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The Gowing Family

The Hollings family
Page Three

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Johann Hoellings I - Born c.1661, Married Alheit Koops

     Johann Hoellings II - Born c.1693-4, Married Margret Kahrs

         Johann Christoph Hoellings - Born c.1729, Married Catharina Tho Riken

             Carsten Hollings - Born c.1765, Married various, see below.

                 George Thomas Hollings - Born 1805. Married Rachel Wire

                     George James Hollings - Born 1826.Married Selina Popkins

                        George Carsten Hollings - Born 1858. Married Sarah Jemimah Inward

                            Sarah Ethel Hollings - Born 1889. Married? John Arthur Gowing

George Carsten Hollings

GeorgeCarstenSarah.jpg (44860 bytes)

George Carsten Hollings was born 17th September 1859, at 26 East Street, Bethnal Green, North London. It is fortunate for us that he shares his name with his great grandfather, such a distinctive and unusual name has made identification a little easier. The earliest information we have, as regards his life and occupation has come from various sources, his marriage certificates and the birth certificates of his children, (his occupation is given as "bricklayer journeyman"), the personal memories of my father (his grandson), and various  publications from, and about, the Walthamstow area. 

Isabella road Hackney 1878

Isabella Road and Baptist Chapel, Hackney, 1878

The line of the Hollings Family that gave birth to the Gowings has all but disappeared (in name). The last male to be born with the Hollings name was George Albert, (pictured below, with his father George Carsten) who was born on 25th April 1891, in Walthamstow. He had two children, Gladys and Violet both of whom married.  George Carsten had  one brother, Henry William who married Agnes Thorburn Amos in June 1886. Agnes was the daughter of George and Janet Borthwick Robertson. The Amos family originated in Scotland and moved south about 1866 soon after Agnes was born. The eleven other children that followed Agnes were all born in London. Henry and Agnes were married at the Primitive Methodist Church, Driffield Road, Bow. On the certificate Henry's address was given as 7, Mostyn Road, Bow (now Mostyn Grove) and his father's occupation was entered as a builder. Agnes' address was 146 Tredagar Road, Bow and her father's occupation was a Saw Sharpener. Witnesses to the marriage were E. Amos [sister Emma?] and G. Amos [George? Father or brother?] 
Henry and Agnes appear on the 1891 census with two children Henry and Agnes Maud. They are living at 50, Armargh Road, Old Ford. A turning off Tredegar Road. Henry senior was a house decorator by trade.

Palace Road

Palace Road
and the Baptist Chapel

On the 1st October 1882 George Carsten married Sarah Jemimah Inward, a Baptist Minister's daughter in the Parish Church of South Hackney. Her father, John Joesph Inward, was born in Crayford, Kent in 1826. His original occupations from early census returns were agricultural labourer, and bricklayers labourer before becoming a minister by the 1861 census. From Crayford he had moved out to Snodland At the time George was living at 34 Bentham Road, South Hackney, (just minutes from the Church). He was living alone as a lodger. Sarah's address was 4, Palace Road, again, just minutes from the Church. Palace Road has long since disappeared, it was a small turning off Wells Street opposite New Church Road now called Balcorne Street, running parallel to and east of Frampton Park Road but not as long. Charles Booth's 1889 poverty map categorised Palace Road as "Lowest class, vicious semi-criminal" one of only a handful of areas warranting such a description in Hackney at that time.
Sarah was born in Poplar, East London in 1863, the daughter of a Baptist Minister, John Joseph Inward. John died in December 1881 leaving three unmarried daughters Rachel, Charlotte and Sarah. Sarah was the youngest and all three were married before the end of 1882. In addition to the three unmarried daughters there were four other children, John Joseph the first born, Phillis, Eliza and Joseph John. More information on the Inward Family can be found here.

