the subjects' own minds when admitted?
-Unless there was someone to speak up for this John Maccann it may well have been assumed that he was Catholic due to his surname, which in Liverpool might well have lead to such an assumption with its large Irish Catholic population.
One key mystery for me is why is JHM and latest known wife, Sarah, are apparently absent from the 1921 census (particularly if he was apparently still going in the 1920s)?
Was it alien space ship or passenger ship that spirited JHM (and Sarah) away?
Last night I worked through the passenger lists of those departing from Liverpool and Plymouth between 1905 and 1925 (using a friend's 'Find my past' account to access www.ancestorsonboard.com'). I accept that there are other ports for departure (Bristol, London, Hull etc), but given his previous movements these seemed the best place to start.
I had hoped to find both Sarah and JHM on the same ship sailing for a new life in America as so many of those departing Liverpool did. As it turns out, there is no record of a Sarah MacCann (including the variant spellings of the surname) or Sarah Kennerley, of the right age on any of the departing ships. I was also unable to find JHM on any of the lists (accepting that there are a small number of 'J McCanns' listed with no birth date - but none of these are listed as musicians, professors etc, mainly labourers, mechanics etc; the great majority have birth years allowing some certainty).
So, from the search of passenger lists to date, it would appear he (and Sarah) do not sail from British shores and thus avoid inclusion in the 1921 census. This might support the theory that JHM died c.1912-1921. Any record of JHM's departure from this world would, however, seem elusive.
...back to the aliens theory?!
I had checked the Titanic lists too! Nothing.
Aside from the aliens, I am hoping neither he nor Sarah are accounted for amongst the 'unfortunate' and/or 'wretched' man/woman 'found dead in back of such-and-such a street' that I keep encountering in the local records.
Crane Driver wrote: 'I still suspect he died around then, probably in the same Union infirmary.'
I am slowly ploughing through the work house and infirmary records for further information on JHM and Minnie. I have also ploughed through the local records for deaths and can say that JHM is not recorded as dying locally in either 1911 or 1917.
Out of interested what age is Minnie said to be on the death certificate? I have come across two local references that put her (i.e. the Minnie dying in 1908 who we suspect to be Mrs JHM) at 47 - when based on her previous mentions in census returns (quoted above in this thread) she would have been 41 or 42 in 1908. It is conceivable she may have 'reduced' her age to appeal to either JHM's inclinations or the stage's obsession with youth, but this seems a bit unlikely (a birth certificate might be helpful here?). Whilst I can see she may have stressed her single status to gain admission for palliative care (to avoid the time consuming process of authorities chasing absent husband to contribute to the care) I can't see that age would have made any difference.
I can't help but reflect 'Poor Minnie' (whoever she is) dying a deeply unpleasant death apparently with no family around her - and the sad irony that we are now taking such an interest in her. She was likely interred at the 'Necropolis' indicated on the Bartholemew's map most helpfully posted by Crane Driver. This is now a 'green space' with plentiful wild flowers growing across it - one hopes she rests in a peace she may not have known in life.
Thank you for the kind words of encouragement above, work has rather interfered with further research, but I hope to post some more 'local' Liverpool information later this week.
Dan Worral wrote: 'And come to think of it, Myrtle's Cook, have you seen any sign of those working class concertina bands in your area that we keep hearing about?'
Yes, quite a lot as it happens - I have got to know a number of their members through our shared concertina interests. To pre-empt any 'thread drift', I would preface the following by observing that both JHM's Winter Street and Dunkeld addresses are on the south eastern edge of what would have been considered the traditional heartland of the 'Orange' community in Liverpool which is centred around Breck Road. The Provincial Head Quarters was then located on Everton Road (which is a couple of minutes walk from both addresses), it is now located in a newer building on the same road. In South Liverpool there were (and are) further communities, around Mill Street in Toxteth, South Liverpool, with further districts in Wavertree, Garston and Bootle. In JHM's day the Orange lodge membership would have numbered in the low 10,000s and included a large number of marching bands. There are five concertina bands still 'on the road' and three that are based on Everton Road. Of the Everton Road bands none are likely to have been around in JHM's day. The Royal Arch Purple Heroes (exclusively Maccann duets + drums) was established in the 1980s (the original pre War warrant was for a flute band), Colonel Saunderson's Band (Maccanns and a few Anglos) - I understand this was established after WW2, and Old Swan Concertina Band (Maccanns and Anglos) was originally based in Old Swan (about a mile from Everton Road) and I think may have been around in JHM's day. Note that with the exception of the Royal Arch the other bands contain a few accordions and melodeons in addition to the standard drum corp. The balance of bands is accounted for by Star of Toxteth (South Liverpool based) and Bootle Concertina Band - both traditionally based some miles from JHM's addresses. Both play primarily Maccann Duets with a few Anglos (I think I have seen a Crane duet in one of these bands too).
