Robin Gibb Who Do You Think You Are?


Robin Gibb

Celebrity genealogy series. Bee Gee Robin Gibb discovers a tale of poverty as he finds out how his great-grandfather overcame the odds to become a decorated soldier.


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Transcript


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The chemistry and the ingredients between my brothers was absolutely essential.

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And if I had to do it all over again, it would only be with Barry and Maurice.

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MUSIC: "Night Fever"

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Robin Gibb, with his brothers Barry and Maurice made up the legendary band The Bee Gees.

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They've sold over 200 million records and their music has made them multi-millionaires.

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We had a huge song catalogue and been very successful,

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but we've never really become Hollywood-ised.

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I like being a down-to-earth kind of guy.

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I've always loved history.

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Ever since I was a child, it was my favourite subject at school.

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I'm looking forward to finding out about my family history intensely.

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I think the traits that run through the, er, Gibb family is this need not to conform.

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That spirit of saying, yes, to everybody's no and,

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and not being like everyone else.

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I think I'd like to find out where that actually began.

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I think a lot of people worry about well, maybe somebody was mad.

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I don't worry about finding out if someone's crazy or not cos I'm already mad!

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Robin lives on a 20-acre estate in Oxfordshire,

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in a converted medieval monastery that he shares with his wife Dwina and son RJ.

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He came from modest beginnings.

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He and his twin brother Maurice were born in 1949 into a working-class family on the Isle of Man.

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I know that... I know this is me and Maurice here in this, in the pram here.

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Whereabouts is it? Do you know where it is?

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-Yeah, Isle of Man.

-Yeah, but do you know whereabouts on it?

-Some back alley!

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No, I can always remember my mother as she was pushing this pram

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-saying, "If you don't behave, I'm going to give you away."

-Oh, dear.

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To sell me to the woman next door, that was it, yeah.

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Anyway, it silenced us.

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Robin lost his twin brother eight years ago,

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when Maurice died suddenly from complications arising from surgery.

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He was more than a brother, he was a soul mate.

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There are times when I can't believe that he's not in the world any more.

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But Maurice will always be in our lives because he's part of us.

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My favourite picture of my dad, it's got to be this one,

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where he's on the drums, because he did have a band on the Isle of Man

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for about, you know, ten years.

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I don't know much about my ancestry, but there's this military thread that runs through.

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This one I think is Matthew, it says on the back.

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He's my grandfather's father and he died...

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-What did he do?

-..in his 70s. Mathew was a military man.

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I think I'd like to know more about him

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because my father never really spoke much about him.

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-No.

-And yet he must have met him.

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Robin's keen to find out more about Matthew Gibb's Army career.

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He's arranged a meeting in London with his cousin Anne Bracegirdle,

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Matthew's last surviving grandchild.

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I'm meeting Anne, er, who is the granddaughter of Matthew Gibb

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who was my great-grandfather.

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So, in essence it's quite interesting because having just an old

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photograph to go by, I know very little.

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-Good morning, Madame, how are you today?

-Thank you. Very well, thank you.

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-Let me help you.

-Thank you very much.

-All right.

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Hi, Robin. Pleased to meet you.

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-Hello. Are you Anne?

-Yes. After all these years!

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-Lovely to see you.

-Can you believe it?!

-Unbelievable.

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You've got some photographs here.

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Oh, yes, but they're pretty ancient and not terribly good.

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This is a photograph of your great-grandfather.

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Yeah. That's Matthew.

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And Matthew's wife Mary James - and that's my father.

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That's Charles, is it?

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Yes, that's Charles.

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-So you want to know some more about your great-grandfather.

-Yeah.

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Um, my cousin got this from the Scottish Records Office.

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I understand that he was from Paisley in Scotland.

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-He enlisted in 1867, so I worked out he'd be 18, wouldn't he?

-Yes.

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When he enlisted he was at home first of all and then he went to

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India in 1867 and then to Afghanistan, 1881.

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He got around a bit, didn't he?

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-He did. He was abroad for, er, virtually 15 years.

-Yeah.

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He did get some medals.

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See, he's got a Long Service and Good Conduct medal and, um,

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that medal there, for Afghanistan.

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Oh, that's wonderful.

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So, obviously he was good soldier.

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But also, an amusing anecdote is the fact that in 1874,

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when he was serving in India, he was arrested for drunkenness,

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tried and reduced in rank from corporal back to private.

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-That's interesting.

-Yes.

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It fascinates me that because three of his sons,

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Uncle Matt, Uncle Willie and my father, were all teetotal.

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Yeah. I'd like to know more about the situation that got, caused him

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to be demoted, because it's hard to believe just being drunk alone.

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There must have been something else. I'm not saying something ghastly.

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He may not have been a heavy drinker. It may have just been...

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-No. A one-off!

-..a one-off situation.

-Absolutely.

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It appears out of character because when you see a photograph of him,

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he looks quite stern and, um, you know, rigid.

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Robin's going to Winchester to see what he can find out at

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the headquarters of Matthew's regiment, the 60th Rifles.

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Military historian Andy Robertshaw has a acquired a copy of Matthew's

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service record, which details every stage of his Army career.

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That page there is actually his Attestation Paper.

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That's filled in when he joins the Army on the 1st July, 1867.

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And below it then is everything that there is that tells you where he leaves the Army.

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Actually, it tells you more about his age.

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This one, where he is in the world -

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home, India, Afghanistan, Mari County, India generally,

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South Africa, then back home.

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So his first port of call, he was actually sent to India?

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That's right. So he's part of the garrison of India,

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he's what's called a BOR, British Other Rank in an army

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that's very largely recruited from Indian soldiers,

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and he's part of that small minority of white soldiers who are in the cantonments

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all over India, waiting to be called in case there's a campaign.

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When Matthew began his tour of duty in 1867, India was the largest

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and most important colonial territory in the British Empire.

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The Army acted as a vast Imperial Police Force,

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maintaining British interests in the region.

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Matthew was one of over 60,000 British soldiers living and

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working alongside the Indian Army in military stations or cantonments.

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It was an uneventful routine.

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His battalion was moved around from station to station,

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carrying out peacekeeping duties and training exercises,

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ready to be called upon if trouble broke out.

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When he got to India he's promoted fairly quickly

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to a lance corporal, which is actually, it's not really a rank, it's an appointment.

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-Right.

-See how you're going to do.

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He obviously does a good job there, then he's made a corporal,

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that means he gets more privileges, he gets more pay.

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Obviously, looking to the future, his pension's going to be better.

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So, was there any action to be dealt with at that time or were we having a peaceful time in India?

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There's constant little battles, little skirmishes, I should say really,

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but for him, much of his career is spent training, living in the cantonments.

