Chapter 10

The Death of William George Nixey (Junior)

(1912)

Tragically, on 4th March 1912, the day of his fifty-seventh birthday, and just two days after the signing of the Formal Agreement for the sale of the family business to the newly formed company, William George Nixey passed away at his home, 66 Piccadilly. His death certificate gives the cause of death as “Cirrhosis of the Liver, Diabetes 10 years, Ascites and Syncope 3 days.” Ascites, or dropsy in the abdomen, is the swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water caused by heart and kidney disease. Syncope, or fainting, is caused by a weak action of the heart. On 5th March, his step-son, John Lawrence Bell, of The Old House, Wexham, Slough, was the informant of his death. The registrar was H. T. Hamilton.

The Times in its issue of Wednesday 6th March printed this brief announcement:

On the 4th inst., William George Nixey, of 66, Piccadilly, W., and 12, Soho-square. Funeral at Golder’s-green Crematorium, on Thursday, the 7th inst., at 1.30. No flowers, by request.

Cremation had been made legal in February 1884, and the first official cremation was carried out at Woking the following year. The Cremation Act was passed in 1902, but it took quite some time for it to gain momentum. In fact, during 1912, there had only been around one thousand cremations.

Another notice regarding his death was printed in the Bucks Herald, Saturday 1st June, which stated:

A Fortune from Black Lead – Mr. W. G. Nixey, who died at the age of 58 years, has left estate of the gross value of 61,106 [3,486,708]. He was the son of the late Mr. W. G. Nixey, who built Upton Towers, Slough, and lived there until his death. The father founded the famous firm of blacklead manufacturers, and the son succeeded him as head of the business.


William George Nixey wrote his last will and testament on 24th January 1898, with the addition of three Codicils dated 1st August 1902, 11th January 1909, and 23rd February 1912. It was proved in the Principal Probate Registry on 22nd May 1912. The text of the will is reproduced in full at the end of this chapter. The gross value of his estate was said to be 61106 5s. 9d, while the net value of his personal estate was 48356 1s. 4d. The executors and trustees were named as his brother-in-law, Charles Bridges Stevens (of Whitley, Berks., esquire), and Hubert Spencer Clutton (of Westminster, solicitor). They were to personally receive 250 each, while his wife Lucy was to receive 1000 immediately. After paying all expenses, debts and legacies, the trustees were to use the residue of his estate to set up a Trust Fund for his wife Lucy, provided that she survived him by four months. If she died before this, they were to pay annuities to his step-daughters, 150 per year to Ruth Gertrude Hall, and 175 per year to Millicent Brown, to be paid to them every three months. The remainder was to be divided into five equal parts and paid to his sisters Charlotte Elizabeth Secker, Augusta Stevens, and Clara Burnell Harrison, and to the children of his deceased sisters, Jessie Mills and Marian Chown. The trustees were given discretion as to the timing of the sale of all real and personal estate. Meanwhile, any profits arising from unsold assets, such as rents from property and dividends from investments, were to be distributed in five equal portions as previously stated.

The first Codicil instructed the trustees to pay annuity of 175 per year to another of his step-daughters, Ethel Mary Welstead. The second Codicil appointed his nephew Edward Howard Secker as an executor and trustee following the death of Hubert Spencer Clutton, and the previously stated amount of 250 to be paid to each executor and trustee was reduced to one-hundred guineas. Finally, the third Codicil appointed Percy Marr Johnson as executor and trustee following the death of Charles Bridges Stevens.


