Herbert Mollekin

Herbert Mollekin (centre)

Herbert Mollekin (centre)

Johann Hermann Mölleken (known as Herbert Mollekin) is my great grand uncle and was born in Sunderland, in 1863, to parents, Johann Mölleken and Henriette Muehlenweg.

In 1888, Hebert married Bertha Kennington in Hull. Together, they issued sixteen children, who were called, George Herbert (1889 to 1970), John Ernest (1890 to 1974), Bertha Lily (1892 to 1927), Harold (1893 to 1893), Alice Ada (1894 to 1942), Harry Leonard (1896 to 1976), Mabel (1897 to 1974), Dorothy May (1898 to 1970), Albert Sydney (1899 to 1976), Gertrude Ivy (1901 to 1931), Stanley (1902 to 1989), Sybil (1903 to 1993), Edward Arthur (1904 to 1904), Norman Frederick (1906 to 1990), Claude (1908 to 1968) and Jack Everatt (1910 to 1963).

Herbert was a prolific house builder and was considered to be a good employer by his workers. Further details regarding Herbert’s building activities can be read here.

Below is a newspaper article which gives an insight into Herbert’s life and achievements.

Herbert Mollekin in Nice (left)

Herbert & Bertha in Nice




The death took place in a Sheffield nursing home on Monday night of Mr. Herbert Mollekin, of The Grange, Maltby. He had been in a critical condition for some days.

The news of Mr. Mollekin’s death caused profound regret throughout South Yorkshire, for he was well known both as a builder and a Turf personality. A typical self-made man, he started his career as a working joiner, his energy and enterprise winning for him an enviable position in the building industry. The firm of Mollekin and Sons may, in fact, claim to be one of the largest building contracting firms in the district. He was a Northerner, but spent the greater part of his early days in Hull and Pontefract. Leaving joinery and becoming a bricklayer, he went to Pontefract, where he first worked as a builder.

Hebert at the Doncaster Races with the Earl of Scarborough

Hebert at the Doncaster Races with the Earl of Scarborough

It is now over twenty years since he went to Maltby and carried on his trade, his business enterprise being eventually rewarded. He always took a keen interest in Maltby, both as a business man and as a resident. He was virtually responsible for the rebuilding of practically the whole of Maltby, and there are many other mining villages throughout a wide area which have developed municipally under his hand. He started about 1910 to build the model village at Maltby, and although the progress of the scheme was impeded by the War, Mr. Mollekin took it up again afterwards. When sinking operations commenced at Thurcroft about the year 1913, he secured building work there, and again achieved the distinction of establishing almost an entirely new village.

He also built Rhodesia village, near Shireoaks; Council houses at Rawmarsh, Thurcroft, Blackwell, and South Normanton. Other contracts executed by him included the new elementary school at Thurcroft, the Technical Institute at Dinnington, and the new-type elementary school at Bramley.

Herbert Mollekin (right)

Herbert Mollekin (right)


Mr. Mollekin was also widely known through his career on the Turf. His association with Melton Vasey, his trainer and chief advisor, was a most satisfactory one, although it commenced only in 1922, when he made his debut as an owner. He was a very popular figure at all the northern meetings, and particularly at York, Manchester, Pontefract, Ayr, Newcastle and Redcar. At all these he had taken valuable prizes, and although he was not so successful at Doncaster, he was always well represented at all three meetings. He and Melton Vasey did a great deal to establish training in Doncaster and to increase its importance as a centre, apart from it’s importance as a meeting place. He commenced in a very modest style in the sport which claimed his undivided enthusiasm. He followed his horses wherever they were and the success of his first purchases, Balzac and Pickwell encouraged him to extend his operations. While he never gave a great amount of money for his horses, he and his trainer had a remarkable knack of picking up things cheaply. One of his most prolific winners was Miss Connie, which he purchased at the Doncaster September sales for £100 and which won him in stakes something like £5000, including the Old Newton Cup at Haydock Park and a £1000 race three years ago. The horse, Amazement also proved a successful investment, for he bought it out of a selling race at Doncaster and it afterwards took the Gosforth Park Cup and the Carlton Handicap. King Willow came very close to taking the season’s first big race at Lincoln several years ago when it ran 3rd to Tap in. It will be recalled that five years ago a number of horses at Belle Vue got loose, including a number of Mr. Vasey’s charges, King Willow being rather badly kicked, while another, Soval, upon which Mr. Mollekin and Mr. Vasey had set high hopes, was badly injured. Foul play was suspected and the affair caused a remarkable sensation in racing circles. It was always thought that someone had deliberately set the horses loose. Mr. Mollekin offered a substantial reward, but the culprit or culprits were never traced.

The Grange

The Grange


Keen perception was illustrated in the purchase of Mr. Vasey, on behalf of his patron, of four yearlings at the Newmarket Sales. Abbott’s Luck, which cost 100 guineas; Abbott’s Son, 80 guineas; Corn Sheaf, 60 guineas; and Tracite, 35 guineas. All won races. Abbott’s Luck taking the Corby Plate, worth £500, at Carlisle, and a £1,000 race at Manchester.

