A Deathbed Wish: James Newey
James Newey was appointed Curator of Boston Park in 1908.
He was to remain in the role for the following 16 years and, with his family, resided at Boston Castle. A native of Worcestershire, prior to his appointment he worked at the park for 13 years as a gardener under Henry Albiston, whom he succeeded as Curator. His wife was Mary Habershaw Newey, a native of Rotherham.
In 1912 Mrs Newey’s best friend, Beatrice Parry, became terminally ill and, on her deathbed, asked Mrs Newey to take responsibility, after her demise, for the upbringing of her eight year old daughter, Elsie.
Beatrice’s death occurred within a few days of her making the request, whereupon Elsie Parry became a member of the Newey household at Boston Castle.
James and Mary Newey were kind to Elsie, and arranged for her to receive lessons which resulted in her becoming an accomplished pianist. However, as was the practice of the time, she was required to carry out domestic chores and work long hours in the park cafe at weekends and during school holidays.
One of Mary Newey’s nephews was Ernest Watson, then aged twelve years, of Carrington Street, Clifton. It was at Boston Castle, during Ernest’s visits to his aunt and uncle, that Elsie became acquainted with him. In later life she was to say that at that time she hadn’t liked him very much.
However, at the age of eighteen Ernest joined the Royal Navy, and his service took him away from Rotherham for several years. On his return and while on leave, he visited Boston Castle. There he found that, in his absence, his aunt Mary’s foster child had become an attractive young woman.
Furthermore, it became apparent that now she did like him very much! After Ernest’s eventual release from the navy the two married in 1929.
That happy event was a tribute to the kindness of James and Mary Newey. Had they not taken an eight-year-old orphan into their home, Elsie may never have met the man who eventually became her life’s partner.
James Newey was a long-serving member of the Boston Park Bowls team, which he captained for many years. After a short illness he died in Sheffield Royal Infirmary on 14th May 1924, aged 59. He was interred in Moorgate Cemetery.
On his death being reported at the next meeting of the borough council’s Parks Committee it was resolved that the widow receive £1 per week for three months. At the end of that period Mrs Newey and Elsie Parry were required to vacate Boston Castle, thereby ending the Neweys’ 29-year association with the castle and parklands.