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A Tale of Two Sisters


These two lovely ladies are Marguerite and Mary Constance Smart (seated), sisters from Nottingham. They were the children of George Smart, an upholsterer, and Ann Attenborough who were married on 6 February 1868 at Sneinton.[1] George’s business grew to become Smart & Brown Ltd, upholsterers and cabinet makers who had an impressive store at 5-9 Bridlesmith Gate in Nottingham.


Mary Constance Smart, known as Connie, was born on 7 March 1875.[2] At the time of the census, in 1881, Connie was living with, or visiting, her grandparents Richard and Mary Attenborough in the village of Burton Joyce in Nottinghamshire. Richard was a commission agent, which means he was salesman employed on a commission-only basis.[3]


Marguerite was born in 1882.[4] In 1891 both Connie and Marguerite were living with their grandmother, Mary Attenborough on Lambley Lane in Burton Joyce.[5]


On 28 March 1895 Connie was baptised at Holy Trinity church in Nottingham. She was 20 years old.[6] Baptism records for some of her other siblings shows that they were also baptised in their late teens or early twenties.


In 1901 Marguerite, known as Jennie, was visiting the household of Eleanor Brown in Swineshead in Lincolnshire.[7] Meanwhile, Connie appeared on her first census living at home with her parents and siblings at 2 Zulla Road in Bulwell, Nottinghamshire.[8] Perhaps because her grandmother had passed away in 1896.[9]

2 Zulla Road

On 19 July 1905, Marguerite married Arthur Goodwin Brown at St Andrew’s church in Nottingham. Arthur was a civil engineer like his father, also called Arthur.[10] Marguerite and Arthur set up their home a short distance away from Zulla Road at 7 Thyra Grove.


On the 1911 census they were living in this house with their two children: Elizabeth Winifred and Constance Marguerite as well as Arthur’s Aunt Fanny Ann Brown and Emily Jack, a servant.[11]


It’s not clear where Connie was living on the night of the 1911 census (2 April 1911) but it was either in Nottingham or Skegness, Lincolnshire. At the bottom of the census page the address is 2 Zulla Road, Bulwell the same as in 1901. The address on the reverse of the census page is St Annes, Drake Road in Skegness and the page is amongst the Skegness census.[12] Perhaps they were on holiday in Skegness but wrote their home address by mistake. Or had they taken the schedule from the property in Skegness and completed it in Nottingham.


On 24 September 1913, George Smart died, leaving an estate valued at almost £31,000. Connie received £50 per year.[13]


On 28 May 1914 Connie sailed first class on the Adriatic to New York to visit her second cousin Charles Denne in Denver, Colorado.[14]

Robert Hunt Picture Library, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Connie travelled from New York back to England on the SS St Louis arriving back in Liverpool on 25 April 1915.[15] I wonder how she felt when two weeks later, the passenger liner Lusitania was torpedoed while taking the same route from New York killing 1,195 people. The Imperial German Embassy in Washington D.C. placed ads in American newspapers warning potential travellers that “vessels flying the flag of Great Britain or of any of her allies are liable to destruction” and should be avoided. America had not joined the war at this stage so this is perhaps why Connie chose to travel back on an American liner instead of the Adriatic that she had sailed out on.


In the 1921 census Connie was visiting a Mary Clifton and her family in Hunstanton, Norfolk.[16]. Marguerite and Arthur were still living at Thyra Grove and by this time they had another daughter, she was called Sybil Ethel Joan Brown.[17]


On 12 March 1931, Connie sailed to Genoa.[18] Meanwhile back in England, Marguerite and Arthur moved to an impressive house at 2 Lucknow Drive in Nottingham.



