Family of Joseph Barnes
date location record name description note
30 Mar 1851 14 Wetheringland Buildings, Whitehaven Census
Whitehaven, Cumberland
HO107/2436 f.247 p.36
Joseph Barnes head, mar., husbandman (Agricultural) 50, b. Cumberland, Sebergham
Ruth Barnes wife, mar. 45, b. Cumberland, Maryport
Elizabeth Barnes dau., unmar. 16, b. Cumberland, Maryport
7 Apr 1861 27 Irish St, Whitehaven Census
Whitehaven, Cumberland
RG9/3946 f.10 p.13
Joseph Barnes head, mar., husbandman 60, b. Cumberland, Sebergham
Elizabeth Barnes dau., unmar. 27, b. Cumberland, Maryport
Family of William Barnes sen.
date location record name description note
(14 Feb - 4 Apr) 1858 Hensingham, Whitehaven Birth William Barnes son of Joseph Barnes farmer

These details come from his marriage certificate; I can't find a birth certificate. There seems to have been something definitely irregular about the circumstances and as the following census entries show, William did not live with his natural family. (The 1861 census records several other families called Barnes living in Whitehaven but none of them include a young son called William.) Hensingham is only 2 km to the south of Whitehaven but in 1851 it was a separate village. Joseph's census records for both 1851 and 1861 show that he did not live in Hensingham itself. So if William was born there, it could be there was some reason for his mother to have moved away from Whitehaven.

It is quite possible that Joseph really was William's father but much less likely that Ruth was his mother. It also may be relevant that Ruth was not at home in 1861; possibly she had separated from her husband. (I can't find her in the census.) It could be that Elizabeth was actually William's mother; if so they would definitely not want to be seen with the child but equally would not want to abandon him but rather pay for him to live with another family.

7 Apr 1861 1 Barnyeats Court, Whitehaven Census
Whitehaven, Cumberland
Elizabeth Philipson head, mar., mariner's wife 51, b. Cumberland, Whitehaven
Martha Philipson dau., dressmaker 16, b. Cumberland, Whitehaven
Rachel Philipson dau. 14, b. Cumberland, Whitehaven
William Barnes boarder, scholar 3, b. Cumberland, Whitehaven
2 Apr 1871 Whitehaven Union Workhouse
Preston Quarter, Cumberland
RG10/5260 f.96 p.9
Wm Barns inmate, unm., scholar 14, b. Cumberland, Hensingham
4 Apr 1881 93 Duke St Census
Whitehaven, Cumberland
Sarah Frazer head, widow 55, b. Whitehaven
Elizabeth Frazer daughter, unmar., dressmaker 32, b. Whitehaven
William L. Barnes boarder, unmar., clerk, carting business 23, b. Hensingham, Cumbs
Elizabeth and Sarah also appear in the 1861 census; Sarah was already a widow and keeping a boarding house with 10 lodgers. She also had another daughter, Dinah, one year older than Elizabeth.
13 Feb 1882 Congregational church,
Marriage William Barnes
bachelor aged 23, accountant
son of Joseph Barnes, deceased, farmer
& Elizabeth Frazer
spinster aged 31, dressmaker
dau. of Robert Frazer, deceased, mariner
both of 9 Howgill St., Whitehaven
witnessed by William Hind, Margaret Bone and John Tomlinson (deputy registrar)
Elizabeth had broken her leg as a child and was left with a limp, so that she always used a crutch.
18 Feb 1888 Whitehaven, Cumberland Birth William Barnes daughter of William & Elizabeth (formerly Frazer) 41 Irish St.
6 Apr 1891 41 Irish St Census
Whitehaven, Cumberland
p.20, #121
William Barnes head, accountant, commission & insurance agent 33, b. Whitehaven
Elizabeth Barnes wife, dress/mantle maker 42, b. Whitehaven
Dinah Mary Barnes daughter 6, b. Whitehaven
William Barnes son 3, b. Whitehaven
Sarah Fraser mother in law 62, b. Whitehaven
7 Apr 1901 41 Irish St Census
Whitehaven, Cumberland
p.24, #150
Elizabeth Barnes head, widow, spinmaker working at home 52, b. Whitehaven
Dina M. Barnes daughter 16, b. Whitehaven
William Barnes son 13, b. Whitehaven

