ALL ABOUT
TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Page 4

 

FREDERICK WILLIAM SHOOSMITH -THE HAIRDRESSER

Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: August 12,2017

OVERVIEW

Frederick William Shoosmith (1862-1928) and his son Frederick William Shoosmith (1898-1965) were both hairdressers. Frederick senior had been born in Brighton,Sussex at the workhouse and was one of three children born to James and Ellen Shoosmith. At the time of the 1871 census he was living with his grandparents in Brighton and was still living in Brighton as a lodger at the time of the 1881 census.

On August 4,1890 at Sevenoaks, Kent ,Frederick senior married  Marion Kemp (1870-1961). After the marriage Frederick and Marion lived in Sevenoaks where Frederick was the proprietor of a hairdressers shop. While living in Sevenoaks the couple had five children between 1891 and 1902,including a son Frederick William Shoosmith junior in 1898.

By 1901 Frederick senior and his family were living at 5 Victoria Road in Sevenoaks,where he was a “Hairdresser (Master)”. By the time of the 1911 census Frederick senior was living and working at his shop on Dorset Street in Sevenoaks.

 

In about 1912 the family moved to Tunbridge Wells where Frederick senior opened a hairdressers shop at 68 Camden Road, a shop he continued to run until at least 1922. His son Frederick junior joined his father at this shop working as a hairdresser. Frederick junior married September 2,1920 in Tunbridge Wells Nellie Clara Field Lawrence (1893-1982) and with her had two sons and one daughter from 1921 onwards.

Frederick William Shoosmith senior was  a member of the Royal Antereluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) known as “The Buffs” and had received his training as a hairdresser at the Academy of Design (AOD). While operating his shop on Camden Road during WW 1 he published a postcard regarding the mining of the troop ship R.M.S. Tyndareus in 1917 on which ship was some 1,000 men of the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment). This postcard, which prompted my research of the Shoosmith family, presented a patriotic song /poem about this event where Frederick was given as the composer and identified him as a hairdresser of 68 Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells. In this article I present information pertaining to this postcard which was mailed from Tunbridge Wells July 17,1917 by Percy George Muggleton, a private with the Middlesex Regiment, to his wife Annie in Cambridge. As noted in the book ‘The Shock of War’ the Middlesex Regiment and many others made Tunbridge Wells there temporary home during WW1 before heading off to the front.


The Shoosmith family were found in directories of 1920 to 1938 at 37 Rochdale Road, Tunbridge Wells, which was their private residence.

Frederick senior died in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1938 and his wife died in the town in the 4th qtr of 1961. Both were buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery.

Frederick junior died at the Pembury Hospital March 24,1965 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery April 2,1965. His wife Nellie died at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital in Canterbury August 14,1982.

THE SHOOSMITH FAMILY-THE PRE TUNBRIDGE WELLS YEARS

The information in this section covers the period before the family took up residence in Tunbridge Well in 1912 and provides an abbreviated genealogical account of the family.

I begin with Frederick William Shoosmith (1862-1938) who was born at the workhouse in Brighton, Sussex on January 3,1862. He was one of three children born to James Shoosmith (born 1830) and Ellen Louisa Shoosmith (1834-1881). His mother died in Brighton October 21,1881.

At the time of the 1881 census, Frederick was living as a lodger in Brighton and working as a hairdresser. He had received his training  at the Academy of Design (A.O.D.).

On August 4,1890 at Sevenoaks,Kent Frederick senior married Marion Kemp (1870-1961) and with her had the following children (1) Laura Minnie (1891-1973) (2) Mabel (1893-1979) (3) Frederick William (1898-1965) (4) Elsie Marion (born 1900) (5) Harry Lionel (born 1902).All of the children were born in Sevenoaks.

The 1899 directory gave the listing “ F.W. Shoosmith, hairdresser, Dorset Street, Sevenoaks”.  The same listing appeared in a 1903 directory.

The 1901 census, taken at 5 Victoria Road, Sevenoaks gave Frederick senior as running a hairdressers shop and employing others. With him was his wife Marion, born in Sevenoaks and their children Laura, Mabel,Frederick and Elsie.

The 1911 census, taken at the Bat and Ball pub at 6 Station Rise in Sevenoaks gave Frederick senior as the proprietor of a “hairdresser lock-up shop on Dorset Street, Sevenoaks. With him was his wife Marion, a housekeeper; his daughter Laura, a drapery assistant; his daughter Mabel, a dressmaker; and three other children who were attending school namely Frederick, Elsie and Harry. The census recorded that they were living in premises of seven rooms; that they had been married 21 years and of the six children they had only five were still living.

THE SHOOSMITH FAMILY IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS

In about 1912 the family moved to Tunbridge Wells where Frederick senior opened a hairdressers shop at 68 Camden Road, a shop he continued to run until at least 1922. His son Frederick junior joined his father at this shop working as a hairdresser. Directories of 1913 to 1922 gave “ Frederick William Shoosmith, hairdresser, 68 Camden Road. A postcard view of Camden Road is shown below left and to the right is an interior view.









Frederick William Shoosmith senior was  a member of the Royal Antereluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) known as “The Buffs”.  The Buffs is one of the largest fraternal organizations in the UK, having been founded in 1822. One of their badges is shown below. Information about The Buffs has been reported on before by me in various articles and several websites provide information about it.

