Chapter 4

Venturing Into Pastures New


When the 1861 census was taken on the night of 7th April, William George and Charlotte’s address is simply recorded as “Upton”, so it’s unknown whether Springfield House was completed at that time. Living with them were three servants, Margaret Hilder, Hannah Humphries, and Amie Gardener, and a visitor, Louisa Phillips. Their neighbours were their nephew and niece, William Samuel Smith and Eliza née Nixey and their children, at least one of whom, Alfred Nixey Smith, was born at Upton Farm in 1860. Meanwhile, his brother and sister-in-law, Edward and Eliza, were resident at 12 Soho Square, Edward’s occupation being recorded as a “Brickmaker Employing One Man”;. Also with them that night was their nephew Edward Deverill, whose occupation was an “Assistant Oilman”, their grandson Edward Smith, William George and Charlotte Nixey’s nephew Edward Williams, and a servant named Mary Ann Walker.

By this period in time, William George Nixey was clearly making his mark in the local community in Slough. In 1861 the Slough and Eton Benefit Building Society celebrated their first decade with a Special General Meeting and Dinner for members and friends, to be held at the North Star Tavern, Slough, on 7th May. When the meeting was announced in the Windsor and Eton Express on Saturday 27th April, William George Nixey’s name was included as both a Trustee and Director of the Society.

Even in a small way, the actions of a person can reflect in both a good and bad way on the name of their employer. This was the case with William George Nixey’s nephew, as shown in this report from the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 18th May 1861:

William Samuel Smith, in the employment of Mr. W. G. Nixey, was summoned at the instance of Mr. T. C. Moore, of Upton Farm, for illegally releasing five ponies, which, after trespassing on his property, were on the way to the place in which his man purposed to impound them. Mr. Voules appeared for the defendant. Richard Willmott, the complainant’s servant, detailed the circumstances, and the case was dismissed. The complainant stated that his intention had been to have taken out a summons for damaging the lock of a gate.

William George and Charlotte Nixey’s two youngest daughters, Clara Burnell and Augusta, were baptised later that year on 23rd October 1861 at St Giles in the Fields, London. The following year, products by W. G. Nixey were displayed at the 1862 London Exhibition, where the following items were catalogued:

W. G. NIXEY’S PATENT GARDEN LABELS, composed of iron and glass hermetically sealed, are imperishable and indestructible by time or weather. Patronised by Her Majesty the Queen.
W. G. NIXEY’S PATENT MONEY TILLS for the prevention of fraud and error, causing mutual satisfaction between employer and employed.
W. G. NIXEY’S CHEMICAL PREPARATION OF BLACK LEAD for polishing stoves and ornamental iron-work without waste or dust.

The Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 22nd November 1862 shows that another property in Dudley Street had been acquired, but, unfortunately it had been damaged by fire:

FIRE. – On Wednesday night a fire broke out in the premises of Mr. W. G. Nixey, black lead manufacturer, No. 33, Dudley-street, Seven Dials. Owing to the timely arrival of assistance the flames were quickly extinguished before much damage was done. The fire was caused from the heat of the furnace flue.

“To dust and ash contractors – Wanted, one or two thousand chaldrons of ASHES and BREEZE, delivered to any station on the South-Western or Great Western Railway, not exceeding 20 miles from Slough. – Apply to Mr Edward Nixey, 12, Soho-square.“–London Evening Standard, Tuesday 15th March 1864

In 1863, William George Nixey was elected as one of the twelve original members of the Slough Local Board of Health, which became the Slough Urban District Council around thirty years later. He received three hundred and thirty-nine votes, the highest number of votes out of a total of thirty-seven candidates. On 1st November of that year, his final nephew was born at Alpha Road, Slough, Edward James, the son of Joseph and Martha née Blincoe.

“Cleanliness!” was a very familiar heading given to advertisements for Nixey’s Black Lead in newspapers all around the UK. It wasn’t long before the same advert was being seen in the United States of America, as can be seen from this example found in the Boston Post of 6th October 1864 and the New York Times of 27th January 1865:

A Stove most brilliantly polished in two minutes for less than one farthing.
W. G. Nixey’s
Celebrated Registered Black Lead
A New Domestic Discovery
Cannot be wasted, and is a preservative of Furniture from the injurious effects of the common article now in use, as it creates no dust, and requires comparatively no labor.
Sold everywhere, in Solid Blocks, 1d., 2d., 4d. and 1s.
The Advantages of this Elegant Chemical Preparation are great saving of time, cleanliness of application, smallness of quantity required, and the prevention of waste, dust, and its destructive consequences. Further, it ultimately produces a pure metallic coating of a high degree of brilliancy and durability, reflecting both light and heat. (See specimen on the sides of each block.)
12 Soho Square, London.

“Malt for Feeding Animals, now ready for delivery, duty free, being ground and mixed with one-tenth part of linseed cake agreeably with Mr. Gladstone’s Act of Parliament, 27th Vict. cap. 3. Price per ton, 12l. Sample bags of 112lb, 12s., delivered free at any London railway station. – W. G. Nixey, Licensed Maltster, Upton Court Farm, near Slough, Bucks.”–London Evening Standard, Saturday 18th February 1865

The Northampton Mercury of Saturday 26th November 1864, under the heading “The Newport Pagnell Railway Compensation Case”, reported that “on Tuesday last a Sheriffs’ Court was held at the County Arms, New Bradwell, to enquire as to a claim for compensation by Mr. John Collier, of Northampton, for certain land taken by the Newport Pagnell Railway Company, for the purposes of the Railway, and damages consequent thereon. The Under-Sheriff, E. R. Baynes, Esq., of Aylesbury, presided.” The ten special jury members who were sworn in were “Robert Hetherington, Esq., of Slough, foreman; Frederick Thomas Haggard, Esq., of Burnham; John Hale, Esq., Germain’s House, Chesham; John Stratton Fuller, Esq., Hunderidge-in-Chesham; Wm. Lowndes, Esq., The Bury, Chesham; Charles Montague Chester, Esq., Chicheley, Newport Pagnell; Wm. George Nixey, Esq., Upton-cum-Chalvey; John Grove Hellerston, Esq., Wexham Grove; Henry Bode, Esq., Dinton; Wm. Finnie, Esq., Cold Brafield.” A long and complicated case followed, with many witnesses being called to give evidence that would help determine whether the railway company should pay compensation or not. “The jury then retired, and in a short time brought in a verdict of £1,700.”

The Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 2nd September 1865 printed an article about the Horticultural and Industrial Exhibition which was held at Slough. In part it said:

On Thursday afternoon the Upton, Slough, and Chalvey Horticultural and Industrial Show took place, by the permission of Mr. W. G. Nixey, in the beautiful pleasure grounds of Springfield house, Upton. The aim of the exhibition is to encourage the cultivation of garden produce and works of handicraft by artizans in their spare time. The competition was confined to residents in Upton, Slough, and Chalvey. A large double marquee had been erected on the lawn, and in one portion of it the specimens of horticultural produce were shown, while in the other wing the useful and ornamental work was exhibited. The horticultural show was an exceedingly fine one, and it proved that the cultivation of every kind of vegetable in the district has attained as near to perfection as possible. Adjacent to the marquee there was stationed the band of the 5th Bucks Rifle Volunteers. A numerous company assembled on the occasion. Among those present we noticed Mr. W. Bonsey (president) and party, the Rev. J. A. Cree (curate of Slough) and Mrs. Cree, the Rev. R. G. Wilkinson, the Rev. Mr. Casey, Miss Drake, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. and Miss Fortnum, Mrs. Beauchamp, Mr. Saye (Upton Park), Mr. and Mrs. Chaplin, Mr. Nash, Mr. W. G. Nixey and family, Mr. W. Jennings and party, &c. Mr. Edward Brown, the honorary secretary, with Mr. Ford, Mr. Luff, and other gentlemen forming a committee, ably carried out the arrangements. Mr. Turner, of the Royal Nurseries, sent for inspection three magnificent collections of asters, roses, and dahlias, besides some luscious specimens of black Hamburg grapes. ... The conservatories of Springfield-house were thrown open to the visitors, who, taking advantage of the fineness of the weather, also enjoyed a promenade of the terraces and ornamental grounds.

Later the same month, the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 30th September printed an article regarding the Slough and Upton Cricket Club. In part it said:

On Saturday the Slough and Upton Cricket Club terminated a very successful season with a match between their married and single members. The Benedicks made a score of 40 runs in each innings, but their single opponents were too good at the bat as an easy victory and four wickets to spare proved. The president of the club, Mr. W. G. Nixey, invited the players and other members to dine at his residence after the match, and it is seldom that country cricket clubs have an opportunity of witnessing hospitality in such a sumptuous style as was displayed by the president of the Slough and Upton cricket club. The dinner was laid out in the billiard-room attached to Mr. Nixey’s residence at Springfield Lodge, and consisted of everything substantial and good. A splendid desert followed. The usual loyal toasts having been given, the vice-chairman, Mr. F. Charsley, proposed the health of the chairman, noting in his speech the fact that not only was the Slough and Upton cricket club indebted to Mr. Nixey for the good things before them, but they owed the use of the playing field to his liberality. The chairman having returned thanks in a very excellent manner gave the toast of the evening, namely, “Success to the Slough and Upton Cricket Club,” coupling with it the name of Mr. C. Turner the treasurer, who stated that he was pleased to have it in his power to say that they were out of debt, and had funds in hand. ... Among the members we noticed – the Rev. Begbee, Mr. J. Vale, Mr. Chas. Holmes, Mr. F. Charsley, Messrs. C. Turner and H. Turner, W. Ford, C. Morten, G. Fordham, E. A. Layton, H. Luff and C. Luff, J. Deverill, Thos. Nixey, E. Nixey, W. B. Baker, J. Harris, G. Boylan, H. Carrick, E. Williams, H. Sargeant, C. Holder, J. Martin &c.

In the Saturday 11th, 18th, and 25th November 1865 issues of the Windsor and Eton Express, notice was given that application was being made for “provisional order for powers to purchase and take lands, otherwise than by agreement, for sewerage works and other purposes in the Parishes of Upton-cum-Chalvey and Stoke Poges,” under the Public Health Act of 1848 and the Local Government Act of 1858. It stated:

Notice is hereby given, that the Slough Local Government Board, in the Parishes of Upton-cum-Chalvey and Stoke Poges, in the County of Buckingham, propose and intend, under and by virtue of the provision of the “Public Health Act, 1848”, and the “Local Government Act, 1858”, and the Acts therewith incorporated, to present a Petition, under their Seal, to one of her Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State for leave to put in force the powers of the Land Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, with respect to the purchase and taking of Land otherwise than by agreement, to enable the said Local Board compulsorily to purchase the Lands, hereditaments, and Premises hereinafter mentioned and described, or referred to, or any part or parts thereof, for the purpose of constructing and providing the several works and conveniences hereinafter mentioned, and all proper and necessary Roads and Approaches thereto, that is to say, Tanks, Engines, Buildings, Machinery Apparatus, and other works for such land, within the district of the said Local Board. The following, or some part thereof, is the Land so to be purchased otherwise than by agreement, for the purposes of the before-mentioned Works, and is situate in the Parish of Upton-cum-Chalvey, in the County of Buckingham: A Parcel of Land, containing two roods, the property of the Earl of Harewood, now in the occupation of William George Nixey, Esquire, being the south-east corner of a close of arable land called The Warren, numbered 13 on the Plan deposited at my Office, as hereinafter mentioned, bounded on the east by an occupation road, on the north and west by the remainder of the said close of arable land, and on the south by two closes of meadow land called Home Meadow and Cow Lease, the property of the said Earl of Harewood, and in the occupation of the said William George Nixey. And notice is hereby further given that a Plan of the proposed undertaking, and the Land proposed to be taken as aforesaid, is deposited at my Office, Windsor Road, Slough, aforesaid, and may there be seen at reasonable times.
Dated this 9th day of November, 1865
by order of the Slough Local Government Boards
Frederick Charsley, Clerk to the said Board.

