THE SWIMMING CAREERS OF JOHN AND ANNIE LUKER
Written by: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: July 8,2013
This article deals in part with the growth and development of the `art of swimming' amongst Victorian female professional natationists when the common belief was that `ladies' were not physiologically or emotionally equipped to withstand the rigours of physical exertion. More specifically it concentrates on the role that the Luker family played in this field, who had a Tunbridge Wells connection.
Shown opposite is an image of the Grosvenor Open Baths where the Luker family swam and performed.The 300 foot long pool in the old reservoir was fed from the Jack Woods Spring and used by John Ward to supply water to the Calverley development.It opened in 1873 and closed during WW II.
The question is posed as to whether ornamental swimming was a `respectable' form of entertainment for females to undertake or was it just another manifestation of the passion for freak-shows much loved by all social classes in late-Victorian England. Media coverage of this popular form of entertainment often described its female exponents as `nymphs' and `naiads', terms taken from Greek mythology in order to legitimise an activity that had strong sexual overtones. In so doing, the consumption of recreational activities, as opposed to sport, by females provided a course of less resistance from the sporting proselytisers throughout the period, 1870-c1910. Thus, the female pioneers of natation were able to promote their various ornamental swimming activities through their efforts in a variety of aquatic venues throughout the country. Their popularity resulted in a whole phalanx of nymphs and naiads being encouraged to demonstrate their mystical feats for the gratification of predominantly male-dominated audiences. But more significantly, they served to promote swimming amongst the female population for their own edification as a respectable recreational pursuit.
Miss Annie Luker, a name she went by as a professional swimmer, was born in 1870 as Hagar Ann Luker, a forename she soon abandoned, and who could blame her.She had been born in Abingdon,Berkshire and was one of several children born to John Pearson Luker(1838-1915) a swimming professor. John Luker made a name for himself in Abingdon and London as a swimming master and became somewhat well known in his own right as a skillful swimmer but it was his daughter “Annie” that rose to international prominence as a London natationist. She and her parents and siblings came to Tunbridge Wells in the 1870’s and resided on Quarry Road not far from the Grosvenor open air baths where John Luker provided swimming instruction and his daughter developed her skills as a swimmer.
The Victorians, men and women alike , were always seeking out some form of amusement and among those who risked their lives, in what some would call foolhardy activities, were the Luker’s who made a successful career out of swimming.
Many members of the Luker clan were from Abingdon, Berkshire. Among them were John Pearson Luker, the son of a labour and grandson of a chimney sweep, who was born 1838 in Abingdon. John had been married three times with two of his wives being sisters and with them produced nine children, among whom was a daughter Hagar Ann Luker, born in Abington in 1870, the daughter of Sarah Shephard (1835-1872), John’s first wife. In the early 1870’s the Luker’s resided in Abington where John was a professor of swimming. Abingdon at that time did not have indoor or outdoor baths where swimming could be taught but the Thames River ran by it and the River Ock through the heart of it so there was plenty of opportunity for residents and visitors to the town to learn the art of swimming under the skillful direction of swimming master John Pearson Luker . John made a name for himself locally as a swimming instructor but his claim to fame is the fact that he provided training to Captain Matthew Webb (1848-1883) in preparation for his successful swimming of the English Channel in 1875. One would like to think that it was Luker’s training that played an important role in the success of this grand event but details in this regard are sadly lacking, although the feat by Webb made international news. Webb had received his training on the river Thames in 1875 and so one can speculate that this training took place on the Thames near Abingdon where John Luker had lived, but since Abingdon is only a few miles west of London it is possible the training took place on the Thames in London,but pollution in the Thames in London would make this a less likely option.
Shown opposite is a photograph of J.P. Luker, wearing his swimming costume, which was taken in Tunbridge Wells at the portrait studio of H.P. Robinson and N.K. Cherrill.Henry Peach Robinson(1830-1901) and Nelson King Cherrill (1845-1916)formed their partnership in Tunbridge Wells in 1868 and from 1868 to 1871 had their studio at 1 Grove Villas and from 1872 to 1875 at the Great Hall, at which time their studio was called the “Great hall Studio”. The partnership ended in 1876 when Nelson Cherrill left England and established a photo studio in New Zealand.
Shown below this image is another photograph of J.P. Luker, which was taken by C. Hawkins who had studios at 32,33 and 38 Preston Street,Brighton and 35 Milson Street,Bath.
It is said he had moved to Tunbridge Wells after the death of his wife Sarah in 1872 but he must have been in the London area in 1875 to train Captain Webb for his crossing attempt.John’s second wife was Sarah Ann Vidler(1854-1877) and with her he had two children namely Frederick William(James) in 1874 and Harry(Henry) Blackford in 1875,both of whom were born in Tunbridge Wells.When Sara Ann died in 1877 John Married her sister Anne Elizabeth Vidler(1849-1929) and with her had four children namely Rosa Ada in 1878, Alfred Thomas(1882-1964), Arthur Ernest in 1883 and his last child May Hilda in 1885,all of whom were born in Tunbridge Wells.
In 1881 the family were living on Quarry Road with John a swimming master who was offering swimming instruction at the Grosvenor open air baths.Among the five children still living with their parents was John’s daughter Hagan Ann,age 11. All of his children became excellent swimmers but it was only Hagar who took it up professionally.As time passed his children left home to start their own families and careers.In 1911 John and his wife with their two youngest children were still living on Quarry Road and although John was now 73 years old his profession was still given as a swimming master. John died in Tunbridge Wells in 1915 and was buried in the local borough cemetery.
Miss Annie Luker learned the art of swimming from her father and was only about 4 years old when she came to Tunbridge Wells with her family. She was 11 years old at the time of the 1881 census and spent much of her leisure time with her father at the Grosvenor baths perfecting her skills as a swimmer under the careful direction and watchful eye of her father. Her skill in this art was recognized at an early age. In 1890, at the age of 20 she married Frederick William Parker, a man 5 years her senior, in London, and in 1891 the couple were living in Westminster,London. Annie and her husband never had any children for the marriage was not a success and the couple parted company.It was in London that Annie made a name for herself as a professional swimmer and rose to international fame having been recognized as a diver, a long distance swimmer and a performer of aquatic feats in various shows, most notably at the Royal Westminster Aquarium where she performed daily for at least 8 years. This aquarium closed in 1903 marking what appears to have been the end of her diving performances but Annie was still performing as an ornamental swimmer in 1905 when she was age 35.Annie was living at that time, and since at least 1901 at Islington,London on Englefield Road where she owned a boarding house and was a swimming instructor at one of the Islington Baths.The Islington Local History Society indicated to me that in Islington in the 1870’s were pubic baths on Caledonian Road, Hornsey Road and Essex Road so presuming they were still around during the time of Annie Luker, these could also be possible locations where Annie taught swimming. She was still recorded in the 1901 census as being married but her husband was living in 1901 at Bromley in a boarding house and working as a tram worker, with the curious marital status as “single” suggesting that perhaps the couple had been divorced. In 1901 Annies 10 year old niece May Waters,born in Tunbridge Wells in 1891, (the daughter of her sister Kate Elizabeth Waters, nee Luker(1867-1942) was living with her. In 1911 Annies niece May was still living with her at the same Engleford Road address as in 1901 and at that time Annie gave her marital status as “Widowed”. What became of Annies husband is a bit of a mystery as is the date and place of the death of Annie. Annie’s sister Kate Elizabeth Waters died in Islington in 1942 and it is speculated that since Annie was three years younger than her sister that she also died in Islington in the 1940’s and that the two sisters were living together near the end of their lives. In the alternative there is a death record, but no probate, for an Annie Parker who died in Islington, Greater London in the 1st qtr of 1930 and if this is Annie the swimmer, then it is my opinion that Annies niece May Waters continued to live in Islington after Annies death and that May’s mother Kate came to live with her in Islington and died there in 1942.
Below you will find details about the life and times of John Pearson Luker and his world famous daughter Miss Annie Luker, both of whom I would class as ‘notable people of Tunbridge Wells’. I would like to thank Penny Luker for assisting me with my research by providing a series of articles about the swimming careers of the Luker family as well as a large collection of photographs and related material. Penny’s husband is the great grandson of John Pearson Luker, and passed down through the family ,amongst many things, was a fabulous photo album from the famous swimmer Captain Matthew Webb, which Penny was kind enough to share with me. He also inherited a scrap book filled with newspaper articles about the swimming exploits of the Luker’s. The family also has in their possession four medals awarded to Miss Annie Luker.The material supplied by Penny is referred to and shown in more detail later but unfortunately limited space for this article prevented me from providing all of the photographs and articles.
THE YEARS IN ABINGDON
Abingdon is sometimes referred to as Abingdon-on-Thames and is a market town which historically was the county town of Berkshire but became part of Oxfordshire in 1974 after the local government was reorganized. Abingdon is located 5.5 miles south of Oxford.In the 1870’s it was known for its manufacture of clothing and for its agriculture but since 1929 became well known as the place in which the MG automobiles were manufactured. .There were plenty of opportunites to swim there and although the town did not have indoor or outdoor pools to swim in during the time the Luker’s lived there, the River Ock that ran through the heart of the town and the River Thames beside it were places during the summer months where swimming was a popular activity and it was here that John Pearson Luker took an active interest in the art and made a lifetime career out of it.
John Pearson Luker was born February 26,1838 in the parish of St Helens in Abingdon, the son of Joseph and Hannah Luker.Joseph (1813-1899) worked as a farm labourer most of his life,was not well educated, and raised his family with limited financial means.Joseph was born in Abingdon January 31,1813, the son of Joseph Luker(1791-1871),a chimney sweep, and Ann Luker(sometimes given as Catherine or Katherine Ann), both born at Abingdon in 1794 but sometimes given as born 1790.
The 1881 census, taken at the Abingdon Union Workhouse records as one of the inmates Joseph Luker, widow, age 68(born 1813), a farm labourer.He was still at the workhouse in 1891.He died in Abingdon in 1899. His wife Hannah Payton had been born in 1811 and died sometime before 1881.
John Pearson Luker was one of five children born to Joseph and Hannah and received only a basic education. His siblings were Joseph,Benjamin,Alfred and Ann.He is found in the 1851 census at Abingdon living with his grandparents Joseph and Ann. His grandfather was recorded as a sweep and so was John, who at that time was only age 13 and had finished his schooling and begun to earn a living.John spent whatever leisure hours he had down at the river perfecting his swimming skills. How he progressed from casual swimmer to ‘swimming master” or ‘swimming professor’ ,as he was referred to later in life, is not known, but what is known is that he became a very skilled swimmer and decided at an early age to devote his life to this profession
John’s first wife was Sarah Shephard (1836-1872), who he married 2nd qtr 1860 at Abingdon and with her had three children namely Kate Elizabeth in 1867 ,Hagar Ann in 1870 and John in 1872, all born in Abingdon.Sarah had been born in Abingdon and was the daughter of Thomas Shephard. Marriage records show that John Luker was already a swimming master. Sarah Luker had a short life for she died from medical issues arising from the birth of her son John in June 1872 and was buried June 13th.Death records for her record that she was of “The Pig Market’ St Helens,Abingdon. Her son John died July 23,1872.The 1871 census, taken at Abingdon records John Luker,age 33,a professor of swimming. Living with him was his wife Sarah and their daughters Kate and Hagar and one lodger.
Shown above right is a photograph from the Captain Matthew Webb album which shows Professor Luker and three of his children.The information on the back of the photograph shows that it was taken by John Watkins (1823-1874)at his 34 Parliament Street.London studio.John Watkins was chiefly known for his portraits and in 1861 received a Royal Warrant.He operated as John Watkins at 34 Parliament St from 1851-1865 until his brother Octavious Charles Watkins joined him and from 1871 to 1874 the studio was called Watkins Bros. Octavious continued the studio after his brother’s death. Based on this it is obvious that the photo of J.P. Luker and his children was taken before 1874, and before he had moved to Tunbridge Wells.Shown opposite is another photograph of a young woman believed to be the eldest daughter of J.P. Luker. This image was taken at the Tubnridge Wells portrait studio of G. Glanville at 5 High Street.
THE YEARS IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS
The 1874 Kelly directory does not provide a listing for John Pearson Luker.Decendents of the Luker’s state that John and his two daughters moved to Tunbridge Wells soon after the death of his first wife but unless the Kelly directory is incorrect, it would appear that this move did not take place until after the directory information was collected. It is known that John married Sarah Ann Vidler(1854-1877) in September 1872 at Ticehurst, and that they had two children, namely Frederick James in 1874 and Harry Blackford Luker in 1875,both born in Tunbridge Wells. Sometimes Frederick James is given as Frederick William and Harry as Henry.
Shown below is a carte de viste of John Pearson Luker taken at the Tunbridge Wells portrait studio of David Robert Everest (1852-1925) at 20 Mt. Ephraim. He is quite a distinguished looking gentleman with mustache and wide sideburns. He is shown standing proudly with various swimming medals on his jacket. The silverware on the table were items presented to him and inscribed with his name for various swimming accomplishments.On the back of this image is printed “ Jenkins Late Everest, alpha Studio, Grosvenor Road,Tunbridge Wells.Copies can be made of any negatives taken by Mr Edward Sims and Mr Everest”.
John’s wife ,Sarah Ann Vidler, had been born 1854 at Lamberhust,Sussex and was the daughter of Samuel Metland Vidler(1823-1857) and Mary Baker(1825-1905).Sarah only had one sibling, namely Ann Elizabeth Vidler (1849-1929).Sarah died in Tunbridge Wells June 5th 1877 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on June 11th. The Vidler family were long- time residents of Lamberhurst and Wadhurst,Sussex.
After the death of Sarah in 1877 John Pearson Luker married her sister Ann Elizabeth Vidler in the 1st qtr of 1879 at Tunbridge Wells. With Ann, John had four children namely Rosa Ann in 1878, Alfred James (sometimes given as Alfred Thomas)(1882-1964), Arthur Ernest in 1883 and lastly May Hilda in 1885. Ann had been born 1849 at Horsmonden,Kent.
The Hastings and St Leonard Observer published three articles I reviewed pertaining to the grand opening of the White Rock Baths on May 28,1878. The event consisted of many speeches and various swimming events.With respect to Professor Luker is the following. The ‘Observer’ of May 16,1878 reported “ The services of Professor Luker have been secured by the directors. Mr Luker has held appointments as swimming master in several schools and has for the past eight or nine years occupied the post of swimming master at Tunbridge Wells in connection with the Bathing Association and open air baths. He has been rewarded for saving life and has been highly spoken of by the press of Tunbridge Wells…he is a man of surprising character”. The “Observer” of June 1,1878 reported that a display of ornamental swimming formed part of the ceremonies and gave details of the events conducted by each of the swimmers. Those participating were the swimming mistress of the Hastings baths and Mrs Penfold, swimming mistress of the Eastbourne baths, both of whom put on a display of ornamental swimming. Also reported is “ornamental swimming by Professor Luker, swimming master Hasting Baths who did his wonderful pendulum trick and displays of various styles of swimming and who performed the Leap For Life”. Professor Henry Parker also put on a performance. At the end of these six swimming events was :an aquatic farse entitled Miss Brown’s Tea Party” in which Professor Luker and others participated.
Shown opposite is another image of J.P. Luker taken at the studio of David Robert Everest. If you compare this image to the one given previously you will see the same drapery and silver cups,but the table that the cups are standing on is different. It is interesting to note that the positioning of the cups on the table is identical in both photographs.The facial features of J.P. Luker are the same in both images.This suggests to me that the table was changed; the cups displayed in the same order as before and that both photographs were taken the same day. In terms of dating both images it is known that in 1871 Everest’s studio was located at 29 Mt Ephtaim and that the 1874 directory has his studio at 20 Mt Ephraim and that sometime in the period of 1875 to 1880 his studio was at 40 Grosvenor Road. The image shown here was sent to me by Penny Luker and is mounted in a picture frame. On this framed image is printed “ Professor Luker (Ex-Champion Swimmer of England)”. Under the photo is printed ” D. Everest 20 Mt Ephraim” and below that “Appointed Swimming Master and Bath Attendant to the Tunbridge Wells Bathing Association. Member of the Royal Humane Society”. As I mention later it was the Tunbridge Wells Bathing Association that leased the open air baths that J.P. Luker taught swimming at.
The Hastings and St Leonards Observer of Sat. May 18,1878 gave the following news. “ The Hastings and St Leonard on Sea Public Baths and Aquarium Company Ltd will be formally opened on May 28,1878.The opening ceremony will be followed by an aquatic fete in which, Professor Henry Parker( The Champion Swimmer of the Thames), Miss Emily Parker, and Professor Luker will take part”. Shown opposite is a photograph of Miss Emily Parker taken from the Matthew Webb album I have referred to. The second image (below) is from the same album and is an image of Emily Parker’s older brother Professor Henry Parker.Newspaper accounts throughout the last half of the 19th century describe the many events and aquatic achievements of Henry and Emily Parker and the Parker’s were well known to Professor Luker.
The 1881 census, taken at 42 Quarry Road,Tunbridge Wells records John Pearson Luker, age 42, as a swimming master. Living with him was his wife Ann (given as Anne E) and their children Kate E,age 13, Hagar A,age 11, Frederick J,age 7, Harry B,age 5 and Rosa A,age 2. Shown opposite is a recent photograph of 42 Quarry Road, which is the white building in this image. It was a modest structure located on the east side of Quarry Road just south of its intersection with St James Road.
Shown below is a 1907 OS map that shows both the location of the family residence and the “Swimming Bath” labelled on the map adjacent to the Grosvenor Recreation Ground. The map provides a good view of the shape,size and location of the bath.It is at this bath the John Pearson Luker trained thousands on the art of swimming. His children all learned to swim there, under their fathers direction and supervision and although all of the children were good swimmers it was only his daughter Hagar Ann that went on to be a professional. Decendents of the family state that Hagar and her sister became noted swimmers at the Grosvenor swimming bath and that “Kate and Hagar were stars of swimming shows at the public baths in Tunbridge Wells”. A review of local newspapers might offer some details in this regard.
An undated article provided to me by Penny Luker entitled “The Tunbridge Wells Amateur Swimming Fete states “Great praise is due to Mr Addie for his spirited enterprize in providing first-class open air baths for the town”( Mr Addie was a well-known Tunbridge Wells builder,auctioneer and estate agent).”Great improvements have been made, and the Arboretem is really an attractive spot. The swimming Fete came of yesterday, under most favourable circumstances.Though the weather during a part of the afternoon was not altogether particularly pleasant,the assemblage was large, and we noticed a decided increase in the number of ladies.The arrangements altogether were of a most effective character, and gave great satisfaction.Clelland Lammiman,Esq, efficiently acted as a judge, B. Rix, Esq, as starter and handicapper, and the Rev R. Fowler and W.H.Rix,Esq., as referees.Miss Beckwith, Professors Beckwith and Luker (the baths attendant) gave some extraordinary feats in natation after the race for boys under thirteen years of age, and sometime afterwards Luker and Beckwith, with Goole, of London, amused the company with a duck hunt, Beckwith being the duck.Luker also performed his celebrated pendulum trick, and leaped from a ladder some 30 ft. high.Refreshments were supplied on the ground,and the Royal Parade Band played a selection of capital music….” The article continues “ A Grand Match-For 10 pounds a-side, between Luker and Alfred Hurst-distance, two hundred yards-was the great event of the afternoon.Both men took up their positions soon after the clock struck four.The local man (Mr Luker) was, of course, the popular favourite. On the pistol being fired, both swimmers took the water simultaneously, and when half the distance had been accomplished, Hurst, if anything, had slightly the advantage.This order was maintained until about fifty yards from home, when Luker allowed his opponent to go ahead, and crossed when in the rear of him.Hurst continued the breast stroke, and Luker followed his example for a few yards further, but when opposite the diving-board he put on the side stroke, and coming away at an immense pace, won amidst much cheering by eight or ten yards”. Shown above is a photograph from the Captain Matthew Webb album which the researcher believes is of Professor Luker in his swimming costume.
A second article makes reference to Professor Luker and his two boys Harry and Fred “both under ten” at a “Swimming Fete” and also one of his daughters. The age of the boys would date this article to about 1882. It reads “ Dr Jennings, the celebrated aquatic champion, who has swam with Capt. Webb, gave a swimming fete at the Hastings Bath, on Friday evening last.Professor Luker, and three of his talented children-two boys and a girl-were present, and assisted in the performance with a grand notational display.The veteran professor gave an exhibition of ornamental swimming, and performed several difficult feats with his well-known skill,which gained loud applause from the spectators.Dr Jennings performed the feat of going into the water in complete winter attire, and “peeling” in the water. The Professors (Mr Luker’s) two little boys, Harry and Fred-both under ten-astonished the audience by going off the highest dive at the Hastings bath, a matter of nearly 13 feet.A handsome silver medal was given by Professor Luker for a race for boys under ten, and it was won by Master Harry Luker.The performance concluded with a duck hunt in which Professor Luker was the duck, and by his skillful diving and pushing in the water, completely eluded his pursuers. But the treat of the entertainment was the performance by Miss Luker, whose skill and grace in movement in the water far exceeded the highest expectations.”
Tunbridge Wells was blessed with some good swimming facilities. The Calverley Reservoir was opened as a swimming bath in 1873. Peltons guide of 1912 had this to say about the swimming bath at Grosvenor. “ The open air baths about 300 feet long close to the Grosvenor Recreation Ground, the depth of water being from 3-10 feet deep.The website of the Tunbridge Wells Museum states that “the Grosvenor Park originally hosted a massive outdoor swimming pool which was made use of by the local Cygus Swimming Club of Tunbridge Wells water polo team. The pool was closed in 1948 and finally filled in 6 years later”. The Grosvenor bath remained a separate entity from the park itself and was leased by the Bathing Association but in November 1890 this association offered to give up their interest in it and transfer direct control of it to the Council.Here the Victorian gentlemen of the Cygus Swimming Club relaxed their dignity with their extraordinary top-hat,Clothes and Umbrella Race (shown opposite).The Museum site continues by stating “ The bath remained in use until 1948 when it was closed after being condemned as a health hazard. It was filled in and the site built on in 1954”. It is reported elsewhere that the health hazard that prompted is closure was a polio scare. Shown opposite is a 1940’s photo of the Grosvenor swimming baths.
Another popular swimming facility in town was the Monson Road indoor baths. A postcard view of the front of the building is shown opposite.It is very likely that the Luker family also swam in this facility.The foundation stone for this building was laid on Tuesday Jan 27,1897 by Tunbridge Wells Mayor Charles Robert Fletcher Lutwidge who was the mayor from 1895 to 1898 and again in 1901-1902.The building was completed in 1898 and opened that year and proved to be very popular among those interested in swimming indoors.The Royal Tunbridge Wells Swimming Club was founded in 1901 and the Monson baths became their headquarters but in 1974 moved to a new pool on St John’s Road. Peltons 1912 guide states “Indoor public baths in Monson Road, the property of the corporation, 90 feet long, depth of water 3’ to 6’-6”. For times and prices apply at the Baths and also the special times set apart for ladies”.
The Monson bath was demolished in 1974 to make way for a new office building.Shown opposite is an interior view of the Monson baths.In 2002 the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council issued a news release asking residents to submit their swimming memories as part of a reminiscence project by the Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery.These stories were collected and made into a book by the Museum as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. For anyone interested in this information I would suggest contacting the Museum.
The 1891 census, taken at 40 Quarry Road does not record the presence of John Pearson Luker. It does however list his wife “Anne E” with their children Rosa A,age 12,Alfred T,age 9,Arthur E,age 7 and Mary (May)H,age 5.There is a curious 1891 census record for a John P Luker, born 1838 at Abingdon at 12 London Road who was working as a domestic servant for the Richardson family and just as interesting is a 1901 census record taken at 135 UpperGrosvenor Road for a John P. Luker, born 1838 Berkshire who is working as an ‘invalid attendant servant’ for the William F. Chandler family.No other census records for John Pearson Luker could be located for the years 1891 or 1901 . It is my opinion that the John P. Luker referred to in these 1891 and 1901 records are not for John Pearson Luker (1938-1915) but it does beg the question “where was he in those years?”.
The 1911 census, taken at 40 Quarry Road records John Pearson Luker, age 73, a swimming master. There is no indication if John was still an active swimming master or not but one must assume so based on the census and if that is true then he was truly a remarkable man to still be teaching swimming at such an advanced age. Living with John was his wife Ann and his two children Arthur E,age 27, a carpenters joiner and May Hilda, age 25 a telephone operator. The census gives that the couple had been married 32 years and that they had four children which had all survived.
John’s daughter Hagar Ann had left the family home in Tunbridge Wells by the late 1880’s and got married in 1890 and was living in London. A continuation of her life and career is given later in this article under a separate heading. An ‘Era’ article dated January 27,1894 gave the following “ Miss Luker has been known as an expert diver and swimmer from infancy, and at the early age of five won the 200 yards swimming medal in the open-air swimming baths,Tunbridge Wells.On Aug 18th 1892 she swam from Kew Bridge to the Tunnel Pier,Rotherhithe, a distance of 18-3/4 miles.At Earl’s Court she was presented with the Boyton Medal.Her tutor is her father, Professor Luker, of Tunbridge Wells,who has taught swimming and diving for over twenty-two years. Miss Luker is nineteen years of age,stands 5 ft 2 in, and weighs 9st 31b”.
Professor Luker’s daughter Kate Elizabeth was married June 2,1889 at St Johns Church in Tunbridge Wells to Thomas Truman Waters(1868-1898) and with him had three children namely May Elizabeth May 13,1890, Sydney in 1892 and Milicent in 1893.It appears that Kate remarried in 1899.Kate Elizabeth died in Islington in 1942.Her husband Thomas was in 1891 a cycle mechanic and manager and was living with his family at 89 Calverley Road. Doug Mussell in October 2013 informed me that Annie Luker was his great grand aunt and that Kate Elizabeth Waters was his grandmother and that she died August 1,1973 at Crewkern,Somerset. He also stated that May Elizabeth Waters was for a time an ornamental swimmer known as "Baby May" who performed with Miss Annie Luker in the early 20th century. He has a poster that makes reference to Annie and Baby May at a performance. As I have noted later in this article there is further reference to Baby May and Annie Luker performing together in The Penny Illustrated of September 15,1900.