This is the last Will and Testament of me William George Nixey of 66 Piccadilly in the County of Middlesex Esquire I revoke all testamentary dispositions heretofore made by me and I appoint Charles Bridges Stevens of Whitley near Reading in the County of Berks Esquire and Hubert Spencer Clutton of 9 Whitehall Place in the City of Westminster Solicitor to be Executors and Trustees of this my Will and I give to each of them the sum of Two hundred and fifty pounds free of Legacy Duty I give to my Wife Lucy the sum of One thousand pounds for her own absolute use and benefit to be paid to her immediately after my decease I give devise and bequeath all the rest residue and remainder of my estate whether real or personal unto my Trustees Upon trust that my Trustees shall sell call in and convert into money the same or such part thereof as shall not consist of money and shall with and out of the monies produced by such sale calling in and conversion and with and out of my ready money pay my funeral and testamentary expenses and debts and the legacies bequeathed by this my Will or any Codicil hereto but so that the proceeds of real estate shall not be applied in payment of legacies unless the other moneys applicable thereto under this trust shall be insufficient for payment thereof and shall invest the residue of the said moneys with power for my Trustees from time to time to vary such investments and shall stand possessed of the said residuary trust moneys and the investments for the time being representing the same (hereinafter called the residuary trust funds) In trust to accumulate the income derived therefrom during the period of four months after my death to the intent that such income shall be added to and form part of the said residuary trust funds and from and after the expiration of such period of four months any Trustee shall stand possessed of the residuary trust moneys and the accumulated income derived therefrom in trust for my said Wife absolutely if she shall be living at the expiration of such period of four months after my death but so that my said Wife shall not acquire a vested interest in any property under this my Will other than the hereinbefore mentioned legacy of One thousand pounds until the expiration of the said period of four months after my death and if my said Wife shall not be living at the expiration of such period as aforesaid then my Trustees shall stand possessed of the said residuary trust funds and the accumulated income derived therefrom Upon trust to pay out of the income thereof the following annuities free from legacy duty namely an annuity of One hundred and fifty pounds to my Step daughter Ruth Gertrude Hall the Wife of Captain R. Hall during her life and an annuity of One hundred and seventy five pounds to my Step daughter Millicent Brown the Wife of Captain F. Brown during her life And I direct that the said several annuities shall be paid quarterly the first quarterly payment to be made at the expiration of seven calendar months after my decease And I empower my Trustees for this purpose to purchase annuities in the names of the said Ruth Gertrude Hall and Millicent Brown respectively out of the Capital of the residuary trust funds either from the Government or from some Insurance or Annuity Company And I declare that from and after the purchase of such annuities as aforesaid my estate shall be released from all liability to the said Ruth Gertrude Hall and Millicent Brown in respect thereof and my Trustees shall stand possessed of the remainder of the said residuary trust moneys in trust to divide the same into five equal parts and to hold one fifth part In trust for each of my Sisters Charlotte Elizabeth Secker Augusta Stevens and Clara Bernell Harrison and to hold one other fifth part in trust for all the children of my deceased Sister Jessie Mills who being Sons have attained or shall attain the age of twenty one years or being daughters have attained or shall attain that age or marry in equal shares and if there shall be only one such child the whole to be in trust for that one child And to hold the remaining fifth part in trust for all the children of my deceased Sister Marian Chown who being Sons have attained or shall attain the age of twenty one years or being Daughters have attained or shall attain that age or marry in equal shares and if there shall be only one such child the whole to be in trust for that one child Provided always that in case either of my said Sisters Charlotte Elizabeth Secker Augusta Stevens or Clara Bernell Harrison shall die in my lifetime leaving no issue them surviving who shall have attained or shall attain the age of twenty one years or marry as aforesaid or in case all the children of the said Jessie Mills or all the children of the said Marian Chown shall die in my lifetime or before attaining the age of twenty one years or marrying as aforesaid leaving no issue them surviving who shall have attained or shall attain the age of twenty one years or marry then the one fifth share to which either of my said Sisters Charlotte Elizabeth Secker Augusta Stevens or Clara Bernell Harrison or their issue respectively would have been entitled had they survived me and attained such age as aforesaid or the fifth share to which the children of my said deceased Sisters Jessie Mills or Marian Chown or the issue of such children respectively would have been entitled had they survived me and attained such age as aforesaid then such one fifth share shall be held by my Trustees in trust for the other or others of my said Sisters Charlotte Elizabeth Secker Augusta Stevens and Clara Bernell Harrison and the children of my said deceased Sisters Jessie Mills and Marian Chown per stirpes and not per capita subject to the trusts hereby declared concerning the original share or shares of such other or others under this my Will Provided always and anything hereinbefore contained to the contrary notwithstanding And I hereby declare that if any or either of my said Sisters Charlotte Elizabeth Secker Augusta Stevens or Clara Bernell Harrison or if any of the children of my said deceased Sisters Jessie Mills or Marian Chown shall die in my lifetime leaving a child or children who being male shall have attained or shall attain the age of twenty one years or being female shall attain that age or marry then and in every such case the last mentioned child shall take and if more than one equally between them the share to which his her or their parent would have been entitled if such parent had survived me and attained the age of twenty one years including any share or shares which would have accrued to such parent under the trust and provisions in that behalf hereinbefore contained And I declare that my Trustees shall have power to raise any part or parts not exceeding together one moiety of the vested or expectant share of any infant under the trusts of this my Will and apply the same for his or her advancement preferment or benefit as my Trustees shall think fit And I also declare that my Trustees may postpone the sale and conversion of any part of my real and personal estate for so long as they shall think fit and that the rents profits and income to accrue from and after my decease of and from such part of my estate as shall for the time being remain unsold and unconverted shall after payment thereout of all incidental expenses and outgoings be accumulated or paid and applied to the person or persons and in the manner to whom and in which the income of the proceeds of such sale and conversion would for the time being be payable or applicable under this my Will if such sale and conversion had been actually made And I also declare that as regards any real or leasehold property remaining unsold my Trustees shall be at liberty to let or demise the same either from year to year or for any term of years at such rent and subject to such covenants and conditions as they shall think fit and that any money required for repairs or improvements may be raised either out of income or out of the Capital of my Estate as my Trustees shall under the circumstances think fair and equitable And I also declare that the Executors and Trustees for the time being of this my Will may instead of acting personally employ and pay a Solicitor or other person to transact any business or do any act required to be done in connection with the administration of my estate or the trusts hereby declared including the receipt and payment of money and that any Executor or Trustee being a Solicitor or other person engaged in any profession or business may be so employed and shall be entitled to charge and be paid all professional or other charges for any business or act done by him or his firm in connection with the trust including any act which an Executor or Trustee not being a Solicitor or other person engaged as aforesaid could have done personally And I hereby declare that any debt which may be owing to me by either of my Executors at my decease shall not be discharged owing to his appointment as Executor of this my Will In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty fourth day of January One thousand eight hundred and ninety eight.

