NameJames Wilson LAIDMAN, 3200, Q1164
Birth20 Apr 1882, Waterhouses, DUR
Birth MemoBrandon & Byshottles
Death4 Jan 1953, Durham Central RD, DUR Age: 70
Death MemoSt Giles churchyard
BurialGilesgate, DUR
Burial MemoSt Giles churchyard
OccupationColliery putter [A colliery putter pushed the tram of coal from the workings to the crane]; 1901, 1911: Coal hewer (1 Water Lane, Durham)
FatherThomas LAIDMAN , 10292, O1476 (ca1828-1895)
MotherJane SPOORS , 10494 (ca1845-1922)
Misc. Notes
1882: Water Houses, Brandon & Byshottles, Durham

1891 Census Returns: RG12/4093 folio 90 page 80 (Schedule 441)
Newhouse Cottages, village of Esh Winning, civil parish of Esh, Lanchester, Durham, England
Thomas Laidman Head M(arried) 62 Coke drawer (employed) (born) Cumberland High House
Jane Laidman Wife M(arried) 43 (born) Durham West Rainton
Mary J Spoors Step Dau(ghte)r 16 (born) Durham Broomside
Agnes Laidman Dau(ghte)r 11 Scholar (born) Durham Esh
Wilson Laidman (sic, for James Wilson) Son 8 Scholar (born) Durham Esh
Sarah Laidman Dau(ghte)r 7 Scholar (born) Durham Esh
Alice Laidman Dau(ghte)r 2 (born) Durham Esh

1901 Census Returns: RG13/4674 folio 80 page 1 (Schedule 6)
4a New House Rd, Esh Winning, Lanchester, Durham, England
Jane Laidman Head Wid(ow) 56 Washer Woman at home (born) Durham West Rainton
James W Laidman Son S(ingle) 18 Coal Heaver Worker (born) Durham Waterhouses
Sarah A Laidman Dau(ghte)r 16 (born) Durham Waterhouses
Alice Laidman Daur 12 (born) Durham Waterhouses
Fred Gooding Boarder S(ingle) 19 Theatrical Act Worker (born) Suffolk
John Wade Boarder S(ingle) 49 Theatrical Act Worker (born) Manchester Lancs
Fred Homer Boarder S(ingle) 45 Carsman Worker (born) Durham Bishop Auckland
Thomas Hare Boarder S(ingle) 43 Carsman Worker (born) Durham

1905: 37 Crossgate, Durham

1911 census return: RG14PN29971 RG78PN1733 RD551 SD2 ED10 SN305
Co. Durham, Durham, 2 Hallgarth St
Jane Laidman, Widow, 64, married 34 years, 8 children born alive, 4 living, 4 dead, quitiling club [sic, interrogation mark by ennumerator], At home, born Waterhouses Durham
James W Laidman, Son, 29, Married 8 years, 5 children born alive, all living, miner (hewer), Worker, born Durham [”county” deleted, + “do” for “Waterhouses”]
Sally Laidman, Daughter, 27, single, out of work, born Durham [”county” deleted, + “do” for “Waterhouses”]
1Jane HARRIS, 10300
Birthca 1880, Spennymoor, DUR
Birth MemoLow Spennymoor
Death12 Mar 1962, Durham Central RD, DUR
BurialGilesgate, DUR
Burial MemoSt Giles churchyard
FatherFrederick HARRIS , 16363
Misc. Notes
1905: 37 Crossgate, Durham

1911 census return: RG14PN29992 RD551 SD2 ED31 SN9999
Durham, Crossgate, Durham Union Workhouse
Jane Laidman, Inmate, 30, Married 8 years, 5 children all living, born Durham Low Spennymoor
Martha Laidman, Inmate, 8, born Durham Durham City
Thomas Laidman, Inmate, 6, born Durham Durham City
Florence Laidman, Inmate, 4, born Durham Durham City
James Laidman, Inmate, 2, born Durham Durham City
George Wm. Laidman, Inmate, Age last Birthday: 9 days, born Durham Durham City
[Note: Although I have grouped Jane and her children, they are found in different parts of the census return, and were probably all separated, as appears to have been the dreadful custom]