John’s daughter Rosa A Luker died in the 1st qtr of 1966 at Wallingford,Berkshire. His son Alfred Thomas Luker was married January 1906 in Tunbridge Wells to Ellen Kate E. Wing and died June 1964.I have not researched the lives of his other children.
On February 10,1915 John Pearson Luker passed away in Tunbridge Wells while living at 40 Quarry Road. He had died of influenza and cardiac failure.His death was notified by his son Alfred who was living at the time at 43 St James Park, Tunbridge Wells. John was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on February 15th in grave C13 #684 at a depth of 8’-6” deep. His wife Ann continued to live in Tunbridge Wells and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on November 20,1929. No probate record could be found for John Pearson Luker. It is to be expected that he died with very little money as his profession would not have paid well and his place of residence on Quarry Road was a modest one.
The obituary for John Pearson Luker was published in the Courier and gave the following. “He was a highly experienced swimmer and instructed thousands in the art of swimming.Latley he had given lessons at the Tunbridge Wells open bath. His illness hastened only a fortnight ago and his death was due to influenza and pneumonia. Professor Luker’s daughter Miss Annie Luker has followed in her father’s footsteps and has become quite as famous as he was. He was a professor of swimming”.
Before closing off this section of the article I offer the following information about Captain Matthew Webb (photo below)and the training he received by John Pearson Luker in 1875. Matthew Webb had been born January 19,1848 at Dawley,Shropshire.He had learned to swim in the River Severn and in 1855 rescued his brother from drowning.In 1860 he joined the merchant marine and throughout the period up to 1874 served on several vessels. In 1874 the Duke of Edinburgh presented him with a medal of the Royal Humane Society and the first Stanhope Gold Medal for his act of gallantry in saving another from drowning. In 1875 he became captain of the ‘Emerald’.In that same year he underwent training first at the Lambeth baths and then in the cold water of the Thames river in preparation for his first attempt to swim the English Channel.His first attempt on August 12th was unsuccessful due to bad weather.His attempt on August 24th was successful and swam from Dover to Calais in 21 hours 45 minutes,covering a distance of some 40 miles. He became noted for this feat as the first person to swim the English Channel without the aid of artificial means. This qualification is an important one for he was not the first to swim the channel but the one gentleman who made the trip before him swam it wearing a life vest.On July 24,1883 he made an attempt two swim the whirlpool of the Niagara River in the USA/Canada and died in this foolhardy attempt.His body was found 4 days later at Lewiston and was buried in Niagara Falls, New York. He left a wife and two children. More details about his life and career can be found on the internet and in several books. The Strand magazine of 1896 refers to “the well-known expert, Miss Annie Luker, who’s father trained Captain Webb”. The statement of John Luker training Captain Webb is supported by newspaper articles which gave details of the 1875 swim.
Matthew Webb was one of 7 to 11 children (reports are conflicting on the number) born to doctor Matthew Webb (1814-1878) and Sarah Cartwright Garbitt(1822-1877). He had lived 1851 at Madeley,Shropshire. In 1861 , at the age of 13, he was living on the training ship 'Conway' which was based or moored in an area of the River Mersey called 'The Sloyne'. On April 27,1880 he married Madeline Kate Chaddock (born 1858) at Kensington,London and with her had two children namely Matthew (1881-1918) and Helen Mary, born 1882.
It is obvious that Captain Matthew Webb and John Person Luker were very close friends for amongst the items passed down through the Luker family is a fine leather bound photo album containing over 65 photographs with the inscription that reads “ Presented by Captain Matthew Webb to Professor Luker with his kind regards Tunbridge Wells July 24,1876”. This gift was made just a year after Webb’s swim across the channel. It was, in my view, an extraordinary gift for it contains a wonderful selection of images. Unfortunately the names of the sitters are not given on the photographs and their identities have been lost from recognition. The photograph shown opposite is from the Webb album and shows Webb with his medals. The image shown here was taken of Mr Webb
at the portrait studio of Fredelle and Marshall, 230 and 246 Regent Street. It is hand inscribed on the reverse " Yours swimmingly Matthew Webb".
Penny Luker and I are attempting, through further research ,to attach names to the images. The album contains images of men,women and children of all ages and all appear to have been taken in portrait studios. Some images are of men and women in swimming costumes and several images can be seen of men displaying their swimming medals and trophies.
THE LIFE AND CAREER OF MISS ANNIE LUKER
As noted above the 1881 census taken in Tunbridge Wells is the last census record for Hagar Ann Luker but at that time she was only age 11 and so continued to live in the town until just before her marriage in the 2nd qtr of 1890 at St George’s Hanover Square,London to Frederick William Parker.
The 1881 census taken at 47 Haws Street in Shorditch,London records as head of the household Frederick Parker, born 1830 at Chingord,Essex, a licensed victualler. Living with him was his wife Elizabeth,born 1828 Camden Town,Middlesex. Also in the home was Frederick W. Parker, born 1865 Woodford, Essex, who as I have noted became Annie Luker’s husband. Also present are Fredericks siblings Elizabeth,age 18, Grace,age 17,Edith,age 14, and Minnie age 12.Also there was the sister of Frederick senior Mary McDonald,68, widower born 1813 Essex who was formerly a poulterer and one domestic servant.
The 1891 census, taken at Westminster St Margaret and St John the Evangelist,Westminster records Frederick William Parker as head of the household, born 1865 at Woodford,Essex, and working at the time as an oyster merchant. Living with him was his wife “Hagar Anne Parker” born 1870 at Abingdon. Their residence was at 2 & 3 Tothill Street which in the census states was one entrance common to both addresses. Of significance is that next door to them was living Frederick Edward Beckwith,age 66,born 1825 in Dover, a professor of swimming and his daughter Lizzie,age 12 and son Robert age 7. The name of Beckwith will appear again later in this article as the Beckwith’s were instrumental in advancing the career of Miss Annie Luker. It is interesting to note the Tothill address of their residence for The Royal Aquarium where Annie performed was also located on the north side of Tothill Street. Annie and the Beckwith’s obviously chose their place of residence because of its close proximity to the Aquarium where they performed regularly.
The Hull Daily Mail of July 3,1891 reported on swimming performances at the Gainsborough Bath and among those performing was Miss Annie Luker “ a highly accomplished lady engaged at the Royal Aquarium with Mr Beckwith with whom she has now been with 5 or 6 years”.
Perhaps the best account of Annies life is given in an article dated July 1,2012 in ‘British Sporting Legacies’ which I have reproduced below in its entirely along with an autographed photograph of Anne which shows she was a petite young lady at the time she performed.
"Miss Annie Luker
It was possible for professional female swimmers to come from the supporting acts to prominence. On Saturday, January 20, 1894 Miss Annie Luker went up in the world in more ways than one when she performed a high dive into the whale tank at the Royal London Aquarium. Such a feat by a female was a great novelty and, as a consequence she was rewarded with a considerable pay rise. Previously she had been employed as a professional lady swimmer with Captain Boyton’s Water Show on an income of just one-pound per week. Annie’s new role as a diver at the London Aquarium provided her with a significant pecuniary reward of £20 per week ‘in emulation of the male divers at the aquarium’. The pay rise was significant in that it not only made Annie a relatively wealthy young lady but, perhaps more importantly, she provided a role model for other young ladies. A reporter from the Penny Illustrated Paper in 1897 was of the opinion that with the large number of ‘well- appointed swimming baths’ in most of the major towns, combined with the ladies-only lessons now being made available, meant that it was now inexcusable that our girls should ‘remain ignorant of swimming.’ It was suggested that females in London should go and see Miss Luker in order to behold her wonderful skill in the water and attempt to emulate her.
Annie was described as ‘a plucky girl, whose venturesome nature led her to perform a too-dangerous feat’ that day at the Royal Aquarium in that she had ‘flung herself from a terrific height’. She had gain entry into a professional career in swimming in common with most males and females at the time by displaying her talent for speed or long-distance swimming. Annie was said to have been a regular long-distance swimmer in the River Thames which had eventually led to her appointment as ‘one of the graceful swimmers’ at Captain Boyton’s Water Show. This new venture of high diving had the result of propelling Annie into a different social-class both in terms of her new-found fame but also in terms of her earning potential. An income of £20 per-week provided her with a comparative spending power in 2005 of £1,198 per-week which illustrates not only just how dangerous the dive would have been but also provided her with financial security. The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times was of the opinion that ‘the performance is too perilous for a girl'.
By June, 1894 Annie Luker was declared to be a ‘Lady Diver, Champion of the World’. She had quickly become part of a twelve hour continuous show at the Royal Aquarium which was declared to have ‘The Greatest Shows and the Biggest Shillings Worth’. Annie had become part of the Aquariums eclectic mix of variety shows in that she shared the June, 1894 billing with: a boxing kangaroo, a talking horse, performing dogs, as well as comedians, singers, acrobats, ventriloquists, conjurors and dancers. The entertainments were declared to be ‘Unprecedented for Magnitude, Variety and Magnificence’ and ‘free’ once having paid one-shilling for entrance into the large Aquarium building. The swimming feats were provided at 6 pm and 10 pm and included Annie Luker’s champion head dive, Baume’s great Monte Cristo sack feat, and Ben Fuller’s Great Dive through the roof.
 The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, Miss Annie Luker, Saturday, January 27, 1894, 57.
 The Graphic, Advertisements and Notices, Saturday, June 16, 1894.
 The Graphic, Advertisements and Notices, Saturday, September 15, 1894.
 The Graphic, Advertisements and Notices, Saturday, January 27, 1900.
 The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times, Cross-Channel Swimming, Saturday, September 15, 1900, 165.
The above article makes reference to the beginning of her career “as a professional lady swimmer with Captain Boyton’s Water Show”. Shown opposite is a photograph of Paul Boyton. His name is often misspelled as Boynton.He was born June 29,1848 in Rathangan,County Kildare,Ireland and died April 19,1924. Known as the ‘Fearless frogman”, he was a showman and adventurer some credit as having spurred worldwide interest in water sports as a hobby, particular open-water swimming. He is best known for his water stunts that captivated the world, including crossing the English Channel in a novel rubber suit that functioned similarly to a kayak. Early in his life he had served in the Mexican Navy and was in the Franco-Prussian War. He eventually returned to the United States and helped organize the United States Life-Saving Service. It was while in the USA that he invented his famous rubber suit and made numerous expeditions in it,swimming up and down rivers across the USA and Europe to publicise its use.He later went on to form an aquatic circus and toured for several years until in 1894 opening the first permanent amusement park in Chicago. It was during his tours of Europe that he staged various swimming entertainments in England and it was during that time in the early 1890’s that Miss Annie Luker went to work for him as an ornamental swimmer. You will recall my earlier inclusion of an article from ‘Era” dated January 27,1894 which made reference to Miss Annie Luker being presented with the Boyton Medal at Earl’s Court.
The Hastings and St Leonards Observer of April 23,1892 reported that the Beckwiths performed at the White Rock Baths in Hastings and that with them was “Miss Annie Luker who swam the breast stroke a couple of lengths and did some capital evolutions with Miss Lizzie Beckwith”.
The Financial Observer of January 27,1894 stated in part “Miss Annie Luker took a prominent part in the Boyton Show”. The Good News of January 27,1894 reported “On Saturday afternoon the Royal Aquarium was crowded to witness the attempt of Miss Luker, who attained greatness as a swimmer at Captain Boyton’s Water Show, to rival the diving feats of the male professors.This she did, and the enthusiastic applause of the vast audience showed that they appreciated her pluck and skill”. The Yorkshire Post of January 22,1894 stated in part that “Miss Luker was a member of Captain Boyton’s troupe at Earl’s Court last summer”. The Evening Standard of January 22,1894 stated in part “ Miss Annie Luker is already well known for her appearances in the Boyton Exhibitions at Earl’s Court..”
The next stage of Annies career involved her acts at the Royal London Aquarium, which is also known as the Royal Aquarium Westminster.The Morning Post, London, april 10,1899, for example reported on ‘Miss Annie Luker diving from a height of 90 feet and apparently possesses all the nerve of the male opponents”.Shown opposite is a photograph of this building.The Royal Aquarium sat on the present site of the Central hall. The aquarium opened in 1876 as a place of general amusement but in spite of its many attractions it was popular for only a short time and was demolished in 1903. The last performance there was on January 10,1903. The Times included many articles pertaining to Miss Annie Luker performing there as a diver in the 1894 to 1901 period but Annie was still performing at the aquarium up to the time of its closure, and as the above article notes Annie did extremely well financially.Two examples of programs at the Royal Aquarium that are available on the internet for 1888 and 1890 do not make mention of Miss Annie Luker by name but do give the name of her employer under the banner of “Professor Beckwith’s World Renowned Swimming Entertainment”.This is the same Beckwith family that was living next door to Annie in the 1891 census I gave details of earlier. For those of you interested in the swimming careers of the Beckwith family you can find information about them on the British Sporting Legacies website.
When constructed the Royal Aquarium contained several large tanks with the intention that they would be used for fish but due to a problem with the water supply they were not used for this purpose. The water however was obviously suitable for swimming and diving in for you can see a gentlemen diving in the aquarium in the photograph shown opposite.Accounts of the time report “Miss Annie Luker’s dives from the Westminster Aquarium roof were widely admired”.
Given below is a sample of articles found on the internet about Miss Annie Luker’s swimming exploits.Shown opposite is an image of Annie Lukers “swimming card”, provided to me by Penny Luker.
The New Zealand Herald of 1892 published an article entitled “A Woman Swimmer” in which they said “ Under most favourable circumstances in regard to wind and weather, Miss Annie Luker attempted a few days ago to swim the long and tiring journey from Kew to Greenwich.Though she failed to compass more than 15 miles-about 3-1/2 miles short of the full distance Miss Luker accomplished a very pleasing performance. During the 4 hrs and 50 minutes she was in the water the young swimmer was not given any nourishment. Several spectators expressed their disapproval by the manner in which the slight and apparently delicate girl was treated. It was said by her ‘manager’ that Miss Luker intended to swim across the Channel in imitation of the late Captain Webb’s perilous feat. It is devoutly to be hoped that she will not be allowed to essay such a foolhardy task”. The Brisbane Courier of October 11,1892 gave a report on the same event and stated “ Miss Annie Luker swam from Kew Pier to Greenwich 18 ½ miles. At 2 o’clock she dived from the deck of the steamer Shah which accompanied her during her journey and made steady progress.At London Bridge she was still going well but on reaching Tunnel Pier 14-3/4 miles from the start she left the water having been immersed 6 hrs 50 minutes”. Shown above (courtesty of Penny Luker) is another article which mentions this swimming event and dates from 1894 entitled “The World of Women”. It also refers to Annies career with the Beckwith family(The Beckwith Company) at the Royal Aquarium.
The Wanganui Herald of 1894 reported “ At 9 o’clock on the 29th April Miss Annie Luker of the Royal Aquarium, and swimming instructress of the Caledonian Road Baths, successfully performed the feat of diving from the London Bridge.She was lifted over the parapet, and, after poising herself for a second, made a spectacular dive.On reaching the surface she was greeted with cheers from the onlookers on the bridge and on the Margate boat. The dive seemed to have no effect on the young lady, as, after being picked up, she again dived from the boat and swam about 200 yards down- stream, and back against tide”.
In the Press of 1894 is the following account under the title of “The Diving Belle”. “ A quite innocent-looking little figure, with timid dark eyes, the sort of girl one would expect to scream at a blackbeetle.such is the description which a Pall Mall reporter gave of Miss Annie Luker, who thrills Londoners nightly by diving 70 feet through the air into a water tank at the Westminster Aquarium.She made her debut in a striking manner. The feat had been performed by male swimmers at the Aquarium, and was getting a little stale. Suddenly a member of the audience rose and offered to produce a woman who could dive with the best of them.There upon Miss Annie Luker was hauled up to the platform, and amid deafening cheers, took her perilous plunge through 70 feet of air. The effect was electrical.Pressed by an inquisitive reporter, however, Miss Annie Luker, let out some of the secrets of the prison house. She is a professional teacher of swimming, and used to perform with the Beckwiths, also at Captain Boytons Water Show. Will you tell me about that dramatic incident said the reporter, referring to her ‘debut’. Was it an unrehearsed effort? Miss Luker looked with a smile at Mr Sinclair, the athletic manager of the aquarium, who was sitting beside her.Not quite she replied. “It was something like this-when the water show was over I had nothing to occupy me but my private swimming pupils.Well one day Mr Sinclair came and asked me if I would like to try the big dive.He felt certain that I could do it so I did.But my husband, I’m married you know,wouldn’t hear of it for a long time.However we persuaded him in the end, and one morning,early, Mr Sinclair brought me here to try it”. Were you not inclined to climb down when you got to the platform? “It was a little terrifying. I had only dived 35 feet at the water show, and this was twice as high, but I came down all right.Then, last Thursday, I came to the performance with my husband to get up and make the challenge, but he was too nervous. So my friend did it, well you know the rest”. For the rest we learn that Miss Luker does not train to keep herself in condition, and that the main thing is to keep cool and a steady head.In other ways this timid,shrinking creature shows her superiority to mankind. How does your husband feel ? asked the reporter, when he sees all that he loves on earth come spinning head first through the air? “Annie replied “ He never comes to see me.He couldn’t stand it.We live close by, and he waits for me at home”.
The Strand Magazine of 1896 had an article in it entitled ‘Some Peculiar Entertainments’ by Framley Steelcroft which stated “ I witnessed the interesting event in a specially-arranged swimming bath, the “fish” being the well-known expert, Miss Annie Luker,who’s father trained Captain Webb, and who herself engaged in this day in imparting the natatury art to a couple of thousand London Board school children.Miss Luker’s biggest feat was a swim from Kew to Rotherhithe”.
The Penny Illustrated of September 15,1900 gave " The Perserverance Ladies Swimming Club had held a challenge race for London Ladies with the outcome that Miss Smith of Berry Ladies SC was confirmed as the winner. The results had been questioned simply because the gala had contained an exhibition of ornamental swimming conducted by the professional swimmers Miss Annie Luker, Miss Luke and Baby May ( May Elizabeth Waters) who all showed what could be done in an ornamental way". As mentioned above May Elizabeth Waters was the neice of Annie Luker.
Shown opposite is a poster pertaining to Miss Annie Luker and Baby May which was provide to me by Doug Mussell, who I have referred to before. Doug states that " Baby May is my granny Bellamy (May Elizabeth Bellamy nee Waters0. Her mother was Kate Elizabeth Waters, nee Luker, the sister of Miss Annie Luker. The poster pertains to a swimming exhibition to be held Monday, September 9,1901 . The vent was sponsored by the Silver Star Swimming Club and held at the Shoreditch Baths. The poster announces that "Miss Annie Luker, champion all-round lady swimmer and diver (from the Royal Aquarium) and Baby May in their unrivalled display of swimming and diving".
The event was very popular and well attended and was one example of an event where Miss Annie Luker and Baby May performed together.
The London Mercury of Saturday September 30,1905 refered to “the fancy and ornamental swimming by Miss Annie Luker”. Indications are that Annie ended her career as a “showman” by 1906 but continued to teach swimming to others. A decendent of the Luker family wondered if Annie Luker had ever performed in the Olympics but research shows that women were not allowed to compete in the Olympics in 1896 and in 1900 only did so in the sports of croquet,golf,sailing and tennis. The decendent may have believed that the title of “Diving Champion” was connected to the Olympics but it was not. Different women at different times were given this title.The New Zealand Herald of 1902 announced “ Miss Annie Luker has just received a gold medal from the Royal Aquarium Society, and she certainly deserves the honour. Summer and winter, year in and year out, for 8 years she had dived daily from the roof of the aquarium, a distance of 90 feet…” .
Shown opposite is a group of three bronze metals awarded to Miss Annie Luker. These images(front side and back side) were sent to me by Penny Luker.As it is difficult to read the inscription on the medals due to tarnishing I have shown only one view of the medals. The largest medal has on one side the inscription Royal Aquarium Westminster and on the reverse laurel leaves and the inscription “ Presented to Annie Luker in recognition of merit Josiah Ritchie President 1902”. The middle medal does not say awarded to Annie but Penny Luker states that “we were assured it was awarded to her”. On one side of the medal is a portrait of Prince Edward and around the edge the inscription “Edward Prince of Wales K.G.”. The smallest medal has the inscription “ Awarded to Annie Luker”.Around the edge of the medal is the inscription “ Quemcunque Miserum Videris Hominem”.
Penny Luker also sent me an image(shown below) of a Royal Life Saving Society Medal marked “Est 1891”. This medal,according to Penny, was also awarded to Annie Luker. It is also likely that her father John Pearson Luker was given a life saving medal for as mentioned by me in reference to the opening of the White Rock baths it was reported that he had “been rewarded for saving life”.
One can find numerous newspaper accounts about the swimming and diving exploits of Miss Annie Luker , far too many to include here, and as you will note from the above references not all of them were from London. Her career was followed closely and reported on in newspapers around the world. In the ‘Overview’ section of this article I referred to a collection of newspaper articles from a scrapbook in the possession of the Luker Family. Penny Luker was kind enough to send me a selection of them.Since she said there were just over 100 articles all from the year 1894 (and that was just for the period of January to March!), I asked for only a selection as limited space did not allow me to include them all, and not all of what she sent has been given below. In some cases I have paraphrased the article for the sake of brevity.
The Penny Illustrated of January 27,1894 gave “ Miss Annie Luker is a plucky girl, whose venturesome nature led her to perform a too-dangerous feat at the Westminster Aquarium last Saturday afternoon. One of the graceful swimmers at Captain Boyton’s water Show, and a Thames long-distance swimmer, she is at home in the water.In emulation of the men divers at the Aquarium she fling herself from a terrific height, and dived into a small tank of water below.But surely the performance is too perilous for a girl”. Shown opposite is a sketch by a “P.I.P. (Penny Illustrated) artist of Annie which accompanied this article.It shows her getting ready to perform her dive.
The Financial Observer of January 27,1894 referred to a diving event by Annie Luker at the Royal Aquarium being sponsored by Professor O’Rourke who agreed to offer her an engagement if she performed a dive. Annie accepted the challenge “after a little preliminary squabble as to the height of the platform”.” Miss Luker is only nineteen, but she has done some good swimming feats. She has a pretty face and figure, and the luxuriant tresses of the typical mermaid”. In other accounts of the same time in various newspapers she is referred to as “the daughter of the well-known swimming master of Tunbridge Wells”.
In an article from the Luker collection ,for which no date or newspaper name is given, is found under the heading “ Opening of the Cleopatra Swimming Bath” an account of the “floating bath which was originally moored on the reverse side of the Charing Cross Bridge, was opened to the public.Between twelve and three o’clock a private view was afforded a privileged few who were entertained with a clever display of swimming given by Charles Beckwith, Miss Annie Luker, and one of the lady artistes from the Royal Westminster Aquarium”. The article goes on to describe in detail the new bath’s and ends by stating that Professor Bechwith had been secured as the swimming instructor there. Shown opposite is a photograph of the Cleopatra Bath. This floating bath was 133 feet in length, 25 ft wide with water depth up to 6’-6” and was constructed in 1891. Bayleys magazine of October 1891 provided a detailed description of the baths.The image shows the river at Charing Cross and the Entertainment and Cleopatras Needle to the left with the floating baths in the foreground.What a novel idea!
The last article I include refers to a swimming exhibition held “before a Gainsburgh audience”. The article in undated but stated “ Miss Luker is, without doubt, the most accomplished lady swimmer who has ever appeared before a Gainsburgh audience; all her motions were the perfection of ease and grace, and in some of her feats she seemed scarcely to disturb the surface of the water. Her illustrations of the various modes of floating, especially motionless floating, were simply perfect, in fact the same remark may be applied to each item of her performance.Mr Bacock is certainly to be congratulated on having secured the services of this talented young lady, who presence will assuredly prove a great attraction at any entertainment Mr Bacock may promote in the future”.
Paul Bennett, one of my research contacts, reported to me on July 25,2013 the following information about Annie Luker. “Annie Luker appears in the national press advertising various remedies for the relief of muscle pain in the 1890’s. She also made many appearances around England in the 1880’s and 1890’s with the James Pain’s Touring Fetes and Entertainments”. Pain was best known as a pyrotechnist who enjoyed increasing success in the 19th century with displays specially arranged for birthdays,majorities,weddings,public & private fetes,regattas etc such as the one staged in the 1890’s for the Royal Yacht Squadron. There is a fair amount of information available on the internet about James Pain for anyone interested in his life and work. Pain produced popular Pompein “pyrodramas’ that originated in England and later toured throughtout the United States and Australia.His company operated for many years under the name of Messrs James Pain & Sons and was still operating in the 20th century, although the business by then concentrated on fireworks.It is expected that Miss Annie Luker was one of several swimmers employed by Pain in swimming fetes throughout England at which a fireworks display was a central part of the entertainment.
The married life of Annie and Frederick are shrouded in mystery and it appears that the marriage ended in divorce or at least separation for the 1891 census is the last one in which the couple are shown together. In Annies own words her husband was not in favour of his wife performing and perhaps it put a strain on the marriage. The 1901 census, taken at 106 Englefield Road in Islington records as head of the household Annie Parker, age 30, born 1871 Abingdon,Berkshire, a swimming instructor. Living with her is her 10 year old niece May Waters, born 1891 in Tunbridge Wells. I have previously identified that May Waters was the daughter of Annies sister Elizabeth and given details about that family. While Annie was living in Islington her “husband” Frederick was residing in Bromley. The 1901 census taken at #1 Athol Street, Bromley records Frederick Parker, age 35, born 1866 at Woodford,Essex living as a boarder at the lodging house of the Johnson family. Frederick is given in this census as “single” and working as a tram driver.
