An end to Water
When their father died in in 1910 his younger brother Jacob had taken full control of the McKie water business Northumberland Road.
Both James Junior's sons, my grandfather and his brother, had become Electrical Engineers, abandoning water forever.
Jacob died in 1922 and the mineral water business disappeared. I haven't been able to find out when.
The land alone would have been valuable then and worth a fortune today, it's right in the heart of the commercial district. Maybe it was sold when Jacob died. In any case it's not there anymore. Maybe it didn't survive the Great War or the following depression.
But I wish I had been handed down a few dozen crates of something, because the bottles are now collector's items. A bottle recently changed hands in an on-line auction for £280.37 - and it didn't even contain ginger beer.
By the 1911 census my grandfather, James William Lawson McKie, was a 31-year-old electrical engineer living as a boarder with the Hall family, at 30 Albany Gardens, Whitley Bay, Northumberland.
At number 29 lived a young private school teacher, Margaret (Madge) Domville.
Was it love at first sight? Compared to their parents a generation earlier and their siblings, they were both on the shelf. He was 34 and she was 28.
They were married in 1914, at the start of World War I.
James and Madge had sufficient resources to buy a house at 58 Queens Road, Monkseaton, Whitley Bay, also a good address. Their first child, James Domville McKie, was born at the end of 1916. I wonder if an earlier pregnancy failed, as do so many today, with 'older' mothers. According to family lore, neither parent was lacking in libido.
58 Queens Road, Monkseaton today (Google Street View)
It was the middle Great War. James was a bit too old to serve. And in any case he was engaged in fitting out ships, coal mines and factories with electricity - very much a critical reserved occupation. The business was booming and very soon had around 500 employees.
James William Lawson McKie and Margaret McKie (Domville)
James Domville McKie, my Uncle Jim, was born at home at the end of 1916. He was followed by my father, Stephen Domville McKie, born in December 1917.
Then came Margaret Domville McKie a year later, as the Great War came to an end, followed by Joan Domville McKie in 1920.