Lorna's maternal grandfather
Yesterday we blipped a photograph of two sisters: Topsie (Lorna’s mother) and Gertie (Lorna’s aunt). This is their father (Lorna’s grandfather). He has been described by family members as ‘ambitious’ with a ‘head for figures’, and in the press as an active politician who ‘devoted much time to public work’. He started his career as a railway clerk and ended it as a banker and stockbroker.
When Lorna’s grandmother died in 1895, her grandfather appointed his younger unmarried sister (Lorna’s great aunt) as his housekeeper. She died eleven years later in 1906.
Four years on, Lorna’s grandfather was married again. His second wife was a Sunday school teacher 34 years his junior, and younger than all but one of the children from his first marriage. Together they had two sons.
Lorna’s grandfather was seemingly respectable man, active in local politics, an alderman, a JP, and an upstanding member of the church - but he had a secret.
After his sister’s death, he started a relationship with his beautiful young new housekeeper. She was not in his employment for long. When she moved out (presumably around 1906/7 when pregnant with their first son), he set her up elsewhere. She lived first in a town just over 40 miles away, then in London. Here they continued their relationship away from prying eyes. After a second son was born in 1909, Lorna’s grandfather’s mistress expected a marriage proposal.
This proposal never materialised. Instead Lorna’s grandfather married his second wife - the daughter of a wealthy merchant in his home town - and promptly abandoned his secret family. It appears this his only contact with his sons from this point on was as a distant ‘patron’.
We don’t know whether Lorna knew of these shenanigans. We suspect not. However, we have evidence that she must have come into contact with her half uncles because they all attended her grandfather’s funeral.