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Photo of Hugh Francis Wright

Hugh Francis Wright

Mechanical Engineer
Birthplace West Midlands Dudley EnglandPlace of Residence at HM Factory Gretna 16 Canberra Road Date of Birth: March 12, 1864 Date of Death: March 15, 1947

Biography

Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by) : Hugh Francis Wright
Gender: Male
Date and place of birth: 12th March 1864 Dudley
Date and Place of Death: 15th March 1947 East Barnet Hertfordshire, Three Counties Hospital.
Nationality: British
Childhood
One of 6 surviving children
Parents: James and Jane nee Potts
Parents occupations : Mechanical engineer
Schools / universities attended and years of attendance:  Not known
Occupation: Mechanical engineer
Place of residence at Gretna: 16 Canberra Rd , Gretna with wife Alice
Marital status: married
Children: 2. Son also at Gretna and in staff database– Frederick Howard Wright
Travels: None known
Awards/recognitions: None known
Positions held: Ministry of munitions Chief engineer ,( 1939 register)
Trivia / any other information:  Yes
Bibliography

Books published (Title, year of publication, publisher):
Books written about the individual or mentioning the individual (Title, year of publication, publisher):

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Biography 

Hugh Francis Wright 1864-1947 

Hugh Francis Wright was 54 when he and his wife Alice Harrison Wright were included in the 1918 electoral register for Gretna, he an engineer living in a staff house at 16 Canberra Road, Gretna. Their son, Frederick Howard Wright living at 15, Canberra Road.  

The question of who applied for employment at H.M. Factory Gretna first is one without an answer. Frederick was there in his capacity as a lieutenant with the Royal Garrison Artillery but possibly has an engineering background and certainly some technical skills.  

Hugh was there as an engineer having a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience in the field of engineering and gas plant management behind him. Alice was probably there to accompany her husband.  

Hugh Francis Wright was born on 12th March 1864 in Dudley, Staffordshire to James Wright , Mechanical engineer employed in his family company, and Jane nee Potts, the daughter of an iron founder. James was Dudley born but Jane came from Stockton-on-Tees , a town that plays a large role in the Wright family life. Hugh’s paternal grandfather after whom he had been named was also  an engineer so it clearly was a given path for him. Hugh was the eldest of 8 children. We later learn that only 6 survived.  

James and Jane married in the third quarter of 1864, after the birth of Hugh in March and his baptism in April.  

On 20th September 1865 the following report appeared in the Worcestershire Chronicle  

“Dudley, Staffordshire, England 

… GAZETTE NEWS. Partnerships Dissolved.—James Wright, Thomas wright, Edward Wright, William Wright, Sarah Wright, and Joseph Wright, Dudley, engineers … “ 

These were Hugh’s grandparents and uncles..  

On 25th September 1868, a second son, Harold Edward was born, also in Dudley but the family moved to Birmingham before 1871 where John Hubert was born. No 1871 census can be sourced for this family. A daughter arrived during their time in Birmingham. On 3rd July, 1874, Gertrude Helen was born. The address given on her baptismal record is Lady Street , Birmingham, father’s occupation –“draughtsman”. 

In 1876 or 1877, a second daughter Mabel Alice arrived in Stockton -on-Tees followed by Charles Ernest in 1879.  

The 1881 census places James, Jane and their 6 children at 27 Westbourne Street, Stockton. James 38 born in 1843 at Dudley a “Mech. Engineer”. Jane also 38 born Stockton. Hugh F. now 17 an engineer’s apprentice. Harold , 12 , John 9, Gertrude 6, Mabel 4, Charles 2 and a 19 year old general servant from Dover. All but Hugh and Charles were at school. 

There is evidence in the Freemason’s Register that James was initiated into the Whitwell Lodge, Stockton, on 8th May 1888. There is no evidence of him leaving the area which we learn in later census returns that he did. 

The 1891 census places the family at 17 Hartington Road, Stockton, not far from their previous dwelling. Clearly James has gained promotion , he is now 48 and “ Man. Ind. “ ( Manufacturing Industry) “M E “ ( mechanical engineer )” Chairman of S Board”. Jane is also 48, Hugh F at 27 , still at home is a mechanical draughtsman, Harold at 22 is a metallurgical chemist, Mabel at 14 is a scholar as is Charles aged 12. They employ a 22 year old domestic servant. John now 20 ,  missing from this return,  can be found lodging in Gloucestershire as a draughtsman. No census return can be sourced for Gertrude Helen for 1891.  

On 14th September 1893, 29 year old  Hugh married Alice Harrison Sharp of 18 Hartington Road, Stockton. It is clear to see how these neighbours met.  

