In April 217 I received this information relating to the Widmann family

"For several years I have been compiling biographical information on ex-pupils of King Edward VI. Grammar School, Retford, who the school’s in-house magazine recorded as being associated with Allied flying services during WWI (RNAS, RFC, RAF, US Air Service) for eventual placement in Retford’s Local Studies Library and Bassetlaw Museum.

One of the 43 boys identified as such was John Percy WIDMANN (1894-1974, KEGS day boy 1908-1911), who served with the Navy, Army and Air Force.

As part of gathering details regarding this gentleman, I recently sighted his father’s naturalization paperwork at The National Archives (Carl Wilhelm Widmann, German subject, applied January 1896, granted March 1896).

His main supporting declaration was made by Robert Colver ("I have been on intimate terms [with Carl] for 14 years during which time I have visited him at his residence"), and a letter from the Mayor’s office noting that he acted as Foreign Correspondent to Jonas & Colver ("a firm of highly respected manufacturers in this city").

I had previously been in contact with Sheffield Archives, as Carl became Cuban Consul in Sheffield after the war (the Cuban Embassy in London didn’t answer my query as to why a Cuban Consul was required in Sheffield). Finding that he had worked for Jonas & Colver, I was heading on the wrong track by looking into Robert Colver, when I should have been looking at his partner, Joseph Jonas, a fellow ex-German Subject. Fortunately Archives’ staff pointed me in the direction of your web-page on Sir Joseph Jonas when I updated them, and a few things fell into place with regard to details I had already found about John Percy Widmann - the German ties, his post-school pre-war visit to the Bingen area, and being at steelworks in Antwerp and Spain before returning to join up in 1916."

Many years go I posted articles on Sir Joseph Jonas and Robert Colver. the partners in the Sheffield steel firm of Jonas & Colver. Most of the following information came from King Edward VI Grammar School, Retford, pages which the researcher posted.

Carl Wilhelm Widmann, b 16 Feb 1857 Reutlingen, Würtemberg, Germany, but living in Sheffield since 1882. He married Polly Swinnerton in 1884 and became a naturalised British Subject in Mar 1896 when living at 220 Chippinghouse Road, Sharrow, Sheffield., a clerk & ‘foreign correspondent’. 1901C living at 348 Crookesmoor Road, Sheffield, but by 1904 and in 1911C the family was living at Highland Grove, Worksop. Then by 1919 (Whites Directory) living at 72 Button Hill, Ecclesall, but by 1922 shown living at Birchfield, Jaggers Lane, Hathersage. 

He became the Cuban Consul at Sheffield in 1921, operating out of; Stock Exchange Buildings, Commercial Street)

Carl died 12 April 1925 and his wife Polly died thirteen years later on 13 December 1938, both at ‘Birchfield’. They are buried together in the churchyard at St Michael's Church, Hathersage, Derbyshire.

In July 2022 I received this information about Carl and Polly and the house they bought on Jaggers Lane, Hathersage, Derbyshire.

"I have been building a history of the occupants of our house and I came across your page on Carl Widmann. It's been very useful to me in filling in some details of what happened to the house between 1938 and 1945, thank you.

As a minor detail Carl Widmann bought the empty plot of land on which Birchfield was built on 14th February 1923, and on 27th November 1923 he sold the land and house to his wife Polly, so the house was built between 14/2 and 27/11 of 1923 (from the deeds). Carl therefore can't have been living here until summer 1923 rather than 1922 as your page records. Quite why he sold his house to his wife in November 1923 soon after building it is a bit of a mystery to me, the conveyance is from him to her, in her name alone. Presumably it wasn't a deathbed sale as he lived another 18 months, and a will would have served that purpose in any event.

I see that this part of your information came from "Hathersage Remembers", I have also informed them. After Polly's death the house wasn't sold until 1945, at a guess the war got in the way in some manner."

A second email followed 

"I started this as what I thought would be a very small project to find who had lived in our house since its construction. While we have all of the conveyancing documents going back to the sale of the land and some of the land for the time before that, ownership doesn't fully answer the question of who lived here, so I am starting to go down rabbit holes trying to find out. Polly Widmann owned the house until her death in 1938 but it wasn't sold until 1945, and it's not clear who lived in it between those dates, so I'm trying to find concrete addresses for the sons.

