Thursday, 22 October 2020

Save Walden House!

I have just discovered proposals by the Duke of Westminster's Grosvenor Estates to demolish Walden House in the City of Westminster. This is part of a wider scheme of a comprehensive residential-led mixed-use redevelopment, including demolition of Kylestrome House, Lochmore House, Laxford House, Stack House, Walden House and structures attached to Coleshill Flats in Pimlico.
Why am I posting this in my "Family history musings" blog, I hear you ask? Well, Walden House is named after my 1st cousin.  Sir Robert Woolley WaldenI have posted about him before more than once. Born in Spalding, the son of a baker and grandson of a carpenter, a Chemist by profession, he was an unsung champion for the plight of the poor in late Victorian and Edwardian London. 

<a title="Danrok, CC BY-SA 4.0 &lt;;, via Wikimedia Commons" href=",_London.JPG"><img width="512" alt="Walden House, London" src=""></a>
Walden House
Credit Danrok, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The development of Walden House by Westminster City Council commenced in 1921 and was formally opened on 19 May 1924 after Sir Robert personally brokered a deal with the Duke of Westminster to donate the land to the City Council. The development of 40 flats was reserved for families with children living at home and includes a rear courtyard to serve as a playground for children. This proposition is entirely in keeping with Sir Robert's efforts to improve the welfare of underprivileged children, evidenced by his Mayoral appeal to raise funds for necessitous children whilst Mayor of the City of Westminster, his wife Jessie's work with St George's Row School in Pimlico, and the Whyteleafe Secondary School and his legacy to Spalding Grammar School that established the "Walden Prize" for the pupil to have made the most progress in a School Year, to mention just a few examples.

Walden House to this day is used for the purpose for which it was intended, but remarkably is not a listed building, as Grosvenor Estates were able to obtain a 5 year block on an application for listing by virtue of s.6 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. However, a statue in the courtyard known as the Arnrid Johnston Obelisk is listed . The listing was achieved in October 2018, and one wonders whether if there had not been a block on the listing of the building, whether that to might have been listed.,_Walden_House,_Pimlico.JPG
Arnrid Johnston Obelisk
Ham II, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The listing of the Arnrid Johnston obelisk describes it as the most significant surviving sculptural work by the Swedish born artist and specifically refers to a weathered inscription on the plinth of the obelisk which refers to the fact that  Walden House 
was built on land given over by the Duke of Westminster. It really must have been very impressive when it was new judging by a photograph held in the archives of the V & A  - it seems very apt that a Swedish born artist should be involved in this testament to Sir Robert's memory given that his first Knighthood was granted by the King of Sweden.

Fortunately because the statue is listed, it has to be relocated in the new redevelopment should it proceed, but as the statue refers specifically to Walden House, surely that too should be saved and restored for future generations, and continue to be used to house families with children?

Whilst the building has seen better days, it represents in bricks and mortar a visual testament of everything that Sir Robert Woolley Walden wanted to achieve; a move away from unsanitary housing and the slums that existed in this part of the City of Westminster before Walden House was built. Unlike those , Walden House is simply lacking some tlc. Instead of knocking it down, Grosvenor Estates and the City of Westminster should be looking to restoring the building in time for it's centenary anniversary. That way it can continue to provide a home for families who, through no fault of their own, risk falling into the gaps in society that result in necessitous children that Sir Robert spent his whole career seeking to fill.

Given that it is accepted that Sir Robert brokered the deal that enabled Walden House to be built, I call on Grosvenor Estates and the City of Westminster City Council to explain how the demolition of Walden House lives up to the terms of that original deal between Sir Robert and the Duke of Westminster.

I have signed a petition calling for a halt to these proposals and I hope you will do likewise. To keep up to date with what is happening with this, the campaign has a Twitter feed and a Facebook page . I hope that you will offer them your support. 