The Shoosmith family were found in directories of 1920 to 1938 at 37 Rochdale Road, Tunbridge Wells, which was their private residence. The directories for those years gave his occupation as hairdresser. Frederick senior’s occupation was given as hairdresser in his sons 1920 marriage certificate also and Frederick seniors address was given as 37 Rochdale Road also.

Frederick senior died in Tunbridge Wells in the 4th qtr of 1938 and his wife died in the town in the 4th qtr of 1961. Both were buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery.

Returning to Frederick William Shoosmith junior, he was born July 28,1898 at 5 Victoria Road, Sevenoaks. As noted above came to Tunbridge Wells with his parents and siblings in 1912. Having learned to be a hairdresser at his father’s side, he learned the occupation and worked as a hairdresser in his father’s shop at 68 Camden Road and after his father’s death continued in this line of work.

On September 2,1920, at the registry office, Frederick junior married Nellie Clara Field Lawrence (1893-1982). Nellie had been born October 20,1893 at 18 Ely Lane, Tunbridge Wells. Frederick was given as a bachelor and Nellie a widow. Frederick was given as a hairdresser residing at 37 Rochdale Road,Tunbridge Wells, the son of Frederick William Shoosmith, hairdresser, also of 37 Rochdale Road. Nellie was given as age 26; a resident of 70 Queens Road,Tunbridge Wells and the daughter of Alfred Field Lawrence, a general labourer. Nellie’s mother was Clara Harriet Lawrence (born 1824). A family tree recorded that her father had been married twice and that Nellie had five half siblings.

Nellies first marriage was on September 27,1914 to Albert Edward Skinner (1893-1915) and with him had a son Albert William Neville Skinner who was born in Tunbridge Wells February 17,1915 and died in 2000. Her first husband Albert died in WW I in the famous Hythe disaster October 28,1915. A photo of Albert is shown above. His name is recorded on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial (photo below left) and on the Hythe plaque at St Matthews Church (photo below right).











On October 15,2012 I wrote an article entitled “ Tunbridge Wells War Memorial History” and two companion articles which gave as much information as was available at the time about each of the men listed on the memorial for WW 1 and WW II.  Regarding Albert Edward Skinner I recorded the following “A.E. SKINNER   ......{Albert Edward].........Albert was born at Hadlow,Kent and a resident of Tunbridge Wells at the time of his enlistnent there. He was a Driver(#2029) with the 1st/3rd Kent Field Coy Royal Engineers who was a soldier lost at sea during the Hythe disaster on October 28,1915. He is recorded at the Helles Memorial (panel 23 to 25 or 325 to 328).” Albert was born August 7,1893 at Hadlow, Kent and baptised November 5,1893 at St Peter’s Church in Southborough. He was one of five children born to Albert Skinner (1869-1951) and Sabina Skinner, nee Cook (1870-1944). He was living with his parents and siblings at Hadlow in October 1884; at Hildenboroug,Kent January 1899 and at Chiddiingston, Kent 1901 and 1904. At the time of the 1911 census he was living with his parents and siblings at Sevenoaks, Kent. On September 27,1914, in Tunbridge Wells, he married Nellie Clara Field Lawrence (1893-1982) and had a son Albert William Neville Skinner (1915-2000), who was born in Tunbridge Wells. He had enlisted for service in WW 1 at Gillingham, Kent in 1915; died October 28,1915 at sea in the Hythe disaster.                              

At the time of the 1901 census taken at 34 Shatters Road, Tunbridge Wells, Nellie was living with her step parents William and Clara Cork. At the time of the 1911 census Nellie was living at 70 Queens Road, Tunbridge Wells with her step parents William Cork,age 58, and Clara Harriet Cork,age 37, and four Cork Children aged 4 to 14. Nellie at that time was working as a domestic. She was still living at 70 Queens Road at the time of her marriage to Albert Edward Skinner in 1914.

Frederick and Nellie had three children (one daughter and two sons). The first child was Joan Eileen Shoosmith (photo opposite) who was born at 50 Dane Road in Ramsgate,Kent September 15,1921. She married Hugh Peebles (1916-1996) and with him had six children. She married a second time in the 3rd qtr of 1974 at Swindon and died at Swindon February 2,2015. The birth of Eileen was given as follows in the Kent & Sussex Courier of September 23,1921 “ Shoosmith-On September 15th at 50 Dane Road, Bonegate Mr and Mrs F.W. Shoosmith, late of Tunbridge Wells, now of Kamsgak, a daughter. Shown opposite is a photo of Hugh Peebles and his wife Eileen on the left and on the right are her parents Frederick and Nellie Shoosmith. The other two children are still living and so information about them is not given.

 

In 1939 Frederick and his wife were living at 25 Effingtham Street in Ramsgate,Kent and his occupation was given as master hairdresser. His wife Nellie was given as “unpaid domestic duty”.

Frederick junior died at the Pembury Hospital March 24,1965 and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery April 2,1965 (Class C Section 20 Grave 314). Shown opposite is a photo of his granddaughter Lesley at his unmarked grave.