On 8th March 1866, William George Nixey’s brother Edward died at the age of sixty-three. He was buried on 17th March at St Lawrence’s, Slough. The Evening Mail of London in its issue of 16th March 1866 made this brief announcement regarding his death:

On the 8th inst., at the residence of his brother, 12, Soho-square, Edward Nixey, Esq., aged 63, after a long and painful illness.

Edward Nixey’s entry of Probate dated 13th August 1866 reads:

Effects under £4,000. The Will with a Codicil of Edward Nixey formerly of 22 Moor-street Soho but late of Carlisle House Soho-square both in the County of Middlesex Oilman deceased who died 8 March 1866 at 12 Soho-square aforesaid was proved at the Principal Registry by the oath of Eliza Nixey of 12 Soho-square aforesaid Widow the relict one of the Executors.

Like many other shrewd businessmen around this time, Edward had chosen to invest in the fast-developing railway industry. The register of shareholders of the Great Western Railway shows that his holdings in that company were transferred to his widow Eliza in September 1866, after she had been granted probate of his estate.

One thing is for sure, William George Nixey was more than willing to stand up for people he considered to be honest and trustworthy. An example can be found in the Bucks Herald of Saturday 24th March 1866:

The Late Prosecution by the Slough Gas and Coke Company Against Mr. Harley
To the Directors of the Slough Gas and Coke Company, limited.
I, the undersigned William George Nixey of Slough, Bucks, gentleman, have known George Wills Harley, for twelve years. During that time, I have employed him for about ten years. He did work for me to the amount of one thousand pounds in my house. His character during the twelve years has been unexceptionable for honesty and integrity, and I consider him incapable of knowingly attempting to defraud.
W. G. NIXEY, Slough, 7th March 1866.

The seriousness of using verbally abusive and threatening behaviour in the Victorian era can be clearly seen in the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 4th August 1866, where the following was reported:

Extraordinary Proceeding. – William Smith was charged with using threatening language to Mr. W. G. Nixey, who sought that the defendant might be required to find sureties to keep the peace. This case, which was the town talk at Slough, was, for some unexplained reason, heard by Mr. Stuart in the magistrates’ private room, before the usual hour for the petty sessional business – in fact, the case concluded just before 12 o’clock. We are unable to report the full circumstances as deposed to before the magistrate; but, shortly, they are generally known in the Slough district. It appears that the defendant, William Smith, is a nephew of Mrs. Nixey; and that he has, in the situation of farm-bailiff, managed Mr. Nixey’s farm at Slough. In consequence of some unpleasantness, Mr. Nixey sent his nephew notice to quit. Smith went to Mr. Nixey with the notice, asked what it meant, used some very violent language, and accompanied it with such threats that Mr. Nixey felt himself compelled to seek the protection of the law. Among the threats Smith declared that he would either cut Mr. Nixey’s throat or do him some other serious bodily injury. Accordingly a magistrate’s warrant was asked for and granted, and upon that warrant the defendant was now brought up to answer the charge made against him. – The magistrate required the defendant to enter into a recognizance of £200, with two sureties of £100 each, to keep the peace towards all her Majesty’s subjects, and particularly towards the complainant, for six calendar months. The recognizances were entered into – the sureties being Mr. Godfrey, of Upton Park, and Mr. Lingwood, of the Greyhound Inn, Slough – and the defendant was thereupon discharged from custody.

In the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 15th September 1866, tenders were invited for the lighting, extinguishing and cleaning of public lamps in the district of Slough:

The Slough Local Government Board invite Tenders from persons willing to supply with Gas, keep Clean, Light, and Extinguish the Public Lamps in the Slough District. The Tender to be at per lamp, for lamps lighted at sunset and extinguished at 1 a.m., and for lamps lighted at sunset and extinguished in the morning as per table, which may be seen on application at the Office of the Board.
Sealed Tenders to be delivered to me on or before 6 p.m. on Thursday, the 20th September instant.
By order of the Board
W. G. Nixey, Chairman
Slough, September 12th, 1866.

As mentioned in chapter three, Richard Muir was to marry into the family and play a part in the manufacturing of Nixey’s black lead. On 27th September 1866 at St Lawrence’s, he married Charlotte Deverill, the daughter of John Deverill and Mary Ann née Nixey, in the presence of John Deverill, Edward Deverill, Bessie Muir, and William Baxter Deverill.

“Salt-Hill Society. – Yesterday the annual ploughing match of this society, which has become celebrated from the attendance of Mr. Disraeli, M.P., who is usually present at the anniversaries, was held upon the farm of Mr. W. G. Nixey, at Upton, near Slough. There was a large attendance of gentlemen and agriculturists. Mr. Nixey gave a luncheon in his noble mansion, and in the evening the members dined at the Windmill, Salt-hill, Lord Huntingtower sending the turtle.”–The Times, Thursday 4th October 1866

The Bucks Herald in its issue of Saturday 16th February 1867, under the heading “Royal Agricultural Society of England”, announced that “Mr. W. George Nixey, of Upton Court Farm, Slough, has been elected a member of this society.” Later the same year, in the Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper of Sunday 27th October, under the article heading “False Weights, Scales, and Measures in Holborn”, “William George Nixey, oilman, 22, Moor-street, St Giles’s,” appeared in court for having “an unjust weighing beam and scales. In this case the defect was admitted by the scale-maker, who, it appeared, had neglected to put the beam and scales in order, though apprised of the fact of their being out of condition by the tradesman.” Unfortunately, William George Nixey was still fined “2s. 6d [£5.40] for having the illegal machine in his possession.”

The Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 23rd November 1867 printed a notice regarding the incorporation of the “Slough Water Works Company,” the construction of works, and the supply of water to Slough and its neighbourhood. At the end of the excerpt below, a list of 20 proposed aqueducts was given with their precise locations, as well as further lists of pipes, culverts, drains, pumps, and sluices etc.

