Stories

Robert Sharp (1866 - 1919) & Jeannie Murdoch (1866 - 1943)

Robert Sharp was born on 24th August, 1866 in East Calder, in the Parish of Kirknewton and East Calder, Edinburgh County, Scotland as the fourth child of Millwright William Sharp and Ann Brown. He had six siblings, namely: William Brown, Margaret, Helen Orr, George, James, and Mary Stark. Robert's father had been born in Kirkliston, Linlithgowshire and his mother in Falkirk, Stirlingshire.

At the time of the 1871 Census, (3rd April) the 4-year-old Robert was residing with his family in East Calder in a dwelling owned by and adjacent to Menzies United Presbyterian Church. His father William was still employed as a MIllwright,

At the time of the 1881 Census, (4th April), Robert was now 14 years old and residing in Linlithgow Bridge Village where he was employed as an Apprentice Millwright At Papermill.

Linlithgow Bridge, a village partly in Linlithgow parish, Linlithgowshire, and partly in Muiravonside parish, Stirlingshire, at the bridge across the Avon, ¾ mile W of the town of Linlithgow. A quarter of a mile farther up the Avon is the viaduct that carries the North British railway across the river, there being twenty-three arches, of which the centre ones are 90 feet high. Close to the village is a papermill, which affords employment to a large number of the inhabitants. Pop. of village (1861) 560, (1871) 503, (1881) 479, of whom 359 were in the Linlithgowshire portion. Houses 118, of which 87 were in the Linlithgowshire portion.

www.visionofbritain.org.uk

1856 Map of Linlithgow Bridge1856 Map of Linlithgow BridgeNational Library of Scotland

Linlithgow Bridge facing west c1900Linlithgow Bridge facing west c1900Valentines Postcard

Sometime prior to 1885, William's parents moved with their their family from Linlithgow Bridge Village to Camelon near Falkirk, Stirlingshire. The family's new dwelling was in Gordon Street which ran off the north side of Camelon Main Street.

Camelon, a village and a quoad sacra parish in Falkirk parish, Stirlingshire. The village stands on the northern bank of the Forth and Clyde Canal, 1¼ mile W by N of the town of Falkirk, near the site of a Roman town. It long presented a squalid, woe-begone appearance, but began about 1866 to undergo material improvement; and it now has a post office under Falkirk, with money order and savings' bank departments, a local savings' bank (1867), 2 nail factories, 3 iron foundries, a church (1840; 660 sittings), the Falkirk cemetery, and a public school (1876).

Pop. of village (1841) 1340, (1861) 1308, (1871) 1838, (1881) 1550; of q. s. parish (1871) 3286, (1881) 2724.

www.visionofbritain.org.uk

Jeannie Murdoch was born on 25th January, 1866 in Camelon. She was the daughter of Nailer Alexander Murdoch and Janet Mundie.

At the time of the 1871 Census (3rd April), the 5-year-old Jeannie was residing with her family in Camelon. Her father Alexander stated his occupation as Horsenailmaker.

By the time of the 1881 Census (4th April), Jeannie, now 15, was employed as a Domestic Servant living in at the home of Ann MIlls and family at Callendar Lane, Callander Road in Falkirk Burgh.

On 26th February, 1890, when Robert Sharp was 23 and now an Engineer, he married the 24-year-old Saleswoman Jeannie Murdoch in Camelon. Witnesses on the occasion were Jeannie's brother James Murdoch and his future wife, Mary F. Mundy.

On 15th January, 1891 Robert and Jeannie's first child William Davidson Sharp, named after his paternal grandfather, was born in Camelon.

Shortly afterwards, at the time of the 1891 Census (5th April), Robert and Jeannie (recorded as Jane), both 24, were residing with their 3-month-old son, William, at the Co-operative Buildings in Camelon. Robert's occupation was recorded as Engineer Tool Maker.

At the same time, Robert's father William Sharp and his family were residing at Orchard Cottage, Cart Road, (later renamed Union Road), Camelon. William, now aged 57, gave his occupation as Engineer and Machine Maker and had gone into business for himself operating out of premises adjacent to Orchard Cottage.

All four of William's sons joined him in his engineering business.

Burnside Terrace shown on 1896 map.Burnside Terrace shown on 1896 map.National Library of Scotland

Co-operative Buildings at Burnside Terrace ( early 1900s)Co-operative Buildings at Burnside Terrace ( early 1900s)Falkirk Community Trust

The Co-operative Buildings were of fairly recent construction and are described in a written history of Camelon Co-operative Society Ltd.

The new two-storey building had shops, back storage which doubled as a committee room, on the ground floor and dwellings for let on the upper. The shops consisted of a grocery shop and a bread shop. Attached was a small bakehouse with a single oven which started production in 1875. Two years later it was noted that the bread sold at 6d a loaf provided a handsome profit at a price not matched by other bakers in the area. The new shops were ready for business by late 1877 and a new footpath was formed in front of them "at considerable expense".

Falkirk Local History Society

Alexander Murdoch Sharp, named after his maternal grandfather was born on 1st March, 1893 at Burnside Terrace in Camelon.

Janet Fordyce Sharp was born on 15th June, 1895 at Burnside Terrace in Camelon.