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Basically, you get up, you parade,

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there might be an inspection,

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and apart from guard duties, that's virtually it. And that's one of the problems.

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For many of these soldiers there is nothing to do during the day other than go to the wet canteen, drink,

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and they drink rum and local spirits, Arak.

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And they then also gamble.

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And it's really this round of losing your money and drinking too much,

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and then getting up again and doing it all over again.

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-Was that a major problem at the time?

-It is.

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You often get things outside pubs that said "no Redcoats or dogs",

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because they know they'll drink to excess.

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-So if you're a Redcoat walking your dog, you weren't allowed in.

-It'd be a double whammy, wouldn't it?

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Alcohol had long been a part of army life.

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It was a long-held belief

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that it helped the troops withstand the heat, and was healthier to drink

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than the water in India.

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But by the 1860s, there was growing concern about the effects of alcohol

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on discipline and wellbeing.

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Soldiers were encouraged to join army temperance groups,

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and severe punishments were meted out to anyone found drunk on duty.

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Apparently, a lot of his sons, his offspring, were teetotallers.

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-Yeah.

-Do you think this was a one-off experience,

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that he had just a slip?

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Because it seems such a, you know, a much ado about nothing

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to be demoted from where he was...

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Yeah. In 1874, in the January, as you say, he is found to be drunk.

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The problem with that is, we're not talking about somebody

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who's had just a couple of drinks too many.

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He is so drunk,

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he's actually taken before his commanding officer.

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He is then given two weeks of basically solitary confinement.

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Here we've got it.

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"Arrest, Corporal, 17th January 1874".

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And then "Tried and reduced for drink on the 31st January."

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That's the end of his promotion.

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-It must have been a crushing blow, having done so well.

-It must have been traumatic.

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I've looked in the service records, but the other thing that then happens which is really interesting

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is that, having been demoted in the January, by the December he's got

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what's called the Army Certificate of Education, Second Class.

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Basically, he's gone to the school teachers and said,

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"Teach me to read and write, I want to know my three Rs",

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and he gets it within 11 months.

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How long did it take him to get back to where he wanted to be?

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We've got to go right the way down the page,

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all the way down here to actually 30th January 1882,

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before he again is promoted to Corporal once again.

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So it takes him another eight years to get back to where he was.

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So having moved up quickly,

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he's blotted his copy book to such an extent,

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he's got to drag himself back,

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possibly giving up drink,

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but certainly getting an educational qualification to say,

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"Look, I can be a corporal and I can keep on that rank. I can keep it."

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He was certainly determined,

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with another eight years before he got promoted again.

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Absolutely. This guy is a really, really determined bloke.

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And he eventually ends up actually being a staff sergeant.

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So he does really, really well.

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He's a Warrant Officer. He has done everything you might have expected

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and more, actually, in what turns out to be a career of 37 years.

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-It's a long, long career.

-It's marvellous.

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Matthew's dedication to the army was rewarded with decorations

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for long service, good conduct and for combat in Afghanistan.

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By the end of his career, he'd risen up the ranks

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to become a staff sergeant, retiring on an officer's pension in 1905.

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I admire him because he seems to be a man of great character, and tough.

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To me, that's great qualities to have.

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Robin now knows that Matthew started out as a raw recruit,

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with little education.

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So he wants to find out more about Matthew's upbringing.

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The obvious route for me to take now is

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to go north to Scotland to find out where the trail begins.

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To find out more of a personal history of the man,

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to see what we can uncover.

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I don't know anything about his childhood.

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According to Robin's cousin, Anne, Matthew was born in 1849

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in Paisley in Scotland.

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Census. This is 1851.

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Here we go.

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Matthew.

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That's obviously two years old, that's Matthew Gibb.

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His father, William, obviously head of family, married.

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Agnes, obviously his wife.

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There's Jean and a Janet.

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Very interesting.

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It's describing William Gibb as a hand-loom weaver

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and the daughter,

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who was ten years old,

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is a hand-loom weaver's assistant,

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which would make sense, considering her age.

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Do the search.

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So...I'm looking at the 1861 census.

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In 1861, Matthew Gibb would have been about 12 years old.

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Here we go.

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Matthew Gibb, 12.

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Reading the address now - Road, Street...

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It's East Lane Ragged School. Why wouldn't it mention the parents?

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Matthew's parents were William and Agnes, and he had five siblings.

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In 1851, the family were living together in Paisley.

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So why does the 1861 census

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show Matthew living away from his family

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at an address listed as the Ragged School?

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I'm very curious to find out what happened to the family,

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because they slipped through the cracks.

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What were the circumstances that split them up? It's a mystery.

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Robin's come to Edinburgh and the National Library of Scotland

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to find out more about the Paisley Ragged School.

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He's meeting local historian Andrew Eadie.

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I'm trying to find out information about

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the life of my ancestor, Matthew Gibb.

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-And he was in an establishment called a Ragged School.

-Right.

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So tell me, what is a Ragged School?

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It was really for...

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if we look at the, you know, street directory for Paisley,

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it's called Ragged or Industrial School for Destitute Children.

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The idea was, the Ragged School was really for orphaned children

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or where the children couldn't be looked after by the parents

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for any reason.

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What do they do there?

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Well, the idea was really to give them a good education

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and three square meals a day.

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And did they do any work there?

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Yes, the boys had lessons in the trade of shoe making, tailoring,

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to teach them discipline

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and sort of a work ethos.

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The Ragged School in Paisley was part of a nationwide movement.

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One of the earliest ragged schools was started in 1818

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by a Portsmouth cobbler who took in a group of boys

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to teach them his trade.

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Various philanthropists, churches and charities followed suit.

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And by the middle of the century,

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there were nearly 700 ragged schools across Britain,

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providing a home, a basic education

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and a trade for society's poorest children.

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-This is a...

-Ah.

-..picture...

-Yeah.

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-..taken in the late 19th Century.

-This would have been the Ragged School?

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This bit here is the Ragged School.

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-So that was almost certainly the place he went?

-Yes, yes.

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-And do you think that building's still there?

-No, no. Unfortunately,

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-the waste ground, that's where the Ragged School was.

-Right.

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So what can we tell about Matthew Gibb's personal circumstances

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that puts him in the Ragged School?

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There's no records relating to the Ragged School itself,

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but almost certainly, Matthew had been sent because his family

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were in very straitened times

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and there was nobody there to support him.

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Because of the limited number of places,

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the Ragged School in Paisley had a strict admissions policy.

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Only children from the margins of society were selected,

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particularly those begging on the street

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or in danger of falling into crime.

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The Paisley Ragged School

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was inspired by the work of Thomas Guthrie, an evangelical minister

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who was so appalled

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by the numbers of children he saw living on the street

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that he decided to take action.

