Australian man appeals to Kimberley for family roots help

Ken Widdowson, who has traced his family tree back to Kimberley's old mill.
Ken Widdowson, who has traced his family tree back to Kimberley's old mill.

A pensioner from Australia has issued a fresh appeal for information after tracing his family tree back to Kimberley’s Old Mill.

Ken Widdowson’s relative used to run the mill in the 1830s, and now he wants to find out everything about it and the lives his family led in Kimberley.

In particular, he would like to dig out some photos of houses in the mill yard, one of which was the family home of the miller, who is his direct ancestor.

The 78-year-old, who lives in Melbourne, said: “My research all started on my first visit to England in 1967.

“I had done a lot of work at the records office in London, and I traced my family tree back to a flour miller somewhere in Nottinghamshire.

“I was at the library one day, and I said to the lady there: If you find a Widdowson who was a flour miller, can you please ring me.

“They contacted me the very next morning, saying everything I needed was in a book called ‘The Story Of Kimberley’.

“I now want to know about my relatives’ lives, what they did, how they went about life and what they were interested in doing.

Since 1980, Ken has made several visits to England, attempting to unearth more information. In 2010, he stayed with an old friend in Nottingham while he visited the county records office and met up with members of Kimberley Historical Society.

He even spoke to neighbours living near the site of the old mill, while the Advertiser published a news story about his appeal for help.

Since then, he has also placed adverts in the paper, but has not received any response. So this is his last attempt to discover if there are any photos of the houses and, if so, how he can get his hands on them.

Ken is a fifth-generation direct descendant of William Widdowson, who operated the mill, which was situated on the hill above Lawn Mills Road from the 1830s.

It was known as The Old Mill, or was sometimes referred to as Lawn Mill. The windmill itself sat at the highest point in Nottinghamshire at one time and is the subject of a well-known sketch by Thomas William Hammond, dating back to 1900.

Ken added: “I always thought I had relatives in Nottinghamshire, so I wanted to find out where they originated from.

“But it took me a long time to discover my family descended from Kimberley and the Old Mill.”

Anyone who has information about the mill or Ken’s family, or knows the whereabouts of photos of houses in the mill yard, is asked to e-mail Ken at kenw@pipeline.com.au