Dinah was apparently named after her mother's elder sister but she was known in the family as Mamie. She married William Collis, a jeweller and pawnbroker in Whitehaven and they had three sons, Cyril, Gerald and Clarence. Clarence died quite young; his widow Peggy corresponded with my mother. Much later my mother and I visited Cyril and his family in Whitehaven; William was still alive, a spry and likeable 80-year old. Gerald worked for Courtaulds and also was married with a family. I never met them.

Family of William Barnes jun.
date location record name description note
5 Jul 1910 Royal Pharmaceutical Society Registration William Barnes Chemist and Druggist, cert. no. 18062 4 Cross St., Whitehaven
WBarnes1.jpg (3K)

William qualified on the strength of a year's study in Edinburgh. He did not have funds to follow a longer course.

WBarnesSigEdinb.jpg (5K)

The signature is in a small textbook on Qualitative Analysis by J. J. Pilley, 5th edition 1904. It has a price of 3 shillings inside the front cover and is signed and dated twice, first 10/10/06 when William was 18. The text is annotated in several places, once in his handwriting but mostly another. The level of the content is not high, and it could have been used in school or for the first year of a university course. Perhaps he was given it to study by his employer while serving some kind of apprenticeship.

13 Sep 1913 Mountain Ash,
Marriage William Barnes
Bachelor of full age, chemist
son of William Barnes, deceased
& Mary Nicholls
Spinster of full age
dau. of James Nicholls, retired
29, Conway Road, Luton
Myrtle Villa, Campbell Terrace, Mountain Ash
witnessed by Thomas Nicholls, Christiania Mary Hill, Daniel Phillips
Mary was married from her aunt's home. The first two witnesses were Mary's brother and cousin.
Mary was in fact 33 and William 25; it seems they did not want to advertize this age difference. The declaration "of full age" was perfectly legal, though unusual.
15 Sep 1914 Luton, Bedfordshire Birth Masie Edwina Frazer Barnes dau. of William & Mary 29 Conway Rd. Luton
17 Jan 1915 Higham Gobion, Beds Baptism Masie Edwina Frazer Barnes dau. of William & Mary chemist
1917 R. P. S. records address (for correspondence and so may be home or work): Bank Chambers, George St, Luton.
George St Luton

Boots the Chemist had a branch in George St and I think William was the manager; if he was just an employee letters would more likely be sent to his home address, which was always Conway Road.

This view of George Street is copied from a picture postcard saved amongst the family photos, presumably because it had personal significance. It shows a branch of Boots, with the description (readable in the original) "Chemists and Stationers". The Corn Exchange has to be the church-like building in the centre of the picture and the town library can just be seen on the right.

It is fascinating to see that the picture shows no cars or lorries at all, just a single tram and one cyclist. It clearly is a workday because the shops have their awnings out and there are quite a few pedestrians. One man is wheeling a handcart in the middle of the road, probably delivering goods.

1919 R. P. S. records address William Barnes 29 Conway Rd. Luton working in London?
As I recall, my mother told me he was manager at a London branch of Boots for a time. Maybe he found this stressfull but at this time he began to drink heavily and his career went downhill.

Family group, about 1926: Mary, Lionel, Masie and William

W2MBarnesFam.jpg (74K)

At some time in the late 30's William developed pancreatitis and was operated on in a London hospital. (Much later, another doctor commented on the scar, saying "they didn't really know what they were doing at that time"!) He was ill for several months and only just fit at the time of Masie's wedding in 1939. The illness was actually very beneficial in one way - it scared him into sobriety.