On 5 June 1934, Marguerite’s daughter Constance Margaret married Richard Gover Ford at Mapperley church.[19]


On 27 May 1936, Connie sailed from Southampton to New York on the Queen Mary to visit her cousin Charles Denne who was now living in Cass County, Iowa. We also find out from the passenger list that she was 5ft 2, with brown hair and brown eyes.[20] She arrived back in England on 9 November 1936.[21]


Sybil and William on their wedding day

In August 1936, Marguerite’s daughter Sybil Joan married William Guy Sampson at Mapperley church.[22]


On 12 March 1938, Marguerite and Connie's mother, Ann Smart died, aged 94.[23] Her unmarried children continued to live in the house on Zulla Road. Connie and her older sister Annie were living there on 29 September 1939 when the National Registration Survey was carried out.[24] At this time Marguerite and Arthur were living at 2 Lucknow Drive in Nottingham with their youngest daughter Sybil.[25] Sybil's husband William was not present; he had volunteered for the army at the outbreak of the war and became a captain in the Royal Army Service corps serving in North Africa.[26]


In the spring of 1942 Connie married widower Anthony Stephenson in Nottingham, they were both in their sixties.[27] Anthony died on 16 August 1949.[28] Both sisters were now widows, Marguerite’s husband Arthur had died suddenly of a heart attack while on a business trip in Norfolk in April 1947.[29][30]


Constance died on 1 December 1955 at Zulla Road although the National Probate Calendar says that her home address was Tennyson House, Quebec Road, Mablethorpe.[31] This was the home of her niece Sybil Joan and her second husband George Victor Parnham. On 5 December she was cremated at Wilford Hill Crematorium in Nottingham. She was 80 years old. It was her sister, Marguerite Jane Brown, who arranged the cremation, she was also living at Zulla Road. Her ashes were scattered in the Garden of Rest.[32]


Marguerite died on 4 March 1970 at 2 Zulla Road, she was 87 years old.[33] She was cremated on 9 March 1970 at Wilford Hill Crematorium in Nottingham. Her home address was 2 Zulla Road. Like her sister, her ashes were scattered in the Garden of Rest.[34]


Nottingham Guardian 11 April 1970, page 3

Connie and Marguerite lived quite different lives. Marguerite married, had children etc, the conventional life. Connie appears more unconventional, travelling, marrying so late in life. In the end though, the sisters were always united.

 

