Monday 22 January 2024

Family connections - Jenkinson and Nagley

 We have had a week of snow - very little here - and ice and have now had yet another 'named' storm. How did we ever manage when we looked at the sky to see if it was going to rain and put on a woolly hat when it was cold?

In the garden the snowdrops are just showing white and a few daffodils are in bud but wisely they are waiting for a little warmth.  I see them when I walk Molly who is an old dog now - she was a puppy when I began to write my blog- she likes lying in her bed next to the radiator and has to be coaxed out for a walk.

Both my history groups have now started and we are catching up after the Xmas break.So often you can pull a thread and you never know where you are going to end up. This was the case when I received an e mail from a gentleman whose  grandmother was brought up in Goole and who was a very proficient musician.

Maud Hopkinson was born in Hunslet in 1884 but when she was 6 years old her father died of tuberculosis and she was ‘adopted’ by her aunt and uncle.  Her uncle, Alfred Whittaker, was a professional sign writer and also a musician who played the violin and the piano.  

In  June 1913 an article about her appeared in the Goole Saturday Journal. This is an extract.

Miss Hopkinson, of 11 Jefferson Street, Goole, has lived in a musical atmosphere all her life.  At an early age she made her debut as a pianist, and when twelve years old she secured her first professional engagement. This was to play at a dance at Saltmarshe Hall. She was assisted by her uncle, Mr Alfred Whitaker, who played the violin, and was complimented by the company for whom she played. Among the guests, and about her own age, was Miss Saltmarshe, who is now Lady Deramore. Needless to say, the half guinea Miss Hopkinson earned was greatly treasured. Following this she received similar engagements, but after a few years her taste for classical music became too strong to allow her to continue playing for dances, and naturally she declined to undertake any more work of that kind.

About this time, Mr Rogers, a musician from Doncaster, expressed a desire to form a ladies’ orchestral society in Goole. Miss Hopkinson was so much in sympathy with this idea that she pluckily choose to learn the double bass, an essential instrument to the orchestra, yet one upon which few ladies desire to devote their practice. She soon became a good player, but unfortunately no ladies’ society was formed owing to the insufficient number of members. 

However Miss Hopkinson’s energies in this direction were not wasted, as she was invited to join the Goole Amateur Orchestral Society, and on several occasions she assisted at their concerts. Finding the double bass rather clumsy, and hardly suitable for solo work, the ‘cello next claimed Miss Hopkinson’s attention. She became a useful member of the Orchestral Society, and also assisted the Goole Operatic Society in the production of their operas - ‘Trial by Jury’, ‘Pirates of Penzance’ and ‘Les Cloches de Cornville’. 

When the Maidstone Violin Classes were formed at the Boothferry Road Boys’ and National Schools, with Mr Whitaker as instructor, Miss Hopkinson assisted.  A well known Goole violinist to whom Miss Hopkinson gave his first lessons at these classes was Master S. Nagley. She soon discovered his natural ability, and although he joined the class at a later date than the majority he easily became the leading boy.

At the present time Miss Hopkinson is best known as a pianist and organist. Her later pianoforte tuition was received from Herr Muller, Mus. Bac., under whom she studied harmony and counterpoint for two years. She was a prize winner at Pontefract Music Festival on two occasions, being successful in the class for pianoforte accompaniment at sight.

 Following a course of organ lessons under Mr Arthur Whitaker she obtained the post of organist at the United Methodist Church, and as an accompanist to the prize choir of that church she is well known as a very capable worker, and has played a number of oratorios.

 As a mark of appreciation of her untiring efforts on their behalf, the members of the choir presented her with a gold watch in January of last year.

She is a member of the Royal College of Organists, and succeeded in passing the practical section of the associateship examination, held in London last July. Her coach for this work was Dr Eaglesfield Hull, F.R.C.O., Principle of the Huddersfield College of Music. Besides a year’s organ tuition under so eminent a master, Miss Hopkinson has attended lectures in London, Huddersfield and Manchester, and has heard some of the best English and continental organists, including a recital at Lucerne Cathedral.

Three years later Maud married Walter Tom Jenkinson, a farmer from Gribthorpe, as reported in the Goole Times in June 1916.  