From The Darlington and Stockton Times
From the archive, first published Tuesday 1st Nov 2005.
They were built to house the poor and the infirm, but for many, the workhouse meant a lifetime of abuse and mental cruelty. Lindsay Jennings talks to the author of a new book whose great aunt spent her life in Durham Union Workhouse.
JANE had been waiting almost two hours in the punishment room. Unsure of her crime, she fidgeted nervously with the edge of her apron before she heard the key turn in the lock. It was the master of the workhouse and with him was a male officer.
Jane had been born into the workhouse, entering the world on a tide of rumours. The whispers were that she was the illegitimate daughter of a Member of Parliament and it was a rumour she held close to her heart. When a baronet came to visit the workhouse one day to announce that each child would have a summer holiday, in her young mind Jane imagined that the aristocrat was her own father, come to rescue her from the institution. She had even run up to him and called him 'daddy'.
Now the master stood before her, incandescent with rage at her behaviour. He ordered the officer to strip her naked and took the leather whip from the wall.
"The first lash fell across her back, knocking all the breath out of her. Pain like fire shot through her body, and the second stroke fell before she had time to breathe. When the third fell, with excruciating pain, Jane realised what was happening..." writes Jennifer Worth.
Jennifer was working as a district midwife in the Docklands of East London when she met Jane years later at the nun's convent where they both lived. She was 45 years old when Jennifer knew her in the 1950s, a fidgety woman who could barely function for her nerves.
It was only after several years that Jennifer discovered why Jane possessed a constant look of terror in her eyes, when she learned that her spirit had been "utterly crushed" when she was a child living in the workhouse.
It is her story, and others she came across during her work in the 1950s, that has led Jennifer to write Shadows of the Workhouse, a rich social history where she has dramatised true stories such as those of Jane.
Says Jennifer, 70, who lives in Hertfordshire: "Everybody of my generation lived in the shadow of the workhouse. My grandmother would get hysterical if she had to go anywhere near one. Jane never talked about what had happened to her - I suppose she had blotted it out - but I learned about it through her friend, Peggy.
"It (the punishment Jane endured) was absolutely legal and they didn't look upon it as abuse, they looked upon it as discipline. The master had absolute right over the child and he could do whatever he liked. But it wasn't as much the conditions which were horrendous but the fact of being unwanted and unloved."
The word workhouse was enough to send a shudder of fear through any honest 19th century worker. Charles Dickens created an image of the Victorian workhouse in Oliver Twist, but the stories of brutality and horror continued well into the early early 20th century.
People ended up in the workhouse for a variety of reasons, usually because they were too poor, too ill or too old to support themselves. Once inside they would be stripped, washed and issued with a workhouse uniform. The only other possession would be a bed, usually with a wooden or iron frame and a mattress and cover. For much of the 19th century, families were torn apart as soon as they entered the building, segregated into one of seven classes.
The toilets would often be a covered cess pit shared by dozens of people. The staple diet was bread with gruel or porridge for breakfast and broth for dinner, a watery dish with turnips or onion. Work ranged from washing and cleaning for the women, to stone breaking and bone crushing (animal bones were crushed in some places to provide fertilizer for workhouse gardens). Medical care was scant.
Another reason Jennifer was inspired to write her book was through the experience of her Great Aunt Cissy, who was sent to Durham Union Workhouse as a pregnant, unmarried woman in the 1930s.
"She was in service when she became pregnant and it may have been one of the family who got her pregnant or it may have been a boyfriend," says Jennifer. "She had an illegitimate baby in the workhouse when she was about 18 or 19 and the tragedy was the baby was taken away from her as soon as it was born, while she stayed there for the rest of her life. But, after a while, she probably would have become institutionalised. Anyone who became institutionalised would have become terrified of the outside world."
Jennifer, also author of Call the Midwife, can recall going to visit her great aunt at the workhouse - which later became St Margaret's Hospital - in the late 1930s.
"I found it a very frightening experience," she says. "The workhouse was big and imposing with grey walls and a huge gate. The people inside all looked the same and they were wearing a uniform, which I thought was a nightdress at the time.
"My aunt couldn't have been more than about 45 at the most. I can remember she was very sweet - my mother had taken a box of chocolates and she gave most of them to me. My mother said afterwards she had never known her own child so she loved other children. She didn't strike me as being unhappy, but then she didn't have much to compare her life with."
* Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth (Merton Books, £14.99.)
Marriage23 Feb 1903, Durham RD, DUR
Misc. Notes
Marriage solemnized at The Register Office in the District of Durham in the County of Durham
Twenty third February 1903
James Wilson Laidman 23 years bachelor Coal Miner 82 Claypath Durham (father) Thomas Laidman (deceased) Coke drawer
Jane Harris 23 years Spinster 82 Claypath Durham (father) Frederick Harris Coal Miner
ChildrenMartha , 3202, R1395 (1903-1959)
 Thomas , 3201, R1521 (1905-1956)
 Florence Ethel , 3203, R1528 (1907-)
 James Wilson , 3199, R1537 (1909-1993)
 George William , 16998, R2085 (1911-1985)
 Frederick , 3205, R1184 (1913-1987)
 Robert , 3207, R1196 (1917-1919)
 Robert Nicholas , 3204, S1211 (1920-1998)
 Edward , 10311, S1337 (1923-1923)
 Agnes , 3206, S1201 (1924-1978)
Last Modified 17 Aug 2010Created 3 Jun 2012 using Reunion for Macintosh