Alice was born in Stockton in 1865 to John, a printer and stationery, and Elizabeth nee Harrison. In 1871 the family lived at The Square, Stockton. Alice was the eldest of 10 children ( 7 survived). John Sharp had become a letterpress printer employing 3 men and 6 apprentices and a Domestic servant .  

Alice’s father died prematurely on 15th October 1892, his probate showing an address of Paradise Row, Stockton, shortly the marriage of his eldest daughter to Hugh  , who lived next door.  

12 months later on 28th September 1894, Hugh and Alice welcomed their first child, Frederick Howard n Stockton followed by a daughter, Alice Hilda on 17th June 1897 in Hendon.  

By 1901, Hugh had established himself and his family at 47 Swinburne Rd Eaglescliffe, ( off Hartington Rd). Now  37 he is described as a mechanical engineer. Alice is 35, Frederick 6 and young Alice 3. They afford a general servant.  

Hugh’s parents show in the 1901 census as living in Lambeth. James , now 58 is an engineer employer, Jane is also 58. Gertrude at 24 and Mabel Alice22, Hugh’s sisters are still at home and have no occupation listed. James employs a general servant.  

On separate returns for 1901, brother Harold is married and listed in Middlesborough employed as a metallurgical analytical chemist and John, 29 is married and working as a gas works manager in Sunderland. Charles was a visitor to a household in Suffolk. He listed as a gas engineer. The Wright brothers, Hugh, Harold, John and Charles were clearly highly skilled in their field and following the family pathway.  

The next census came in 1911, completed by the householder. In Alice’s widowed mother’s case this was completed on her behalf by unmarried daughter Eleanor , a Printer’s assistant, because Alice’s mother could not write. 

Hugh and Alice have now moved to Fernleigh, 14 Station Road, Newport , Salop, a 10 room dwelling. They have been married 17 years and have had 2 children. Hugh is now 47 and the general manager of a “gas plant and works, limited company.” Alice is 45, Alice Hilda is 13 and three quarters , a school girl. They employ a resident domestic servant. 

In 1911 son Frederick is a  boarder at Oundle . Northants.  

Hugh’s parents have also moved again, this time to Hatch End, Pinner, Middlesex. His father James , 68 listed as a mechanical engineer “ out of business”. Jame is also 68. Gertrude at 35 is still at home , occupation “artist ( painter)”. A nephew confusingly called Hugh F Wright, aged 26 , an “engineering draughtsman gas engineering” is in the house of 8 rooms. 

Brother Charles is still in Middlesborough employed as a metallurgist analytical chemist for a blast funace, mines and coke plant works. He has 7 children and a 10 room home.  

Brother John is in Sheffield as a gas works superintendent.  

Sister Mabel is living in Southend on Sea where she met and married her husband.  

Hugh’s son Frederick had joined the Royal Engineers in 1915 and was transferred to the RGA  following an injury to his right leg leaving a “ war scar”( ships passenger information. )   

Both father, mother and son ended up at Gretna living in adjoining houses. Hugh was possibly one of the oldest engineers to be employed by the Ministry of Munitions during WW1. It is highly probable that his 3 brothers also found themselves at Munitions Factories.  

It is not clear where Hugh and Alice’s daughter Alice Hilda was at this time although several Alice Wright’s are included as Territorial Nursing Service for 1914 on http://www.forces-war-record-co.uk 

Following WW1 their son Frederick married the daughter of a master mariner in Hendon in 1924. He began a career as a chartered accountant and became managing director of a cigarette manufacturer involving regular transatlantic trips. He did not have any children. 

By 1939 at the outbreak of WW2, Hugh is a widower but sadly no evidence can be sourced hinting at the date of his wife’s death. Now 75 , living “ Rosslyn”, Lyonsdown Avenue,East Barnet, he is listed as “ Mechanical Engineer, chief engineer M of M” ( Ministry of Munitions) “ and other concerns”. Whether chief engineer relates to his role at Gretna or to a role he was fulfilling in WW2 is unclear. He is also an ARP warden volunteer. Daughter Alice is listed , unpaid domestic duties and Red cross volunteer which possibly supports the theory that she was in the territorial nursing corps during WW1. There is also a resident domestic servant.  

By 1939 brother Harold , still in Middlesborough was a chief chemist, John a gas engineer and Charles an assistant gas manager in Ipswich. Gertrude is “ domestic duties and gardening” at Stourbridge Castle. 

Daughter Alice married but she did not give Hugh a grandchild.  

Hugh died aged 83 at the 3 Counties Hospital, Bedfordshire on 15th March, 1947. His home address was still “  Rosslyn” Probate was to Frederick Howard Wright managing director and Alice Hilda Walter, ( wife of Edward Joseph Walter effects worth £9705 16s 11d. 

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