Thomas Howitt (1782-1855), landlord of the ‘Jolly Colliers’ at Heanor, and cousin of William Howitt (1792-1879) the writer and poet of Heanor, had a son Richard Howitt (1809-1878), who married Mary Borebank (1811-1873), of Commonside, Heanor in 1829. (The Borebanks were originally from West Hallam). Their son William Howitt (1845-1931) came to live in Mapperley after his first wife, Ann Sleigh and their only child Thomas Henry Howitt both died in 1871. He married secondly in 1872, Hannah Flint (1853-1934) daughter of Samuel Flint and Mary Handley. William was a coal miner at the local pits and he and Hannah had 8 children, 6 of whom married into other local families. They were living on Smiths’ Row, Mapperley Village in 1881.
Samuel Howitt (1877-1926), William and Hannah’s eldest son, was a very religious man and took a great part in the development of Wesleyan Methodism in Mapperley, eventually becoming a lay preacher in the Ilkeston Circuit, and a Class leader and Sunday School teacher at Mapperley Wesleyan Church. He was also a Parish Councillor for Mapperley, a Governor of Mapperley School, and he had held various offices with the ‘Sons of Temperance’ which was attached to the Methodist Church and was an organisation to warn people of ‘the perils of drink’ He was unfortunately killed aged 48 in a pit accident at Stanley Pit, in March 1926. He was removing pit props when a section of roof gave way revealing a fault that had previously not been detected. He was severely injured by the falling rock, dying from his injuries a short while later.
Sam was married to Rosella Birkin (1881-1949) in 1899 at the old Mapperley Holy Trinity Church. She was the daughter of Joseph Birkin (1848-1917) and Harriet Hawley (1851-1916), both well known Mapperley families.
Rosella Howitt and Mary Hawley
Post Office, Mapperley Village c.2008
Rose opened a shop, firstly at the top of the Main Street, and later at No.34, The Village (also known as ‘Walkers Yard’). The house had previously been occupied as a police house. The shop was in the front room of the family home and she ran it until her death in 1949. Rose was called upon by the villagers many times over the years in their time of need, to ‘lay out ‘ bodies prior to their burial.
The original shop that Rose had opened on Main Street, was in later years taken over by Wesley Derbyshire and was re-named the ‘Top Shop.’ It also became the local Post Office.