»  The Virtual Attic — People — My Parents


Bob & Tess


John Robert Derbyshire and Esther Alice Knowles, aged 43 and 30 respectively, were married on Saturday, September 26th, 1942 in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, after a brief acquaintance.

My father was a materials inspector for the Aeronautical Inspection Department (A.I.D.) of the Air Ministry, on temporary assignment to Sankey's, a manufacturer in Wolverhampton, England. My mother was a nurse at Sankey's factory. They honeymooned at Llandudno in north Wales, where this photograph was taken.

It was the first and last marriage for both of them. However, my father listed himself as "Widower" on the marriage certificate. (Which has not survived in my records, although I remember having seen it. My mother was listed as "Spinster.") He had a son, Roy Noel, at that point aged 12 and living with Dad's family in Shropshire. Dad told my mother that he had been married to Noel's mother, who had died giving birth. This was not true.


I suppose Mum and Dad lived in lodgings in Wolverhampton. I have no details. In April 1943 they moved to Northampton, where the A.I.D. had opened an office in Wood Street. I tell the story of their, and my, early Northampton residences here.

My parents lived at 62 Friars Avenue, Northampton as tenants of the town Council until the end of 1981, when I bought the house for them under Margaret Thatcher's program of selling off Council houses. Dad lived there until shortly before he died (November 16th 1984), Mum until she could no longer keep the house in order (June 1990). The house was sold in February 1991.