Edward Armitage

Husband to Constance Jane Dickson. A summary of his life.

Edward Armitage, grandfather to ‘the seventeen cousins’, lived from 1864 to 1921. His parents were Frederick Whitely Armitage (in the woollen trade) and Judith Emily Tate, both from the Almondbury area of Huddersfield, Yorkshire.

Edward was the eldest of five children, two boys and three girls. Next in the family was Edith, then Benjamin, and finally Mary and Emily. Mary never married and Emily died when she was only sixteen.

Edward’s first marriage to Annis Hirst in 1889 has been recorded in the story of Frederick Arnold, their only child (see Family Mysteries). Annis died in 1894 before Frederick was two years old.

After a long gap, Edward married Constance, our grandmother, in 1908. They had six children (parents of ‘the seventeen cousins’) in twelve happy years of marriage, before Edward died of pneumonia aged only 56.

In the meantime Edward’s career had flourished. His obituary below sums up much of it.

Obituary for Edward Armitage, 12th March 1921 (Saturday)

Huddersfield Daily Examiner, p3

The death occurred on Monday 7th March at his home, Field Gate, Lindley, of Mr Edward Armitage, a gentleman very well known in local textile circles. For 25 years Mr Armitage was head of the Technical College Textile Department, and during that period won the esteem of hundreds of students who are by now actively engaged in business. About 1910 Mr Armitage set up in business in partnership with his brother Ben at the Providence Mills, Marsh. He did not actively engage in public life, but he was a member of the Textile Society, had been a Poor-Law Overseer at Lindley, and for many years a deacon at the Oakes Baptist Church. He was before that a worker at the Mount Pleasant Wesleyan Sunday School. He was 56 years of age, and he leaves a widow (Connie, the elder daughter of Dr and Mrs Dickson, Lindley) and six young children. He had been previously married.

The interment took place on Thursday at the Salendine Nook Baptist Church.

Edward’s time at Huddersfield Technical College (then known as The Mechanics Institute) began in about 1880 when Edward was 16. By 1882 he was winning prizes and scholarships. In 1886 he wrote the teaching report for the Textile Department. In 1911 he was awarded a medal for 25 years service, which takes him back to 1886. It looks as though he moved seamlessly from student to lecturer. He was Head of Department in 1910/11, but not the following year. He was not, as stated in the obituary, Head of Department for 25 years.

By 1912, Edward and brother Ben were renting space in the Providence Mills, Luck Lane, Marsh from a G H Pontefract. There the brothers set up their own business, Armitage and Sons, for making and trading textiles. Although Edward was doing well for himself at Huddersfield Tech, he was obviously missing hands-on work. He never lost touch with the College, but moved aside from teaching and became a City and Guilds Examiner.

After Edward died, Ben ran the mill and supported Constance financially, till it collapsed in the 1931 depression.

Sue Woodd
January 2012