If you are like me and want proof of everything, I've attached a copy of the deed of sale from 14th February 1923, covenant (a) on page 3 of the pdf shows that there was no house at the time the land was sold, but that one had to be built as a condition of sale. When sold in November 1923 to Polly the land had a house on it. I assume that Carl lived in the house after selling it to his wife until his death but it's a slightly odd transaction. Since they are buried together I assume they hadn't separated."

1901 Census

1911 Census

His sons were

WIDMANN, John Percy

John originally joined the navy in 1916, based in Tyneside; Ordinary Sea Man Z/9952. RN Division Wireless Section.. Later that year he was transferred to the Army; Pte, (later; temp Cpl) G/71695 Mddx Regt. 6 I.L.Coy. In 1917 shown as being in (probably attached to) R.F.C. and in 1918 he was shown in a school publication, as transferred to the transport service of the Royal Air Service. His name is on the Ecclesall Hall Memorial plaque. (Because he was of German descent he became part of special units within the Middlesex Regt and would not have served in the front line. The prefix; ‘G’ to his number indicates this classification). He was awarded the Victory & British War medals, but no record has been found of anyone actually applying for, or receiving them.

John Percy, b Sheffield 4 March 1894. Brother of William Swinnerton Widmann below. Most of the following information came from King Edward VI Grammar School, Retford, pages, where he was a pupil from 1908. In 1910 he won his Colours there in football as a half back. He left there in 1911 and went to live at Bacharach, near Bingen in Germany, but by Spring 1913 was working at a steelworks in Belgium and living in Brussels. In Oct 1914 he sent a vivid description to the school of fighting in beleaguered Antwerp, while still a civilian. He moved to work in Spain, from where he returned to England in Spring 1916 to join the Colours.

John Percy became a Certified Tax Clerk with the Inland Revenue in 1926 and In the Sept 1939 Register, he was shown as ‘single’ living at ‘Elmslea’ New Beacon Road, Grantham, soon after he too went to live at ‘Birchfield’, Hathersage, but from 1962 to his death on 13 Jan 1974 he lived at 2 Brookside Cottages, The Dale, Hathersage.

WIDMANN, William Swinnerton

1918 joined; Duke of Cambridge, Mddx Regt. b 8 Oct 1898 in Sheffield. (Brother of John Percy Widmann above). His name is on the Ecclesall Hall Memorial plaque. He became a pupil at King Edward VI Grammar School, Retford, along with his brother in Sept 1908, and in late 1912 was a boarder there, probably when his parents moved back to Sheffield. He later became an apprentice with the Yorkshire Engine Co., at Sheffield, on completion of which he joined up. After working as a mechanical engineering draughtsman, he died 30 Jan 1955 at 9 Maynard Road, Rotherham. He married Marjory Speechly in 1922 at West Bromwich. They had a son William D Widman whose birth on 4 Jan 1923 was registered at Bakewell. In the 1939 Register, the family were living at 9 Maynard Road, Rotherham, where the father was when he died. Eldest son; William D, went to live at 3 Jubb Close, Wickersley, and another son; Roy, died age 19 serving in WW2, a Leading Aircraftman 1765302 9(P) A.F.U., R.A.F.V.R


Name: Carl Wm Widmann
Age in 1911: 54
Estimated birth year: abt 1857
Relation to Head: Head
Gender: Male
Birth Place: Germany
Civil Parish: Worksop

County/Island: Nottinghamshire Country: England
Street address: Highland Grove Worksop
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: Clerk At Steelworks
Registration district: Worksop Registration District Number: 427
Sub-registration district: Worksop ED, institution, or vessel: 18 Household schedule number: 256 Piece: 20239
Household Members: 
Name Age
Carl Wm Widmann 54
Polly Widmann 46
J Percy Widmann 17
William S Widmann 12

1857 born 
Marriage 1885 • Ecclesall Bierlow Reg. Dist. Yorkshire Polly Swinnerton (1864–)
Residence 1891 • Ecclesall Bierlow, Yorkshire, England
Birth of Son John Percy Widmann(1894–) abt 1894 • Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
Birth of Son William Swinnerton Widmann(1898–1955) October 1898 • Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
Residence 1901 • Nether Hallam, Yorkshire, England
Residence 02 Apr 1911 • Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England
Death of Son William Swinnerton Widmann(1898–1955) 30 Jan 1955 • Yorkshire, England


UK Census

Hathersage Remembers

King Edward VI Grammar School, Retford

Sheffield Indexers

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This page was last updated on 23/07/22 16:44