George Carsten Hollings and Albert Hollings

George Carsten Hollings and
Albert Hollings, circa 1898

The newly married couple moved from Hackney to Walthamstow. It is more than likely the work available to a journeyman bricklayer in this rapidly expanding countryside town was the main reason. Their first child Sarah Ethel was born in 1889, at number 8,Osney Terrace, Hervey Park Road, Walthamstow. Why there were no children born before this time is difficult to say, it is possible previous children did not survive, or maybe the couple decided not to bring children into the world until they had a home of their own. This address no longer exists as "Osney Terrace," although Hervey Park Road remains as it was when first built. This intriguing mystery stayed with us for some time until we visited the Vestry House Museum in Walthamstow, where we discovered the practice of naming and numbering terraced houses one block at a time as they are completed (for identification purposes). This process carried on until the street was completed, and then the whole street was re-numbered. At this time Walthamstow was expanding rapidly, with new houses going up by the hundred. Following the pattern of addresses over the next few years, it almost appears that the family moved forward with the builders. For more information on Walthamstow as it was then, click here. The house in Hervey Park Road, plus some of the other houses where the Hollings family lived can be seen here.

Walthamstow map 1913

Walthamstow 1913
(beware, file size 924 kb)

Walthamstow 1898

Walthamstow 1898

The next child born was George Albert on the 25th April 1891, at 2 Stoney Down Avenue, Walthamstow, and this address is only minutes from the previous one! cheaper rent maybe? The family stayed here until 1893 and then moved again to 5,Warner Road, Walthamstow, where Florence Gertrude was born on the 23rd October. Two years later and they were off again, this time to 13 Melville Road, Walthamstow, and again it is minutes from their previous address. This was the birthplace of Violet May on 1st May 1896, and again on the birth certificate it gives the address of "Woodbine Villas" Melville Road. Needless to say Woodbine Villas no longer exists. At the same address on 18th November 1899, Daisy Ivy was born. Daisy had a short life of only 18 years, she died as a result of heart disease. We found in the electoral register an entry that gives the owner of 13 Melville Road as one: John Joseph Inward of 29 Endymion Road, Finsbury Park. This is Sarah Jemima's elder brother, born in Deptford 1846. John Inward junior was also an own account master builder employing men. More information on the Inward family can be found here.

George, Sarah Jemima and family only stayed briefly at the Melville road address before moving slightly north to Higham Hill. The next address of 40, Gloucester Road, a turning off Blackhorse Lane, was where Lilian Maud was born on the 20th June,1901. It was here in Blackhorse Lane the famous London Bus company AEC first came into being. We know much about the London Bus Company but little of Lilian Maud Hollings.
The maps above give a clearer indication of the area at that time, to the left the later map was drawn in 1913 and shows the closeness of the streets with little to no green areas. The four roads of interest are highlighted in yellow. Compare that to the earlier map to the right and the map below-left of Gloucester Road, where Lilian maud was born. The 1898 map above shows houses built on Hervey Park road, Stoney Down avenue and Warner road but nothing yet on Melville road which is only shown as a planned road by dotted lines. The area surrounding Melville road and the northern side of Forest road is still open fields.

Gloucester road

Gloucester road

The Gloucester road map was drawn in 1894 six years before Lilian's birth, the road itself although about a quarter of a mile long has only somewhere in the region of thirty houses houses on it, the western end before the dog-leg has no houses what-so-ever along the south side, only open fields. The eastern end, has patchy construction with houses built in blocks of two or three, up to six at a time with tracks of land in between. It seems, at a time before huge construction companies, small local builders purchased small building plots and built their houses, maybe to a set design. But how would that work when virtually all the streets were terraced? At the dog-leg junction of Norfolk road and Gloucester road there was once a mission hall, long since gone. Perhaps this is another indication of what life was like for George and his family, moving from site to site where the work was. At this time he was a Master Builder working on his own account, almost certainly employing other men, his only son George Albert was only ten years old at this time but grew up to be a bricklayer and later a carpenter, an asset to the family business1.

