On a miserable wet and grey day, what better is there to do than go for a walk in the park? You don’t go for a walk in the park to get anywhere, such walks are aimless in the best sense of the word. They are voyages of discovery, where what is being discovered is simply something of interest, something curious, something unexpected. The park itself is not the main focus of interest, it could be any park, but in this instance it is People’s Park in Halifax. The date is December 1908, and our companion today is Edith Constantia Scheusz-Mohlheimer.
Our walk in the park is courtesy of a picture postcard of People’s Park which was sent on the 27th December 1908. The card was sent to Mrs Cluff of Charlecote, Marple, Cheshire, and, although normally we have little idea of who sends such cards, in this instance Edith has included her address on the front of the card : 11, Park Road, Halifax. Those who know Halifax will realise that Park Road runs along the bottom of People’s Park, and indeed, it is No 11 Park Road that is shown on the front of the card itself. The message reads as follows:-
“Many thanks for kind Xmas & New Year Greetings which we heartily reciprocate. Rudie has been very ill with acute attack of bronchitis but he is now practically well again I am thankful to say. Yours affect. EC S-M”
The 1911 census shows Edith Cconatantia Scheusz-Mohlheimer living at 11, Park Road, along with her son, Rudolph aged 6, and two servants. Her husband, Rudolph Scheusz-Mohlheimer Sr, must have been away at the time of the census as he is not listed, but we know from other records that he was a carpet manufacturer. They had recently moved to Halifax from Kidderminster (the other notable British “carpet town”), where young Rudolph had been born. The wonderful thing about such virtual walks in the park is that Edith can not only tell us what is happening now – about poor Rudie’s bronchitis for example – but also give us a glimpse into the future. Both Mr and Mrs Scheusz-Mohlheimer continued to live in Park Road until their deaths (Rudolph died in 1949 and Edith in 1953). Rudolph Jr at some stage changed his surname to Castle-Miller (a more or less straight translation from the German) and was a wartime pilot in the RAF and a successful Barrister and Court Recorder.
What started as a simple view of People’s Park ended as a fascinating stroll through twentieth century family history – a delightful walk in the park.