A 1902 directory for Islington gives the listing :Miss Annie Parker, apartments, 86 Engleford Road,N.The 1911 census, taken at the same address as 1902 records as head of the household Annie Parker,age 38 ,widowed, born 1873 Berkshire, a swimming instructor,worker. Living with her was her 20 year old niece May Elizabeth Waters who was“engaged at home”. Also in the premises were seven boarders and it is clear that Annie was running a boarding house while also teaching swimming. This census gives that Annie had been married 21 years, which coincided with a marriage record for her of 1890. It also records that she had no children from the marriage and that her residence had 11 rooms. There were the Islington Baths in Islington, located at 242 Liverpool Road, which are listed in Cooks handbook for London in 1881 and 1885. I have not researched the history of these baths but perhaps Annie frequented them.
It is known,as confirmed by Penny Luker, that Annie lived the rest of her life in Islington and that Annie was buried in the Islington Cemetery.Her date of death has not been confirmed although in the course of my research I did find a death record for a Annie Parker at Islington,Greater London for the 1st qtr of 1930. There are also two burial records for the Islington cemetery for Annie parker, the first is November 7,1931 and the other November 29,1933.No probate record was found associated with this date(1st qtr 1930) and as a consequence I was not able to confirm if this was a record for the correct Annie Parker. My initial reaction is that 1930 was too early for Annie would have only been age 60 at that time and her sister Elizabeth who was 3 years older than her did not pass away until 1942 in Islington at the age of 75. I have already stated the possibility that Anne was still alive in 1942 and that her sister came to live with her in Islington. I have also proferred the possibility that Annie died earlier than 1942 and that the presence and death of her sister in Islington was connected to Elizabeth’s daughter May Elizabeth living in Islington. From the 1911 census, where Annie gives herself as “widowed”, one must conclude in the absence of other evidence that her husband Frederick died sometime before the 1911 census, although no conclusive death or probate records could be located for him.
For anyone interested in a well written account about women swimmers ,that is on the internet, I would suggest reading the article by D.Day in 2008 entitled “ A Modern Naiad” Nineteenth Century Female Profession Natationists”. In this article is a reference to Annie Luker which I quote from “ Racing was slightly more acceptable and Beckwith organised ladies swimming tournaments in London in 1889 and 1890, which featured Maud St John, ANNIE LUKER, Rose St John, Alice Sinclair, Olivette Flower, and Alice May”.
From my recent correspondence with Penny Luker she stated that “Annie became Lady Champion Diver of the World” and that the term ‘professor of swimming’ was not an academic or professional title but one that was self -given by those who taught swimming. Today this person would be referred to as a swimming coach or trainer. She also stated that “John Pearson Luker has several grandchildren and many g.g.g. grandchildren who are all thriving,some of whom still live in Tunbridge Wells”.
There is an excellent article on the internet entitled “London Swimming Professors:Victorian Craftsmen and Aquatic Entrepreneurs” by D. Day dated 2010 which I recommend reading for it provides a detailed description about the occupation of “swimming professor” that has a direct bearing on the career of John Pearson Luker. You may find it also by searching under “Nineteenth Century Swimming Professors”. This article does not make reference by name to any member of the Luker family but does refer to the well- known swimmer and swimming professor David Turner Pamplin(1848-1932) who in about 1892 “ published a very useful guide to natation and was appointed swimming instructor at the Tunbridge Wells Baths, where he was expected to impact many a wrinkle in the knack of swimming”. The life and times of Mr Pamplin will be reported on by the researcher in a separate article.
THE KENT DRUG STORES
Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: July 14,2013
The early chemists and druggist shops bear little resemblance to shops of current times for all of their preparations were kept in and behind counters with many of the products sold being made on the premises .It was, until 1841, an unregulated profession, run by individuals with little or no formal training and was,with but few exceptions, one dominated by men.It was the general practice in the 19th century for the chemist and druggist to employ assistants. The larger the shop, and the more business it conducted, the greater the number of assistants employed.Chemists and druggists kept abreast of developments in the medical field by subscribing to such publications as The Medical Topography of Tunbridge Wells,The Pharmaceutical Journal,to name just two, and read extensively about topics related to Geology and other fields which interested him
This article describes a chemists shop that began on the High Street in Tunbridge Wells when it was established 1892 by F. & G. Chabot and traces the history of the shop and the evolution of the business and its subsequent owners.
The article leads into the topic by presenting a brief overview of the Pharmaceutical Society, an overview of the early history of Victorian pharmacies in Tunbridge Wells, of which those who saw the recent BBC show “The Victorian Pharmacy” will have some appreciation of.
THE PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY
In the early 1800’s, some chemists and druggists had already worked collectively to protect the profession’s interests. They successfully argued for an exemption from the Apothecaries Act of 1815, formed a committee to monitor the progress of a proposed Sale of Poisons Bill of 1819, and created a short-lived General Association of Chemists and Druggists to promote protection against the Medical Stamp Duty Act.
In 1841, a group of chemists and druggists convened a public meeting in London to discuss a proposed medical reform bill. Although this bill failed at its second reading, the trade felt vulnerable. It was unregulated and unrestricted. Anyone could operate under the title of Chemist and /or Druggist.
Job Bell, the son of a Quaker pharmacist John Bell, emerged as a spokesman for those concerned. The group agreed that the best foundation for a permanent independent association was membership based on a recognized qualification. William Allen proposed the formation of the Pharmaceutical Society at a meeting on April 15,1841 at the Crown and Anchor Tavern on the corner of Arundel Street and the Strand in London. John Bell seconded it. Allen went on to become the Society’s first president.A committee of forty was appointed as the first Council to frame laws and regulations. It served until elections in May 1842, when a Council of 21 members was formed. William Maddock of Tunbridge Wells became a founding member of this Society in 1841 as confirmed by the records of the Society.I have written about William Maddock before in a separate article in 2013. Other chemists and druggists in Tunbridge Wells were also known to be members of this society.
The Society’s founding aims were to unite the profession into one body, to protect its members’ interests and to advance scientific knowledge.The Royal Charter of Incorporation, granted to the Society in February 1843, gave the purpose of “advancing chemistry and pharmacy and promoting a uniform system of education” precedence over “the protection of those who carry on business as chemists and druggists”.
In September 1841, the Society took a yearly lease on a house at 17 Bloomsbury Square. The Society published a list of the founder members, in its Pharmaceutical Journal, on January 1,1842.There were 23 honorary members, 665 full members and 263 non-voting associate members (assistants and apprentices). Thirty percent of members and 40 % of associates were based in London , with William Maddock being the only representative from Tunbridge Wells at that time. Despite an initial surge, and the establishment of 29 local associations, further recruitment of members was slow.
A School of Pharmacy, library and museum of ‘materia medica’ were established at Bloomsbury Square in 1842. Jacob Bell, Theophilus Redwood, and Johathon Pereira led the Society’s educational and scientific projects. Pereira was appointed Professor of Materia Medica in 1843. Redwood pioneered the establishment of a laboratory for teaching practical chemistry in 1844.
Jacob Bell launched what is now known as The Pharmaceutical Journal in 1841.The Pharmacy Act of June 30,1852 established a Register of Pharmaceutical Chemists, restricted to those who had taken the Society’s exams. However, the Act did not restrict the practice of pharmacy to examined and registered people, nor provide a legal definition for the trade and practice of pharmacy. In 1850 Jacob Bell died and bequeathed the ‘Pharmaceutical Journal’ to the Society. In 1859 ‘The Chemist and Druggist’ was launched.In 1864 the first British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) was held in Bath. In 1868 The Pharmacy Act set up a register of people qualified to sell, dispense and compound poisons. The Pharmaceutical Society would examine and register pharmacists, and prosecute them in cases related to poisons. Regulations in other area was left to the Society. In 1879 Isabella Clarke and Rose Minshull, already Pharmaceutical Chemists, were elected Society members, the first women to be accepted.Many advancements have been made over the years following 1879 and information in that regard can be easily found on the internet.I will state however that the Society became known as the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in 1988 when the Queen agreed that the title “Royal” should be granted.
Jacob Bell was born March 5,1810. He was a pioneering chemist,politician and author. After finishing his studies he worked as a chemist in his father’s business in Oxford Street.London. His work with relation to the Pharmaceutical Society has been given above. He was elected as member of parliament for St Albans in 1850.He was also a member of the Linnean Society of London and the author of a “Historical Sketch of the Progress of Pharmacy in Great Britain” as well as other publications. He died June 12,1859 in Tunbridge Wells and was buried in the Woodbury Park Cemetery. In 2009 the President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells came to the Woodbury Park Cemetery to pay homage at Jacob Bell’s memorial on June 12th, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his death.As part of the day’s activities a two hour tour was conducted of various places in the town connected with Bell’s last days in 1859. Then it was on to the cemetery to plant materia medica-some witch -hazels, and gallina officinalis, the historic “Apothecary’s Rose”. As a specific memento to Bell, the President of the British Society for the History of Pharmacy planted some campanulas and unveiled a plaque. Among those present were descendants of Timothy Hickmott, the undertaker who handled Bell’s funeral in 1859.There were also descendents of Canon Edward Hoare, Bell’s rediscovered boyhood friend, who baptised him in Holy Trinity Church just 5 days before he died.You can read the full story of Bell’s last days in a booklet entitled “Jacob Bell” which is available from the Friends of Woodbury Park. A complete biography is also available online in the Dictionary of National Biography.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING
Chemists and druggists became established as a distinct group in the medical profession during the 18th century. The basis of the chemist and druggist’s business was the shop, from which customers could purchase pharmaceutical preparations. Chemists and druggists learned their trade through a period of apprenticeship in a pharmacy business, and were not required to take examinations or register themselves with any organization.The term ‘opothecary, often used in the 17th -19th centuries does not refer to the chemist and druggist but in London to individuals who had passed the examinations of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London, founded in 1617, or to their often less qualified counterparts in the provinces. Although the apothecary’s practice included a strong dispensing element, it was more all -encompassing than the handling of drugs and chemicals, and included some medical treatment, particularly from the 18th century onwards.
The founding of the Pharmaceutical Society in 1841 maked the beginning of qualifications for and records relating specifically to pharmacists. From 1841 on the Society kept regular lists of its members,associates, and those who had passed its examinations. These were published in the Society’s weekly Pharmaceutical Journal. The examinations offered by the Society were the ‘minor examination’ ,a rudimentary qualification for pharmacists,employed pharmacists, and the ‘major examination’, intended for established business owning pharmacists who were, or who aspired to be, members of the Society. However, some non-proprietor pharmacists went on to take the major examination having passed the minor examination. In 1842 the Society established a School of Pharmacy,called the College of the Pharmaceutical Society, to teach candidates for these examinations at its headquarters building in Bloomsbury Square,London.The Pharmaceutical Journal proved the names of those already members of the Society, unexamined proprietors who had accepted the last opportunity to become members without qualifying, and those who had passed the major examination. The lists for 1841-1867 of members and associates was not comprehensive because there was no compulsion for pharmacists to register with the Society.In 1868 the Pharmacy Act stipulated that the minor examination was to become the legal minimum requirement for new entrants to the profession. As these new regulations came into effect those already practicing as chemists and druggists, before regulation, were not required by law to prove their qualifications. Over time as they passed away, they were replaced by new chemists and druggists who had received extensive formal and work related training who had certificates to prove their qualifications. Over the years leading up to today those wishing to practice in the profession are required to meet certain standards of education .In 1924 The University of London’s Bachelor of Pharmacy degree was the first to be approved by the Pharmaceutical Society. The College of the Pharmaceutical Society from 1842 was renamed The School of Pharmacy in 1949 when it became independent of the Society and was incorporated into the University of London as a constituent college. It was granted a royal charter in 1952 and merged with the UCL School of Pharmacy January 1,2012.
THE VICTORIAN PHARMACY
The recent BBC show , by the name of The Victorian Pharmacy” was watched by millions in Britain and Canada, an no doubt elsewhere. It gave an interesting glimpse back in time to how the pharmacy looked and was operated. One of the images of the pharmacy in the BBC program have been given in this article to give a view in colour of how chemists shops would have looked for much of the 19th and early 20th century
The program itself was a historical documentary filmed at Blists Hill Victorian Town in Shropshire and took a look at life in the 19th century and how people attempted to cure common ailments.Many of the potions,pills and concoctions of those times were heavily laced with alcohol, opium and other powerful, and now illegal or dangerous substances, which although ineffective in curing the problem, made you feel like it was having some benefit. Episode 1 was set in 1837 at a time where traditional remedies, such as leeches,oil of earthworm and potions laced with cannabis and opium, held sway. Episode 2 revealed the 1850’s and 1860’s at a time when overcrowed and unsanitary living conditions had reached their peak, leading to unprecedented outbreaks of disease.’Cure All’ medicines that had promised to cure virtually everything, were all the rage. Episode 3 showed the period of new inventions and new laws when in 1868 pharmacies were regulated by law for the very first time. Episode 4 explored the ‘quack’ cures being promoted and showed the chemist and druggist working like ‘mad scientists’ in their backroom laboratory whipping up all manner of concoction.
In the early Victorian era pharmacies were a novel idea, and anyone could trade as a pharmacist.Most cures were based on old beliefs and remedies.Toxic metals such as arsenic, lead and mercury were commonly used.Addictions, overdoses and poisonings were common.Blood -letting and purging were still practised. In the 1850’s the Victorians thought all diseases were caused by an invisible gas called miasma which was present in bad odours.Pharmacists sold cure-alls to cure or prevent these diseases.In the 1860’s scientists discovered the existence of germs.This led to the creation and sale of antiseptics and disinfectants. It was only with the introduction of the Pharmacy Act in 1868 that pharmacists were required to hold a professional qualification. By the end of the 19th century pharmacists started stocking branded products, as opposed manufacturing everything themselves.
Pharmacies of the time were places of wonder where colourful and mysterious things were displayed in grand oak and glass showcases and cabinets with their contents well out of reach of the public. The many, and often elaborate bottles/jars, held great expectation of a cure to visitors to the shop and they relied entirely upon the advice of the chemist and druggist, for general knowledge on all things related to medicine was lacking in the mind of the common man/woman. Tucked away in drawers were boxes and bags of herbs, powders and weard items one would not think of taking today.Pharmacies were at the time a hotbed of experimentation and many products we use today were invented by the pharmacist.The pharmacists aim was always to make money, and there was a heavy emphasis on marketing.They created different versions of cures for the rich and poor-for example pills could be coated in silver leaf for the rich.Pharmacists also exploited any niche they could make money out of, for example, the production of exotic foods requiring precision, such as sauces, and making veterinary cures.Throughout the decades they added more and more products, such as medical corsets,photographic equipment,perfumes, skin care products and dentisty services.Along with this came later changes in how products made,packaged and sold. In this regard, as time passed there was a move away from items made on premises to selling standard products produced by others. Also, shops became organized in a way that products were put out on display where the public could see and handle them and bring them to the cashier to pay for them.While this the norm today, it was unheard of at the beginning of the 19th century.
LOCAL CHEMISTS AND DRUGGUISTS
Robert Chapman, a druggist at The Parade, was the only person in that profession in Tunbridge Wells listed in the 1824 Pigots directory. By 1834 William Maddock came to town and took over his shop at #10 The Parade.
The Tunbridge Wells Guide by J. Clifford of 1834 lists the following chemists and druggists; Mr Maddock, The Parade; Mr Luker, Mount Sion;Mr Sloane, Calverly Place and Mr Dobson, Calverly Place. It also states “ Tunbridge Wells and its vicinity has many valuable plants to be found, and those who have a taste for this interesting and useful study, will be amply repaid by encouraging botanical researches”. Many of these plants were gathered by local chemists and druggists for they provided the ingredients for some of their concoctions.
In the 1840 Pigots directory there were six chemists and druggists in town namely Charles Jenner Boorman at Mount Ephraim; Augustus Richard Cornwall, Bath Square; Charles Gardner,Mount Sion Road, William Maddock, The Parade; Henry Ross, Mount Ephraim and Thomas Way at Bedford House.
The “pharmaceutical bible” employed by these men was the “Pharmaecopia of the British Empire”. There were actually three of them, all varying in some degree, much to the consternation of chemists and druggists, namely one for London, which was used throughout Britain, and adopted in Canada and the USA (at least initially), one of Edinburgh and one for Ireland. The American Journal of Pharmacy of 1843 refers to this and also refers to a letter or paper written on the topic by William Maddock of Tunbridge Wells.This reference book was used by chemists and druggists to understand the various “drugs” , their formulaton, and use. Chemists and druggists also kept their own records of ‘cures’ and how to make them. The assistant, or apprenctice, in the shop was often given the job of making pills and other products from these ‘recipes’ under the watchful eye of the druggist and chemist.
There was a frequent turnover of people in this business in town and very few of the early ones kept their shops going for many years. As can be seen by comparing the 1834 and 1840 lists only William Maddock appears on both lists.
The 1858 Melville Directory lists the following chemists and druggists. G.G. Ayling (who took over from Godfrey & Cookes),The Parade; Charles Gardener, a pharmaceutical chemist at Midical Hall on the High Street; James Hodsoll, Chapel Place; Richard Howard, Calverley Place; William Maddock, a chemist and druggist and agent for the Westminter Fire and Life, at The Parade; Miller & Co., Mansel House, Mount Ephraim and John Mordaunt who is given at both High Street and at 2 Grove Terrace. I have not provided lists beyond 1858 but a review of them shows and upward trend in the number of people on this profession as time passed and the population of the town grew.
All of these men advertised their businesses in trade directories and from time to time in the local newspaper and it was not uncommon to find in the newspaper advertisments of pharmaceutical products with lengthy,exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims by them and by companies in other localities.
THE CHEMISTS SHOP OF F& G CHABOT
Shown at the top of this article is a photograph(circa 1888/9) pertaining to the central subject of this article, namely The Kent Drug Stores. Below the article is some text related to the image, both of which were given in a book by Rowlands and Beavis entitled Tunbridge Wells in Old Photogrpahs, Second Edition, 1994.which begins by referring to the establishement of the business at 48 High Street by “F and G Chabot” in 1892.
Shown opposite is an early 20th century postcard view of the part of High Street where the chemists shop was located.The “F and G Chabot” referred to was Frank and George Lewis Chabot.Frank was born 1860 at Camberwell, Surrey, one of eleven children born to the surgeon and general practitioner Edwin Chabot(1816-1893) and Martha Chabot,nee Diaper (1819-1895),both of whom were also born at Camberwell.Frank was baptised at Camberwell on July 26,1860.The 1881 census, taken at 129 Camberwell Road, Camberwell,Surrey records Frank,age 21,single, living with his parents and four siblings and one domestic servant. He is also found living with his parents and siblings at Camberwell in the census of 1861 and 1871. The 1871 census ,in addition to listing Frank and his family, also include” George Lewis Chabot,age 2, born 1869 at Camberwell, who was given in the census as the grandson of Edwin Chabot.George Lewis Chabot had actually been born June 30,1868 at Camberwell, the son of Frederick Chabot(1841-1893) a doctor and Mary Ann Howes.Shown below is a photograph of George Lewis Chabot,provided by one of his decendents.
Frank Chabots father Edwin was living at Linden Lodge, 4 Linden Grove, in Pekham when he died February 22,1893 at St Thomas Home,Lambeth Surrey. Probate was to his wife Martha Chabot, Emily Chabot, his spinster daughter, and Jessie Woodward,widow. Edwin left an estate valued at about 6,500 pounds. His wife Martha was living at the same address as her husband when she passed away July 3,1895. The executors of her estate, valued at about 1,200 pounds was her daughter Emily Chabot, spinster, and Herbert Chabot, a surgeon.
The Pharmacutical Journal of May 7,1881 records under the heading of ‘Minor Examination’ that 20 candidates had been examined and that 9 had failed.Among those that passed was Frank Chabot of London. Frank had been at that time attending the college of the Royal Pharmacutical College.
In the 4th qtr of 1883 Frank Chabot married Mary Lilian Norbury at Liverpool,Lancashire and it appears that the couple only had one child. Frank and his family were not living in Tunbridge Wells at the time of the 1891 census, but arrived soon afterwards to establish his chemists shop at 48 High Street with George Lewis Chabot.
George Lewis Chabot (shown opposite)is found in the1881 census at 243 Camberwell Road,Camberwell,surrey, as a scholar, living with just his father Frederick Chabot, a general practitioner, and two servants.His father Frederick was residing at 243 Camberwell Road when he passed away December 6,1893. The executor of his 223 pound estate was his son George Lewis Chabot, a medical student. In the 1891 census George was a boarder with the Cuming family at South Lambeth where George was a medical student.
Frank and George Chabot did not have their chemists shop long in Tunbridge Wells, for it was taken over by Harry Samuel Pearmund sometime in the period of 1896-1899. A collection of records at the Wellcome Library pertain to Mr Horton who was an agent for John Wyeth & Brother who sold Wyeth’s preparations to chemists.Mr Horton’s correspondence of October 1894 to February 1895 gives the names of the chemists he sold to, among whom are listed “Frank Chabot, Tunbridge Wells”
The 1901 census, taken at West Derby,Lancashire lists Frank Chabot,age 41, a pharmaceutical chemist worker. Living with him was his wife Mary Lilian,age 42, born 1859 at Liverpool,London; his 77 year old mother in law Elizabeth Norbury and his 45 year old sister in law Laura Norbury.In the 1911 census, taken at 4 Winter Square, Basingstoke,Hampshire is given Frank Chabot,age 51, a shop assistant chemist. Living with him in their 6 room premises was just his wife Mary. The census records that the couple had been married 26 years and that they had only one child which survived. Frank Chabot died September 1944 at West Bromwich,Staffordshire.
George Lewis Chabot had been married twice. His first wife was Kate Elizabeth Godden who he married July 1895 at St Saviour,Southwark,Surrey.Kate had been born in 1867 at Poulton, Kent and with her George had a daughter Kathleen Dora Chabot (1896-1896). Kate Elizabeth Godden is found in the 1901 census living with her parents Lewis and Elizabeth Godden and her three brothers at East Malling,Kent. Her father was a farm bailiff.Elizabeth died sometime before 1905.
George’s second wife was Bertha Harrison (1884-1989) and with her had the following children; Kathleen Dora (1906-1989) Ernest Oswald(1907-1954) Arthur Lionel(the Rev. Canon)(1908-1990) and Betty(1910-1996). His wife Bertha had been born October 4,1884 at Blackburn,Lancashire and died July 6,1989 at Kentville, Kings, Nova Scotia,Canada. Bertha was one of seven children born to Jesse Harrison and Mary Harrison, nee Dolphin. Shown opposite is a photograph of Bertha.
Sometime in the 20th century George Lewis Chabot , his wife Bertha and at least some of their children emigrated to Canada, settling in Toronto,Ontario,Caanda where George died in 1940.As noted above after the death of her husband Bertha moved to Nova Scotia where she died there in 1989.
THE CHEMISTS SHOP OF HARRY SAMUEL PEARMUND
Harry Samuel Pearmund had been born 1864 at Richmond,Surrey, the son of Samuel (1835-1925) and Emma Pearmund(1835-bef 1911). The 1871 census, taken at 5 alma Villas, in Richmond,Surrey lists Samuel as the head of the household, a house painter, born 1835 in Richmond. Also present was Samuel’s wife Emma,also born at Richmond in 1835 and Henry’s three siblings. In the 1881 census, taken at 5 Rosemont Rd, Alms Villas,Richmond,Surrey Henry is given as age 16, an apprentice chemist, living with his parents and five siblings.
The ‘Chemist and Druggest’ of 1887 gives “ Mr. H.S. Pearmund has purchased the business lately carried on by Messrs Dillon & Webb at 7 Elgin Street,Herefordshire”. It was around this time that Harry married Catherine Aann, born 1863 in London. The 1891 census, taken at 7 Elgin Street,Hertfordshire lists Harry Samuel Pearmund working as a shop owner and pharmaceutical chemist.Living with him was his wife Catherine Anne ; theur young son Alfred Samuel and Harry’s 57 year old mother Emma. Also present was a nurse and one other servant. The 1895 Kelly directory records “Harry Samuel Pearmund,chemist, 7 Eign St., Hertfordshire.
Sometime in the period of 1896 to 1899 Harry Samuel Pearmund came to Tubnridge Wells with his family and took over the chemists shop of Frank and George Lewis Chabot at 48 High Street.The 1899 Kelly directory records Harry at that address.Shown opposite is a photograph of a bottle bearing the name “ H.S. Pearmund,chemist,Tunbridge Wells”. This bottle was recently listed for sale on eBay and described as being “ rectangular, cornflower blue glass, cork stoppered bottle with dose markers in right face,height 6.5” excluding stopper”. Bottles of other sizes and colours from his chemists shop can also be found offered for sale on the internet.
The 1903 Kelly lists “ Harry Samuel Pearmund, 48 High Street and 17 Calverly Road,Tunbridge Wells”. In 1906 Harry moved his shop across the road to #47 High Street.
The 1911 census, taken at 30 Friars Stiel Road,Richmond,Surrey lists Samuel S Pearmund,age 46,married, pharmaceutical chemist employer, living with his father Samuel,age 76, a parish clerk and his two sisters Edith ,an elementary school teacher, and Ada. They seem to be living comfortably as their home had 10 rooms.Harry at this time was just visiting his father while still running his shop in Tunbridge Wells.
The 1913 Kelly lists “ Harry Samuel Pearmund 47 High Street and Calverly Road and that his private residence was at 28 Claremont Road.
Probate records give that Harry Samuel Pearmund was of Happisburgh,Claremont Road,Tunbridge Wells when he died July 5,1913. Probate was to Samuel Pearmund “of no occupation”. He left an estate valued at about 5,700 pounds and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on July 9,1913. His wife Catherine Anne survived him and continued to live in Tunbridge Wells until she died there in 1934 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on January 20,1934.
It is likely that the chemist shop of Harry Samuel Pearmund was sold to new owners just after his death in 1913 but the business under the name of H.S. Pearmund continued well after his death as noted below.