The  Boothferry Road chapel on the right where Maud Hopkinson played the organ and where she was married. It was damaged by bombing in the war in 1942 and was demolished in 1962.

 A very pretty wedding, and one of considerable interest to lovers of music and admirers of the high musical service at the Boothferry Road United Methodist Church, to which Miss Hopkinson has been so valuable a contributor, was solemnised at the United Methodist Church, 

 The bride was Miss Maud Murdina Hopkinson, daughter of Mrs Hopkinson, Dunhill Road, Goole, and the late Mr Jas Hopkinson, and the adopted daughter and niece of Mr Alf Whitaker, of 11 Jefferson Street.

 The bridegroom was Mr Walter Tom Jenkinson, of The Beeches, Gribthorpe, youngest son of Mrs Jenkinson and the late Mr Edward Jenkinson, of Gribthorpe.


 The chief bridesmaid was Miss Mobbs (Clifton Gardens), an old friend. There were four junior attendants; Miss Mary Alden (Foggathorpe), niece of the bridegroom, and Miss Daisy Hopkinson, niece of the bride, Master Charlie Patchett (Yokefleet), and Master John Jenkinson (Howden), nephews of the bridegroom.

         The happy pair were the recipients of many handsome and valuable presents, which included a massive silver candelabra, the gift of the members of the church and congregation, and a rosewood music cabinet from the choir.

         The letter accompanying the present from the choir reads :- 

“Dear Miss Hopkinson, I am desired on behalf of the choir and choirmaster to convey to you on your approaching marriage our most sincere wishes for your future happiness and prosperity. It may have been a foolish thought to adopt, but we had almost begun to think that you were wedded to the organ and proof against any man diverting you from it. But we have had a rude awakening. That any man should have the presumption to come and take you away from our organ and choir is almost unthinkable and some of us are looking forward to meeting the gentleman. However, we desire you to accept this cabinet, not for the face value but as a token of the esteem we have for you, and also as an appreciation of your most valued services so consistently and modestly given to the choir. 

Pictured at Yokefleet are the Patchett family. Seated in the rear is Mrs Alice Patchett, nee Jenkinson, Walter's sister and children George [at the wheel] Charlie, Alice and Eliza

The couple had one daughter, Nora, who became a nurse and who, in 1943 married Alec Innes, a Scottish  surgeon whom she met while working in Leeds.

But this is where the following a thread that I mentioned earlier, comes in. One of the members of the Goole Thursday morning group wondered who this talented young violinist, Master S Nagley was and followed up his life story.

And this story was very interesting but ultimately sad.  

Here is a quick summary but if anyone would like to know more do get in touch. Sam Nagley was born in Leeds in 1896 but later lived with his family in Pasture Road in Goole. His family were Jewish and had fled Russia  before his birth. He attended Alexandra St school in Goole and then Thorne Grammar School  and briefly in 1909 the newly-opened Goole Secondary School. In 1910 he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music and was taught by American born violinist Achille Rivarde, Dr Read, Thomas Dunhill and Frederick Bridge.

He returned to Goole, living in Mount Pleasant and taught music. After the death of his father he moved to Leeds and became part of a thriving Jewish artistic community.  A 1922 portrait of him by artist Jacob Kramer is in the Ben Uri collection and can be seen online

He trained as a doctor at Leeds University and practised in London until, aged 32, he was struck off the medical register. Research suggests that this was because he performed an abortion on his pregnant mistress. Exactly what happened to him then is unknown. He disappeared in the Austrian alps in 1930 and was declared dead in 1938.

One branch of the Nagley family moved to Canada and  a descendant and author, Susan Glickman, wrote a book in 2006 entitled The Violin Lover. It is a fictionalised account of Sam's story. She based her novel on some family information and suggests that Sam walked in the Alps with his violin and was never seen again.

You never know where local history will take you - but with the aid of the internet it is possible to follow  some life stories to their surprising ends. 


  1. Hello Susan
    A very interesting read thank you. I have recently re-joined Ancestry (half price offer!) and am currently researching the name Newby. I am just about related to this family who sadly lost four sons in three separate trawler disasters. If you have the bug for research, you never stop!
    Kind Regards
    Mary Sprakes

  2. Thanks Mary - yes you never stop!