A longer term project of mine is to do some further research into these bands, building on the Free Reed Magazine piece from the 1970s on these bands.
In terms of possible interaction between JHM and the Orange Lodge concertina bands of his day (which there certainly were) it is highly likely that he was well aware of the bands as they frequently paraded (and indeed do so today - youtube has many clips of this) around this area and into the city centre. A peculiarity of the Liverpool Orange Province is that to play in a lodge band you must first be a lodge member (this is not so in Northern Ireland, Scotland and other parts of England). The Orange community was traditionally quite conservative with a strong Christian ethos and the lodge tended to recruit from within its own community. Whilst members would probably have been very interested and welcoming of JHM the musician and performer, they might have been a little more cautious in terms of considering him for their ranks if he were interested (one of those dubious music hall types with their wayward morals etc!).
I have often been struck by the very high density of Maccann concertinas amongst these bands, when there were Anglos available (cheaper?) or Cranes (as per Salvation army). I would suggest English boxes were not favoured as they do not led themselves to marching (the Salvation Army were largely static whilst playing). There may be a link here to JHM (beyond the design of the system) or pure coincidence (e.g. more recent prices for Maccans, their volume, availability v. Crane system). There are various minute books of bands, wider records surviving which, as I mentioned above, provide further material for research - the only tricky ingredient is the time in which to do it!
Some addenda to Winter Street (which has just dawned on me!): It is 'just around the corner' (literally) from Hengler's Grand Cirque where Maccan is listed as playing in Honri, 'Working the Halls', p.38, which refers to Maccann playing at Hengler’s Cirque, Liverpool in April 1891 (I am indebted to Stuart Eydman's 'The Life and Time of the Concertina...' on concertina.com (footnote 529) for this reference). The Cirque closed in 1901 but reopened the following year as the Hippodrome, one of the largest theatres in the provinces: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/37531and http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/Liverpool/RoyalHippodromeTheatreLiverpool.htm
It may well be that when the 1911 census recorded Maccan in Winter Street he was appearing once again at this theatre.
In an attempt to add some more detail to MacCanns Liverpool years I have looked through the Gores directories for Liverpool 1903-1912 held in Liverpool Central Library with reference to dates and addresses previously identified above. It should be noted that these lack the pinpoint accuracy census information, being largely compiled in the year preceding their issue and cover date. They also only list the head of the household, not all occupants such as lodgers. Heres what they tell us:
1903 16 Dunkeld Street, occupied by a Mrs Pye; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or professor, anywhere in directory.
1904 16 Dunkeld Street, John Nichols, Traveller; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or professor, anywhere in directory.
1905 16 Dunkeld Street, Mrs Minnie MacCann, Householder; No mention of John H MacCann, musician or professor, in directory including under Professors ( the usual place for music teachers)
1906 16 Dunkeld Street, John H MacCann CAM, musician, also listed under trades section under Professors.
1907 16 Dunkeld Street, John H MacCann CAM, musician, also listed under trades section under Professors.
1908 16 Dunkeld Street, John H MacCann CAM, musician, also listed under trades section under Teachers (the category which replaces Professor in 1908 Gores Directory).
1909 16 Dunkeld Street, Owen McArdle; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.