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This is Ragged Schools.

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-This was written by the Reverend Thomas Guthrie.

-Right.

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The Reverend Thomas Guthrie was really important

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-relating to the spread of ragged schools throughout Scotland.

-Right.

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It was actually first printed

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just about a month before they had the first meeting in Paisley

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-about forming a ragged school in Paisley.

-Ah.

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Guthrie's book was written

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to drum up financial support for ragged schools,

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which were funded largely by private benefactors.

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It was also an impassioned plea on behalf of street children,

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who he believed should be treated with kindness and compassion.

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"Poor fellow. It's a bitter day, and he has neither shoes nor stockings.

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"His naked feet are red, swollen, cracked, ulcerated with the cold.

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"He's a master in posture - lying, begging, stealing.

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"Small blame to him, but much for those who have neglected him."

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"He had otherwise pined and perished."

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-Yes. Very, very, very hard times.

-Yes.

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Robin still has many questions about Matthew's family,

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so he's heading to Paisley,

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seven miles west of Glasgow,

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to try and find some answers.

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Here was Matthew at the Ragged school.

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What was the family doing?

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All I know about William, his father,

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is that he was a hand-loom weaver.

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He's the guy I've got to shed more light on, William.

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Paisley was at the centre of the weaving trade,

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and the town's museum has a huge collection relating to the industry.

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-Hi, there.

-Hello. How do you do?

-Good to see you.

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Dan Coughlin has spent 20 years researching the history

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and technology of the Paisley weavers.

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I know that my great-great-grandfather, William,

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was a hand-loom weaver.

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-I think one of his daughters was also an assistant.

-Is that right?

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What exactly would that entail?

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Well, at that time, if he was in Paisley,

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he was probably a shawl weaver.

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I have some shawls here which I can show you,

0:21:470:21:49

just to show you what they were producing,

0:21:490:21:52

which is quite impressive.

0:21:520:21:55

Gosh. That's great.

0:21:550:21:56

This would have been a typical product of the looms

0:21:560:22:00

at the time your ancestor was here.

0:22:000:22:04

How long would it take to make one of those?

0:22:040:22:07

Well, it was broken up into maybe 12 or 13 different trades -

0:22:070:22:10

the dyer, the warper, the beamer, lots of different trades. The weaver was highly skilled.

0:22:100:22:15

You can see yourself, it's a very, very fine fabric.

0:22:150:22:19

What was so special about Paisley being at the centre of this?

0:22:190:22:23

Weaving during that period was probably the biggest industry in Britain,

0:22:230:22:27

and you had areas which specialised in particular fabrics.

0:22:270:22:32

So you had, for instance, Dunfermline specialised in damask.

0:22:320:22:35

Paisley specialised in the Paisley shawl.

0:22:350:22:37

So you had a very highly trained,

0:22:370:22:39

highly skilled body of weavers in Paisley.

0:22:390:22:42

So if there was any special fabric to be produced,

0:22:420:22:44

this is where it would be produced.

0:22:440:22:47

The famous Paisley pattern people speak of all over the world originated here?

0:22:470:22:51

It takes its name from Paisley.

0:22:510:22:52

It was originally called an imitation Indian, because it was an imitation of the cashmere shawl.

0:22:520:22:57

But Paisley produced them in such abundance

0:22:570:23:00

and the trade lasted for so long

0:23:000:23:01

that it became known as the Paisley pattern.

0:23:010:23:04

In the 1851 census, William's daughter Jean

0:23:040:23:08

was listed as a hand-loom weaver's assistant.

0:23:080:23:11

The fact that there was a girl helping him suggests

0:23:110:23:14

that he was probably working on a drawloom, and the young boy or girl,

0:23:140:23:18

which was called a draw boy or a draw girl,

0:23:180:23:20

had to draw the strings here,

0:23:200:23:22

and that raised the warped threads for the weaver.

0:23:220:23:25

So it was a two-person loom. It does look very complicated.

0:23:250:23:28

It's getting tangled up that I would worry about.

0:23:280:23:31

I can show how the loom works if you want.

0:23:310:23:33

That would be lovely, yes.

0:23:330:23:35

This is the Jacquard Loom here,

0:23:360:23:38

and the pattern is actually encoded into these cards here.

0:23:380:23:41

So when I press my foot on the treadle,

0:23:410:23:43

it activates the Jacquard head up there.

0:23:430:23:46

-Doing this is very, obviously, time-consuming.

-It is indeed, yeah.

0:23:550:23:59

And this one here, it's 100 threads per inch.

0:23:590:24:03

But if you were doing it in a Paisley shawl

0:24:030:24:06

and you had 100 threads per inch, you'd have to multiply that

0:24:060:24:09

by seven or eight or how many colours you were using. So it could be several hundred per inch.

0:24:090:24:14

You had different cards, you could put different cards in?

0:24:170:24:20

-There's a different card for every colour.

-Right.

0:24:200:24:23

Weavers worked in small groups for an agent,

0:24:260:24:28

who decided on the designs and yarns and negotiated prices.

0:24:280:24:32

The patterns were lavish and intricate,

0:24:350:24:38

and the Paisley shawl was a high-fashion garment,

0:24:380:24:41

worn by wealthy women and popularised by Queen Victoria.

0:24:410:24:45

At the height of the trade,

0:24:480:24:50

the Paisley weavers were amongst the highest-paid artisans in Britain.

0:24:500:24:54

At one time, weaving was a very prosperous trade to be in.

0:24:540:24:58

They call it the golden age of hand weaving.

0:24:580:25:00

The weavers were very well paid.

0:25:000:25:02

So in 1851, William, who was 38 years old by the time,

0:25:020:25:07

was a full-time weaver and probably at the peak of his powers.

0:25:070:25:12

Yes.

0:25:120:25:13

Where was the situation in Paisley as far as weaving went?

0:25:130:25:17

They were almost exclusively weaving shawls at that time,

0:25:170:25:21

and that was just about the peak of the shawl trade.

0:25:210:25:24

-After that...

-So that was the best?

0:25:240:25:26

-Probably, yes.

-That's fascinating.

0:25:260:25:28

What I've learnt is that it was a very prestigious profession

0:25:370:25:40

when it was at its height in Paisley.

0:25:400:25:42

My problem is, there's so many things left unanswered.

0:25:420:25:47

Here we have William.

0:25:480:25:50

We know him by name and we know what he did.

0:25:500:25:52

But I think maybe something went dramatically wrong within the family.

0:25:520:25:57

There was some kind of crisis that actually affected the whole family to a critical point.

0:25:570:26:04

To find out what it was that caused the family breakdown,

0:26:040:26:08

Robin's come to Paisley Library

0:26:080:26:10

to search the archives with librarian David Weir.

