(9th September 1877  -  5th January 1951)


(photo dated c.1948)



Grandfather  of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson


Born on the 9th of September 1877 at Whitelee, Co. Durham, John Edward was the eighth child of David Gilliland, a coal miner, and his wife Eliza (nee McCollough).

He was baptised on 7th October 1877 at Stanley Parish Church. The record shows that the family lived at White Lea Square and that John Edward's father worked as a miner.

The 1881 census recorded John Edward with his family at Grahamsley, Crook and Billy Row, Co. Durham. He was three years old. This census showed that his parents were originally from County Down in Ireland but all the children listed had been born in Durham. His eldest siblings were working for their living, Jane (17) was a general servant and James (14) was a labourer. His other brothers and sisters, Elizabeth (12), William (10), Mary Ellen (6) were at school and the baby of the family was Hugh who was just one year old.

By the time of the 1891 census, John Edward was thirteen. The family were living in Gladstone Terrace, Crook and Billy Row and he was working as a coal miner. Their next door neighbours were a family called Lee who had a daughter, Ada Isabel, who was just a year younger than John Edward.

John Edward married on the 26th of February 1901 in the Primitive Methodist Chapel at Crook. His bride was Ada Isabel Lee who had lived next door, he was twenty three and she was twenty two. Their witnesses were George Brabban and Lily Hodgson.

The 1901 census records them in the house next door to John's parents in Gladstone Terrace in Crook and Billy Row, his occupation was listed as Coal Miner (Hewer).

The 1911 census recorded the family in Sunniside, Tow Law, Co. Durham.  John Edward was 33 and working as a Hewer in the pit, his wife Ada Isabel was 32 and they had been married for ten years. In those ten years they had 5 children all of whom were living with them.  Vera (9), Rena (8), Gladys (5), John (4) and the baby was Ada who was just five months old.

John Edward did not serve in world war one, its doubtful whether he would have been called up as he was in his mid thirties, but he was given an exemption by the tribunal at Chester le Street District Council on condition he remained in his employment as a Political Agent.

As well as being a miner, John Edward was also involved in politics, he was a Political Agent for the Labour Party. As such, amazingly for a miner in the early 1920s, he had a telephone in the house. I have found entries for him in the British Phone books from as early as 1924.
From 1924 to 1935 he was listed as living at 49, Bullien Lane and his phone number was Chester le Street 119.
I also found entries from 1936 onwards when he was listed a living in a house named 'Sunnyside' in Waldridge Lane, the exchange was still Chester le St, but phones had obviously become more popular as his new number was 3219.

In the early years of the second world war John and Ada left Chester le Street, perhaps in search of some peace and quiet. They returned to Sunniside, the village where they grew up, got married and raised their five children. They did not live in either Gladstone Terrace or Flag Row but their residence in their latter years was Westholme, 65 Front Street.

His wife Ada died in March 1950, aged 71.

 John Edward died the following year on the 5th of January 1951, aged 73 and his death was registered by his son John (Jack). He was cremated at Darlington Crematorium and an entry was recorded in his memory in the Book of Remembrance.