I hope it can be saved, restored and perhaps even renamed. Throughout his life he used his full name Robert Woolley Walden. It is through his mother's Woolley family that we are related. If they had named it Woolley Walden House, then I would have been aware of the building and have ensured it's place in the wealth of material I have collated on his life. Now I am aware, it will be recalled no matter what those who have forgotten why the building was built might decide to do.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Ketchup, Mustard, Peas and Elections - all in the life of Mary Farrow

Over the years I have written much about my Great Grandfather William Morton Bailey and his Peterborough horsebus company - one such piece was on the Rootsweb messaging mailing lists in 2007. I had a head start in my research into my Great Grandfather's business activities thanks to the surviving members of the Peterborough Farrow family who were his cousins as they provided their personal memories of him to G D Austin for his book on Peterborough Tramways published by the Peterborough Arts Council in 1975, now long out of print.

The Farrow family themselves are remembered in Peterborough history as a couple of them were Mayor's of Peterborough, but few today would be able to link them up with the tins of Marrowfat Processed Pea's available on our supermarket shelves, but before the War the Farrow name would have been as commonplace as Colmans', yet everyone has forgotten - even members of the Farrow family. Therefore as well as researching my ancestors, I have "adopted" the Farrow business into my research to return the favour made by those Farrow cousin's all those years ago.

Through census returns I have been able to follow the fortunes of Joseph Farrow (1816-1898) whose wife Rebecca was the sister of my GG Grandmother Susanna Allcock was recorded in the 1841 census as an Ag Lab, and then in following censuses as a Ketchup Brewer, Ketchup Manufacturer before reaching the elevated status of "Gentleman" on the 1891 census, but I have not until now been able to establish a timeline for the Company's history until now. 

It seems that it was Joseph Farrow's son's wife (also Joseph -1850-1939) Mary Farrow nee Cragg who really developed the business.

Let me allow Liberal MP for South West Norfolk (1895 to 1924), Sir Richard Winfrey take the story forward by way of his personal reflection of Mary Farrow after her death which appeared in the Boston Guardian on 22 May 1926.

The Late Mrs Joseph Farrow – An Appreciation By Sir Richard Winfrey  

It is now over forty years since I first came to know the late Mrs Farrow, and as years have gone by I have more and more come to appreciate what a remarkable personality she was – quite one of the most remarkable women I have ever met. Brought up a small farmer’s daughter at Sutton St James (I remember her father and mother Mr and Mrs Cragg, quite well), she achieved by most determined industry and considerable intellectual ability, spread over many years, a position for herself in the industrial world, which was the admiration of all who knew her.

She started her married life with Mr Farrow, who was a saddler and harness maker at Whaplode Drove, and it was there I believe, she began to make ketchup sauce from the mushrooms which abound on the grass lands of that district. When I came to know her first in 1885, the family had moved to Holbeach, and there in a building which had once been a brewery, both she and her husband extended the ketchup business until it became quite and important trade with customers all over the country. The connection thus made with condiment retailers led to the pregnant idea of also manufacturing mustard.

I remember so well on my first visit to them (in company with Mr Halley Stewart, who was just commencing his election campaign, and he had no more enthusiastic supporters than Mr and Mrs Farrow), with what pride Mrs Farrow showed us in an outhouse the first stamp erected for the crushing of the mustard seed. At that time she had one man working, and she was quickly learning from him (I believe he had once been employed by Colman’s) all the methods of mixing and making the mustard of commerce, as we know it on our tables. “Why” said Mrs Farrow “should Colman’s and Keen’s have the monopoly of mustard?”

It will be easily understood that the initial difficulties of manufacture, and the subsequent efforts of getting the article on to the market in the face of the keen competition of established firms, with a large amount of capital and prestige at their backs, was no little achievement. But by steady perseverance and very hard work, Mr and Mrs Farrow achieved their object, and in a few years the premises at Holbeach became too small for their expanding business. They then purchased a large house and granary at Boston, which was converted into a factory, and progress became even more rapid.