The Hollings Girls circa.1910

The Hollings girls

1910 gives us a new address in Walthamstow North. 206 St. Johns Road. The Family stayed at this address until 1916, and then we find them at 23 Exeter road, Walthamstow Central/East. Pictured right is Sarah Jemimah and we think, her three eldest daughters, Sarah Ethel, Florence Gertrude and Violet May Hollings, it dates from around 1910 so it was probably taken at the St. John's Road address, Walthamstow. The photograph below right we believe could be the five Hollings girls. There is little doubt about the back row, left to right they are: Sarah Ethel, Violet May, Florence Gertrude but the front row could be, Lilian Maud and Daisy Ivy, or possibly Maud Lillian Bremer and Daisy. Maud Bremer would soon become Mrs George Albert Hollings (photograph circa.1915). How affordable was a studio sitting in 1915? It appears that this was a studio photograph and that being the case it would seem logical that all five sisters should be the subject. If the assumed date of around 1915 is accurate it could possibly be a momento for George Albert who was away fighting the war, or for occasion of his marriage in 1916. All the girls are dressed identically, probably wearing the blouses made by their own fair hands as Sarah and Florence were employed as blouse trimers and Violet was a blouse finisher. We have no record of exactly where the girls were employed but there were at least two fledgling clothing companies trading during this period. The first and probably the most likely started life as a small cottage industry in Elmsdale Road called E. Garner Ltd. (Elmsdale road is a short road between Melville road and Warner road) In 1904 the company moved to a large factory 203 High Street and specialised in the manufacturer of blouses (marked on the Walthamstow map above). The other possible candidate is a company that moved to Hoe street from Aldersgate Street, London in 1899 called Hookway Sons and Cook, they moved again to a new factory at 656 Forest road Walthamstow, where Dansom house now stands. From the point of view of walking to work and home again, the Garner factory in the High street was much closer.

Five Hollings girls

During those few years many things happened that can only be described as odd. The first concerns the birth of Raymond Leslie Hollings. His birth certificate states he was born at 206, St Andrews Road, Walthamstow. According to the records from the Vestry Museum, in Walthamstow, there has never been a 206 St. Andrews Road, Walthamstow. Some renaming DID take place in St Andrews Road but even before that, the numbers never went above 200. At the time (1910) the family were living at 206 St. Johns Street, Walthamstow. It is easy to consider this a logical error to make, but we are talking about a birth certificate. I find it hard to believe someone could make such a mistake. Secondly, Raymond Leslie Hollings birth certificate states his mother was Ethel Inward. At this moment in time we can find no trace of such a person. Coincidentally, in 1905 at 179 St Andrews Road Walthamstow, lived a Mr. Henry Hollings, who later (1906) moved to 173 St Andrews Road, Walthamstow. Any relation? We do not know yet but it certainly seems unlikely it is George's younger brother Henry William who was also a bricklayer and house decorator. In both the 1901 and 1911 census he is living in Bow, in 1901 at 50, Armargh Road and in 1911 at 50, Parnell Road. Both roads are turnings off Roman Road and are about a hundred yards apart.

Like George Albert, Henry's son Henry Amos (1887 - 1916) was also fighting in the 1914 -1918 war, he was killed in November 1916 and buried in Belgium.

An interesting point turned up in the electoral register for 1908, it was a greengrocer shop registered to George Hollings at 633, Forest Road, (between the junctions of Farnan Avenue and Kenilworth Avenue) Walthamstow. The entry was only for one year only, so which particular George Hollings this was and what happened with the shop before and after that is not clear.

23 Exeter road was the last address George and Sarah Jemima, moved to, it was from here they would see their son George and daughters Lilian, Florence and Violet marry and leave home. George Albert followed the family line and became a builder, he married Maud Lilian Bremer at Walthamstow Parish Church, February 5th 1916. Maud was the daughter of Henry Bremer, a wire worker.
Walthamstow was once well known for its copper mill, close to the banks of the river Lea, the building (grade two listed) still stands and is now a water pumping station. Copper ingots from Swansea were shipped to London and sent up the river Lea in barges to the mill where it was rolled into thin copper sheets, the last copper rolled in Walthamstow was in 1857 and the mill was sold on to the East London Waterworks Company. Although copper rolling had long since ceased there may have been a residule business manufacturing wire cables close by. Henry Bremer lived in Coppermill Lane. While Henry worked his wires, his younger brother Frederick was busy back home in the back yard making history.

Florence Copeland

Photograph of Florence Copeland
sent to her sister Sarah Ethel

We know Sarah Ethel, Florence and Violet were working in a clothing factory from the 1911 census, Sarah and Florence were both blouse trimmers and Violet was a blouse finisher. If that was still the case when their younger sisters, Daisy and Lily, finished school they may well have joined them but in the February of 1918 Daisy Ivy, just eighteen years of age, died of heart disease.

