‘Johnnie Adelaide’ is so called to distinguish him from another John, who lived at the other end of Bucks Mills village. Both men had their wife’s christian name appended to their own, becoming ‘Johnnie Adelaide’ and ‘Johnnie Lydia’. ‘Johnnie Adelaide’ is mentioned just once, in the first chapter of Barefoot on the Cobbles, along with two of his daughters Norah and Gertie. As inhabitants of 4 Forest Gardens, ‘Johnnie Adelaide’ and his family were Mary and William’s neighbours. John’s wife, Adelaide, had lived in the cottage with her widowed mother, Mrs Dunn and continued to bring up her family there. 4 Forest Gardens eventually passed to ‘Johnnie Adelaide’’s daughter, Louisa.
Like most of the men in Bucks Mills, ‘Johnnie Adelaide’ spent his working life at sea, combining fishing with engagement in the merchant service. He had been born in the village in 1847. At the age of thirty three he married Adelaide Dunn and they had four daughters and a son.
‘Firmly and before she could be gainsaid, Mary answered, ‘She be staying put. There’s too many of them down at Ivy. I could do with some help in the house now me arthritics be so bad and she will walk up to school with Johnny Adelaide’s girls. Norah’s about her age and Gertie can keep an eye on them both on the way. She won’t be no trouble.’ ’