Family of Walter Bridge, 1864-1958
date location record name description note
4 Dec 1864 Hothfield Birth Walter Bridge son of James photoalbum
4 Apr 1881 Ashford Census Walter Bridge Telegraph clerk 16, b. Hothfield
19 May 1885 Port of Quebec, Canada Passenger list for the "Vancouver" Walter Bridge labourer, adult from Liverpool
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Walter at about 20 (Ashford studio)

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Walter at about 30 (Pretoria studio)

According to the recollection of his daughter Anne Bridge, Walter's first job was for the railway company in Ashford (but he could have worked as a telegraph clerk for the railway). In any case, he soon emigrated, going in the first place to Canada and working in the salmon trapping industry - presumably in British Columbia and probably in a canning factory, rather than fishing! Then he got a job as an engineer on the shipping routes between Canada and Japan. He used to claim that he had had a close encounter with a shark while swimming near Tokyo: "my fastest swim ever"! Then he settled in South Africa, following the lead of two married sisters, and got a job with the government irrigation department, drilling water wells. The studio photograph taken in Pretoria shows him looking still relatively young, as if taken in the mid 1890's. The pose seems to say "I'm doing nicely now"!

According to his daughter-in-law Masie (my mother) Walter's emigration was the result of an affair with a girl and had brought considerable grief to his mother. This sounds quite plausible but is not confirmed by any other source.

22 Dec 1908 Cape Town, South Africa Marriage Walter Bridge
Batchelor, aged 44
& Mary Katharine Barnes
Spinster, aged 34
of Pretoria & Potchefstroom
16 Jan 1910 Family Bible Birth Walter George Bridge son
9 Dec 1910 Port of London Passenger list for the "Insizwa", Aberdeen Line Walter Bridge husband & wife engineer
Mary K Bridge
Walter George Bridge infant (under 1 yr.)
This was the start of a visit to introduce Walter's new wife to the relatives in Kent, notably Frederick Bridge and his daughters. It was not an unqualified success. Mary could not hide her own lack of parents, something about which she was always acutely sensitive and which, at that time, all parties would have seen as rather shameful. Frederick told Walter that he could have found him a better wife in Kent! Presumably he did not say this in front of Mary because she actually described him as "the best of the bunch"; what she thought of the rest is not on record. The story was also told that one day when out walking with her baby, Mary was stopped by a gypsy asking for money who then ran off crying out that Mary "had the evil eye". She certainly did have a frosty stare!
The 1911 census suggests that the visit was also intended to allow Mary to have medical treatment. By the date of the census Walter had returned to South Africa and baby George was being cared for in Frederick's family.
29 Mar 1911 Port of London “Insizwa” Walter Bridge to Durban (Port Natal)
2 Apr 1911 19 Sisson Grove, Marylebone Census RG14 571/7-3-14 #46 Mary Katherine Bridge patient, married 2 yrs, 1 child 26, b. Earls Court, London
7 Jul 1911 Port of London “Inanda” Mary K Bridge with baby George to Durban (Port Natal)
24 Jul 1912 Pretoria, Transvaal (also family Bible) Birth Anne Katharine Bridge daughter of Walter & Mary Katharine (Barnes) Uiljoen St, Riviera, Pretoria (Boring Inspector, Irrigation Dept.)
13 Oct 1912 St. James, Sea Point, N. Cape Baptism Anne Katherine Mary Bridge daughter of Walter & Mary Katherine Arthur's Seat, Sea Place (from Pretoria)
Sponsors: Frederick Allsop; Paulina Mary Granville; Annie Bridge (all by proxy)
"Sponsors" presumably means godparents. Frederick Allsop and Annie Bridge were Walter's brother-in-law and sister; Paulina Granville was Mary's adoptive mother, who obviously was still in touch with Mary.
28 May 1914 Bexhill, Sussex
(also family Bible)
Birth James Frederick Bridge son of Walter & Mary K. 12 Egerton Rd (civil engineer)
19 Aug 1914 St. Peter's, Bexhill, Sussex Baptism James Frederick Bridge son of Walter & Mary Catharine
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Anne, George and baby James

Mary had been advised on medical grounds to return to England for the birth of her third child. (She was then nearly 40 and had never been strong.) The passenger list for the return journey shows that she took the older children and stayed on for 18 months after the birth. Her choice of Bexhill was probably influenced by the presence of St. Katharine's Priory, run by the same sisterhood that was founded by Paulina Granville and in which Mary grew up. It was in Fairmount Road though, while the address on James's birth certificate is Egerton Rd., which appears in the 1911 census as a small boarding house. A photograph of the three children seems to have been taken at the time of James's baptism.
18 Sept 1915 Port of London “Ruapehu” Mrs M K Bridge with all 3 children to Cape, S. Africa
Around 1922 Mary brought her children back to England, settling in Bedford. The official reason was that George had some kind of problem with his heart and a cooler climate was thought desirable. However, the separation may well have been welcome. The move also allowed both boys to attend Bedford Modern School, George from 1922 to 1929, James 1925 to 1933. Bedford was in fact a popular choice for "colonial" families with children since it provided a good choice of schools at affordable costs.

