George Henry Watson was one of 11 children. Born in 1859, the son of a labourer, he was baptised in Skeyton Church in Norfolk on July 3rd.
He appears in the 1861 census, 2 years old. In the 1871 census (name spelt Whatson but clearly the same family) he is 12 and an agricultural worker. In the 1881 census he is aged 22 and still at Skeyton but an”Odd ware maker” . In the1891 census he is 32, married with two sons and is a brickmaker. His marriage to Mary Knights took place in Skeyton in 1883. In 1901 and 1911 he is still a brickmaker and his wife is still alive.
There is a death record for a George Henry Watson at age 84 in 1944 in North Walsham which must be him.
The manuscript book is a leather bound volume, measures 25cms by 15.5cms and is split into sections. It’s undated and ascribed G.H.Watson Swanton Abbott. This is in Norfolk and lies right next to Skeyton where George lived. Why it is marked Swanton Abbott instead of Skeyton is presently not clear.
The tunes include polkas, galops, waltzes, schottisches, dotted and undotted hornpipes and a couple of song tunes. In particular it contains the chorus to Leslie Stuart’s Soldiers of the Queenand this might have been noted down as the original march, celebrating the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894, rather than the song which followed on in 1895 as part of the musical comedy An Artist’s Model.
The contents reflect the popular music of the second half of the 19thC but also include a number of significant pieces from the 18thC. George was musically active into the 20thC but there are no details yet found and it’s still not apparent what instrument he played.
Thanks to George Frampton and Sue Carlton for background information.