Directories for the years 1918-1927 only give a listing for the H.S. Pearmund chemists shop at 17 Calverly Road and there is no longer any mention of a shop on the High Street. As the text below the photo of the interior of the shop notes, #47 High Street became a chemist shop known as the Lion Dug Store, which survived at that location until 1926.
Harry’s son Albert Samuel William Pearmund, who was born in Herefordshire became a dentist who practices his profession in Tunbridge Wells throughout his life. He is found listed in directories of 1922 to 1946 as A.S.W. Pearmund, dentist, 39 Mount Pleasant Road,Tunbridge Wells”. Albert was living in Lyndhurst, Yew Tree Road in Southborough 1927-1928.
The Kelly directory of 1928 lists “H.S. Pearmund,chemist, 12A Grove Road” and the shop is still at that location throughout the time up to 1946, the year that the last directory listing is given for this business.
THE HISTORY OF CAENWOOD FARM-REYNOLDS LANE
Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario, Canada
Date: April 12,2013
Caenwood Farm dates back to at least the 18th century and is located on part of the ancient lands of the Manor of Southborough. It is situated on Reynolds Lane, a historic track, in the area where the lane jogs from its north westerly branch off of Culverden Down to where the lane swings abruptly in a north east direction towards Speldhurst Road. Originally an ancient wooded area the site of the farm was partially cleared and turned into pasture land for the raising of livestock and cultivated for the growing of hops and hemp and to a lesser degree laid out in orchards.Who first farmed the land is unknown to the researcher but Reynolds Lane, a name it has been referred to since the late 1700’s, is derived from the Reynolds family who lived and farmed the land, and it is with this family that I begin my review of the history of the farm.
Over the years the name of the farm has been given variously as Caen Wood (medieval); Cane Wood Farm (1849 map);Canewood Farm (1858 directory)Reynolds Farm (c1860 painting by C.T. Dodd); Taylors Farm (1861 census); CaenWood Farm (today and throughout most of the 18th -21st century) with the occasional spelling of Cane Wood thrown in for good measure from time to time. The researcher is of the opinion that the name Caen Wood is rooted in the monastic wood in Hampstead during the 13th to 16th centuries which was in Royal Possession from 1532 to 1565 and apart from the similarity of the name it is known that Southborough was used by Royalty as a hunting ground.
Caenwood Farm has been many occupants over the years. Some have been the owners or tenants of the farm and some have been farm bailiffs acting as managers of the farm for its owner. Although there has been development of the area on Reynolds Lane most of it has been on the east side of the lane that was not part of Caenwood Farm and what development has taken place on the west side of the lane has been along its northern half beyond the farm. Caenwood Farm today remains much the way it was from the earliest time but the old farmhouse and outbuildings and the appearance of Reynolds Lane itself have been altered significantly from the time that local artist Charles Tattershall Dodd captured the scene in one of his beautiful paintings back in the 1860’s. Reynolds lane has been somewhat levelled and straightened out and paved ,although is still a very narrow tree and hedge lined lane but has benefitted from being paved .The original farm house and outbuildings shown in Dodds painting (see above) are no longer there and were replaced in the 19th century, although British Heritages listing of them claims they are from the 18th century. A discussion of this discrepancy is given later in this article.
Local fishermen have fond recollections about fishing in the large pond on the farm, who like all fisherman like to boast (and no doubt exaggerate)about the size of the fish caught there and children being like they are used to swim in the pond. The pond exists today although diminished in size by changes in drainage patterns but its waters are no doubt refreshed by the many natural springs in the area and on the farm itself.
Although Caenwood is still farmed to some degree today it seems that it and Whitegates Farm to the north and for that matter all of the land within a broad area bordered by Reynolds Lane, Smockham Lane,Broomhill Road and Speldhurst Road have been closely watched by land developers and now that the area has been designated as part of the urban area and studied for its use for redevelopment as residential land, its use as open land seems in peril.
THE LOCATION OF THE FARM
Shown above is a map of 1849 on which is labelled “ Cane Wood Farm” and to the west of it is labelled “Tan Yard Farm” which is most often ,and today, known as Smockham Farm, sometimes referred to as Smoke Ham Farm and other variations of its spelling.While the Reynolds family were occupants of Canewood Farm the Twort Family ran Tan Yard Farm and two daughters of the Reynolds Family married two Twort sons. More information about this relationship is given later. The map opposite shows the large pond on the farm; the farm house in red connected by the farm drive to Reynolds Lane.
Returning to the 1849 map one can see in the top right hand corner the junction between St Johns’/London Road and Speldhurst Road running off to the west. Just past the junction is Reynolds Lane running south west, past “Cane Wood Farm” at the bottom end until just past a spot labelled “Quarry”. In that location is the junction with Smockham Lane that runs west to Smockham/Tan yard Farm and Reynolds Lane that continues southward until it reaches Culverden Down.
A C.B Richard Elllis document dated 2009 relating to “Core Strategy” contains a statement submitted on behalf of the owners of Caenwood Farm and Whitegates Farm in response to “ the inspector’s matters and questions associated with the Tubnridge Wells Borough Local Development Framework Core Strategy Submission DPD-Independent Examination”. This map shows all of the lands being studied and on that map is labelled “Smockham Farm” and then to the east of it “The Rocks” and just beyond that spot on the north side of Reynolds Lane “Farm”. The white plot labelled “Farm” is just the plot of land upon which the farmhouse and outbuildings of Caenwood Farm are located and not the entire area of the farm. This map can be seen online.
OCCUPANCY BY THE REYNOLDS FAMILY
To begin my review of the Reynolds family I have provided below a family tree of the Twort family, owners of Tan Yard/Smockham Farm, which was the farm just to the west of Canewood Farm occupied by the Reynolds Family. This family tree and other related information pertaining to theTworts and the Reynolds was provided to me by a decendent of the Twort family, namely Marian Nicholson, who stated “my interest in Smockham Farm derives from the fact that my ancestors lived there for many years.” Marian was very helpful , particularily in regards to my research of Smockham Farm, for which I have written a separate article that was published on my wessite in June 2013, a copy of which should be available from the Tunbridge Wells Referece Library or the Museum. The parts of that article which made reference to Caenwood Farm and the relationship of the Tworts to the Reynolds I have incorporated in this article and expanded upon as it pertains to the Reynolds clan. From the family there are two individuals to look for.The first is Richard Twort (1781-1849) the son of Richard Twort(1744-1811) and Diana Twort nee Hardman, who married Mary Reynolds “of Canewood Farm”.The second is his brother John Twort, born 1785, who married Elizabeth Reynolds “of Canewood Farm”. Another member of the Twort family that has a connection to Caenwood Farm and the Reynolds family , by way of residency, is John Twort (1740-1805).
Shown opposite is a painting entitled "Reynolds Farm" by local artist Charles Tattershall Dodd. Below this is a recent image of Reynolds Lane.
The Reynolds family who were known to reside at Reynolds Farm were John and Sarah Reynolds. Details about them are unknown but based on the birth dates of their children it would appear that they were both born about 1750.Their place of birth is unknown but all of their children were born locally. John and Sarah had five known children.Their names and dates of baptism are as follows Sarah ,July 1,1771; John ,January 27,1773; Joseph, January 11,1775; Robert, November 22,1776; Mary ,February 9,1779 and Elizabeth ,February 2,1781. All of the children are identified as being baptised in “Tonbridge Wells, Kent”, which would also have been their place of birth.
The life of John Twort (1740-1805) provides an insight to the early life of the Reynolds family. As you will see from the family tree John Twort lived at Smockham Farm with his brother Richard Twort(1744-1811) and died unmarried and intestate. John and his siblings were the children of William Twort(1711-1775) and Mary Ann Twort,nee Eales.When William Twort died he left Smockham Farm to his son Richard (1744-1811) but as the years past Richards brother William Twort(1743-1799) believed he was the owner. What happened as a result is that William and Richard both left in their wills Smockham Farm to their sons which ended up in a dispute that had to be settled the courts. It was in this climate of animosity that John Twort (1740-1805) lived but his welfare was thought of by his two brothers William and Richard and in fact it was the welfare of John (1740-1805) that brought the Twort’s and the Reynold’s into court.
JOHN TWORT was for all intents and purposes a “drunkard” and died in 1805 at Caenwood Farm, the home of John Reynolds. In 1808 there was a court hearing regarding John Twort in which the following information is recorded in 1808 from” a deposition of Richard Twort of Tonbridge against Mary Twort,widow of William Twort the elder of Westerham; Elizabeth Twort daughter of William the elder, and William Twort the younger of Westerham. Complaint that there had been an agreement and bond in the event of their eldest brother JOHN TWORT dying unmarried and intestate.JOHN TWORT had a great affection for Richard, his younger brother, and chose to reside with him at Smockham Farm.He JOHN TWORT suffered from bouts of drunkenness and insanity, and Richard paid for his board and lodging and all his medical expenses.This included his board and lodging when he lived at the Red Lion, Speldhurst, and his medical bills when he broke his thigh,twice.There had been a bond or agrteement for 800 pounds, in which it had been agreed that Richard was to have Smokcham Farm, but his nephew had now served him with notice to quit. The Answers to this testimony by Mary Twort,Elizabeth Clake(nee Twort) and William Twort were; “While JOHN TWORT was living at Smockham Farm with his younger brother, Richard, he,that is Richard, had the revenue from the property owned by JOHN TWORT in Shadwell,Middlesex, amountiung to about 50 pounds per annum.Also JOHN TWORT had helped his younger brother Richard in his tanning business without payment,whereas he should have received upwards of 7 shillings.Rihcard had turned JOHN TWORT out of the house and treated him in an improper manner.JOHN TWORT thus resided at the Red Lion in Speldhurst, which was not a good place, as he was prone to bouts of drunkiness”.
The case dragged on and in 1809 and 1810 further testimony was given in which it was stated in part that JOHN TWORT was “incapable of forming a judgement”. Witnesses (amongst others) included JOSEPH REYNOLDS, and his father, JOHN REYNOLDS “who ran the Rose and Crown at Tonbridge, where JOHN TWORT resided for some time, and who then resided at Caenwood Farm with JOHN TWORT.Although JOHN TWORT suffered from drunkiness, he was treated as one of the family; was often at Smockham Farm, and brother Richard and his family were often visitors of him”. A 1905 postcard view of the Rose & Crown in Tonbridge is shown opposite.
The continued details of these legal matters is beyond the scope of this article for it was my intention to demonstate just a few points. Firstly that John Reynolds in the 1809-1810 timeframe was the licensed victualler of the Rose and Crown public house in the village of Tonbridge; secondly that John Reynolds had a son Joseph Reynolds ; thirdly that John Twort lived with the Reynolds family at Caenwood Farm before and at the time of his death in 1805.It can be concluded from the testimony and the sequence of events that John Reynolds ran the Rose and Crown in the village of Tonbridge before leaving that position to become a farmer at Caenwood Farm/Reynolds Farm sometime before 1805.
An inquiry to the Tonbridge Historical Society about the Rose and Crown relative to its occupancy by the Reynolds family only resulted in determining that they had no information to offer on the subject. Their website states that the Rose & Crosn “is a fine timber-framed Tudor building with an impressive 18th century brick façade. It is located in Tonbridge’s upper High Street almost opposite The Chequers. It was an important stopping point for the horse drawn coaches and carriages which travelled from London throughout Tonbridge to the coast in the 18th and early 19th centuries, with four horse coach stopping every half hour on weekdays. The Rose & Crown was known in the Stuart Court, to Roundheads and Cavaliers, to the diary writers John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys and to all the tragvellers who passed on their way to Rye, Hastings or ‘The Wells’ in the wasteland to the south of the parish.The splendid coat of arms above the porch commemorates visits made to the inn by the Dutchess of Kent and her daughter, the future Queen Victoria. The town fire engine was at one time kept at the top of the long yard at the rear of the inn, and before the market moved to the Slade, the town’s cattle and general market was held in the High Street outside the Rose & Crown, with market room inside the inn providing refreshments all day for the farmers and traders. The roof of the large porch which stretches out across the pavement was traditionally the place from which election results were announced. May parts of the present hotel retain their original character with oak beams and Jacobean panelling”.
I have referred above to the marriage of two Reynolds daughters to two brother of the Twort family. The first to be married was Mary Reynolds(1779-1863)to Richard Twort(1781-1849)in Tunbridge Wells on May 31,1803. After the marriage Mary resided with her husband next door at Smockham Farm. Mary and Richard produced 10 children, details of which can be seen from the Twort family tree given above.All of the children were born at Speldhurst/Tunbridge Wells at Smockham Farm
Elizabeth Reynolds (1781-1862) married John Twort(1785-bef 18410 on June 14,1803 in Tunbridge Wells. Elizabeth and John produced 10 children namely Sarah(b1803) Mary(1805-1850)Sophia(b1807) Stephen(b1808) Elizabeth(1810-1849) John(1812-1889) Phoebe(1815-1867) Sarah(b1817)William(1821-1902)and Louisa(1824-1907). All of the children were born in Speldhurst/Tunbridge Wells.
At the time of the marriages of Mary and her sister in 1803 their parents would have been about 53 and it can be expected that they would have passed away about 1812. When John Reynolds died he left Reynolds/Canewood Farm to his sons .There is some indication that the eldest son John died at an early age for it is only the second eldest son Joseph that is mentioned in the court proceedings of 1809/1810 when Joseph was 35 years of age. In 1812, the estimated year of death for John Reynolds, his son Joseph was age 37 and the youngest son Robert age 33. If the farm remained in the Reynolds family into the late 1830’s it would have to been run by a grandson of John Reynold’s senior as his youngest son Robert by 1837 would have been 61 years of age and too old to farm.
How long the Reynolds family remained at the farm is unknown to the researcher but in 1841 the farm, referred to in the census as “Caen Wood Farm”, was occupied by William Martin. It is therefore interesting to note that the painting by Charles Tattershall Dodd dated c1860 is entitled “ Reynolds Farm, Reynolds Lane”, made many years after the farm was no longer occupied by Reynolds or even referred to as Reynolds Farm.
OCCUPANCY BY WILLIAM MARTIN
The 1841 census, taken at Caen Wood Farm records William Martin,age 24, an agricultural worker; his wife Sarah,age 27 and daughter Eliza,age 5. Also present were two agricultural workers and a one month boy who was the William’s son but who died in infancy.William and Sarah were married in Rotherfield,Sussex December 6,1835.The exact date of Williams birth and for that matter who his parents were are a matter of speculation. The only two christening records found are for William Martin born June 14,1814 Rotherfield with parents Thomas and Sarah or in the alternative William born March 1814 Rotherfield with parents Samuel and Sarah.
In the 1851 census, William is no longer at Caenwood Farm and instead is found at Cross Keys working a a labourer. He is recorded as born 1815 Rotherfield,Sussex. Liivng with him is his wife Sarah,born 1815 Rotherfiled and their daughter Eliza born 1836 Rotherfield. Also present are two visitors, one of whom is 77 year old Thomas Martin. In the 1861 census William is a gardener at Brightridge Lane. Living with im is his wife and daughter Eliza and their granddaughter Ann Frances,born 1860 Tunbridge Wells. Also present was a William Parker, a nephew, age 19 and a niece Louis Alcorn,age 12. William Parker was a cricketball maker, a popular trade at that time in Tunbridge Wells. William is still at Brightridge Lane in the 1871 census and working as a gardener. With him is his wife Sarah. Their daughter had left home and got married. In the 1881 census William is back in Reynolds Lane, towards the north end near Speldhurst Road where he is a market Gardener. Living with him was his wife Sarah.
Sometime before 1891, most likely the 3rd quarter of 1890 Sarah Martin passed away. She was followed by the death of William Martin in 1891. Probate records for William show he was late of Reynolds Lane, a cowkeeper, who died February 11,1891 at Reynolds Lane. He left an estate valued at aboput 472 pounds and his executor was his daughter Eliza Longhurst, the wife of George Longhurst.
OCCUPANCY BY LUCY TAYLOR
Lucy Taylor is found at Canewood Farm in the 1858 Melville directory . When she first moved to the farm is not known by the researcher, but most likely it was after William Martin vacated the farm. In the 1861 census the farm is referred to as “Taylors Farm Canewood”. Living there was Lucy Taylor, age 61, born 1800 in Penshurst. She is recorded as “a farmer of 80 acres”. Living with here were her two daughters Betsy,age 32,born 1829 Tunbridge Wells; Louisa, born 1832 Tunbridge Wells and her grandson Henry Taylor,age 3, a butchers son. There were also some servants in the household. Lucy and her daughters Betsy and Louisa are found at “Canewood Farm Reynolds Lane” in the 1871 census. Living with them was a widow Mary A. Ashby, Lucy’s daughter, born 1823 in Frant,Sussex. By 1881 Lucy had moved away from Canewood, but is recorded at Canewood in the 1874 Kelly directory.. She and the three people listed from the 1871 census are found in the 1881 census on Reynolds Lane but on land further towards Speldhurst Road. Lucy is given in that census as a farmer of 50 acres. Lucy passed away in Tunbridge Welkls in 1885. Probate records for her state she was “late of Whitegates Farm, a widow, who died Mary 4,1885 at Whitegates Farm. Probate was to Henry Taylor of Whitegates Farm, butcher and farmer, the grandson. Lucy’s estate was valued at 100 pounds.
OCCUPANCY BY HENRY JAMES BENNETT
Henry took over the farm from Lucy Taylor sometime between 1871 and 1881. The 1881 census, taken at Canewood Farm records Henry born 18268at Hellingly,Sussex, a farm bailiff. It is not known by the researcher who the actual owner of the farm was at that time. Living with him was his wife Elizabeth, born 1827 at Groombridge,Kent. Henry did not remain long at the farm for by the time of the 1891 census he and his wife were living at “Oak Villa” on Langton Road, Speldhurst. In that census Henry is listed as a “gardener,worker”. Henry died in Tunbridge Wells in the 3rd quarter of 1913.
OCCUPANCY BY GEORGE WHITEWOOD
Caenwood Farm became occupied by George Whitewood after the Bennett family.He was born 1849 at Uckfield,Sussex, one of five children born to James Whitewood(1827-1914) and Lydia Starr(1824-1889). In the period of 1851 to 1866 he was living at Maresfield,Sussex. In the 1871 census he and his siblings were living with their parents at Buxted,Sussex where his father was a farmer of 150 acres.
In 1872 George married Esther Wood at Uckfield.Sussex and together they had the following children Martha Martin(b1872) James Luther(b1873) Caroline Esther(b1875) Frederick(b1877) and Selina born 1878. Ester Wood was born 1852 at Fletching,Sussex and was one of two children born to William Wood(1825-1902) and Rhoda Martin(1826-1879).
The 1901 census taken at Caenwood Farm records George Whitewood, a farm bailiff living with his wife Esther and daughter Selina. Also present was William H. Holyer,age 25, recorded as a boarder and a poultryman working on the farm.
By the time of the 1911 census George Whitewood was living as a border and farm manager at #1 Belle View High Street in Uckfield,S ussex. He is living with the Martin family. Lucy A. Martin,age 50, was a boarding house keeper and her brother Thomas,age 52, was a domestic gardener.
Probate records show that George Whitewood of The Alexandra Arms Seaside, Eastbourne died July 22,1924. Probate was to a solicitor who was the attorney of his wife Esther. He left an estate value at about 800 pounds.
The William H. Holyer referred to in the 1901 census was William Henry Holyer (1874-1949) who was later married and lived in Anglesey. He was one of twelve children born to Henry and Mary Ann Holyer of Tunbridge Wells who are best known as a family who had a butchers shop at #9 the Pantiles.Henry Holyer had taken over his father’s butcher shop in the Pantiles and rebuilt it. The name of Holyer in Tunbridge Wells is well known for Henry had sons who carried on the family name in the butcher shop business in town for many years. Those who have studied the Holyer family report on their website that near the end of Henry Holyers life (he died 1910 at The Pantiles) he was “latterly at Caenwood Farm” but I was not able to find him at the farm and believe this bit of lore to be incorrect. What is known is that his son William Henry was there in 1901 as a pountryman.It is likely that the poultry being raised on the farm were in part being sold at Henry Holyers butcher shop on the Pantiles
OCCUPANCY BY THE ADAMS FAMILY
The London Gazette of May 29,1914 announced that the partnership between George Fry Adams and George Israel Adams “carrying on business as farmers at Caenwood Farm and Whitegate Farm,Tunbridge Wells and at Southborough,Kent as milk retailers of Tunbridge Wells under the style of G. and G.I. Adams, has been dissolved by mutual consent as of May 25,1914”. Based on this it appears likely that George Whitewood, given above as a farm bailiff, was the bailiff for the Adams family who were the owners of the farm.
George Fry Adams was born September 22,1848 at Rotherfield,Sussex. He was one of six children born to Thomas Adams(1823-1872) and Hannah Pratt(1823-1891). He had lived at Rotherfield in 1851, at Hadlow,Kent in 1861.
In June 1870 George married Martha Streatfield(1846-1929) and in 1871 he and his wife were living at Goudhurst,Kent .George was working at that time as a gardener. In 1873 he moved to Tunbridge Wells and in the census for 1881 he, his wife, and five children were living at Queens Road, Fern Cottage Nursery where George was a florist. George’s wife Martha had been born 1846 at Rotherfield,Sussex and with George she produced the following children; Florence S (b1872)George Israel(1874-1944) Edward Walton(b1876) Frederick W(b1878) Arthur Albert(b1879) Ernest(b1880) Reginald(b1882) Mabel(b1884) Percy H(b1886) Newton Neville(1886-1959) and Emily Martha(1889-1975). All of the children except Florence S. were born in Tunbridge Wells .
In the 1891 census George senior; his wife and eleven children were living in Tunbridge Wells, but not at Caenwood Farm. George was working as a nurseryman. In the 1901 census, taken at 48 Forge Road George is living with his wife and four children and is a “dairyman employer”.His son Percy was a cabinet maker and son Reginald was a dairyman. His son George Israel was not present in the household. When the 1911 census was taken George and three of his children (Newton,Reginald and Emily)were at Whitegate Farm, next to Caenwood Farm, where George was a dairy farmer. The census records that he had been married 41 years and that of the eleven children he had ten had survived. The farmhouse he was living in had six rooms.
Probate records state that at the time of George’s death on February 1,1927 he “was of Caenwood Farm”. His executor was his son George Israel Adams, florist, and he left an estate valued at about 4,500 pounds.The London Gazette of May 1,1928 recorded “ George Fry Adams, deceased, late of Caenwood Farm, and Grove Hill Road,Tunbridge Wells and also of Alksford Farm,Withyham,Sussex,farmer died February 1,1927”.
George Israel Adams married Ellen Rebecca (b1868) in 1896 and with her had two children. In the 1901 census George junior was at 17 and 19 Mount Ephraim Road where he was a shopkeeper dealing in leather shoes and boots. In the 1911 census, taken at 21 Grosvenor Road George junior was living with his wife Ellen and one of his daughters and was now a ‘nurseryman employer”. The census records that he had been married 15 years and had two children but only one of them survived. George Israel Adams of 21 Grosvenor Road died at Tregotham Chestnut Avenue, Southborough January 25,1943. Probate was to Mabel Emmeline Connor (wife of Joseph Connor) who was the daughter of George Israel Adams. He left an estate valued at about 31,000 pounds.
The following information is based on a review if applications for Planning Authority approval for the period 1976 onwards. Only the more significant applications are referred to.
In 1976 an application was approved for “realocation of agricultural land for the purpose of additional pasture. The name of the applicant was not given but the application was approved.
In 1982 an application was made by Mr C. Davis and B. Bennett of Caenwood farmhouse,Reynolds Lane for a first floor extension to the farmhouse, which was approved. In 1985 an application by Mr and Mrs Bennett was approved for work involving alterations to the farms “2nd floor bathroom and store “. In 1990 Mr Bennett applied for permission (which was refused) for conversion of outbuilding to a granny annex. A map that was included in the file for this application is shown opposite.It can be seen on this map the location of the farmhouse within the black highlighted boundary.It can be seen that the farmhouse had originally been rectangular in shape running parallel to Reynolds Lane and that the jog in the back of the farmhouse was the extension added in 1982.The lcoations of the farms outbuildings are also shown as is the pond I referred to at the top of this article in which children swam and fisherman tried their luck to catch some fish. The map also shows the location of the Orchard Close Nursing Home just to the north east of Caenwood Farm which was constructed in the 20th century on former farmland.
The map shown opposite is a recent one provided by British Heritage and gives more detail of the location of the farm and its buildings as well as the nursing home beside it. British Heritage gave the farmhouse a Grade II listing and described it this way; “ C18 2 sty .Ground floor modern brick.1st floor tile hung. ½ hipped modern tiled roof with 3 hipped dormers. Three 3 light casements with honeycombe metal glazing of the later C19. Restored doorcase with pediment tile-hung hood. Rectangular fanlight and plain door. Stone plinth. 1st sty modern extension to the rear with one casement.The side elevation has a modern outside chimneystack”. The farmhouse was originally listed June 7,1974 but its description updated more recently.There is a considerable difference in appearance of the farmhouse described by British Heritage compared to what it looked like in the painting by Charles Tattershall Dodd from the 1860’s and if you compare the location of the farmhouse from the painting to that on one of the above maps one must consider whether the location of Reynolds Lane had changed from when the painting was made.Was the image of the farmhouse and the location of Reynolds Lane in the painting a true representation? Is British Heritage correct is claiming that the current farmhouse is from the 18th century or was the present farmhouse a replacement for the one shown on Dodds painting and therefore not 18th century? These are questions for which the researcher has no answers and unfortunateluy the Planning Authority did not include on their website and elevation drawing of the farmhouse from the 1982 rear extension that would have provided a view as to what the farmhouse looked like at that time.
Returning to planning applications for this farm, an application was made in 1991 by Mr Bennett for the replacement of the old chimney with a new one. This new chimney was referred to by British Heritage in their listing.
In 1997 an application, which was finally approved in 1901, was made by Mr & Mrs Bennett for a pitched roof over the existing roof of a three bay garage.