Walter continued to work in S. Africa though he did visit England in 1926, taking James to stay with his brother's family in Kent. He paid the school fees and provided a sufficient income for the family until George left school in 1929. Then Walter sent a ticket for George to go to Australia, to work for his uncle Horace; not a bad idea on paper, but George wanted to go to theological college and Mary would certainly have supported him (and probably resented the interference). So George went to Kelham College to train for ordination and his father cut off all funding. In consequence, Mary had to move to a tiny cottage in Pavenham, a village outside Bedford, and money was very tight.

Walter probably retired from his position as a Government Inspector when he reached 60, in 1924. However he continued working in S Africa at least until 1929 and when he finally returned to England he went first to live with with his sister Annie in Kent until she died, around 1935, when he returned to his family in Bedford, though hardly to the bosom of the family. I remember a visit to the little house (in 1944?): the water came from a well in the garden and Walter drew up a bucketful while I was watching. He maintained a large vegetable garden and grew much of the produce for the family, also giving some to my mother. Later Walter and Mary both lived with George, first in the vicarage at Wighton Wells, Norfolk and then in King's Lynn where George was rector of All Saints' Church.

22 Jul 1959 King's Lynn, Norfolk Death Walter Bridge All Saints' Rectory, Goodwins Rd age 94, retired Govt. Inspector, Irrigation Dept.
29 May 1970 West Norfolk and King's Lynn Hospital Death Mary Katharine Bridge widow of Walter Bridge born 4 Dec 1874, place of birth not entered. (Date in family bible is 2 Dec 1874)
Jun 1988 King's Lynn Death W George Bridge
25 Apr 2002 Bedford Death Anne K Bridge
Mary Barnes, 1874-1968
date location record name description note
2 Dec 1874 Family Bible Birth Mary Katharine Bridge wife of Walter Bridge (Mary Barnes)
This conflicts with the 1891 census, where Mary's age is reported as 15, putting her birth in Dec 1875.

According to the recollection of Anne Bridge, her mother Mary was adopted at the age of 3 by the Mother Superior of a convent in Fulham. At the time Mary was partly paralysed due to some problem with her back. Her mother had just died of TB and (in Anne's account) her father did not want the burden of looking after a sickly child. At that time, adoptions were entirely unregulated and there is no documentation. As shown by the 1891 census (below), the adoptive mother was in fact Paulina Granville. Paulina arranged consultations and treatment at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and despite at one stage being told that Mary was incurable, nevertheless effected a cure. (However, Anne recalled that her mother was always careful of her back.) Anne told the story of Mary and her adoptive mother meeting one of the doctors later and Paulina pointing to Mary, saying "that's the incurable one".

Shortly before she died in 2002, Anne gave me a two volume book which she said had been written by a doctor who knew her mother. It is in fact the autobiography of A. B. Granville, written soon before his death in 1872 and edited and published by his daughter Paulina, evidently the same woman that adopted Anne's mother. To make the identification quite certain, there is a letter cut from the Church Times pasted onto an endpaper, from Paulina Mary, Mother Superior C.S.K, Normand House, referring to the foundation of an English church in Bavaria by her father, an event also described in the book.

Anne Bridge also recalled that her adoptive grandmother came from a family which was "three-quarters Italian". This fits nicely with the fact that Dr. Granville's autobiography reveals his birthname to be Augustus Bozzi and that he was born in Milan.

1885 C. J. Feret,
Fulham Old and New,
vol.2 p258 (1900)
"Normand House purchased by the Mother Superior of St. Katharine's Sisterhood and made the Mother House of the community, the employment of the Sisters being prison rescue work among young women convicted of a first theft. The girls are trained by the Sisters in laundry, house and kitchen work."
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Paulina Granville

"Interesting as Normand House is in every particular, it contains nothing more interesting or attractive than the personality of the 'Mother Superior'... Miss Granville ... the terrible difficulties of earning a respectable living by girls once convicted of theft weighed so heavily upon her heart ... the foundation of the Order of St. Katherine was the result. For five years ...(they) worked in a hired house in Hammersmith, (before moving into Normand House.) ...for fourteen years (she) has been making additions to the original Tudor building ... the house now provides accomodation for 30 girls, who come straight from prison at the expiry of their first sentence and after two years' training in house, needle and laundry work are provided with outfits and situations, and sent forth to resume the battle of life under fair conditions."

from an article by Annie G. Pike: "Some Anglican Sisterhoods and their Homes"
originally published in The Temple Magazine, ca. 1900
Since Normand House was purchased in 1885, the sisterhood must have been founded in 1880, a year or more after Paulina adopted Mary. This means that Paulina would have been able to devote herself full time to the medical attention that Mary needed.
6 Apr 1891 Fulham
Normand House,
Lillie Rd.
Mary StK Barnes Adopted daughter of the Community 15, b. Fulham
Paulina KCB Granville Mother Superior of St Katharine's Sisterhood 38, b. London Mddx
9 sisters are listed; the word "nun" has been added by the enumerator against Mary, Paulina and the sisters.
Sampler_MKB.jpg (63K) Mary trained as a needlewoman, something that the convent specialised in. An early "sampler" has survived which she must have worked while learning. She became very skilled. While she was working in London, someone came into the workroom and asked if any of the girls wanted to go to Rhodesia to make a set of Bishop's vestments. Mary accepted on the spot! There she met a Mrs. Cummings and went with her to work in a school for black children in Bulawayo.

