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Kathleen Mary Webster [we.9.3.2]

Kathleen Mary Webster was the second child of George Webster & Mary Emma Webster christened August 19th, 1888 at Hitcham, Bucks.

In 1891 Kathleen, her parents & grandfather were living at Hill Farm, Hitcham in 1891.

In 1901 was still with her parents, younger sister & older brother at Hill Farm.

Kathleen's parents had moved from Hill Farm by 1911 & were living at the Knowle, Taplow, Bucks. Kathleen was still living at home with her brother & sister.

The following information was kindly provided by Michael Greaves, grandson of Percy & Kathleen.

According to her son, Percy John Greaves, ‘Kathleen met her future husband in August 1914 at a grouse shoot in Alston, Cumberland. Kathleen, like her father, was keen on field sports. Apart from her boarding school education at Eastbourne, my mother’s youth had been entirely spent in the country amongst the large households in the Thames valley where sport & entertaining flourished. She was good looking, kind & gentle. She was what used to be called ‘a real lady’ & was liked & respected by all. Although she had 4 children I really believe she liked animals better than children for she had an extraordinary ability with anything on 4 legs. Unfortunately she had been brought up in an Edwardian era where young ladies were not expected to take any interest in public affairs or business & she hated Yorkshire where she had to make her home amid the dark satanic mills with a husband very much engrossed in business.’

She married Percy Christian Greaves on October 15th, 1914 at St Nicholas' Church, Taplow. Kathleen’s sister Dorothy was bridesmaid.  A reception was held at her parents’ home, the Knowle, before the couple left for a motoring tour in the south of England.  Percy was born December 25th, 1868 at Horbury, Yorks, the eldest child of John Oldroyd Greaves.

Percy took over the running of the family business at a very young age due to the ill health of his father John.  Percy owned 3 collieries, including Roundwood Colliery at Ossett, as well as managing numerous others in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He was also involved in companies that made rolling stock for the collieries & munitions for the war effort in both World Wars. He served as a Justice of the Peace for Wakefield.

Percy Christian Greaves (taken from 'Ossett - the history of a Yorkshire town)

In 1917 Kathleen & Percy moved from Margaret St, Wakefield to a large 11-bedroomed Georgian house called ‘Woolgreaves’ which lay in 30 acres of open country between Kettlethorpe & Sandal to the south of Wakefield. The family had 6 servants, 3 gardeners, a chauffeur & a coachman. In addition there was a governess for the children. For a while the governess was Constance Heward who achieved some fame as a writer of childrens’ books.

The 1939 register shows Kathleen & Percy living at 477 Barnsley Rd, Wakefield & Percy was described as a mining examiner & managing director of 3 collieries.  Daughter Joan was living with them.

Daughter Elizabeth, who was a member of the WRNS, married Dr David Hill Hay on September 28th, 1944 at Sandal Church, Wakefield.  David was the elder son of Mrs & the late Dr  Hay of Lossiehall, Liff, Angus, Scotland. 

Kathleen,  whose home was now Milnthorpe Grange, Milnthorpe, Wakefield,  died on March 18th,1949, aged 60, at 9 Hyde Terrace, Leeds. Probate was granted on April 30th 1949 to son Percy John Greaves, chartered accountant and her effects were £11,423.8s.2d.

Son Percy of Milnthorpe Grange, Wakefield became engaged to Joan Mary Hill of Purley, Surrey in January 1950.

Percy died on October 23rd, 1957, aged 89 at Milnthorpe Grange, Sandal, Wakefield, W.Yorks. The following obituary appeared in The Times on October 25th, 1957:

"comparatively few days passed when he was not to be seen at the pit-head or down the shaft of one of his own collieries or one of those of the many people who readily consulted him as, perhaps, the best known mining engineer in the north. His pride in his own pits was unbounded. He knew the men and their problems personally. He was at the forefront in the introduction of new methods, making for safety and efficiency, and it was his proud boast, evoking the sincere admiration of his many friends that, from 1886 until the nationalization of the mines (1947), none of the groups of collieries under his control had ever suffered a single strike apart from the national strikes, which affected the whole country."

Probate was granted on 21st November, 1957 at Wakefield to son Percy John Greaves, chartered accountant,  Alfred Ernest Greaves, solicitor and son Peter Greaves, medical practitioner. His effects amounted to £305,663. 11s.

The children of Kathleen Mary Webster & Percy Christian Greaves were: Joan Greaves born August 16th, 1915 at Wakefield, died 1973 Elizabeth Webster Greaves born 1917, died 2004 Percy John Greaves born July 30th, 1918, died 2004 Peter Greaves born May 24th, 1924, died 2006


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