On 4th November, 1896, Robert's father William Davidson Sharp died, aged 63, of Cerebral Apoplexy (Stroke) at Orchard Cottage in Camelon on Cart Road.

Robert Brown Sharp was born on 7th June, 1898 at Burnside Terrace in Camelon.

At the time of the 1901 Census (31st March), Robert (35) and Jane (35) were residing at Burnside Terrace with their children William (10), Alexander (8), Nettie (5) and Robert (2). Robert gave his occupation as Engine Fitter.

Robert and Jane's youngest child Robert died, aged 5, on 7th December, 1903 at Burnside Terrace in Camelon. The Cause of Death was General Tuberculosis from which he had been suffering for two years. Robert reported his son's death to the Registrar and gave his occupation as Mechanical Engineer.

On 17th May, 1907 Robert and Jane's daughter Janet died aged 11 at Church Street in Camelon. The Cause of Death was recorded as Meningitis from which she had been suffereing for 10 days. Mechanical Engineer Robert again reported his child's death.

Robert and Jane's last child, John Oswald Murdoch Sharp, was born on 21st August, 1907 in Dundas Street in Camelon. The location of this address has not yet been established and it is not clear if it was Robert and Jane's residence at the time of the baby's birth.

In early 1909, the four Sharp brothers, all of whom worked in the engineering business founded by their late father William, formed a private Limited Liability Company.

Notice of Formation of New Private CompanyNotice of Formation of New Private CompanyFalkirk Herald, 17th February, 1909

Just a month after this event, on 20th March, 1909, Robert's brother William Brown Sharp, Engineer, died at age 48 of a Cerebral Haemorrhage at Union Road, Camelon. It was Robert's sad duty to report his brother's death to the Registrar.

At the time of the 1911 Census (2nd April), Robert (45) was employed as a Mechanical Engineer and was residing with his wife, recorded as Jennie (45), at 11 Baird Street in Camelon. Residing with them were sons William (20) and Alexander (18), both Mechanical Engineers working for the family engineering business, and Oswald aged 3. The census return indicates that Robert and Jennie had had six children, three of whom had since died. We know of the deaths of young Robert and Janet, however we have not yet been able to identify a third child who had passed away.

Latter day photo of 11 Baird Street (top left apartment) now demolished.Latter day photo of 11 Baird Street (top left apartment) now demolished.Falkirk Community Trust

5-year-old John Oswald Murdoch Sharp died of Whooping Cough and Tuberculosis on 29th May, 1913 at The Hedges in Camelon, a recently developed short street that linked Burnside Terrace with Camelon Main Street. So, four of Robert and Jane's six children had passed away before adulthood: Robert, Janet, Oswald and an as-yet unidentified fourth.

The 1915 Valuation Rolls inform us that the Sharp family address was 24 The Hedges in Camelon.

On 26th March, 1916, Robert's mother Ann Sharp née Brown, died at age 82, at 24 Union Road, Camelon. The Cause of Death was Senility. The death was registered by her son George.

Engineer Robert Sharp died on 31st July, 1919 at The Hedges in Camelon. The Cause of Death was Nephritis (Inflamation of Kidney Tissue). His eldest son William Davidson Sharp reported the death. Robert was 52.

Confirmation of Executor 1919Confirmation of Executor 1919Ancestry.com

The value of Robert's estate would have the same purchasing power of about £150,000 today.

Jane Sharp née Murdoch continued to live at 24 The Hedges in Camelon until her death.

30-year-old Engineer William Davidson Sharp, residing at The Hedges, married 26-year old Janet Dickson Wilson, the daughter of Blacksmith Alexander Kirkwood Wilson and Elizabeth Dickson on 30th March, 1921 at her family home at 90 Dorrator Road in Camelon. Witnesses on the occasion were Janet's sister Martha A. Wilson and William's brother Alexander M. Sharp. Sadly, the fathers of both the bride and groom were deceased at the time of the marriage.

In September of the following year, 29-year Alexander Murdoch Sharp married 35-year-old Mary Elizabeth Barton in Ormskirk, Lancashire, England.

By the start of the 1930s, all four sons of William Davidson Sharp who had followed him into the engineering business had passed away and it was now the third generation of the family who were running the company.

In 1936, the company suffered a serious blow...

Newspaper ReportNewspaper ReportDundee Courier, Thursday 29 October 1936

However, the blow was not fatal...

Newspaper FeatureNewspaper FeatureFalkirk Herald

Jane Sharp née Murdoch continued to live at 24 The Hedges in Camelon until her death there on 31st August, 1943 at the aged of 77. The Cause of Death was Pernicious Anaemia and Chronic Myocarditis. Her son William Davidson Sharp reported her death. She had been a widow for 24 years.

William Sharp & Sons, engineers and machine makers, founded by William in the late 19th Century and incorporated in 1909 was dissolved in 1972. The works and plant were taken over by the Falkirk Brass and Sanitary Engineering Co.

Alexander Murdoch Sharp died at age 85 in 1979 in Larbert, Stirlingshire.

William Davidson Sharp died aged 92 on 12th June, 1983 at Cowglen Hospital in Glasgow, Lanarkshire. The Cause of Death was Bronchopneumonia and Cardiovascular Degeneration. His son, Robert Brown Sharp, registered the death.