His wife Nellie  was living in 1982 at 2 Margate Road in Ramsgate. She died at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital in Canterbury August 14,1982 of “Carcinome of Thyroid” and was buried in Ramsgate.

THE SHOOSMITH POSTCARD WW1

While operating his shop at 68 Camden Road during WW 1 Frederick William Shoosmith senior published a postcard regarding the mining of the troop ship R.M.S. Tyndareus in 1917 on which ship was some 1,000 men of the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment). This postcard, which prompted my research of the Shoosmith family, presented a patriotic song /poem about this event where Frederick was given as the composer and identified him as a hairdresser of 68 Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells. In this article I present information pertaining to this postcard which was mailed from Tunbridge Wells July 17,1917 by Percy George Muggleton, a private with the Middlesex Regiment, to his wife Annie in Cambridge. As noted in the book ‘The Shock of War’ the Middlesex Regiment and many others made Tunbridge Wells there temporary home during WW1 before heading off to the front. Shown in this section is the front and back of the postcard and information pertaining to the R.M.S. Tydareus; The Middlesex Regiment; and the Muggleton family from and to whom the postcard was sent.

I begin my coverage about this postcard with some information about what is shown on the front of it. This postcard was recently offered for sale on Ebay UK and described it as a “patriotic song” and that the “composer” was Frederick William Shoosmith, a hairdresser of 698 Camden Road, Tunbridge Wells. I have already explained the initials appearing after his name.  The song was entitled “Middlesex Regiment-The Diehards” and below it is given “Tyndareus Feb 9th 1917”.

 

The Middlesex Regiment (Duke of Cambridge’s Own) was officially formed in 1881 and came by its nickname “The Die Hards” during the Peninsula War. A photo of a badge of this regiment is shown opposite. The significance of the reference to this regiment in the song is that some 1,000 soldiers of this regiment were on the troop ship RMS Tyndareus at the time it ran into a mine and was in fear of sinking. The date of the incident is given variously as February 9,1917 (as it appears on the postcard) but most often, and more correctly was February 6th  which is given on a memorial stone and in other accounts such as Wikipedia.

From Wikipedia, the TYNDAREUS (photo opposite) was a British steamship built in 1914-1915 as a cargo liner but served as a troop ship during WW 1 and was nearly sunk by a German naval mine. The ship was 507 feet long and had been built by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company. Her maiden voyage was in January 1917 from her home port of Liverpool to the Far East. On February 6,1917 the ship stuck a mine about 10 miles off Cape Agulhas, on the southern tip of Africa. On board the ship were 30 officers and 1,000 men of the 25th (Garrison Service) Battalion, The Middlesex Regiment, who were bound for Hong Kong, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Ward, who was the Liberal Labour Member of Parliament for Stoke-upon-Trent. The troops were paraded on deck in their life jackets while a roll call was taken. According to an account in the Cape Times, the soldiers then began to sing “There’s a Long Long Trail A-Winding” and “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” while waiting for further orders, which the journalist described as a “fine story of British pluck, recalling that of the BIRKENHEAD. Despite rough seas, all the troops were successfully transferred to another ship, the SS EUMAEUS, and the hospital ship “HMS OXFORDSHIRE”, which had responded to SOS signals. To cut a long story short the TYNDAREUS survived the incident and arrived safely at Simonstown where it was repaired and returned to service.

News of the mining of the ship and the heroic story of the Middlesex Regiment spread around the world and was picked up and reported on by many newspapers, such as The Bendfiganion in Australia which gave an account datged June 28,1917. In this account it was stated “ The Admiralty transport TYNDAREUS, having on board a battalion of the Middlesex Regiment, known as the Diehards, struck a mine at 8 p.m. on 9th February, 1917, off Cape Agulhts”. The article goes on to give a detailed account of the incident and praised the actions of the soldiers. Of Colonel John Ward they said he was an “outstanding figure” and that many of the men payed high tributes to him with one stating “ There he stood-erect and defiant, but cheerful, as the ship was sinking under him”. Shown opposite from the collections of the National Army Museum is an oil on board image by Stanley Llewellyn Wood (1866-1928) made in 1917 showing the Middlesex Regiment on the Tyndareus.

A stone memorial (image below)commissioned by the Labour Party MP and trade union leader Lieutenant-Colonel John Ward (1866-1934), commanding officer of the 15th Btn Middlesex Regiment was made to commemorate the exemplary conduct displayed by his when when the ship struck a mine “on February 6,1917”. The memorial, which stood on The Peak on Hong Kong Island, was brought to Britain in 1994, and stood from 1999 to 2003 at the entrance to the National Army Museum, Chelsea. A bronze plaque, in English and Chinese was later added and erroneously describes the memorial as having been erected in memory of the men of the 25th Btn who died in the incident.


Turning now to the back of the postcard, one can see that it was postmarked “Tunbridge Wells  8:30 p.m. July 17,1917” and addressed to “Mrs A Muggleton, 43 Richmond Road, Cambridge”. The sender of the postcard was her husband Percy George Muggleton, who signed his name as “Percy” on the bottom of his message. In the message to his wife  “Dear A” he states in part that “ I am here (in Tunbridge Wells) till Friday and I am off to Fort Pitt again…”. Military records show that Percy George Muggleton was a private in WW I who at the time of sending the postcard was with the Middlesex Regiment, which is why out of all the postcards of the town he could have sent, he chose the one by Frederick William Shoosmith.

