Memories of Charlotte Grimshaw nee Hutton

Charlotte Eliza Grimshaw, nee Hutton
by Celia Webber (Grandaughter of Charlotte)

Charlotte or Lottie was a grandmother to me who, sadly, I never knew. She died when my mother was only 17, leaving an invalid husband and second daughter aged 10. I would be proud to say that I have inherited just a few of her exceptional talents passed down from her ancestors, the Huttons who were at the very heart of their Moravian community in Fulneck.

Lottie was born in 1881, the youngest of eleven children. Her father Daniel was a key member of the Moravian community in Fulneck and her mother was, reputedly, a force to contend with.

Lottie followed a number of her sisters into school teaching, training at Ripon College. She married Reginald Carleton Grimshaw in 1909 and the following year my mother was born. Reg was a fitter at the local iron works and would have lived close to Fulneck. I don’t know how they met but, apparently, a union between them was against the wishes of Lottie’s mother. They married in Fulneck but moved to Oldham shortly afterwards. Reg had suffered from asthma all his life and the polluted factory air of Oldham didn’t suit him. Within a few years of moving there, and after my mother was born, they moved south to Bexley in Kent.

Initially they lived above the shops in the Maypole estate before moving to a rented house in Baldwyns Road. Their second daughter, Kathleen Mary, was born in 1917. Reg’s work involved climbing long ladders and, sadly, he had a fall that weakened his system even more and made it impossible for him to continue to work. Lottie took over the role of breadwinner and, contrary to the accepted role of women at the time, worked full-time as a school teacher.
With her involvement in the local community, she realised its short-comings. On this fairly new estate there was no church or meeting place. Lottie arranged for Sunday meetings to be held in one of the flats above the local shops but, in time, they became so popular that people were standing on the stairs to try and join in. She approached the local land owner, Mr Cameron of Broomhills, to see if he would allow meetings to be held on his land. Once she had persuaded him, he funded a temporary hut and, in time, and in memory of his son killed in WW1, rallied enough support to get the Church of St Barnabas built on his land. Charlotte always gave to her community. She organised plays, entertainment, after school clubs, clinics and everything else that would serve the community. Even today, 90 years after her premature death, she is remembered on Maypole Estate website as someone who gave her all to the community.

Charlotte, then Headmistress of the infants school infants school in Bourne Road, Bexley, died in 1928, aged 47, from a stroke.
Her gravestone is shared with her husband Reg’s, who lived until 1943. The community made a collection to commemorate them and the family were able to purchase a processional cross for them both which is still in use today.

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