Notice is hereby given, that application is intended to be made to Parliament in the ensuing Session, for leave to bring in a Bill to incorporate a Company under the above short title (hereinafter called the Company), and to enable the Company to supply Water to the Inhabitants, Public Bodies, and other persons within the parishes, townships, hamlets, and places following, or some of them, that is to say: Upton-cum-Chalvey, Stoke Poges, Langley, Eton, Datchet, Farnham Royal, and Slough; and powers will be taken in the Bill to enable the Company to construct and maintain the works and effect the objects hereinafter mentioned, or some of them, that is to say:
A Service Reservoir or reservoirs, with wells, boreholes, underground adits or small tunnels to communicate with such wells, steam engines and engine houses, pumps, pipes, and other works and conveniences connected therewith, in a field situate at Slough, in the parish of Upton-cum-Chalvey, in the county of Buckingham, the property of William George Nixey, of Upton, in the county of Bucks, Esquire, and in the occupation of the above William George Nixey, and being about two acres in extent, and bounded on the northern side by the public highway from Maidenhead to Slough, being the London and Bath Road; on the eastern side partly by the County Police Station, and partly by a Meadow the property of the Executors of the late William Bonsey, Esquire; on the southern side by Chalvey Park, the property of the Vicar of Upton-cum-Chalvey, held under the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, and in the occupation of the Reverend Robert James Simpson, Victor of Upton-cum-Chalvey, partly by a Garden in the occupation of Mrs. Mary Fortnum; and on the western side by Land the property of William Gadsby Davies, coachbuilder, of 15, Wigmore-street, Cavendish-square, London. ...
Dated this 9th day of November, 1867
VALLANCE AND VALLANCE, 20, Essex Street, Strand, London, and Lombard House, George Yard, Lombard Street, London, Solicitors.
HOLMES, ANTON, GREIG, AND WHITE, 18, Abingdon Street, Westminster, Parliamentary Agents.

An update to the progress on the waterworks appeared in the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 25th January 1868. Under the heading of “The Proposed Slough Waterworks Company”, it said in part:

The bill of the Slough Waterworks Company was before the Examiner on the House of Commons standing orders on Wednesday, and was declared to have passed the standing orders. The bill contains 43 clauses. It incorporates the company, with a capital of £15,000, in 150 shares of £100 each, and give power to construct waterworks, and take lands for works, according to the deposited plans. Shares are not to issue until one-fifth is paid up, and provision in made for calls. After the whole capital of £15,000 is subscribed and one-half paid up, the company may borrow on mortgage any sum not exceeding £5,000. Debenture stock may be issued. The directors shall not number more than seven nor less than three. Mr. W. G. Nixey, Mr. Edward Onslow Secker, and Lieut.-Colonel W. G. Sutton, and the other persons appointed by them, shall be the first directors until the first ordinary meeting of shareholders. In addition to the lands described on the deposited plans, the company may purchase by agreement, for the purposes of their undertaking, any quantity of land not exceeding 10 acres. The powers of the company for the compulsory purchase of lands are limited to five years from the passing of the Act, and the works are to be completed within seven years ...

On 29th January 1868, William George Nixey’s eldest daughter, Charlotte Elizabeth, became the wife of John Secker’s son, Edward Onslow, when they were married at St Lawrence’s, one of the witnesses to their marriage being her father. This is how their wedding day was described in the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 1st February 1868:

Marriage of Miss Nixey
The marriage of Mr. Edward Onslow Secker to Miss Nixey, eldest daughter of Mr. W. G. Nixey, of Springfield, took place on Wednesday at Upton Old Church. The bride was attended to the altar by six bridesmaids, and the bridegroom by his brother, as best man, Mr. Herbert Secker. The churchyard was lined with numerous neighbours and friends, and the sacred edifice was completely filled. After the ceremony the party proceeded to Springfield, the residence of the bride’s father, where breakfast was served in the large dining-room, and to which about sixty friends and relatives of the two families sat down. “The health of the Bride and Bridegroom” was proposed by the Rev. John Gore; that of “The Bridesmaids” by the bridegroom, and responded to by Mr. Herbert Secker; “Mr. and Mrs. Nixey”, by Colonel Sutton; “The Family of the Bridegroom”, by Mr. Gore; “The Ladies”, by Mr. William Mason, and responded to by the Rev. Arthur Richards. In the evening a ball was given, to which upwards of 100 were invited, and dancing was continued until a late hour.

Later the same year, the Reading Mercury in its issue dated Saturday 3rd October printed a report regarding a claim made against William George Nixey that was heard at the Windsor County Court:

Holton v. Nixey. – This was a claim for £7 2s. 3d. by Mr. Holton, saddler and harness maker of Slough, for balance due upon a bill owed to him by Mr. Nixey, of Springfield Lodge. Mr. Spicer appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. Woollett, instructed by Mr. C. T. Phillips, disputed the claim. From the evidence elicited by Mr. Woollett, it appeared that Mr. Holton had entered into an agreement with Mr. Nixey to make the harness, &c., at the same price that a Mr. Judd, another of Mr. Nixey;s tradesmen, charged. This he had not done, and on two sets of harness alone there was an excess of £12 3s., and £9 18s. respectively. When Mr. Nixey complained of these excessive charges, he said that “Mr. Judd charged low on purpose to ruin his trade,” and then agreed that the matter should be referred to another harness maker, a Mr. Hudson. Holton himself wrote a note asking him what he would charge for the harness, sending at the same time two sets for his inspection. Hudson’s charges agreed exactly with Mr. Judd’s, and therefore Mr. Nixey on principle determined to defend the case. The Judge said that it was evident that Holton had made a contract to do the work at the same rate as Mr. Judd did it, and the prices charged seemed excessive; he would, therefore, be nonsuited, each party having to pay their own costs.

