My Grandfather’s Generation
The first child born to Edward James Nixey and Sarah Jane Nicholls was William Edward James Nixey who made his appearance into the world at Batheaston on 22nd January 1892 and was known as Will. He married Ada Maria Emerson at St George The Martyr, Southwark, Surrey on 12th July 1919, in the presence of E W Emerson and E M Nicholls. William and Ada had 3 children: Ada Irene who was born on 4th July 1920, and was baptised on 25th July the same year at Carlingcott, Somerset, Alice L was born at Lambeth, Surrey on 3rd December 1921, and died on 27th June 2012, and William E was born at Lambeth in 1930. William died at Canterbury, Kent in 1974 aged eighty-two, and Ada died at Bromley, Kent, in 1978 aged eighty-eight.
The Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of 22nd December 1892 reported the following incident involving Edward James Nixey:
At the time this event took place, Sarah was pregnant with their second child, a daughter who they named Caroline Fanny Louise. She was born on 12th March 1893, and was known as Lou. She married Arthur Henry Smith at The Ascension, Claude Avenue, Bath in 1921. It is evident that Arthur had already moved to Abertillery in Monmouthshire prior to their marriage, because marriage banns record him as being a resident of the parish of St Michael’s there, while she was said to have been of the parish of Twerton, Bath. Arthur and Lou had two children, both born in Abertillery: Arthur Edward James in 1923 who was known as Ted, and Gwyneth E in 1928. Lou died in the Newport area in 1982.
Their third child, another daughter, named Edwardina Florence Mary, was born on 18th August 1894. Her forename was recorded as Enid when she married Ernest Herbert Stamp at The Ascension, Claude Avenue, Bath in 1919, but was generally known as Ena. They had 2 children: Jack Alfred Ernest in 1923, and Marion Nancy in 1926. Ena died at Bath in 1954 aged sixty.
In the Kelly’s directories of Bath from 1894 to 1904, Edward Nixey was listed as a plasterer at 11 South View Road, Twerton. The houses in this road were part of the mid Victorian development and were quite large properties with basements. The area is now known as Oldfield Park.
Their fourth child, Albert Ernest Charles, was born at 1:30am at 11 South View Road, Twerton on 11th September 1896, followed thirty minutes later by his twin brother. Albert John Henry was how his birth was registered, but he appeared in the censuses as Alfred John Henry, and was generally known as Fred. Very sadly, Albert Ernest Charles died on 8th May 1897 at the age of just seven months, the cause of death being recorded as “Whooping Cough Convulsions”.
Their sixth child was My grandfather, Arthur Albert Ernest, who was known as Ernest, and was born on 9th August 1898. In December 1906 at the age of eight, he and many others at his school were awarded prizes for good attendance. As many as twenty-eight of the prize winners having missed no days at all, but it’s unknown if Ernest was one of them.
Their next child, another daughter, Dorothy Minnie, was born on 13th December 1900, was baptised at St Peter’s, Twerton on 7th April 1901, and was generally known as Dolly. She married Frederick William Dole at Bath Register Office in 1924, and they had 4 children who were all born in the Bath area: Phyllis Beatrice in 1924; Edna May in 1930; Vera Dorothy in 1932; and Ileen in 1935. Dorothy died at Bath in 1991, aged ninety.
Their final daughter, Lily Rosina May, was born on 30th December 1903. She married George Edward Davidge at Bath Register Office in 1924. Five of their children were born at Bath, and their 6th child was born at 17 Darran Road, Abertillery in Monmouthshire: Joyce Lily in 1925 who very sadly died soon after birth, Margaret Florence in 1926, Christine Mary in 1929, Jean May in 1931, Ronald George in 1937, and Maureen L in 1944. Her husband died at Bath in 1961 aged fifty-nine, and she later married her first boyfriend, Ernest Edward Harding, at Bath Register Office in 1969. Lily died at Bath in 1993 aged eighty-nine.