On one occasion I remember calling, and found Mrs Farrow setting up type from a printer’s case, with two or three boys around her. She said “ I am tired of paying the price printers charge me for my labels for the mustard tins, so I am starting my one printing” and she herself first learnt all there was to know about the art of printing, and then taught her staff. The next time I called she was installing machinery to make her own mustard tins. She said: “I am tired of paying the price they charge me for this!” and so by her energy and foresight every department was developed and extended.

Mr Farrow did his part “on the road” and soon they had their own commercials touring not only this country, but also abroad. Both Mr and Mrs Farrow travelled extensively on the Continent, and in America breaking fresh ground for Farrow’s Mustard.

Afterwards came the building of the large and well equipped factory at Peterborough, and Mr and Mrs Farrow took up their residence at “Westwood” on Thorpe Road. Into the more modern development of this great business I need to enter, for the present generation have watched its growth as I have, with admiration.

The pea business, which is now so extensive, was I believed, added in the Boston days; anyway when one comes to look back on those small beginnings at Holbeach forty years ago, it shows that it was in those early days that the “master mind” was in evidence. It was the determination to master all difficulties by hook or by crook through long and patient months and years, that success was in the end achieved.

Mrs Farrow was certainly not an eight hours a day person, and amidst all her business activities she found time to help many good causes. She was an ardent temperance reformer, an active member of the Baptist body, and a convinced Liberal politician. I believe she used to say that she and I made our first political speeches together, at Sutton St James, in 1885. Certainly both she and Mr Farrow drove Mr Stewart and I on many journeys both in Fen and March during that memorable election.

Her family may well be proud of her distinguished record and achievement. She has lived to enjoy some years of retirement at Bowthorpe Hall, Wisbech, surrounded by her family and friends, to whom she has been ever so generous and kind.

So did Mary make money out of Mustard? You bet. Her estate was valued for probate at the sum of £41,408 15s 10d - about £2.5m in today's terms. It is therefore perhaps not a coincidence that between 1887 and 1918, until parliamentary boundary changes that Spalding had a Liberal MP as the local Liberals must have had a great local champion. 

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Sir Robert Woolley Walden Obituary

On the death of Sir Robert Woolley Walden, my first cousin three times removed several obituaries appeared. This one from the Surrey Mirror of 16 August 1929 is particularly interesting as it gives an insight to the later years of his life:-

SIR R. WOOLLEY WALDEN. DEATH OF PROMINENT RESIDENT OF WARLINGHAM the death of Sir Robert Woolley Walden. Bart., C.8.E., D.L., J.P., a prominent resident of Surrey, and one who had taken great part in public life, has passed away. The deceased gentleman, who was 75 years of age, had been ill for a considerable time, and died on Wednesday morning at his home. “Bella Vista.’’ Westhall Road. Warlingham. Sir Robert had been for many years associated with the public life of London, and especially the Westmister area. 

When the Westminster City Council was formed in 1900, he was one of the first elected members, and he advanced to the office of Alderman, and was elected Mayor for 1908-09. Altogether he was a member of the Council for twenty years. He was a member of the Board of Guardians for St. George. Hanover Square, for twenty-one years, and had filled the office of Chairman. He was also a member of the Metropolitan Asylums Board for twenty-one years, and for six years of that time he occupied the position of Chairman. was a magistrate for the County of London, and was a member of the London County Licensing Committee. Thus he devoted a vast amount of what should have been his leisure time to the service of the public. 

Amongst other positions he held was that of a member of the Metropolitan Water Board, and he was Chairman of the Water Examination Committee. His work as a Poor Law administrator was recognised when he was elected President of the Metropolitan Poor Law Conference from 1915 to 1917. During the war he took an active part in the Volunteer movement, and was a member and Deputy Chairman of the Military Appeal Tribunal for the County of London. He was also a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of London. His public services were recognised in 1921, when was given a Knighthood. 

When Sir Robert took up his residence in Warlingham. about seventeen years ago, he was still a member of the authorities mentioned, and though they demanded great deal of his time, he soon began to take an interest in local government and other affairs in and around the district of his residence. In 1913 he was candidate for the Oxted Division of the Surrey County Council which embraces Warlingham), but he was little known in the locality at that time and was not successful at the polling. However, he continued to identify himself with the public life of the district, and several years ago was elected member of the Godstone Rural District Council and board of Guardians, in April, 1921, reelected in 1924, and retired in 1927. 

