Remarkable Fathers - William Straw

William Straw - Father of Mr Straw

At Mr Straw’s House we find ourselves talking a lot about William Straw, after all, he was the last surviving member of the family and the one that left his collection to the National Trust.

However another William Straw, his father, had possibly the biggest impact on Endcliffe Villa and the stories shared there.

William senior moved to Worksop in the shadow and employ of his older brother Benjamin, who had bought into a grocers shop in the town centre towards the end of the 19th century.  Going on to buy his brother out William worked hard to establish a business that sold everything from brush heads to bacon, thriving for 76 years.

It was William’s shop that funded the purchase of the family residence on Blyth Grove, the Sanderson wallpaper and high quality carpets, Florence’s fashionable outfits and the education and training of his sons.  Savvy investment in mining and property bolstered the family fortunes and secured their comfortable lifestyle.

William senior’s influence over the house didn’t wane after his death, and it was his unexpected passing in 1932 that had a remarkable impact on Endcliffe Villa, freezing the property in time.  As his wife Florence mourned, very little in the house changed, his pipes hanging by the fire and his clothes remaining in the drawers.

When Florence passed away in 1939 her sons William junior and Walter lived in the house together and made few changes.  They had little interest in modern living, never installing a phone line, central heating or electrical kitchen appliances like a fridge or freezer.  With the exception of the odd 1980’s calendar or plastic biro the house looks very much as it did in the time of their father.

William senior may not have travelled the globe, won glory in a war or built a grand house.  However the home he provided for his family off the back of his grocers shop, and the love they felt for him and the desire to protect his memory and mementos, has left a remarkable snapshot of family life for future generations.