Hartlepool man tells of his Italian ancestry
Neville Aggio can boast a rich ancestry which helped shape Hartlepool.
Housebuilders played a big part in his past, including two grandfathers who were heavily involved in the housing trade.
The 84-year-old told how he went to public school, was then an RAF policeman and knows mammoth levels of details about his ancestors.
The Heriot Grove resident knows that his past relates to a Carlo Guiseppe Aggio - the great-grandfather who first came to England as the financial advisor to the great Guiseppe Garibaldi, the Italian politician who did much to unify the country.
After a time in Fleet Street, he travelled to the North East where Hartlepool was the draw.
“I’m not sure why he came to Hartlepool but he was a stereotyper,” said Neville. And he believes Carlo played his own role in the early days of the Northern Daily Mail.
Once the Aggios were in town, they soon made their mark and property was the area they excelled in.
Their influence was so great, there was a time when Neville’s grandfathers - Joseph Moss Ward and Carlo Guiseppe Aggio - owned two of the biggest houses in the Sydenham Road area, and they were directly opposite each other.
Joseph had a house which was so big, it had stables and garages behind it. Hired helps and servants lived over the stables.
And Joseph’s influence was so great, he was the man who built houses all the way from that building to St Aidan’s Church.
They were three storey houses with Spanish mahogany bannisters and pitch pine flooring, said Neville who was born in Stockton Road.
His early days were centred on playing around Ward’s laundry which was run by his uncle.
“As a little boy, I used to go down there and you could look in and see all the women washing in the laundry.”
And there was a horse and cart which both collected the washing from businesses and took it back. Neville remembers Arthur English was the man who looked after the horse.
Neville believes his ancestors were acquainted with John W Cameron, who confided with one of his relatives on plans to build a brewery in town.
Neville’s parents were Sarah Ann Ward and John Joseph Aggio whose father was Carlo Guiseppe.
Sarah Ann passed away aged 96 but before her death, she told many stories to Neville which he has now decided to share with Mail readers.
It includes his grandfather Ward being the man responsible for building many houses in town, including some which are no longer standing, but include the streets named after the great areas of the region - Northumberland, Durham, Cumberland and Westmoreland.
Neville told how one street in the town was even registered wrongly as Wards Terrace when one of his relatives went to register the street and could not remember the name he was going to give.