“James Holley, charged with stealing 40 feet of floor boarding belonging to Mr. W. G. Nixey, of Slough, was remanded.”–The Reading Mercury, Saturday 18th April 1868

“A silver tea-pot, given by the ‘Patent Nitro Phosphate Company,’ for the best ten acres of turnips grown in the South Bucks and East Berks Districts, with ‘Adams’ Manure,’ has been awarded to William Nixey, Esq., Spring Lodge, Slough.”–The Reading Mercury, Saturday 14th November 1868

According to the Western Daily Press of 1st December 1868, the Birmingham Cattle Show, which was held at Bingley Hall from 30th November that year, was said to have been “one of the best” ever held there. One of the exhibitors was Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and another was William George Nixey. In fact, he won second prize for Steers not exceeding three years and three months, the breeder being named as William Smith. Just a matter of days later at the Smithfield Club Cattle Show at London, the Western Times of 8th December stated that the show consisted of sixty-one classes, and, amongst the prizes awarded for Devon Cattle, were in “Class 1, Devon steers not exceeding 2 years 6 months: ... 2nd prize (£10) Mr. W. G. Nixey, of Upton-court Farm, Slough, for his 2 years 5 months and 3 days’ steer, bred by Richard Moggridge, of Molland, South Molton,” and in “Class 4, Devon heifers not exceeding 4 years old: ... 2nd prize (£15) Mr. W. G. Nixey, of Upton Court Farm, Slough, for his 3 years and 7 months’ old, bred by R. Moggridge, of Molland.” The article also stated that “the Crown Prince of Prussia visited the show in the forenoon, and there was a large number of visitors.”

The Windsor and Eton Express in its issue dated Saturday 5th December 1868 printed an extensive article regarding the subscriptions for the new parish church at Slough. In part it said:

The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Oxford preached on Sunday morning at Upton Old Church, and in the evening at the Slough Parish Church, in aid of the building fund for the proposed new parish church. The collections amounted to nearly £33. The movement for the erection of a new parish church was commenced by the Rev. R. J. Simpson, M.A., shortly after his appointment as the Vicar of Upton-cum-Chalvey, a parish which comprises Slough, Upton, and Chalvey: and it has already made such progress that in the Spring the building of the sacred edifice will doubtless be commenced. The population of the parish is estimated at 6,000; it is increasing, and new houses are being built in all directions. The three churches do not afford accommodation for more than 1,300 persons. It is intended that the new church shall accommodate 1,200 persons, and its cost is estimated at £10,500. Of this sum between £6,000 and £7,000 has been subscribed or guaranteed, including a grant from the Church Building Society and a munificent donation of £1,000 by Mr. W. G. Nixey, of Springfield Lodge. Mr. F. Charsley, the Registrar of Eton College and her Majesty’s Coroner for Bucks, gives the valuable site, which lies between Mackenzie-street and the road leading from Slough to Stoke Poges, not far from the railway station. ...
Several of those present doubled their subscriptions, and others put down their names as subscribers. The result was then announced. Among the donors to the building fund are her Majesty the Queen, £100; Mr. W. G. Nixey, £1,000; the Duke of Buccleuch, £200; the Duke of Leeds, £100; the Rev. C. Champneys, late Vicar of Slough, £525, ... there being altogether £5,000 subscribed; in addition to which Mr. Lambert, Mr. H. F. Nash, Mr. Charsley, Mr. Daniell, Mr. Bonsey, and Mr. T. Nixey gave a guarantee for £250 each – a total guarantee of £1,500, so that £6,500 is provided out of the £10,500 required.

Under the heading “The Draghounds,” the Windsor and Eton Express in the issue of Saturday 20th February 1869 reported:

The 2nd Battalion of Coldstream Guards’ Draghounds met on Wednesday last at Springfield House, Upton, the residence of Mr. W. G. Nixey, who, in his accustomed liberal manner, provided a sumptuous luncheon for Colonel Jervoise, the popular master of the pack, his brother officers, and the yeomen who were present at the meet, prior to the run, as well as the “loving cup” at the finish. Amongst those present were Colonel Jervoise, Captains Wellesley, Follett, and Harford, and Mr. Montgomrey, several officers of the 1st Life Guards, Colonel Gardner, and Messrs. Aldridge, F. Sherborne, Nash, W. Ford, &c. The start and finish were at Mr. Nixey’s residence, and a capital line of county was selected by Riding Court-farm, to Horton, and round by Ditton Park. There were some stiff fences to get over, and some falls occurred during the run, but none of a serious nature.

Any grandparent will undoubtedly agree that a very special time in their life is when their first grandchild is born. For William George and Charlotte Nixey, this was almost three months after their silver wedding anniversary with the birth of William Onslow Secker at Slough on 11th May 1869. In total, they had no fewer than twenty-three grandchildren who were born between 1869 and 1895:

Name  |  Birth Year  |  Mother’s Maiden Name

  • William Onslow Secker  1869  Nixey
  • Charlotte Maude Secker  1870  Nixey
  • Edward Howard Secker  1872  Nixey
  • Thomas Lionel Collingwood Chown  1873  Nixey
  • John Hugh Secker  1874  Nixey
  • William Hubert Collingwood Chown  1875  Nixey
  • George Arthur Secker*  1876  Nixey
  • Dora Collingwood Chown  1876  Nixey
  • Victor Hart Secker  1877  Nixey
  • William Eustace Mills  1881  Nixey
  • George Bridges Stevens  1882  Nixey
  • George Ernest Mills  1882  Nixey
  • Clara Marguerite Mills  1884  Nixey
  • George Sydenham Holmes  1882  Nixey
  • Jessie Dorothy Mills  1886  Nixey
  • Clara Augusta Holmes  1886  Nixey
  • Francis Lennox Holmes  1887  Nixey
  • Arthur Edward Mills  1889  Nixey
  • Frederica Vera Holmes  1890  Nixey
  • Gerald Desmond Mills  1891  Nixey
  • Eileen Maude Mills  1892  Nixey
  • Dorothy Christine Gauntlett Harrison  1895  Nixey
  • Dennis Bridges Stevens  1895  Nixey
  • Note: * died during childhood

The Reading Mercury in its issue dated Saturday 29th May 1869 printed the following regarding the proposed new parish church at Slough:

