My Great-grandmother and her shop.

This is my maternal Great Grandmother, S.Fenny who, as far as I know lived in Starkey Street close to Bath Lane around the 1830-1895 time. She owned and ran a tobacconists and newsagents in Bishopton Lane situated in the short row of shops opposite the end of Alma Street. The shops are still there, but when I last looked it was a hairdressers. Another of her descendants started Fennys Brush Works in Skinner Street. The rather grand looking clothing is typical of that worn at this period in time.This is the shop owned and run by my Great-grandmother during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Whether or not it was passed down the family on her death is not known. A range of romantic paperbacks seem to have been popular at the time. My Mothers cousins, all of whom are dead now, were paperboys for their Grandmother.Photographs and information courtesy of Mr Alan Welleans.

30 thoughts on “My Great-grandmother and her shop.

  1. Ancestry research indicates that the lady is Hannah Margaret (Trueman) Fenny b1848 d1921 and married Samuel Fenny b1850 d1899 Samuel originally a Joiner, later started his newsagent shop according to the 1891 England Census.

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    • Hannah Margaret Trueman 1848-1921 (wife of great-granduncle)
      Samuel Fenny 1850-1899 (Husband of Hannah Margaret Trueman)
      Samuel Fenny 1811-1879 (Father of Samuel Fenny)
      Thomas Fenny 1852-1922 (Son of Samuel Fenny)
      Margaret Fenny 1881-1962 (Daughter of Thomas Fenny)
      Roger Lee Hymer 1918-1989 (Son of Margaret Fenny)
      Michael Hymer (Son of Roger Lee Hymer)

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  2. My Great Grandad Alfred Jackson West had a corner shop and on 1911 census he lived at 23 Garibaldi Street his occupation was listed as Shopkeeper and Licensed Hawker. I don’t know where his shop was exactly but would imagine that it was in the locale of Garibaldi Street which was off Oxford Street. He died in 1917 but I think one of his family took over the running of the shop for a while I would love to know/see any old maps of the streets around the area of Oxford/Garibaldi Street. If any body else on the site has any to post, thanking you in anticipation.

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  3. I once lived at 60 Skinner Street when I was a young Lad, My mam would send me up to Fenny’s to see if we could get some logs at times (offcuts of the process of making the brushes). Does anybody have any photo’s of the factory. My sister and I were talking about it the other day.

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  4. Alan Fenny was the son of Arthur William Fenny (1866-1944). In the census returns, Arthur is listed as a brush manufacturer & it’s likely he was the founder of Fenny Brushes. His father John James Fenny (1828-1884) is listed as a brush maker from 1861 census onwards. Prior to that he was a hairdresser. Alan Fenny was my 6th cousin.

    Are we talking about yard brushes here or hair brushes?

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    • If we are talking about the same person, Alan Fenny, who lives or lived in Carlton Manor House in Carlton Cleveland, is or was my uncle. The family has broken and I haven’t heard from them for several years. Please contact me, I would love to know more.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Alan William Wightman Fenny : paternal 3rd cousin 1x removed.
      Herbert Dent: maternal grandfather
      Both served in the same Durham Home Guard, 19th Battalion [1940 – 1945].
      Article on this site: Durham Light Infantry Home Guard 19th Battalion
      Photographs included.

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      • Alan William Wightman Fenny passed away on the 14th August 2017.
        Celebration of his life was held at St. Botolph’s Church, Carlton-in-Cleveland on the 29th August.

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      • Alan William Wightman Fenny – Durham Home Guard, 19th Battalion
        Held at The National Archives
        Date: 14 May 1940 – 31 Dec 1945
        Reference: WO 409/27/65/634
        Herbert Dent – Durham Home Guard, 19th Battalion
        Date: 14 May 1940 – 31 Dec 1945
        Reference: WO 409/27/65/349

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  5. Does anyone know if Fenny Brushes originates from Star Brushes? My mother”s father who lived in the Hull area was a Fenny and his family had a company called Star Brushes. I would be interested to know if this was the original company.

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  6. How interesting to see what may be part of my two sons family history. I am married to Martin Fenny, son of Robert Henry Fenny who I think may have been related to S. Fenny. He was born in November 1916 and used to live in Darlington. He married Betty Valentine Hadwin, and they had various homes over the years in Darlington. I would be interested to hear if we are related.

