Martha Leach was born on the 7th March 1881 at 4 Harrison Street, Newtown in Pemberton
the daughter of Richard Leach who worked as a carter and Ellen (formerly Taylor)
who had married four years earlier. She was the third child, her elder siblings Elizabeth
(born in Skelmersdale) and John born in Wigan.
A month or so later, by the 1881 census her father, Richard, was working as a fitter
at ‘the works’. By 1883, the family had moved to Fazakerley where her sister Annie
and brother Richard were born, then by 1887 they had moved to Aintree where the next
three sons, Andrew, William Arthur and James were born. In 1891 the family are living
in Walton on the Hill, Bootle at 53 Eastbourne Road. Richard is still working as
a fitter. Sometime between 1892 (after the birth of their son James A) and 1895,
the family move to Horwich where their eighth child, a daughter also called Ellen
is born in the early months of 1895. Sadly her mother Ellen died around this time,
when Martha is around fourteen years old.
Her elder sister Elizabeth left home to marry a soldier Albert Edward Cawley in 1897,
and Martha was now the ‘woman of the house’. In 1901, Martha was living with her
father Richard and her siblings at 206 Chorley New Road, Horwich. There is no occupation
recorded, though she is of working age, but as her mother had died, she is probably
looking after her four younger brothers. Her father Richard is working as an engine
fitter, probably at Horwich Loco works. There is no sign of her brother John, but
her younger sister Ellen is living with Elizabeth and Albert Cawley.
The next two years are unclear; whether Martha moved to Staffordshire or her husband
to be Timothy Sanders was working in Horwich is unknown, though the latter seems
more likely, but by spring 1903, Martha had fallen pregnant.
On the fourteenth of October 1903, Timothy and Martha married at the Providence Chapel,
Churchbridge Oldbury, a new Connexion Methodist church and their daughter Annie
was born shortly afterwards in Rowley Regis. Timothy was a labourer living at 49
Junction Street Oldbury (the home of his father John). Martha was living at 15 Albion
Street. Their witnesses were John Sanders (its unclear whether this is Timothy’s
father or his elder brother) and Elizabeth Pardoe (the Pardoe family being widespread
in Rowley Regis at that time).
When they left Staffordshire is again unclear, but by 1906 they were living in Horwich,
where their second daughter Bina (Sibina) was born. Their son Timothy was also born
in Horwich in 1908, but their fourth child Alice was born back in Staffordshire in
1910. What took them back there, again is unknown. It was around this time, her daughter
Annie contracted polio which left her disabled. Her third daughter Alice Florrie,
also contracted rheumatic fever.
Towards the end of the First World War, Timothy was conscripted and served in the
army. Their daughter Gladys was born back in Horwich in 1915, as were their subsequent
children Ronald, Charles Frederick and Raymond Henry.
In 1924 Timothy and Martha were living at 10 Dickinson Street East, and Timothy was
working as a Firebeater in a mill.
Their son Timothy married and left home in 1931, and her daughter Alice in 1932.
The family were still living in Dickinson Street when her husband Timothy became
ill and was admitted to Townleys Hospital where he later died aged 53 in August 1932,
leaving Martha with 6 of their 8 children still living at home, the youngest, Raymond,
only 9 years old.
Her daughter Alice was widowed a year later and also returned home with a granddaughter,
who sadly died aged less than one month old. Her daughter Bina, married, and sometime
between 1935 and 1944, Martha and family moved to Wright street in Horwich. Her son
Timothy was widowed in a tragic road traffic accident in 1936. Her son Charles Frederick
(Fred) joined the merchant Navy and went away to sea. When war broke out in 1939,
her son Ronald was immediately called up, and when her son Raymond reached conscription
age, he too went to war. Martha died in 1944 aged 63, a mother of eight children
and grandmother of nine.