He took a very keen and active interest in the work, and his experience of public service elsewhere enabled him to frequently offer sound advice. “Bella Vista” being very close to Whyteleafe, Sir Robert associated himself with the life the people in that parish, as well as in Warlingham. He was a generous supporter of the various organisations that exist in connection with the welfare of the people, and he was specially interested in the work the Whyteleafe Parish Church. For several years he was a member of the Parochial Church Council, having been re-elected at the annual meeting in March last. 

When the scheme was started recent years for providing a public recreation ground in Whyteleafe, Sir Robert at once identified himself with the movement, and besides contributing towards the fund took active part promoting success that attended the effort to secure the ground. In politics Sir Robert was a Conservative. and for some years had held the position of President of the Whyteleafe Conservative and Unionist Association. Sir Robert was born at Spalding, and was educated at the Grammar School there and at Leamington. He settled in Westminster in business chemist. He married, in 1904. Jessie May, daughter of the late Mr. Samuel Edwards, of Stafford. She died in 1918. The funeral will take place to-day (Saturday), at Whyteleafe Parish Church, at 11.45 a.m. 

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Twice a Knight

There is one member of my family tree,who has taken up more of my time in research than anyone else. My First Cousin 3 times removed Robert Woolley Walden. Or as I refer to him Spalding's forgotten Knight. 

He was born in  1851 in Spalding, Lincolnshire to parents Mark and Mary nee Woolley. Mark was a widowed baker at residing on London Road, Spalding.  Robert was educated at Spalding Grammar School and went on to Leamington College.

Premises of Walden, Chymist - listed by Westminster City Council

He gained professional qualifications and registered with the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain on 22 May 1872. Little is known of his early career, but by the 1885, he had established his own business at 65 Elizabeth Street, Westminster, London, SW1. The shop front is listed, and the business still trades under his name today.

So what did Robert Woolley Walden become "Sir" and why was he "Twice a Knight".

Knight of Sweden

He was first Knighted in 17th November 1908 by the King of Sweden, being appointed Officer first class of the "Royal Order of Vasa". This was the year that he was Mayor of the City of Westminster and after making enquiries with the Archivist at the Swedish Royal Court, I was provided with the following information.

King Gustaf V & Queen Victoria of Sweden made a state visit to Great Britain in the Autumn of 1908. During their visit 15 Royal Swedish Orders and 4 medals were awarded to British Citizens. On 18th November the Royal couple arrived from Windsor to Paddington station where they proceeded to the guildhall in London. At Oxford Circus the Royal couple received addresses from the Mayor's of Westminster, Marylebone and Holborn. The address given by Robert Woolley Walden was as follows:-
We, the Mayor, Aldermen and Councillors of the City of Westminster beg on behalf of the Citizens, to accord your majesties a most hearty welcome on the occasion of your visit to our City.
We trust your visit to our beloved king, Queen and Country will strengthen still further the bond of friendship which exists between the Swedish and English Races. You have the happiness to rule over a law abiding and contented people, who though descended from a Nation of heroes, are yet lovers of peace.
We rejoice to note the great increase of commerce between the two nations of late years, and it is our earnest desire that your Majesties may have a long prosperous and peaceful reign.
Given under our Common Seal this 18th day of November 1908. 
(Swedish National Archives 1902 års dossiersystem, vol 3565 b) 
It was for this address that Robert Woolley Walden received his first Knighthood.

Knight of Great Britain

In 1913 Robert Woolley Walden was appointed Chair of the Metropolitan Asylums Board - the body responsible for running the healthcare services in the London for those with infectious diseases, the poor and the mentally ill. He was to retain this role until stepping down after the War in 1919. It was during the War that his name was first put forward for a British Knighthood. One proposer was Liberal Unionist MP for St Pancras South and Mayor of Westminster 1902-03, Herbert Jessel (later Lord Jessel) in a handwritten letter to Lord Walter Long.

