On 26th December 1942, Boxing Day, Doug Street married MABEL ASH. She was the third of six children - four girls and two boys - born to WALTER & LYDIA REBECCA ASH (nee Hawley).
WALTER ASH was born on 30th September 1889 in Matlock, Derbyshire to JOSEPH & EMMA ASH (nee Slater). WALTER was the third of three children but had two step-sisters from his father's first marriage. When he was three months old he was baptised at the Matlock Primitive Methodist church - on 25th December 1889!
He was a shoemaker and repairer, specialising in shoes for deformed feet. His children would deliver the finished shoes to the customers, sometimes until fairly late in the evening when they were tired of walking. His son, Ray, continued the business together with the retail shop on Smedley Street, when Walter retired. In the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock, there is a small accounts book dated 1914/1916 with names, repairs and costs of customers over those years.
He was also a Methodist Lay Preacher and a Sunday School teacher. The 1934 Methodist Local Preachers' Who's Who contains the following entry:
ASH, Walter, born Matlock 1889. Educated Elementary. Married Lydia Hawley. Sons 2. Daughters 4. Shoemaker & Retailer. Year Appointed 1908. Circuit Matlock. Church office ex Sunday School teacher. 20 years. Address Smedley Street, Matlock Derbyshire.
"He was a strict father, but a kind and loving man who worked hard and long hours. He always tried to keep his promises to his customers. He was kind and helpful to people who were poor or going through difficult times."
He also loved nature and poetry, and painting in oils and watercolours. He did a copy of Alexis de Leeuw's 'Horses Pulling a Log Cart in a Winter Landscape', Bakewell Bridge, 'Chocolate Box Cottage' and many more. He also painted his daughter in a yellow sou'wester playing in puddles, on a round piece of tin. Unfortunately this seems to have gone missing during various house moves of the family. A few of his poems are on the Poems page of this site.
He died on 29th July 1973 at the age of 84, three years before his wife Lydia. They had lived in Matlock all their lives. His son Ray continued the business but after he died in 1998, the shop on Smedley Street stayed empty for twelve years. In 2005 it was supposed to have been demolished, but the owner couldn't get the permission. In 2009 a local butcher bought the shop and left as much of it as possible as it was - the big window and the front door. The wooden signs announcing "W.Ash & Son" were retained by the butcher who would like to restore them and replace them on the building. There was a great deal of interest in the signs from historians - Walter Ash was part of Matlock history!