It was around the time Lily was born that the family moved along South View Road to number 39, where Kelly’s directories list Edward from 1905 until 1910.
Their final child, a son who they named Leonard Herbert, and who was known as Bert, was born on 20th September 1906. He married Edna Maud Lewis at Bath Register Office in 1931, and they had no children. Edna was born on 31st July 1909, the daughter of Walter Henry Christopher Lewis and Mabel Annie née Yeandle who were married on 13th June 1908 at the Hebron Methodist Chapel in Bedminster, Bristol. Edna died at Bath on 24th June 1975 aged 65, and was buried on 30th June in the same plot as her mother at Haycombe Cemetery, Bath, the plot reference being 42.T.386 (E). Bert then married his second wife, Rosina May Reeves, at Bath Register Office the following year. “L H Nixey” is listed in the British Phonebooks as living at 104 Rosewell Court, Monmouth Street, Bath in the directories for the years 1978, 1980, and 1982. Bert died at Bath on 9th February 1982 aged 75, and was buried on 16th February at the Haycombe Cemetery, Bath, the plot reference being 27.E.248 (H). “Rose” survived Bert by more than eighteen years, and died on 29th September 2000 aged eighty-seven. She was buried with her husband on 6th October. On a heart-shaped, onyx marble headstone, the following memorial inscription is found:
By the time the 1911 Census was taken, the family had moved to 31 The Close, Twerton. The only child not with the family is William who is at Shoscombe with his maternal grandmother, Louisa Nicholls. The 1911 census was the first to be filled out by the head of house, and it’s very interesting to note that Edward claimed he and Sarah had been married for nineteen years. No doubt you're wondering why I say that. Well, you'll find out in a moment or two!
An incident involving the surviving twin, Alfred John Henry, along with three of his friends, was reported on in The Bath Chronicle of 20th September 1914:
A few years later, Fred joined the armed forces, and served as a Corporal in the second Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers during World War 1. He was killed in action in France on 18th October 1918, and is buried in Plot III G. 15 at the Highland Cemetery in Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region, France. With regards his death, the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of Saturday 2nd November 1918 reported:
The same newspaper in its next issue dated Saturday 9th November made the following brief announcement about Alfred’s elder brother William Edward James:
The following announcement was published in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of Saturday 5th April 1924 regarding Sarah Jane Nixey:
In June 1926, Bert was involved in a motoring accident in Dorset, as reported on in the Western Daily Press of Tuesday 31st May 1927, under the heading “Local Engineer to Pay £361”:
Now, getting back to the marriage of my great grandparents. It was actually more than 27 years after the 1911 Census was taken, and while living at 1 Warwick Villas, Millmead Road, Bath, that they finally “tied the knot” at the Bath Register Office on 31st August 1938, in the presence of Alice A Wilson and Winifred M Bradley. Their fathers’ occupations were recorded as Tailor and Farm Labourer respectively. As Edward’s age was given as seventy-four and Sarah’s as seventy, it’s not really that surprising to find that both their fathers were recorded as “Deceased”! Sarah Jane Nicholls was born at Dunkerton, Somerset on 29th October 1867, the daughter of William Nicholls and Louisa née Turner, and was baptised on 6th January 1868 at the Free Methodist Chapel, Carlingcott, Somerset.
When the 1939 Register was taken, Edward and Sarah were once again found living at 1 Warwick Villas, his occupation being recorded as “Plasterer (Retired)”. Just six months later, the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of Saturday 30th March 1940 made the following brief announcement:
the same newspaper in its next issue dated Saturday 6th April printed the following article regarding his funeral which had taken place on 27th March:
Once again, that article just goes to prove you can’t believe everything you read, as their golden wedding anniversary would literally have been on 31st August 1988. Sarah survived her husband by almost four years, until her death at the age of seventy-six in late 1943. She was buried with her husband at Haycombe Cemetery, Bath, on 6th December, the plot reference being 29.C.326 (F).
Unless otherwise stated, all newspaper articles can be found at the British Newspaper Archive.