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Postcard shows Wallsend fountain unveiled in 1912

The Duffy Memorial Fountain in Wallsend in 1912.
The Duffy Memorial Fountain in Wallsend in 1912.

When this photograph was taken in 1912 for Valentine Postcards, the Duffy Memorial Fountain had only just been unveiled in Richardson Dees Park in Wallsend.

It was designed by the Newcastle firm of Simpson and Lawson after winning a competition set by his children for a fitting memorial for their father, town mayor Joseph Duffy, who had died in office in 1910.

This postcard was sent to Nell Smith in Stoke-on-Trent by someone called Billie who was billeted in the Buddle Schools buildings next to the park during the First World War.

Joseph Duffy, a builder, was brought up on a farm in Ireland, moving to Wallsend in 1867.

He married Jane Branniff in 1878 in South Shields, and they later settled in St Luke’s parish in Wallsend, subsequently moving into the Villa on the Green.

They had four daughters and two sons – Mary Jane, Catherine, Elizabeth, Louise, Hugh and Patrick James.

Probate was granted to Hugh Duffy, a builder; Patrick Duffy, an ale merchant; and Francis Duffy, a draper, of £123,642 on Joseph’s death.

Deputy mayor James Allan stepped in to continue Joseph’s civic duties after the death of the mayor.

In the 1911 census, at the Villa, Hugh Duffy is listed as head of the household, with him and Patrick both listed as estate agents, and Ellen Branniff, youngest sister of their late mother, also resident there.

Both fought in the First World War, but Patrick was killed in action in France in 1918 aged 28.

He was a first-class air mechanic with the Royal Flying Corps and is buried in Pas de Calais.

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