Weaste Cemetery

Biographies of people buried between 1930 & 39

Hannah Anderson (1891 - 1938)

Hannah Anderson was an ordinary Salford housewife, but in 1931 she and her husband became famous overnight by winning a major prize in the *Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes.


Hannah was born on 2nd December 1891. She married Thomas Anderson some time around 1913. He was a dock Labourer and also had a part-time job as a Waiter at the Borough Inn on Regent Road. Hannah ran the household and raised extra income by running a clothing club. The couple had no children and in 1931 they were living in Christopher Street, off Cross Lane, near Regent Street, Salford.


In June 1931 their lives changed. They had bought four books of tickets in the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes for the Epsom Derby. Their chosen horse was "Orpen" and a few days before the race one of their tickets was successful. News spread around Salford that the lucky couple had a horse in the Derby. Thomas and Hannah decided to escape all the attention by going away to Blackpool. On race day, they couldn't even listen to the race when it was broadcast on the wireless. (The first broadcast had been in 1927). But when Thomas knew that the race had been run, he ventured onto the street and asked a passer-by, who had won the Derby? The reply was first place "Cameronian" and second place "Orpen"! He could hardly contain his elation and raced back to tell Hannah. Later he telephoned the Mansion House in Dublin to check and he was told that they had won £15,000.


Hannah and Thomas returned home the following day and found their street festooned with bunting and many neighbours out to greet them. The Salford City Reporter took an interest too and reported that Hannah had no plans to move away as both their families lived nearby. Thomas said that they would have a good holiday, maybe a trip around the world. It wasn't long before they started to receive begging letters. Thomas arranged for free drinks for all his friends at the Borough Inn and the following night threw a private party for a dozen Dock Labourers who worked in his gang at Salford Docks. Hannah gave everyone in Christopher Street a £1 note and told the members of her clothing club that they now owed nothing, which amounted to £225. She also organised a children's party where 120 local children feasted and were given a present to take home.


After the celebrations, they realised that their newly-found fortune would cause them to be constantly hounded so they moved to Blackpool. The house they bought there, on Warbrick Hill Road, was fittingly named "Orpen". Hannah was to enjoy her wealth for only seven years as she died on 9th August 1938 at the age of 46. Her body was returned to Salford where she was buried in plot A6 of the Roman Catholic portion of Weaste Cemetery, on 13th August. Father A Delaney conducted the service. Thomas lasted another 13 years and died at Blackpool on 23rd March 1951 aged 59. He was buried with Hannah at Weaste Cemetery.



* The Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes was a lottery established in the Irish Free State in 1930 as a temporary solution to fund its hospitals. As Ireland had a small population, it aimed to raise funds beyond its shores, mainly in the UK and USA, often amongst the emigrant Irish population. It used famous horse races such as the Derby and the Grand National. At this time, lotteries were generally illegal in the UK and USA, and US customs confiscated and destroyed millions of counterfoils on their way to Dublin. At one point the sweepstakes caused some strain on Anglo-Irish relations and the UK Government passed the Betting and Lotteries Act in 1934 to prevent the export and import of lottery-related materials. However, a thriving black market sprang up in both countries and most of the winners came from the UK and USA.


As Governments' attitudes relaxed and indeed went into the lottery business themselves, the Irish Sweepstakes declined in popularity. From the 1960s onward revenue declined. Although giving the appearance of a public charity lottery, it was run by a private company and the owners were paid substantial dividends from the profits. They have used their earnings to build a group of industrial enterprises that are quite prominent in the Irish economy, such as Waterford Glass. In 1986, the Irish Government created a new public lottery and the Sweepstakes company failed to secure the contract to manage it. The final Sweepstakes was held in January 1986.