by John Goldsbrough

Adelaide Smith (1886 - 1939)

Adelaide Smith was born on the 8th of July 1886 the first child of John Smith and Annie Simpson in Undercliffe, Pickering, Yorkshire. At the time of her birth, John Smith was a Journeyman Tailor, aged 21. Subsequently John and Annie had five more children, all girls, Laura, Annie, Sarah, Emily and Mary. The family lived in the Castlegate area of Pickering for many years.

The 1891 census shows that Adelaide was living with the family in Castlegate, Pickering and was at school.

In 1901, Adelaide was working as a domestic servant but still living in Castlegate with her father (Tailor Journeyman) and mother and her four sisters, Mary wasn’t born until 1902.

In 1911 she was working at the Black Swan in Pickering as a waitress. The proprietor of the Hotel was Lancelot John Simpson with other Simpson’s assisting in the hotel. Lancelot John was in fact Adelaide’s First Cousin, once removed, the children of Lancelot in the hotel were 2nd Cousins of Adelaide.  Obviously quite a family affair.

Three years later in 1914 she married William Fletcher in  at at All Saints Church, Helmsley on April 19th 1914 with Henry Edward Newton officiating.  The wedding was witnessed by John Smith, Adelaide’s father, Jenny (Sarah J) Smith (Adelaide’s sister) and William Albert Beecroft.

Later that year on 3rd September, Adelaide’s son, John was born, not in Helmsley but at 16 Castlegate in Pickering.  John died aged three years and nine months on the 6th of June 1918 and was buried in Helmsley cemetery, William Fletcher would have been in Murmansk at the time.  William returned from the war in 1919 and then their second child, Joan, was born on 22nd  November 1920 and   Baptised on the Feast of St Stephen, 1920.  At that time William and Adelaide were living at Bridge Street (now number 12) in Helmsley, in a cottage  rented from the Duncombe Park Estate, this remained with the family until Joan died in 1989. 

Adelaide and William continued living in Bridge Street, however William died in 1931, aged 41.  It was often said that his early death was as a result of his time in Russia in 1918 - 1919, the cause of death was as a result of a Cerebral Thrombosis.  Adelaide continued living in Bridge Street with Joan who attended the local school.  At that time Adelaide appeared to have health problems, because Joan looked after her until she died in 1939.

We do have a number of photographs of Adelaide from the time she lived in Pickering.  A well known photographer Sydney Smith set up his studio in Pickering and continued taking photographs until the the 1950’s.  Most of the photographs were taken by Sydney Smith.

Adelaide Smith with her mother and three youngest sisters, a photograph by Sidney Smith, photographer.