Friday, 27 April 2007

Robert Findley Daglish

Here is a photograph which shows the name of Robert Findley Daglish, who served as Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Air Force at the end of World War 1, and Flight Lietenant V.C. Cordingley. Also on the back of the photo are the words "The first machine to fly under the Hohenzollern Bridge Cologne New Years Day 1919".

Robert Findley Daglish, the son of James Daglish and Georgina Robinson, was born in Liverpool in May 1896 - although his family were from Newcastle. He died in March 1988.

Robert's brother, George Richard Gordon Daglish, a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Air Service, was killed in 1917 at the age of 27.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Is Daglish an endangered name?

This week I read an article about how some unusual surnames have died out. With low numbers a name can become unsustainable. My wife has an unusual maiden name where this could become a possibility, as the current population of her family surname is very low. So what about Daglish?

Since the start of civil registration in the UK in 1837 the number of registered births has consistently exceeded the number of registered deaths. From the start of civil registration in 1837 until 2005 there were 3,624 births and 2,219 deaths recorded.

Another measure is the UK census records. In the 1851 UK Census there is a total of 408 Daglishes listed, of which most were in Durham (198) and in Northumberland (150).

By the 1901 Census the total had increased to 764, with 364 in Durham and 257 in Northumberland. Other Daglish families were living in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumberland and, increasingly, in London.

After the First World War, the drift to other areas of the country increased, reflecting greater mobility.

There are some web sites which can searched for details of surname numbers and distribution.

One is Surname Profiler, which gives a comparison of the distribution of a particular surname in England, Wales and Scotland in 1881 and 1998. This is displayed in figures and on maps - the ones for Daglish are shown here.

The one shown above left is for 1881, showing the high concentration of the name in the counties of Northumberland, Durham and Yorkshire. Purple is highest, followed by red and yellow. There were other Daglish families in Lancashire, Cumberland and in London - but these do not register on this particular map.

The second map, right, is for 1998. The highest numbers are still in the North East - but there is a much wider distribution throughout the country.

This spread can also be seen in libraries by looking at telephone directories - there are most entries in the directories for the North East, but there is usually at least one Daglish entry to be found in every directory.

Expressed in numbers, in 1881 there were 23 Daglishes per million names, which had risen to 25 per million in 1998. The ranking of the Daglish surname rose from 5592 in 1881 to 5472 in 1998.

The records also reflect a number of social trends.

One of the most striking is the decline in infant mortality. Comparing the 10 year period 1866-1875 with 100 years later (1966-1975), in 1866-75 39 infants died before their first birthday, and 10 more before the age of 2 (from a total of 141 deaths). One hundred years later there were only 2 deaths before the child's first birthday and no more before age 2 (total 137 deaths).

At the same time life expectancy has increased. In 1866-75, 18 people lived to be older than 70 (12.77%), with 5 of these reaching 80. 100 years later 83 people lived beyond 70 (60.59%), with 29 of these living beyond 80.

So it seems that, although unusual, the Daglish name is thriving - and there is no reason to be concerned for its continuing survival!

Extracts from the UK Daglish Births, Marriages and Deaths registers 1837 to 2005 can be searched in the Daglish Archive.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

The Daglish Foundry, St. Helens

The picture shows the Robert Daglish & Company foundry in St. Helens, Lancashire in about 1870. The foundry started in the 1790s and Robert Daglish (senior) took an interest in 1818. By the 1840s, it was known as Watson, Daglish & Co., but from 1843 the Weston name was dropped.

The firm described itself in those days as "Brass & Iron Founders, Manufacturers of Steam Engines, Weighing Machines, Gas Apparatus, Mill Machinery, etc.". The company went on to build an international reputation for the casting and building of steam pumping and winding for the mining industry, and was particularly successful producing locomotives and bridges for the expanding railway network.

Visitors to Dublin today can find some evidence of the work of the foundry on the Rory O'More Bridge over the River Liffey, close to the Guinness brewery. The bridge was completed in 1859 as the Victoria Bridge and re-named in 1939 after Rory O'More, one of the key figures in the Irish Rebellion of 1641.

Inscribed on the arch of the bridge is: "Robert Daglish Junr. St. Helens Foundry Lancashire". Robert Daglish Junior was the son of Robert senior, and was well known for his work on bridges.