So who were the Muggleton’s? . Well confirmation of who the sender and receiver of the postcard were is given by the 1911 census taken at 43 Richmond Road, Cambridge (the same address as that given on the postcard). In this census appeared Percy George Muggleton, age 27, born 1884 in Cambridge, with the occupation of electro-typer. With him was his wife Annie, age 29, born 1882 at Stamford, Lancashire. Also there was their two month old son Donald who had been born 1911 in Cambridge. The census recorded that the family were living in  a 6 room house; that they had been married one year, and that they had just the one child. Birth records gave Percy George Muggleton as being born in the 2nd qtr of 1884 at Cambridge and that he was the son of George Walter Muggleton born 1857 at Grantcher, Cambridgeshire and Hannah E. Muggleton born 1859 at Cheveley,Cambridgeshire.

The 1901 census, taken at 32 Union Road , Cambridge gave George Walter Muggleton as a gardener on own account. With him was his wife Hannah; his son Percy George Muggleton, age 17, a “electgro-typer apprentice printer worker”. Also there was a sister in law Julia and a mother in law June Tweed born 1829. The family was living at the same address at the time of the 1891 census, where Percy was attending school.

Percy enlisted for service in WW 1 in Cambridge and served as a private with the Middlesex Regiment. As noted in the Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society book The Shock of War, and in the records of the Middlesex Regiment, this regiment was one of many that arrived in Tunbridge Wells before heading off elsewhere for training or for service at the front. In Percy’s case he was to leave Tunbridge Wells for Fort Pitt. Percy George Muggleton survived the war and died in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire in the 2nd qtr of 1975.

 


 
ROBERT GILES-FLORIST AND NURSERYMAN

Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date:  January 20,2015

THE FAMILY AND BUSINESS OF ROBERT GILES

Robert Giles was born in the 4th quarter of 1860 at Taunton,Somerset and was the son of Robert Giles ,a railway porter . He is found in both the 1861 and  1871 census living in Taunton,Somerset with his grandparents  George and Charlotte Corrick.

In the 1881 census Robert is found at Franks hall, Horton Kirby, Kent working as an undergardener for the John Rudland family and is given as single, age 21, born 1860 at West Monton,Somerset. Mr Rudland was a landscape painting artist.

In 1883 Robert married Louisa Alberta (surname unknown), born 1861 at North Petherton,Somerset, and the couple moved to Tunbridge Wells and began to raise a family. The couple produced the following Children; Louisa (1884) Mabel(1885)Jubilena M (1886) May (1887) Robert GeorgeVictor(1889 ) William(1892) and Frederick(1895) all of whom were born in Tunbridge Wells.

When Robert arrived in Tunbridge Wells he started a nursery business in High Brooms. A Kelly directory of 1899 gives “ Robert Giles, nurseryman,High Brooms Rd,High Brooms,Tunbridge Wells. The 1891 census taken at Nursery Cottage,High Brooms, records Robert, a nurseryman employer.Living with him was his wife Louisa and four children.

Shown opposite is a postcard view of Gordons Nursery in Sandhurst Park,located not far from High Brooms but more directly related to the residential development of Sandhurst Park between Pembury road and the railway line serving High Brooms. The development of Sandhurst Park progressed slowely north westward from Ferndale Road, beginning in about 1875 but most of the plan of the development was not implemented until after WW II. As can be seen from this postcard, there are a few large homes in Sandhurst Park in the background but much of the property was still open land. It must have been quite a substantial investment for Robert as the five glass greenhouses shown would have been expensive to construct. I would estimate that each greenhouse was 20 feet wide by 100 feet long.Since the nursery is named ‘Gordon Nursery’ Robert Giles must have purchased or leased the nursery grounds from a Mr Gordon.

Nursery Road, which derives its name from the existence of a nursery on it can be found in directories dating back to 1881 and this road exists today by the same name. A current photo of Nursery Road is shown opposite and today there is no indication that a nursery every existed on it as it has been completely built up.The same is true of High Brooms Road to the north and South View Road to the south, both of which parallel Nursery Road.

A map of High Brooms dated 1909 shown opposite has  a large tract of land on the north side of Nursery Road about half way between Powder Mill Lane and Colebrook Road which was the site of a nursery.

A 1893-94 Pike’s Directory however gives the following listing “ Giles,R. Gordon Nursery, High Brooms Road.The same directory indicates that Giles nursery was on the south side of High Brooms Road somewhere between # 20-40 and there is also a listing for Gordon Villa on the north side of Nursery Road. A review of Dee’s Directory of 1915 records “ Nursery Road, Gordon Villa at #32 but no mention of Robert Giles or of Gordon Nursery. The area may have been redeveloped by 1915 and the nursery removed from the landscape.Maxwell Macfarlane reviewed in 2012, after I contacted him, an ordanance map of High Brooms and from that he said “High Brooms Road and Nursery Road run parallel, west to east, about 100 yards apart. Roughly mid-way along, two largish plots, side by side, stretch from one road to the other.The western plot is empty. The eastern plot had an entrance on High Brooms Road, leading to two small buildings and then to two large greenhouses, which nearly back onto Nursery Road (the greenhouses are identified by cross-hatching, including glass roofs).The empty plot could simply be flower beds etc.Sadly there is no mention of “Gordon Nursery” on the map”.

