Thursday, 26 April 2018

A - Z Challenge 2018 - W

The Blogging from A to Z Challenge is to post everyday (except Sunday) in the month of April 2016 starting with the letter A and going all the way to Z. The theme I chose is...
My Family Tree Places.


My 2x great grandfather, Andrew Smith Tait was born 1838 in Glasgow. At the age of 13 Andrew was a Tailor apprentice. Andrew was working as a tailor and living at 105 Stockwell Street in Glasgow when on Jun 10, 1859 he married Jessie Thomson. In 1861 Andrew was boarding with the family of Mr Baird, Draper, in Liverpool and working as a draper/clothier. He moved his family to Liverpool within the next year. 

On the 23rd of March in 1878, with a light breeze in the air and cloudy skies, Andrew left his shop at 31 Islington Street and headed to the Patent office to submit his idea to make men's trousers fit better, and to incorporate a secret pocket! He was granted provisional patent No 1168 for 6 months on the 5th April 1878.

By 1881 Andrew was a Master Tailor in Liverpool, employing 7 men and 1 woman, his daughter Elizabeth Reid. In 1883 he was having financial difficulties and decided to sell his shop and move.

Andrew moved his family in 1887, to 4 Belvedere, Lansdown Street, Walcot Parish, north of the city center of Bath and overlooking the Avon River.

 He set up his tailor shop on Green St and Broad, just down the hill in Bath. There he sold his patented pants.

On the 24th of April, a beautiful spring day in 1901 in Walcot, the two youngest Tait children, Alice Vivian, age 25, and her brother Andrew Eli, age 22, went boating on the Avon River with some friends, starting in the morning at Maynard’s Boating Station and going upriver past Bathampton to Warleigh. 

Boat trip along the Avon River, Bath

They spent the day there and headed back to the Boating Station around 6:40 in the evening. Alice Vivian was in a boat with Mr Roberts and Mr and Mrs Pope, who got off the boat at Bathampton and walked home. They waited for the other boat holding Mary Davidson and her sister, Mr Cottle and Andrew Eli Tait. They passed under the bridge and Andrew’s boat got too close to the weirs and tipped over, the misses Davidson screaming for help. Mr Robert jumped out of his boat to help the girls, and Alice Vivian also jumped out and ran for help, then returned and jumped back in the river to help her brother Andrew, who was having trouble against the unusually strong currents. Mary Jane Kerr Davidson, the fiancée of Andrew Eli Tait, drowned in the water. 

There was a coroner’s inquest the next day, April 26, at which Alice Vivian had to testify. Andrew Eli was seriously ill for a while but slowly recovered and was able to attend the funeral of his fiancee on April 30th.

The day after the funeral, their father, Andrew Tait suffered a stroke and died 1 May 1901 at the age of 63.  His wife Jessie died in 1911 at the age of 74. They are buried with other family members at the Lansdown Cemetery, Walcot, Bath.

Andrew Eli was a master tailor and took over his father's tailor shop on Green street. He did marry in 1907, and they had two children. 


  1. What a clever man to invent a new style of pants! You certainly have interesting ancestors.
    Sad story of the boating accident.

  2. I would like to see a pair of those secret pocket pants. It's so interesting to find a patent in the family. As soon as they started out on those boats, I knew there was going to be a drowning. I always expect the worst though. I'm glad he was able to eventually get married and have a family.


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