0:26:100:26:14

One of the things to understand about the weaving trade is that it had severe fluctuations.

0:26:150:26:22

So one year you could be earning top dollar,

0:26:220:26:25

and next year be out of work.

0:26:250:26:30

The newspapers date from 1850 and '51.

0:26:310:26:33

So look, we've got an article here.

0:26:360:26:39

State of trade, and this is for 1850.

0:26:390:26:43

It says, "There is no improvement in the condition of trade,

0:26:430:26:45

"so far as the working population are concerned.

0:26:450:26:49

"Large numbers are still out of employment,

0:26:490:26:52

"and have been so for many weeks past".

0:26:520:26:54

And here...

0:26:540:26:56

..if I can look... state of trade, that one there.

0:26:570:27:01

So this is state of trade.

0:27:010:27:03

"Paisley has suffered very severely in the general dullness

0:27:030:27:07

"prevalent throughout the country."

0:27:070:27:09

We've got a month later.

0:27:090:27:11

This is another article on similar lines,

0:27:110:27:15

and it's there, state of trade.

0:27:150:27:17

So it says here, "State of trade.

0:27:170:27:19

"We are very happy to state that the trade of the town,

0:27:190:27:22

"which has been very dull for several months past,

0:27:220:27:25

"has now generally improved."

0:27:250:27:26

I think what the articles in these papers

0:27:260:27:29

illustrate is just how volatile the trade was.

0:27:290:27:33

But from this period on,

0:27:330:27:35

the volatility continues

0:27:350:27:37

and really, there's a general decline in the number of weavers

0:27:370:27:42

employed in hand-loom weaving.

0:27:420:27:45

Despite the popularity of Paisley shawls in the early 1850s,

0:27:470:27:50

the trade was under threat.

0:27:500:27:53

Britain was in the midst of a revolution.

0:27:530:27:56

Mechanised power looms were taking over from the hand-loom weavers.

0:27:560:28:01

And when they worked harder to compete,

0:28:010:28:04

they succeeded only in flooding the market and driving down prices.

0:28:040:28:08

The power loom could never weave a pattern as complex as a Paisley,

0:28:080:28:13

but the mass production of cheap printed shawls

0:28:130:28:16

drove down demand for the real thing.

0:28:160:28:18

For the town's weaving community, the results were disastrous.

0:28:180:28:24

Now these documents here are statements

0:28:270:28:30

from the Paisley Poorhouse.

0:28:300:28:33

This system was the equivalent of today's Social Security or Unemployment Benefit.

0:28:330:28:38

This is William Gibb, Matthew's father.

0:28:400:28:44

4th November, that is 1854.

0:28:440:28:47

Yeah.

0:28:470:28:49

William Gibb.

0:28:490:28:50

Applicant's name, married -

0:28:500:28:53

of course it has him married in Paisley to Agnes...

0:28:530:28:56

..and of course here she died on 12th July last.

0:28:580:29:02

Yeah.

0:29:020:29:03

-So she died in 1854, in July of that year.

-Yeah.

0:29:030:29:08

That's very sad.

0:29:090:29:10

"On the 16th November, 1854, William Gibb left his family destitute...

0:29:120:29:18

"..and said that he was going in search of work."

0:29:210:29:27

He said he was going in search of work.

0:29:270:29:31

"As he had nothing to do in Paisley,"

0:29:310:29:33

so there was no work for him in Paisley.

0:29:330:29:35

-Clearly his wife...

-His wife had died.

0:29:350:29:38

..his wife had died, and probably he just wasn't able

0:29:380:29:42

to cope with five children.

0:29:420:29:45

According to the records, William was away for two years.

0:29:460:29:50

He travelled round Scotland looking for work,

0:29:500:29:53

leaving his children to be cared for by the parish.

0:29:530:29:56

"4th September, 1856,

0:29:580:30:00

"William Gibb never returned to receive his children.

0:30:000:30:05

"All his children are away from him."

0:30:050:30:07

It's almost as if he abandoned them, abandoned the family.

0:30:070:30:12

While William was absent, his children,

0:30:120:30:15

aged from four to 17, were fending for themselves.

0:30:150:30:19

12th November, 1857 again...

0:30:190:30:21

"Matthew in Ragged School..."

0:30:210:30:24

And Agnes was with...

0:30:240:30:27

..with a person in service.

0:30:270:30:30

Right, so she was in service, obviously she as a maid or something.

0:30:300:30:35

Janet and Bell...

0:30:350:30:37

..in New Street, so he's not looking after any of his children.

0:30:370:30:40

Right.

0:30:400:30:42

By 1860, nearly 750 of the 800 weavers

0:30:420:30:45

registered in Paisley were unemployed.

0:30:450:30:49

Three years later, William Gibb reappeared in the records.

0:30:510:30:55

"On the 31st of June is certified by...

0:30:570:31:00

"..Falconer."

0:31:000:31:01

-Dr Falconer?

-Yeah.

0:31:010:31:03

-"To be weak from destitution."

-Yes.

0:31:030:31:05

His physical state has really deteriorated to the extent

0:31:050:31:09

where he doesn't feel he can go on, I think.

0:31:090:31:12

You know, by that period, really,

0:31:120:31:13

the weaving trade was well in decline, and you know,

0:31:130:31:17

William Gibb wouldn't have been the only person

0:31:170:31:20

to have ended up destitute.

0:31:200:31:22

"January 30th, 1863, William Gibb."

0:31:270:31:31

It says, "Depression of spirits and...

0:31:310:31:35

-"leading to insanity."

-Yeah.

0:31:350:31:39

Mm, not a very happy life.

0:31:430:31:44

Not very happy reading either, is it?

0:31:440:31:46

No, I'm afraid there's not a lot of fun in the poor lot.

0:31:460:31:49

I mean, I've no doubt, if I was him, I'd be depressed as well.

0:31:490:31:53

I mean it would be hard for anybody

0:31:530:31:55

to actually feel good in his situation.

0:31:550:31:58

By the 1870s, demand for the Paisley shawl had disappeared.

0:31:590:32:03

The hand-weaving industry - once the life blood of the town -

0:32:030:32:07

had all but died.

0:32:070:32:08

The final record for William appears in 1874 -

0:32:130:32:17

20 years after his first application for Poor Relief.

0:32:170:32:20

"The 18th March..."

0:32:200:32:24

Yeah.

0:32:240:32:25

"William Gibb died in Poorhouse today."

0:32:250:32:29

So, on March 18th, he died in the Poorhouse.

0:32:300:32:33

Yeah.

0:32:330:32:34

Not a very happy ending, is it?

