Personal tragedy

Just as it happens today, tragedies occur every day, and people are lost in their prime, or lose others when they most need them. Daniel, Susan and Ernest all had tragedy befall them in different ways. As with any tragedy, loved ones were left shocked, forced to cope with the grief of an untimely loss. Click each image or link to find out about the story behind it.

A black and white pencil portrait illustration of Daniel Haydn Mainwaring, on a pink background

Daniel Haydn Mainwaring

The coal miner who emigrated to America

Daniel was severely affected by struggle for fair pay at work and by tragedy in his home life. He looked to America to make a new start; read his full story to find out more.

Meet Daniel Haydn Mainwaring

A black and white illustration of Susan May Woodford, on a pink background.Susan May Woodford

The piano teacher orphaned by the Titanic disaster

Susan was one a number who tragically lost family when the Titanic sank – in this case, her father. Discover her tale of success in the face of adversity.

Meet Susan May Woodford

An illustration of Ernest Butterworth, drawn in his uniform on a pink backgroundErnest Butterworth

The cotton weaver who became a soldier

Ernest spent most of his career in the brutal conditions of the cotton industry, which perhaps explains why he enlisted in 1915, at 38 years old. Traumatised by his experiences, he was never the same.

Meet Ernest Butterworth

What is 20 People of the 20s?

20 People of the 20s is a project where staff members at The National Archives have researched a story of someone from the 1920s. From family members and First World War service personnel, to famous performers and politicians, we hope these stories will encourage you to explore the breadth of experience in 1920s Britain. 20 People of the 20s is part of 20sPeople – our season to mark the release of the 1921 Census, connecting the 1920s and the 2020s. Find out more here.

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