Alfred Meakin Hobdey


Henry Hobdey, born in Staffordshire about 1824, and his wife, Mary, born in Burton on Trent around the same year, were living in Bath Row, Wolverhampton, in 1851. By 1861 they had moved to 4 Marlboro Terrace, Rusholme, and Henry was a commission agent (printer). In 1871 they lived at 253 Oxford St, Chorlton-on-Medlock and Henry was an oil merchant. Given the family business history it is likely that the oil in question was oil paint. The couple had 4 children, Henry Meakin (Alfred’s father), born about 1847, William, born about 1848, Charles, born about 1850, and Thomas, born about 1853. All the children were born in Burton on Trent. The family always had 1 or 2 servants. William Nurse was born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, about 1806. His wife, Jane, was born in Suffolk about 1825. In 1861 they lived in All Saints St, South Lynn, Norfolk, where William was a master block maker, employing 8 men and an apprentice. In 1878 William was described as a contractor. They had 2 children, William, born about 1852, and Fanny Maria (Alfred’s mother), born in 1854.


Henry Meakin Hobdey was born about 1847 in Burton on Trent. Fanny Maria Nurse was born in King’s Lynn in 1854. She was baptised at All Saints’ church, South Lynn, on 9 August 1854. In 1871 she was at school, aged 16, in Bethel St, Norwich. Henry and Fanny married on 11 July 1878 at St Margaret’s with St Nicholas church, King’s Lynn. Henry was 32 and a lead merchant. Again we believe the lead refers to lead paint. Fanny was 24 and lived at Nelson St, King’s Lynn.

In 1881 the family lived in Upper Monton St, Moss Side. By 1891 they had moved to 53 Wilmslow Rd, Withington. In 1901 they lived at 27 Ladybarn Rd and in 1911 at 143 Palatine Rd. Henry was a lead oil colour merchant and there was a family business, Henry Hobdey and Sons, with numerous addresses in South Manchester. They were oil and colour merchants.

Henry and Fanny had 10 children, all born in Manchester. They were Henry Meakin Jnr, born on 24 March 1879 and baptised on 27 April 1879 at St Saviour’s church, Manchester, Charles William Gedney, born about 1881, Constance Mary, born about 1882, Ethel Jane, born about 1884, Frederick, born about 1886, Arthur Chaston, born about 1888, George Mervyn, born about 1890, and Gladys Frances, born about 1891. The youngest was Alfred Meakin, born in 1892, who may have had a twin, Marjorie Meakin, who did not survive to the 1901 census. The family always had 2 or 3 servants. Henry Meakin Hobdey died on 26 September 1914. His address was Strathallan, Palatine Rd. He was buried on 29 September 1914 in Southern Cemetery. Probate was granted to Fanny in Manchester on 17 December 1914 in the sum of £6175 2s 10d. Fanny then travelled between England and South America, at one time having an address of 14 Royal Crescent, Scarborough. She was probably visiting Henry Meakin Jnr, who seems to have emigrated with his wife, Rubie, to Buenos Aires, where he died on 24 August 1946. Interestingly, on one journey Fanny returned from Argentina on the Royal Mail Steam Package Company ship, the Darro, quite probably the same ship involved in the sinking of the Mendi (see Harold Mole).

Fanny died on 3 January 1939, aged 84, her address at the time being 64 Dartmouth Rd, Paignton, Devon. Probate was granted in Manchester on 27 July 1939 to Charles Gedney Hobdey and Arthur Chaston Hobdey, paint merchants. Her effects were described as nil. She was buried in Southern Cemetery on 7 January 1939.


Alfred Meakin Hobdey was born in Fallowfield on 4 November 1892. He attended William Hulme’s Grammar School from September 1903 until April 1907. He was a good athlete, winning the China Cup for Under 14s at the Athletics Sports in 1906. He later attended King William’s College on the Isle of Man. In the 1911 census he was a shipper’s clerk. He later enlisted in the Army and served with the 1st/6th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in the Dardanelles.

In early June 1915 the Cunard Canadian steamer, Ascania, was at Lemnos acting as a Naval Hospital Ship. Alfred was discharged dead from the ship on 6 June 1915 as a result of wounds received in action. He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey, and on the Old Hulmeians memorial at the school. He left £591 14s 5d to his mother.

Arthur Chaston and another brother served in and survived the war.