0:32:350:32:38

No. No, it's very unfortunate.

0:32:380:32:40

Sad life and an unhappy ending.

0:32:410:32:44

A sad life and a miserable end, I would have thought.

0:32:440:32:47

Yeah.

0:32:470:32:48

It's a very sad story, actually, because...

0:32:520:32:56

you feel helpless, because when you read

0:32:560:32:59

about the situation, the conditions,

0:32:590:33:02

you feel like you want to reach out and help from this point of history.

0:33:020:33:06

But that's the problem - you can't and it did happen,

0:33:060:33:10

and there's no real redeeming factors here.

0:33:100:33:13

That's the sadness.

0:33:130:33:15

There's a black cloud appears over William's life

0:33:150:33:18

that affects the whole family, and it stays there till the very end,

0:33:180:33:22

until he dies in the Poorhouse.

0:33:220:33:23

Robin's final stop in Scotland is the site of the Paisley Ragged School.

0:33:380:33:43

Matthew actually had the best option of going to the Ragged School.

0:33:530:33:59

It turned out that it wasn't such a bad idea

0:33:590:34:02

because after that he did go into the Army and he had

0:34:020:34:05

a very solid and long career, and obviously a successful career.

0:34:050:34:10

And perhaps we owe our progress in our family

0:34:100:34:13

down to Matthew's decisions.

0:34:130:34:15

Back in Oxfordshire, Robin's starting a new search -

0:34:320:34:35

this time into his maternal line.

0:34:350:34:38

He wants to find out about his grandmother Nora's family.

0:34:380:34:42

I loved my grandmother.

0:34:420:34:44

She was a lovely, lovely person.

0:34:440:34:46

I'm glad I got to know her as an adult.

0:34:460:34:49

She was a lovely lady, and she lived well into her 90s.

0:34:490:34:54

Now, I know that her mother was called Lynch.

0:34:540:34:59

There are no photographs and very little information

0:35:000:35:03

in the family about Robin's great-grandmother, Cecilia Lynch.

0:35:030:35:08

I know nothing about her life at all, except she was midwife.

0:35:080:35:12

Very important job, I suppose, to have, you know, delivering babies,

0:35:120:35:16

and very few went to hospital.

0:35:160:35:18

It would be very interesting to find out more about that.

0:35:180:35:22

I'm actually trying to trace back now my mother's side,

0:35:270:35:32

the maternal line, and see what that comes up with.

0:35:320:35:35

Here we go, we've got the 1911 census up now.

0:35:360:35:41

There's my grandmother, Nora, anyway,

0:35:430:35:45

and then we've got Lawrence, Eileen, daughter, age two.

0:35:450:35:49

Head of the family, James Lynch.

0:35:490:35:52

And then it's got Cecilia - she's crossed out.

0:35:540:35:58

Why? Why is she crossed out?

0:35:580:35:59

Do you think that she might have been out and about,

0:35:590:36:02

as her job would have taken her?

0:36:020:36:05

The fact that Cecilia's name is crossed out suggests

0:36:050:36:08

that she was out of the house when the census was taken.

0:36:080:36:12

She's listed on the census as a certified midwife.

0:36:130:36:17

Robin's searching the website of the National Archives

0:36:170:36:20

to see if she was registered with a professional body.

0:36:200:36:23

Well, we have scope and content.

0:36:230:36:25

Here we have Lynch, Cecilia.

0:36:250:36:27

So what we've got here, this is the reference DV5,

0:36:270:36:30

this is the Central Midwives Board, which is the penal board case files.

0:36:300:36:37

"These files contain correspondence and papers concerning

0:36:370:36:40

"the prosecution of midwives by the Central Midwives Board."

0:36:400:36:44

Prosecution of midwives?!

0:36:440:36:46

Are we looking at some kind of criminal act here, or is it...

0:36:460:36:49

"Access condi... Closed for 75 years,

0:36:490:36:53

"record opening date will be the 1st January, 2013."

0:36:530:36:58

It's just got, "Legal status - Not Public Record."

0:36:580:37:02

I mean, I don't know. Why is it closed?

0:37:020:37:04

And not open till 1st January, 2013?

0:37:040:37:06

This is not a very pleasant discovery.

0:37:060:37:10

This is something...something dark about this.

0:37:100:37:12

It would be very interesting to find out,

0:37:120:37:16

because it just doesn't make sense to me.

0:37:160:37:18

The Central Midwives Board which brought the prosecution

0:37:220:37:25

against Cecilia, is now called the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

0:37:250:37:30

Robin's come to their headquarters in London

0:37:320:37:35

to meet Education and Research Officer Sue Macdonald.

0:37:350:37:38

-Hello.

-Hi Robin, good to meet you.

0:37:380:37:40

Pleased to meet you, I'm Robin.

0:37:400:37:42

'Cecilia Lynch, er...'

0:37:420:37:43

was prosecuted by the Central Midwife Penal Board.

0:37:430:37:48

I don't know what that entails, because it's closed for 75 years,

0:37:480:37:53

and I wonder if you could shed any light on that?

0:37:530:37:56

I mean the reason why, for the length of time would be

0:37:560:37:59

if the case involved a mother or a child...

0:37:590:38:02

Of course.

0:38:020:38:03

..it would be to protect that mother or child.

0:38:030:38:06

That's what I felt, but then there must be a reason

0:38:060:38:09

why it came about in the first place.

0:38:090:38:11

It could be many things, because at that time midwives

0:38:110:38:14

had to follow very prescribed rules, very prescribed ways of life.

0:38:140:38:19

And if they did anything that was considered of bad character,

0:38:190:38:23

they could be referred to the Board.

0:38:230:38:25

If they did anything wrong in practice, they could be referred to the Board.

0:38:250:38:29

And if you look at these old rules, everything is very prescribed,

0:38:290:38:35

even what you wear,

0:38:350:38:36

the way you have to wash your hands before you see a woman and her baby.

0:38:360:38:41

Every part of your professional life is prescribed in these rules.

0:38:410:38:46

Up until the early 1900s, there were no national standards in midwifery,

0:38:520:38:57

and midwives needed no formal training.

0:38:570:38:59

Because they sometimes performed other roles -

0:38:590:39:02

like laying out the dead and providing abortions -

0:39:020:39:06

some midwives were regarded with suspicion.

0:39:060:39:09

One newspaper from 1896 called them 'drunk and disreputable old women'.

0:39:090:39:14

But, in 1902, the Midwives Act was passed,

0:39:150:39:18

which required every midwife to be properly trained and registered.

0:39:180:39:23

Cecilia was one of this new breed of professionals,

0:39:230:39:26

qualifying in 1910.

