This wonderful love letter below from Janet Dunbar ( also known as Jennie) to her fiance Jack Pearson gives a delightful glimpse into the lives of the Dunbar family at the time.
30 Hyde Grove
My own dear Jack,
I was delighted to receive your very interesting letter this morning to know you are so very well Darling. I am very sorry you are not able to come home tomorrow Jack Dear. I have been hoping that you would be, but it is lovely you feel that you really are coming next week. I wish I could feel sure that I could have you for Wednesday night Darling as Alec is going to a dance at Urmston & staying the night at Hugh’s so we could have a long time together. Dear supposing you till 10 0’clock. Well! Darling, I know you will do your best to get back to me & I am looking forward to a delightful time with you.
Alec has gone to the dance & I felt quite glad I was not going because I wanted to have a nice chat with you however just as I had got nicely settled down Gracie arrives & I have to talk to her, but she has gone now. By the by, she wants to come to the dance next Saturday & wants me to get her a ticket. I had a letter from Mr Warnock this morning asking me if I wanted tickets for George & Elie but they were here last night & told me they did not intend going this time. Elie is staying home & letting Grace come. I think she is going to pal with Ma McLean.
Well Dearie I am quite my old self again & I am very pleased to hear you are so well. Fancy, I have never been so long without seeing you since I first knew you. I have not been out one night since you went away with the exception of Wednesday night at Gracie’s last week. We have had a dreadful storm here last night & this morning & we could not get sleeping through the night for the windows making such an awful, but it is beautifully calm tonight & so clear. I am thinking had you been at Plymouth Grove I would have been coming to take you for a walk Darling. About Sousa Jack! I am going with Percy on Tuesday. I am very sorry I cannot go with you Dear but never mind I am looking forward to the dance next Saturday with you. Gracie wanted to know & I did not know whether there is to be a tea first or not, you might tell me in your next letter then I can let her know. I could not help laughing when I heard you had been playing Ping Pong. I thought what next. I have got hold of a wretched pen & cannot find another so excuse this scrawl. You told me how you have been thinking after you go to bed Darling well I know what that means Dearie as I have lain awake each night thinking of you & of all the nice times we have had together & are going to have If we are spared to each other Darling Jack Dear if you were only here now so that I could be in my usual place, but no use Jack I am saving all my kisses Darling.
No more at present but Dearie let me have a nice long letter on Sunday morning & then I can perhaps know about Wednesday.
Ever your loving Jennie
Rosa Ann Dunbar died in 1886 aged 38, just 18 months after Alfred’s birth and, by 1891, her widower Hugh lived with all his 7 children and his sister Janet at 125 Stretford Road, Hulme above the Shirt Shop which he managed for the Shirt Manufacturing Company.
The photo to the left is that shop although it was taken after the Dunbars had left.
By 1895 Grace, their eldest daughter,was the Manageress of the shop, aged just 22. It was no doubt during this time that she acquired the skills she used to manage a family owned business; skills she took with her to rural South Australia some years later.
Hugh M. Dunbar died about 1893 aged 54 and by 1901 five of the Dunbar siblings were still living together at 30 Hyde Grove, Chorlton upon Medlock. They were all working:
Alexander - Engineers Representative, Alfred – Clerk to Towel Manufacturer, Eleanor - Draper’s Assistant, Janet – Draper’s assistant and Percy – Insurance Clerk.
Hugh Dunbar with his daughter Rosa Petter and Mary (Rosemary) Petter.
Above: Vanda married Percy Dunbar .
Alfred Dunbar, with nieces Jessie (Janet) Pearson, Eileen Jones, his brother Hugh's wife May Dunbar ( nee Falconer) & her grandchild Mary (Rosemary) Petter.