Robert Affleck
and Helena Affleck

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1. Mr. and Mrs. John Harper Penney were from South Shields.
2. Alderman Robert Affleck was from 'Bloomfield' Gateshead.
3. Herbert Gilles Penney was the second son of John Harper Penney.
4. Lottie Affleck was the only daughter of Robert Affleck.
5. They were married on Saturday 11/12/1909 at St. Georges Church in Gateshead.
6. Mr. Harry G. Wicks was a cousin of Herbert Gilles Penney. His mother, Mrs. Wicks was the Mayoress of Gateshead. She must be aunt to Herbert Gilles Penney and née Penney, and therefore sister to John Harper Penney and Edward Penney.
7. Gifts were received from, 'Mr. R Penney and Mr. C. Penney and Miss Flo' . I suggest that Mr. R. and Mr. C. are two more younger sons of John Harper Penney and Miss Flo is Florrie Penney.
8. Similarly, Misses R. and J. and Master Stanley Penney. I suggest that R. and J. refer to Rita and Jean and Stanley is another son.
9. Similarly, Mrs. E. Penney and Miss Penney. I suggest this is Caroline Valencia Penney, wife of Edward, and Valencia Ann Harper Penney, my grandmother.
Some notes on the Afflecks, 1800 Present.

All the following notes were written by William Strickland Affleck

The following is based, in the main on a collection of letters written by my grandmother and my uncles to my father after he had gone to Canada in 1906. It is supplemented with the results of various researches, including birth, marriage and death certificates and information from other family members. The material in the letters is, obviously subjective and tells us as much about the writers as it does about the subjects. The collection of letters is also a clearly incomplete source. Letters were not written during visits and there is no certainty that all that were written, were kept. That subjects are not, apparently, covered does not mean that they were not discussed. The collection is also one-sided. Evidently my father was a regular, even prolific correspondent but only a handful of his letters survive.

Up to 1881

The Afflecks originated in Scotland but the family was in the Tyneside region for some generations before my father was born.

My great-great grandfather was a William Affleck probably born before 1800 and died after 1857 and before 1870. He is described as a miner on my great-grandfather's marriage certificate.

My great grandfather was also a William Affleck, probably born in 1815 (based on age at death and his age in the 1881 Census -which gives his place of birth as Urpeth County Durham). He married Charlotte Clarke in 1853, in St. Andrews Parish Church. Newcastle-upon Tyne. The marriage certificate shows him as an engineer. William and Charlotte had twins, Dorothy Sarah and William James in 1855. On their birth certificates their father is described as an engineman at a colliery. In1858 there was a son, Robert, who would be my grandfather. On his birth certificates his father is described as an engineman.

At the time of the 1881 Census, William (66), Charlotte (63), Dorothy (25) and Robert (22) were living at 10, Osborne Terrace, Gateshead. (William James was not present). William is described now as a Land Agent, Robert as a Professor of Music. William would, later that year be Mayor of Gateshead. Charlotte died Jan 11th, 1883, aged 66. Robert is still shown as Mayor of Gateshead on her death certificate. William subsequently (1884) remarried to Sara Harley, who was some 30 years his junior and, reputedly, had been his cook This was a registry office marriage in Belford, Northumberland and no one from the family was present. William died on Feb 7th 1890, aged 75. We understand there were children but have no information about them.

0ne of the mysteries of the family is how William progressed from being an engineman in 1858, when he would already be in his mid 4Os, to land agent and Mayor of Gateshead in 1881.

My grandfather Robert was born in Gateshead, County Durham in 1858 (June 2nd). Apart from the 1881 Census record we know nothing about his activities until August 2nd 1881 when he married Georgiana Scotson Morriss in St. Edmunds Church, Gateshead.

