November 22, 2012
‘With this ring…’
On this day just over a century ago in 1906, my great-grandparents, Michele Amata and Nunziata Coppola were married. Far away from the hills and bright sunshine of their homeland, the ceremony took place in the grey streets of Ancoats in Manchester. Michele, aged 25, was a biscuit maker in the local ice-cream making industry. He had arrived in England a few years earlier after having walked from his native village in Atina, near Naples. Travelling with his mother, two younger brothers and a sister, the journey had taken three years.
My great-grandfather met his future bride in Ancoats; she was living with her family near to his lodging house. Nunziata was born in Manchester in 1881. Her parents, Michele and Maria Coppola, had also made their way across Europe with her two older sisters three years before her birth.
Michele and Nunziata’s wedding took place at St Michael’s RC Church in the heart of the Italian community. His brother, Giovanni and her sister, Dominica were witnesses. After the ceremony the Amatas moved to Salford with Nunziata’s parents and the following summer their first child, Dolorato Adelaide, was born. Tragically she died, aged 19 months, of measles. They had three more daughters, Maria Adolorata in 1910, Elizabeth Ann in 1912 and my grandmother, Veronica in 1914.
There are no pictures of their wedding but I have the ring that my great-grandfather gave to his bride at the start of their life together. It is too fragile to wear now but is a precious reminder of their marriage.