My Dear Walter,
I am sorry to bother you but I believe that this is about the time that the lists are being prepared for January Honours. I enclose the dossier of R.W. Walden whom you know and who has been Chairman of the M.A.B. for the last four years. He has done yeoman service on the local bodies of Westminster & from the record you can see he has got to be head of every one. He is quite well off as he was in business as a chemist from which he retired, I believe, some years ago.
The real point about his case is that he is sixty two years of age and people do not get younger. What he wishes is to be made a Knight and I personally I think that he well deserves it. He was I believe cut out of the list last time – not the only one as you know.
I am still very busy here and there is always something new going on. Since July a process of counting (?) out and something like 1,200 recruits to be made into rough riders & grooms. Not an easy job with ex confectioners – bootmakers factory hands from the North of England bit it has to be done. We have had also to send two squadrons abroad. France & Salonika & this means replacing them. Now we have received orders to train & condition horses for artillery as the reserve Brigades are not able to send the required number. However it is all very interesting & our turn over is wonderful. Hope you are fit & well.
 Yrs ever H M Jessel P.S  Let me have a reply. I can send Walker though I sincerely hope that it will come off.
 (The Political Papers of Walter Hume Long, 1st Viscount Long of Wraxall, 1854-1924 
Wiltshire & Swindon Archives 947/772)

A typed dossier was enclosed:-

Robert Woolley Walden, J.P Co. London
Member for past 16 years. Present and for the fourth time Chairman of the Board.
The work of the board and the responsibility of its Chairman and officials has never in its past history been more onerous or of more importance. Since the outbreak of war all the Board’s resources have been placed at the disposal in relief movements of national urgency.
Member Appeal Tribunal, County of London, including City of London – Deputy Chairman at F Section.
 METROPOLITAN WATER BOARD – Member for 9 years and Present Chairman of Water Examination Committee. POOR LAW WORK:- President Metropolitan Poor Law Conference – 1915.
Has served 17 years as a Guardian and for the seven of them as Chairman of the Board (three times for St George Hanover Square Union).
In the fusion of the three Unions within the City of Westminster he took the inceptive part and was largely instrumental in bringing the amalgamation into being. The creation of the larger Union has affected an annual saving of from £40,000 to £50,000. He still, in the fourth successive year, holds that position.
Chairman of the Mental Defective Committee, County of London.

CITY OF WESTMINSTER. Elected a member of the first Council in 1900, and subsequently Alderman. Mayor – 1908-9. During his mayoral term important work fell to be done in connection with the re-organisation of the Territorial Force, and the movement for the feeding of Necessitous Children.
Knight of the Royal Order of the Vasa (Sweden).
 Held commission as Captain in 1st Volunteer Battalion Royal Fusiliers – Brigade Cyclist Officer. NATIONAL RESERVE. Is a member of the Joint Committee. 1916
 The response from Lord Long was typed and brief.
My Dear Herbert,
Many thanks for your letter. I had already included the name you mention on my list and I hope the result will be satisfactory this time.
I am very glad to hear you are getting on. You seem to be doing excellent work.
 Yours ever Col. Walter H Long
 As it was Robert Woolley Walden did not receive his British Knighthood until 4th June 1921. In doing so he was finally entitled to be known as Sir Robert.

How many other people received two knighthoods?

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Beagles' Postcards - BEST IN THE WORLD

We all have different hobbies. Mine is Family History. Whilst researching my family history I came across a man who contributed greatly to the collections of another hobby - postcard collecting.

John Beagles was not a collector of postcards - he was a publisher of them, and the firm that he founded published thousands of postcards that many postcard collectors will have in their collections.

I thought I would set down on record what I have discovered about him and also to pose the questions that I still have about his life.


John Beagles was born on 11 June 1844 in Whaplode Drove, Spalding, Lincolnshire. He was one of 7 children born to John & Jane Beagles. Jane was daughter of Thomas & Elizabeth Booth of Donington, Spalding, Lincolnshire  whilst John Senior was one of the large Beagles family in my tree and was a Butcher in the village.