Other of his horses which did well were French Martin, Bold Wase, Poet’s Dream, Savage Lass, Rock Ruby, Battery Smoke, Baalbeck, and Balglick, while Dryhead, bought out of a seller, won the Batthyany Stakes, worth £500, at Lincoln. Hard Rock, which Mr. Mollekin bred himself, was his nomination for this year’s St. Leger, and had already been well spoken of. Noctiluce was still another good winner; while Great Speech also took first place several times. Last season Silver Castor, which cost only £50, won three good races.

Mr. Mollekin took a keen interest in his Tickhill Stud, where he had a number of good class animals in training.

Broomhall Place

Broomhall Place

Six of Mr. Mollekin’s sons are engaged in the business, one of them, Mr. Jack Mollekin, spending a short time under Mr. Vasey but increasing in weight put an end to his competitive riding. Mr. Jack Mollekin is now in charge at Tickhill.

Mr. Mollekin also leaves six daughters.


The funeral took place at Maltby yesterday. Prior to the interment in the Maltby Churchyard, there was a service in the church, conducted by the Rev. H. R. Everson (Vicar).

Ivy's grave

Herbert’s grave

The family mourners were Mrs. Mollekin (widow), Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. E. Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Mrs. H. Nicholson (daughter), Mr. and Mrs. E. McGlade (son-in-law and daughter), Mr. and Mrs. Harry Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. H. Brooks (son-in-law and daughter), Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Mollekin (son and daughter-in-law), Miss Ivy Mollekin (daughter), Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Sadler (son-in-law and daughter), Messrs. Fred, Claude and Jack Mollekin (sons), Mr. Jack Mollekin (brother), Mr. and Mrs. Skerrow (brother-in-law and sister-in-law), Mrs. Pearson (sister-in-law), and Mr. H. Crompton (son-in-law). Others present were Mr. Joe Taylor (stable jockey), Mr. Melton Vasey (trainer), Mr. T. Frost (Bawtry), Mr. Herbert Fox (Doncaster), Messrs. J. T. Downing and K. Downing (Sheffield), Mr. Chas. Farrar of Doncaster (representing the West Riding County Council Education Architects’ Department), Mr. C. N. Hodgson (Rotherham), County Alderman E. Dunn, J. P. and Mr. Hugh Ross (representing the local branch of the Yorkshire Miners’ Association and the Maltby Urban Council). Mr. F. Roebuck (clerk to the Council), Mr. M. R. Jones (surveyor) and Mr. R. G. McNaught (assistant surveyor), Mr. H. C. Harrison (representing the Doncaster Rural District Council), Messrs. H. Barnard, G. Fitton, and E. Nelson (Tickhill stud employees), Messrs. E. H. Lockwood (representing the Maltby Show Committee), Mr. T. Fawcett (Doncaster), Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Buckley (Maltby), Mr. F. Lidgett, Dr. E. E. Dufty, Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Marsh, Mr. G. H. Ashforth (Rotherham Builders’ Supply Co.), Mr. George Fox (Yorkshire Amalgamated Products), Mr. W. Catchpole (Maltby Metallic Brick Co.), Mr. Gilbank (gardener at The Grange), Messrs. E. Raper, A Fisher, and A. Stables (representing the Maltby Cricket Club), Messrs. H. Cutts and C. Daniels (Maltby Salvation Army). A large number of employees of the firm of H. Mollekin and Sons also attended, among them being Mr. F. Hunter the oldest workman who has been with the firm for thirty years. Messrs. J. Beeden, G. Lawrence, J. Wrigley, B. Reid, G. F. Clarkson, W. Goodacre, H. Wingfield, M. Wilding, N. White, F. P. Arker, H. Box, R. Longbottom, G. Smith, J. Wood, G. Brown, and T. Hunter. Wreaths were sent by the following, Mrs. Mollekin and children, Mr. and Mrs. Sadler, Mr. and Mrs. Skerrow, Mr. and Mrs. Pearson, Mr. H. Crompton and grandchildren, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Booth, Mrs. Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. R. P. Marsh, Mr. C. Chambers, Dr. and Mrs. Dufty, Mr. and Mrs. T. Fawcett, Mr. and Mrs. J. Crowther, Mr. and Mrs. Melton Vasey, Mr. and Mrs. J. Taylor, Mr. and Mrs. Longbottom, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson and family, Mr. and Mrs. Hunter, Ald. And Mrs. Dunn, Mr. and Mrs. Doyle, Mrs. A. H. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Booth (Worksop), Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. and Mrs. Middleton, Mrs. Berwick, Mr. Stoepling and family, Mrs. Morgan and children, Maltby Branch of the Y.M.A., Directors of the Maltby Metallic Brick Co., Yorkshire Amalgamated Products Limited, Maltby Show Committee, staff of the Tickhill Stud Farm and the employees of Messrs. H. Mollekin and Sons.

This post was originally published on Mollekin Portalite on 15/06/2011.

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