0:39:260:39:28

I notice in the Register, though, of the Midwives,

0:39:290:39:33

because she's down here as Cecilia

0:39:330:39:36

and she will have achieved the CMB examination.

0:39:360:39:40

She came in directly as a professional midwife,

0:39:400:39:43

having undertaken the Central Midwives Board examination.

0:39:430:39:47

So, she was highly qualified.

0:39:470:39:49

For that time, absolutely, absolutely.

0:39:490:39:51

And obviously years of experience behind her by 1937.

0:39:510:39:55

She must have been, yeah.

0:39:550:39:57

So getting back to the actual job of being midwives,

0:40:000:40:03

what would have been my great-grandmother's day-to-day?

0:40:030:40:07

Was it actually a very busy job?

0:40:070:40:09

She would have had quite a busy time.

0:40:090:40:12

She'd have had her own patch,

0:40:120:40:14

and it says in this book that she was in Worsley in Manchester.

0:40:140:40:19

And the women and the families would have known her.

0:40:190:40:22

But of course, some midwives would have had, in their patch,

0:40:220:40:25

might have had very poor women who didn't have the money

0:40:250:40:28

to pay for the midwife, and certainly didn't have the money

0:40:280:40:31

to pay for a doctor,

0:40:310:40:33

and so midwives were quite often not very well off,

0:40:330:40:36

depending on how many poor women they had in their patch.

0:40:360:40:40

In the early part of the 20th century,

0:40:410:40:43

the majority of babies were born at home, and independent midwives,

0:40:430:40:47

like Cecilia, would have been on call day and night.

0:40:470:40:51

They dealt with around 100 - 150 births a year

0:40:520:40:56

and would be paid by the expectant mother to attend the delivery

0:40:560:41:00

and for a month of post-natal care.

0:41:000:41:02

They would have encountered anything from premature babies to stillbirths.

0:41:020:41:07

And, of course, there weren't the methods of pain relief

0:41:070:41:10

to lessen the pain during childbirth as we have today,

0:41:100:41:14

so it must have been quite traumatic.

0:41:140:41:17

There's a lot that your great-grandmother was doing

0:41:170:41:20

for women that would have taken a lot of internal strength.

0:41:200:41:24

-She would have been a very strong woman...

-Yeah.

0:41:240:41:27

..and tremendously admired and respected for that,

0:41:270:41:30

because she'd get women through

0:41:300:41:32

what was sometimes quite a dangerous time.

0:41:320:41:35

I did notice that the records could not be opened.

0:41:350:41:38

There's no way of finding out until the 1st January, 2013.

0:41:380:41:42

Is there any way of finding out before then?

0:41:420:41:46

Well, unless you apply to the Nursing Midwifery Council

0:41:460:41:50

-for them to open the records early, that might be a possibility.

-Right.

0:41:500:41:54

Very interesting getting the background

0:41:580:42:01

on what midwives had to do,

0:42:010:42:03

but it still didn't shed any light on the circumstances

0:42:030:42:06

surrounding that Penal Board, which is the Prosecution Board.

0:42:060:42:10

I have made a request to the Council to see

0:42:100:42:15

if I can get access to that information before 2013,

0:42:150:42:18

to see if I can get it opened and have a look,

0:42:180:42:20

because it's something I really sincerely want to get to the bottom of.

0:42:200:42:24

While Robin waits to hear back

0:42:250:42:27

about his Freedom of Information request,

0:42:270:42:30

he's contacting De Partu, a group of researchers

0:42:300:42:34

studying the history of childbirth and midwifery.

0:42:340:42:37

Going to type the message in asking if there's anybody

0:42:390:42:43

that knew her or has any record of the babies

0:42:430:42:45

that she might have delivered, or anything else they might know of.

0:42:450:42:49

So, let's see what we can come up with.

0:42:490:42:52

The next step of Robin's journey takes him north.

0:42:560:42:59

I'm hoping that, going to Manchester, the trail might turn up something,

0:43:020:43:06

because, after all, that's where she lived,

0:43:060:43:09

that's where she came from, and I'm hoping that there may be some

0:43:090:43:13

nugget that I can actually grab hold of and find some reason in this.

0:43:130:43:16

Cecilia lived in Worsley Road in Manchester for three decades.

0:43:240:43:28

This was a working-class neighbourhood,

0:43:300:43:33

with higher-than-average levels of infant mortality

0:43:330:43:36

and poor maternal health.

0:43:360:43:38

She would have been well known in the community.

0:43:390:43:43

Before the advent of contraception,

0:43:430:43:46

the average woman experienced five to 12 pregnancies in her life,

0:43:460:43:49

and a single street could keep a midwife busy all year.

0:43:490:43:55

On his arrival in Worsley Road,

0:44:010:44:04

Robin gets a response from his online post.

0:44:040:44:06

It says here, "I am in touch with a lady

0:44:060:44:11

"who qualified as a midwife in 1947.

0:44:110:44:15

"She also was delivered by Cecilia Lynch,

0:44:150:44:18

"and has some memories of her and where she lived."

0:44:180:44:24

This is more than I expected, really.

0:44:240:44:27

Five miles away in Irlam,

0:44:290:44:30

Robin's arranged to meet 90-year-old Mary Cherry.

0:44:300:44:34

-Hello.

-Hello.

0:44:430:44:45

My name's Robin Gibb.

0:44:450:44:47

-I'm very pleased to meet you.

-Pleased to meet you.

0:44:470:44:50

-My name's Mary Cherry.

-Yes.

0:44:500:44:51

-This is my sister, Margaret. This is Robin.

-Hello, Margaret.

0:44:510:44:55

-Hello, Robin.

-How do you do?

0:44:550:44:56

-Pleased to meet you.

-Please, sit down.

0:44:560:44:58

Yes, where, where can I... Shall I sit here?

0:44:580:45:01

So, Mary, did you know Cecilia Lynch?

0:45:010:45:04

My mother's midwife was called Lynch,

0:45:040:45:09

and Nurse Lynch brought me into the world.

0:45:090:45:14

So, there we have it.

0:45:140:45:15

And she also brought my brother into the world,

0:45:150:45:22

and then she brought my dear sister, Margaret, into the world.

0:45:220:45:28

She had a nice, smiling face, and she had white hair.

0:45:280:45:33

And she wore brown uniform.

0:45:340:45:38

Now this is my little sister, Margaret, who is two,

0:45:400:45:44

this is Fred, who is two years younger than me,

0:45:440:45:48

and these are Nurse Lynch's babies.

0:45:480:45:52

This is me when I knew Nurse Lynch.

0:45:550:45:59

Oh, yes.

0:45:590:46:00

This is me at school, I was seven,

0:46:000:46:03

and when I came home Nurse Lynch had brought me my little sister.

