Turning Detective…

As you probably know, if you read this blog regularly, I do love a good detection novel. The other thing you might not know is that I am a huge fan of the TV show ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ and have a huge interest in family history. I wonder if that is why I enjoy a good family saga novel so much. Anyway, I was talking to my Gran (who I know regular followers of the blog love) on the phone and I discovered that a lot of my non-Savidge side of the family were based in the Wirral, which is where I am spending half my weeks at the moment. So I decided to do some digging and see what I could find out.

This was all sparked after I had said I was visiting New Brighton. I had gone with two objectives; to do some rock pool exploring (which is something I loved as a child and still do) and to find a local bookshop which alas was closed. I did get to do some wonderful rock pooling near a lighthouse which was just too stunning not to share a picture with you all…

So I mentioned this to Gran and she said ‘Oh Simon, that is where Nana Elsie’s [her mother] grandfather had a bakers’, this was news to me. Gran said his name was Hockley and he lived on Victoria Road in the Victorian era (my favourite period in history). Well I couldn’t not try and find that when its ten minutes down the road could I? So myself and the Beard, with our deer stalkers and pipes like Holmes and Watson, went off to see what we could see, alas nothing, lots of former Victorian looking shops but no bakers then Gran told me it was in fact Lockley and so on the off change I googled ‘Lockley Bakers Victoria Road Wirral’ and suddenly I discovered a wonderful website called ‘The History of Wallasey’ and then discovered this…

Well Victoria Road is no more, it changed names and is now Borough Road, it also turns out that the Victoria Road it once was wasn’t in New Brighton but in fact even nearer in Seacombe. Not only did George Lockley have one building there he had two… so back in the car we went and guess what we discovered? While his house at 101 is no longer there, it’s now some new build flats, but I couldn’t believe my eyes that 166 was still there and pretty much in the layout which it would have been when my Great-Great-Great Grandfather owned it…

I had a brief moment where I thought ‘oh, it’s not a Bakery anymore’ but as I said the layout is the same and George Lockley became a ‘confectioner’ as well as a baker and ‘flour dealer’ and was both still in the 1920’s. What is even more amazing is that then looking into the area further the building was almost demolished by a bomb in World War II and thanks to ‘The History of Wallasey’ website, who I hope won’t mind me using this picture, here is proof how close it was.

Isn’t that incredible? I actually found myself getting quite emotional standing in front of it and thinking ‘wow, my family once owned this’. I know that it isn’t like I discovered my family were descended from royalty or had some dark connections to the Pendle Witches or something (though who knows what else I could find) but it just amazed me that I found it, and I like to think it might explain my love of all things cake and pastry based, it’s in the genes it’s not my fault, ha!

So there we have it. I know it’s not a bookish post today but it’s something I wanted to share with you all. What things do you know about your family history? Do share with me I find it all fascinating.


Filed under Random Savidgeness

32 responses to “Turning Detective…

  1. How interesting for you. I thought of looking up my family tree. I knew my father’s side of the family was French Canadian from Quebec and all of them eventually migrated south to the USA through Ontario. I went to Ancestor.com once just for a look with no set plan and came across a relative from my father’s tree that had the entire French ancestry back to the early 1500’s listing all the French villages they were from and many listed types of work they did. Found it fascinating. Now just need to win the lottery to fund a visit to all of the places. How grand would that be!!

    • It just seemed so random! Especially as I might end up living somewhere nearby… maybe. I think some of my family are fro France on the Savidge, which used to be Savage, side. I find family histories amazing.

  2. Thank you for introducing me to the History of Wallasey site. My Grandma was born and raised in Wallasey and I think she’ll be delighted by that site. I’m preparing myself for some wonderful stories when I show her the photos on there.

  3. david73277

    Beware Simon. Family history is dangerously addictive. I haven’t succumbed myself, but my dad has been digging into it for years and it eats up hour upon hour of his time. You already stress from time to time about your TBR pile. If you get dragged into the genealogy thing you could also soon have a “To Be Researched” list to worry about. For as long as it is an enjoyable diversion, then keep enjoying it, but beware obsession.

  4. gaskella

    My Dad’s side of our family is all mapped out, going back several hundred years, done by a second cousin. My late Mum’s is harder – she was estranged from her family back in Belfast, and I never knew them. Most are dead now, so it’s been difficult to get anywhere with this branch. For the few months I tried though, it was quite addictive!

    • Did you actually go over to Belfast and see what you could find there? I would love to work in all this stuff it must be so fascinating, though maybe a little less so if its not our family, maybe not.

      • gaskella

        I didn’t go to Belfast. That’s something I might do when my daughter is a bit older and staying with her Dad though. I’d love to find out more about my Mum’s side of the family.

      • I definitely think that you should do it at somepoint. Simon Says and all that.

  5. How fascinating! I have well-documented family histories on both sides so I’m afraid there aren’t many surprises left for me to discover. Still, it is always fun when I travel to go and see where my ancestors used to live. One of my great-grandfathers was an assistant gamekeeper on an estate in Berkshire when he was young, before he came to Canada in 1911 to farm, and I’ve visited the cottage where he was born and grew up. While my father’s family was mostly farmers or teachers, my mother’s family was in shipping in Hamburg and later generations were foresters, managing woods in Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria. We have a number of momentos from the 1780s onwards from this side of the family so I’ve always been fascinated by their history – it’s hard not to feel connected to relatives whose portraits you see every day.