End notes [1] Marriages (PR) England. Sneinton, Nottinghamshire. 6 February 1868. SMART, George and ATTENBOROUGH, Ann. Nottinghamshire Marriages Index 1528-1929. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [2] Baptisms (PR) England. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. 28 March 1895. SMART, Mary Constance. Collection: Nottinghamshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1919, www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [3] Census records England. Burton Joyce, Nottinghamshire. 3 April 1881. ATTENBOROUGH, Richard. Class: RG11; Piece: 3338; Folio: 6; Page: 6; GSU roll: 1341796. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [4] Births index (CR) England. Basford, Nottinghamshire. 3rd quarter, 1882. SMART, Marguerite Jane. Vol 7b, Page 153. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 21 June 2023 [5] Census records England. Burton Joyce, Nottinghamshire. 5 April 1891. ATTENBOROUGH, Mary. Class: RG12; Piece: 2678; Folio: 7; Page: 1; GSU roll: 6097788. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [6] Baptisms (PR) England. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. 28 March 1895. SMART, Mary Constance. Collection: Nottinghamshire, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1919, www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [7] Census records England. Swineshead, Lincolnshire. 31 March 1901. BROWN, Eleanor. Class: RG13; Piece: 3040; Folio: 8; Page: 8. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [8] Census records England. Bulwell, Nottinghamshire. 31 March 1901. SMART, George. Class: RG13; Piece: 3187; Folio: 42; Page: 28. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [9] Deaths announcement. Nottinghamshire Guardian. 11 July 1896. ATTENBOROUGH, Mary. Page 3, col a. British Newspaper Archives. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 22 June 2023 [10] Marriages (PR) England. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. 19 July 1905. BROWN, Arthur Goodwin and SMART, Marguerite. Nottinghamshire Archives; Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England; Pr10379; Reference: Pr10379. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 21 June 2023 [11] Census records England. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. 2 April 1911. BROWN, Arthur Goodwin. RG14PN20587 RG78PN1230 RD430 SD3 ED47 SN456. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [12] Census records England. Skegness, Lincolnshire. 2 April 1911. SMART, George. RG14PN19867 RG78PN1190 RD420 SD4 ED10 SN72. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [13] Nottingham Evening Post (1913) Local Wills. Nottingham Evening Post. 31 December. Page 6, col a. British Newspaper Archives. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [14] Passenger lists, SS Adriatic, Dep 28 May 1914. SMART, Constance. Year: 1914; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 10; Page Number: 96. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 21 June 2023 [15] Passenger lists. SS St Louis. Arr 25 April 1915. SMART, Mary C. Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Inwards Passenger Lists; Class: Bt26; Piece: 606; Item: 20. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 22 June 2023 [16] Census records England. Hunstanton, Norfolk. 19 June 1921. CLIFTON, Mary. RG15/09839. RD 234 RS 2 ED 17, 18. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 20 Mary 2023 [17] Census records England. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. 19 June 1921. BROWN, Arthur. RG15/16040. RD 430 RS 3 ED 47. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 20 Mary 2023 [18] Passenger lists. SS Johan Van Oldenbarnevelt. Dep 12 March 1931. SMART, Mary Constance. BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [19] Nottingham Evening Post (1934) Wedding at St Judes. Nottingham Evening Post. 5 June. Page 1, col c. British Newspaper Archives. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 21 June 2023 [20] Passenger lists. SS Queen Mary. SMART, Mary Constance. Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 28; Page Number: 127. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [21] Passenger lists, SS Queen Mary, Arr 9 November 1936. SMART, Mary Constance. Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 1111; Item: 61. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [22] Nottingham Evening Post (1936) Mapperley Wedding Nottingham Evening Post. 20 August. Page 12, col f. British Newspaper Archives. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 22 June 2023 [23] Deaths index (CR) England. Nottingham Registration District, Nottingham 1st quarter, 1938. SMART, Ann. Vol 7b, Page 436. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [24] National Registration Survey. Bulwell, Nottinghamshire. 29 September 1939. SMART, Mary Constance. Ref: RG101/6167B/024/39 Letter Code: RMCM. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [25] National Registration Survey. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. 29 September 1939. BROWN, Arthur G. Ref: RG101/6166G/013/28 Letter Code: RMCK. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [26] Boston Guardian (1943) Kirton Officer’s Promotion. Boston Guardian. 27 October. Page 5, col i. British Newspaper Archives. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 22 June 2023 [27] Marriages index (CR) England. Nottingham Registration District, Nottinghamshire. 1st quarter, 1942. STEPHENSON, Anthony and SMART, Mary C. Vol 7b, Page 871. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [28] National Probate Calendar. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. Probate date: 17 October 1949. STEPHENSON, Anthony. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [29] National Probate Calendar. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. Probate date: 9 July 1947. BROWN, Arthur Goodwin. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [30] Nottingham Journal (1947) Sudden death of Mr A G Brown. Nottingham Journal. 23 April. Page 6, col g. British Newspaper Archives. www.findmypast.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [31] National Probate Calendar. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. Probate date: 19 July 1955. STEPHENSON, Mary Constance. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [32] Burials (CR) England. Wilford Hill Crematorium, Nottingham. 5 December 1955. STEPHENSON, Mary Constance. www.deceasedonline.com: accessed 20 May 2023 [33] National Probate Calendar. Nottingham, Nottinghamshire. Probate date: 11 August 1970. BROWN, Marguerite Jane. www.ancestry.co.uk: accessed 20 May 2023 [34] Burials (CR) England. Wilford Hill Crematorium, Nottingham. 5 December 1955. STEPHENSON, Mary Constance. www.deceasedonline.com: accessed 20 May 2023

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