Georgiana was born in Gateshead in 1853 (May 18th). Her parents were Johnson Morriss of Gateshead and Sarah Wilson Scotson who was born in 1818 at Carlton, just north-west of Stockton-on-Tees. They were married in Middlesborough, then in County Durham, now in Cleveland, in 1843. We have records of Scotsons back to 1725 in the Kirklevington area. just south of Stockton-on-Tees. Georgiana had a sister. Wilhelmina, who, as Aunt Lily figures throughout. There is a story, impossible to validate, that both Georgiana and Wilhelmina were attracted to Robert. Georgiana won, in the sense that she became Mrs. Affleck, but Wilhelmina seems to have come along as well and spent much of her life living with them.

From 1881 to 1910

Robert was 23, Georgiana 28 when they were married. Robert Affleck was later a Justice of the Peace and Alderman of the city of Gateshead. He was a house agent and property owner. The family business was that of landlord and property developer. He was Chairman of the Board of Guardians in Gateshead. The Board of Guardians administered charities and were in charge of poor relief, workhouses, etc. The family was involved with the Unitarian church in Gateshead and Robert played the organ. The Afflecks ultimately had quite a large house, Bloomfield, which then stood in its own grounds and they appear to have lived in some style with indoor and outdoor servants, etc. There was a pipe organ in the house. After the second World War the house was used as council offices, and extended and modified. It was finally demolished in1957.

Robert and Georgiana had six children between 1882 and 1893. The family came to a crisis point in 1910, and it is useful to follow the children's progress up to that date.

A third son, Robert, known as "Robbie", was born July 27th 1888. Robbie went to Durham and then to Cambridge where he studied Classics.

From 1910 to 1920

Grandfather Robert was suddenly taken ill while on holiday in 1910. He died on August 3rd. in Dunoon, following an emergency operation for a burst appendix. He was 52. This was an extremely traumatic event for the family.

Robbie was 22 and studying at a crammer for the Indian Civil Service exams at the time of his father's death. He had graduated from Cambridge that June. He did not secure an ICS place and, in 1912, became the breadwinner for a household in Ealing, comprising his mother, Aunt Lily himself and George. He became a schoolmaster, briefly at Eton, briefly at Marlborough and then with a permanent post at St. Pauls school in London. During this time (1912-1916) he lived with his mother in Ealing. (Bloomfield had finally been sold in February 1912). In March 1916 he married (Helena Cummins, an Irish girl always known as Biddy) and had a son Robert (born 1917) and the mother lived with them until after the war. Robbie spent much of 1915 trying to get into the army proper while keeping his teaching job and doing duty as an OTC officer. In October 'for the last fortnight I have been daily expecting my commission in the Oxfordshire and Bucks. Light Infantry'. Subsequently he saw service in France and in the expeditionary force which went to White Russia.

From 1910 to 1930

After the war Robbie returned to teaching at St Pauls and established a home in Reigate. They had a daughter Mary (known as Molly, born in 1923). Robert and family moved to ulverston in 1924 when he became head Master of the school there in 1925. He was in ulverston at the time of his mother's illness and death in 1927. This was a time complicated by his own financial worries, by Molly's having an emergency appendicitis on the eve Of Georgiana's funeral, and the fact that he was in the middle of crucial interviews for his next headship. In April 1928 he became the founding head Master of Shooter's Hill School in SE London and the family moved to Woolwich.

From 1930 to the Present

Robbie's wife died in 1939 and Molly lived with him until his retirement. He retired soon after the end of the war. a retirement precipitated by the decision to greatly increase the size of 'his' school to a point where his style of head Master-ship would no longer have been possible. He died in August 1955 in Falmouth. Robert, the son, went to Cambridge and worked as a civil servant in Somerset. Like his grandfather he was a skilled organist. He died in 1982 and is survived by his second wife, Pam, and the daughter, Elizabeth, of his first marriage. Molly studied Classics, like her father, and made a career in teaching. She married Kenneth Beard in 1955 but the marriage was dandged by misfortune. Her father died more or less while they were on honeymoon and Kenneth contracted cancer, finally dying in 1961. Molly returned to her career, finishing as headmistress of a school in Leeds. She is now 74, widowed, and lives in Devon.

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