Comment: The Dunkeld Street that Maccan would have known was redeveloped after the war, and although the road itself survives, the dense terraced housing has been demolished with 1970s and 1980s social housing taking their place. The only surviving buildings of the period are the pub, Olympia and an adjoining boarded-up building which both face West Derby Road. Opposite are the Grafton Room and Olympia dance halls that we built a few decades later. This was not the most salubrious of areas at the turn of the last century, rather a lower middle class/working class district. Professions listed included: porter, plumber, coachsmith, book keeper etc. Interestingly there were also a number of musicians passing through the street, e.g. in 1903 John H McNeil (no. 22), William Andrews (no. 23), in 1904 they were joined by Herr William Lampe somewhat above the usual density of musicians in a street of 30 or so houses! The street is only a mile or so up the hill from Liverpools centre and close to a number of local music halls (eg Royal Hippodrome, West Derby Road and Theatre Royal Breck Road) and would have been convenient for the music halls on London Road and the citys centre.
1908 3 Minshull Street, Jeffrey Bolton, clerk; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.
1909 3 Minshull Street, Jeffrey Bolton, clerk; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.
Comment: This seems to have been a rather fragmentary street by this time with many missing numbers. It was clearly a working street, no. 1 was The Fox public house (1909 Liverpool Licensing Report Book), with grocers and furniture makers also listed. The remaining properties may not have been in good repair, in 1911 The Fox had been demolished with a travelling showman listed on the site in the census. The street name survives but successive development in the university and Royal Hospital area have erased any original traces. The street is within easy walking distance (10mins) of the city centre and the main stations of the day, Lime Street and Exchange, that would have given access to the whole country. Also close to the docks which would have provided wider travel opportunities. Ominously it is only a few hundred yards from the site of the old Liverpool workhouse.
1911, 1 Winter Street, Frederick Turner, French polisher; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.
1912, 1 Winter Street, Frederick Turner, French polisher; no mention of John H MacCann, musician or teacher, anywhere in directory, nor for Ms Kennerley.
Comment: The only Winter Street listed in is what was then termed Low Hill, modern Kensington/Fairfield (L6) and not West Derby. It is a few minutes walk from both Minshull Street and Dunkeld Street. One of three storey terraced properties survive at the higher end of the street, number 1 has long since been demolished. The other residents listed in Gores suggest it was of a similar character to Dunkeld Street. A photo of the surviving house, with a later stone cladding, is shown on Google Earth: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Winter+St,+Liverpool,+Merseyside+L6+1EHemail@example.com,-2.96227,3a,75y,334.2h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sUWX4wYz2l4cLVKB-vHWUyw!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x487b2111789ddaa9:0xc272547c9b4e5f62!6m1!1e1
Note that there are a number of John MacCanns (or spelling variants there of) listed across the years looked at, but none that can be securely tied to John H MacCann, musician/professor.
Hoping this is helpful. When I next have some time I will look through the later and earlier directories to see if JHM appears. There are also the parish registers, coroners reports and poor house registers that may provide some help.
I have Joseph Scate's no. 903 made using rthe same amboyna, fretwork and bellows, bellows paper. The reed form is the same. I would guess the reeds are nickel silver. Dave Elliot restored mine for me and its now has a remarkably quick to respond mellow tone. Despite the likely restoration costs this could make a great box for ballad accompaniment.
I recall reading that George Case may have made boxes for Scates, so Tha could be the ultimate parentage.
Any chance of some photos of the dot a d comma aeloa's you have acquired?
I had only been aware of the treble versions, although the existence of Baritones makes perfect sense. Deeply envious! But this does give me hope of finding (and possibly)affording one.
Jt would be really interesting to hear some sound files when this is possible - not least to get an idea of how reed type and the peculiar ends interact for the final sound. Ibave a standard treble aeola from c.1900 (missing ledger period) which I find has a particularly mellow tone compared to later aeola treble - probably as Geoff suggests relating to intended purpose.
Wolf - quite right! Posting after a long shift with tired eyes and brain - not a good idea!
That's interesting, I hadn't realised the 'Peerless' branding extended to Anglos. Does this mean that there are also Excelsior branded Lachenals our there and even Nonpariel models???
Amongst the Liverpool Orange Lodge bands it is certainly true that concertinas supplanted the silver and brass bands although this seems to have occurred in the 1960s/early 1970s. I am not sure industrial disease was necessarily the cause and expense of instruments/ease of repair is also unlikely to have been a factor. Having seen a number of members playing quite large Maccan duets I also doubt weight/ease of carrying were primary considerations. There is a theory that these brass and silver bands quite literally 'died' out - as members got older, with no new blood coming in, they ended up going off the road.
