Grand reunion to celebrate wedding

The 1911 wedding of Hugh Hallifield Birks and Emily Douglas Lamb.
The 1911 wedding of Hugh Hallifield Birks and Emily Douglas Lamb.

TWO families are set to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the day the offspring of two prominent Hartlepool businessmen tied the knot.

Edwin Birks, a local magistrate, was well-known in the town after setting up Birks Bros, which ran a number of cafés and grocery shops in Church Street, Musgrave Street and Seaton Carew up until the 1960s.

Henry Lamb founded jewellers and clockmakers H Lamb, which was originally located in Lynn Street and still trades at its premises in York Road.

On August 30, 1911, Edwin’s son, Hugh Hallifield Birks, married Emily Douglas Lamb at St Paul’s Church in Grange Road, in West Hartlepool, bringing together two of the town’s well-known families.

The wedding reception was held in the Grand Hotel, in Swainson Street.

Next month, more than 40 members of both the Birks and Lamb families will recreate this wedding pose, when they gather on the steps at the Grand Hotel during a get-together.

Hugh and Emily had five children, Olive, Edwin, Hugh junior, Richard and George.

Hugh and George are the only surviving children. Hugh junior and Emily lived happily for several years in Elm Grove, but the family experienced a series of tragedies when Emily’s father died in 1913.

Hugh senior’s brother, Reginald, was killed at war in 1916, Hugh died of influenza in 1924 and his father Edwin, Edwin’s wife, Eliza and her sister, Annie, died of influenza within a week of each other in 1925.

Michael Hall, step-son of Edwin Douglas Birks, is helping to organise the event, which will also include a meal.

The 66-year-old said: “It will be a big celebration and a chance to reminisce about all the things that happened in the past.

“We class ourselves all as cousins.” The Hartlepool-born former Henry Smith Grammar School teacher, who left town 44 years ago and settled in Morpeth, added: “Several cousins from the original marriage met in Spain, Italy and Hungary over the past few years and it’s out of that that this whole thing started.”

Relatives will be coming from far and wide for the event, including Hugh and Emily’s son, George, who lives in Arkengarthdale, in the Yorkshire Dales.

Also attending are Peter Birks, son of Hugh junior, and his wife Sally, who are travelling from Canada, Emily Bianchi Bazzi, daughter of the late Olive Davies (nee Birks), who is coming from Italy and Peter and Sue Lamb who are travelling from their home in France.

Michael said: “My cousin Peter and his wife, the main organisers of the event, are most keen on family history and it was their idea to have this reunion to celebrate 100 years since the wedding.

“A distant relative, Jan Cooper has a database on the internet which has the whole family pin-pointed.”

To access the database visit