The 1901 census taken at Ferulea Villas, Clifton Road,High Brooms,Tunbridge Wells records Robert Giles as a nurseryman employer and gardener.Living with him is his wife Louisa and four of their children.

The 1911 census taken at 126 Camden Road,Tunbridge Wells records Robert Giles, age 50, a nurseryman.Living with him is his wife Louisa and four of their children namely Robert George Victor,age 22, a nurseryman; William,age 19, a sign writer; May,age 24, a domestic and Frederick,age 16 a gardener. The 1911 census records that of the eight children born to the couple two of them had died.The census also records they were living in five rooms and had been married 25 years.

Robert Giles wife Louisa Alberta Giles passed away January 1912 in Tunbridge Wells and was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Cemetery on January 19th.

On January 17,1914 Robert married Harriett Emma Cross, a spinster born in 1878. Robert was identified in the marriage record as a widow with the occupation of nurseryman and florist then resideing at 126 Camden Road. The couple were married at St Mary Lewisham and his wife was a resident of Lewisham. The parents of the couple were identified as Robert Giles (deceased) railway porter, and William James Cross (deceased) a tradesman.

Since a 1922 Kelly gives “Robert Giles,florist, 126 Camden Road” it is very likely that at the time of the 1911 census that Robert Giles was operating a florist shop at 126 Camden Road and that many of the flowers he sold there were raised at his nursery.His sons Robert and Frederick both assisted their father in the family nursery/florist business.

A 1939 directory gave the following listing for Sandhurst Park “ R. Giles (E.P. Burnand, prop.) nurseryman. Details about Mr E.P. Burnand is given in the last section of this article. It is also interesting to note that Sandhurst Park at that time was a popular spot for nurseries for in addition to Mr Giles nursery was listed in the same directory two others. One was the world famous orchid nursery of Thomas Armstrong at ‘Orchidhurst’, Sandhurst Park, operating under the name of Armstrong and Brown and the second one was that of George Israel Adams Ltd. Details about Thomas Armstrong can be found in my article ‘The Armstrong & Brown Nursery in Sandhurst Park’ dated January 18,2015. The nursery of George Israel Adams will be a topic of a future article. Shown opposite is a 1909 OS map of the area on which ‘Orchidhurst’ is labelled (top right) and on the road Sandhurst Park ,  are two nurseries(bottom left), one being Robert Giles “Gordon Nursery” and the other the nursery of George Israel Ltd. These nurseries are shown in black on this map.

How long Robert Giles operated his business is not known to the researcher but obviously he was still in business in 1939 and one can expect that the business ended at the time of his death.

Robert Giles passed away in Tunbridge Wells April 27,1939 and was at the time of his death a resident of 17 Dudley Road.Probate records indicate that he left an estate of about 1,300 pounds to his wife Harriett Emma Giles.Robert was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery on May 2,1939.

The probate record for Harriett Emma Cross gave her of 17 Dudley Road,Tunbridge Wells, a widow, who died October 11,1960 at the Kent & Sussex Hospital.Probate was to William Arthur Giels, a sign writer, and Alice Sarah Cross,spinster.She left an estate valued at about 1,700 pounds. The William Arthur Giles referred to is the same William Giles from the 1911 census at 126 Camden Road where  his occupation is given as “sign writer” the same as that given  in the probate record of 1960.Harriet was buried in the Tunbridge Wells Borough Cemetery.

ROBERT GEORGE VICTOR GILES        

Robert was the eldest son of Robert Giles and was born in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1889. He was living with his parents in Tunbridge Wells at the time of the 1911 census at 126 Camden Road. In 1913 he married Mabel Pillings in Tunbridge Wells but the couple had no children. In 1914 he enlisted for service at Maidstone as a private and was killed in the war while with the Labour Corps on August 19,1917.  He is remembered on the St James Church Lynch Gate (photo opposite) and on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial on Mount Pleasant Road (photo below), a photo identified as card 10 by local photographer Harold H. Camburn.

Robert was most often referred to as Victor , Several years ago I prepared transcriptions of all the names recorded on the Tunbridge Wells War Memorial and below is the one I prepared for Robert.

“V. GILES...........[Victor George Robert].......Given in the milirary records as V.G.R. Giles.He was a Private(#47707) with the 16th Labour Coy The Queens Own Royal West Surrey Regiment who was transferred to (74167) 124th Coy. Victor died in Belgium August 19,1917 at age 28. He is recorded at the Brandhoek New Military Cemetery No. 3 (I.B.6). He was the husband of Mabel Giles,nee Pillings of 23 Stone St., Tunbridge Wells. His full and correct  name was Robert George Victor Giles born 1889 in Tunbridge Wells, one of seven children born to local nursery owner Robert Giles(1860-1939) and Louisa Alberta Giles (1860-1912). He married Mabel Pillings in Tunbridge Wells in 1913 and the couple had no children. At the time of the 1911 census he was working with his father as a nurseryman and in that year he was living with his parents and three siblings in 5 rooms at 126 Camden Road. He had enlisted for service in Maidstone in 1914.His name is also given on the Lynch Gate at St James Church in Tunbridge Wells. “









          Shown above is a photograph of his headstone and the cemetery he was buried in.