The opposite seems to have happened in Scotland and Northern Ireland where there are, to my knowledge, no Lodge concertina bands left but a number of silver and brass bands still marching.
Both played (and play) I believe the same core repertoire of marching tunes and hymns.
Given that it was in both mildly distressed state and the reeds in particular were not shown, this does indeed seem a high price (or gamble).
I too have been in the market for one of these and this is, I think, the third I have seen in the past 18 months on public offer. Two appeared on Ebay last year, the better one of which was restored and offered here (and on Ebay) some weeks ago (they had the same serial number). The third would be this one.
I wonder if their modern relative frequency of appearance has to do with the fact that they were always specialist (and very expensive) instruments which may not have seen quite the level of action of TTs and trebles? Do modern day owners find that they only use these boxes for particular pieces/events, preferring TTs/trebles for everyday use?
(incidently this has been a fascinating thread and as ever, very appreciative to the knowledgeable contributors)
You might want to post the question over on Mudcat http://mudcat.org/ which seems to be quite a good place to get answers to this sort of question - especially when the question is sensitively phrased in the way in which you have done.
Going back to Eric's original subject:
'I am just starting to work up Lord Franklins lament and was wondering if anyone would be able to give me some suggestions about how to work up this filligreed fingering method'
I too am a fan of Steve Turner's arrangements (although I think some of their intracies may well always be beyond me), there is quite a nice 'half-way' house arrangement (i.e. some nice intricacies in with melody and harmony) of Lord Franklin in Roger Watson's 'Handbook for English Concertina'. I have found it a good basis from which to consider other arrangements and avoid that potential muddiness that over reliance on chords can bring. The book is in copyright, so I have not scanned/posted the relveant dots, but I see that there are second hand versions on Amazon. The arrangment for 'Adieu sweet Nancy' in the book is also a pleasant one (and easy to learn).
McCann, Macann, or Maccann?
in Concertina History
Posted · Edited by Myrtle's cook
THE DEATH OF MINNIE MACCANN
In searching for a burial record for JHM amongst the burial registers and parish records of Liverpool I have also kept an eye open for additional details for these two parties.
Burial of Minnie MacCann
West Derby Cemetery
Burial no. 28175
March 4th 1908
Aged 47 years
Residence: Mill Road Infirmary
Rank or profession: ‘---‘ [just a line]
District of Everton
Mode of burial: single
Location: Section 2: grave 1793
Ceremony by Rev N H Harpur
(Liverpool Libraries reference: 283 West Derby 10/1/5)
- West Derby Cemetery is one of a number of large municipal cemeteries laid out on the edge of the city of Liverpool in the 19th century as the city’s population began to exponentially increase.
- Mill Road Infirmary was part of the West Derby Union which oversaw the work houses and public hospitals until 1929 when the Local Government Act transferred these responsibilities to local authorities.
- Her grave is in a Church of England section and was a ‘free ground’ burials (as distinct from burials where the plot had been purchased). I visited the site on Saturday and located her plot, which is unmarked and sits between a number of other unmarked graves. A rather forlorn end for Minnie. I am not so sure she would be pleased to know that another concertina player was taking an interest in her(?)
- The Rev Harpur seems to have presided over the great majority of Anglican burials at this cemetery.
THE WEDDING OF JHM AND SARAH JANE KENNERLEY (much of this information is available on line and will have been seen by Crane Driver and others already)
The banns were read on 5th, 12th and 19th of April by Rev Cuffe, the incumbent of St Stephens (where they were to be married).
The Banns Record records John Henry McCann (widower) and Sarah Jane Kennerley (s)
Wedding 11:30 April 22nd. Note that it is John HENRY in the Banns.
(Liverpool Libraries ref: 283/GRO/3/3)
The Marriage records both JHM and Sarah as resident at 3 Minshull Str at the time of marriage.
The ceremony was not performed by the vicar of St Stephens who had read the banns (Rev Cuffe) but instead by Rev H R Parnell of St Marys, Edge Hill.
The record states that Sarah’s father was Thomas Kennerley, boiler maker (deceased). It also has the correction of Henry to Hillam for JHM mentioned previously in this discussion thread.