0:46:030:46:09

She used to let me watch her bath my little sister in a bowl.

0:46:090:46:16

Amazing.

0:46:160:46:17

We had an old-fashioned hand stand,

0:46:170:46:21

and we had a jug and bowl on there,

0:46:210:46:25

and my little sister fitted in that bowl.

0:46:250:46:29

So, Mary, did you know your mum was pregnant?

0:46:290:46:33

Oh, no.

0:46:330:46:34

Oh, no.

0:46:340:46:36

My mum wore a mac.

0:46:360:46:38

-Oh, she hid it?

-Hid it.

0:46:380:46:40

You didn't go about like you do today,

0:46:400:46:42

letting everybody see, "Hooray, I'm pregnant."

0:46:420:46:45

We didn't know we're having a baby.

0:46:470:46:49

Oh, no.

0:46:490:46:51

-So you didn't know till...

-We didn't know till we got you.

0:46:510:46:54

I came home from school and there she was.

0:46:540:46:56

And I was so fascinated by Nurse Lynch

0:46:560:46:59

that I wanted to be like her.

0:46:590:47:02

So I brought babies into the world.

0:47:030:47:07

Following in Cecilia's footsteps,

0:47:070:47:10

Mary became a certified midwife in 1947

0:47:100:47:13

and worked in Manchester's Hope Hospital.

0:47:130:47:17

I went on a computer, online, and I found

0:47:170:47:21

the Central Midwives Board penal report

0:47:210:47:24

actually regarding Cecilia Lynch.

0:47:240:47:27

What would be the most important things to look out for

0:47:270:47:31

that could actually, um, get a midwife into trouble?

0:47:310:47:35

She could be called to anything to cope with.

0:47:350:47:39

Yeah.

0:47:390:47:41

And there were a lot of sick children then,

0:47:410:47:43

because things were so poor.

0:47:430:47:45

But as far as Nurse Lynch, I do know that

0:47:450:47:47

she was such a woman that she would do the right thing.

0:47:470:47:50

-A very competent woman.

-Yes.

0:47:500:47:52

A competent midwife.

0:47:520:47:54

-That's what comes out, very kind and loving.

-I'm sure.

0:47:540:47:57

Thank you very much, Mary, it was lovely.

0:47:570:47:59

You're very welcome, I'm glad to have helped you.

0:47:590:48:01

-I hope I have.

-I'm awfully glad to meet you.

0:48:010:48:04

In 1937, the year she was prosecuted,

0:48:110:48:15

Cecilia was 58 and had almost three decades of experience behind her.

0:48:150:48:20

What I don't understand is, I mean,

0:48:210:48:23

I know that from all accounts she was a dedicated, passionate, particular

0:48:230:48:28

and self-sacrificing midwife, and the only thing I can think about

0:48:280:48:34

is that it was just something that today wouldn't have meant very much.

0:48:340:48:39

And my job now is, of course, to try

0:48:410:48:43

and get access to that information as soon as I can, somehow.

0:48:430:48:47

Robin's heard back about his Freedom of Information request.

0:48:560:49:01

He's been sent the case notes relating to Cecilia's prosecution.

0:49:040:49:08

They've been edited to protect the identity of the family involved.

0:49:080:49:13

Well, what I have found is what I hoped it would be,

0:49:320:49:37

and it was actually, um...

0:49:370:49:39

She was doing the right thing, she was just going against the rules.

0:49:390:49:44

She was looking after a...

0:49:440:49:47

The way I see it, she was looking after a baby who had a problem

0:49:470:49:50

almost, I would say, from birth, but sounded like conjunctivitis to me,

0:49:500:49:54

something that they could cure with penicillin today.

0:49:540:49:59

She was doing the best thing and she was attending the child every day.

0:49:590:50:03

Um, but apparently, the rules were that you have to call the doctor in

0:50:030:50:06

when you're dealing with the child's eyes, bathing it every day.

0:50:060:50:10

She was looking after the child, she just didn't call the doctor, and that was her big mistake.

0:50:100:50:14

To help him interpret the document,

0:50:200:50:22

Robin's come to the University of Salford to meet Jeanne Lythgoe,

0:50:220:50:28

a supervisor of midwives and lecturer in midwifery.

0:50:280:50:31

-Hello.

-Hello.

-Hi.

-How are you?

0:50:320:50:34

The first impressions I get from this report is that, um...

0:50:360:50:40

she was guilty of some kind of neglect,

0:50:400:50:43

and my view was that her only real neglect was that she didn't inform the doctor.

0:50:430:50:49

She was, you know, very concerned, bathing the child's eyes,

0:50:490:50:54

and I just wondered what your take on it is?

0:50:540:50:57

I mean, I think you're right, you know, you are right that she

0:50:570:51:01

did pay, um, good attention to the baby's eyes.

0:51:010:51:05

I think the problem for Cecilia was that as a midwife,

0:51:050:51:09

-she was working under certain rules that were set.

-Of course.

0:51:090:51:13

And the reason for that was because

0:51:130:51:16

some conditions of the eyes discharging could be as a result

0:51:160:51:19

of a very serious condition called ophthalmia neonatorum.

0:51:190:51:25

And that was a result of infection

0:51:250:51:28

from the mum having gonorrhoea, having suffered from gonorrhoea.

0:51:280:51:32

And the baby's eyes get infected as the baby

0:51:320:51:35

comes down the birth canal.

0:51:350:51:37

And Cecilia would have known that she was to notify the Medical Officer for Health

0:51:370:51:44

if she came across or had any suspicions

0:51:440:51:46

of this actual condition.

0:51:460:51:48

When the case was brought against Cecilia in 1937,

0:51:520:51:55

gonorrhoea was a major public health problem.

0:51:550:51:59

Because of the stigma attached to the disease,

0:51:590:52:02

and the difficulty of diagnosing and treating it, many cases went unreported.

0:52:020:52:08

This led to a nationwide sexual-health campaign,

0:52:080:52:11

and midwives were under strict instructions to report

0:52:110:52:15

any suspected cases in infants to a doctor.

0:52:150:52:18

There are probably about 60,000 new infections each year.

0:52:190:52:24

If untreated in the expectant mother,

0:52:240:52:28

it may infect the eyes of the infant at birth, causing blindness.

0:52:280:52:33

On, I think it's about the fourth or fifth day after the baby was born,

0:52:340:52:38

a doctor came to see the lady.

0:52:380:52:40

He says he wasn't there to actually look at the baby's eyes, he was...

0:52:400:52:44

he'd visited the mum for a previous condition.

0:52:440:52:47

But he looked at the baby's eyes and he said that he'd advise

0:52:470:52:51

the mum to contact him if the eyes got worse.