In 2011 an application was made by David Heffer at Caenwood Farmhouse,Reynolds Lane to install solar PV panels to the roof of an outbuilding.This application was approved. An internal report related to this application stated “ The proposed structure is an outbuilding which is approximately 20 years old and is located about 12m from the farmhouse. The house, originally a farmhouse, is surrounded by farmland and many trees”. The recent review of the site of Caenwood Farm and Whitegate Farm next to it makes maention that Caenwood Farm consists of two sections namely 272 to the north and 273 to the south.In studying section 272 it was concluded by the authors of a report that it could be redeveloped to accommodate 279 dwellings.
This concludes my review of the history of Caenwood Farm. I would like to thank Marian Nicolson for the information she provided about the Twort and Reynolds families.
THE HISTORY OF GRECIAN VILLA
Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: April 28,2013
Grecian Villa was a mansion in Mount Sion built in 1824 for Doctor Thomas Mayo(1790-1871), a prominent physician of London and Tunbridge Wells who had taken up residence in Grecian Villa not long after he came to town to take over the medical practice of his father John Mayo(1761-1818).The 2 sty stone villa was set on about 4 acres of land that fronted on Claremont Road to the south ; The Grove public grounds to the west and backed onto Grove Hill Gardens to the north. Grecian Villa served as the summer residence of Dr Mayo who spent the rest of the year in London.Thomas Mayo was the President of the Royal College of Physicians from 1857 to 1862 and continued his father’s practice in Tunbridge Wells until 1835 when he settled in Wimpole Street,selling the home he had built in 1824 to Madame Caballers who called it Grecian Villa. The 1867 map opposite shows Grecian Villa in the middle of the map adjacent to a large open area to the west with the residence labelled "Grecian Villa".
In 1834 Dr. Mayo sold Grecian Villa to Madame Caballero, a colourful character of dubious background who began life in 1788 as Mary Ann Leshley but also went by the names Sally Douglas and Moll Raffles as a young and beautiful woman.She spent her early life as the mistress of various important men, including the Marquis of Wellesley.She became known in social circles;was lavished with expensive gifts by her male companions; and was ridiculed and talked about in gossip columns of the times. She was referred to as” a whore from the backstreets of London” but by her beauty and associations with wealthy men she did well financially. Her beauty seemed to be her only redeaming quality for there was no hiding the fact that she was an uneducated woman living well above her station.Her financial status was further improved when she married a wealthy Spannish gentleman by the name of Antonio Aureliano Caballero in 1820 and went by the name Madame Caballero. As fate would have it, he died about 1831,leaving Madame a very wealthy woman . From 1834 until her death in 1877 she resided at Grecian Villa, making it her summer home, while also maintaining living premises in London.Shown above is an image of Madame Cabellero taken later in life. She lived sometimes in London, sometimes at Grecian Villa until about 1870 when she settled at Claremont Lodge.
When Madame Caballero died most of her estate went to her nephew John Leshley(1828-1927) but Grecian Villa was bequeathed to her Tunbridge Wells physician Doctor Frederick Manser( 1844-1924), who quickly put Grecian Villa up for sale. It is believed, with some reservation,that Dr Manser sold Grecian Villa to local builder,auctioneer,estate agent and brick maker, Charles Adie (1834-1906) who was active as a builder in Tunbridge Wells primarily in the 1870’s but also in the 1880’s.Charles Adie had experienced financial problems and bankruptcy from 1877-1879, just at the time that Grecian Villa came up for sale, and thus my reservations about the estate being purchased by Charles Adie.
Grecian Villa was demolished and its grounds turned into a residential development known as “The Grecian House Estate”. Upon this estate were built Buckingham Road, Grecian Road,Norfolk Road and Arundel Road and lining those roads were two storey brick terrace homes. It is known that Charles Adie was the builder, or at least one of the builders, who constructed the homes in this development.
This article describes Grecian Villa;describes its history of ownership and occupancy;provides details of certain important characters associated with Grecian Villa and finishes with a brief outline of the estates redevelopment.
MANSION DESCRIPTION AND LOCATION
The only known image of Grecian Villa is from an unattributed painting which is the property of the Tunbridge Wells Museum .This image (shown opposite) comes with text which says the painting shows the crescent of houses called Grove Hill Gardens, facing the Grove Bowling Club (established in its gardens 1909) and backing on to Claremont road. Grove Hill Gardens was built shortly after Calverley Park.The painting shows the part-completed group of homes in Grove Hill Gardens and refers on the right-hand side of the image in the background which is “the only glimpse we have of Grecian Villa”. The statement that Grove Hill Gardens backed on to Claremont Road is not strictly correct for as can be seen from the 1839 map below, it actually backed onto the grounds of Grecian Villa. When comparing the painting to the 1839 map one can conclude that the image was taken in a southerly direction and that only the rear and east side of Grecian Villa is visible. As the painting shows, and as the map confirms, Grecian Villa, as the name implies, was a two storey stone building with a slate roof, built in the Grecian style, a style of architecture popular at the time. One can also see that Grecian Villa was rectangular in shape,being narrow in width and long in depth, with its narrow front elevation facing Claremont Road.It is also known from census and other records that in addition to the mansion, there were other buildings on the site, namely Grecian Villa Cottage where the estates gardener lived with his family and a stable block where the coachman and groom lived above the carriage house.The driveway entrance to the villa was off Claremont Road.There is no indication that the estate had an entrance lodge but no doubt there was a wall and entrance gate .
The most likely architect of the villa was Decimus Burton (1800-1881) and the most likely builder was William Willicombe(1800-1875),but there is no proof in this regard. Dr Thomas Mayo, for whom the villa was constructed in 1824, came from a wealthy family and although no details about the nature of the villa’s construction are known, one can safely expect that it was a substantial structure built of the best materials and beautifully finished inside, in keeping with a man of his stature and financial situation.
My attribution to Burton and Willocombe is based on the following. In 1824 there were no local architects or builders listed in Pigots-just a few brick layers, stone masons and carpenters. In 1840 Pigots the only local architects were William Darby on Grosvenor Road and William Wren at Hanover House. In the same year there were eleven local carpenters and builders including William Willicombe at Calverley Place, who moved from Bath to Tunbridge Wells in 1829.Both Decimus Burton and his father James were established and well known architects in London where the Mayo family had premises and when the Mayo’s resided in Tunbridge Wells they would have been very familiar with the local work of both Burton and Willicombe with Willicombe being particularly active locally in the 1820’s with such projects as the Holy Trinity Church(1827-1829), the Calverley Estate in 1828,Burswood Hospital (1830) to name just a few.
The size of the estate is given in the Tunbridge Wells Tinth Award Schedule during its time of occupancy by Madame Caballero. The record shows that she is both the owner and occupant of the estate. Her property is broken down into three parcels namely #3718 Meadow 1.0.2; #3720 Garden 0.3.8 and #3721 Grecian Villa ,Pleasure ground and gardens 2.3.3 for a total of about 4 acres.Although not related to Grecian Villa the same record also shows she owned parcel 3466 Rock Lodge Garden and Rock Cottage occupied by Boreham and others.
DR. THOMAS MAYO
Thomas Mayo was the eldest son of John Mayo MD(1761-1818). Of John Mayo ‘Munk’ states “ Mayo long divided his time between London and Tunbridge Wells, residing at the latter during the summer months.There he enjoyed the undisputed lead in medical business and emoluments. On resigning his hospital appointments in 1817, he fixed his permanent abode at Tunbridge Wells, and dying November 29,1818, was buried at Speldhurst,Kent. John Mayo had been married twice. His first marriage was on February 5,1789 to Jane, daughter if Thomas Cook of Tottenham. His second marriage on September 12,1812 was to Frances-Lavinia, daughter of William Fellows of Ramfey Abbey and Nacton,Suffolk M.P. for Sudbury and Andover who died Febraury 4,1804 by Lavinia his wife.She died without issue 1837.
Thomas Mayo was one of three sons born to John Mayo and Jane Mayo, the daughter of Thomas Cock,esq, of Tottenham.Thomas was born in London January 24,1790 (baptised March 1,1790 at St Andrew, Holborn,London)and commenced his education under the Rev. John smith of Eltham, and after eighteen months at Westmionster School was transferred to the private tuition of the Rev. George Richards, vicar of Bampton,Osfordshire. He entered at Oriel College 1807, and obtained a first class ‘in literis humanioribus’ 1811.Mayor was elected fellow of the Oriel in 1813. He graduated M.A. in 1814, B.M. in 1815 and D.M. in 1818. On his father’s deatrh he succeeded to his luctrative practice in Tunbridge Wells. Thomas took up residence at his new mansion Grecian Villa in 1824 and remained there until he sold the estate in 1834.Dr Mayo’s residency at Grecian Villa is recorded in ‘Descriptive Sketches of Tunbridge Wells’ by John Britton where it is stated ‘a pleasant villa belongs to Dr. Mayo”. It is not known by the researcher if his ‘villa’ was named “Grecian Villa” during the time he lived there, and the researcher is of the opinion that it did not take on that “formal” and “lasting” name until it was purchased by a new owner in 1834.The researcher was unable to find any account which refers to Dr Mayo and Grecian Villa at the same time, suggesting that my assertion has some merit.A review of local directories shows that there was a listing in 1824 Pigots for T. Mayo as a surgeon and the 1840 Pigots has no listing for him, confirming he was gone from Tunbridge Wells at that time.
In 1835 he settled in London.He became F.R.C.P. in 1819, censor of the college 1835, 1839 and 1850, and delivered the Lumleian lectures in 1839 and 1842, the Harveian oration in 1841, and the Croonian lectures in 1853, and was named an elect in 1847. In 1835 he became F.r.s. and in 1841 physician to the Marylebone Infirmary. He was also physician in ordinary to the Duke of Sussex. On January 5,1857 he was elected president of the Royal College of Physicians, and was annually re-elected until 1862.
In 1862 Thomas withdrew from practice, and resided first at yarmouth,Isle of Wight, and then with his son at Corsham,Wiltshire,where he died January 13,1871, and where he was buried. Probate recrods show he left an estate valued at under 70,000 pounds. His executors were his sons Rev. Robert Mayo of Corsham and Charles Thomas Mayo of Corsham,gentleman.
Thomas was an accomplished an vigorous writer, an acute and logical thinker,and occupied a high position among his contenporaries.He was an authority on mental deseases.In 1860 he delivered a remarkable address at the Royal Institution on the ‘Relations of the Public to the Science and Practice of Medicine’. He was married twice; first, on November 28,1817 at Alton.Staffordshire,to Lydia Bill (1794-1859),one of seven children of John Bill M.D., of Farley Hall, Staffordshire, and secondly, on November 4,1861 at Middlesex, to Lady Susan Mary Symonds nee Briggs, widow of Rear-admiral Sir William Symonds, and daughter of the Rev. John Briggs,fellow of Eton Collegem and had from his first marriage the following children; Augustus Frederick Mayo(1821-1869),B.A. ,barrister-at law(baptised Tunbridge Wells February 17,1821);Jane Mayo(1822-1833)(baptised Tunbridge Wells March 9,1822); Rev. Robert Mayo, B.A.(baptised Tunbridge Wells June 24,1823);John Mayo(1823-1837)Lydia Mayo(1825-1836)(baptised Tunbridge Wells June 24,1825) Charles Thomas Mayo(1834-1895) of Corsham,Wiltshire ;William Reginald Mayo(1830-1894)(baptised Tunbridge Wells June 3,1830); Robert Mayo(baptised Tunbridge Wells May 9,1832).Census records also indicate he had two other children identified as “C” born 1834,London and Lydia(1836-1905) who was born in London.A family tree suggests another child namely Robert Mayo(1832-1918).
In 1845 Madame Caballero acquired Grecian Villa from Dr. Thomas Mayo.Its sale was advertised in the ‘Visitor’ according to Chris Jones of the Tunbridge Wells Civic Society. Shown opposite is a painting of a woman who most historians ‘believe’ is an image of Madame Caballero in her early years. She is stated as having been the ‘model’ for the image of the woman in the painting.This painting depics ‘Hebe serving nectar to the eagle Jupiter’. Shown below is a black and white photograph of her in her late years , looking stern, and absent of any signs of beauty that had been attributed to her.
The following account about her is from the Reffell Family website, for the Reffell and Leshley families were related, and Madame Caballero was born a Leshley, although preferred to be known by other names instead. “ It may have been expected that the future Madam C would grow up and marry a local boy and lead an uneventful life. However this was not to be. Using the name Roll Raffles, she started at the bottom although the name “Raffles” was not actually a misspelling of Reffell(s), but rather came from a previous practice early in her career of being “raffled” off to the highest bidding officer.Later she became a high-class courtesan to a number of famous people.These were to include Sir William Knighton (physician and secretary to the Prince Regent) and Lord Arthur Wellesley-the 1st Duke of Wellington.She became the talk of Regency gossip and it is believed that she was the model for the painting Hebe serving nectar to the eagle Jupiter. Moll Raffles was competition for Harriette Wilson(1786-1845) who also ‘associated’ with the Duke of Wellington,although Marriette later fell out of favour with him. When hearing of her plans to write her memoirs, the Duke responded with the famous quote ‘publish and be damned’.
She had been baptised as Mary Ann Leshley on November 20,1788 at Chichester,West Sussex. Her family moved to London and it was there that she grew up and entered ‘high society’.On October 20,1820 she had married Antonio Aureliano Cabellero at St. Marylebone,in a wedding which may have been set up by the Wellesleys and was henceforth known as Madame Caballero. Don Antonio was of high standing in the Spanish aristocracy, but he disappears from the scene at this point and Madame has now become very wealthy, owning many properties, including the estate called Grecian Villa in Tunbridge Wells.
Madame C said she had no offspring herself, but there is a very strong possibility that she did actually have her own child by a very distinguished gentleman with vice regal duties in Ireland. She lived at her various properties with her servant and a number of nieces and nephews, including John A. Reffell, Caroline Leshley (who later became the first wife of Edward Forrester Reffell) and John Leshley.The first of these may have possibly been a descendent of her own child, which would become the subject of later litigation. It can be seen that there are a number of connections between the Reffell and the Leshley families.
In later years, it may be said that she was not perhaps the nicest person in Tunbridge Wells. She had gained a reputation and in an article published in The Courier in 1908, the ‘Rambler’ reflected that “I should prefer to be without this world’s goods if it made me in my old age as it made her”. In a photograph of her in old age she looks quite stern, and had by then developed somewhat of a passion for furniture auctions that she filled her many properties with.On her death June 10,1877, only a short paragraph in the Tunbridge Wells Journal dated June 14,1877 saying that she had died at age 100. However she was only 89.She was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery under a plain granite tomb bearing the name of Madame Caballero.Her long standing servant Sarah Crittle is buried nearby in the same cemetery.Even in death she was controversial, for although it was known to have been written, no will was ever found, only a codicit for part of the estate, benefitting her companion Sarah Crittle and her doctor Frederick Manser.Sarah however died a year before so she did not benefit. The probate was eventually proven solely based upon the codicil.The rest of the estate (valued at over 20 million pouns at today’s prices) was then awarded to her nephew John Leshley.The Reffell family felt somewhat upset at this and started proceedings, claiming a right to the estate but they lost.The Reffell family believed John A Reffell was a direct descendent of Madame Caballero. The Times reported February 3,1887 that there was not enough evidence to support the Reffell claim.There was an appeal that overturned this but ut was again overturned by their Lordships and the estate finally went to her nephew John Leshley.As a postscript, the doctor Frederick Manser very quickly sold off Grecian Villa and its grounds, the size of which can be seen from the number of terraced properties built upon it, in the area now known as Buckingham,Grecian and Norfolk Roads. In 1911 John Leshley was living in Claremont road Tunbridge Wells on ‘private means’” This concludes the quotation from the Reffell website and below is additional information about this fascinating woman.
A review of burial records at the Tunbridge Wells cemetery shows Madame Caballero,age 89 buried May 10,1877. The parents of Mary Ann Leshley were John Leshley and Mary Leshley,nee Thomas. John was born about 1768 and Mary Thomas about 1770. Mary Leshley remarried when John died, this time to Richard Reffell(1769-1838) on May 4,1795 at Chichester,Sussex. With her second marriage she had sons Richard Leshley Reffell(1797-1797) and William Reffell(1798-1840). The validity of this ancestral information however comes into doubt by the following information that appeared in the London Gazette dated March 14,1789 in which it is announced that “Order of High Court of Justice made regarding the estate of Mary Ann Caballero, deceased, and in an action Leshey vs Smith 1877-The persons claiming to be next of kin of Mary Ann Caballero, formerly Mary Ann Leshley, daughter of George Leshley or Lashley, and Mary his wife, late of Arundel,Sussex, both deceased formerly of Tunbridge Wells,widow, who died July 15, 1879 to come and prove their claims on July 24,1879. Dated March 4,1879”. The date of death given in this announcement is an obvious misprint, but it is interesting to note that it gives Mary Ann’s father as George and not John Leshley.
A search of local directories for Madame Caballero finds her firstly in 1847 Bragshaw as Madame Caballero, Grecian Villa, Tunbridge Wells. The 1851 Kelly gives the same listing as 1847. The 1858 Melville directory gives Madame Caballero, Claremont House,Tunbridge Wells. The 1867 Kelly gives Madame Cabellero, Mount Sion,Tunbridge Wells. The 1874 Kelly gives “Madame Caballero, 17 Claremont Road,Tunbridge Wells. London directories of 1848 to 1860 give Madame Caballero, 4 GloucesterSt.It is obvious that Madame Caballero maintained residences in both Tunbridge Wells and London. The reference to the different names of residences in Tunbridge Wells is not in my view an indication that she had moved but that all of the references relate to the same residence at Grecian Villa for it was in Mount Sion and fronted on Claremont Road. Colbrans 1850 shows the connection when it lists “Madame Cabellero, Grecian Villa, Claremont Road”. Land tax records for London record Mary Ann Leshley at St Marylebone for the years 1808 to 1828.She is also found in London Directories at 4 Gloucester St, St Marylebone throughout the period of 1848 to 1860 as Madame Caballero.
A review of census records did not turn up any records for her in Tunbridge Wells but an 1841 census for Grecian Villa records as the occupants Caroline Lashley,age 18, independent means and John Lashley,age 14 and two domestic servants. As mentioned earlier these two people are the niece and nephew of Madam Caballero.An 1851 census taken at 4 Gloucester St, St Marylebone records Mary Ann Caballero and her niece Caroline Leshley,age 26, and her nephew John A Reffell,age 24, as well as two domestic servants.All of them are living on independent means. The 1851 census in Tunbridge Wells at Gardeners Cottage,Grecian Villa records Mary Ann Godsmark,neeMartin (1803-1863)wife of Henry George Godsmark(1807-1871) and her children and they are still at the same place in the 1861 census but Mary Ann(1803-1863) died there October 7th.There is no census record for Grecian Villa itself in either of these census records as the villa was unoccupied.
Probate records give Mary Ann Caballero-“Admin with the will of the effects of Mary Ann Caballero, late of Tunbridge Wells,Kent, widow, died June 10,1877 at Tunbridge Wells.Granted at principal registry to John Leshley of Tunbridge Wells, gentleman,nephew and one of next of kin”. She left an estate valued at “under 20,000 pounds”.
The Reffell website makes only ambigious reference to what became of Madame Caballer’s husband. A review of directory records finds him living at High Street,Marylebone throughout the years 1825 to 1830 and then disappears, suggesting that he died circa 1831. It was perhaps the inheritance from his estate that allowed Madame Caballero to acquire Grecian Villa.As noted earlier she also owned other property in Tunbridge Wells, namely Rock Lodge and Rock Cottage as one example.
The book ‘The Portfolio of Entertaining’ dated 1827 makes the following reference to “Moll Raffles”. Mrs Lashley, then under the protection of the Marquis of Wellesley but better known as Moll Raffles.Wellesley arranged with a Mr Randell, a goldsmith, to send her a selection of jewellery to look at.She made a choice of a diamond padlock, valued at 800 guineas to begin with to the Marquis account. Wellesley told Randell to let her have articles up to 2,000 pounds and no more. Mr Randell being at a sale at Phillips’s in Bond Street, Moll Raffles being ill in her carriage, shopping, called out to Mr Randell “I say is them spoons done yet that was to be rubbed over with gold?”, alluding to some gilt desert spoons, then being made for her. He replied he would let her know. He did, which cost a pair of diamond earings value 350 pounds, which was entered as cash to his private account”. This book continues “ Miss Moll Raffles was the favourite of Wellesley.Her lineage, no less than her language, was closely connected with Billingsgate Market.Miss Raffles must have possessed overpowering fascinations, for in spite of her tempestuous tantrums and frequent inconstancy, the Marquis was always ready to grant her the fullest amnesty.When deserted for some more juvenile swain, he possessed his soul in patience, greeting her return with rejoicing in which humble gratitude was plentyfully mingled”. The Marquis high life and association with the likes of Moll Raffles was frowned upon by other members of his family and later he gave it up for a more conventional one much to the delight of his relatives. Wellesley had been associated with and lived with Harriette Wilson but he left her to take up with Moll Raffles who at the time was also known as Sally Douglas. A reference to this appeared in the above book and states “ Wellesley’s behaviour took a turn.Out of spite of lust, he took up with a courtesan named Sally Douglas.Wellesley’s indulgence grew into an obsession; he was seen everywhere with her. Nothing is known about her, but it could be said that she belonged to Harriette Wilsons circle. Welesleys indidelity amused much of London society but not all. Hyacinthe saw Sally Douglas as nothing more than a whore “dragged from the mud of the London streets”.Though the relationship probably started as a means to punish Hyacinthe , it came to dominate Wellesley’s life, and he did not use good judgement in persuing the affair. The tantrums of Moll Raffles can perhaps be seen by looking on the internet at a character drawing of her throwing plates at Wellesley. This satirical print is part of the collection of The British Museum and was published 1825 in London by S.W. Fores.
Also to be found on the internet is an article about the life and times of Sir William Knighton(1777-1836) part of which makes reference to his association with Moll Raffles.It states that” Sally Douglas, a courtesan who was also known as Moll Raffles or Mrs Lashley was his patient and the mistress of the Marquis of Wellesley”. She had persuaded Wellesley to take Knighton with him to Spain in 1809 and he was to receive compensation for taking the trip for loss of fees but he was never compensated financially.
A complete description of the life and times of Madame Cabellero and all the other names she went by is beyond the scope of this article. Much more about her can be found on the internet and in books and archival records which the researcher will let you explore at your leisure.
DOCTOR FREDERICK MANSER
Doctor Frederick Manser was the Tunbridge Wells physician who provided medical care for Madame Caballero. For his kindness and attention Madame Caballero left the Grecian Villa estate to him upon her death in 1877.Upon receiving this valuable gift he quickly put it up for sale. There is no proof that he ever occupied the mansion.
Frederick Manser was born June 1843 at Medway,Kent although most census records give him being born 1844 at Rochester,Kent .He is found in the 1861 census at Chatham Kent, age 16, a pupil, living with the John J. Fry family. Fry was a surgeon.No information could be found about his education.On July 5,1871 Frederick married Jane Maria Bailey at Blackheath St John the Evangelist. The marriage records show that at the time of the marriage Frederick was living in Tunbridge Wells and his father was Frederick Manser, a merchant. Jane Maria Baily was a resident of Blackheath at the time of the marriage and she was the daughter of Thomas Peter Bailey, a merchant.Jane had been born 1848 in the London area. After the marriage Frederick and his wife took up residence in Tunbridge Wells and are found in the 1874 Kelly residing at 7 Mount Sion.
The 1881 census, taken at 7 Mount Sion records the presence of Frederick working as a general practitioner “MRCS England”. Also present in the household was his wife Jane and their children Mary Gertrude,age 8, Marion K,age 7, Hilda,age 3,Frederick Bailey,age 5 and Robert M, age 3 mths. All of the children were born in Tunbridge Wells. There were also three domestic servants working for the family.
In the 1901 census the Manser family were living at 4 Church Road. Present in the household were Frederick, a surgeon on own account; his wife Jane and their children Marion,Hilda and Robert.Also present was one visitor and four domestic servants.
The 1911 census, taken at 2 & 4 The Priory Church Road records Frederick Manser, a surgeon, living with his wife Jane and daughters Mary Gertrude,age 38, and Olive Martearidge,age 26. The census records that the couple had been married 39 years and had six children which all survived. Also present in the household was a granddaughter and five servants. His wife Jane Maria Manser passed away in Tubnridge Wells in November 1911 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery November 25,1911.
In researching last year the history of the J. Sainsbury shops in Tunbridge Wells I included in the article that resulted from this research details about Alec Thomas James Novis, born 1915 in Tunbridge Wells who had worked most of his life for the Sainsbury company. He was the third son of Herbert and Jean Novis,nee Card , and in his memoirs Alex Novis wrote that his father Herbert “had been the chauffeur for many years to Dr. Frederick Manser of the Priory,4 Church Road, Tunbridge Wells”.
Dr. Frederick Manser is often mentioned in the British Medical Journal as far back as 1870. He was also listed as a member of the International Medical Congress of 1881.
Probate records give that Dr. Frederick Manser of The Priory, Tunbridge Wells, died May 4,1924. His executors were his daughter Mary Gertrude Manser,spinster; and his son Frederick Bailey Manser,medical practitioner.He left an estate valued at about 34,000 pounds. Frederick was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on May 8,1924.