In the spring of 1918 Florence Gertrude married Thomas Copeland and in 1927 emigrated to America. Thomas was a toolmaker by trade, born in Glasgow in November 1891 and it was from Greenoch in Scotland the couple sailed aboard the Letitia, arriving in New York 22nd March 1927. They made their way west and eventually set up home at 50, Eldridge Avenue, Los Angeles, California. Amongst the prized possessions Sarah kept all her life were some photographs sent from California of Florence and Thomas depicting a single storey building with a separate garage, a bright, spacious garden, neatly trimmed lawn with a sun lounger, a far cry from life in Walthamstow in the early 1900s. In the U.S. census taken in 1930 Florence and Thomas had moved to Wayne County in Michigan, they still didn't have children and they were both working at an car plant, Thomas, age 38, was still a toolmaker and Florence age 36 was a press operator. Both became naturalized U.S.citizens on October 27th 1939. We have found no children.

Florence Copeland's Naturalization papers

Florence Copeland's
Naturalization papers

In the late summer of 1918 Lily Maud, the youngest of the five sisters, married Frederick Matthews, Hazel Ivy Lily Matthews was born around the same time. At present we have very little knowledge about Lily, her husband or her daughter but we do know Lily Maud Matthews, née Hollings died late January early February in 1927, age 25 years. She was buried 3rd February in Walthamstow cemetery, Queens Road.

About this time Sarah Ethel met, and formed an association with John Arthur Gowing as Donald Jack Gowing was born in August 1920. Donald was born in Harrison Street, St Pancras in London but grew up and was educated in Walthamstow. From his school records we can follow his early life through some of the addresses he lived at with his mother. His first school from the August of 1925 was Queens Road Infants. From Queens Road it was on to Edinburgh Road Juniors from 1925 to 1927, his home address for both schools was recorded as 23 Exeter Road. Then for one year only, Gamuel Road. This change from Edinburgh to Gamuel Road we believe was probably the result of Donald's grandfather, George Carsten, marrying Maud Edith Barber in 1928. The records for Gamuel Road school for the years in question have been lost so we have no address. After a single year at Gamuel Donald's next school was Chapel End, and again it was only for a single year, their new address was 48, Cazenove Road. This address is on the north boundary of Walthamstow, a long way from Gamuel road and the last address the family had in Walthamstow.

Raymond Hollings in the backyard of Exeter Road

Raymond Hollings in the backyard
at Exeter Road

Meanwhile in 1923 Violet May married John Crossland Kaye in Darton, Yorkshire, a long way from her home in Walthamstow, London. That left Lily Maud who, we believe married Frederick Matthews, and Raymond Leslie who never married. Born in 1910, Raymond suffered through his younger years with polio, resulting in a curved back as he grew older. Did he leave home and go to live with with Sarah Ethel and her son Donald Jack? He was certainly living with her in Chingford in later years.

23 Exeter Road, Walthamstow is a small terraced house in the heart of the town off just Hoe Street and was to be the last address of George Carsten Hollings. In 1938, ten years after his second marriage he died age 79. The last years of his life saw his house turned over to lodgers, a practice continued up to his death, maybe the extra income was necessary. His second wife, Maud Edith re-married in 1939 and moved away to the Essex coast. George was buried in the family grave at Queens Road cemetery in Wathamstow. The plot seems to have been opened in 1918 for Daisy Ivy who died in February of that year, it also contained George's first wife Sarah Jemima who died in 1922 and Lily Maud who died in 1927. Lily Maud died at just 25 years, she had married Frederick Matthews in 1918 and had a daughter, Hazel, born in the same year. The last person to be buried in the family grave was George's second wife, Maud Edith, buried under her new name, Maud Edith Starke. She died in February 1961.

George Albert and Maud Lilian had two children, both girls, Violet Lilian married Leonard Brabant, a brief marriage that ended in divorce and Gladys Caroline Joan married Ronald Robert Clark in Chingford and they in turn had two children Trevor and Christine, both of whom are married and have children of their own. George Albert died in 1972 in Chingford.

This page has been a brief account of Sarah Ethel Hollings' father, her siblings, their growing up, marrying and leaving home. It includes the part of her life spent living with her father in Walthamstow and the few years she lived apart from him before moving to Chingford. At some point, probably for the sake of her son Donald, she changed her name to Gowing, it seems logical that the move from Walthamstow to Chingford would have been the ideal time. Her story continues here, under the name of Gowing, for all intents and purposes, her married name.

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