(30th June 1875  -  3rd April 1927)


(photo dated c.1925)



Grandmother  of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson


Esther was born at Usworth, Co. Durham on the 30th June 1875. She was the fourth child of Thomas Howey, a colliery weighman, and his wife Georgiana ( nee Turnbull).

Her baptism took place at Holy Trinity, Usworth on 1st August 1875, the record in the Baptism Register showed that the family lived at Usworth and Esther's Dad was a labourer.

She was recorded on the 1881 census, in the family home at High Usworth aged 5. That census showed that her parents were originally from Northumberland but all the children, John (13), George (9), Esther(5) and James (3) had been born in Usworth.

By the time of the 1891 census, the family were living at number 38. Railway Terrace, Little Usworth and Esther was recorded as being 15 years old and a Pupil Teacher. Her  eldest brother, John, was no longer living with the family but her other brothers were still listed. George was 19 and working as a Draper's Assistant and James, at 13, was working in the mine as a 'Token Boy'. Her father was still recorded as a Colliery Weighman and her mother would have been busy looking after all of them.

Esther was married on the 25th of April 1895, to William P. Richardson a miner who also lived with his family in Railway Terrace. As was the way of things then, she would have given up her job when she married.

Their first home was at Bowring Buildings, Washington. It was there, in October 1896, their first child was born. He was called Robert, after his paternal Grandfather. Sadly, Robert was premature and lived for only four days.

Esther and William moved to West View, Usworth and in August 1897 more sadness as their second child Thomas, named for his maternal Grandfather, was also born prematurely and died just an hour after birth.

In 1898 Esther and William had a third son, Ralph. More sadness as he too died soon after birth.

Two years later, in July 1899, the couple were living at Railway Terrace in Usworth and their fourth child Georgina, named for her maternal Grandmother, was born. She too was premature and only lived for 20 hours.

On the 1901 census, Esther was recorded with William at number 13 Railway Terrace, she was 25 and William was 28 and listed as working as a coal hewer in the mine.
Though the census didn't record these things, Esther was pregnant and their fifth child, who they named Esther, was born. The sadness was increased as again, she was premature and lived for just thirty minutes.

Esther and William, would have grieved for their babies who had died, but they must have been overjoyed when their daughter May was born safely in May 1902. Georgena followed in February 1904, Esther in October 1906, Margaret in March 1909 and finally William Pallister in March 1911.
Though all children are precious, these five must have been even more so to their parents who had the loss of five to bear before the joy the of others being born healthy and thriving.

Just three weeks after the birth of their son William Pallister, the family were recorded on the 1911 census. They were living at 2 Manor View in New Washington. Esther was 35 and her husband WIlliam was 38, he was still working as a Hewer in the pit. Along with their girls May (8), Georgena (7), Esther (4), Margaret (2) and their new baby boy there was a servant, Jemima Trueman, in the house. This wasn't usual in the house of a hewer and I assume that she had come to help out for a time both during Esther's pregnancy and after the birth.

Shortly after she died, the Northumberland Miners' Association produced an article in their Monthly Circular about Esther's life. The following extract details her role in helping her husband and also her own work for others.


She was not only a great help in her husband's work as a trade
union leader; with all its worries and anxieties, but she took an
active part in the Labour political movement, and in the Women's
Section played a prominent part in Durham. She was a well-
known member of the I.L.P.
In education she was also deeply interested, and was a
governor the Durham Girls' County School.
From a girl upwards she had been connected with the
Primitive Methodist Church, and was well known as a church


Esther died on 3rd April 1927 aged 51. Her funeral service was on 6th April 1927 at the Primitive Methodist Church, North Road, Durham and she was buried at St. Margaret's Churchyard, Durham. Her husband had a memorial erected to her and the inscription reads:

In Memoriam, Esther, Beloved wife of W.P. Richardson. Born 30th June 1875 Died 3rd April 1927.

Probate was granted to her husband William on 9th December 1927, her effects amounted to 832:13s:6d.