Joseph Bishop was born in Woodside, Dudley, Worcestershire, England, in 1865, the son of William and Elizabeth Bishop. William Bishop was a furnace man and the family home was at 35. The Croft, Woodside, Dudley, where Joseph Bishop was brought up.
He began his working life as a coke burner but later became a carpet weaver, at one time being employed by Messrs. Woodward, Grosvenor and Company. He was married to Alice Bishop (née Morris) and they had two children – Walter & Joseph. Some time before 1901, the family moved to Oldham, Lancashire and set up home there in Turf Lane, Heyside.
In 1913, they decided to try their luck at farming in Canada and subsequently emigrated there. They arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in April 1913 on board the
Virginian, having sailed from Liverpool. Perhaps because of the war, however, they decided to return to England and consequently booked as third class passengers on the
Lusitania, leaving New York on 1st May 1915. They had booked their tickets from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Both of their children were married, Joseph, in Canada, and Walter in Oldham.
Both Joseph Bishop and his wife were killed, three weeks later, after the ship was torpedoed and neither body was ever found and identified afterwards. Joseph Bishop was aged 50 years.
In the summer of 1915, Walter Bishop applied for financial assistance for the loss of his parents to The Lusitania Relief Fund, which had been set up after the disaster by The Lord Mayor of Liverpool and other worthy dignitaries, to help those survivors and relatives of the dead, who found themselves in difficulties as a result of the sinking. The committee administering the fund declined to award him anything, presumably because they felt he was not in need of assistance.
In Canada, Joseph Bishop sought compensation for the loss of his parents’ personal effects in the sinking, and when his claim was decided on in May 1926, he was awarded the sum of $700 as executor of his parents’ estate, half of which was to be paid to his brother, Joseph.
Both the house in George Street and Messrs Woodward, Grosvenor and Company’s carpet works in Kidderminster, still exist today.
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1871 Census of England & Wales, 1881 Census of England & Wales, 1891 Census of England & Wales, 1901 Census of England & Wales, 1911 Census of England & Wales, Canadian Passenger Lists 1865 – 1935, Cunard Records, Kidderminster Shuttle, Liverpool Record Office, Oldham Standard, Deaths at Sea 1871 – 1968, PRO BT 100/345, UniLiv D92/2/322, Canadian Claims Case No. 804, Graham Maddocks, Geoff Whitfield, Ruth Butler, Lawrence Evans, Michael Poirier, Jim Kalafus, Cliff Barry, Paul Latimer, Norman Gray.
Copyright © Peter Kelly