The big family named Small

Gertrude Small (second left) with Hilary's great aunt Clara (far right) and friends from Kaycee.

Gertrude Small (second left) with Hilary's great aunt Clara (far right) and friends from Kaycee.

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Descendants of a large Kettering family – inappropriately called the Smalls – are meeting up at a special reunion at Wicksteed Park in May.

The Smalls were a close-knit family of seven siblings who lived in the Field Street, Oxford Street and Carlton Street area of Kettering during the early 1900s.

Hilary's grandmother Gertrude pictured alone

Hilary's grandmother Gertrude pictured alone

The last member of the family to hold the name, Dennis, is now living in a nursing home, but in a bid to celebrate the family name and help preserve its memory, Burton Latimer woman Hilary Connon decided to organise the reunion.

Hilary said: “I got the idea for the reunion when I accidentally found out that my friend, Annie, was actually my second cousin as our grandmothers, Gertrude and Clara, were sisters.

“Obviously it’s quite funny that the Small family was anything but small.

“This year is my 60th birthday so I thought it would be nice to try to get both of our families together – then I thought about the other descendants who are dotted around the Kettering area.

Gertrude with husband Roland Hill Price and her family

Gertrude with husband Roland Hill Price and her family

“It was very surprising to discover that myself and Annie were related – we had lived in the same town for a long time and were friends but had no idea.”

Hilary said her sister had conducted some research a number of years ago which uncovered the names of some of the families descended from the group of seven Small siblings.

The lengthy list includes Dawson, Dickens, Davis, Cannell, Burwell, Taylor, Cannings, Allbury, Bailey, Eglen, Hogben, Granger, Prize and Zbinden – although Hilary admitted this may only be a partial list and misses out some other “cousin” family names.

She added: “Any of the surviving grandchildren, and their own grand and great-grandchildren, should gather outside the Wicksteed Park Pavilion at 10.30am to 11am on Sunday, May 5, to share memories and perhaps bring a family photo of their ancestor and have a group photo taken.

Hilary Connon's Aunt Kathleen's wedding. Standing next to the bride is Hilary's grandmother Gertrude

Hilary Connon's Aunt Kathleen's wedding. Standing next to the bride is Hilary's grandmother Gertrude

“The family group can take an iconic train ride around the park as a final tribute to this Small Survivors’ Club.”

Hilary said the reason for the loss of the surname Small was a mixture of the families mostly having daughters and war.

One of the Small brothers died in the First World War, and two of the Small sisters also lost their husbands in the same conflict.

Hilary added: “There were not very many male members of the family to carry on the surname.

Hilary's great grandparents William and Ann Small

Hilary's great grandparents William and Ann Small

“It is sad that the family name is eventually going to disappear, but I hope that the memory of the families can be preserved through an event like this one.”

Some members of the family worked at the former Kaycee Factory in Kettering, which made clothes.

The factory was based in Field Street and, according to Hilary, many people living in that part of Kettering during the early 1900s worked at the factory.

Any descendents of the Smalls who would like to attend the reunion are asked to email Hilary Connon at hilaryconnon@hotmail.com.