The Hamer Line

The Hamer Line starts with my grandma, Jane Foster (nee Hamer). The above picture is of Newchurch-in-Rossendale where the Hamers come from.

Newchurch was the centre of the commercial life of Rossendale, as through its narrow streets long trains of packhorses were often to be seen, making their way from the manufacturing districts of Yorkshire to Blackburn and towns beyond, and vice-versa. It was a good centre for the accommodation of both man and beast. Hand loom weaving of wool was carried out in the top rooms of many of the houses. The woollen materials were stored in two warehouses (on Dark Lane), ready for onward delivery. People came from far and near to do their shopping, for in the village were the largest shops for miles around, also a fair was held annually, to which were brought many of the articles necessary for the comfort of a home. Newchurch Methodist Church

Here is a link to A History of Waterfoot by W. Hardman, courtesy of Peter Fisher.

Jane Hamer was the youngest child of Jane Hamer (nee Pickup) and John Edwin Hamer. She was born on 2nd January 1897 in Waterfoot, Newchurch-in-Rossendale.

In the same year, Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Jail and the fore-runner of the motion picture film projector, The Kinetographic Camera, was granted a patent. Two years later the second Boer War was taking place in South Africa (1899-1902) and in 1901, Queen Victoria died and her son, Edward VII became king. In fact, during Jane's lifetime there were six monarchs on the throne: George V took over from Edward VII in 1910; he was followed by Edward VIII who, of course, only reigned for a year and was succeeded by his brother, George VI followed by Elizabeth II in 1952.

When Jane was four years old she lived with her parents and siblings at 11 Burnley Road, Waterfoot, which was a grocers shop. Her brother, Ernest, 19 years old, was a grocer's assistant; her brother John, 17, a draper's assistant; Cuthbert, 15, was an apprentice confectioner and her sister, Gladys, 20, was a dress-maker.

Here is a family photo taken in about 1907. Jane Hamer is the little girl on the front row standing between her mother, Jane (nee Pickup) on her left and her father, John Edwin Hamer on her right. To his right is her sister Gladys. On the back row are, left to right, Jane's brothers, Cuthbert, John and Ernest.

11 Burnley Road is part of a row of shops: number 5 was a boot and shoe shop run by Jane and Susannah Pickup, ages 50 and 57 respectively; both are spinsters. The Holt family lived at number 7, they were cabinet makers; number 9 was probably part of the grocers as the head of the Lemmon family was a grocer's manager. On the other side of the Hamers the Holt family ran a piano shop: the head, George and his son Richard made pianos whilst the daughters, Elizabeth and Alice were both music teachers.

By 1911, when Jane was 14 years old, the Hamers now owned 9 and 11 Burnley Road. Number 13 is still a piano shop. John and Cuthbert had flown the nest but Ernest and Gladys are still at home.

Jane married Henry Foster on 17th February, 1920, at the Wesleyan Chapel, Newchurch. Her sister, Gladys Hamer and Henry's brother, Christopher Foster, were the witnesses. The marriage certificate states that Jane is a music teacher. It is clear, living next door to music teachers must have played a part in this.

I don't have a wedding photograph, but this one must have been taken round about the same time.

Jane and Henry had five children: Jane (1920-2008); Christopher Leeming Foster who was born 7th February 1923 in Rossendale and died 16th April the same year; Henry Leeming Foster (1925-1978); Christopher who was born 10th March 1927 in Preston and died 2nd September the same year; and Dorothy (1933-2000).

Jane married Arthur and had two children; Henry, my dad, married Bessie (my mum) and had me and Stephen, he then went on to marry Emily and had a further three children; and Dorothy married Bill and had one child.

Here she is at Dorothy's wedding in 1952, with her three children and husband, Henry:

Jane died on 21st June 1965 in Myerscough, Preston and is buried in Rawtenstall cemetry.

Here is an extract from Index of Wills:

I never knew my grandma Foster due to my parents splitting up when I was a baby. Having said this, I have vague memories of going to visit my grandma and grandad Foster when I was little. I believe we used to visit them until my parents got divorced when I was five years old.

Here is a poor quality photograph taken in about 1949/50 on one such visit. My cousin Kathleen is sitting in front of my mum; I am on Jane's knee, Stephen is on Henry's knee, my mum is in the middle; aunt Jenny is standing at the back on the left with aunt Dorothy on the right.

I'm guessing this is at the back of their house in Preston Old Road; I have very vague memories of a big house with a garden at the front and a fish pond with goldfish.

I did go and visit my grandparents once with my brother Stephen when they lived in a big static caravan. I'm guessing I was about 15 at the time. I remember they had a minah bird that kept swearing.

Whilst I never knew Jane I inherited some of her physical features (not least a weight problem) as well as a love of music. Here is a compilation of the photos: Jane Hamer.