The header picture was taken in about 1907 of Vera and Win with their nanny standing at Birch Park Gate, Manchester, Grace wrote on the back
" My little girls at Birch Parkgate when we lived at Dickenson Rd Longsight, Manchester. I had been ill and nurse took them out occasionally. GF” and added later "other children unknown.”
In her autobiography Vera wrote
“When I was 3 ½ years old we moved to Halesdon Rd, Heaton Chapel, which in those days was an outer suburb of Manchester and almost rural. Our house there was only a two storied one but had a small front garden where pansies flourished and a large back lawn where we would lie on summer days and watch the larks soaring high into the sky. Part of the Manchester Ship Canal flowed not far from our house and I remember going there with my father and sailing the little paper boats that he made for me.”
Grace Dunbar was born 4th July 1873 in Manchester. Rosa Ann, Grace's mother , died when she was just 13 and she assumed the household responsibilities for her family including caring for her 18 month old brother, Alfred. Vera, Graces daughter, recounted in her autobiography:
Alfred was only eighteen months old when their mother died & my mother, (Grace) then aged 13, became of mother head of the family and looked after them with the help of an old family retainer by the name Bessie and a well to do Aunt Nell, (Mrs Alfred Morris – nee Crear) who was childless but who had a very benevolent husband who owned a motor-car which was rare in those days. (Below Alfred Morris with wife Nell (nee Crear.)
Grace Dunbar married John Todd Ferguson, a Draper & Clothier, son of James Murray Ferguson and Jessie (Jessey) Todd, on 29 Aug 1895 in Brunswick St Presbyterian Church, Manchester. Although John had lived for sometime in Manchester the marriage was also announced in the Wigtown Free Press, the local newspaper for the area where he had previously worked as a farm hand on his uncle, John Todd’s, farm.
“Ferguson, John Todd late of Sandhead married Grace Dunbar, daughter of the late Hugh Dunbar, Manchester 1895 29th August. Presided over by Rev. W Digby Murray at Brunswick Street Presbyterian Church Manchester.”
By 1900 Grace and John resided at 8 Clarendon Rd, Manchester and in 1902 at 356 Dickenson Rd, Manchester . Vera, their daughter, wrote in her autobiography
My earliest recollections are of living in a 3 storied house at 356 Dickinson Road, Longsight, Manchester, I was 3 ½ when we moved from there but I remember passing around cakes at one of my mother’s tea parties and then being allowed to go out through the French windows to play in a walled-in back garden where a cat often appeared on the wall but I was told it was a Tom cat and not to be trusted, in fact all pets were taboo. My sister & I used to play in the attic and I remember cutting out the black velvet dots on an old veil & then feeling repelled by them because they looked like nasty little beetles. We were sometimes taken to play in a nearby park (see Header photo) by a nanny who was dressed in a long skirted grey costume with a flowing cape and snug fitting bonnet – the traditional out-fit for a nanny in those days.
This above right postcard picture (complete with corner cut out to save the stamp!) was sent to and kept by Grace, who wrote on the back “our last home, 2nd from the left in Manchester 1909. It was sent by “all at Hillfield”
John and Grace had three daughters while living in Manchester and a son born in Australia who only lived several hours.
Rosa Lee born 1 Dec 1896 in UK, died 16th March 1898 Manchester UK at age 1, and was buried in Southern Cemetery Manchester.
Her accidental death was as a result of pram being hit by vehicle while in care of nanny/nurse.
Winifred Todd born on 6 Mar 1900 in Manchester
Vera Alexandra born on 2 Feb 1902 in Chorlton , Ardwick, Manchester.
Unkown – possibly Geoffrey born 1909
The below photo is Vera Alexandra Ferguson aged about 5y.o.