Frederick’s son Frederick Bailey Manser followed his father into the medical profession and practiced in Tunbridge Wells for many years.In the 1891 census at Eastbourn,Sussex, he,at age 15, was attending school.In the 1911 census, taken at 45 Mount Pleasant, Frederic Bailey Manser,age 35, is living with his wife Florence,age 33, born 1878 in London. Also in the household was their son Robert, age 2 mths, and three domestic servants. Frederick is given in the census as a medical practitioner and records that he and his wife had been married five years. Probate records give that” Dr. Frederick Bailey Manser, M.D. B Chir, honorary consulting surgeon to the Kent & Sussex Hospital died at the hospital April 28,1958,age 82. He was born December 19,1875, son of Dr. Frederick Manser of Tunbridge Wells”. His obituary published in the British Medical Journal Mary 17,1958 provides considerable detail about his life and career.It notes “He had been educated at Eastbourne College, Peterhouse,Cambridge, and Guy’s Hospital. He qualified M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. in 1901, taking the M.B. F.Chir. degrees two years later. After qualifications he held a number of house appointments and then joined his father in practice in Tunbridge Wells. In 1914 he volunteered and served in the R.A.M.C. throughout the first world war. On resuming practice he was appointed to the staff of the Tunbridge Wells and Counties General Hospital as honorary surgeon in 1919, becoming senior surgeon in 1932. He was chairman of the Tunbridge Wells Division of the British Medical Association from 1934 to 1936.He was survived by his widow.There was one son, Robin, a soldier, who was killed in action with his regiment, The Queen’s, early in 1940”. It is said by J.A.S. in the obituary “ In 1930 a great many improvements and alterations were needed, both at the Tunbridge Wells and Counties General Hospital and at the Royal Tunbridge Wells Eye and Ear Hospital, and Manser took a leading part in the courageous decision to scrap both and build a new hospital on the beautiful Culverden Park site.Through the years of planning, building, and raising money he worked hard, and it was a great joy to him when the Duchess of York-now Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother-laid the foundation stone in 1932. The Kent & Sussex Hospital was completed and opened in 1934. Manser retired to the honorary consulting staff in 1935 but returned in 1940 to take over the post of hospital officer under the Emergency Medical Service. This post he held throughout the second world war,retiring again in 1946. He discharged the onerous duties with great administrative ability, tact, and kindness.Many hundreds of Service men, evacuees, and local people came to know and love him well, and when he finally retired he was greatly missed,though scarcely a day passed without his frail but eager figure appearing in the hospital.He has left a gap in the lives of all who serve the hospital and all who knew him”. When Frederick died he left an estate valued at about 18,000 pounds in the hands of two solicitors who he had appointed as his executors.
John Leshley was the nephew of Madame Caballero and was born 1828 at Arundel.Sussex. He and Caroline Leshley were living at Grecian Villa at the time of the 1841 census and it is understood that they lived with Madam C . at Grecian Villa and at 4 Glouchester in London at various times. I have included a brief reference to John Leshley her for two reasons, namely, he was a resident at Grecian Villa and he was the person who inherited the bulk of Madam C’s estate when she died in 1877.
John Leshley ,although residing in Marylebone on and off in his younger years lived most of his life in Sussex and Tunbridge Wells. John was the son of James Leshley(1784-1874) and Sarah Leshley,born 1901. Although a family tree indicates he had only one sibling namely Sophia,born 1823 other records indicate he had a sister Caroline, as noted above.The 1851 census records John living with his parents in Arundel,Sussex where John is a baker and his father is a master brewer.
In July 1858 John Leshley married Annie Randall at Worthing,Sussex. Annie was born 1838 at Bury,Susssex and was one of five children born to Thomas Randall. The 1861 census, taken at Arundel,Sussex records John working as a labourer and living with his wife Anne and their first child John, born 1861 at Arundel. John and his wife continued to live in Arundel,Sussex until the end of 1878, at which time the family moved to Tunbridge Wells. Directories for 1882 record him living at 14 Claremont Road; in 1899 at 25 Claremont Road, an address he was still at in 1903.
The 1901 census, taken at 25 Claremont Road records him living on own means. Living with him was his wife Annie,age 63, born 1838 at Bury,Sussex. Also living with him was his son William,age 33, born 1868 Bury,Sussex and who was a solicitors clerk. Their daughter Annie, age 30, born 1871 at Bury,Sussex was present also. The census also lists four children born in Arundel,Sussex, namely Fanny,age 29, Jane,age 27, Ellen,age 25 and Caroline,age 23. Also present in the household are two children born in Tunbridge Wells namely Angeline,age 22 and Lavinia,age 20. All of the children are listed as ‘living on own means”. The only other person living at that address was the brother in law of John Lesley, given as William Randall,a butcher born 1845 at Bury,Sussex. John Leshley died in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th quarter of 1908.
John Leshley passed away in Tunbridge Wells on December 16,1905. The executor of his estate, valued at about 39,000 pounds was his son William Leshley, an accountant. John Was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery December 19,1908.
What I find most surprising, although it is a common occurance, is just how many young adults, such as the Leshley sons and daughters, who come from wealthy families, do not often get married and choose a life as single people living off their wealth.Someone more familiar than I about social history would have the answer to this question. It is also interesting to note the impact that inheriting the wealth of Madame C had on John Leshley and his family.John Leshley in the years leading up to 1877, when Madam C died, and he inherited the bulk of her estate, worked in menial trades and obviously did not come from a family of any wealth.His first son John, born in 1861 for example ended up living most of his life in Tunbridge Wells and in the 1901 census, when John Leshley was living at 25 Claremont Road was living next door at 23 Claremont Road, working as a tailor.His complete history is beyond the scope of this article but he died in Tunbridge Wells March 25,1927 leaving his estate of 3,873 pounds to his wife Ellen and his son John, a compositor.It seems that his siblings benefited more from the death of Madam C than he did.
Caroline Leshley, born 1825, lived in her early years from time to time with Madame C at her residences in London and Tunbridge Wells. She became the first wife of Edward Forester Refell(1830-1889). Edward was born in Ringwood,Kent, the son of William Reffell and Elizabeth Reffell(nee Parry). Edward served in the Royal Navy and in the Union side during the American Civil War, later becoming a cab driver was well as having two wives. His father was also in the Navy. On March 12,1855 Edward joined the Navy working his way up to assistant paymaster on various ships. He was awarded the Crimea Medal on HMS Niger January 20,1856. On February 23,1856 he married Caroline Elizabeth Leshley at St Marylebone. Caroline was his first cousin, her father being James Leshley, the brother of Mary Ann Leshley (Madame Caballero). James Leshley was the half -brother of Edward’s father William.Edward and Caroline had only one child, namely William Edward, born 1857 at Marylebone.Caroline died in 1857 due to childbirth problems.In 1862 Edward remarried, this time to Sophia Collins,born 1838 and had three children with her.On July 7,1863 Edward enlisted as a private on the Union side in Company A of the 11th Infantry Regiment, of New York. By 1871 most of his family were back in Britain. Edward died age 59 and his wife Sophia died age 62 at West Ham.
REDEVELOPMENT OF THE ESTATE
Shown opposite ,highlighted in red, is a recent map showing part of Mount Sion centered around the former site of the Grecian Villa estate. I have described before the location of the site where the roads Buckingham,Grecian,Norfolk and Arundal are now found.These are clearly shown on the map. This map should be compared to the 1839 map given earlier to see the relationship between the location of the roads and the former estate boundaries.
It has been stated by others that the roads in this development were built in the 1880’s, a claim which I have not been able to confirm but considering the fact that the estate was sold upon the death of Madame Caballero in 1877, after it had first passed into the hands,by inheritance, to Doctor Frederick Manser, soon after he acquired it, a date in the early 1880’s would not be unreasonable.
It was on the grounds of the former Grecian Villa estate that most of the homes built in it were two storey brick terraces. One of these homes, namely #9 Grecian Road, has a connection to my own family, for it was, in 1911, the residence of my great grandfather Robert Charles Gilbert, and his family, who lived there for a number of years.
I have referred before to the local builder Charles Adie (1834-1906) and his involvement in building homes in this development. The extent of his involvement is unknown to the researcher but it is certain that he was the builder of some of the homes at least. The timing of the redevelopement of the site, unfortunately for Charles Adie, came at a time during 1877-1879 when he was faced with serious financial difficulties and bankruptcy which makes me believe that he would have had difficulty acting as both the developer of the estate and the prime builder. A contrary opinion sent to me by Jan Holly comes from a booklet about William Willicombe in which is stated “ Other works of his (Adie) include the development of Grecian,Buckingham and Norfolk Roads…”.
The best description of the site, as it appears more or less now, is given in a Tunbridge Wells Conservation Area Report of November 2000 in which the following information is given. It refers to a block of housing on Arundel,Norfolk and Grecian Roads. “This block of housing is in distinctive two and three storey streets. Grecian Road(shown above) is a particularly visually pleasing development, built in the 1880’s on the site of Grecian Villa. It was in dark red Flemish bonded brick,but with heavy artificial stone quoins, string courses and windows and door surrounds, creating an almost panelled effect to the brickwork”. This description, just to be clear, refers to the new homes not Grecian Villa. “This had changed the character to something more “mediterranean’ ,but to some extent the limited range of pastel shades that are used mitigate the loss of the original facing brick”. This refers to the fact that some of the brickwork has over the years been painted in pastel colours. “Buckingham Road, which has 2 sty terraces on part of the Grecian Villa block faces the Grove park, forming its eastern side”. Shown opposite is one of the homes on Grecian Road, which I believe is the one my great grandfather lived in.A local resident was kind enough to go the address and take the photograph for me.
It is always a shame to see grand old mansions torn down, for there are far too many other examples of this happening in the town. Fortunately many have been saved and protected by British Heritage. Sadlly Grecian Villa was not one of them.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHARLES ADIE
Written By; Edward James Gilbert
Date; April 24,2013
Charles Adie (1834-1906) was born in Stone,Staffordshire at the Union Workhouse to parents who were the Governor and Matron of the institution. He lived his early life in Staffordshire at the workhouse with his parents and siblings but by 1the early 1840’s was living on his own. He was married in Stafforshire in 1857 and sometime between 1859 and the time of the 1861 census he and his wife moved to Tunbridge Wells.In 1861 Charles was working as a solicitors convenancing clerk, just the first of many occupations he had over his lifetime. By 1871 he was working in Tunbridge Wells as an auctioneer and accountant employing four men and two clerks.During the 1870’s he became actively involved as a builder although directory listings record him for the most part as an auctioneer.He had been married twice and had twelve children.
Financial misfortune befell him during the period of 1877 to 1879.Bankruptcy records described him as an auctioneer, estate agent, brickmaker and builder.A review of construction contracts let shows he was active as a builder ,particularly in the 1870’s, and it may have been as a result of his work as a builder that he ended up bankrupt.
In 1881 Charles was working as an auctioneer employing two men with one of his sons assisting him in the business. By 1882 he was, in addition to his other occupations, the proprietor of the Turkish Baths on Calverley Road. In the census of 1891 Charles described himself as a builder but at age 57 one could expect that he was nearing the end of his working career. By 1891 he moved to Brixton,Surrey and died there in 1906 at Guy’s Hospital, leaving his estate of only 250 pounds to his wife.
HIS EARLY LIFE AT THE WORKHOUSE
The Union Workhouse at Stone, Stafforshire (shown opposite)was a parish workhouse erected on Stafford Road in 1793. When constructed is had a capacity of about sixty inmates and included living accommodation for the Workhouse Governor and Matron and perhaps for other members of the staff. The inmates were employed in making blankets,linen and mops. White’s directory of 1834 described it as ‘ a large brick edifice” with “ more the appearance of a gentleman’s villa than a house of industry, having a handsome front, a small lawn shaded with trees, and about three acres of land attached to it”. Shown opposite is an early image of the workhouse .
The Rules,Orders and Byelaws and Regulations to be observed and enforced at the workhouse, as established under the Authority of the Act of the Twenty –second Year of King George III are extensive and run on to 28 items. To see a complete list go to www.workhouses.org.uk/Stone/. Of particular interest as it relates to the Adie family is clause #1 which states “That the Governor and Matron reside within the House that they be not on any occasion absent at the same time and that neither of them be out later than 10 o’clock at night, without entering the fact and sufficient reason in the Minute Book. This particular clause has relevance for Charles Addie’s parents were the Governor and Matron of this Workhouse in the early part of the 19th century and it was there that Charles Adie was born in 1834.
Clause 3 stated “ That the Governor and Matron shall have a separate table to themselves, provided no unnecessary expense be incurred and the most rigid economy be preserved.”. This clause has relevance to the Adie family for it shows to some degree the relationship that existed between the Govenor and the Matron and the woman who became Francis Adie’s second wife was a Matron at the Workhouse before Adie married her.
Clause 4 gives details of the food provided to inmates and without going into detail shows that their diet was quite varied consisting of meat,milk,cheese,potatoes and other vegetables,broth,soup,rice,bread ,porridge and pudding, with the “bill of fare” weighed and parcelled out in certain portions.
Other clauses of the “Act” dealt with medical care, instruction, prayers,laundry,clothing and the overall efficient and cost effective running of the Workhouse.
The Stone Poor Law Union formerly came into being on February 3,1838. Its operation was overseen by an elected Borad of Guardians, 20 in number, representing its 10 constituent parishes. The new Stone Union took over the existing parish workhouses and in 1839 the Stone Workhouse was enlarged to accommodate 300 inmates, for which the Poor Law Commissioners authorized an expenditure of 6,000 pounds. The architects of the work were Boulton and Palmer.The new additions included a new entrance block at the east of the site,extensions to the main block, and a new infirmary clock at the west. The infirmary was enlarged in 1879 and again in 1901. A nurses home and mortuary were added at the north of the site early in the 20th century.The workhouse later became Stone Poor law institution and, under the National Health Service, Trent Hospital.The hospital closed in the 1990’s and the site was redeveloped with only the entrance and main buildings of the workhouse surviving (see photo opposite).
Charles Adie’s parents were Francis Adie(1801-1884) and Margaret Adie, nee Birch(1800-1850), with Charles being one of nine children born to the couple at the Workhouse in Stone,Staffordshire in 1834. Francis Adie had been born at Armitage,Staffordshire and married Margaret July 29,1823 at Colten,Stafforshire.. He had been the Governor of the Stone Workhouse since 1820.An 1834 record stated “Mr Francis Adie, the present Governor, is allowed 3 shillings per head per week for providing inmates with victuals”.
Francis and Margaret were married in Stafforshire about 1827.Frances was employed at the workhouse as the Governor and his wife was the Matron. The 1841 census, taken at the workhouse records Francis as Governor and Margaret as Matron. Living with them were their seven children, including Charles Adie, and 13 others. Margaret passed away in 1850 at the Worhouse and in the census of 1851 Francis Adie is recorded as a widower and working as the “Master of the workhouse”. In 1852 Francis Adie married Fanny Key who was at the time an officer and Matron of the workhouse. With Fanny Francis had only one child, a daughter born in 1854.By 1861 Francis had left the workhouse and took up farming in Stone,Stafforshire where he farmed about 30 acres of land. He was still on the farm at the time of his death March 12,1884 at Western Cayney,Stafforshire.
The 1851 census taken at the workhouse shows that Charles Adie was no longer living with his father and had taken up residence elsewhere in Stone,Stafforshire.It is not known by the researcher what his occupation was at that time.
In June 1857 Charles Adie married Fanny Dukes (1839-1888) at Staffordshire.Fanny was born at Rugeley,Stafforshire, It is not known who her father was but her mother was Margaret Dukes born 1811 and was one of six children in the family. Fanny had been baptised Mary 1,1939 at Rugeley and was living in Penkridge,Stafforshire in 1851 and at the time of her marriage.
It is known from the birth of their first child Margaret A in 1858 at Penkridge,Stafforshire and the birth of their second child Charles Birch 1860 in Tunbridge Wells that the Adie family moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1859.Sue Brown in her article entitled ‘The Early History of Upper Grosvenor Road Part 2” states that Adie moved to Tunbridge Wells in 1846 but the 1841 census records him living in Stone,Staffordshire; he was married in Staffordshire; and as noted above his first child was born in Staffordshire in 1858 .It is my conclusion therefore that Adie did not move to Tunbridge Wells until 1859.
CHARLES ADIE IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS
Once in Tunbridge Wells Charles and Fanny added to the family, and including their first child Margaret had, a total of 11 children between 1858 and 1876 .The couple took up residence at 1 Camden Villa where they are found in the 1861 census with Charles recorded as a ‘solicitors conveyancy clerk’.
In the 1871 census, taken at 32 Calverley Road Charles is recorded as an accountant and auctioneer employing 4 men and 2 clerks. He is living there with his wife Fanny and eight of his children plus one domestic servant.
The working career of Charles Adie proved difficult to trace for he seemed to describe himself with a different profession at different times and was obviously involved in more than one of them at the same time. He is best described as a man with his fingers in many pies. Whether this was because of financial need (lots of children to feed etc) or because of interest or opportunities that came his way is one of speculation but he certainly lived a varied and interesting life although not one that was smooth sailing for he was faced with serious financial challenges along the way, which are described below.
The Solicitors Journal of January 5,1878 announced under the heading of ‘Liquidations by Agreement’ that the first meeting of creditors regarding Chlarles Adie, auctioneer, of Tunbridge Wells was held December 31,1877 at the Calverley Assembly Rooms, Tunbridge Wells with Stone & Simpson being the solicitors of Charles Adie.The Law Times of December 8,1877 listed under bankrupts Charles Adie, auctioneer, Tunbridge Wells and announced that a meeting had been scheduled at the Chamber of Commerce, Cheapside with Stone & Simpson of Tunbridge Wells being the solicitors for Charles Adie.A similar announcement appeared in the London Gazette of December 4,1877 where it stated that a liquidation by agreement or composition with creditors had been instituted by Charles Adie of No’s 35,85,89, and 90 Calverley Road,Tunbridge Wells, auctioneer, estate agent,builder and brick maker, and that a meeting was to be held at the Chamber of Commerce at #145 Cheapside,Lodnon on December 17,1887 with Stone & Simpson of 23 Church Rd, Tunbridge Wells being solicitors for Charles Adie.
The London Gazette of January 14,1879 announced that there was a bankruptcy petition against Charles Adie of 35 Calverley Road. His stated occupations were auctioneer,estate agent,builder and brickmaker. He was adjudged bankrupt on January 11,1879 by the Court with W.C. Cripps identified as the Registrar.The first meeting of creditors was to be held at the County Court Office on January 27,1879 where Adie’s financial affairs were to be examined. The London Gazette of February 4,1879 announced that w.r.t. the bankruptcy of Charles Adie, William Oakley of Tunbridge Wells had been appointed Trustee of the property of the bankrupt and that examination were scheduled for February 13,1879. Similar announcements were made in the Edinburgh Gazette January 17, 1879.
The end of Charle’s financial troubles seemed to have finally come to an end with the announcement in the London Gazette of May 6,1879 that Charles Adie of 35 Calverley Road, auctioneer,estate agent,builder and brick maker, bankrupt and had an order of discharge from bankruptcy granted to him May 3,1879.
It is known that Charles Adie was involved in a number of building projects during the 1870’s and it is speculated with some justification that much of his financial troubles were a result of building projects which resulted in losses to him. Construction has always been a risky profession especially so when all of your attention is not given to it, and particularly so if there is a lack of experience.There is nothing in Charles Adie’s history of employment to indicate he had any experience in construction and whatever he knew about it had to be self-taught. It is known that he acted as a General Contractor rather than a sub-contractor and in that capacity took on more risk ,financial and otherwise, than anyone he subcontracted the supply of material and labour to for the various projects he signed contracts to undertake. The Architect of July 12,1873 for example, under the heading of ‘contracts open’ gave “Tunbridge Wells-For the supply of 32 squares of plate glass varying from 18 ft to 42 ft-Mr C. Adie, Tunbridge Wells. This announcement is a call for bids for the supply of glass to Charles Adie for one of his building projects. The British Architect of November 20,1874 announced under the heading of ‘Contracts’ –“Tunbridge Wells-November 21-Fitting up hot and cold water, Turkish plunge, and swimming baths. Mr C. Adie, estate agent-Tunbridge Wells”. This advertisement to me is very curious in that it gives Charles Adie as an estate agent rather than a builder. The announcement is a call for bids from subcontractors for the supply of material and labour for the work described for which there were of course architects construction drawings and specifications detailing the work to be bid on. Mr Adie was once again acting as a General Contractor for the project , with the overall project being the construction of a Turkish Bath building on Calverley Road. Information about this project is given below.
The Kelly directory of 1882, under the heading of “Turkish Baths” lists “ Charles Adie 85 & 89 Calverley Road”, indicating that among other things Adie was the proprietor of the Turkish Baths. So not only was he the builder who constructed the premises in 1874-1875 but was also the owner(leaseholder) of the building.The following advertisement appeared in Peltons Illustrated Guide to Tunbridge Wells by J. Radford in 1876. “ Tunbridge Wells High Class Ladie’s and Gentleman’s Swimming,Tepid, and Turkish Baths 85 & 90 Calverley Road.Gentleman’s Swimming Baths open on Monday,Wednesday,Friday,Saturday 7am to 9 pm, Sunday 7am to 9:30pm.Morning 1s, afternoon 6d.Entrance 90 Calverley Road. Ladies Swimming Baths open Tues & Thurs 8am to 8 pm.Charge is 1s. A competent swimming mistress in attendance. Entrance 90 Calverley Road. Gentlemen’s Tepid Baths(private).Opens every day 7am-9pm Sunday 6am-9:30pm.First Class 1s, Second Class 9d,Third Class 6d.Entrance 85 Calverley Road. Ladies Tepid Baths (private) Opens every day 7am-9pm Sunday 6am-9:30pm.First Class 1s Second Class 9d.Attendant, Mrs Stockholm.Entrance 90 Calverley Road. Gentlemens Turkish Batrhs. Open Mon,Wed,Fri and Sat 9am09pm,Tues 9pm-9pm,Sunday 8am-10;30pm.First Class 2s6d,Second Class 1s6d.Attendant Mr. Stockham.Entrance 85 Calverley Road. Ladies Turkish Baths. Open Tues from 9am-9pm,Thursday 9am-6pm.First Class 2s6d,Second Class 1s 6d.Attendant Mrs Stockholm.Entrance 90 Calverley Road. Note: The prices stated in the body of the book are incorrect”. You will note that the addresses given for the building is 85 and 90 Calverley Road yet the London Gazette of December 4,1877 regarding the liquidation of assets of Charles Adie gives “85,89 and 90 Calverley road”, in addition to his residence at 35 Calverley Road. The Mr and Mrs Stockholm referred to in the advertisement at “attendents” were employees of Charles Adie and looked after patrons to the establishment on his behalf.
The arrival of the above Turkish Bath establishment was in response to a demand for such establishments across Britain during the Victorian Era. The passion for these baths, in which users sweltered in rooms heated by hot dry air then enjoyed a full body wash followed by a massage, was sweeping the county by the time the Spa Hotel opened in Tunbridge Wells in 1878.Like most health crazes, the passion for Turkish baths reached a peak and then faded. It appears that the Turkish Baths on Calverley Road was a victim of this trend and their existence on Calverley Road was a short one for they soon disappear from local directory listings and no trace of Mr and Mrs Stockholm could be found in any census records of Tunbridge Wells. The arrival of the corporations Monson Road Swimming Bath circa 1898 with its tepid, swimming bath and ladies and gentlemens private hot and cold water and medicated baths would have been the place to go.
Another swimming/bath related item was an article published in the 1870’s-1880’s period entitled “the Tunbridge Wells Amateur Swimming Fete” in which is given “Great praise is due to Mr Adie for his spirted enterprize in providing first-class open air baths for the town”. The open air baths referred to were those adjacent to the Grosvenor Recreation Ground which were formerly a reservoir opened for swimming in 1873.
Shown above is a photograph of two classical terraces of shops on the eastern side of Mount Pleasant Road attributed to the builder Charles Adie in the 1870’s. This image and the notes below it are from the book Tunbridge Wells in Old Photographs by Rowlands and Beavis 1991 (pg 42).
The image opposite is from a Valentine postcard(#49326) from the Roughwood website circa 1900 showing Calverley Road.The caption reads “ The upper façade of the south side of the road, built by Charles Adie in the 1870’s has remained virtually unchanged to this day”. The façade referred to appears to be that of Waymarks Department Store established in 1876.Chris Jones in an email to me stated “ I believe Adie built the south side of Calverley Road-there was a great expansion of shopping at the time. That would have included the central baths section...It may be that they were the site of a cinema that was opened along Calverley Road early last century”.
Adie constructed many other buildings but the researcher was unable to compile a complete list . The Sue Brown article I referred to earlier gives some insight into his building activities. She refers to a Brackett’s sale catalogue and of the disposal of various properties belonging to Charles Adie “ a well-known Tunbridge Wells builder responsible for the Beulah Estate and the Grecian House Estate off Claremont Road. Adie had come to Tunbridge Wells in 1846 and became a brick maker and an auctioneer as well as a builder. His obituary says “ he may truly be said to have left an enduring mark on the town of his adoption in some acres of brick and mortar”. He must have been highly regarded locally as even at his bankruptcy proceedings his appearance in court was applauded. He became bankrupt in 1877, the creditors who summoned him for debt being the Administrators of the Late Madame Caballero of Grecian House. In June 1878 a large amount of property was put on the market, including “Adie’s Baths” in Calverley Road and shops,cottages,warehouses, workshops and stables in Camden Road. Also included in the sale of the bankrupt’s property were plots and incomplete houses in Upper Grosvenor Road, on a section of Rev. James Fry’s Grosvenor House Estate, which Adie had acquired when it was sold off circa 1875.The houses on Upper Grosvenor Road sold in incomplete condition in 1878 were the current No’s 41-45, No. 55 and No’s 1-3 Park Road.Presumably Adie’s firm subsequently erected the remaining houses (No. 37,39 and 47 to 53) as the design is identical.All these houses were completed by the time of the 1881 census”. It is also known that Charles Addie built #19-21 Park road in the Woodbury Park Development which began as a semi -detached villa but in 1902 became known as Agra House, a Dr. Thomas Barnardo’s home for crippled children Shown opposite is the sale announcement dated June 21,1878 for “Mr. Adie”.
