Ernest Popplewell was the first tenant of 7 Coronation Street in 1902. A widower since his wife Mary's death of scarlet fever, Ernest had four children but all but one were abandoned to the parish as children. Now 64, Ernest lived with his son Harry and his family: wife Clara and children Emily and Herbert.
Ernest was not a popular figure in Coronation Street; he was old, embittered and hateful. For most of his working life, he'd been employed at canals, first in building them and then working them as a barge handler. Shortly after moving to the Street, he discovered that his neighbour Alfred Makepiece was actually his son Alfie who he'd given up. Alfred wanted to get to know his dad but Ernest ignored him and his family. In 1904, while playing Tom Schofield at dominoes in the snug of the Rover's Return, Ernest had a heart attack and died at the table.