Chapter 6

Meanwhile, Back in the West Country

Bath Chronicle, 24th October 1931:

The Late Mr. Joseph Nixey
Interment at Twerton Cemetery
The funeral of Mr. Joseph Nixey, of 38 Winchester Road, Bath, took place at Twerton Cemetery on Wednesday. Deceased, who was 73 years of age, was born in Slough, Buckinghamshire, and belonged to the family of black lead manufacturers of the same name, but had resided in Bath for nearly 50 years. He leaves a widow and seven children.
The widow was, through indisposition, unable to attend the funeral, and the family mourners were Messrs. E.J. Nixey, J. Nixey, A Nixey and W.G. Nixey (sons) Mrs. P.W. Holoway, Mrs. E. Branston, and Mrs. D. Welch (daughters), Messrs. P.W. Holoway, E. Branston and D.C. Welch (sons-in-law), and Mrs. E.J. Nixey and Mrs. W.G. Nixey (daughters-in-law).
Amongst those who also attended were Mrs. E. Nixey, Mr. W.E. Underwood, Mr. F. Gay and Mr. R. Baker. The service was conducted by the Reverend J.H. Davies, and the funeral arrangements were by Messrs. G.F. Hunt and Co. Of Oldfield Park.

Bath Chronicle, Saturday November 10th 1934:

Oldfield Park Resident
Death of Mrs. Louisa Nixey
The death occurred in a Bath nursing home on Wednesday of Mrs. Louisa Nixey, widow of Joseph Nixey, 28, Second Avenue, Bath. Mrs. Nixey, who was well known and respected in Oldfield Park, was 72 years of age. Her husband died three years ago. She leaves seven children–Messrs. Edwin Nixey, Jack Nixey, Albert Nixey (Preston), and George Nixey; Mrs. Branston, Mrs. Welch and Mrs. Holloway (London).


In Loving Memory of Joseph Nixey
Died 17 October 1931 aged 73

Also of Louisa Beloved wife of above
Died 7 November 1934 aged 72

Sadly, two suicides were soon to send shockwaves through the family. The first was Joseph and Louisa’s son, John, whose death was reported on in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette of Saturday 16th April 1938 under the title “Lost His Grip on Life”:

Combe Down Engineer’s Rail Death
The body of the man found at Bath on Monday afternoon lying on the L.M. and S. Railway line near the Skew Bridge which crosses the Avon about 300 yards on the Bath side of Newton Bridge, proved to be that of John Nixey, of Pioneer Avenue, Combe Down. He left his work at Stothert and Pitt, Ltd., the Bath engineers and crane-makers, at dinner-time and did not return. It is understood that he was practically decapitated.
Nixey, who was 44 years of age, and was married, had not been in good health of late and had received institutional treatment. He had many friends who esteemed him warmly and his death has caused much regret.

The Inquest.
“I don’t think it is necessary to read the letter he left. It does show what the first witness spoke of – that he was afraid he was losing a grip on himself and that his mind was in quite an unbalanced state.” This remark was addressed to the jury during his summing-up, at the inquest at the Guildhall on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. S. Sealy, District Controller, and Mr. A. Whitaker, Locomotive Superintendent, of the L.M.S. Railway Co., were present. The Coroner sat with a jury of nine.
William George Nixey, Leacroft, Bloomfield Grove, Bath, a brother, said deceased’s health began to give him trouble about the end of the summer of 1936. He underwent a course of treatment for some months as a voluntary patient, and later entered the Wells Institution, where his health improved so much that he was eventually discharged.

Had Been Worrying.
Latterly he had been worrying, his chief complaint being that he could not get a grip on himself, and felt himself going. He had not recently had medical attention, and had regularly attended his work. Witness last saw his brother alive about three weeks ago. Witness then asked him how he was, and he said he was better than on the previous day. He worried about himself and then became brighter. He identified a note (produced) as being in his brother’s handwriting.
P.C. Shore said he found deceased lying on the railway line, with the head practically severed from the body. Access could be obtained to the railway from a field adjoining. Later witness saw Mr. Hockey at Stothert and Pitt’s, and was handed a note which apparently had been left in deceased’s tool-box.
Reginald Harold Iley, an examining fitter on the L.M.S. Railway, gave evidence of finding blood marks on the lifeguard and footstep of an engine, which left Bath for Mangotsfield about 2 p.m. on Monday. He understood that neither the driver nor his mate were aware of any accident having occurred.
Dr. C. R. Gibson, the Police Surgeon, gave details of deceased’s injuries which were very severe, and were confined to the head. From the nature of them he thought deceased must have been lying with his head on the rail at an angle.
The jury found that deceased committed suicide while the balance of his mind was disturbed. They expressed sympathy with the relatives.

Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette Saturday 23rd April 1938:

Late Mr. J. Nixey
Funeral at Haycombe Cemetery
The interment of Mr. John Nixey took place at the Haycombe Cemetery on April 14th, the Rev. J. H. Davies officiating.
Mr. Nixey, who resided at Netherleigh, Pioneer Avenue, Combe Down, Bath, was aged 44, and met his death under tragic circumstances on April 11th.
The family mourners were Mr. E. J. Nixey, Mr. A. Nixey and Mr. W. G. Nixey (brothers); Mr. E. Branstone and Mr. D. C. Welch (brothers-in-law); Mr. W. R. Stride, representing Mr. Chas. Stride (father-in-law), who was prevented by illness from attending personally, and Miss. A. Stride (sister-in-law).
Also present at the graveside were Mr. H. Potton (representing Messrs Stothert and Pitt), Mr. Owen Cox (workmates), Mr. Mark Bennett (Benevolent Fund), Mr. E. G. Underwood, Mr. A. Andrews, and Mr. S. Dillon.
The funeral arrangements were carried out by Mr. G. F. Hunt, Arlington Road, Bath.

The second suicide was when Joseph and Louisa’s son-in-law, Dennis Welch, hung himself at his workplace. This is how it was reported on in the Western Daily Press of Saturday 20th September 1941:

Found Dead in Cloakroom
Inquest on Victim of Depression
The Bath city coroner (Mr C. S. Elwell) held an inquest yesterday on Dennis Chas. Welch (43), of 16, Faulkland Road, who was discovered hanging in a cloakroom at Messrs Pitman’s, where he was a process worker.
A brother-in-law of Welch – Mr E. J. Nixey – said that Welch had complained recently of pains in the head which seemed to get worse, and he was very depressed.
Maurice J. Calvert, of St. James’ Square, said that Welch had worried needlessly about the standard of his work.
Dr. MacQuistin, of Lower Oldfield Park, said that Welch complained of nervous debility some months previously. Death was due to hanging.
The coroner said that Welch hanged himself while the balance of his mind was disturbed.

In 1959, John Nixey’s widow, Dorothy May nee Stride married her second husband, Wilfred Leslie Eaton at the Holy Trinity church in Combe Down.

Dennis Charles Welch’s widow, Hilda Matilda nee Nixey, never remarried following her husband’s suicide, and died in the Newbury area of Berkshire in the Spring of 1993 at the age of ninety-three.