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Additional Biographies of people who lived or worked in Saltaire
Researched by Colin Coates

Saltaire People: surnames beginning with:

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Excell, Joseph
5 September 1891 – 7 April 1962

Joseph Excell was the son of Joseph Excell snr. born, 1863, in Saltaire. He married Emily Graham, 1 July 1883, at Bradford Cathedral. They were both living at 24 (renumbered 47) Road in Saltaire. They had 8 children. In 1891 they were living at 4 Helen Street, with Joseph snr working as a plate layer.

Joseph, their fourth child and only son, was born, 5 September 1891, in Wath. In 1901 the family were living at 11 Whitlam Street, Saltaire, with Joseph snr working as a cloth presser. By 1911 they had moved to 22 (renumbered 43) Albert Road, with Joseph working as a mechanic turner in an iron foundry.

Joseph married Beatrice Ellen Garretty in 1920. They had two sons – Dennis born, 17 August 1920, and Joseph jnr, 12 June 1924.

In the 1921 Census they were living at 8 Hall Lane, Shipley. Joseph was an out of work iron turner. He was employed by Frank Wigglesworth, clutch engineers, Hirst Wood, Shipley.

(Colin’s Note – In 1921 there were a significant number of people out of work due to the coal strike.)

In 1930 they were living at 12 Caroline Street. They were at 28 Ada Street from 1931 to 1934. From 1935 they were at 1 Thompson Lane, Baildon.

Report in the Shipley Times 6 March 1937: -


Joseph Excell, of Shipley, was summoned by his wife, Beatrice, for common assault.

The wife said they had been married for 17 years but were now separated. On Sunday, 21 February, she had been waiting to catch a bus and had asked a man standing at the bus stop if the bus had gone. Her husband came up and asked if she was with this man. She said she was not, and that she was going to visit her mother. He then hit her in the eye and knocked her down. Later, her mother took her to Saltaire Hospital, as she thought her ankle had been broken.

In reply to the Clerk, the wife said there was no chance of her going back to her husband, as she was frightened of him.

The husband denied had struck his wife. He said she must have injured her ankle at work.

As the husband left the witness box was served with a warrant for £5 11s. arrears under maintenance order in favour of his wife, of 16s. a week.

The Clerk (to the wife); Do you want him to go to prison or will you give him time to pay?

The wife: Send him to prison. An order was made for payment of £1 week, including 6s. from the arrears. The husband was remanded for month, on condition he kept away from his wife.

In the 1939 Register Beatrice was a wool comber living at 1 Thompson Lane with her two sons. Joseph, a turner & grinder, was living with the Craven family at 48 Albert Avenue, Shipley. By 1942 Joseph was back living with his wife.

Report in the Shipley Times 22 July 1942: -

Absent From Fire Watch

Failure to perform fire-watching duties at a Shipley factory was the subject of prosecution against Joseph Excell (51), Thompson Lane, Baildon Green, Baildon, who pleaded “not guilty” to contravention of the Fire Prevention (Business No. 2) Order.

Mr. O. C. Summerville, prosecuting, said he was instructed to conduct the case by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the Ministry Supply.

At a factory where the defendant worked, a fire watching scheme had been submitted to the authorities and approved. Defendant was one of those required to do fire watching duties. A rota was pinned up on the firm’s notice board with the names of men to fire watch, and it was quite clear who was to be on duty. Defendant was one of those scheduled to watch on Saturday, 23 May from 11.30 a.m. to 4 p.m., but did not turn up until 3.45 p.m. Mr. Summerville added that he understood this was one of the first prosecutions its kind in the neighbourhood, but it seemed the authorities regarded these offences as very serious, they laid down the maximum penalty to a fine of £l00 or three months in prison, or both.

Mr. G. F. Gledhill, A.R.P. officer at the factory, said as well as having their names on the rota the fire watchers were informed personally of their duties 24 hours in advance.

Mr. Fred Thomas, an employee the factory who was fire watching on the same date gave evidence to the non-arrival of the defendant, producing a book which the watchers signed on arrival for duty. Defendant’s name was not there for the date in question. He added that he told the defendant that he would be fire watching, and he said, “All right.”

Defendant told the magistrates he had been under the impression that he was not duty till 4.30. The scheme from 11.30 to 4 p.m. had not been in force so long, and he had misunderstood it. He was an ex-Service man of the last war and owing to the number of hours he worked he could get off fire-watching if he chose to do so, but he had no desire to shirk his duties.

Mr. Summerville: Have you seen the rota?

Defendant: Oh, yes! I don’t dispute it.

He added that, thinking he was on at 4.30, he had gone round to the fire watching headquarters at 3.45 to see it.

Imposing a fine of £3, with 23s costs, the Chairman said as this was the first case in the neighbourhood, they were not going to deal severely with defendant, but these rules must obeyed.

Beatrice died, 23 April 1961, at 12 Southdown Road, Baildon. In her will she left £1625 19s to her son, Dennis.

Joseph died, in the same house, 7 April 1962. In his left he left £1380 15s 9d to Dennis.


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