The witnesses are William Noble and Sarah Love.
(Liverpool libraries ref: 283/GRO/5/3)
-The correction of JHM’s middle name on the marriage record would seem to be that of an error carried over from the banns.
- St Stephen’s was the closest Church of England church to Minshull Str (probably about 2 or 3 minute’s walk); St Mary’s, Edge Hill is only a fraction further away. ( see http://www.liverpoolhistoryprojects.co.uk/liverpoolaz/R7.htmtiles P7, R7, P6)
St Stephens seems to have been an unusually quiet church in terms of weddings, with only 9 in 1908, whilst there were 47 in the nearby St Marys, Edge Hill. Within the parish records for both churches there is no reason given for Rev Parnell presiding over ceremonies in place of Rev Cuffe (the Rev Cuffe presides over the Easter service the preceding Sunday and is back in the pulpit the Sunday following the wedding). Of the 9 weddings performed in 1908 Rev Cuffe presides over six, with Rev Parnell presiding over two others and another vicar the ninth. The various parish minute books etc of the period record a declining congregation and a church operating on a constant deficit.
Neither JHM or Sarah are listed amongst the Communicants of St Stephens in the earliest surviving register covering 1913-43 (Liverpool Library Reference 283 GRO/8/1), so this would seem to be a quiet church of convenience rather than the church to which they belonged (although accepting that much can happen over five years).
Turning to the witnesses, William Noble and the improbably named witness for a wedding ‘Sarah Love’. I did wonder if they might have been serial or ’professional’ witnesses, but their names do not appear as witnesses to any other weddings taking place in either St Stephens and St Mary’s in 1908.
On closer investigation it is most likely that this William Noble is a resident of the nearby and affluent Faulkner Square (no. 33) and whilst not a member of St Stephen’s congregation (he’s not in the in 1913 Communicants Register) he financially contributed to this church. In the various censuses, directories etc he is listed as a retired officer of private means (b.1839) and a former treasurer of the city’s harbour board (a position of some importance). How he might have come to know JHM (or Sarah) we can only guess – perhaps a pupil?
Following the speculation above concerning JHM’s relationship with alcohol in later life, I cannot resist raising the very outside possibility that the witnessing William Noble may have been an Evangelical preacher of that name spearheading a the ‘Blue Ribbon [temperance] Movement’ that was doing the rounds of English meeting halls and mission chapels at the time. Had JHM become a convert in his battle with the drink and perhaps provided William Noble with a sound track to his lectures and preaching? JHM records in an interview that he enjoyed playing spiritual music at services on long sea passages (http://www.concertina.com/maccann-duet/howtoplay/images/P08.htm). For the avoidance of doubt this suggestion is made with tongue firmly in cheek!
Turning to Sarah Love. We do not find her listed amongst St Stephen’s communicants in the churche’s 1913-43 Register so might assume her to be a friend of Sarah or JHM. There are a number of possibilities listed in the 1901 and 1911 censuses, amongst them: A Sarah Jane Love, aged 35 in 1911, a housekeeper in nearby 5 prospect Vale; Sarah Love, aged 48 in 1901 and resident in nearby 29 Sidney Place (apparently a housewife); Sarah Love, aged 23, Chandlers Assistant and head of household, resident at nearby Low Hill. If she were any of these three, then it implies that Sarah Kennerley is of a similar rather modest background.
The day of the wedding was a Wednesday, not unprecedented, although the local norm of the time would seem to have been Saturdays going from the parish registers. Perhaps earnings from a Saturday’s engagements were too important to be sacrificed for a musician – whether busking to football crowds or playing in pubs (and it might be noted that a significant number of pubs in the Liverpool city centre and outlying boroughs had concert rooms attached and presented bills similar to the larger music halls albeit with more modest line ups and a more bawdy clientele).
Overall one cannot but feel that there is an almost indecent haste with which JHM and Sarah are rushing to tie the knot, with Banns read only a month after Minnie’s burial. Ironically this proximity makes me think it increasingly likely that this Minnie is JHM’s second ‘wife’, and both he and Sarah had been impatiently waiting for her passing in order to get married. Barely a redeeming feature, but the wedding has the feel of a rather low key event.