Mrs J.H. Whitworth

no-picture-square3Mrs J. H. WhitworthIda Mary Whitworth née King, 43, (1889-1959), a Quaker, daughter of milliner Julia Constance King née Oliver, at this table, and Alfred John King, cotton bleacher and Liberal MP. Ida had four daughter but her barrister husband Major John Howarth Whitworth died of his wounds near Rouen in April 1918. Ida was active in WW2 in support of refugees from Germany.

puzzle-piece2-50 Have you a picture of Ida or of her mother Julia (Mrs Alfred J. King)?


Probably the chance to talk directly with the two gentlemen at the table would have been good.


We don’t know what she was active in at this time: her daughters (between 14 and 18) had not yet flown the nest so doubtless on the lookout for opportunities for them as well as causes that she herself could get involved in. Conversations with JT and with Gordon West may have given her ideas. And this was an opportunity to meet many other women who had contributed greatly to society.


Ida Mary King was born on 11th October 1889, in Rainow, Cheshire, the eldest child of Julia Constance King née Oliver, milliner, and the Quaker cotton bleacher and MP Alfred John King. She had two brothers: John F. Constance King (born in Rainow in 1894) and Philip Fell King (born in 1897, in Bollington, Cheshire, later a cotton manufacturer).

In 1913 Ida married barrister and would be Liberal MP John Howarth Whitworth. In their short marriage they had four daughters, Julia Marian, 17.5.1914, Elizabeth Mary, 27.8.1915, Ida Margaret 7.10.1916 and Joan H. in late 1918, all both in Cheshire with the exception of Joan who was born in Cumbria. But Ida’s husband John died of his wounds near Rouen, in April 1918, before the birth of his fourth daughter. His younger brother had been killed in action in 1914. John had tried twice to be a Liberal candidate.

John Howarth Whitworth 1879 – 1918


In 1938 the Quakers in Manchester set up the ‘Refugee Committee of the Society of Friends in Manchester and District’ (QRC). Ida’s future son in law, Roger Carter of the Berlin Quaker Centre, witnessed Kristallnacht in Berlin in 1938. Ida was regarded as one of the more well-to-do members and at one point she had four refugees living with her and her daughters in their home, Woodburn, Red Lane, Disley in Derbyshire: Gerta Flack and her son, Peter, from Germany; Fritz Pringsheim (later Professor of Roman Law at Oxford) and his wife, Kathe, from Freiburg im Greisgau. In the 1939 census three different refugees are listed, two from Austria, in paid domestic service, and a former teacher from Germany. Also living with her was a child of one of the several families from Guernsey who settled in Disley after the German occupation of the Channel Islands.

Ida had “lived for prolonged periods in various parts of the Continent, including Germany and Italy”, and was said to have had personal knowledge of Fascism and its effects; her daughter Julia, who also joined the committee, had studied German and music in Freiburg – Julia, who was studying at Manchester University in 1939, married Roger Carter in 1940.[1] [2] Ida’s daughter Ida Margaret married in 1941.

Reports suggest that Ida had four daughters with her at the time of housing refugees, but it would seem that her third daughter Elizabeth had died in hospital in London in 1937.[3]

Ida died in The Christie Hospital, Withington, Manchester, on 24th August 1959, when resident at Spring Cottage, Skelwith, near Ambleside, Westmoreland.


[1] Bill Williams, Research Fellow, Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Manchester. Honorary President, Historic Adviser and a founder member of Manchester Jewish Museum. SERIOUS CONCERN, Manchester Quakers , and Refugees, 1938-40, accessed online 3.3.2019

[2] Bill Williams, Jews and Other Foreigners Oxford University Press, 9.4.2013

[3] Ancestry sources and Wills.

Can you tell us more?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s