The Reffell Family in 1911

A snapshot in time on Sunday 2 April 1911

One Hundred Years ago...

A comprehensive survey of the Reffell family of one hundred years ago..

The UK in 1911

Sunday 2 April 1911 dawned an ordinary day in Edwardian Britain, but being a Sunday for most it was the one day of the week that they had any time to themselves. Dressed up in their 'Sunday Best' many would have gone to church to thank God for all their good fortunes, to others it would have been yet another day of grinding poverty to get through.

Edward VII had died the previous year, but what is now known as the Edwardian era lasted until the First World War. The class structure of Edwardian society was very rigid and people knew their place in it. However beneath the surface, struggles such as union power & votes for women were beginning to emerge on themes that would create division throughout that society. Unknowable to the Edwardians, just around the corner was the leveller of society that was the Great War. The whole fabric of society was to change after the conflict and people were to find their lives irrevocably changed forever.

In politics, the government of Prime Minister Herbert Asquith had the year previously introduced a bill "Veto Bill", giving the British House of Commons power to override actions of the House of Lords which they then rejected. After a general election fought on the issue, at Asquith's request King George V threatened to create a sufficient number of new Liberal Peers to ensure the bill's passage. Rather than accept a permanent Liberal majority, the Conservative Lords yielded and the bill became law as the Parliament Act of 1911. This established the supremacy of the Commons and provided that the Lords could not delay for more than one month any monetary bill. Additionally, the act provided that any bill rejected by the Lords would nevertheless become law if passed by the Commons in three successive sessions, thus the Lords could still delay the enactment of legislation but could no longer veto it. Subsequently in later years the Lords "suspending" power was reduced to one year.

In industry, the Ford Motor Company Limited, more popularly known as Ford of Britain, was incorporated as a subsidiary of the American giant and in October a new factory at Trafford Park near Manchester was opened. At first the British assembled Model T automobiles were made by four man teams, two years later an assembly line was set up.