I literally stumbled across John Beagles contribution to Postcard publishing quite by chance. 

Census Evidence

The 1861 census gives a clue that John seemed to be doing somewhat better academically than others in the Village School as he is shown as being a "Pupil Teacher" aged 16 (Class: RG9; Piece: 2326; Folio: 49; Page: 10; GSU roll: 542954) . The next sighting of him is on the 1881 census where he is found boarding at 40 Chippenham Road, Paddington, London aged 36 described as a "Photographic Publisher" (Class: RG11; Piece: 10; Folio: 6; Page: 6; Line: ; GSU roll: 1341002.).  A more definite clue that this man was worthy of further research. The 1891 and and 1901 censuses confirmed my hunch. In 1891 he was visiting the Household of Thomas W Stevenson a Printer living at 58 Cromwell Street, Nottingham (Class: RG12; Piece: 2691; Folio 61; Page 17; GSU roll: 6097801). Occupation given was still that of "Photographic Publisher" The final census finding is that of 1901 where he was living at 9 Rockley Road, Hammersmith, London (Class: RG13; Piece: 50; Folio: 156; Page: 44.) on his own. He is shown as an "Publisher & Printer" and this census provides the added information that he was an Employer. 

It was the census returns that led me to do a search on Google where I discovered that "Beagles Postcards" were widely traded on E-bay and elsewhere. 

A J Beagles & Co Ltd Postcard of Rudolf Valentino

Rear of a J Beagles & Co Ltd Postcard showing the trademark "Beagles' Post Cards BEST IN THE WORLD

When you come across something like this, it is natural to want to find out more. I contacted some postcard collectors and discovered that little was known amongst the postcard collecting fraternity at the time about the lives of the publishers themselves. It therefore seemed as if it would be down to me to find out more!

When you find someone in business during the C19th and early C20th the next logical step is to look at Trade Directories (the Yellow Pages of their day) and phone books. They help identify where the business was based and the years the business operated. The phone books showed that he had a telephone as early as 1902 (Tel No Hammersmith 1001) and that in 1903 he had premises at 9 Little Britain, Holborn, London (Tel No Holborn 4951) and that a J Beagles & Co business existed at 9 - 11 Little Britain for the next 30 years becoming a Limited Company in 1908,

Picture Postcards and Their Publishers" by Anthony Byatt, F.S.C.A., © 1978 by Golden Age Postcard Books, 28 St. Peter's Road, Malvern, Worcs, WR14 1QS, ISBN 095062120X. provides additional information about the concern.
This old-established company was already well-known for its photographic publishing at the turn of the century. Its postcards can traced back as far as 1903 when premises were occupied at 9 and 10 Little Britain, close to the Post office Headquarters in London, and overlooked St. Paul's Cathedral. By 1904 they had also taken over number 11 and many years later part of this same property was occupied by another postcard publisher, Moore and Dewdney, and their name was still visible above the dilapidated shop front in 1976. Beagles' became a limited company around 1908 and ceased to exist just before the beginning of World War 2. 
Beagles' were noted primarily for their postcard portraits of royalty. Real photographs or bromides, they covered almost every important personage and event for many years, recording weddings, births, deaths, various stages of the children's lives, and the dress and uniforms in which they and their parents appeared. Royalty from other countries also received some coverage. All are numbered, with a sequence of cards carrying a suffix lettered from A to Z.
At one time the firm boasted 5,000 different designs of famous actresses, including novelty cards, jewelled or spangled, luminous pearl cards and some in bas-relief. There is considerable range of action scenes from innumerable plays. An interesting series of skits in sets of six centred around some little children who imitated various key figures. "An Orchestral Rehearsal" issued in 1903 showed one of four years old as a musical director; a second set depicted a little girl as a judge in a Breach of Promise case, and another was called "The Doctor".
A set of "Celebrated Posters" appeared in 1903 and in 1907 a Louis Wain set was entitled "Matrimonial Cats". 1908 saw such varied issues as Leap Year cards, eight Empire Day cards for 24th May, and a set of twelve in colour called "Beautiful Women" drawn by the American artist Harrison Fisher.
The "Celebrity" series included literary figures, the clergy, musicians, politicians, scientists and many others. There was also an extensive series of exhibition cards, such as the British Empire Exhibition, Wembley."

