William was born in Hindley in about 1854. We do not know who his parents are yet. He married Margaret, possibly in 1878, and they had the following children (notice that they are all girls!):-

  • Annie (EM008), born about 1878 in Hindley;
  • Polly (EM006), born in 1879 in Hindley and christened on 9th November 1879;
  • Maggie ( ), born in 1883 in Hindley;
  • Elizabeth ( ), born in 1886 in Hindley;
  • Jane ( ), born in 1888 in Hindley;
  • Sarah ( ), born in 1890 in Hindley.

William and his family were living at 117 Wigan Road in Hindley at the time of the 1881 Census and William was working as a coal miner. The family had a servant called Ellen Magnall aged 62 who was a widow. Was this William’s mother?

By the time of the 1891 Census the family had moved to 4 Wood Yard in Hindley. William was now working as a gas stoker. Town gas used to be made by heating coal. This process involved alternately blowing air and water vapour through the hot coal. A lot of useful byproducts from organic chemicals to coke were produced. There was also a lot of waste and dirt produced. A gas stoker charged the retorts, for making gas, with coal and after the gas had been extracted from the coal, pulling out the hot coke, cooling it with water and taking it to the coke stockpile for sale. It was a horrible, dirty job and slightly better paid than an ordinary labourers job.

Both the 1881 and 1891 Census record the family using the surname Magnall, but all other records I have found use the surname Mangnall.

[Last updated 23 Oct 2005]