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From the late Ruth Abbott's notes, photographs and papers.
Mr. William Edward Abbott

William Edward Abbott in his
RAMC uniform in WWI & medals

William Edward Abbott was born at Mears Ashby in 1866. He married Ellen Jolley, also from Mears Ashby, in 1886. They had a daughter Edith Ellen in 1887 at Irthlingborough, and after a move to Chelveston, a son Frederick Victor was born in 1894. Another child was born, but sadly died.

(left) Medal for King Edward VII's Coronation in presentation box.
Presented by St John Ambulance
for flag bearing at the parade
In 1890 he had joined the Lightstrung Co. Ltd., as a cycle maker. Ted went on to become the works manager. He was also one of the founders of the St John Ambulance Brigade in Rushden, and as a member had gone as a Flag Bearer at some Royal events: Queen Victoria's funeral, King Edward VII's Coronation, and his funeral, and King George V's Coronation.

Ted was also a member of the Temperance Society.

Temperance Band of Hope
Band of Hope medal

He had a collection of medals commemorating Queen Victoria’s Jubilee 1887, King George & Queen Mary’s Coronation 1911 and their Silver Jubilee 1935, King George V and Queen Elizabeth's Coronation in 1937. The 1887 medal has a black ribbon attached, worn by Ted at Queen Victoria's funeral procession in 1901, when he was a flag bearer.

1887 with black ribbon
1911 Coronation
1935 Silver Jubilee - blank reverse
1937 Coronation

In 1901 the family was living at 86 Wellingborough Road, Rushden, and William, known as ’Ted’ was working at the Lightstrung Co. Ltd., as a cycle maker.

By 1911 daughter Edith was working as a boot and shoe machinist and Frederick was a clerk in a boot factory. The family was living at 4 Glassbrook Road.

On 31st August 1914 Ted enlisted in No. 9 Company R.A.M.C. at Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, and gave his address as 25 Brookfield Road. He declared he had been an apprentice 28 years ago, at Sywell. His examination showed his third finger on his right hand had a stiff joint, and he was 5’8” tall, and he was aged 49 years and 3 months, with 5% defective sight, and poor teeth. In December 1915 he was promoted to Sergeant.

He was stationed at Woodcote Park Hospital, Epsom, and whilst there he asked other staff and patients to sign his autograph book. Ted was discharged to the Class P Army Reserve on 9th August 1918, and was given a gratuity.

In 1930 he retired from the Lightstrung where he had become the Works Manager, with a testimonial for his 40 years service, signed by H G Denton. They moved to 25 Brookfield-road, Rushden.


Ellen died in February 1937 aged 70, and Ted joined her in 1939, aged 73. They are buried in Rushden Cemetery, grave F486:

In loving memory of Ellen the beloved wife of William Edward ABBOTT who passed away Feb 14th 1937 aged 70 years. Safe in the arms of Jesus. Also William Edward ABBOTT passed away Jan 12th 1939 aged 73 years. (vase) ---

Mercury and Herald, Friday, July 8,1988

Grandad made these bikes!

WITH reference to the letter in your July 1 edition, the firm in Rushden which gave the name to the bus stop was the LIGHT-STRUNG. Bicycles were manufactured there hence the title meaning a lightly strung cycle.

My grandfather, Ted Abbott, made these cycles before the First World War, and when he returned from service with the RAMC continued to do so until 1934.

By this time the company was also a motor agency and had garage workshops. The Lightstrung Company was in existence until 1970.

I understand that the Rushden Historical Vehicle Society have a Lightstrung cycle which is often ridden in their parades.

Mrs F Parker
Purvis Road

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