Jack the lad
Here is the story of one of the previous owners of Penraevon. He is Jack Foreman and lived here with his wife Sadie Foreman.
(If you are related to them or knew them I would love to hear from you, and I apologise for any mistakes, mistaken identities or upset).
Why the interest in Jack and Sadie?
Jack and Sadie sound like such modern names, they seem young and fun, a thoroughly modern couple.
He is recorded as being a motor driver when he bought Penraevon in 1943. He bought the house for £1600 (when the average house price in the UK was £835) and sold it 16 months later.
This was during the end of the war, it was a strange time. If your house got bombed there was little recompense (and Leeds got bombed a lot). They bought the house for less than the previous owners had paid in 1925 (£1800).
The Foreman’s used the life insurance policies for them and their children Joyce (1939) and Aubrey (1934) as collateral and took out an interest-only mortgage to pay for the house. It seems like such a big stretch and such a risk to take. And then why did they stay for such a short time?
Jack and Sadie sold the house for £1900 the next year (a £300 profit – roughly a year’s salary, the new owner then sold it three months later for £2500!).
A little digging around was called for
Initially, I could find little recorded about them. they only appear in the 1939 census and sadly in their death records. I tried a newspaper search and then they appeared.
Jack the Lad
In 1927 Jack Foreman of Samuel Street was charged with stealing a car in Chapeltown from the Rugby League Head offices. He is 17 and along with 2 friends seems to have been involved in a speight of car thefts. The car belonged to a salesman for Fattorini’s a still famous Jewellers who created the Northern Rugby Football Union Challenge Cup. In 1896 Fattorini’s of Bradford was commissioned to manufacture the Challenge Cup and also supplied three-guineas winners’ medals then valued at thirty shillings.
The RFL moved into permanent headquarters in 1922 at 180 Chapeltown Road, Leeds, where it stayed for 73 years before leaving in 1995. It was near here that Jack and his friends spotted the opportunity.
I can’t help but be a bit impressed – the top speed for cars in the 1920s was around 40mph and there were no motorways (there was the A1 which was direct from Leeds to London), and surely they would have to fill up the car. Jack is sent to Borstal for 3 years until 1930. When he gets out he marries Sadie in 1931 I suspect they knew each other before.
Jack and Sadie
Jack and Sadie go on to have three children Aubrey in 1934 and Joyce in 1939. Jack says on the 1939 census that he is a Tailor/ motor driver (van driver)
1939 census show Jack and Sadie (Saidie) living at 36 Reginald Mount (4 bedroom terrace) with their two children. They also lived there with two other men a retired tailor machinist (widower aged 68) Isaac Lewis and Daniel Levy a tailors fitter (single aged 27). Jack says he is a tailor and a motor driver (van driver). It would be a cramped house which might be why in 1941 Jack gets into a bit of trouble again
By 1941 Jack and Sadie are living in the newly built St. Martins Grove, all the mod cons including inside toilets a garden, and a garage.
He is a full-time van driver, but during the war and Jack seems tempted back to his old ways. He gets caught stealing a large amount of jam (jam had just been rationed). The magistrate goes easy on him, referencing how he has changed his ways since his car-stealing youth. He is bound over for the year and doesn’t seem to get in trouble with the police again.
Jack is not serving in the war perhaps his job was a reserved occupation (not sure who he worked for as a van driver). His younger brother did fight in the war and died in Italy in 1943 (notices in the Yorkshire Post from all his family). This is the same year as they moved into Penraevon, the move might have been prompted by the birth of Vivien who is named below.
In the same year, the Foremans advertise for a paying guest (lodger) at their new home Penraevon. This must be Jack as he also appears in the phone book
I’m alright Jack
The Foremans sell Penraevon the next year to Benito Sevila for just over £1900. They seem to take this money and move to Blackpool to open a guest house Foremans Private Hotel . In 1946 they have another child.
Blackpool was the most glamorous place in the 1950s and I can imagine Jack and Sadie having a wonderful time drinking cocktails and dancing at the Blackpool Ballroom.
Return to Leeds
Jack and Sadie move back to Leeds in the late 1950s. They settle at Ingledew Crescent until in 1971 Jack dies. On his gravestone Sadie his devoted wife, daughters Joyce and Vivien, son Aubrey (all three are married but there is no mention of the daughter born in Blackpool). Sadie moves in with an in-law I presume as she doesn’t appear in the phone directory again.
The next we know of Sadie is when she dies in 1991
Jacob and Sarah or Jack and Sadie
From all this information I was able to piece together their childhood. Their gravestones reveal that they were both Jewish their parents were both Russian Emigres escaping the Pograms. The parents changed their surnames to fit in. His parents in 1911 census Isaac and Eta (Etty, Ethel) and find Jack.
Jack grew up in the Little London area of Leeds his father was a tailor, a Russian emigre. He is called Jacob Foreman though presume this was an Anglicized version of their Russian surname. Sadie was born Sarah Simon again her parents were Russian emigres and Simon was not their original surname. She grew up in the Leylands a few streets from Little London.
Both these areas were very poor and were packed with Jewish emigres, they tended to work in the clothing industry as Tailors. cloth cutters, wholesale wool sellers. The Leylands have become notorious as slums and were all pulled down as part of the slum clearances in the 1930s.
Jack and Sadie, started life in the Leylands, moved to Chapeltown, and with a little trip to Blackpool ended their lives in Roundhay.
Obviously, Jacob and Sarah wanted different lives and it seems different names. Welcome Jack and Sadie a thoroughly modern couple.
I may have pieced this together incorrectly I am also aware that Jack and Sadie’s children (grandchildren) may still be alive, I hope they are and I hope they don’t mind. If you want to read more about Jewish life in Leeds then the book From Leylands to LS17 is highly recommended.