E.P. BURNAND

As noted above a gentleman by the name of E.P. Burnand was given in a 1939 directory under the listing “R. Giles (E.P. Burnand, prop.) nurseryman. Mr Burnand  must have been in charge of running the nursery in Sandhurst Park while Mr Giles took care of the overall business and the operation of his florist shop on Camden Road.

His full name was Edward Peter Burnand, and he had been born March 6,1905 at Wallington,Surrey. He was the son of Osmond Tom Burnand and Ethel May Grant and one of five children in the family. The 1911 census, taken at 76 Ross Road at ‘Ivydene’ in Wallington,Surrey, recorded Osmond Burnand as born 1879 in Wallinton and running a cotton lace agents business. Living with him was his wife Ethel, their son Edward Peter Burnand and one servant. The family were living in 7 rooms and Edwards parents had been married seven years and at that time had only the one child.

On May 17,1933 he married Sarah Ann Woodhall. Sarah had been born December 4,1896 in 39 Water Street, Manchester and was the daughter of George Woodhall and Ann Lloyd. She had first married Trevanion Nicholas Hugo, the son of Thomas Hugo and Elena Lucy Dorthy Leathlad and with her first husband had a daughter Eleanor, born March 1,1928 at Bury, Lancashire. Why the marriage ended is not known. Her marriage to Edward Peter Burnand produced a son John Herbert Burnand who was born December 26,1935.

Sarah Ann Burnand died January 1976 in Yeovill. It is not known when Edward died but there is a record for the death of an Edward P. Burnand, born 1905, in December 1966 at Wincanton,Somerset.

 

Directories of 1946 gave two listings for him in Tunbridge Wells. The first was “E.P. Burnad, nurseryman, Gordon Nursery, Sandhurst Park” and the second “ E.P. Burnand, 3 Longmeads, Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells. Directories of 1948 to 1954 gave his at 3 Longmeads Rd, Rusthall and for 1955 to 1964 he was at 18 Stre Park,Felbridge, E. Grinstead.

THE PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO OF SIMS & BERTIN

Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: September 17,2017

INTRODUCTION 

The photographic studio of Sims and Bertin was located at “The Grange” on Grosvenor Road. The business was formed in 1873 as a partnership between photographer Edward Sims  and Monsier Louis Bertin.  The partnership however was short lived for in May 1874 it was dissolved and the two photographers went their separate ways. Edward Sims remained in Tunbridge Wells and when he retired his studio, referred to as the Alpha Studio on Grosvenor Road, was taken over by photographer Robert Everest.  Louis Bertin left Tunbridge Wells right after the partnership ended  and for most of his remaining life operated a successful studio at 88 King’s Road in Brighton, initially on his own but by 1883 as Bertin & Collier but his partnership was dissolved in 1885. By 1886 Bertin was in financial difficulties and in early 1887 he vacated his studio on Kings Road, which studio became that of George C. Melville of Manchester and later came into other hands.

This article presents information about the Sims and Bertin families and their business relationship in Tunbridge Wells. In addition some examples of their photographic work in the form of studio CDV’s is given. Both men were skilled studio photographers and a number of Important people had their photographs taken by them, such as Thomas Halliday Barker (1818-1889) who for most of his career was the working secretary of the United Kingdom Alliance (a Temperance Movement organization). Barker lived and worked in Manchester but he had come to Tunbridge Wells  in 1874 to meet with the members of the local Temperance Movement branch of the Alliance.

Shown above is a Sims & Bertin CDV which on the back has the name of the sitter handwritten as " Fred Curtiss (father)".

MONSIER LOUIS BERTIN 

Nothing is known about his early life apart from information about him and his family from census and directory listings. It is known that he was born in France about 1827. His birth was given as 1827 in the 1871 census, and 1828 in the 1881 census. Although no photograph of Louis himself is known to exist, shown opposite is a sketch of him that appeared in an article about his studio in Brighton (after 1874) entitled ‘The Book of Brighton-as it was and as it is’ by Charles H. Ross (1882).

He had been married in France circa 1853. His wife, from 1871 census was given as Eugene Bertin, born 1832 in France and as Eugenia Bertin , born 1833 in France in the 1881 census. Only one child is known to have been born to the couple, namely Marie Bertin in France in either 1854 (1871 census) or 1856 (1881 census).

No immigration records for the family travelling from France to England as a family unit were found but their appearance in England from various sources suggests they left France and arrived at Southampton sometime after 1862 (no 1861 census for them was found) and before 1871.

The earliest census record for the family was that of 1871, taken a No. 6 The Pavement, Clapham Common where Louis was listed as a photographer and a tobacconist. With him was his wife Eugene and his daughter Marie. One domestic servant was also present. Shown opposite is a photo of Marie Bertin, as labelled on the back, taken by her father at his studio in Brighton.

In 1872, Louis Bertin exhibited four photographs at the 17th Annual Exhibition of the Photographic Society of London. Two of the four exhibits were portraits, both of which were entitled "Portrait of a Lady". Louis Bertin became a Member of the (Royal) Photographic Society in December 1872. Bertin went on to exhibit three more portraits at the 19th Annual Exhibition the Photographic Society of Great Britain held at the Suffolk Street Gallery, Pall Mall, in October 1874.