On Monday evening a meeting of the General Committee took place in the Schoolroom, Herschel-street, to consider what is the best course to take in reference to the proposed New Church under existing circumstances. The Rev. R. J. Simpson, the Vicar, presided. A long discussion between the Vicar and Mr. W. G. Nixey was read. Mr. Nixey withdrew his offer of 1,000l. toward the New Church, proposed to be erected on land given by Mr. Charsley, and advocated a rival scheme. It was resolved, upon the motion of Mr. H. F. Nash, seconded by Mr. Darvill, that having regard to the withdrawal of two of the largest subscriptions towards the building of the proposed New Parish Church, amounting to a sum of 1,500l., the committee deemed it best, though with deep regret, to abandon the present project altogether. Mr. Charsley proposed, and Mr. Vanhomrigh seconded, a resolution to appoint a sub-committee to enquire for what sums the subscribers have become liable up to the present time, and to report to a future meeting of the committee, with their opinions as to the most fair and equitable manner in which those liabilities may be met. A sub-committee was nominated on the motion of Mr. H. A. Atkins, seconded by Mr. A. Lovegrove, and the committee adjourned until the report to them shall be ready for publication.

William George Nixey found himself winning more prizes for his Devon cattle at the Bath, West of England and Southern Counties Show at Southampton. The Hampshire Telegraph of 2nd June 1869 printed the following: “Class 3. – 1(st prize), Mr. William George Nixey, Upton Court Farm, Slough, Bucks, a Brown North Devon Cow, in Calf, ‘Pink’ ... Class 4. – 1(st prize), Mr. William George Nixey, Upton Court Farm, Slough, Bucks, a Brown North Devon Heifer, in calf.” Within weeks, even more prizes once again came his way, this time at the Royal Agricultural Show at Manchester. The Exeter & Plymouth Gazette Daily Telegrams of Wednesday 21st July 1869 announced that the prize list included: “Bull, above 2 and under 3 years ... Third prize, £5, to W. G. Nixey, of Slough, Bucks, for ‘Young Prince of Wales’, 2 yrs 6 months; bred by Quartley. Cow, above 3 yrs. ... Second prize, £10, W. G. Nixey, of Upton Court Farm, ‘Pink’, 10 yrs 5 months, bred by Mr Shapland of Northmolton. Heifer in Milk or in Calf not exceeding 3 years ... Second prize, £10, to W. G. Nixey, for ‘Baroness’, 2 yrs 11 months; bred by Shapland, Northmolton.” Interestingly, the Buckingham Advertiser of 24th July regarding the same show reported that “the following prizes were awarded to Mr. William George Nixey, Upton Court Farm, Slough: Devons – bull above two and not exceeding three years old, third prize £5. Cow above three years old, second prize £10. Heifer in milk, or in calf, not exceeding three years old, first prize £15, and third prize £5.”

It was only around a week or so later that more trouble came his way when one of his properties caught fire, as briefly reported on in the Marylebone Mercury of Saturday 31st July 1869:

On Tuesday a fire broke out on the premises of Mr W. G. Nixey, oil and colourman, Moor-street, Soho. Considerable damage was done to the stock-in-trade and lower part of the building. Mr Nixey is insured.

A number of letters soon appeared in the Windsor and Eton Express regarding the planned new parish church in Slough. It developed into quite a firey toing and froing between the Rev. R. J. Simpson and W. G. Nixey. It all started with an article that had been published in the issue of Saturday 11th September:

The Rev. R. J. Simpson. – The following address to the parishioners of Slough has been published in the Upton-cum-Chalvey Parish Magazine by the Rev. R. J. Simpson, upon his leaving the parish:
London, August 21st, 1869. My dear Friends and Parishioners, I wish to bid you heartily farewell. In doing this let me thank most cordially the District Visitors, the Sunday School Teachers, and the members of the School Committees (more especially our most excellent Treasurer, Mr. Warren), for the very valuable aid they have so generously given me in the work of the parish, during the last two years. I thank the Churchwardens for their assistance on various occasions, and the Choirs for their good services in leading the praises of God in our congregation. To Mr. and Mrs. Hiscox my warm thanks are due for the heartiness with which they began and carried on their important work, every ready to oblige and to forget themselves in the difficult task of instructing and pleasing others. To all the Office-bearers of the Church in our parish I wish to offer my acknowledgements for the anxiety they have shown to fulfil the duties of their respective offices, and assist me in the performance of mine. I thank all those who by their liberality and kind feeling have afforded me both moral and material support in carrying out some plans, which I felt were indispensably necessary for the well-working of such a parish as ours. Against those who may have opposed me, from any motive whatever, I entertain not a single unkind thought. In justice to myself, however, and to account for much that I said and did in reference to our New Church scheme, during the first six months of its existence, I am bound to mention one important fact – namely, that I commenced that project entirely on the strong assurance and the undoubting belief that one of our parishioners would build the Church himself, after it was shown (as it clearly was) that the parish wanted a church and was itself unable to build it; that gentleman stated emphatically to me more than once that he had both “the will and the power” to confer this glorious boon on his native place. But after a period of about six months, dating from our first parish meeting, October 15, 1867, he informed me, to my unutterable dismay, that “friends he had consulted had advised him not to do it,” and he “had therefore altered his mind.” I might say much on this head, but I forbear, as I do not wish to excite anything like unpleasant feeling, but thus much I feel reluctantly compelled to say in self-defence, and in order to account for my so-called “twelvemonths” pledge,’ and many other hopes held out by me, which might without this key to them appear (and not unnaturally) the offspring of foolish confidence or wilful misleading. How deep a disappointment this was to me none can know but He who knows the heart. But let us all try and forget what is said in the past, thank God for any good He has enabled us to do together, and look forward to a bright future. Let me earnestly hope that you will work heartily together with him who is now called to labour amongst you, and let me humbly but fervently pray that the continual dew of God’s blessing may rest upon him and you. – Believe me, my dear Friends and Parishioners, your affectionate servant in Christ, R. J. Simpson.

