In October 2016, Joan Pyne – owner of Saddler’s House B&B on Derry’s Great James Street – was contacted by a South African couple who wanted to make a booking in her B&B. They informed her that their great grandfather lived in No 36 Great James Street and carried out a saddle making business in the City. Much to their surprise they discovered that the Saddler’s House appeared while doing a little research on the web for their visit to Ireland. No. 36 Great James Street was built by their great grandfather, William Dickson, in 1871. William Dickson had four sons – two of those boys left for Canada, one emigrated to South Africa while one remained in Derry.
A few months later they received a booking from a Mr. Doug Taylor from Canada. On discovering the contents of a box of old letters and photos that his mother had given him before she died, he contacted the Saddler’s House to make a booking. The Taylor’s cedar chest, which contained family letters and photos, was forgotten about until fairly recently having been in an attic for several decades. Douglas Alexander Taylor, great grandson of William Dickson, was unaware of the existence of the family history and its connection to Derry. Like his South African cousins, he discovered the rich family history that he was previously unaware of.
What is even more wonderful is that the Canadian family was unaware of the existence of their South African cousins.
Douglas is now in the process of contacting his cousins in Cape Town. This is the first opportunity for Douglas to make contact with a living relative of the Dickson Family.
To learn more about The Saddler’s House visit www.thesaddlershouse.com