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    • Robert Henry Fenny 1916-2005 (3rd cousin 1x removed)
      Betty Valentine Hadwin married 1942 to Robert (b1916)
      Robert Henry Fenny 1882-1927 (Father of Robert Henry Fenny)
      Lottie Rolph married 1915 to Robert (b1882)
      John James Fenny 1828-1884 (Father of Robert Henry Fenny)
      Sarah Fenny 1803- (Mother of John James Fenny)
      Samuel Fenny 1774-1853 (Father of Sarah Fenny)
      Samuel Fenny 1811-1879 (Son of Samuel Fenny)
      Thomas Fenny 1852-1922 (Son of Samuel Fenny)
      Margaret Fenny 1881-1962 (Daughter of Thomas Fenny)
      Roger Lee Hymer 1918-1989 (Son of Margaret Fenny)
      Michael Hymer (Son of Roger Lee Hymer)

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  7. The shop is plastered with posters advertising the publication “Smart Fiction”. This publication ran from 1913-1924 and was a 64page storybook. The names of the authors being advertised suggest that this photo was taken before W.W.I.

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  8. Fenny’s Brush Factory – Girls finishing work at the end of the day shift, knocking off to go home and recharge those batteries until the next shift. Hands partially or fully bandaged in an assortment of materials, dripping with blood, what a horrible sight that must have been! Well what else was I suppose to think, eh, listening for years to mam and nana from a toddler onwards, when I, or our, or so and so worked at Fenney’s their hands used to get cut to ribbons. Apparently the girls that worked in the finishing room used to smooth off the wood on the brush heads by using pieces of broken glass. Roy.

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  9. Many thanks for that tip. I”ve looked it up but it does not shed any light on whether they are the same company still trading under the name “Fenny Brushes”. I”ll go and ask the shop “Country West” if they might know. Their supplies will be through a wholesaler so we may have to delve a little deeper. I”ll let you know if I find anything. I think the site is excellent, especially for one sponsored/run by the Borough Council. It shows a very active community.

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  10. Adrian, Go into Browse collection on the homepage and click on the shops and commercial section. Scroll out to page four and click that. You will see an entry by Charlotte McDonald referring to her Father restarting Fenny Brushes after it had collapsed with her Grandfather at the helm. Hope this helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Read in conjunction with the following Article:
      Lower Headlam Street, Tilery
      Charlotte McDonald on January 23, 2004 at 12:00 am

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  11. Adrian, I think “brush works” probably did evolve into “brushes” although I have no evidence to prove it. A contributor to the site,in recent months, is related to Mr and Mrs Fenny through her Father and has some info on the brush works. Her Father continued with the factory in another premises,( the original building has some other use now) if she reads this you may get some more info via her. Her name eludes me but I,ll try to track it down by back-tracking through recent entries on PictureStockton and think of some way of eliciting more information.

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  12. Your site was the only one found in my search for Fenny Brushes, the brand named on a small broom recently bought from a local farm supplies here in Devon. I wanted to contact the makers as its one of the few products these days actually made in the UK from entirely natural materials. Do you know if Fenny”s Brush Works did evolve to become Fenny Brushes and if so where they are? I”ll check back on this site in a few days to see if you”ve been able to reply.

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    • My father, Frederick Alexander Harrison Lammas, worked at Fenny’s from shortly after WW2 until the mid 80s. Fenny’s was always in Skinner Street. I remember the offices in there vividly as a child. My father was their national sales representative. I remember Alan Fenny.

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      • Fenny brothers Skinner Street, Robin Mcdonald took over in 80s and took the business to Portract Lane. I worked there in the 70s, Mr Fenny was such a nice person and Mr Mcdonald I believe they had partnership. Mr Mcdonald was married to Mr Fennys sister.

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        • As an update, when Robin McDonald took the firm over he renamed it Herrewege Brushes incorporating Fenny Brushes. In 2001 he sold the firm to Hill Brush Company in Mere in Wiltshire.

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          • I used to work at fenny brothers brush manufacturers leaving school at the age of 16 in 1977 to 1983.
            Alan Fenny along with Robin Mcdonald were in charge of the company. I with my older brother Kalvant Singh enjoyed our earlier work life there and enjoyed the working atmosphere where we made many friends. I remember Frank, Martin , the fitters and Bill the Foreman, not forgetting Joe who used to be the dispatch manager. I still work in Stockton and often pass through Skinner St where I can recall many memories of my days working at the factory. I do wish I can find some old photos of the old factory.

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