(Signed) W. G. Nixey

Signed by the Testator in our presence and witnessed and subscribed by us in his presence
P. Marr Johnson 9 Whitehall Place Westminster Solicitor
H. B. Adams 4 Brick Court Temple Barrister-at-Law

This is a Codicil to the last Will and Testament of me William George Nixey of 66 Piccadilly in the County of Middlesex Esquire which Will bears date the twenty fourth day of January One thousand eight hundred and ninety eight
Whereas by my said Will after certain pecuniary legacies I gave devised and bequeathed the residue of my estate unto my Trustees therein named upon trust for sale and conversion and to pay out of the moneys produced thereby my funeral and testamentary expences debts and legacies as in my said Will mentioned and to invest the residue of such moneys and to stand possessed of the same in trust to accumulate the income derived therefrom during the period of four months after my death and after the expiration of such four months to stand possessed of the said moneys and accumulated income thereof in trust for my Wife absolutely if she should be living at the expiration of such period of four months as in my said Will mentioned and if my said Wife should not then be living then in trust to pay annuities of One hundred and fifty pounds and One hundred and seventy five pounds respectively to my two stepdaughters Ruth Gertrude Hall and Millicent Brown during their respective lives Now I direct my Trustees if my said Wife shall not be living at the expiration of such period of four months as aforesaid to pay to Ethel Mary Welstead the wife of Edward Welstead of Kimbolton House Kimbolton Huntingdonshire a similar annuity of One hundred and seventy five pounds during her life And I direct that the said last mentioned annuity shall be paid quarterly the first quarterly payment to be made at the expiration of seven calendar months after my decease And I direct and empower my Trustees for this purpose to purchase annuities to the several amounts as aforesaid in the names of the said Ruth Gertrude Hall Millicent Brown and Ethel Mary Welstead respectively out of the capital of my residuary trust funds either from the Government or from some Insurance or Annuity Company And I declare that from and after the purchase of such annuities as aforesaid my estate shall be released from all liability to the said Ruth Gertrude Hall Millicent Brown and Ethel Mary Welstead in respect thereof And in all other respects I confirm my said Will In witness whereof I have to this and the preceding sheet of paper hereunto set my hand this first day of August One thousand nine hundred and two
(Signed) W. G. Nixey
Signed by the Testator in our presence and witnessed and subscribed by us in his presence
P. Marr Johnson 9 Whitehall Place Westminster Solicitor
J. P. Kent Jones Clerk to Messrs. H. S. Clutton & Johnson 9 Whitehall Place Westminster Solicitors