    • I guess it depends how far your family have gone back and discovered your ancestors. I know quite a bit about the Savidges but nothing about the Hill’s and the Lamonts and Hockleys.

      Sounds wonderful the amount of your history you know and have visited.

  6. Col

    My mother left her home in Greenock Scotland to emigrate to the US in the early 1950’s. She arrived at Ellis Island after weeks at sea – she was seasick while the ship was still at quayside in Liverpool never mind when it was in the open Atlantic. She met my father in New York – and by an amazing coincidence he was also from Greenock where they had lived only 2 streets apart! He’d been flown ashore from his ship with appendicitis and met while he was in NewYork waiting on his ship to pick him up again on its return journey. On my first trip to New York and Ellis Island I couldn’t help but think of her landing there alone as a 19 year old and how she must have felt. I made a point of visiting some of their New York haunts during their brief courtship in the US before she went back to Scotland to marry!

  7. Did you know that there are a couple of books by Dan Waddell that merge the detective novel and genealogy – The Blood Detective and Blood Atonement? I’ve not yet read Blood Atonement, but I did find that The Blood Detective was an interesting and gripping read.

  8. Awesome post! My father was in WWII and I have quite a few pictures of bombed buildings. I am working with his WWII Letters, discovering and documenting his words. So I know that feeling you are talking about. Thanks for sharing.

    • Oh wow thats really interesting. Its nice to see there are so many people who are interested in their family history. I thought it might be something that wasn’t of interest to people thanks to social media etc 😉

  9. You think your family is bog standard and then you look at the past and find so much! It’s good your bakery survived the bombings, and that you could find it. My family had a shop some time back as well, and although we have pictures we’re yet to see it. We’ve a bit of information on a possible medieval line too, though it’s proving difficult to find out if it really relates to us with all the different names and spellings.

    • I now have to find an Iron Foundry apparently Charlie, at my Grans orders lol. I am only at victorian level at the moment, the medieval era seems quite a strecth away yet hahaha.

  10. kimbofo

    That’s fascinating, Simon. My dad has been big on researching his side of the family, but hasn’t got all that far. (He has come over here twice to meet Scottish relations.) I did find it very moving when he acquired a copy of his grandfather’s marriage certificate (from Glasgow), which was signed with a ‘X’ indicating he couldn’t write. One of my aunts, on my mother’s side, has researched that side of the family tree and managed to trace a link to General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, which was quite exciting.

    • Isn’t it weird what you can find moving, and I mean weird in a good way. I foud myself getting quite emotional standing outside the shop actually thinking of my family having once been there. It just seems kind of surreal.

      I love that your Dad found living relations through his research, and in Scotland indeed. I loove Scotland, have you visited them?

  11. angela fairhurst

    Gosh ,Simon, my dad is your Gran’s older brother Len,& I remember visiting Nanna Elsie when she was making pies in her back room, not the kitchen.I had no idea her family had run a pastry business,but it does explain our fondness & ability to feed our loved ones with the bare neccessities for keeping body & soul together.
    Thank you for a new dimension from New Brighton,I attended a Wedding in West Kirby last weekend both a gem from the north west.

    • Well hello Angela, how lovely of you to comment. This blog is really bringing me together with people at the moment. I was actually at Uncle Gordon and Aunty Jan’s last week and I was asking after Len. How lovely that you have that memory of Nana Elsie, oh she was a character, and can now link the two in a way.

      You must say when you are next in the Wirral, I am here a lot at the moment.

  12. That’s SO interesting Simon! It’s wonderful to be able to find out about your family and to actually visit the places they’ve lived. I only know stories up to my great grandparents on both sides but nothing much beyond that, but I’d love to learn more. I’m a huge fan of Who Do You Think You Are? as well – can’t seem to get enough of it:)

    • I think Who Do You Think You Are is ace, and it inspires people to find out more, you never know who your descendants could have been, be it big or small there are always interesting stories there too which I love discovering.

  13. I am the owner of the http://www.historyofwallasey.co.uk website and I am so pleased that my website was useful.

  14. Lorraine

    Hi, I know I am a bit late coming to this but my nan was Eleanor Lockley, and lived off, the now, Borough Road, for most of her life. George Lockley was her uncle. Nice to meet you. Lorraine

  15. Sara Smith


    Found your blog while researching my families history. My great-great grandfather was the George Henry Lockley the founder of the bakery! The founders daughter in law is still alive at 92 and living on the Wirral! (My Nan).

    • Oh my goodness. They were my Gran’s family so in some way we must be related. How bizarre and how lovely.

      • Sara Smith

        Wonderful how looking into my past surfaces new family! Just wondering any chance you could ask your Nana if Samuel Lockley was her Father or Grandfather? As that would give us an idea on how you’re related. My mum is the Great Granddaughter of George Lockley and is very interested as it’s a topic that she can talk to her mum about who lived above the bakery but sadly now has dementia

      • Sadly my Gran died a few years ago. But I believe George was my great great grandfather. I think.

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