The following information comes from a booklet about William Willicombe “ among those attending William Willicombe’s funeral was the entrepreneur and Local Board member Charles Adie. Originally a native of Staffordshire ,Adie came to Tunbridge Wells in 1846 and became second only to Willicombe in his contributions to the development of the town in Victorian Times. Although Adie died and was buried in London, he has particular relevance to Woodbury Park Cemetery for the grand houses in Upper Grosvenor Road and their formal ornamental pleasure ground that abuts the Cemetery. Other works of his include the development of Grecian,Buckingham and Norfolk Roads, and part of Calverley Road. However, he is especially remembered for his role in the development of the east side of Mount Pleasant, on The Wells Hill. A Deed of Partition of 1878, preserved in Maidstone, names him in connection with the present nos. 54-62, but the document names the firm of Willicombe and Oakely in connection with the block of property to the south of this. Also, there exists at Maidstone a drawing of a Sale Room building in Camben Road for Adie, signed by William Willicombe”.
The reference to Adies association with the Grecian House Estate off Claremont Road and the reference to the “Administrators of the late Madame Caballero of Grecian House” ties in with separate research I have done (published in a separate article 2013) about the history of Grecian Villa of which Madame Caballero was for a time an occupant.Grecian Villa was the same building referred to in Sue Brown’s article as “Grecian House”. Grecian Villa was, according to Christ Jones of the Civic Society, constructed in 1824 for Dr. Mayo and in 1834 it was acquired by Madame Caballero(1788-1877).From my research she continued to live there until her death June 1877. A dispute among her family resulted in court action regarding the distribution of her estate and although the bulk of her estate finally went to her nephew John Leshley (her maiden name was Mary Ann Leshley) her doctor Frederick Manser(1844-1924) of Tunbridge Wells inherited the Grecian Villa Estate and sold it. My research indicates,with some reservations, that the good doctor sold it to Charles Adie in the later part of 1877. I say “with reservations” because of Adie’s financial troubles at the time.The Grecian Villa Estate was situated on 4 acres of land and was bordered on one side by “The Grove” public grounds and ran all the way to the corner where Claremont Lodge was located on the opposite side of the road. This plot of land, as can be seen from the map opposite, became the roads Buckingham Road,Grecian Road,Norfolk Road and Arundel Road. Most if not all of the houses constructed on these roads (principally by Charles Adie) were two sty brick terraces with tile roofs. Of particular interest to me, with regards to my ancestors ,is #9 Grecian Road which in 1911 was the home of my great grandparents (Robert Charles Gilbert family) and which became the home of my grandparents (Francis Reginald Gilbert and Nell Gilbert ,nee Mace) after their marriage in 1913.
Returning to Adie’s personal life he is found in the Sussex Archeological Collection publication of January 1877 as a member of the Sussex Archeological Society. How long he remained a member is not known but he was also given as a member in 1875.
In the 1881 census, taken at 35 Calverley Road Charles Adie is given as an auctioneer employing two men. Living with him was his wife Fanny and nine of his children. His son Charles Birch Adie, age 21, born 1860 Tunbridge Wells was working as a carpenter, presumabley for his father. Charles son Francis E,age 18, born 1863 Tunbridge Wells, was working as a timber merchants clerk and son Oliver J,age 16, born 1865 Tunbridge Wells was working for his father as an auctioneers clerk.
In 1888 Charles Wife Fanny passed away in Tunbridge Wells and in October 1888 Charles married Julia Susanna Muller at Southwark,Surrey. Julia was born July 1864 at Lambeth, London and had lived in Lambeth in 1871 and at Chislehurst in 1881. She was one of four girls born to George C.R. Muller (b1841) and Susanah Muller nee Tuckfilefd(1841-1904). With Charles Adie she had the following children Rudolph(b1890) Rudolph Tickfield(1891-1984) and Constance Irene(1905-1986). Constance was born when Charles Adie was 71 years of age, his `12th and last child.
The 1891 census, taken at 91 Queens Road,Tunbridge Wells records Charles Adie as a builder. It is believed by the researcher that he was the builder of this 3 bedroom detached house.Living with him was his wife Julia; his children Edward H,age 24, Frederick H,age 22, and Rudolph L,7 mths. Also present was one domestic servant and his sister in law Bertha E. Muller.Charles son Edward H was working as a painter/decorator and so was his son Frederick H. His son Charles Birth Adie, born 1860 Tunbridge Wells is found in an 1899 Kelly at 8 Calverley Park Crescent,Tunbridge Wells under the heading of Apartments and is listed again in the same directory as the proprietor of a lodging house at the aforementioned address. He is the only Adie listed in the commercial part of the directory suggesting that the other sons had left Tunbridge Wells by 1899.
Sometime after the 1891 census Charles Adie left Tunbridge Wells and moved to Surrey. No census record for him could be found for 1901. Probate records give that Charles Adie of 25 Brixton Road,Brixton,Surrey, died April 17,1906 at Guy’s Hospital,Surrey. The executor of his estate was his wife Julia Susanah Adie, and surprisingly he left an estate valued at only 250 pounds, not much at all for a man who had worked so hard and been involved in so many occupations over his 72 years.At the time of his death his wife Julia was 42. She is found to have married again, in October 1908 at Lambeth, London.
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE BLACKIE FAMILY
Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada
Date: August 9,2013
John Blackie (1782-1874),the patriarch of the family, established a prosperous bookselling and publishing business in Scotland in 1809. He and his wife Catherine (1777-1847) were married in 1804 and with her had three sons namely John (1805-1873) Walter Graham(18161906) and Robert(1820-1896). John Blackie (1805-1873) became the son in the family business referred to as Blackie & Son, and who,for purposes of clarity I refer to as John junior. John junior, in addition to his active role in the family business distinguished himself in the Glasgow Council and was made a magistrate and was an elder of the Free Church. His health failed and passed away in 1873. In 1874, upon the death of his father, the family business passed into the hands of John juniors brothers
John Junior had married Anges Gourlie (1818-1887) in 1851 and with her had three sons, namely John James in 1852; William Gourlie in 1854 and Alfred in 1855. His son John was married in 1876 to Frances Ferguson and with her had seven children and who in the 1890’s was a manager of a chemical works in Govan Lanarkshire,Scotland, a place where he lived for the remainder of his life. John junior’s son William Gourlie Blackie married Katherine in 1875 in London and with her had four children. In 1891 William was the manager of a photo material making company and by that time his children had all left home and was just living with his wife. In 1897 William and his wife left England and took up residence in Victoria,British Columbia,Canada where William opened a photographic studio called Blackie’s Studio . William took many photos from his studio in Victoria and also travelled to Alberts,Canada, on photographic field trips. [INSERT REST OF HIS HISTORY]
John juniors son Alfred, who is the central focus of this article, had a Tunbridge Wells connection. Alfred lived with his parents and siblings at Lilybank House, a large stone mansion, in Govan, Lanarkshire,Scotland until at least 1871. By 1880 he had married Agnes , a woman the same age as him and in 1881 the couple were living without children at “Reed Mansion” in Wadhurst,Sussex, where Alfred had a farm of 158 acres employing 6 men and 3 boys. While at this farm Alfred grew hops and also raised prize winning cattle which he entered in agricultural shows/competitions. Despite a good start in life, financially and otherwise, he fell on difficult financial times, as shown in the records of the National Archives in which legal papers are found of 1889 pertaining to the bankruptcy of Alfred Blackie and the foreclosing of a mortgage of 13,000 pounds on the “Tidebrook Estate” who in 1899 was residing at Tidebrook Manor. After this setback Alfred left Sussex and returned to Scotland, where he is found in the 1891 census with his wife and two children Alfred and Agnes.
By 1898 Alfred, his wife Agnes and children Alfred and Agnes took up residence in Tunbridge Wells, living at 50 Grove Hill Road, a three storey brick home of some significance, but not as grand as what he had been used to. In 1898 Alfred became the patent holder of an invention entitled “ Method & Apparatus for Hop Drying” which patent was dated “Tunbridge Wells 1898”. In 1901 Alfred and his family were still living at 50 Grove Hill and he was a “worker” employed as a manufacturing chemist.He was still at this address in a 1903 directory but by 1918 had taken up residence at 70 Claremont Road,Tunbridge Wells, a modest white stone attached residence on the north west corner of Claremont and Farmcombe Lane. In 1905 Alfred’s wife Agnes passed away and in 1939 Alfred died. He was survived by his son Alfred and daughter Agnes Jessie Blackie,who died in Tunbridge Wells as a spinster in 1961.
This article begins with John Blackie junior’s family life and career with some history of the family business, with a concentration on the time that it was known as Blackie & Son. Following this I provide details about John Blackie junior and his family.Then, I provide information about John junior’s eldest sons and finish the article with a detailed description of the life and times of his son Alfred Blackie, who is my main interest in this account of the Blackie family.The first segment of this article is a collection of references from various sources which I have not edited to remove duplication of information so that the integrity of the original source information consulted for my research could be maintained. For that reason there is considerable duplication of information and the section is quite long.
JOHN BLACKIE-HISTORICAL BACKGROUND FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
The following information is from ‘Memoirs and portraits of one hundred Glasgow men 11. John Blackie1805-1873’.Born in Glasgow on 27 September 1805, Blackie entered the family bookselling and publishing business. From 1831, the firm became known as Blackie & Son, publishing annotated editions of the Bible and establishing the Scottish Guardian. This, the earliest religious newspaper published in Scotland, ran from 1832-1862 and was regarded as Liberal in politics and evangelical in religious matters.In 1857 Blackie was elected on to the Glasgow council, and in 1863 became Lord Provost. He proposed the City Improvement Scheme, a major plan to improve the quality of life in the poorer areas. He was also involved in bringing water to the city from Loch Katrine.In 1859 he was made a magistrate of the burgh, and was also an elder of the Free Church. He died on 12 February 1873 following an attack of pleurisy, leaving a widow, Agnes (they had married in 1849), and three sons.For many of her most prominent citizens, Glasgow has been deeply indebted to neighbouring country towns and parishes; but Mr. Blackie was thoroughly a Glasgow man. He was born there on 27th September, 1805. His father, John Blackie, senior, and his mother, Catherine Duncan, were also natives of the city. He was the eldest child of a family of eight, of whom two still survive.Young Blackie was sent to the then well-known school of Mr. William Angus,(1) who was considered the best teacher of English in the town. Afterwards he passed on to the High School where he made good progress under Mr. Gibson. In commercial arithmetic, in which he became very expert, his teacher was Mr. Thomas Rennie, who in his own department enjoyed the highest reputation, and is still held in grateful recollection by many who profited by the shrewd methods he adopted for training his pupils.His mother's relations were resident in Bute; in his early days he frequently visited them. This was before the time of railways or steamboats. The mode of conveyance then was by flyboat to Greenock, and thence by smack to Rothesay - a trip which usually occupied two or more days. On one occasion, being favoured with a good tide in the river, and the opportune departure of the smack soon after his arrival in Greenock, he reached Rothesay on the evening of the day on which he started. But so unheard of was such expedition, that the good people of Rothesay would not for a time credit the fact that he had only left Glasgow that morning. Their incredulity was not to be wondered at, seeing that his mother had on one occasion taken eight days to accomplish this journey, which can now be made in an hour and a half.After leaving school, young Blackie joined the bookselling and publishing business commenced by his father in 1809, and at this time carried on under the firm of William Sommerville, Archibald Fullarton, J. Blackie, & Co. In 1826 the style of the firm was changed to that of Blackie, Fullarton, & Co., and Mr. Blackie, junior, being now twenty-one, was admitted a partner. For this position he was admirably qualified by his methodical habits and his literary tastes. From this time till his death, the publications of the firm were produced mainly under his guidance, and his influence everywhere was soon made manifest. More especially was this the case subsequent to 1831, in which year Mr. Blackie and his father became the sole partners in the business which has since then been carried on under the designation of Blackie & Son. The firm having commenced the publication of annotated editions of the Scriptures, he was led by circumstances into an extended study of biblical literature, which qualified him for a task upon which he entered with characteristic zeal, that of aiding in the editorial supervision of many of the firm's publications which demanded an acquaintance with the special knowledge he had thus acquired.Mr. Blackie's eagerness for the diffusion of sound literature induced him to take a very active part in establishing the "Scottish Guardian," the earliest religious newspaper published in Scotland. The first number of this journal was issued in 1832, and the last in 1862. It was Liberal in politics, and evangelical in religious matters; and during the whole thirty years of its useful existence it was conducted in the spirit of its motto, an utterance of Lord Erskine - "The people of Great Britain are a free and a religious people, and, by the blessing of God, I will lend my aid to help to keep them so."About this time the attention of philanthropists was called to the question of the better housing of the poor, and especially to the condition of lodging-houses. In this object Mr. Blackie took a deep interest. In 1847 the association for the erection of model lodging-houses for the working classes was formed mainly by his friend Mr. James Watson,(2) stockbroker, in consequence of the appalling state of overcrowding which was found to exist in the common lodging-houses of the city, with its concomitant evils, moral and physical. To substitute for such dens of immorality and centres of disease, cheap, cleanly, and healthful lodgings was the great aim of this association; and with that view three excellent houses were established by it, two for males with 423 beds, and one for females with 200 beds, all of which came to be fully patronized by the classes for whose benefit they were erected. This useful association was dissolved in 1877, but the good work it began is still continued on a more extended scale by the Corporation and other parties, the 643 beds it provided being now increased to nearly 2,000, which are uniformly well occupied from one year's end to another.In 1857, at the request of electors of the second ward, Mr. Blackie came forward as a candidate for a seat in the Town Council, and was duly elected. He entered upon the duties of the office with his usual ardour, and, after two years, was made a Magistrate of the burgh. This office he held for four years. In 1863 he was elected Lord Provost of the city, by the unanimous vote of the Town Council, and carried into the duties of the office the zeal which had distinguished his career as a Councillor during the six previous years.The crowded condition of many of the lodging-houses, and the beneficent efforts made to combat this evil, have been referred to already. But a far greater evil was found to exist in the city, arising from the houses in numerous localities being built too closely together, so as to exclude light and air, and induce a state of filth and disease which raised the death-rate in these localities 17 per 1000 higher than the average of the rest of the city. In order to remove these plague spots, and replace them by well-lighted, well-aired houses, and open breathing places, Mr. Blackie proposed the City Improvement Scheme (3) - a measure which, above all others, will serve to distinguish his tenure of office. This scheme was first brought by him before the Town Council on September 17, 1865, and was well received both by the Council and the citizens. When fully matured, it included the dealing with 88 acres of overbuilt ground, the formation or improvement of 51 streets, the power to expend £1,250,000 on the purchase of property, and to tax the rental of the city at not more than 6d. per £ for five years, and 3d. for ten years. The City Improvement Act was passed in the Parliamentary session of 1866, and immediately thereafter the first tax of 6d. per £, which was payable by occupiers, was imposed.Up till this time nothing but praise had been heard of the scheme. Every- one seemed pleased at the proposed removal of the dens, and the erection of well-built and well-ventilated houses in their place, but the imposition of the tax, provoked many of the taxpayers, and their displeasure fell, naturally, upon the proposer of the scheme. Mr. Blackie's term of office as Lord Provost and Town Councillor expired in November, 1866, and, being desirous to render what assistance he could in carrying through the Improvement Scheme, he offered himself for re-election. His friends were confident of his success and underestimated the annoyance of the taxpayers, or they might have prevented his defeat by the narrow majority of two votes.While thus precluded from personally carrying out his own scheme, Mr. Blackie rejoiced to see it developed by others. There are now few citizens who do not recognize its advantages, and regard the City Improvement Scheme and the introduction of Loch Katrine water as the two most important events in the recent history of Glasgow.During Mr. Blackie's Provostship the freedom of the city was presented to Mr. Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, and to Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, on his unveiling the statue of his father, the late Prince Consort. He had the honour and the satisfaction of entertaining both the great Commoner and the young Prince at his residence, Lilybank, Hillhead.In 1866 the armorial bearings of the city were authoritatively fixed for the first time by the Lord Lyon, in accordance with suggestions made by Mr. Andrew Macgeorge in an admirable history of the arms which he drew up at the time. This volume was produced at Mr. Blackie's expense, and one of his last official acts was to present copies to the Corporation and to each of the Town Councillors.Mr. Blackie's services during the three years he had been in office were recognized by a very cordial vote of thanks being passed by the Council unanimously, accompanied with a resolution that a copy of the minute be presented to him in a silver casket. This resolution was carried into effect at the close of his civic career at a large meeting convened for the purpose, presided over by his successor in office.Mr. Blackie was an elder of the Free Church, a warm supporter of her schemes, and often a member of the General Assembly. He took an active interest in promoting the establishment of the Free Church Theological College in Glasgow, founded in 1855 by a gift of £20,000 from Dr. Clark of Wester Moffat, on condition of other £20,000 being raised to form part of an endowment for it, and became one of the guarantors of this sum in order to fulfil the condition on which the gift was made. The ultimate success of the whole scheme owed much to his intelligent and persistent action. Being appointed a member of the Assembly's committee for negotiating a union with the United Presbyterian Church, he entered upon the duties very zealously, and exerted his influence uniformly on the side of union. He was also one of the representatives of the Free Church on the Board of the Ferguson Bequest, in the operations of which he took a lively interest; and in like manner he was identified with many other charitable and religious institutions in the cityHis health had been shaken by the overstrain caused by his labours during the Provostship. Ultimately he succumbed to a sharp attack of pleurisy on February 12th, 1873, in his 68th year. By special request his funeral was made a public one, and was attended by the Lord Provost and Council in their official capacity.Mr. Blackie was married in 1849 to Agnes, daughter of Mr. William Gourlie, merchant, who, with their three sons, still survives.”
These fact are taken from "A Brief History of the Blackie Family" by Ian D & Margaret Blackie.“John Blackie was born on 27th September, 1805 and was the eldest son of John Blackie (the publisher), John was one of the sons that joined the publishing firm. He became Lord Provast of Glasgow in 1863.As well as working close to his father in the firm as did Walter Graham and Robert, he had other business interests which included one being, establishing with others the Scottish Gaurdian newspaper in 1882, it later expired in 1862. He was also on the board of the Clydesdale Bank and while a member of the Town Council of Glasgow, he originated the City Improvement Scheme in 1857.In the year 1849 John married Agnes Gourlie. In 1887 Agnes Gourlie died six years after her husband. John passed away on the 13th February, 1873. They say his death was caused mainly through tiredness and exhaustion, while being a Lord Provast and working for the Blackie publishing firm.”
The following information is given in Wikepedia. Blackie and Son Limited was a publishing house in Glasgow, Scotland and in London, England, from 1890 to 1991.The firm was founded in 1809 by John Blackie, snr. (1782-1874) as a partnership with two others and was originally known as 'Blackie, Fullarton and Company'. It began printing in 1819 and was renamed 'Blackie and Son' in 1831, becoming a public limited company in 1890. The business had quarters at 16/18 William IV Street, Charing Cross, London and 17 Stanhope Street, Glasgow, Scotland, and opened offices in both Canada and India. The company ceased publishing in 1991.Blackie and Son initially published books sold by subscription, including religious texts and reference books. Later the firm published single volumes, particularly educational texts and children's books, taking advantage of compulsory education from 1870.Notable books from The Kennett Library, a graded series of classics retold for schools, include: Kidnapped, Little Women, Westward Ho!, The Black Arrow, Wuthering Heights and Ben-Hur. The firm published the many Flower Fairy books of Cicely Mary Barker beginning in 1923.In 1902, Walter Blackie commissioned the building of a new house on a plot at Helensburgh to the West of Glasgow. At the invitation of their illustrator Talwin Morris, the architect was his friend Charles Rennie Mackintosh. This house became Hill House, regarded as one of Mackintosh's finest works.
The following information is given in ‘Administrative/Biographical History’.“The firm known, after 1890, as Blackie & Son Ltd was founded on 20 November 1809 by John Blackie, snr, (1782-1874) in partnership with two friends, Archibald Fullerton and William Somerville and was known as Blackie, Fullerton & Co. Born in Glasgow, John Blackie, snr, was originally in business as a weaver but was persuaded that money could be made in the 'Numbers Trade'. This was a form of selling sizeable books in monthly or quarterly instalments, by subscription. By 1811, the firm was already beginning to publish its own books and in 1819, John Blackie, snr, expanded the scope of the business into printing. He took on a practising Glasgow printer, Edward Khull, as a partner and, initially, using Khull's printing works at 8 East Clyde Street, worked with him as Khull, Blackie & Co. The bookselling side of the business continued separately in Edinburgh as Fullerton, Somerville & Co. When Khull retired from the business in 1826, he took his original printing works with him. In 1827, John Blackie, snr, entered into partnership with Hutchison & Brookman, printers and stereotypers, of Saltmarket, Glasgow. There were four partners: John Blackie, snr, George Brookman, William Lang and R Hutchison. In 1829, the Edinburgh and Glasgow companies purchased the firm of Andrew & J M Duncan, printers to the University of Glasgow, at Villafield, between Stanhope Street and Parson Street, close to Glasgow Cathedral, and moved Hutchison & Brookman into the newly acquired premises. Later, the printing premises in Bishopbriggs, north of Glasgow retained the name The Villafield Press. In 1831, Archibald Fullerton retired from the Edinburgh partnership, renamed Blackie, Fullerton & Co after the retirement of William Somerville in 1821, and John Blackie, jnr, became a partner with his father. The firm was renamed Blackie & Son. In 1837, Robert Hutchison retired from the printing business, now working from Bishopbriggs and known at that date as George Brookman & Co, and a new printing business was established under the name W G Blackie & Co. Walter Graham Blackie (1816-1906) was the second son of John Blackie, snr. Thereafter, all aspects of the business came under the ultimate control of members of the Blackie family. The two companies, Blackie & Son and W G Blackie & Co were eventually amalgamated after Blackie & Son became a public limited company in 1890, changing its name to Blackie & Sons Ltd. After the deaths of John Blackie, jnr, in 1873 and John Blackie, snr, in 1874, responsibility for the company's affairs passed to the two younger sons of John Blackie, snr; Robert and Walter Graham Blackie and eventually to three of their sons; John Alexander Blackie (1850-1918), the eldest son of W G Blackie, Walter Wilfred Blackie (1860-1953), the third son of W G Blackie and James R Blackie, the son of Robert Blackie. During the nineteenth century, the company developed along two main lines concerned, on the one hand, with bookselling and publishing in the subscriptions business and, on the other, with printing and book production. Initially, printing and book production was carried out for many different publishers, but as the publishing work increased, it was limited to the company's own publications. The earliest books sold by subscription were often religious, but during the middle years of the century, the company moved into the production of a series of extensive, illustrated reference works. Many of which appeared under the label of 'Imperial', for example, The Imperial Gazetteer (1855), The Imperial Atlas of Modern Geography (1859) and The Imperial Bible Dictionary (1866). As the means of production and distribution became cheaper and more efficient, the company began to publish, alongside the subscription trade, single volumes, particularly educational texts and books for children, taking advantage of the introduction of compulsory education from 1870. After this date, titles carried included; the Century Infant Readers (1888-1906), Warner and Marten's Groundwork of British History (1911), a number of basic English and Latin grammars, mathematical primers and, from 1881, a whole series of children's stories designed initially as school prizes and published under the title of 'Reward Books'. By 1909 Blackie & Son Ltd had offices at 5 Fitzhardinge Street, London, W1 and in Dublin, Ireland. After 1918, the company set up a Scientific and Technical Department, and began to publish advanced scientific and mathematical texts. In 1929, new printing works, retaining the original name 'The Villafield Press', were built on a 13 acre site in Kirkintilloch Road, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow. During the early years of the twentieth century, overseas subsidiary companies were set up: Blackie & Son (India) Ltd, in 1927; Blackie & Son (Canada) Ltd; and Blackie & Son (Australasia) Ltd, in 1926. The subscription side of the business was run by a subsidiary company, The Gresham Publishing Co from 1898 (incorporated 1917), and this company continued trading until 1948. During the second world war, Blackie & Son Ltd used 1/3 of their Bishopbriggs works space for the manufacture of 25 pound shells for the Ministry of Supply. They also undertook some toolmaking for another Glasgow company, William Beardmore & Co Ltd, and, for a short time, produced aircraft radiators. In 1960 the publishing and administration section of the company moved to join the printing section in Kirkintilloch Road, Bishopbriggs. In 1971, new premises were occupied in Wester Cleddens Road, Bishopbriggs, eventually becoming the headquarters of the company. In the same year another subsidiary company was set up, Abelard Schuman Ltd. Blackie & Son Ltd, ceased publishing in 1991. Academic and professional titles were acquired by Blackie Academic & Professional (an imprint of Chapman & Hall). School titles were acquired by Nelson (Thomas) & Sons Ltd. Children's Titles were acquired by Blackie's Children's Books.
The following information is given in ‘GRACES GUIDE’Blackie and Son of 17 Stanhope Street, Glasgow, Scotland
• 1809 The firm known after 1890 as Blackie and Son Ltd, was founded on 20 November, by John Blackie, snr, (1782-1874) in partnership with two friends, Archibald Fullerton and William Somerville and was known as Blackie, Fullerton and Co. John Blackie, snr, who was born in Glasgow, was originally in business as a weaver. He was persuaded that money could be made by selling sizeable books in monthly or quarterly instalments, by subscription.
• By 1811, the firm had already started to publish its own books.
• In 1819, John Blackie, snr, expanded into printing. He took on a practising Glasgow printer, Edward Khull, as a partner and initially used Khull's printing works at East Clyde Street, and worked with him as Khull, Blackie and Co. The bookselling side of the business continued separately in Edinburgh as Fullerton, Somerville and Co.
• 1826 When Khull retired from the business, he took his original printing works with him.
• 1827 John Blackie, snr, entered into partnership with Hutchison and Brookman, printers and stereotypers, of Saltmarket, Glasgow. There were four partners: John Blackie, snr, George Brookman, William Lang and R. Hutchison.
• 1829 The Edinburgh and Glasgow companies purchased the firm of Andrew and J. M. Duncan, printers to the University of Glasgow, at Villafield, close to Glasgow Cathedral, and moved Hutchison and Brookman into the newly acquired premises. Later, the printing premises in Bishopbriggs, north of Glasgow retained the name The Villafield Press.
• 1831 Archibald Fullerton retired from the Edinburgh partnership, renamed Blackie, Fullerton and Co after the retirement of William Somerville in 1821, and John Blackie, jnr, became a partner with his father. The firm was renamed Blackie and Son.