1942 R. P. S. records address William Barnes 136 Hurst Grove, Bedford Wm and Mary lived with Masie, now a widow
1944 R. P. S. records address William Barnes 59a Kingshill Ave, Hayes, Mddx pharmacy of E Moss Ltd
1945 R. P. S. records address William Barnes 48 Douglas Rd, Luton again living with daughter
1946 R. P. S. records address William Barnes High St. Earl's Colne, Essex pharmacy of the local Co-op
MBarnes2NJB.jpg (7K)

William suffered a mild stroke in the summer of 1949 and although he recovered it was decided to move to Oxford and that my mother and I should live with my grandparents, in case of another emergency. So we all moved into the old house over the shop at 158 Cowley Rd; two houses really, since the shop spread across both fronts, but 160 was used for storage. The garden was also double and Mary used it all to grow her own vegetables. The photo shows me with Mary, holding a cat which used to visit the garden.

1950 R. P. S. records address William Barnes 160 Cowley Rd. Oxford pharmacy of C. Clayton (Oxford) Ltd.
1954 R. P. S. records William Barnes retired and so removed from the register
8 Jan 1956 Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford Death William Barnes 3 Stratford St, Iffley Rd, Oxford age 67, retired pharmacist
8 Aug 1973 Cowley Road Hospital, Oxford Death Mary Barnes Widow of William Barnes born 23 July 1880 in Newcastle Emlyn, Pembs. (actually Cards.)
Family of John Nichols
date location record name description note
7 Jun 1841 Pembrokeshire
Hamlet of St. Martins
HO107/1449/17; f7 p5
John Nichols, head labourer 30, b. Pembs.
Mary Nichols 25, b. Pembs.
Martha Morgans 20, b. Pembs.
16 Mar 1845 Haverfordwest, Pembs. Birth James Nichols son of John Nichols and Mary, formerly Morgans at Slade, hamlet of St. Martins
30 Mar 1851 Haverfordwest, Pembs.
Hamlet of St. Martins
Slade, St. David's Rd
HO107/2478 f201 p8 #32
John Nicholls, head Brewer's porter 44, b. Wiston, Pembs.
Mary Nicholls wife 36, b. Rudbaxton, Pembs.
Martha Nicholls daughter, scholar 8, b. St. Martin, Pembs.
James Nicholls son, scholar 7, b. St. Martin, Pembs.
Margaret Nicholls daughter 3, b. St. Martin, Pembs.
Eliza Thomas servant 17
Anne Nichols daughter 8 mo., b. St. Martin, Pembs.
Wiston and Rudbaxton are villages, Wiston 7km east of Haverfordwest and Rudbaxton 4km north. Slade is just a lane with houses, 1½km to the west.
Jan 1863 inscription in an old bible John Nichols Slade Cottages, Nr. Haverfordwest
4 Apr 1881 Slade Census
Haverfordwest St. Martin
p.48, #4
John Nichols head, widower, maltster, out of Employment 73, b.Boulston, Pembrokeshire
Margaret J. Nichols daughter, Laundress 30, b. Slade, Pembs.
Annie T. Thomas daughter, married, Laundress 28, b. Slade, Pembs
7 Apr 1901 Horns Lane Census
Haverfordwest St. Mary
Thomas Thomas head, Butcher, own acc. 45, b. H'west, Pembs
Anne Thomas wife 46, b. H'west, Pembs.
Thomas Thomas son, scholar 13, b. H'west, Pembs
Jennet Thomas daughter, scholar 7, b. H'west, Pembs
J2TLewis.jpg (7K) Jennet later married Thomas Lewis, also a butcher, and they continued to live in Haverfordwest, where I visited them around 1956 with my mother. They had a son David, married but with no children, and a daughter Bronwyn who had married and emigrated to South Africa.

