The Prescotian Webzine

Mr. J.E.Hawthorne, Science Master, 1925 to 1960 : Research from Dr. John Willmott [1953]
John Eric Hawthorne (1898-1963) was a Yorkshire man, born and bred in the City of York. It is likely that he attended Archbishop Holgates Grammar School in York before studying at the nearby University of Leeds where he gained his MSc. Later, he moved to Prescot to become the Physics master, at the Grammar School (PGS).

He married Elsie Dresser (1900-1979) at St Luke’s Church in York in 1925. Just when did John Eric Hawthorne take up his post at PGS is unknown but he certainly moved with his wife to Prescot after the wedding for their eldest son, John Richard, was born in Prescot in 1927. It seems likely that he was appointed as Physics master about then when a new Physics laboratory became available with the opening of the new PGS building in 1924. That laboratory, next to the Chemistry laboratory, became the “old laboratory” when a new and more spacious Physics laboratory was opened in the new wing opened in 1939. It is presumed that his deafness came on in the period 1954-1960.

His father, Edward Hope Hawthorne (1871-1916) was born in Fulford, York, close to where the University of York is now located at Heslington. He was a School Teacher also, having been trained at the Wesley College in London. In 1914, he volunteered for war service and was sadly wounded in 1916 at the Battle of Galipoli but died in a hospital in Bristol, that year. There were no antibiotics available in hospitals (penicillin was yet to be discovered) and many wounded soldiers died in this way.

His mother, Margaret Eleanor Hawthorne (nee Richardson) (1871-1941) was also born in York, in the suburb of Clifton. Before she married, she too was a teacher, recorded as being an “Assistant School Mistress”. She did not remarry after her husband’s death and it is possible, perhaps likely, that she resumed her teaching career.

Elsie Dresser’s father, Thomas Edward Dresser (1873-1940) was a Yorkshire man also, working initially as a Lithographic Printer, at first in York, later in Stockport where Elsie was born. He had returned to York by 1911 by which time he had become a Milk Retailer.

John Eric Hawthorne’s grandfather was a Yorkshire man based in York: Hope Edward Hawthorne (1846-1909) was a Foreman Glass Cutter, working in a glass industry that was flourishing in York in the late 19th century. His maternal grandfather, Albert Richardson (1843-1892) was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne but came to York to work in the railway industry which had a major base in York. He was a Railway Ticket Printer.

All in all, John Eric Hawthorne had his roots firmly in York. That he moved from Prescot when he retired from PGS is indicated that in the early 1960’s, he is shown in the Telephone Directories as residing in the Isle of Man! He had a shortish retirement before dying in hospital in 1963.
Dr. John Willmott has drawn his internet research from both and

See also The Judge and Executioner [John Webster]


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