MY SEARCH FOR CECIL BARTON
ACTOR: TANSHELF, PONTEFRACT 1914
by WENDY McCOIST (nee Barton)
photograph submitted by Wendy McCoist (nee Barton)
my mother passed away a year ago, which prompted me – like many others
– to try and trace my family tree, especially as she had told me some
very intriguing tales about my family’s past. Unfortunately, my mother
was the last in my family above me and there is no-one else to ask. My
mother was a very imaginative woman, and was prone to
"embroidering" stories, so it would be nice to sort out fact
here goes; firstly, the story as told by my mother, and secondly the
facts as I know them!
MY MOTHERS ACCOUNT:
told me that my grandmother, Florence Maria Blanche Gull, came from a
wealthy family of physicians and barristers, and that there was a
connection to the Jack the Ripper Case. She studied at the London
Academy of Music and obtained a medal for playing the violin in July
her privileged lifestyle supposedly came to an end when she met an actor
by the name of Cecil Barton and became pregnant, was disowned by her
family, and my father, Derek Cecil Barton, was born in Pontefract,
Yorkshire, in September 1914.
don’t know whether they married or not, but mum told me that they were
in Scotland at some point. Cecil Barton deserted my grandmother when my
father was very young, and possibly went away to America.
eventually ended up working as a ‘downstairs maid’, somewhere in
Wimbledon, and one day, whilst sitting on Wimbledon Common with my young
father, she met Joseph Dunn, who took my father on as his own and the
family moved to Snodland in Kent, where they ran a small general stores
until the end of their lives.
(left) My father Derek Cecil Barton as a baby
Gull and her parents
Florence Gull’s Death Certificate, dated 16th February 1962:
16th February 1962, Snodland, Kent.
Name: Florence Blanche Marie Dunn
Female, aged 77
Wife of Joseph Redmund Dunn, Shopkeeper (General Stores)
Florence Gull’s Birth Certificate, dated 17 July 1884:
4th June 1884
Name: Florence Maria Blanche Gull
Father: Joseph Gull, Solicitors Clerk
Mother: Charlotte Blanche Gull (nee Hertslet) 79 (or 19) Cowley Road,
Cecil Barton’s Birth Certificate, dated 19th September 1914:
11th September 1914 in Watergate, Tanshelf, Pontefract
Name: Derek Cecil Barton
Father’s Name: Cecil Barton (an Actor)
Mother’s Name: Florence Blanche Barton, formerly Gull
The reverse of a postcard signed ‘Kind Regards to Mr &
Left: The postcard depicts Cecil Barton and is signed ‘Yours
Faithfully Cecil Barton.’
Photographs submitted by Wendy McCoist.
have in my possession the medal obtained by Florence at the London
Academy of Music. The inscription on the reverse reads ‘Florence
Gull, July 22nd 1902". The box containing the medal has in its
lid the inscription ‘J A Bestall, Jeweller, Birmingham.’
two photographs are the only ones I have of Cecil Barton, both of which
will see that the photograph from Cecil Barton, with the inscription on
the back "Kind regards to Mr & Mrs White", and signed on
the front "Yours faithfully, Cecil Barton" was taken by ‘Rowland
King, Photographer, Printer, Framer, Local View Publisher, of Earlestown.'
would be very interested to hear from anyone who has any information
regarding the actor Cecil Barton or Florence Gull. I can be contacted by
e-mail at email@example.com .
Wendy McCoist (nee Barton)