0:52:510:52:54

Yeah.

0:52:540:52:55

Now Cecilia obviously felt that because those eyes had been seen by a doctor,

0:52:550:53:00

that actually she had abided by the rules and she had notified a doctor.

0:53:000:53:05

Maybe she thought by seeing the doctor already

0:53:050:53:08

that she'd got the green light to look after this child

0:53:080:53:11

and give it the follow-up care she needed.

0:53:110:53:14

I... I don't doubt in my mind she wouldn't have done something wittingly.

0:53:140:53:18

Cecilia continued to follow the doctor's instructions,

0:53:200:53:23

bathing the eyes daily.

0:53:230:53:25

When a health visitor paid a routine visit six days later,

0:53:250:53:29

she noticed the condition of the eyes had deteriorated.

0:53:290:53:33

The baby was sent to hospital.

0:53:330:53:35

The outcomes for a lot of the babies were maybe sight problems

0:53:350:53:40

or maybe the loss of sight in one eye.

0:53:400:53:43

But unfortunately in this particular instance,

0:53:430:53:47

the baby's eyes were severely both affected, and the child was blind.

0:53:470:53:51

It is very sad, but it must have been tremendously distressing,

0:53:530:53:58

and that's probably putting it mildly.

0:53:580:54:01

I'm sure the baby being blind as a result

0:54:010:54:04

would probably also have really upset Cecilia

0:54:040:54:07

and affected, you know, affected the way she approached her practice in the future.

0:54:070:54:13

Cecilia was reported to the Central Midwives Board by the local authority,

0:54:140:54:19

because it was she who was officially in charge of the case.

0:54:190:54:22

She had to go to a hearing there,

0:54:220:54:25

and had to stand in front of a large number of people,

0:54:250:54:29

a lot of them dignitaries, lords and people with MBEs.

0:54:290:54:33

How do you think she would have been able to deal with this,

0:54:330:54:37

mentally, I mean?

0:54:370:54:39

Um, I think it's really to her credit

0:54:390:54:42

that she seems to conduct herself well within this investigation.

0:54:420:54:47

I think that comes through really well within her writing.

0:54:470:54:51

She's almost defiant that she is innocent and she wants to prove that.

0:54:510:54:56

She could have easily decided, no, I'm not going to face that,

0:54:560:54:59

I will retire and, you know, I won't continue.

0:54:590:55:02

I think it was an injustice.

0:55:020:55:04

I think she was blamed unnecessarily, considering the reputation that she had

0:55:040:55:09

and the amount of people that she delivered into the world.

0:55:090:55:12

But unfortunately, the Central Midwives Board,

0:55:120:55:15

it was a very punitive type of organisation...

0:55:150:55:18

Obviously, yes.

0:55:180:55:19

And it was really developed by doctors.

0:55:190:55:23

So the rules were actually developed by doctors.

0:55:230:55:25

So what was the outcome for Cecilia?

0:55:250:55:27

Was there any punishment?

0:55:270:55:30

Well, what happened was, they actually looked at the case

0:55:300:55:33

and they found her guilty of breaking, breaching that rule,

0:55:330:55:37

because she didn't notify.

0:55:370:55:39

But then they actually looked at all the supporting evidence,

0:55:390:55:42

and in that instance they then decided they would just give her a caution.

0:55:420:55:47

And she was able to continue as a midwife.

0:55:470:55:50

It must have been a blow to her, though.

0:55:500:55:52

Yeah. I don't think we can underestimate the stress and upset that that would have caused her.

0:55:520:55:57

I certainly think that it must have been really traumatic for her.

0:55:570:56:01

The case notes include character references for Cecilia

0:56:050:56:09

written by some of the doctors who worked with her.

0:56:090:56:12

So it was written in April '37.

0:56:120:56:14

"I have known Nurse Lynch for almost three years,

0:56:140:56:17

"and during that time always found her to be highly efficient

0:56:170:56:21

"and conscientious in her work and good to her patients.

0:56:210:56:25

"And as far as I'm concerned she's the best midwife with whom

0:56:250:56:29

"I have ever worked."

0:56:290:56:31

And that's just an example of the many good letters of support that she had.

0:56:310:56:35

Robin's final stop is the local history library in Salford.

0:56:380:56:42

He wants to find out if Cecilia was able to restore her good name.

0:56:420:56:48

She died in 1939, just two years after the case,

0:56:480:56:52

and only three days before she was due to retire.

0:56:520:56:56

Robin's searching the local papers for an obituary.

0:57:010:57:04

The local news, Eccles, Swinton, Urmston.

0:57:040:57:07

Ah, here we are.

0:57:070:57:09

This is Chat and Comment.

0:57:090:57:11

Nurse Lynch, Death of Popular Winton Midwife.

0:57:110:57:14

"Yesterday Nurse Cecilia Lynch, of Worsley Road, Winston,

0:57:170:57:21

"should have retired from her practice and started to take things easy

0:57:210:57:24

"after a life of hard work.

0:57:240:57:26

"Today her remains will be interred at the Peel Green Cemetery,

0:57:260:57:30

"and her many acquaintances will be left with

0:57:300:57:33

"but a memory of one of the most popular figures in the district.

0:57:330:57:36

"She had attended numerous patients

0:57:360:57:39

"and assisted in bringing hundreds of babies into the world.

0:57:390:57:42

"Throughout the area she served, she was respected and admired by all with whom she came into contact."

0:57:420:57:49

I think that's a great dedication to her. I don't think you can get much better than that.

0:57:490:57:55

She did do great things.

0:57:550:57:58

To bring thousands of people into this world, safely.

0:57:580:58:01

I feel now that I know someone in my not-too-distant past

0:58:100:58:14

that I'd like to have known when they were alive.

0:58:140:58:17

I feel richer for knowing.

0:58:170:58:19

The fact is that you can affect people's lives in many different ways.

0:58:240:58:28

And what I've found so far is, on my father's side

0:58:280:58:33

and on my mother's side, is two heroes.

0:58:330:58:35

The world is different because they lived.

0:58:380:58:41

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:59:010:59:05

E-mail [email protected]

0:59:050:59:09

Bee Gees star Robin Gibb discovers a tale of poverty and grit as he finds out how his paternal great-grandfather overcame the odds to become a decorated soldier. The trail leads back to Paisley, the famous centre of Scottish weaving, as Robin attempts to solve the mystery of a family breakdown.

On his mother's side, Robin wants to find out more about his great-grandmother Cecilia Lynch, who was a midwife. As Robin follows the document trail, he is shocked to discover that his great-grandmother was hauled before the Midwives Penal Board in a tragic case involving one of the babies she had delivered. What happened - and was Cecilia at fault?


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