• 1837 Robert Hutchison retired. The business was working from Bishopbriggs and known at that date as George Brookman and Co, and a new printing business was established under the name W. G. Blackie and Co. Walter Graham Blackie (1816-1906) was the second son of John Blackie, snr. Thereafter, all aspects of the business came under the ultimate control of members of the Blackie family.
• 1876/74 After the deaths of John Blackie, jnr, in 1873 and John Blackie, snr, in 1874, responsibility for the company's affairs passed to the two younger sons of John Blackie, snr; Robert and Walter Graham Blackie and eventually to three of their sons; John Alexander Blackie (1850-1918), the eldest son of W. G. Blackie; Walter Wilfred Blackie (1860-1953), the third son of W. G. Blackie; and James R. Blackie, the son of Robert Blackie.
• 1890 The two companies, Blackie and Son and W. G. Blackie and Co were eventually amalgamated after Blackie and Son became a public limited company in 1890, changing its name to Blackie and Sons Ltd.
• During the nineteenth century, the company developed along two main lines: bookselling and publishing in the subscriptions business, and also with printing and book production. Printing and book production was initially carried out for many different publishers, but as the work increased, it was limited to the company's own publications. The earliest books sold by subscription were often religious, but during the middle years of the century, the company moved into the production of a series of extensive, illustrated reference works. Many of which appeared under the label of 'Imperial'
• As the means of production and distribution became cheaper and more efficient, the company began to publish, alongside the subscription trade, single volumes, particularly educational texts and books for children, taking advantage of the introduction of compulsory education from 1870.
• 1909 Blackie and Son had offices in London and Dublin.
• Post-WW1. After 1918, the company set up a Scientific and Technical Department, and began to publish advanced scientific and mathematical texts.
• 1922 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Illustrated Picture Books, Children's Toy Books, Boys' and Girls' Story Books, Educational Books, Dictionaries, Technical and Scientific Books, Writing Copy Books. (Stand No. K.122) 
• In 1929, new printing works, retaining the original name 'The Villafield Press', were built in Bishopbriggs, Glasgow. During the early years of the twentieth century, overseas subsidiary companies were set up in India, Canada and Australasia. The subscription side of the business was run by a subsidiary company, The Gresham Publishing Co from 1898 (incorporated 1917), and this company continued trading until 1948.
• During World War II, the company used part of their Bishopbriggs works space for the manufacture of 25 pound shells for the Ministry of Supply. They also undertook some toolmaking for another Glasgow company, William Beardmore and Co, and, for a short time, produced aircraft radiators.
• 1960 The publishing and administration section of the company moved to join the printing section in Bishopbriggs. In 1971, new premises were occupied in Wester Cleddens Road, Bishopbriggs, eventually becoming the headquarters of the company. In the same year another subsidiary company was set up, Abelard Schuman Ltd. Blackie and Son Ltd, ceased publishing in 1991.
Photographs …(numbered from top to botton)..(1) John Blackie 1782-1874 (2) Catherine Blackie, nee Duncan 1777-1847 (3) John Blackie 1805-1873 (4) Robert Blackie(1819-1896) (5) Walter Graham Blackie(1816-1906)
JOHN BLACKIE AND HIS FAMILY
John Blackie (1782-1874) was one of two children born to John and Anges Blackie. He had been born October 27,1782 at Glasgow,Lanarkshire,Scotlnad. In 1792 he was working as an apprentice to his father as a tobacco spinner. In 1793 he was an apprentice weaver to Robert Dobbie. In 1804 he married Catherine Duncan(1777-1847) and with her had three sons John(1805-1873) Walter Graham(1816-1906) and Robert(1820-1896). In 1805 he had a position with Brownlee publishing and was a partner with Wm Sopmerville and Archibald Fullerton. In 1806 he started his own business in Glasgow as a publisher under the name of Blackie & Sons, In 1850 he was married in Glasgow to Margaret Frame Ferguson and in 1851 he was living at Maryhill,Lanarkshire,Scotland.From 1861 to the time of his death on June 16,1874 he was living in Govan,Lanarkshire and died in Glasgow.
John’s son Walter Graham Blackie PHD,LLD (1816-1906) married Marion Brodie(1820-1879) in 1846 and with her had three sons and seven daughters. His business career has been given in detail earlier and he lived his entire life in Scotland. He died June 5,1906 in Glasgow.He was the second eldest son .
John’s youngest son was Robert Blackie(1819-1896). He married Anne Robertson(1826-1873) on April 27,1853 and with her had one son and five daughters. His second marriage was to Helen Botts on October 13,1887 with whom he had no children. Robert died April 12,1896 in Cannes although he had lived most of his life in Scotland.
John’s eldest son was John Blackie(1805-1873) often referred to in accounts as John junior or John (III) to avoid confusion with his father and grandfather of the same name. John had been born September 27,1805 in Glasgow. I have given above details about his early life and career and some facts given below are repeated to ensure details of his family are fully given. In 1851 John married Agnes Gourlie(1818-1887) in Glasgow. In 1851 he was living with his wife at Glasgow St Mungo,Lanarkshire. In 1852 his son John James Blackie was born who was followed with the birth of his son William Gourlie Blackie in 1854 and son Alfred Blackie in 1856. The 1861 census, taken at Lillybank House (photo above) at Sardinia Terrace in Govan,Lanarkshire, are found John,age 55, his wife Agnes and his sons John William and Alfred and five others (servant s and visitors).
In the 1871 census, taken at Lilybank House was John, his wife Agnes and their three sons,His son Alfred at that time was a student.Also in the home were five others (sevants and visitors). On February 12,1873 John passed away at Glasgow. John’s sons did not have any interest in the family book and publishing business and left the family home to get married and persue their own careers. As noted above upon the death of John in 1873, the family business came into the hands and management of his two brothers.
At this stage of my article I now give details of each of John’s sons in the following separate sections but before leaving this section I offer the following information about Lilybank House. This grand masnsion was built in the 1830’s for Robert Allan, under whose ownership the house was extended by architect Alexander “Greek” Thomson(1817-1875) in the 1860’s. Further additions were made in the 1890’s by architect Ronnie Mackintosh. The building is now part of the Thomson Heritage Trail and is commemorated by a plaque on Thomson’s wing. The building had been used as a hall of residence for female students at the Glasgow University,More recently it has housed the Department of Sociology,Anthropology and Applied Science studies of the university. The former residence was listed by British Heritage.
JOHN JAMES BLACKIE (1852- ?)
John was born 1852 at Glasgow,Lanarkshire and was living with his parents at Lilybank House up to and for some time after the 1871 census. In 1876 he married Frances (Fanny) Ferguson(1852-1919).Her photograph is shown above which shows her later in life holding her grandchild, and was taken at the portrait studio of Alex Ayton in Kennedy Place,London. The child was that of her daughter Elizabeth Blackie (1880-1976) (photo below) who mad married Matthew W. Arhibald(1871-1953) and who were residents of Winnipeg,Manitoba, Canada, and who had been visiting Frances in England.
Fanny Ferguson was the child of Peter Ferguson,born 1824 and Elizabeth Thompson,born 1824 and was one of five children born to the couple. Shown opposite is a photo of Elizabeth Thompson.
John and his wife had the following children; John(1877-1936) Archibald(1878-1953) Albert(1879-1917) Elizabeth(1880-1976) Gourley(1882-1882) Agnes Bourlie(1885-1885) and Frances Herndon(1886-1918). Their son Albert was killed 1917 in France during WW 1 and their son Francis Herndon was also killed in WW 1 but in Africa in 1918.Their son Archibald ended up emigrating to Canada and died at Kelowna,British Columbin in 1853. The rest of the children appear to have remained in England.
In the 1881 cenus, taken at Partick,Lanarkshire,Scotland John was living from interest on investments. In 1891 he was living in Govan,Lanarkshire at 13 Hamilton Crrescent where he worked as a manager of a chemical works. In 1901, at the same address he was living on own means with his wife Fanny. It is not known by the researcher when and where he died.
WILLIAM GOURLIE BLACKIE (1854- abt 1906)
William was born 1854 at Flasgow,Lanarkshire and was living with his parents and siblings until soon after the 1871 census was taken.
In the 2nd qtr of1875 he married Catherine McLeod Ranken, born 1854 in Glasgow,Scotland, and with her he had the following children Agnes Mary (1878-1929) William Ranken(1878-1904) Ruby Katherine,born 1879 and John Herndon,born 1880.His wife Catherine is given by that spelling in the census records of 1861 and 1871 but from the time of her marriage onward is given in the records as “Katherine”. The 1861 census,taken at Thprlow Cottage on Larkhole Lane in Clapham,Surrey records the Ranken family. In the home is Peter Rankin, born 1824 in Edingurgh,Scotland as head of the household and who’s occupation was given as “manager of printing office”. Living with him was his wife Agnes,born 1824 Glasgow and their seven children, including “Catherine McLeod Ranken, born 1854”. The 1871 cenus, taken at #8 The Crescent in Clapham records Peter Rankin as a printer employing 60 men and 30 boys. Living with him was his wife;five children and two servant. Among the children in the home was “Catherine, age 17. Peters son John Ferguson Ranken,age 22, was at that time working as a printer master in his father’s business and Peter’s 15 year old son Walter B Ranken was working as a publisher as was his daughter Agnes Helen Main Ranken,age 13.
Before continuing with the story of the Blackie family it is worth noting that the London Gazette of August 15,1902 reported that Peter Ranken had passed away November 1,1895 and that his daughter Agnes Helen Main Blackie,nee Ranken, the wife of Alfred Blackie, had been appointed in Peter Ranken’s will as the executor of his estate. The announcement in the Gazette is rather a long one but I have include it as wrttten for it provides and understanding of the business life of Peter Ranken. I quote “ Persuent to an order dated August 11,1902 of the High Court of Justice…made in an action of the estate of Peter Ranken, deceased, and in the action of Charles Edward Stanley against Agnes Helen Main Blackie (wife of Alfred Blackie) 1899 the creditors of Peter Ranken of 21 Crescent Grove,Clapham Common,Surrey, but late of 45 Lessar Ave., Clapham Common who was a partner in the late firm of Ranken and Co.,printers and publishers of Drury House,Drury Court,Strand.London and who was also part proprietor of the “County Gentleman” newspaper, whos offices were at one time situate at 136 Strand,London ,later of 149 Strand, and later of 3 Wellington St., Strand,London, who died Nov 1,1895, are on or before October 24,1902 to ….” The notifce continues by providing instructions to creditors to submit their claims, if any. It is obvious that Catherine/Katherine came from a well-to –do family engaged largely in a business very similar to that of the Blackie family and as noted in this account at least two (Catherine and Agnes) married into the Blackie family.
Although the birth place of William’s children are usually given as Govan.Lanarkshire,Scotland family trees often refer to their birth place as Kircudbrightshire,Scotland.The 1881 census, taken at Clapham, London records William, his wife “Katherine” and their two oldest children.At that time William was an unemployed printer.
The records of ‘Monuments in Southwick Churchyard record a monument (shown opposite) that relates to William Goulie Blackie. Southwick is located on the South Coast of England east of Shoreham-by-sea and west of Hove and Brighton,Sussex. The inscription on the monument reads “ Sacred to the memory of Robert Pringle, Foreman,Glensone,Southwich who died at Glenstone 21st May 1880, aged 37 years,Well done,good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things.I will make thee ruler of many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.This stone is erected by Wm Goulie Blackie of Glensone, in grateful rememberance of a faithful servant”. The researcher presumes that the William Goulie Blackie referred to is the same person as the William referred to above but the researcher was unable to find a connection for him with Sussex other than this record. There is of course also a Glensone in Scotland and perhaps it’s a coincidence that there is a Glensone in Southwick as well.
The Musical Times of December 1,1883 reported “ An evening concert was given in Wandsworth Town Hall on the 16th ult by Mr William Gourlie Blackie in aid of the funds of the Wandsworth Presbyterian Church”. Below this was a list of the artists performing at the event and that the concert ‘was conducted by Mr T. E. Chantler, organist of St John’s Church,Clapham Road”.
The London Gazette of March 13,1885 gave a winding up notice for the company ‘City Constitutional Club Company Limited which had been presented to the court by William Gourlie Blackie of Bankside,Wewt Hill Rd,Wandsworth,Surrey, in which creditors were requested to submit their comments and claims to Frank Wm Reynolds of Smithfield who was the solicitor for Mr Blackie.
The London Gazette of April 17,1885 also gave a notice for the company Joseph Brindley and Company Limited in which a petition by William Gourlie Blackie of Bankside,West Hill Rd., Wandsworth,Surrey had been made. Mr Blackie was given as the managing director of the company.
By 1891 William’s children had all left the family home and the census for that year recorded only William and his wife at Lambeth,London. William at that time was working as a manager of a photo material making business.
In the late 1890’s. for some inexplicable reason, William Blackie got the idea to leave England and live his life in Canada. Even more strangely is that he decided to ‘test the waters” by heading to Canada on his own in 1894 leaving his family behind. Canadian Imigration records, as given in the 1901 census record that Willaim Gourlie Blackie , born September 17,1853 arrived in Montreal Canada in 1894 and travelled by train across the country to take up residence in Victoria,British Columbia. The records also show that his wife Katherine, born August 10,1853, and her children Agnes Mary Blackie,born July 8,1877 and daughter Ruby Katherine Blackie (sometimes given as Ruby K. or Ruby R,born in 1879 all came together to Canada in 1897, three years after William. Passenger records record Mrs Blackie and her two daughters depating from Glasgow,Scotland July 3,1896on the steamship Siberian, and arriving at Montreal,Quebec several weeks later.They had travelled first class and their destination in the shipping log was given as Victoria,British Columbia.
Once in British Columbia William established his residence and opened a photographic studio. The records of ‘The Camera Workers’ of British Columbia records ‘”William Gourlie Blackie” operating his studio, called “Blackie’s Studio” from 1895 to 1899 in Victoria,British Columbia from premises at the corner or Mary Street and Esquimalt Road. Working with him at that time was his relative and assistant Miss E.M. Blackie.There is no record that a young woman by the name of E.M. Blackie was a member of the William Gourlie Blackie family and it is the firm belief that the first initial of “E” is incorrect and that it should have been “A” in reference to Williams daughter Agnes Mary Blackie.
Hendersons directory for British Columbian for the years 1897 and 1900 give “W. Gourlie Blackie,photographer, Mary St and Catherine Street, Victoria, BC.
The same record (The Camers Workers)states William is known to have been living in 1895 at Mary Street in Victoria BC, and his home address was given as Mary Street and Catherine Steet at Rose Cotttage, for 1895-1899.The same record gave the address of his business premises from 1895 to 1899 at Mary Street and Esquimalt Road.William was recorded as being the owner of Blackies Studio.The British Columbia Archives have in their collection some eleven photographs produced by William. Several of his studio portrait photos can be found regularly offered for sale on eBay.
The records of the Victoria Heritage Foundation show the photograph of Rose Cottage (shown above for which they state that from 1897 to 1899 “the photographic artist William Gourlie (Gourley) Blackie rented Rose Cottage as his home, his relative and assistant Miss E.M. Blackie also lived here.His studio was on Mary Street at Edquimalt Road from 1895-1899.Three of his photos in the Glenbow Archives,Calgary,Alberta,indicate that he was travelling around Alberta from 1890-94”.
Rose Cottage was located at 1109 Catherine Street in Victoria ,BC and was built in 1890 but extensive remodelled in 1905. It was heritage designated in 1976 and in 2007 its interiors were redesigned. Records show that William Gourlie Blackie had vacated Rose Cottage for in 1900 to 1942 it was owned by Henry Siebenbaum, who lived at Rose Cottage. Rose Cottage has had many owners and occupants over the years and still exists today. A BC voters list for 1898 gives “ William Gourlie Blackie, Rose Cottage,Catherine Street, photographer, Victoria B.C.
By 1901 William and his family left British Columbia and took up residence in the City of Montreal in the Province of Quebec. The 1901 census, taken in Montreal records William G. Blackie, working as a photographer on his own account and that his religion was the Church of England. Living with him was his wife ‘Katherine” age 47 and daughters Agnes M,age 23 and Ruby R,age 22.
Although the researcher was unable to find any evidence regarding the death of William it is believed given the following circumstances that he died in Montreal in about but not after 1906 for records show that Mrs Blackie and her two daughters returned to England . The first to leave Canada was Ruby Blackie who was brought back to England by her father on the steamship Manitoba, which had departed from Montreal and arrived at Liverpool on May 22,1902.After visiting relatives William returned to Canada.
The next to leave was Katherine Blackie and her daughter Agnes who left Montreal, Quebec on August 7,1907 on the steamship the Empress of Britain and arrived inLiverpool,England.They did not return to Canda again.
The 1911 records Ruby Katherine Blackie, age 30,born 1881 Scotland , single,living on private means. She is a visitor staying with the Gregory family at 93 Valley Drive,Harrogate parish in Yorkshire West Riding. In 1930 Ruby was living in the City of Westminster and after that she disappears from the records.
The 1911 census, taken at 22 Devonshire Road in Hastings,Sussex records the Quarterman family and living with them was Katherine McLeod Blackie, widow, born 1853 and living on private means .Also present was Katherine’s daughter Agnes Mary Blackie,age 33,single, born 1878 and living on provate means.
Death records show that “Katherine McLeod Blackie died April 1914 at Hastings,Sussex, age 57.No probate record was found for her. A probate record for her daughter Agnes Mary Blackie of 62 Church Road,St Leonards-on-sea, spinster, reports that she died October 28,1929 at Crowborough,Sussex and states “Confirmation of John Blackie publisher and Alfred Blackie (the younger).It was sealed in London January 25th. With this record I conclude my coverate of this branch of the Blackie family.
ALFRED BLACKIE (1856-1939)
Alfred was born 1856 in Glasgow,Scotland and was the youngest of three sons in the family.For census records up to and including 1871 Alfred was living with his parents and siblings at their estate home ‘Lilybank House’ in Govan,Glasgow,Lanarkshire.
On April 3,1881 he married Agnes Helen,sometimes given as Agnes R and Agnes E in census records. She was born 1858 in Lanarkshire,Scotland. The researcher has no details about her parents,siblings or her early life.
The 1881 census, taken at ‘Reed Mansion’ in Wadhurst,Sussex records Alfred and his wife ; two servants and one visitor. Alfred was given as a landowner of 158 acres employing 6 men and 3 boys. Maps of Wadhurst can be seen on which the name ‘Reed’ appears and the name of Reed is of some significance in the history of Wadhurst. Although I could not find a description of the farm it obviously was one of the largest in the area and apart from the mansion house would have included many other buildings. The 1881 census provides some clue to the extent of the farm by listing a coachmans house in which a coachman and his wife and several children were living. Also given is a farm bailiffs house in which the farm bailiff (John Bain, age 39, born in Scotland) lived with his family and who managed the day to day operation of the farm for Alfred Blackie. Also listed in the census were four cottages numbered #1 to #4 in which one was occupied by the estates gardener and his family and the other by farm workers and their families.
From a website that provides information about places in Tidebrook it is stated that “Reeds” in reference to Reeds Farm was occupied in 1851 by Benjamin Tompett, a farmer employing 4 people and at that time there were four cottages on the farm. Tidebrook Manor was purchased by Sir Michael Tippett(1905-1998) in 1951. He is claimed to be the most significant and important British composer of the 20th century. One can be sure that the mansion is one of great beauty today as it was when occupied by Alfred Blackie.
The Wadhurst area was well known for its association with the growing of hops for the brewing industry and on Reed Farm Albert grew many acres of hops.Shown opposite is a photograph of hops production on a farm in Wadhurst, a scene that well could have been captured on film at Albert’s farm. In association with this crop Albert would also have had on the farm an Oast house for the drying of hops, the construction of which is shown in the generic image opposite.As will be seen later Alfreds association with hops growing at this time will lead to a later invention related to hops for which he was given a patent.
It is known that Albert was heavily involved on the farm in the raising of cattle for recorded in ‘The Sussex Herd Book Vol 3 for 1889 are the following entries for three cattle owned by Alfred Blackie that won prizes. (1) ‘Barton Beauty (3139); 3rd prize S.C. show,Brighton 1885 Owner-Alfred Blackie,esq (2) ‘Bertha’ (2537); 2nd prize R.A.S. show, Reading 1882; Owner-Alfred Blackie, esq (3) ‘Gentle 5th’ (3464) 3rd prize R.C. show, Southampton 1885. Owner Alfred Blackie,esq. Under the heading of herd owners was given “ Alfred Blackie, The Manor, Wadhurst,Sussex”. It was customary for farmers raising cattle to have a stockman on the farm who’s specialty was the raising and caring of cattle for of course it would not be Albert himself attending to the daily work of keeping a herd.
In 1889 Albert found himself in some financial difficulties. The National Archives has in their collection a document dated May 2,1889 which was a Chancery order in Hudson vs Austen allowing the investment of 13,000 pounds in a mortgage of the Tidebrook Estate by Alfred Blackie esq, of Tidebrook Manor,Wadhurst. Also on May 8,1889 is a Chancery order in Macadam vs Blackie forclosing Alfred Blackie, a bankrupt, from the equity of redemption of the Tidebrook Estate managed by him to Robert Leeds and Charles Thomas Macadam on May 8,1889. Shown opposite is a 2003 photograph of Tidebrook Manor.This building was listed by British Heritage December 31,1982 and in their records is the following information “ L-shaped building.south east wing C15 timber framed building.First floor close studded and jettied.The remainder has been refaced with red brick on ground floor with hung above.Tiled roof.Casem,ent window.Large wing added to N.W. in mid C19 2 stys five windows,stuccoed.Long and short quoins.Central projection.Glazing bars missing”. The image given above shows the C19 additon to the residence and not the older part to which is was attached.The name of Tidebrook is in common use. The National Garden Schemes for example has a four acre garden at Tidebrook Manor which is open to the public for viewing and there is a Tidebrook Manor Farm located in Tidebrook,Wadhurst but this farm is not the same property referred to be in the occupancy of Alfred Blackie.The website of the Weald records that Tidebrook was formed into a separate ecclesiastical parish in 1858. A photo of Tidebrook Manor is shown opposite.
In 1883 a notice appeared in a local Wadhurst newspaper that a son had been born to Alfred Blackie “ at The Manor, Wadhurst,Sussex on June 2, 1883. This son was Alfred junor, the first child born to Alfred and Agnes.
Albert’s financial problems caused him to leave his farm and return to Scotland. The 1891 census, taken at 20 Victoria Place at Stirling, Stirlingham, Scotland records in the home Alfred Blackie, his wife Agnes H and his two children Alfred, age 8 and Agnes J,age 5. Agnes had been born 1886 at Clapham,Surrey. Alfred’s presence in Scotland and his occupation in 1891 as a manufacturing chemist may be related to his brother John James Blackie who was in that year a manager of a chemical works, but the researcher was not able to find any definitive information in this regard. Also present in the Blackie home in 1891 were one visitor and two servants, indicating that Alfred still had sufficient financial resources to live comfortably although not to the style he had been accustomed to.
The London Gazette of July 30,1895 gave the following information in the continuing saga of Albert’s financial difficulties. “ In the matter of bankruptcy dated June 5,1895.To Alfred Blackie of 77 Palace Rd, Norwood,Surrey take notice that a bankruptcy notice has been issued against you in the court at the instance of the Mortgage Insurance Corporation Limited of 88 Cannon street,London and the court has ordered that a publication of this notice in the London Gazette and in the Daily telegraph newspaper shall be deemed to be service of this notice on you. Dated July 25,1895 J.e. Linklater, Registrar”.
At some point in time,before 1898,Alfred Blackie abandoned living in Sussex and Scotland and came to Tunbridge Wells. He is found in the 1901 census residing at 50 Grove Hill Road (photo above), a rather nice but for him rather small, four storey brick house , which today has been divided up into four flats.Also present in the home was his wife ‘Agnes E’ , their two children and two domestic servants. Alfred is working at that time as a ‘ manufacturing chemist worker’ so was not running his own business. His occupation was a continuation of the one given in the 1891 census in Scotland. Alfred’s two children were attending a local school.
The date of Alfred’s arrival in Tunbridge Wells is tied to a patent record dated Tunbridge Wells 1898 for “Method & Apparatus for Hop Drying’ in the name of Alfred Blackie of Tunbridge Wells. Shown opposite is an image of the patent documents obtained from eBay where the documents were offered for sale in 2013.The details of the patent are “ Patent Specifications No. 7087 Application date-March 23,1898. Specification accepted Feb. 11,1899”. The documents record that Alfred Blackie of 50 Grove Hill Road was the patent holder. The patent documents (3 pages0 included details of the invention and a number of drawings. The sales information stated that “This was sold to the library and has their stamp impressed on some of the pages/drawings and stated that “this patent specification has been disbound from a volume of 100 different patents” and is an original and not a copy.
For some inexplicable reason no 1911 census could be found for Alfred Blackie in any location.Death records give that Alfred’s wife Agnes Helen Blackie born 1858 died April 10,1905 in Tunbridge Wells. She is recorded as having been buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on April 13,1905. The Courier gave only a brief announcement of her death stating she was the “dearly beloved wife of Alfred Blackie of 50 Grove Hill Road and that she died in her 48th year”.
Directory listings were found for Alfred Blackie at 50 Grove Hill Road for 1899 and 1903 indicting that he and his family were living there from the time they arrived in Tunbridge Wells circa 1897 until at least 1903. The 1918 directory gave a listing for Alfred Blackie at 70 Claremont Road (photo opposite), Tunbridge Wells so despite the lack of the 1911 Tunbridge Wells census record for him it is known that he was still a resident of the town and a death records gives that Alfred Blackie died in Tunbridge Wells in 1939 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells cemetery on April 24,1939 at the age of 83. Alfred’s residence at 70 Claremont Road exists today, but is now a number of flats. It can be found right at the north west corner of Claremont and Farmcombe Lane and is an attractive but relatively small multi storey white building. With this I end my coverage of the history of the Blackie family.
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