Liverpool’s cemeteries are fascinating places, where the famous lie next to the forgotton, and the infamous next to the virtuous. Anfield Cemetery is no exception. It will be 150 years old next year and its imposing gate piers on Priory Road are (in Quentin Hughes’s words) ‘a fitting announcement for the final journey.’ Wander around and you will find the graves of Liverpool’s legendary managers Bill Shankly and Joe Fagan; one of England’s greatest barefist boxers, Jem Mace; James Maybrick, husband of Florence Maybrick, who was found guilty of his murder and served 15 years in gaol before release (he was more recently named as Jack the Ripper in suspect diaries found in Liverpool); and Bessie Braddock, the larger than life Labour firebrand. Look more closely at other gravestones and the names of those who never made the headlines predominate – which brings me to a fascinating email from Alex Robertson in response to the last blog about the Liverpool’s Seamen’s Orphanage. Alex wrote:
Having seen the photo on your blog of the Seamen’s Orphanage I thought you may be interested in the story of one of the inmates. The information was obtained during family history research.
Elizabeth Mitchell Ure (1882 – 1898)
Elizabeth was the seventh child born to Thomas Ure and Mary Ure (nee Robertson) on 28 July 1882. The family were living at 27 Woodbine Street, Liverpool when her father Thomas, a seaman was drowned off the Australian coast in May 1891. Her mother died a few months later in November, leaving Elizabeth an orphan at the age of 9. Her eldest brother, the only sibling that was married, Thomas and his wife Margaret took her in. She was attending Daisy Street School. After two years with her brother and his wife, the situation must have changed because, in June 1893, Thomas applied to the Liverpool Seamen’s Orphan Institution for Elizabeth to be admitted.
Thomas had to produce Elizabeth’s birth certificate, their parents’ marriage certificate, list her brothers and sisters and their ages and give reasons for her admission. He also had to give the name and owners of the ship from which their father drowned and he stated that his father, Thomas Ure senior, had sailed from the port of Liverpool for 35 years prior to his drowning. Elizabeth was examined by the orphanage medical officer and Thomas had to sign that she had been vaccinated against smallpox, had never had fits and was “free from troublesome habits during the night.” The application was supported by Allen Bros and Co., who were shipowners and trustees of the orphanage.
After two months the application for admission was approved and in August 1893 Elizabeth left her brother’s family in Walton Breck Road and her old school for a new life at the orphanage. Elizabeth would have been given domestic training at the orphanage prior to being placed in domestic service on leaving. Tragically she suffered two attacks of typhoid fever and died at the orphanage aged 15 on 15 May 1898. She was buried along with other children who died at the orphanage at Anfield cemetery in a double plot. There is a headstone with the names of all the children laid to rest there.
Elizabeth Ure’s name is half way down
The sad, short lives of more orphans