Apparently she was somewhat eccentric and careless of her own safety. She used to walk in the garden at night, picking flowers (maybe she preferred the cooler air). But her friends were sufficiently concerned that they gave her a gun to keep in the house, which she did use on one occasion. Masie (daughter-in-law) recalled being told that a "native" had run amok and was seen as a threat to the children; Mary shot him. However, according to Anne, he was only hit in the foot.

22 Dec 1908 Cape Town, South Africa Marriage Walter Bridge
Batchelor, aged 44
& Mary Katharine Barnes
Spinster, aged 34
of Pretoria & Potchefstroom
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Mary with her first child (George), spring 1910.

A. B. Granville, 1783-1872
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Augustus Bozzi Granville

Dr. Granville was actually born in Milan as Augustus Bozzi, of Italian parents, but after medical training left Italy to avoid conscription into the army. (At that time northern Italy was under the control of Napoleonic forces.) He travelled through Greece, Turkey and Spain before joining the Royal Navy as a medical officer, when he adopted the name of Granville from a great grandfather who came from Cornwall. Subsequently he married an English girl and settled in London. He became a highly successful doctor, specialising in the care of mothers and babies. His autobiography reads like a classic adventure story.
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The Russian table

Anne Bridge gave me a little rosewood table which had belonged to her mother and which had been used to keep a copy of Dr. Granville's autobiography. In Anne's words "it has been around as long as I can remember". She said that the table had belonged to the same doctor who had written the book and he in turn had received the table as a gift from a patient. The style of the legs is English, William IV, which dates it to the 1830's; the table top contains a grid of polished stones mounted like panes of glass in a window. It was always called the "Russian table" because on opening up the top, the stones are seen to be numbered and labelled in Cyrillic script. Dr. Granville did indeed have Russian patients and even visited St. Petersburg in 1827, so the table could well have been a souvenir of that visit.

More about the table

Notes from the autobiography

Born at Milan,7 Oct 1783, Augustus, third son of Carlo Bozzi and his wife Maria Antonietta Rapazzini.

1799-1802, trained as a physician at the University of Pavia.

In 1802, left home in Milan (to avoid possible conscription in the French republican army) and travelled to Venice (then under Austrian control) and by sea to Corfu. There befriended by W. R. Hamilton, a British diplomat, with whom he travelled on horseback across Albania and Greece to Athens. 22 Apr 1803, taken by WRH to visit Ali Pasha, the "vezir" or ruler of Albania, then a part of the Turkish empire. Subsequently gave a medical consultation to the Pasha and advised on the treatment of a sick child.

19 Jun 1803 First visit to the Acropolis, to see the Parthenon. WRH was actually the private secretary to Lord Elgin, at that time British ambassador to Turkey and organising the removal of the marble statuary from the Parthenon to England. Now this seems like vandalism but at the time it was much more like rescue work: Greece was still part of the Ottoman empire, the Turkish rulers did not value the Greek antiquities and the Parthenon had been damaged by an explosion in the gunpowder store it contained.

Towards the end of 1803, travelled to Istanbul and immediately fell ill with the plague, from which he was expected to die. In fact he recovered and then got an appointment as private physician to a wealthy Greek family (Dec - May '04). In May 1804 he obtained the position of second physician to the Turkish fleet, to serve on the vice-admiral's flagship. He was responsible (with the help of a single apprentice) for the treatment of all 1200 men on board, including some 100 galley-slaves. Served for four months before resigning. During this time was able to make a quick tour of "the Holy Land", visiting Jerusalem and Jericho.

Quit the Turkish navy in Sep '04 and travelled via Rhodes and Cyprus to Smyrna, arriving Christmas day 1804 and staying with the British consul (thanks to the connection with WRH). There introduced to the captain of a merchant ship due to travel to Malaga and invested his pay in a share of the cargo. Also took on the responsibility of "supercargo", i.e. to ensure that all the goods were correctly delivered to the merchant in Malaga.

1805 Took rooms in Malaga, in southern Spain, learnt Spanish and met the guitarist Sor; both attended the fashionable soirées and entertained the guests. Visited the main cities of southern Spain and also Gibraltar, from where he could hear the gunfire from the battle of Trafalgar! (21 Oct 1805) 1806-7 settled in Madrid for a time; met a wide range of high society but deplored the lax morals. Then travelled to Lisbon with a view to taking a medical commission in the Portuguese navy but instead obtained a position on HMS Raven as "acting assistant surgeon" (8 Mar 1807) thanks to an introduction to the captain and despite his inability to speak English! He communicated with the Scottish surgeon in Latin and on arrival at Portsmouth was examined (orally) in Latin to determine that he was indeed competent medically.