The sale of postcards was a booming business in late Victorian and Edwardian times. They allowed a far clearer image of a theatrical actor, a member of royalty or a film star than any newspaper could expect to reproduce and were aimed at the masses - a bit like "OK magazine" today without the gossip. 

Did it pay? Well it may have done. John was able to live in a fine house in Hammersmith which still stands today and obviously finance a lease of business premises in Holborn, but his Will shows that he did not make a fortune. He died on 8 January 1907. He never married. He left his estate equally to his sister Harriet Booth Beagles and his nieces Eleanor Lucy Isabella Mary Beagles, Mabel Emily Beagles, Evelyn Lakin Beagles & Gladys Bells Beagles stipulating that should they marry any husband shall have control over the legacies. Executors were Thomas William Stevenson of 4 Burns St, Nottingham & Frank Handley Hopewell of 9 Shepherd Bush Road, Hammersmith. At Probate, Hopewell renounced his appointment. The value of the Estate was £554 15s 10d Gross, £182 5s 6d net.

Those with a keen eye will have noted that Thomas Stevenson was the printer who John Beagles was visiting in 1891.

J Beagles & Co Ltd

A J Beagles & Co Ltd postcard of American Actress Janet Gaynor

Rear of a J Beagles & Co Ltd postcard - still BEST IN THE WORLD
The Limited Company appears to have been formed as a direct result of John Beagles death. The reason was probably to allow the name to be used and also the "trademark" (I am still trying to establish whether it was a trademark in the normal sense. There should be a record of the Company at London Metropolitan Archives and that is still on my to do list. I have though established from the London Gazette that the Company was wound up on 18 July 1939. The Picture Post had been launched the year before and it is likely that this and similar quality printed magazines made the postcard obsolete when it came to presenting images of celebrities to the adoring fans. 

Unanswered Questions

A key one is where was John on the night of the 1871 census? This might help give a clue how he got into photography in the first place. I have been looking on the main census websites for a number of years. I also hope to be able to follow up information about the Limited Company and the relationship between Beagles & Stevenson, 

I am proud that a humble Butcher's son from the small village of Whaplode Drove in rural Lincolnshire was able to leave a legacy that postcard collectors are still aware of a century later and no doubt an archive of images some of which have no doubt been digitised and therefore will exist for centuries ahead. This piece is just about the man on the back of those postcards.

Relationship to me

John Beagles was my 1st cousin 3 times removed.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Memories of Denmark

Denmark 1972 - During my childhood my parents owned a Slide Projector. This resulted in many photographs being taken as slides. Not very practical to look at these days. I have recently purchased a scanner that will digitize slides, so I thought I would have ago with a collection of slide photos from a holiday taken in Denmark in 1972. I know it was 1972 as the date is shown on the card frame holder - this is what Kodak did.

Looking back, I can remember that we travelled on a DFDS ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg and stayed on a Farm. This was perhaps a novelty in those days and probably was attractive to my father who had retired from farming a few years earlier. I am sure it was a pig farm.

The Farm we stayed on

Me & the Farmers son

I know that we went to Legoland one day, and I can remember seeing the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. I am sure that we must a visited the Hans Christian Andersen Museum in Odense as I have a book published in 1971 entitled Hans Christian Andersen Tales (ISBN 87 7010 091 8) published by Flensted Publishers of Odense with illustrations by Gustav Hjortlund. Sadly none of the photos were of such memorable and well known places, but looking back some 43 years later the fact that they were not of locations that are probably unchanged makes them more important for historical reasons!

These photos were taken in a Danish Town that was having some form of festival. This is clear from the flowers adorning the streets, but where they were taken I have not got the foggiest - somewhere in Denmark! If anyone recognises the location, I would love to know!


