Harry Dowd

Eighth child, and youngest son of Patrick and Ellen

Harry was born on 16th November 1900 in St Helen Auckland, County Durham.

Harry (or Henry as he was sometimes called) married Ida Sanderson on New Years Eve 1921 - he was 21, and Ida just 17.

They had 6 children, but only 4 survived:

Click on a name to see/download/print birth certificates

The following is a brief outline of Harry and Ida from the time of marriage:

Ida was living with her widowed mother (Isabella) at No. 17 Station Road, West Auckland at the time she met Harry, and mathematics tell us that when they married on New Years Eve 1921, Ida was already 3 months pregnant with Jennie. They were still living with Ida's mother when Jennie was born on 12th June 1922.

The house on Station Road had just 2 bedrooms, and with Harry, Ida and baby Jennie sharing one room and Isabella in the other, it was time to move on and find a place of their own, and by October the following year (1923) they had moved into 19 New Street, West Auckland where child number 2 was born - John

Tragically, baby John only survived for 3 months - dying from convulsions on 7th February 1924.

Very shortly after the loss of John, Ida fell pregnant again, and on 28th November that year their second daughter Isabella was born (being named after Ida's mother). 

With a family of 2 girls, Harry and Ida were desperate to have a son to replace John, and on 20th April 1926 William was born - to be known always thereafter as "Bill". The family are still residing at 19 New Street.

Sometime after Bill was born the family moved house again - this time to number 4 The Nursery, West Auckland.

Research tells me that "The Nursery" used to be called Gaunless Terrace, and can be found overlooking the River Gaunless just off Station Road - google map will point you to Station View today. So-called The Nursery due to the large number of children residing in the properties at the time.

With Jennie 5 years old, Bella 3 and Bill 19 months, Harry and Ida have another child - a son, who was born 6th December 1927. They called him Alfred after Ida's late father.

All was going well for them - a family of 2 girls and 2 boys, when during the bad winter of 1928-29 Alfred caught broncho-pneumonia and sadly died on 19th March 1929 - just 15 months old. At the time of Alfred's death the family had moved again and were living at number 8 The Nursery.

One would think that two premature deaths in the family would have been enough to cope with, but for whatever reasons Harry and Ida - having moved yet again, and for the final time, to number 6 Peases Street, St Helen Auckland - part of what was known as "The Square", had their final child together - Wilfred.

Wilf, as he was fondly known, was born on 12th March 1933.

Harry is now 33 years old and Ida 29. Research has not revealed any further attempts to add to the family since Wilf's birth. (but will keep looking)

Nothing else is known of Harry and Ida between 1933 and 1945….. until

….tragically, and suddenly, on the morning of 29th July 1945 Harry suffered a heart attack whilst riding his bicycle to work. He was only 44 - and died at the road side near Tindale Junction

(There is a Public House called the Tindale Crossing there now)

Dying so young, Harry never got to know his 13 grandchildren - who were all bought up with just the one set of grandparents each - as Harry's wife Ida passed away in February 1949 at the age of 44 too. 

Ida also remarried just 4 months before her death - to Thomas Lowes

A few photographs of Harry collected from family members


A young Harry with his mother Ellen and younger sister Flossie - taken outside number 2 Peases Street - the family seat 



Although West Aukland cemetery is well groomed, and the headstones are meticulously laid out in chronological order, there is no headstone for Harry - but there is a distinct space between graves where it should be.

death certificate harry dow

Click to view Harry & Ida's children:

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             © Tony Dowd 2012