The photo of Jennet and Tom was taken during this visit.
Family of James Nichols
date location record name description note
29 May 1869 Register Office
Marriage James Nicholls
bachelor aged 24, groom,
son of John Nicholls, maltster's labourer
& Mary Roberts
spinster aged 24 (made her mark),
dau. of William Roberts, decd., carpenter
Slade St. Martin
and Church St., H'west
witnessed by Charles James and Jane Nicholls
23 Jul 1880 Newcastle in Emlyn, Cardiganshire Birth Mary Nicholls daughter of James & Mary (formerly Roberts) coachman; Emlyn Lodge, Llandyfriog
4 Apr 1881 Llandyfriog, Emlyn Cottage Lodge Census
Newcastle in Emlyn
p.22, #127
James Nicholls head, stud groom 36, b.Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
Mary Nicholls wife, Llandress(=laundress) 33, b.Rhosmarket, Pembs. (= Rosemarket)
Martha Nicholls daughter, scholar 10, b.H'west, Pembs
James Nicholls son, scholar 8, b.H'west, Pembs
Thomas Nicholls son, scholar 6, b.Haveston, H'west
John Nicholls son 3, b.Newland, Pembs
= Neyland?
Mary Nicholls daughter 11 mo., b. Llandyfriog, Cardiganshire
JNichols.jpg (11K)

James Nicholls about 1880.

AuntMaggie2Tom3Mary.jpg (22K)

This picture of Maggie, Thomas and Mary must date from the late 1890's.

The picture of James suggests a degree of prosperity. However, his wife died about 1884 and the family broke up. Even before then, life clearly was hard; on being asked (much later) how she was affected by her mother's death, Martha remarked that it had been a relief, since she had been made to work so hard, helping her mother and looking after the younger children.

Mary said little of her early life with her parents; the story I remember is her describing how she used to dress up a pet cat in dolls' clothes and put it in a little baby carriage and push it around the garden. There used to be a small snapshot of this but I do not have it now. When her mother died, Mary went to live with her aunt Margaret Nichols, now wife to Thomas Reynolds in Mountain Ash. After Mary married, her daughter Masie (my mother) remembered "Auntie Maggie" coming to stay and being full of fun and playing games with the children.

Mary used also to tell a story of walking home from the market behind her aunt, from time to time breaking off a piece from the newly-bought cheese in her aunt's basket; when they arrived home, there was none left!

Margaret was Thomas's second wife; the 1881 census showed Thomas living in Llanwonno married to Martha, 37, with son W.H. then a pupil teacher. Mother and son were both born in Maenclochog, Pembs. At the same date Margaret was living with her father John Nichols

William Henry seems to have impressed his young cousin Mary as a man of learning. He must have died relatively young, because she inherited various things that had belonged to him, including a large Edwardian bookcase with cupboards and drawers under. This always had pride of place in her sitting room.

Martha Nicholls, always called Mattie, married Edwin Birch of the Royal Artillery and sailed out to join him in India, perhaps about 1890. There was a rather nice story that when her ship came in to harbour, he leapt on board from the quayside rather than wait for the ship to dock. Mattie had three babies while living in India but none survived.

MattieNicholls.jpg (5K) TedBirch.jpg (5K)

These pictures show Mattie apparently still in her teens and Ted as a young soldier; both originals are tiny and faded, preserved in lockets.

Mat2MaryNicholls.jpg (12K)

By 1901 Mary was living in Newport, Monmouthshire with Mattie and Ted Birch. This picture shows the sisters together, apparently outside the back door of the house.

In 1904-5 Mary was living at "Fernleigh", 72 Malpas Road, Newport, which was probably also her sister's house. At the time Ted and Mattie were in India, where Ted served in the British expeditionary force that went to Lhasa in Tibet. A surviving set of picture postcards sent back to Mary in July 1903 gives some details of the voyage via Port Said and Amritsar to Simla, then the summer capital of British India.

