Saturday, December 12, 2020

Ordinary people lead ordinary lives ... and get photographed

A little wander this morning into the world's abandoned photos. Just a little one, before I turn my attention to things theatrical .. three photos .. and see if, just for once, I can pick a trio with no attachment to the Indian army, Debrett, country mansions .... just three nice young people ... two from London, and one from Shaw, in Lancashire ...

Let's start with the lady. 

Well! Couldn't make it easier than that! And here she is. Her eighteenth birthday photograph.

Matilda was born in Hackney, 16 February 1866, the daughter of Robert Nixon, a leather-merchant from Haltwhistle in Northumberland and his wife Matilda née Howard, from Guildford. She was the first child of five -- Kate Howard (d 19 April 1842, Mrs F A East), Herbert Liddell, [Emma] Blanche (1871-1955), George Percy (b 15 August 1872) -- and the family shows up, living in Hackney's Lavender Grove in 1871 and Christie St in 1881.

Matilda was married in 1890 (1 November). Her husband, Samuel Sheppard, was in the fish business. Not catching it, but seemingly doing the book work connected with it after it had been caught. In 1891, the young couple can be seen sharing a home with the newly-widowed Mrs Nixon, and sisters Kate and Emma. Herbert had died in 1888, and George had scarpered to Oklahoma. When he enlisted in the Great War he chopped a couple of years off his age, said he was a tractor driver for Mrs Bixby Bryant in California, and gave unmarried sister Blanche as his next of kin. I see him in 1940, still single, now a carpenter, in Maryville, Cal ... he died 30 December 1940.

Back in Hackney, Sam continued his career in fish, and Matilda produced children: Douglas Samuel (1891-1915), Kathleen Florence (1892), Percy Howard (b Hackney 2 February 1897). They lost Douglas, I have lost Kate, and the couple can be seen, 'retired fish salesman', living in Romford in 1939. Percy is up in Skipton, York, as a police constable.

Sam died at 16 Station Road, Romford 1 June 1949 (probate: L752 18s 9d). Matilda ka Florence was buried 30 June 1954 at Havering. Blanche died in 1955.

Well, I wanted 'ordinary' and that's what I got. Still a few "I wonder"s in there. Why did teenaged George rush off to America? What happened to young Douglas? Ah well. I wonder who sold this photo. It seems to be a single...

On to the next. Smart looking wee chappie from Lancashire. Granddad Taylor, born 17.3.1872 says the verso. Then a 'Dennis' is added. Yep. All good.

Dennis Taylor, born Rochdale. Son of Daniel Taylor, cotton weaver/loom jobber/etc (d 1909) and his wife Alice née Mills. Mills by name and by trade: the whole family was -- like so many folk in the area -- involved in spinning, weaving and associated trades. Daniel and Alice (m 11 February 1861) had a daughter, Elizabeth Ann, lost a little Frank, and then nine years later, another son: our 'Grandfather Dennis'. And guess, what here the four of them are!

Well, father, mother and Elizabeth all stuck with stuff. Elizabeth married a fustian cutter, from Shaw, by name John William Smith and had Wilfred, Arnold, Eveline (1879-1970) and Clifford (1902-1923), all of whom, again, seem to have followed their parents profession. But Dennis got out.

In the 1901 census, he has become a (married) tobacconist, by 1911 he is a greengrocer in Glodwick Rd, Oldham .. His wife was Sarah Alice Sutcliffe, their children Alfred, Hilda, Norman and Dora. How am I going to track them? Which of the four was the parent of whoever wrote 'grandfather' on these cards. Since that person wrote 'Grandfather Taylor', I have a suspicion it may be a child of Hilda or Dora. Did they marry?

First clue. Family grave in the cemetery at Crompton on a plot bought by Daniel at the death of his Alice ..

In that plot are interred Daniel and Alice, Dennis (1936) and Sarah Alice (1964) and Hilda Entwistle (1984). I hope the grave is well-tended. Who lives round Crompton?

So Hilda Taylor (b 17 August 1899; d 22 May 1984) married Alfred L Entwistle in 1942 ... children? They would be my age. Oh dear, a good reason for a clean-out ... or ....

And lastly, O J Bowles 1866. Yes, a bit earlier than the other two. He looks like a wee laddie in his first suit. Going for his first day at work as a clerk in some sort of an office. Well, he was actually a whole twenty years old.

Octavius John Bowles was born in Holborn on 15 October 1846, the son of stationer James Bowles 'of High Holborn' (1801-1849) and his wife Caroline née Cox (1807-1884) who had been wed in 1825 (28 December), at which time father was just a 'vellum binder of Boswell Court'. By about child number six he was 'bookbinder of Seymour Street'. But through the 1840s he was 'Stationer of High Holborn'.

Occy was indeed an eighth son. However, Caroline's practically-permanent pregnant married life of 24 years, before not she, but her undoubtedly exhausted husband sank under the weight at 49 years of age, included 3 Carolines and two Alfreds ... in the 1841 census they have only Elizabeth (12), Henry (4) and Alfred (0) at home ..

James 6 November 1826; Elizabeth 15 January 1829; Charles 19 December 1831; Caroline 30 July 1832; Caroline 13 February 1835; Henry 4 December 1836; Ellen 25 March 1839; Alfred 27 March 1841; William 2 October 1842; Frederick 1 January 1844; Alfred 3 July 1845; Caroline Sarah 19 October 1848; Thomas James 26 November 1849 ... yes, father was working at it till his last gasp. And I'm sure I've missed some.

Anyway, Caroline took over the business at her husband's death, and we see her at 188 High Holborn in 1851 with Elizabeth and Charles helping in the business, plus Henry, William, Frederick, Occy, Caroline and Thomas. Thomas would die that same year. Productivity was evidently not equal to edurance in the Bowles family. Oh! James is next door with wife and just-born son. So that makes nine survivors.

So, Occy? Well, I guess that was his shopman's gear. For he remained 'a man in a stationer's shop' his whole life of 62 years. Yes, he married. Mary Myra. Yes, they had children. Albert John (20 January 1876), Horace Willian Charles (14 March 1877), Beatrice Caroline Mary (Mrs Sanders, 18 May 1878), Reginald Sharp (11 September 1881; d 6 June 1952) and Harold Sydney (21 May 1891; d 1961). And those children bred (it was a family trait, evidently) .... so I can't guess whether it was Hilda or Olive Sanders, or one of those Bowleses who dumped grandpa's picture on e-bay ...

Bit cruel

I am awfully tempted to chase up some of those other Bowles, but there must be millions of descendants out there ...

5.30pm. End of working day. Muggy eveninng. Iced rosé in order .... and tomorrow is Monday when I am going to see my wee trotting filly do her stuff .. and less happily, face up to the unsympathetic Australian tax department. Rosé, definitely!

Hey! I got my three 'ordinary people'!!!!!

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