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While the first decade of the twentieth century was a successful time for the Company, they were mixed years for the Reyrolle family. Alphonse's sister Eleanor took ill whilst visiting him, and later died in a private hospital in Newcastle.
Two years later, 1906 was a happier time, when Alphonse returned to France to marry Marguerite Mongandon in Paris. Marguerite - a dressmaker - was four years younger than Alphonse and was born in the Raveu (Nieure) area of France. Gustav Reyrolle, a furniture salesman and younger brother of Alphonse was the French equivalent of the 'Best Man'.
Alphonse and his wife returned to Newcastle to live in Grindon House, a residence further along Beechgrove Road, Elswick. Marguerite later returned to Paris where their son Armand Fernand was born the following year.
On returning to Newcastle, Marguerite Reyrolle looked for a nursemaid for her young child. Charlotte Nicod, daughter of Alf Nicod, got the job. She lived with the Reyrolle family whilst looking after their son. In 1918 Charlotte married and left Hebburn to live in America.
Marguerite Reyrolle did not play a major part in the local community but Alfred Pawsey (2000) points out that the newly installed electric lighting and X-ray apparatus at Hebburn's Ellison Hall Infirmary was switched on by Mrs Reyrolle in November 1913.
In 1911, Alphonse was admitted as a member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (now the Institute of Engineering and Technology). Research indicates that he did not present any engineering certificates or technical paper, so he must have been admitted on the strength of his experience and perhaps the recommendation of the Institute's Vice President - Charles Merz.
Written by Robert Owen
THE strands thrown out by one of South Tyneside's most famous industrial names continue to amaze.
In this case, they open another small window into the life of the Reyrolle family – most specifically Alphonse Reyrolle's son and heir, Armand Fernand.
Former South Shields man Bob Owen, now in Huddersfield, is, as you may know, the author of a book on Reyrolle's, where he himself served an apprenticeship in his younger days.
Bob's book, The Reyrolle Story, is being serialised online at www.openwriting.com, and it has resulted in some interesting feedback, he tells me.
However, he was especially amazed and thrilled to hear from a lady, Joan Butler, in Arizona in the United States.
Her mother, it transpired, had actually been nanny to the young Armand Fernand who, at the outset of Bob's researches into the family, had initially been a more shadowy figure than his more famous father.
She was Charlotte Nicod Robbie, who was born in 1897 and died only as late as 1992.
It turns out that Joan's grandfather, Alfred Nicod, was one of Reyrolle's three original employees, and worked for him for 48 years.
Eight of her Nicod uncles also worked for the firm.
Says Bob: "The large Nicod family was very well known in Reyrolle's."
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