Joseph Sydney Speed was born on 3rd May 1893 at Runcorn. He was the son of Luke Speed (born Preston Brook) and his wife Elizabeth (nee Hopkins) who was born in Runcorn. His father was a waterman on a barge.
The 1901 census recorded that the couple were living at 71, Shaw Street in Runcorn, having previously lived in Newton-by-Daresbury. Their children were Margaret (17), Frank (13), Luke S. (10), Alec (2), Eric (6 months) and Joseph Sydney who was seven years old. Another brother called Cecil who was 15 years of age was visiting the Hulse family in the same street on the night of the census.
A daughter Norah was born in 1902, but died the same year. Sadly Eric also died in 1902 and Alec died in 1903.
Ten years later the family were living in separate places on the night of the census in 1911. The father was the master of a flat called the “Gilbert” which was moored on the Bridgewater Canal at Preston Brook. The mother was living at 177, Chatsworth Street in the Edge Hill area of Liverpool, with her children Margaret and Sydney. Margaret was helping at home and Sydney was working as a grocer’s assistant. There was also a grandson called Sam who was seven years old. Cecil was now working as the mate on a barge called the “Linacre” moored at Liverpool. Frank was married and living with his wife Mary and their son Luke Stanley who was four months old. Frank also had a stepson. They lived in Vescock Street in the Vauxhall area of Liverpool. Luke Stanley was at Devonport in Devon as he had joined the Royal Navy in 1908. He would also serve in the Great War.
Joseph Sydney was in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve prior to being taken on as a Royal Navy seaman in the Great War. He was given the service number L9545. He was described as 5’3’’ tall with brown hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. He served from October 1916 until April 1918 as an Officers’ Steward class 3 and then as an Officers’ Steward class 2 until March 1919 when he was demobilized. He served on HMS Vivid1 (one), on HMS Dido which was a depot ship in the Harwich Force and on HMS Lion which was a battlecruiser. After the war he became a merchant seaman.
In late 1929 he married Bessie Abram at Liverpool. She was 15 years younger than Sydney.
The 1939 register showed that Joseph S. Speed and his wife Bessie were living at the house of a cotton merchant and broker called James H. Hulme in Hoylake. The house was called “Ardrossan” and it was on Croft Drive East in the village. Joseph Sydney was employed as the houseman and Bessie was the cook.
Joseph Sydney Speed died in Liverpool South in late 1967, predeceasing his wife by 21 years. He was 73 years old.