In the same issue was printed W. G. Nixey’s response to what had been printed in the Upton-cum-Chalvey parish magazine:

To the Editor of the Windsor and Eton Express.
Sir, – As the only means open to me, will you permit me to give through the medium of your columns an unqualified denial to the following most mendacious paragraph, in a letter signed by the late Vicar, relating to the abandoned scheme for building a new church at Slough, and contained in the September number of the Upton-cum-Chalvey Magazine, a publication now so notorious for these flights of fancy.
Mr. Simpson says (the italics are his own): “I am bound to mention one important fact, namely, that I commenced that project entirely on the strong assurance and the undoubted belief that one of our parishioners would build the church himself ... That gentleman stated emphatically to me more than once that he had both the will and the power to confer this boon on his native place. But after a period of about six months, dating from our first parish meeting, Oct. 15, 1867, he informed me, to my unutterable dismay, that friends whom he had consulted had advised him not to do it, and he had therefore altered his mind.”
Although it would have been far less disingenuous to have openly stated to whom these remarks refer, nevertheless, from a correspondence which fortunately I have not destroyed, and also by the use of the words “native place,” there can be no doubt but that I am the person alluded to in the above quotation. The mean and cunning device of omitting the name is too obvious to remark upon. – I therefore lose not a moment in repudiating this statement in the most emphatic manner which words can express, and in saying that it is from the beginning to the end one of the most disgraceful and barefaced untruths that was ever penned, even by Mr. Simpson. I have never at any time, in act, word, or deed, given him the slightest reason for such a gratuitous call upon his powers of invention.
I am, Sir, yours obediently,
W. G. Nixey
September 8th, 1869.

Rev. R. J. Simpson’s response was published in the issue of Saturday 25th September:

To the Editor of the Windsor and Eton Express.
Sir, – My attention was called last Saturday to a letter in your paper of the previous bearing the signature of “W. G. Nixey.” I shall not stoop to reply to such a coarse, vulgar, and insulting production; but take the good advice of an eminent solicitor in London, who has read the letter, and knows the whole case: “Treat the gross libeller with the contempt he deserves, and don’t sully yourself by breaking a lance with such a fellow.”
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
R. J. Simpson
London, Sept. 22, 1869.

Then in its issue of Saturday 2nd October, William George Nixey replied:

To the Editor of the Windsor and Eton Express.
Sir, – I am glad to find by the Rev. R. J. Simpson’s letter, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” contained in your last paper, that amidst this effusion of gall he has not had the temerity to attempt to deny that the statements he published were wilfully untrue; probably this arises from his knowledge that the proof of this is in my hands.
His letter, if it amounts to anything, shows that he has yet to learn that the propensity for calling people names is proof of something more than the want of wisdom, and that coarseness and abuse are resorted to only by those who are utterly destitute of facts.
The cunning device of pretending to quote what some one else is supposed to have said, in order to lead the mind of the unwary astray, is not an honest way of dealing with a straightforward accusation of “bearing false witness against his neighbour.” My statement of Mr. Simpson having deliberately penned and published a gross falsehood remains, therefore, uncontradicted by him. I will, however, give him the benefit of the one point only which seems to tell in his favour, viz., that although he has not had the honesty to admit his very grave error, he has not had the audacity to dispute the fact.
I am, Sir, yours obediently,
W. G. Nixey
Springfield, Upton, September 28th, 1869.

With the heat obviously intensifying between both parties, the saga continued with a reply from the Reverend Robert James Simpson that appeared in the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 9th October:

To the Editor of the Windsor and Eton Express
Sir. – The letter written by some one, and signed “W. G. Nixey,” in your paper of last week, challenges me to reiterate the statement I made, that it was on the faith of Mr. Nixey’s assurance of “handsome” aid, and eventually of building the church himself, on certain conditions, that I commenced and continue that project. I do reiterate this statement in the most solemn way, and I have documentary evidence which will go far to prove it: and I will add to what I have already said, that I never in my life met any man, in public or in private, who so completely deceived me as Mr. Nixey has done in this and many other instances, and that from the knowledge I now have and judging by the light of the past, I have good reason to be convinced that all his professed friendship for me at the time of my coming to Slough was simply a plan to advance his own selfish designs upon the glebe land, but which, I am thankful to say, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners prevented the grateful but unwary new Vicar from falling into. It is a favourite habit of Mr. Nixey’s to call his neighbours liars when they don’t agree with results of his infallible memory. I don’t wonder, therefore, while he blushed for his own fickle and faithless conduct as to the church, he should blurt out this coarse accusation in regard to me.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
R. J. Simpson  Oct. 4, 1869.

Week by week, the letters grew longer and more intense. The following is a summary of what went on rather than a blow-by-blow account, beginning with a letter from William George Nixey which was printed in the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 16th October:

To the Editor of the Windsor and Eton Express
Sir, – The inuendos in Mr. Simpson’s letter contained in your last I shall not notice, nor follow him into the fresh ground he has broken, evidently for the purpose of crossing my path with a red-herring scent to divert attention from the real question I have to trouble you with. The less he says about the glebe and Church Commissioners the better will it be for his reputation; and as to his being deceived in me, it is no fault of mine, and I can hardly be answerable for not being quite so great a simpleton as he took me for ...

William George Nixey went on to quote at length from various statements made and letters written to him by the Rev. R. J. Simpson, including an allegedly confidential and extremely long personal communication which claimed that William George Nixey had agreed to fund the church building programme but had since gone back on his word. However, in this Letter to the Editor, William George Nixey insisted that no such conversation had ever taken place, and that the Rev. Simpson had deliberately and wilfully “borne false witness against his neighbour”. This was followed by a further letter from Rev. Simpson which appeared in the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 23rd October:

To the Editor of the Windsor and Eton Express
Sir, – Although Mr Nixey has, with his usual cool “audacity,” published my letters (one strictly confidential) without either my previous permission or even knowledge of the fact, I am much obliged to him for doing so, as they will go far to show how the matter stood at the time they were written. Again, those who read them will naturally ask where are the replies. This, like many other mysteries, is now being cleared up. Mr. Nixey was too far-seeing to commit himself to paper, and it did not answer his purpose at the earlier period to give an unfavourable reply, or at a later one to show himself in his true colours ... I now leave the parish and the public to judge, how utterly I have been the victim of misplaced confidence, and how Mr. Nixey, through his boastful professions, fallacious memory, shallow fickleness, and bad faith has been the prime mover and prime destroyer of the church scheme ...

