Chapter 4

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:

Edward Nixey, plasterer, of Twerton, was summoned for being disorderly and refusing to quit the Midland Arms, Twerton, and assaulting the landlord, Mr. Butcher, and P.C. House on Dec. 10. Mr. Herbert Clark prosecuted on behalf of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association. From the evidence it appeared that the defendant was very disorderly, and on Mr. Butcher asking him to behave himself defendant seized him by the throat and struck him in the chest. Defendant had used his house for eight years, but he did not remember seeing him drunk before. P.C. House, who took defendant into custody, said he kicked and fought like a madman. Witness had had to wash his clothes they were so covered with mud. As this was defendant’s first offence he was fined 20s. to cover costs for refusing to quit, and 20s. to cover costs for assaulting P.C. House, or 14 days in each case.

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:

Treasured Memories Of Bert Nixey
Darling Husband of Rose
Fell Asleep Feb. 9th 1982, Aged 75.
Also His Loving Wife Rosina May Nixey
Died Sept. 29th 2000, Aged 87.

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 Little Game of Footer. – Percy Perry, Fred Nixey, Walter Dean and Albert Shepherd, all of Twerton, were summoned for playing football in the highway at Twerton on September 12. They all pleaded guilty. P.C. Bromsgrove stated the boys were playing on the highway near Cook’s factory. There was a lot of traffic about. It was during the dinner hour. The boys were fined 1s. each as it was a first offence.

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:

Bath Corporal Killed
Mr. and Mrs. Nixey, 1, Warwick Villas, have received the sad news that their second son, Corporal A. Nixey, Royal Munster Fusiliers, has been killed in action in France. He was hit by a piece of shrapnel, death being instantaneous. The information was received from his Captain. Corporal Nixey was 22 years old, and joined up on his 18th birthday. A brother is serving in India.

The same newspaper in its next issue dated Saturday 9th November made the following brief announcement about Alfred’s elder brother William Edward James:

Bomb. W. Nixey, of 1, Warwick Villas, now serving with the R.F.A.

The following announcement was published in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of Saturday 5th April 1924 regarding Sarah Jane Nixey:

Sister Mrs. Nixey, of 1, Warwick Villas, a member and P.O.T. of the Bath Jubilee Lodge, I.O.G.T., has been commissioned to hold the office of Deputy Grand Chief Templar of England and United Services for this year.

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”:

At the Dorset Assize, Henry Thomas Miles, a boiler cleaner, of Upper Parkstone, was given judgment for £361 17s 3d against Leonard Nixey, a Bath engineer, as a sequel to a motor-cycle collision on the Poole-Wimborne road last June. It was alleged that respondent went on to his wrong side and ran into plaintiff who was rendered unconscious for two days, sustaining a broken jaw, broken nose, severe scalp wound, deep cut in thigh, and right knee joint cut open. Respondent denied negligence and counter-claimed for £37 3s 1d (injuries and loss through the accident), but the jury returned a verdict for plaintiff and judgment was entered as stated.

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:

Nixey. – On March 23rd. Edward James Nixey passed peacefully away, at 1, Warwick Villas, Millmead Road, aged 76.

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:

Retired Plasterer
Funeral of Mr. E. J. Nixey at Haycombe
The funeral of Mr. Edward James Nixey, of 1, Warwick Villas, Millmead Road, Bath, who passed away on March 23rd, at the age of 76 years, took place at Haycombe Cemetery on Wednesday last week. Mr. Nixey was a retired plasterer and had worked for several Bath firms, including Messrs. Chancellors and Longs. He was born in London and came to Bath at the age of six years. He would have celebrated his golden wedding next June. The chief mourners were Mrs. S. J. Nixey (widow), Messrs. W. E. and H. Nixey (sons), Mesdames A. Smith, E. Stamp, F. Dole and G. Davidge (daughters), Mr. A. Smith (son-in-law), Mrs H. Nixey (daughter-in-law), Mrs. Langley, Edna Langley (niece), Mr. and Mrs. Horwood (sister and brother-in-law). Many beautiful floral tributes were received from friends and relations.

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).


1939 Register:
Edward James Nixey and Sarah Jane née Nicholls, Bath, Somerset: RG101/7010A/016/23.

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