Around 1873, Louis Bertin entered into a business partnership with the photographer Edward Sims (born c1838, Swansea) and together they briefly ran a portrait studio in Tunbridge Wells under the name of Sims & Bertin. The partnership between Louis Bertin and Edward Sims was dissolved in May 1874. Shortly after leaving Edward Sims' studio in Tunbridge Wells, Louis Bertin moved to the seaside resort of  Brighton, where he established a photographic portrait studio in  King's Road.

Bertin's studio at 88 Kings Road, Brighton, was located above a china shop, situated between two lodging houses on Brighton's seafront, near Kings Road's junction with Russell Street. Bertin's business premises was only three doors' away from John J. E. Mayall's long established photographic portrait studio at 91 King's Road and a short distance from the Grand Hotel at 99 King's Road, Brighton. Shown opposite is a photo by Bertin of Thomas Thorne in late 1870’s which is part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Louis Bertin is listed as a professional photographer at 88 Kings Road, Brighton, in the Trades section of Kelly's Post Office Directory of Sussex, published in 1874. When the census was taken on 3rd April 1881, Louis Bertin and his family were recorded at the living quarters attached to Bertin's photographic portrait studio at 88 Kings Road, Brighton. Louis Bertin is described on the census return as a fifty-three year old, French-born "Photographer". Residing with Monsieur Bertin at 88 Kings Road was his forty-eight year old wife Madame Eugenie Bertin, their twenty-five year old daughter Marie Bertin, who is described as an "Artist", and Margaret Thomson, a thirty-five year old servant from Ireland.

Louis Bertin had entered into a business partnership with the artist Alexander Collier before the end of 1883. Presumably, Bertin's new partner in the studio of Bertin & Collier was Alexander Collier (born 1845, Edinburgh), an artist who occasionally worked as a "Miniature Painter".  Further details about Alexander Collier can be found on the sussex photohistory website. From that website is shown opposite  the front and back of a Bertin & Collier CDV.

The publicity printed on the reverse of cartes-de-visite produced at Bertin's studio in King's Road between 1883 and 1884 describe Bertin & Collier as "Photographers and Miniature Painters".  The partnership between Louis Bertin and Alexander Collier was dissolved on 26th January 1885.

Monsieur Bertin operated as a portrait photographer at 88 Kings Road, Brighton for about twelve years. Louis Bertin is recorded as a "Photographic Artist" at 88 Kings Road for the last time in Page's 1886 Directory of Brighton. The last trade directory entry for Louis Bertin coincided with the first appearance of his daughter, Marie Bertin, in the list of Brighton photographers. Miss Bertin is recorded as the proprietor of a photographic studio at 42a Cannon Place, Brighton, only hundreds of metres from her father's studio on the seafront.Shown opposite is a Louis Bertin photo of Andrew Halliday Duff, which is part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Louis Bertin disappears from British records after 1886. The year 1886 might mark the year of Louis Bertin's death, his retirement from photography or his return to France. Louis Bertin's demise is not recorded in the death registrations compiled for the years between 1885 and 1920 and his name does not appear in the index of names for the census returns completed in 1891, 1901 or 1911. No record of his wife or daughter were found either after 1886.

By the end of 1886, Louis Bertin was in financial difficulties. David Webb has discovered a County Court judgement, dated 10th December 1886, which shows Louis Bertin with debts totalling £22 18s 2d.  Early in 1887, Bertin vacated  88 Kings Road and the studio became the Brighton branch of the photography firm George C. Melville of Manchester. By the summer of 1887, the studio at  88 Kings Road, Brighton, had been acquired by  Cellerier's Syndicate (Limited), later known as the Photographic Company Limited. Cellerier's Syndicate, headed by solicitor Edward William Parkes (1850-1923) had recently purchased Robert Vernon Heath's photography business in London and by July 1887, the firm had taken over Bertin's former studio at 88 Kings Road, Brighton. On 25th November 1887, Cellerier's Syndicate changed its name to the Photographic Company Limited, but the studio at 88 Kings Road did not carry this name for very long. Edward William Parkes,  the chief promoter of the Photographic Company Limited, was declared bankrupt in April 1888 and then jailed when a fraud involving his photographic company was discovered. Around 1889, the studio at  88 Kings Road, Brighton passed to photographer Edmund John Passingham (1841-1927).

The sussex photohistory website provides an excellent article about Bertin with several examples of his photographs taken at his various studios.

EDWARD SIMS (1831-1914)

Details about Edward Sims and his brother Thomas Sims, both well- known photographers, who operated photographic businesses in Tunbridge Wells, were given in my article ‘ The Photographic Careers of Edward and Thomas Sims’ dated March 1, 2012.

This information presented in this section is a brief overview of the original and much longer article. Several examples of photographs by Edward and Thomas Sims were presented in the aforementioned article and for that reason none are given here. What is given in the way of photographs are examples of Sims & Bertin Photos.  The front and back of one of these is shown opposite and is a portrait of Thomas Halliday Barker who was born in Peterborough, Northamptonshire July 6,1818 and who for most of his career worked in Manchester as the secretary of the United Kingdom Alliance (Temperance Movement). This photo was taken at the Sims& Bertin Studio in the spring of 1874 when Mr Barker was in Tunbridge Wells to meet with representatives of the local Temperance Movement branch of the Alliance. An excellent account about Mr Barker can be found in the book ‘ The Comprehensive History of the Rise and Progress of the Temperance Movement from the earliest period to September 1881’ by P.T. Winskill.