The last word on the matter appears to have come from the hand of William George Nixey, which was published in the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 30th October:

To the Editor of the Windsor and Eton Express
Sir, – To “slay the slain” is a work of supererogation, and I have therefore little to say in reply to Mr. Simpson’s last letter. He no doubt is galled at the exposure and conviction of having penned a wicked falsehood, and one would therefore be disposed to make ample allowance for some exhibition of temper; but the volley of abuse (of which Mr. Simpson has proved himself so great a master) heaped upon me is indeed sad, and a sorry way of extricating himself from the dilemma, which he has evidently hoped to do by mystification and making fresh attacks. What little is contained in Mr. Simpson’s very childish letter beyond the above consists of fresh assertions equally untrue with the others and equally capable of refutation; and it is not the first time in Slough that we have had experience of his powers of garbling statements of what has transpired. Having, however, once proved statements made by him to be fabrications, I think I may be well excused declining to enter into further controversy with him upon others, more especially as hereafter it will be a bold man indeed who places the slightest reliance upon anything coming from him ... To set myself right with my neighbours and expose a particular falsehood was my only motive originally in troubling you, and having satisfactorily done this it only remains for me to thank you, Sir, for having afforded me the opportunity.
Yours obediently, W. G. Nixey
Upton, October 25th, 1869.

Before the year was out, even more prizes were being won for his Devon cattle. The Birmingham Daily Gazette of Monday 29th November reported the following from the Birmingham and Midland Counties Agricultural Show:

Class 9 ... Exhibitor, Mr William George Nixey, Upton Court Farm, Slough, Bucks. Breeder, Mr William Smith, Hoopern, Exeter; sire, Young Exeter; dam, Rosebud; Age 3 yrs and 8 mths. ... Class 12 ... Devon Heifers ... 2nd prize £10 Exhibitor, Mr William George Nixey, Upton Court Farm, Slough, Bucks. Breeder, Mr. William Smith, Hoopern, Exeter; sire, Young Exeter; dam, Beauty. Age 3 years and 10 months.

Soon afterwards in the Western Times of Tuesday 7th December, reporting on the Smithfield Cattle Show, the following was reported:

The following were the awards in the Devon class: Devon Steers ... 2nd, £15, Wm Geo Nixey of Upton Court Farm, Slough Bucks, bred by George Turner, jun. of Alerton Hall. 3rd, £10, W.G. Nixey, of Upton Court Farm, Slough, bred by John Passmore, of Whitcot Farm, Twitchen, South Molton. ... Devon Heifers – 1st prize, £25, W. G. Nixey, of Upton Court Farm, Slough, bred by Wm. Smith, of Hoopern, sire John Exeter, dam Beauty.

The Windsor and Eton Express dated Saturday 22 January 1870 printed the details of a theft committed by William Barnes, the brother of James who was employed by William George Nixey:

Stealing Growing Turnips – William Barnes was charged with stealing some turnips growing in a field belonging to Mr. W. G. Nixey, of Upton Court Farm. Mr. Dunham said that on the previous afternoon he saw the prisoner crossing one of Mr. Nixey’s fields, where there was no footpath. He had a bundle on his back. Witness called him back and then found that he had some white turnips and two mangolds in his bundle, and also a quantity of turnips in his pockets. He said that his brother gave them to him. James Barnes, brother of the prisoner, who works for Mr. Nixey, said he neither gave the turnips to the prisoner nor gave him leave to take any. The prisoner was fined 2s. 6d. and 13s. 5d. costs.

The following week, the Windsor and Eton Express of Saturday 29 January printed a lively description of a hunt that took place, including the detailed route that the hunt took:

Her Majesty’s Staghounds on Tuesday last met a very large field at Richings Park, and turned out in Mr. Goddard’s fields the deer “Fisherman,” and, unfortunately, as he was going well away, pointing for Iver Heath, a man jumped out of a ditch in front of him, which caused him to turn short back to the railway, which he crossed near Langley Station; he then ran a sort of ring by Colnbrook and down to Horton, short to the right, up the meadows to Ditton Park, and over the paling into the park; but there was “no admittance” at the lodge gates, not even for the huntsman, which seems very remarkable, as the park belongs to his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, himself a master of foxhounds. However, the deer ran straight through the park to the left across Mr. Nixey’s farm, by Upton Park, Chalvey and Eton Wick Common; then to the right, across Dorney Common, to the Thames, crossing it near Oakley Court, and on by Holyport and Shoppenhanger’s farm, round again to the Thames, near Bray Church; but not liking the water a second time, he turned short to the left and ran by Boyn-hill, and across Maidenhead Thicket up to Pinkney’s Green, and was taken at Mr. Hobbs’s farm, after a good day’s sport, the run altogether being two hours and a quarter, the first hour to the Thames being very good and fast, and a capital bit at the finish.

As far as William George Nixey was concerned, life, generally, must have been feeling rather good. The business was obviously doing exceptionally well, he was winning prizes all around the country for his Devon cattle, his first grandchild had been born, and excitement was no doubt running high as the birth of their second grandchild drew ever nearer.


1861 Census:
Edward Nixey and Eliza née Silver, St Anne Westminster: RG09 piece 174 folio 102 page 21.
William George Nixey and Charlotte née Pitt, Upton-cum-Chalvey: RG09 piece 853 folio 63 page 20.
Joseph Nixey and Martha née Blincoe, Upton-cum-Chalvey: RG09 piece 853 folio 71 page 36.
Edward Williams and Elizabeth née Pitt, Upton-cum-Chalvey: RG09 piece 853 folio 97 page 22.

GWR Shareholders 1835-1932, vol. 8, folio 103, no. 8103.

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


The section of the 6-inch Ordnance Survey map of Upton and Slough 1868-1875 is Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

The images of Nixey’s Garden Labels and Nixey’s Patent Revolving Till are by Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History.