Thanks to some detective work it has been established that the mystery town is in fact Ribe, on South Jutland which is the oldest town in Scandinavia. 

My Mother - camera shake courtesy of my father! Note the old SAAB!

A clearer image of this flower decked town somewhere in Denmark

A shopping street somewhere in Denmark. Was it pedestrianised or was the road closed to traffic?

A Danish Inn - I cannot make out the sign

The sign says Sparekasse - perhaps a clue?

The following set would all appear to be taken in the same square - this might aid identification.

A flower adorned carriage, but why? Note the retilling that appears to have been in progress

Your carriage awaits - but who for?

The same carriage is on the left, but this appears to be a brass band

The same band - I don't think they were playing

Three more photos - the first must be in the same town - the second two possibly.

Me aged 7 - I wander what became of the other children

The town appears to have a Watermill - this is me by a Waterwheel

My father & I. Note the Danish flags on the right - and is that a Renault 10?

The remaining ones are of more rural scenes, but perhaps contain vital clues as to where this town was.

This is a river - perhaps close to the sea looking at the fishing boats - there was a fair or circus on the opposite bank

Denmark is a series of islands - the larger ones are now linked by road bridge, but in those days you had to use a car ferry. The bus is heading to Sønderborg - perhaps a vital clue?

It is I. Trust me! I am leaning over a wall - perhaps that is the sea or a lake?

My father & I on a beach. Denmark is not known for it's beaches. Looks cold!

If anyone knows where these photo's were taken, please let me know. If any they depict scenes now lost and any Danish Local Historian would like a copy, please feel free to contact me.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Examples of documents being catalogued

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a large collection of legal documents salvaged from a builders skip was donated to the branch. Before handing over to Lincolnshire Archives, our aim is to record what each document is, the names in the document and details of any locations recorded in the document. This will result in an index for Family and Local historians to use in their research.
I thought I would post some more photo's of just a few of the documents in just one of many carrier bags full of documents to illustrate that the documents are varied, cover a wide date range and different parts of the County. 
The first two photos in this collection relate to the Probate of the Will of Mary Codd of Alford and is dated 1771 and mentions land in Markby and Sutton in the Marsh - the latter better known as Sutton-on-Sea.


The next three relate to a Conveyance from 1861 of Copyhold Estates in Long Sutton from John Bellamy of and others to John Clarke. Names beyond Lincolnshire are mentioned; the detail tells us that John Bellamy was living in Wisbech St Peter, Cambridgeshire and we also have reference to The Reverend William King of Stibbington  (then in Huntingdonshire). On the back we have a helpful hand drawn map showing the location of the land. It is likely that anything like that will be photographed for the record!
The next three relate to a Sale of land in Holbeach and surrounding villages in 1811 held at the Horse & Groom. Much of this is pre printed but nonetheless useful as the sale notice tells us the names of the owners and occupiers of the various parcels of land offered for sale.
There are quite a lot of documents relating to Adderley Howard of Long Sutton near Spalding. Below is part of an Appointment and release of Land in Spalding between the Hon. Selena Childers and John Walkbanks Childers to Adderley Howard in 1842.


Finally and a bit of a quiz. The last two photos relate to a Mortgage Surrender from 1826 between Mr & Mrs ???? Mr George Tickler. For the life of me I cannot make out the names of Mr & Mrs ???. The detail shows that his first name is John and that he lived in Spalding. It looks like "Kes" but this is where more than one pair of eyes is useful. 

If you have read this far I hope you can see that we have a wide and varied collection. A proper catalogue of what the documents relate to, who they relate to and where they relate to will be of use for Family and Local Historians in Lincolnshire and I suspect beyond. 
If you can spare an hour or two on Saturday 15th August at the Bourne United Reformed Church Hall, Spalding Road, Bourne, Lincs, PE10 9LE helping us with some of these documents it will help bring the index that we are working to fruition so much quicker. If you are unable to attend please share this post