Read about Oswald Robinson's heartfelt letter written in 1882
8th August, 2017

At Ancestor Homes we often have correspondence in our portfolios which come to us as part of the box of deeds. The majority of correspondence refers to the property itself, such as the renumbering of a street or a notice of an extension on a property. When we came to scan in one of our portfolios however, we discovered a lot more than we bargained for which maybe of interest to any Robinson tracing their family tree.

Oswald Robinson was born in 1847 in Lancashire. On 25 May 1871 Oswald married Mary Elizabeth Barlow and they had five children together. By 1881 Mary had passed away; Oswald was living in Vine Street, Broughton and his occupation was ‘East India and China Merchant.’ Oswald lived with his 5 children; Georgiana 8, twins Ethell and Gerturde 6, George 4 and Winnifred 3. He and his children also lived with his Mother in Law Elizabeth Barlow, 60 and his ‘Deceased Wife’s Aunt’ Harriet Barlow, 76. The letters we hold in our collection describe a man struggling to maintain the life his children had become accustomed to without the financial support of his wife.

Oswald wrote a letter on the 15th December 1882 to a Mr. Edward Abbott Wright describing the anxiousness he felt awaiting to hear how much money the trust would grant him to look after his children.

“My dear Mr Wright

I have hesitated some time before writing to you again, but I find the suspense of not knowing what my exact position is rather trying. If I were rich I should not mind, but I am not, & altho’ not dependent upon an allowance, I am dependent upon it to keep up the position I occupied during Mary’s life & which was solely owing to her money. I will never be too proud to admit that. I owe a very great deal to Mary in that & many other ways.”

From the letter we learn that Oswald is engaged to a Miss Smith and has been for 2 months. He describes her as a “perfect lady in every sense” to look after his children. He stresses that his and Miss Smiths tastes are “simple,” but he wishes “to be able to surround my children with these refinements to which their prospect entitle them” and doesn’t want Miss Smith to “be constantly struggling with an inadequate income.”

Oswald wrote that his “childrens property is now worth over £900 per annum…hope you will allow me not less than £600 a year.”

He signs off the letter

“With kind regards,

Believe me,

Yours sincerely,

Oswald Robinson.”


We’re currently working on this collection and hope to have it on the Ancestor Homes website very soon.