7 Apr 1901 Barrack Hill, "Dargai" Census
Newport, Mon.
p.12, #75
Edwin T. Birch head, Battery Sergeant Major, RA 30, b.Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
Matha E Birch (sic) wife 30, b.Haverfordwest, Pembs.
Mary Nicholls sister in law, shop assistant, Fancy goods 20, b.Haverfordwest, Pembs
7 Apr 1901 Campbell Terrace Census
Llanwonno, Mountain Ash, Glamorgan
p.14, #81
Tho. Reynolds head, Coal miner 56, b. St. Martins, Pembs
Margaret Reynolds wife 53, b. St. Martins, Pembs
William H. Reynolds son, Schoolmaster,
Elementary Board School
35, b. Llanwonno, Glam.
7 Apr 1901 Royal Hotel, 16 High St. Census
Swansea, Glamorgan
p.19, #88
Thomas Nicholls servant, boots domestic 25, b.Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire
I cannot trace either James or John in the 1901 census; it is possible that one or both had joined the army and John was certainly still alive.
Their father James also seems to be missing from the census. He certainly continued to live in the Pembrokeshire region and at some stage took a second partner, though they never married. I believe her name was Miriam or something similar - I am trusting to a 50 year old memory. She stayed with James until he died.
MatBirch.jpg (4K) TedBirch2.jpg (2K) MBarnes.jpg (6K) In 1908 various postcards in Mary's surviving collection show that she was living with Mattie and Ted Birch at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, London, where Ted was Garrison Sergeant-Major. These photographs probably date from this period though none show the name of the studio.

Apparently Mary was the belle of the ball, though she personally found such large social occasions tedious. However, she liked the picture of herself, to the extent that about 1950 she had the surviving rather faded copy rephotographed to enhance the contrast.

Edwin Birch died 24 April 1913, aged 41; thereafter Mattie lived with her brother Tom in Aberystwyth.
M2TNichols.jpg (7K)

Mary and her brother Tom, around 1910.

W2MBarnes.jpg (35K)

At some stage, maybe around 1910, Mary lived near Hereford, possibly with relations though I don't know. She used to tell two stories of this period. One was about a disastrous ride on a bicycle on the long hill down into the town - the ribbon lining of the hem of her long skirt caught in the axle and wound up, tying her feet together to the frame of the machine! She had to ride into the hedge to stop and free herself. On another occasion she was driving a horse and trap into Hereford and the horse bolted on the same hill; she managed to keep it on the road but arrived at the inn (the Green Man) with the horse in a heavy sweat. The ostler then asked "Oh Miss Nicholls, what have you been doing to the horse?"

Mary married William Barnes in 1913, in Mountain Ash. This picture of bride and groom was taken at the door of her aunt's house. The registry entry was witnessed by her brother Thomas Nichols and also by Christiania Hill, who was a cousin, "Chrissie". In the 1901 census she seems to be Christiania Lewis, age 7, boarding at the Aberdare Industrial School; her birthplace was given as Merthyr Tydfil. It seems likely that her mother was sister to James Nicholls but I have not yet managed to trace the connection. Later she lived near Hereford, keeping a small country pub at Callow, very old-fashioned with the beer drawn directly from the barrels kept in a back room. I visited her with my mother around 1956. Unfortunately, there are no photographs.

AuntMattie2Masie3Lionel.jpg (13K) UncleTom2Masie3Lionel.jpg (10K)

After her husband's death Mattie lived with her brother Tom, who kept the "Blue Bell" at Aberstwyth. She also visited Mary and her family and Mary's children visited Aberystwyth, possibly without their parents. The photo of the children with Tom was clearly taken in Aberystwyth, with Constitution Hill in the background. The picture with Mattie could have been taken there or at Luton.

In the summers of 1942, 43 and 45, my mother and I stayed with "Uncle Tom"; by then Mattie had died but her sitting room was unchanged, with chintz fabrics and wickerwork chairs.