By the 1890s the St. Helens site had extended to cover 25,000 square yards and over 400 people were employed. However, by the beginning of the 19th century the peak had passed, and by the 1920s a decline in the local collieries had reduced demand and some said that the machinery built by the Daglishes was too well-built to need replacing. The foundry was in continuous production from 1798 until its closure and eventual demolition in 1939.

Photo of the foundry and details provided by Richard Daglish, who has spent many years researching his Daglish family from Lancashire. Richard has provided much support and encouragement to my own Daglish research and is a member of the Daglish DNA Project.
Photo of the rolling equipment from book "A Teatise on Manures" by A.B. Griffiths.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Uppies and Downies 2007

I took an extended Easter break to travel to Workington to see the Uppies and Downies on Tuesday evening.

At 6:30 pm Robert Daglish (pictured left) threw off the ball. During the next hour, there was plenty of action as play took the ball across and often into the beck. For much of the time the ball was lost from sight in the scrummage, emerging every so often and thrown – presumably to a team-mate, although to the untrained eye it is hard to tell who is on which side.

As darkness fell the ball began to move down the beck in the direction of Curwen Hall and at about 9:15 the Uppies won the game by hailing the ball. The ball was hailed by Jamie Beaumont, who also plays for Workington Town Rugby League team. This also gave the Uppies the 2007 series, as they had also won the Good Friday game giving a 2-0 lead in the three match series.

However there is a possible cloud on the horizon. The game begins on The Cloffocks, an open space used for sport and recreation - and most of the action takes place there. Some space has already been lost to a car park and to new Council offices – but now a large part of the Cloffocks has been sold to Tesco for a new supermarket. Tesco’s original plans were to divert or cover the beck – but the discovery of salmon and lampreys, an endangered species, in the beck may have caused a change of plan. But this is still a subject of local controversy, with some disputing whether Allerdale Council has the lrgal right to sell land that was apparently left to the people of Workington for recreational use.

As an outsider, the Uppies and Downies is a unique event like nothing I have seen before, with a long and proud history. The continued existence of the games seems to be inextricably linked to the future of The Cloffocks – and it is to be hoped that a solution can be found which will allow the games to continue for many more years to come.

I would like to thank Bob and Robert Daglish, Linda Carter and Aunt Amy for their very warm hospitality, which was very much appreciated.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Uppies and Downies - Easter in Workington

The Uppies and Downies games take place every Easter in Workington – and there is a long tradition of involvement of the local Daglish family.

Uppies and Downies is one of only three mass-football events that are still played in the UK, the other two being at Ashbourne in Derbyshire and at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands.

The games are played each year on Good Friday, the following Tuesday and the next Saturday - but it is the Tuesday game that the Daglish family has been involved with.

In recent years this is Bob Daglish and his son Robert. Bob told me:

"We have been involved with the game as far back as records began. Basically it involves the Up side of town getting the ball to the Curwen Hall and the Down side getting it to the harbour. There are no rules, we simply throw the ball off at 18.30 on Easter Tuesday and watch the fun!

Anyone can play, it can last 30 mins or it can last 6 hours. it depends alot on the weather and how many people turn out, sometimes 5 or 6 hundred, sometimes a couple of thousand (especially if Easter is late, and the weather good with light nights). There is no team strip or colours, you wear old clothes, especially if you intend following the ball into the beck (a beck is a small stream or a river)."

Each game starts at The Cloffocks, an open area used for recreational purposes, and is won by the team that reaches its goal and "hails" the ball by raising it three times. The play can go anywhere - in the river, in the beck or into the town. It can be rough – but rarely violent, although injuries are common and death is not unknown. Four players are known to have drowned – most recently in 1983.

Bob's father Henry Daglish (1917-1977) and his great great-uncle Anthony Daglish (1850-1933) are the only men ever to have thrown the ball off and hailed it in the same game. Anthony Daglish also appears in the all-time list of top "hailers" with five successes between 1871 and 1890. The cutting shown dates from around 1928.

The ball, which is dated, is hand made to an existing pattern and takes thirty hours to make. Each ball weighs about two and a half pounds and is 21 inches round. No spares are made.

The Uppies and Downies series raises thousands of pounds each year for charity through ticket draws and ball money donations.

With thanks to Bob Daglish, Linda Carter and to the Times & Star for the information. The cutting appears in the book "Workington in old picture postcards, Volume 2" by Derek Woodruff.