This is a second Codicil to the last Will and Testament of me William George Nixey of 66 Piccadilly in the County of Middlesex Esquire which Will bears date the Twenty fourth day of January One thousand eight hundred and ninety eight
Whereas by my said Will I appointed Charles Bridges Stevens of Whitley near Reading in the County of Berks Esquire and Hubert Spencer Clutton of 9 Whitehall Place in the City of Westminster Solicitor to be the Executors and Trustees thereof and I bequeathed to each of them a legacy of Two hundred and fifty pounds And whereas on the First day of August One thousand nine hundred and two I duly made a first Codicil to my said Will which did not affect the appointment of my said Executors and Trustees And whereas the said Hubert Spencer Clutton has since died Now I hereby appoint my nephew Edward Howard Secker of 12 Soho Square in the County of Middlesex Esquire to be one of the Executors and Trustees of my said Will and Codicil in the place of the said Huber Spencer Clutton deceased and jointly with the said Charles Bridges Stevens And I hereby revoke the legacy of Two hundred and fifty pounds which by my said Will I gave to the said Charles Bridges Stevens as aforesaid and I give to each of them the said Charles Bridges Stevens and Edward Howard Secker a legacy of One hundred guineas free of legacy duty if he shall act as my Executor And I declare that my said Will and first Codicil shall be construed and take effect as if the name of the said Edward Howard Secker were inserted in my said Will throughout instead of the name of the said Hubert Spencer Clutton And in all other respects I confirm my said Will In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of January One thousand nine hundred and nine
(Signed) W. G. Nixey
Signed by the Testator in our presence and witnessed and subscribed by us in his presence
P. Marr Johnson 5 Little College Street Westminster Solicitor
F. Murphy his clerk

This is a third Codicil to the last Will and Testament of me William George Nixey of 66 Piccadilly in the County of Middlesex Esquire which Will bears date the twenty fourth day of January One thousand eight hundred and ninety eight
Whereas by my said Will I appointed Charles Bridges Stevens of Whitley near Reading in the County of Berks and Hubert Spencer Clutton of 9 Whitehall Place in the City of Westminster Solicitor Executors and Trustees thereof And whereas I duly made a Codicil to my said Will dated the first day of August One thousand nine hundred and two which said Codicil did not affect the appointment of my said Executors and Trustees And whereas by a second Codicil to my said Will dated the eleventh day of January One thousand nine hundred and nine I appointed my nephew Edward Howard Secker to be an Executor and Trustee of my said Will in the place of the said Hubert Spencer Clutton who was then deceased And whereas the said Charles Bridges Stevens is now deceased Now I hereby appoint Percy Marr Johnson of 16 St Andrew Street Holborn Circus in the City of London Solicitor to be one of the Executors and Trustees of my said Will and Codicils in the place of the said Charles Bridges Stevens deceased and jointly with the said Edward Howard Secker And I declare that my said Will and Codicils shall be construed and take effect as if the name of the said Percy Marr Johnson was inserted therein throughout as Executor and Trustee instead of the name of the said Charles Bridges Stevens and in all other respects I confirm my said Will and Codicils and especially the penultimate clause of my said Will which empowers any Executor or Trustee of mine being a Solicitor to be employed and paid as in my said Will mentioned In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this twenty third day of February One thousand nine hundred and twelve
(Signed) W. G. Nixey
Signed and Declared by the Testator William George Nixey as and for a Codicil to his last Will and Testament in the presence of us both present at the same time who in his presence at his request and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as Witnesses
Edward Onslow Secker J.P. for the County of Bucks 15 Rosemount Road Bournemouth
Ellen Sullivan 66 Piccadilly London Domestic Servant


Death On or After 1ST JANUARY 1898
Be it known that William George Nixey of 66 Piccadilly in the County of Middlesex died on the 4th day of March 1912 at 66 Piccadilly aforesaid And be it further known that at the date hereunder written the last Will and Testament with three codicils of the said deceased was proved and registered in the Principal Probate Registry of His Majesty’s High Court of Justice and that administration of all the estate which by law devolves to and vests in the personal representative of the said deceased was granted by the aforesaid Court to Edward Howard Secker of 12 Soho Square in the County of Middlesex esquire nephew of deceased the executor named in the second codicil and Percy Marr Johnson of 16 Andrew Street Holborn Circus in the City of London Solicitor named in the third Codicil Dated the 22nd day of May 1912
Gross value of Estate 61106 5s. 9d [3,486,724.76]
Net value of Personal Estate 48356 1s. 4d [2,759,197.16]


References

Unless otherwise stated, all newspaper articles can be found at the British Newspaper Archive.


Credits

The portrait of William George Nixey appeared in the book "Two centuries of Soho, its institutions, firms, and amusements" by John Henry Cardwell, published 1898 by Truslove and Hanson, London; the image was edited and enhanced by Nivard Ovington.