Edward Sims was born about 1831 at Swansea,Glamorgan,Wales.His father,who worked as a builder,was Thomas Sims,born about 1800 at Bristol,Glamorgan,Wales and his mother was Jane Sims born in about the same year as her husband at Swansea. Edward Sims had a brother Thomas Sims, born 1826 at Glamorgan, Wales, who went on to be an accomplished photographer in Tunbridge Wells and who for a time worked in the town with his brother.

Edward and Thomas Sims were living with their parents at Neath, Glamorgan Wales at the time of the 1841 census. In 1847 Thomas Sims left the family home and in that year Edward and his parents were in Swansea. Edward was working for his father as an assistant builder

By 1861 Edward left home and struck out on his own to persue a career as a photographer and arrived in Tunbridge Wells in 1864.He is found in a directory for 1867 working as a photographer at premises on London Road.In the 1871 census Edward is found at #15 St John's Road working as a photographer.Living with him is his wife Letitia F. Sims who had been born 1822 at Moorfields,London,Middlesex.Also in the household was one servant.Edwards brother Thomas Sims,by now a respected photographer in his own right,moved from London to Tunbridge Wells in 1868 and worked first with his brother on St James Road and later in Grosvenor Park.

In 1873 Edward Sims and well known photographer Louis Bertin went into partnership and opened their portrait studio on St John's Road.They ran their business under the name of Sims & Bertin but the arrangement did not last long for the partnership was dissolved in May1874 and the two photographers went their seperate ways. In their studio they photographed adults and children and family pets. An 1874 directory listed Edward Sims as a photographer at #41 St. John's Road.

Edwards marriage to Letitia was a short one for she passed away sometime between the time of taking the 1871 census and 1874,for In April 1874 Edward took a second wife,Elizabeth,who he married at Swansea,Glamorgan,Wales.

Sometime after 1874 and at least a few years before 1880 Edward Sims moved to 40 Grosvenor Road where he established a portrait studio and at this studio both he and his brother Thomas produced high quality Carte-de Viste portaits.Their studio was well equipped with all the best photographic equipment and props for staging the set where the portraits were taken. Together the brothers did a good business and examples of their work can be often found.

David Robert Everest (1852-1925) acquired the portrait studio of Sims at 40 Grosvenor Road by 1880 .This studio was named the Alpha Studio,a name given to it I believe by Everest rather than by Sims. Shown opposite is the back of a CDV noting the above. Everest was born in Tunbridge Wells and operated a studio in the town until 1881 when he sold his business to photographer Henry Jenkins(1838-1921) and moved to Worthing where he set up a new studio at Bath Place.I have written about the photographic careers of both Everest and Jenkins before so I will not go into more detail here except to show  below a photo of the Alpha Studio on Grosvenor Road.

It is noteworthy to indicate that among the photographs held by the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library are two works attributed to Edward Sims. The first is of then alderman Charles Robert Fletcher Lutwidge who was the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells from 1895 to 1898.The second photograph is of Hori Pink who was the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells from 1891 to 1893.

Edward Sims life and career is sketchy after 1880 for no record of him is found in the 1881 census but it is known at this time that his brother Thomas was in 1881 on Prospect Road,Tunbridge Wells working as an artist and  teacher of drawing but there is no indication that he had a photographic studio there.

The census of 1891 taken at St Briavels,Gloucestershire at Hill House records Edward Sims born 1829 Swansea,Glamorgan as a photographic artist. St Briavels in 1891 was a small village with a population of only 1,112 in the civil and another 580 in the ecclesiastical parish and the general enterprise of the area was farming.Living with Edward  is his wife Elizabeth,born 1847 at Tunbridge Wells and their four children,the birth locations of which show that Edward Sims had moved about considerably since leaving Tunbridge Wells. Their children were Constance,born 1878 at Rotherfield,Sussex,Gertrude,born 1880.Crowborough,Sussex,William,born 1884,Sutton,Surrey and George,born 1887 Sutton Surrey.Also in the househild is Edwards sister-in-law Mary J, Burrows born 1844 in Tunbridge Wells.There is no record of Edward Sims being in St Briavels in the 1887 directory for that place so he and his family must have moved again.

The 1901 census taken at 36 Prospect Street in Southborough,Kent recorded Edward Sims working as a photographer "on own account at home".With him is his wife Elizabeth and  their children Constance,Gertrude and George.Constance,now 23, is living on own account at home with an occupation associated with "machine".Her sister Gertrude,age 21, is working in the career of nursing and George,age 14, has the same occupation as his sister Constance.

The last record for Edward Sims is a notice of death.The probate records show "Edward Sims of 29 Victoria Street,Basingstoke Hampshire,died March 16,1914.He died with an estate of just over 151 pounds that was left to his wife Elizabeth.Based on a birth date of 1831 this would have made Edward 83 years of age at the time of his death.

 

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