(15th February 1879  -  1st March 1950)


(photo dated c.1948)



Grandmother  of W.P. 'Bill' Richardson


Born on the 15th February 1879 in Crook, Co. Durham, Ada Isabel was the sixth child of Matthew Lee, a coal miner, and his wife Catherine (nee Walton).

She was baptised on 22nd April 1879 and her baptism was recorded in the Wesleyan Methodist Register for Tow Law Circuit. The record says that the family lived at Sunniside.

The 1881 census records her, aged 2, living at 38, Gladstone Terrace, Crook and Billy Row with her family. That census showed that her father had originally come from Northumberland and her mother was born in Co. Durham. Four of her brothers and sisters John (17), Thomas (14), Matthew (12) and Sarah (8) were also in the house. John and Matthew were working in the mine like their Dad. Ada also had another two older sisters, Mary and Annie, but they were not at home with the family for this census.

In 1891, the family were still living in Gladstone Terrace. Ada Isabel was 12 and listed as a scholar. The family next door were called Gilliland and had a son, John Edward, who was about the same age as Ada.

On the 26th February 1901 Ada married the boy next door, John Edward Gilliland, at the Primitive Methodist Chapel in Crook. She was 22 and he was 23. Their witnesses were George Brabban and Lily Hodgson.

Ada and John Edward, who was a coal miner, are listed on the census of 1901 still in Gladstone Terrace in the house next to John's parents.

By the time of the 1911 census, Ada and her husband were living in Sunniside, Tow Law, Co Durham. Ada was 32 and John Edward was 33, he worked as a hewer at the pit. They had been married for ten years and had five children, all of whom were at home. Vera (9), Rena (8), Gladys (5), John (4) and the newest addition was Ada who was 5 months old. All of the children, except Gladys, had been born in Crook. Gladys had been born in Burnopfield, so I assume that John Edward worked in a pit there for a while.

As well as bringing up her family and supporting her husband in his political work, Ada Isabel also followed interests of her own. She was involved in the formation of the Durham County Federation of Labour Women's organisations and was secretary of the Chester le Street section for over 25 years. She was also a Justice of the Peace and sat regularly on the bench at both Chester le Street and Bishop Auckland.

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.

Ada died on 1st March 1950, aged 71, her address at the time of her death was Westholm, Sunniside, Crook and her death was registered by her son John. Her cremation took place at Darlington Crematorium and there is an entry in the Book of Remembrance in memory of her.